Countdown to Copenhagen Rally

Elizabeth May

I am just back from a climate change “indoor rally.”  I am still over-whelmed by the outpouring of energy and people who mobilized on a rainy Tuesday night in Victoria.
Over 1,000 people gathered in the Victoria Conference Centre to hear Dr. Andrew Weaver, Guy Dauncey, leaders from the youth climate movement  (Jamie Biggar, Tria Donaldson and Maia Green) and me.  Dr.  Andrew Weaver is a climate scientist who has worked within the IPCC. Guy Dauncey is the President of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association and author of several books, including "The Climate Challenge."
The hall was enormous.  And when I arrived early and looked at all the empty chairs in the cavernous space, I wondered if we could possibly begin to fill it. We had 1,080 chairs set up, and by the opening, it was standing room only.  And then more people came.
The notion that Canadians do not care about the climate crisis, or that they are satisfied to accept the “Copenhagen will be a failure” pronouncements from Stephen Harper are belied by this extraordinary outpouring.
Copenhagen is too important to fail.  From the Harper government’s point of view, years of global sabotage begin to pay off when we can be the first nation to proclaim the talks a failure, to announce (as Jim Prentice did today) that Canada will not bother to bring out regulations for public comment until there is a global agreement and a US plan.  Regulations are a few years away, he says. Then we will try to play catch up.  What a lamentable charade.
The “action plan” for Copenhagen is a public relations counter-offensive  -- a “Copenhagen War Room” within the Environment Canada offices to help repel the anticipated negative press from Canada’s role of “worst country in the room.”
But the message tonight from audience and speakers alike was clear.  To abandon hope, to abandon real targets is to abandon our children.  Standing in solidarity with our children and grandchildren means denouncing the deceit and hypocrisy of those leaders who delay and deny. 
We must denounce any failure in Copenhagen  -- but not before the meeting has even begun.   The definition of “failure” must include fake success. We must demand real targets and real commitment.  Fake “political declarations” must be met with howls of derision and scorn.  A real agreement may still be possible.  Nothing short of it is acceptable.
Tonight, in Victoria, a huge indoor rally said “we will not abandon our children.”  Rally and stand our ground.