Direct from Copenhagen, Denmark - 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference - (8 – 18 December '09)

Acting as the official High Tide COP15 envoy, distinguished ecological artist Aviva Rahmani will be immersing herself in the burgeoning eco-political activism in the city and sharing her experiences with us via this daily blog.

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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Day 5 Copenhagen Day 4 COP15 in the Ethics Committee at the Gentofle Hotel

In the Ethics Committee meeting I had to struggle with language. As an artist, I was thinking relatively simplistically: art is about human values/ quality of life and that is an ethical issue.

Don Brown, the leader of the group asked, how does "our" message differ than social justice and the thousands of folks talking about it now. And because a press conference is called for tomorrow, it has to be phrased within the text for Document 14. At the 2005 Nairobi COP a whitepaper was produced and now they want to produce another whitepaper. Allocation and trading are 2 of the foci. They asked us to state what struck us so far. I said, the discrepancy between human & corporate values.

Kyoto was about trust, they explained. Now the whole process on trial. So, the question is whether starting all over (framework questions) is the ethical issue. This relates to the Montreal COP (?! about which I know nothing). Environmental diplomacy is up for question. The person next to me has just said that what is in question is whether the market based approach works (in response to my question). Related questions are how does the burden get shared and from what sources and how allocated: "adaptation." So now I understand two words in this new context: allocation and adaptation.

It's very hard for me to follow this conversation. It's a group of about 15 people. Each phrase evokes associations and questions I'm trying to sort out. There's little chance to ask questions because they are under a deadline gun. I'm struggling to recall everything I can pertinent on their terms. So I lose key phrases in between.

Don says the unique hook is responsibilities, ie., as I suggested, to Tuvalu, et al, not narrow economic self-interest. I spent several hours helping to edit the press release and then clarifying adapation at lunch and after- which is really just who gets the $$ to deal with global warming, why and how. The editing process nails down the implications of language, phrasing and clarifying examples. Our final draft of the press release got worked on this afternoon by their PR person. The audience is initially the media to get them in the door and give them a more detailed paper, so every phrase is judged for whether it is both a good story and clear or whether it is backstory data. The pivotal point always comes back to how negotiating language can reflect a just approach to the problems, which then gets broken down into subsections, like water, etc. The reference document was 176 pages and wiggle room was a series of brief phrases in brackets taht mean it hasn't yet been ratified.

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