Copenhagen, Day 3


From Wednesday in Copenhagen…

I spoke too soon about the plenaries being boring, and the convention being sharply run.

Tuvalu’s delegate, Ian Fry, gives a speech calling fora new protocol that will limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, not 2, the target of most negotiators. Mr Fry’s speech gets an unusually hearty round of applause, including from the NGO delegates sitting in back where I am with the press.

After Tuvalu is done, a number of small-island states join in approvingly just after him to join the call: Grenada, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, São Tomé and Principe. (I have to confess to Googling to see whether the Cook Islands, which spoke out, was a UN member. It isn’t.)

China, India and others also speak out against the Tuvalu idea. The plenary breaks to talk about it over lunch.

By 3:00 later in the afternoon, an unusually big crowd of activists is gathered outside the plenary room, carrying signs reading “Tuvalu Is the Real Deal” and “Stand With Tuvalu.” They are chanting “Tu-va-lu! Tu-va-lu!” and “Three-fif-ty! Three-fif-ty!” The latter refers to a carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere of 350 parts per million, as opposed to the 450ppm that the IPCC thinks should probably limit climate change to 2 degrees. Tuvalu has become an unlikely global hero.

Filtering all the noise is hard enough; then you have to figure out what could possibly be important enough to the outside world to put into a finished article.

The Pulse is providing readers with a daily snippet of The Economist’s correspondent diary. You can find past updates from the conference diary here. Please visit The Economist for the full text of the diary and extended coverage of the conference.

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