Socialist Worker

Copenhagen conference won't stop climate change

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2177

Ed Miliband, the climate change secretary, has admitted that next month’s United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen will not produce any binding treaty to tackle climate change.

Instead he hopes that it will “lead, on a very clear timetable, to a legally binding treaty”.

Miliband’s statement is an admission that the world’s leaders are to disgracefully fail everyone.

The Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire in 2012, commits a number of countries to targets for cutting carbon emissions.

There is an urgent need to reach a new agreement to succeed Kyoto.

Copenhagen is the last time that a meeting at government level will take place before Kyoto expires.

Many won’t be surprised that our governments are throwing away the chance to stop climate change.

After all, Miliband showed his concern for the environment by this week announcing plans to rush through ten new nuclear power stations.

Instead of trying to tackle climate change, world leaders are fighting among themselves over which countries will make the biggest sacrifices.

Meanwhile, the Danish government is clearly expecting a big protest by climate activists at the summit.

It is planning to bring new riot laws into force before the summit. These would represent a major crackdown on the right to protest.

Currently police can arrest people “pre-emptively”—those who have committed no crime—and hold them for six hours. The new law would increase this to 12 hours.


The normal penalty for the hindering the authorities—such as the police, the fire brigade or the ambulance service—is a fine.

The new law would up this penalty to a 40-day prison sentence.

It would also increase the amount that people can be fined for failing to disperse from protests.

Some activists have described the package of laws as “a bomb under democracy”.

The fight against climate change has exposed the gaping hole between the needs of ordinary people and the priorities of world leaders.

The outrageous attitude of those at the top is fuelling the anger of those who want to save the planet.

The most effective way to fight for serious action on climate change is to make sure that the anger is taken onto the streets in London on 5 December and in Copenhagen on 12 December.

Go to » for details of the protests and for campaigning materials

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Article information

Tue 10 Nov 2009, 18:52 GMT
Issue No. 2177
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