December 2009

Latest News:
Video: Deborah Tabart's video message to Prime Minister Rudd
Video: Deborah Tabart's message to President Obama
Video: Girl Guide Aby's message to the world
Video: Carbon and Koalas Collide
Media Releases: Messages from Copenhagen

Final Copenhagen Diary
I have just finished watching Mr Obama, and it is reported that Professor Tim Flannery thought our Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd was “outstanding” at the “peak NGO’s briefing” on Thursday.   At least we know one person who was invited to that forum, and I have asked the Prime Minister’s office about who else was invited.  As you know AKF was not and in the last few days of the Copenhagen forum, most NGO’s were excluded from the process. I am not altogether sure that it was because of security issues either.  There was more than enough security and given our status had been approved months in advance, and presumably they had done security checks on Aby (the Girl Guide), myself and Douglas, well, I will just leave it at that. 

If I am reading everything correctly – Mr Obama said the United States will reduce emissions by 17% by 2010 and Mr. Rudd is saying he will announce Australia’s reduction of between 5% and 15% by February 1, 2010.  Not sure why he didn’t announce it here.  I suspect he will blame the Opposition, or perhaps he will announce it when he announces an election?    

So, by and large nothing has changed.    They are all saying that they will try and keep the temperature rise to 2C. This means about 450 ppm as acceptable emissions.  Currently it is 379 ppm and rising. Scientists of the world says it should be 350 ppm.  So, are they right?

If they are right – then the whole thing is going in the wrong direction and 2C will mean that the Maldives and Tuvalu will go under water.  That is if you believe in global warming.  Do I?  Do you?  Honestly, who knows whether this is normal or man made?  Who knows whether Mother Nature will adapt to all this? Who knows whether we can adapt to all this.  I just saw a piece about the Coral reefs where one scientist says it will be OK with warmer water.   Let us hope so.

I remember Dr David Suzuki saying “would you wait to see a doctor if you thought your child was sick” and I think Australia needs to really ask the question?  Is Australia already “sick” and facing signs of climate change?

Well, if you look at the videos we took recently in the Western part of Queensland where we saw empty river systems, dead trees and no birds (because of massive poisoning).  If you look at Victoria where 100 million tones of carbon was released by the fires and worse still if you look at recent decisions by our political leaders to allow billions of tones of coal to be exported to coal fired power stations that are not “clean”, then yes, I think Australia is in trouble and there will be worse to come. 

As they say all the time in Copenhagen – Australia will be one of the first countries hit and my answer is ‘we already are”.  It isn’t in the future, it is now.

What I also know is that not one thing said in Copenhagen by the political leaders of the world has done anything to protect koalas and their trees, which means that when I return after Christmas and I speak with my Board, I believe we will speak louder and louder about what we think needs to be done to protect our beautiful country.  No Tree No Me will be our mantra more and more.

May I take this opportunity of thanking everyone in my network.  My family, my team, my Board, but most of all, you, the ones who donate to us, the ones who support us in our love of the koala, the ones who send me messages of support.

I honestly believe that people, people like you, will be the ones who will save this planet.  Because you love it as I do, and honestly I cannot wait to get home and put my hands in the dirt and grow some vegetables, plant some more trees (some of which have burnt to a crisp while I have been away) and also to learn how to live more sustainably on this planet.

I was given a green water bottle here and I have pledged that I will never buy one more bottle of water in plastic again.  I have forgotten the amount of CO2 it saves, but it is a lot.   Join me.

Merry Christmas and I will be back in January after a holiday.

Fondest regards, Deborah

Last day at Copenhagen:
Well, to be honest I don’t know what to say today because as I write, the world leaders are locked in rooms trying to get it right. President Obama arrives today and I am leaving.  I imagine getting to the airport will be chaos, not only because of the security, but because of the snow that has been falling over the last few days.

On Thursday, Douglas and I, like so many others, were excluded from the Bella Centre so we could not see our Prime Minister deliver his address.  Like so many, I think this is wrong and do not understand why accredited individuals were not allowed in for the last few days.  Even members of the press were not allowed in. Even people who had scheduled speaking side events could not get in which would mean all their hard work in getting here was wasted or they were speaking to empty rooms.  If this is how the United Nations handles a Conference, you might have to question how they will also handle large sums of money for the problems they say they want to fix.  Do they only want to help people who think like they do or are they really listening to people like us and many others in the civil society section of the Conference? 

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said  "I fear a triumph of inaction over action," he says.  "We are on the verge of letting down all the little children in the world".

My response to that is – “you mean your inaction”.   I saw Mr Rudd interviewed yesterday and he said he was committed to 450 ppm – which would mean a 2c increase in temperatures.  The scientists are saying it should be 350 ppm and currently we are at 379 ppm (and rising).  It is so easy to tell others what to do, but Mr Rudd should be looking after his own backyard - it is our inaction that needs to change and I know that the koala forests could help to keep Australian emissions down.   So I have put a video question to Mr Rudd and you can view it here.

There were also posters pinned on the walls of the Bella Centre which said: "Civil society has been removed from negotiations. How can you decide about us without us?".

By and large I think this is right.  I feel that the AKF has not been heard by our Prime Minister and I think that is wrong, but the one amazing thing I have felt is that we have been heard by you - our supporters, and by those visiting our website and reading my diary, and more importantly the marvelous emails I have had telling me what you think and championing me on.    

That fact alone has made this journey for Douglas and I worthwhile, and next year I pledge to take an even stronger stance on the protection of the koala that we all love so much.   I can see now that protecting those forests will do a lot to help the people of Tuvalu and Kirabas – countries I had hardly heard of before I came here and who are now imbedded into my heart. The people from those countries need our help, and protecting the koala will help them. I know that.

Before Xmas I will put up a final message because I think the arrival of President Obama will made a difference and I want to make final comments before the New Year.   I have told him in a video what I think he should do and you can see that video here.

In the meantime take care as we approach this fabulous time of year and thanks again for everything.

Till next week. Deborah

Day 10 – Copenhagen
I have just returned from dinner with Dr. McAlpine from the University of Queensland and Douglas, and we had a snow ball fight on the way home.   It is snowing quite heavily at the moment and it makes you want to build a snowman.   Douglas has gone for a walk and I do think that someone might find a “snow koala” out there in the morning. 

I am going to also confess that we did not go to the Bella Centre today. 

We went to Kronenberg Castle, north of Copenhagen and had a wonderful day in the snow, having hot chocolate and we even found a café that had Australian flags in a little cake that looked like a Mince Pie.  In fact it was an almond cake dedicated to Princess Mary, whom they love very much.   For our non Australia supporters, Princess Mary is an Australian and she fell in love with the Crown Prince of Denmark.

The history of the castle is long and convoluted and as I wandered around reading about all the wars and intrigues over the last 500 years I thought about many things.  Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Tragedy was written about the Kronenberg Castle stories and of course Hamlet’s  “he protesteth too much” and “To Be or Not To Be” are the infamous lines from this play.

I think our political leaders are protesting too much, so nothing has changed.  “”To Be or Not To Be” honest is also in question here in Copenhagen.  

By and large things are deadlocked here and I understand that things stalled for 5 hours today.  I do not think there is going to be concensus unless President Obama comes in with a magic wand.     I also watched Al Gore’s speech which was pretty compelling.  He is saying we have to get on top of these issues right now, but he also said, let us meet again in June in Mexico.  I wonder how many years it will be before we get our act together.  

I also saw that NGO’s are now being stopped from going into the Centre today and 25 Friends of the Earth delegates had a sit in because they were refused entry.

Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd speaks in the morning at 10 a.m. so I am hoping that we will be allowed in to hear him.  I actually have no idea whether we will be allowed or not.

Today I also emailed the Australian delegation to ask who Mr. Rudd had met with while he was here and I was told that he met with “peak” NGO’s.   I asked whether the AKF was considered a “peak NGO” and who actually made that decision.   These are questions that I don’t think our bureacrats want to answer and I was then sent a pretty curt email saying they would send my query to the Prime Ministers office.  I will let you know if I get an answer, but it does make you wonder who the Prime Minister did meet with.

I do not want to sound petty, but when an organisation like ours, particularly when we have such amazing international support and because we have funded so much into the protection of the koala, you would think our country, our Embassy and our Prime Minister would be proud to meet us.  

On our website tomorrow and Friday you will be able to view me asking questions of the Prime Minister and President Obama. From the koalas perspective, I really believe when we see both of them protect their own forests in their own countries, then we can be assured that they are then in a position to dictate to others. 

Currently the Third World are saying 'don’t tell us what to do until you do it yourself' and after these long days, I can tell you I agree with them.

Until tomorrow. Deborah