Penny Wong jeered, Hugo Chavez cheered

She said, for example, that all major economies, and all major emitters needed to make binding emission reduction commitments if a Copenhagen deal was going to help the climate.

And she said that it was time to “seal a deal”, which after nine days of negotiation that have achieved very little and a “text” that remains a sea of brackets – indicating the yet-to-be-agreed bits – that seems self evidently true.

It wasn’t a particularly strong, rousing or detailed statement – the only real commitment was that the umbrella group emission reductions would be “substantial”.

But before she rose to speak the conference proceedings were interrupted by people with whistles and sirens chanting “stop green capitalism” – a sign of the anger in the developing world that the Danish host government is trying to wrest the process from the professional negotiators, who have failed to make any progress, and hand it to politicians, who might have some chance of achieving something before we all leave on

Speaker after speaker from the developing world railed against this idea, with the Sudanese vice president Nafie Ali Nafie speaking on behalf of the developing world and declaring that they stood ready to agree to a new commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. That would be the agreement where developing countries aren’t obliged to do anything. The other proposed agreement that would require big developing country emitters to bind themselves to their own type of emission reductions they are a lot less keen on.

Then President Chavez brought the house down.

When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ – “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”  He won a standing ovation.

And the Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi – who made a sensible and considered and detailed proposal about how to get financing to help climate change adaptation and mitigation in poor countries? He was far less enthusiastically received.

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