In Denmark we have a saying: The one paying for the music decides what the orchestra should play.


Actually, this is the opposite of democracy. What the saying stresses is that money rule.


This is true of the COP15 as well. Let’s just for one moment imagine that the outcome was decided in a truly democratic way, that every person on earth had one vote, regardless of power or position, nationality or gender.


Then the treaty would probably look very different to the one we will get eventually. The rich countries would have very little to say. We only account for a fifth of the World’s population. Instead countries like China, India and Brazil would be dominant, and the major influence would come from Asia, Africa and South America.


The World is not run that way. And so the poor countries are left with very little influence. They can threaten to walk away from the negotiations, and they can insist on a fair deal that reflects the fact that most of the carbon in the atmosphere has been emitted by the rich countries. But as money matters the threats are empty.

And the very poorest of the countries may soon be even worse off than previously, as growth economies such as China, India and Brazil have their own agendas now and no longer share a common cause with the poorer developing countries. That’s a rift we have already seen in Copenhagen.

That leaves them with nothing at all, and they know it. The other day a delegate from Sudan analyzed the situation in front of a number of NGOs from Africa. He told them that the negotiations would probably not benefit the poor countries, but that the African nations would have no choice but to accept.

Then he started crying.

Susanne Sayers
Green Reporter at COP15