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Police, demonstrators flood the streets of Copenhagen

There were police on every street corner corner yesterday, and police vehicles threading way through the throng every couple of minutes in Christiana Platsdam, where people were gathering mid-morning.

A demonstrator on a bicycle laden with  enormous speakers and a large blue heart, labored his way across the bridge on his way to the gathering point, speakers blasting. A Greenpeace ship lay below on the water, "Politicians Talk Leaders Act" emblazoned on a bright green banner overlaying the rainbow on her prow. There were people draped in blue, people pushing baby carriages, couples hand in hand and signs held aloft. "The World Wants a Real Deal", "Nature doesn't compromise", "There is no Planet B". It was a massive gathering, with estimates ranging from 40,000 to 100,000. Danish police say nearly 1,000 people have been arrested and detained.

There are no formal proceedings at the Bella Centre today. Environment ministers met informally yesterday. With a draft text from Friday to work with, negotiators are trying to find ways to bridge the gaps. Statements are finding their way in to the media.

In the weeks before the summit, much of the developed world committed to a goal of two degrees of warming, post pre-industrial temperatures. Small island states at the summit are pushing for a 1.5 degree limit in global temperature rise. Both numbers are in the document and subject to further discussion.

The text calls for developed countries to cut emissions by 25 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020. This is the range recommended by the scientists who authored the 1997 Intergovernmental Pannel on Climate Change Report, which also calls for an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. It is also more than the commitments the developed world delegations brought with them to Copenhagen.

Questions hanging in the balance are agreement on emission reduction numbers for 2020 and 2050, funding for developing countries to enable them to deal with climate change, targets for larger developing countries still working their way out of poverty, legal enforcement of the agreement once it is in place.

These are big questions, but not as big as the disasters scientists say our planet is on track for should countries fail to curb green house gases quickly and deeply. People around the world are calling for the leaders assembling here in Copenhagen to show courage.

At Klimaforum, a people's declaration is being drafted. Today, Marina Silva, Brazilian Green Party president candidate and former minister of the environment is speaking at Klimaforum09 together with 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

Charley Beresford, executive director of the Columbia Institute, arrived in Copenhagen December 9th, where she is observing the climate change discussions at COP15. Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have met annually since the establishment of the UNFCCC in Rio de Janero in 1992. The meetings are called a Conference of the Parties and the Copenhagen meeting is the 15th . From December 7th through 18th, the world is focused on COP 15 in Denmark, looking for a global deal on climate change following the KYOTO agreement, which runs out in 2012.

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