Let's Not Bracket Mother Earth
(Editor's Note: Earthjustice attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal are blogging live from the Copenhagen climate change conference. This is today's post by Martin)
What makes these negotiations so important, of course, is that human activities are changing our planet's systems of self-regulation. Global warming pollution from human activities is altering those systems faster than many ecosystems and species—including humans—can keep up with.
In recognition of this, a number of countries, led by Bolivia, are advocating for the final Copenhagen agreement to "take into account not only the right of human beings, but also the right of Mother Earth and its natural beings."
When countries object to proposals in the formal negotiations, they do so by insisting that the problematic proposal be surrounded by brackets in the formal negotiating documents. The brackets indicate that the proposal is not a consensus position, and thus remains subject to further discussion. In negotiations late last night, the United States and a number of other developed countries insisted that any reference to the rights of the earth be bracketed.
Given what is at stake here, it is frightening to think that Mother Earth might remain in brackets.