ABU DHABI // Buffeted by wind and dampened by drizzle, dozens of people gathered on the Corniche last night for a candlelight vigil co-ordinated with similar events around the world demanding a "real deal" at the Copenhagen talks on climate. "We want the world leaders to stop their bickering in Copenhagen and make positive steps towards protecting our future generations from disasters as a result of climate change," said Elham Monavari, 35, from Australia, and a member of the environmental group Eco-Chicks Abu Dhabi.
Elements of the vigil included candles arranged in the shape of the number "350"; a screen for viewing an informational video; and a 2.5m-square sheet covered with signatures of people calling on leaders to take action. The number "350" refers to a carbon dioxide target, in atmospheric parts per million, that some believe to be the maximum safe limit for the global climate. The current rate is thought to be 389ppm.
"This is great, I learnt something new today, and I especially like the way they set this thing up in such an unobtrusive manner," said Raja al Bouhaysi, 39, a Palestinian who has lived in the capital for 27 years. Mrs al Bouhaysi, a mother of three, and some friends signed the sheet; it is to be sent to Copenhagen and put on display outside the conference hall so that world leaders can see it. Amal Abdullah, 10, also signed the sheet. "I want a green environment," she said as she placed on her bicycle a green sticker that read: "A sustainable UAE; every child's right."