Though the tree people were trying their best to explain their point of view, it was a bit hard to understand over the din of the Bella Center, so I tracked down AVAAZ, the nonprofit organization that invited the guest trees to find out what the protest is all about.
In a nutshell ... AVAAZ is carefully tracking the negotiations and has organized a rapid response team that uses a combination of e-mail blasts, public theater and social media to alert the press about any nefarious activities that might be taking place.
And indeed there has been some "trickery" according to Ricken Patel, executive director of AVAAZ. Three European countries — Finland, Sweden and Austria — are attempting to use REDD (avoided deforestation) as a means to achieve their carbon reduction targets.
Avoided Deforestation was created to support developing nations like Brazil and Indonesia in their efforts to reduce the carbon impacts of deforestation, not to give wealthy carbon-intense economies a shortcut to hitting their pledged carbon reduction targets.
Patel explains that introducing this scheme in Europe so late in the game could have serious impacts on the outcome of Copenhagen. In addition to reducing the efficacy of current pledges in Annex I (developed) countries as well as the REDD program as a whole, it could undermine the EU's position as a neutral facilitator of the talks.
AVAAZ hopes that their action today will remind COP15 negotiators that they are being watched very closely and that the world will not look kindly upon those whose actions, whether ill-intentioned or not, could damage the chances of a successful deal at Copenhagen.