Norwegians arrested in Copenhagen

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Several Norwegian students were among the hundreds arrested for demonstrating outside the UN climate conference in Copenhagen over the weekend. Inside the conference, Norway and Mexico launched what’s being called a “joint model for climate funding” as the international climate talks wound up their first week.

A group of students from Norway’s main agricultural college in Ås say they got caught in a police crackdown on demonstrators Saturday, even though they claim they were marching “completely peacefully.”

Some small groups of violent protesters already had disrupted otherwise peaceful demonstrations on Friday and they continued to attract a disproportionate amount of attention on Saturday.

The Norwegian students from Ås told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Sunday evening that they wound up hemmed in by police (photo) along with scores of others.

They were forced to sit on cold pavement for hours before they finally were taken to a holding facility inside a former Carlsberg Brewery warehouse. It took several more hours before they were released, and “it was all very humiliating and frustrating,” one student said.

Hundreds of other Norwegians are in Copenhagen for demonstrations aimed at prodding negotiators to set aside their differences and hammer out an agreement to cut emissions and help reverse climate change. Among them are most of Norway’s bishops, church and charitable organizations, dozens of government officials and cabinet ministers and environmental groups.

As activists took to the streets in Copenhagen, government officials from Norway and Mexico agreed on a joint proposal to help fund climate measures in developing countries. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Mexican President Felipe Calderón say their “Green Fund” should be financed both from public budgets and the auctioning off of emissions allowances.

They hope the fund can reach as much as USD 40 billion by 2020. Norway wants the UN to set aside “a certain percentge” of total UN allowances for international auctioning, with auction proceeds earmarked for projects that can reduce emissions or otherwise stem climate change in poor countries.

“We have to reach an agreement on financing climate measures in developing countries,” Stoltenberg said. He and Calderón issued a statement saying they hoped their joint proposal will develop a fund “everyone can endorse.”