Delegates arriving in Copenhagen’s airport are ferried straight to the out-of-town conference centre where they hope to make their dream a reality.
And, when they arrive, they are greeted not so much by a conference as the world’s largest and most over-subscribed climate fair—encountering the kind of queue usually reserved for teenagers trying to see their favorite boy band.
Instead giant screens list the corporate sponsors of “Hopenhagen” above stalls promoting every solution to the world’s problems. The Little REDD desk dedicated to avoided deforestation sits next to the fossil of the day stall.
For some it will be a short stay at the fair. Thousands of NGO delegates are soon to be barred because of space. They will join the estimated 100,000 activists staying in Copenhagen who marched on the conference center over the weekend.
Passing the overwhelmingly peaceful protest as it wound through the city, two rocks flew by to my right—heading for the windows of the old stock exchange. They came from members of the ‘Never trust a cop’ group, Danish anarchists whose leaders resorted to loud speakers in a unsurprisingly vain attempt to restore order.
At the time the cops, almost politely, stood to the side. Later hundreds of masked protesters were herded away and held without charge—their hands tied behind their backs in the open air. Its the result of a new law passed before the conference by the Danish parliament which gives the police the right to detain demonstrators on suspicion of intent to cause trouble.
Whilst the demonstration took place, the usual business of the UNFCCC continued inside. Delegates run between the document centre and the media centre, clutching the latest version of their most prized communiqué.
One excitedly talked me through the latest guidance on carbon offsetting – which would make it easier for firms like hers to invest. Her excitement waned though when most of the world (G77 + China) launched a boycott of the talks—including hers—on Monday.
They objected to suggestions the Kyoto protocol—with its binding cuts for developed nations would be abandoned. In the heat of the moment a small Indian youth group surrounded the angry Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Pablo Salon and burst into a song of praise. Bolivia…