The COP-15 Circus
Describing COP-15 as a negotiation fails to capture a large part of the UN’s climate change conference. Sure, there are delegates and heads of state behind closed doors hammering out a long, editable, far-from-finalized text that may or may not save the world, but what about the rest of the circus?
Inside the Bella Center, there is quite an eclectic group of people. There are men and women in suits, boys and girls in bright t-shirts, dudes and chicks with dreadlocks, dudes and chicks in more suits, Tibetan monks, others in traditional garb, a lady with real skis (“save our snow” she says), and—oh yah—well dressed delegates sharing the same hallways and cafeterias as the rest of us. Macs, PC’s, HP’s, and SO many cameras abound. Power chargers, clocks, art, a few advertisements, and several languages surround. Booths with so many issues to care about: REDD, Haiti, Tuvalu, adaptation, renewable energy, Tuvalu again (two booths for 10,000 people!), Africa as a whole; the list goes on….
At the present moment, a group of youth observers—who are all donning orange t-shirts for the day (where do I get mine?)—march around chanting “Our Future, Our Future.” A group of Avaaz aliens wander: “Take us to your climate leaders….” I prod one alien further: “Japan must produce ambitious financing plans…Japan…Japan…Japan.” Okay, Japan. I did not mention my U.S. heritage for fear of the wrath that might be brought upon me (most of the time, I hope I am passing as a Dane).
COP-15 extends outside of the Bella Center as well. During the day, a lady from Tuvalu informed me of a completely separate skeptic’s conference nearby. At night, I spent nearly half an hour wandering around Denmark’s streets trying to find a side event at the National Musset (Museum).
Whether or not our current form of energy production can sustain the earth is currently being debated by delegates, but one thing is for sure: the bodily energy from observers is certainly enough to sustain this conference.