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Endless Waiting with Bella Center

12/17/09

On Dec.14,  Xinxin and I waited outside the Bella Center for many hours in the cold to try to get into the UN conference center.  We waited with thousands of others who had been accredited by NGOs to attend the conference, but the UN did not allow anyone to get the required badges that day.

Dec.15. The UNFCCC decided to limit the number of NGO representatives at the conference so they introduced a new secondary pass system. Only the people with the new passes can enter the Bella Center.  Having waited outside of Bella Center for many hours on Dec. 14, Xinxin and I still decided to have a last try with the only two second passes available to our class.  In order to be quite ahead of the waiting queue, we woke up early at 4:50 am.  When we arrived at Bella around 7:00am, there was already a queue with hundreds of people, yet it was already quite better than yesterday’s situation.

The queue started to move at 8:00am. Later, we approached the entrance but we did not see Professor Kelsey. It was so nice of an Italian beside us for lending her cellphone to us several times. As a result of the crowd, Xinxin and I and Prof. Kelsey could only shout each others’ names to locate our positions. The scene was impressive. Coincidentally, we found out that Kelsey’s daughter was just beside us in another queue, so she passed the white cards (secondary pass) from Kelsey to us. Relief! We finally entered Bella Center, a place that had been so closed to us for 10 hours.

Unfortunately, entering Bella Center did not mean the end of waiting. We waited outside the entrance of the conference for 3 hours, again in the coldness. However, we had a nice conversation with a representative of IETA (International Emissions Trading Association). He is a German living in Switzerland now. He was not as optimistic as most of the Germans regarding Germany’s efforts in preventing climate change. “The apparently pleasant condition of good environment and high-technology for saving energy in Germany is actually a result of Germans’ efforts in 18th and 19th centuries,” he said. Germany has completed the goal set in the Kyoto Protocol; however, he thought that to make equal effort with other countries, Germans should do more about supporting other countries and improving their own environmental systems. He told us that recently Germans were too happy about their positions in climate change. They thought that they were very far ahead of the world regarding climate change.

One more interesting discovery from his perspectives is that the E.U. is not as sincere and active as we thought. In his opinion, the expanding E.U. is playing with the world as many countries do when they set emission goals and environmental policies. The new E.U. members are less developed than the original E.U. members and the new have a lot of CO2 emissions. However,  as soon as they become E.U. members, the E.U. lets them shut down factories to limit their emissions and gives them other benefits to offset their lose, yset in another interpretation, this means that the E.U. can easily achieve their emission goal by setting limits for the new members without making too much effort within the old E.U. member countries.

During the bothersome wait, some people complained about the policemen. But later we found that the problem had nothing to do with the policemen because they knew nothing from the leaders  inside the conference nor how the UN would decide to treat thousands of people in the cold.

However, equity is well expressed . There were the vice mayor of Netherland and mayor of Kyoto standing just in front of and behind us. It was the first time for me and Xinxin to get so close to key persons in such an unexpected situation.  However, it was awkward to feel the equity under UN’s unorganized system for this climate change conference.

We didn’t waste our whole day waiting outside. We finally entered the main entrance to the conference exhibition hall at noon.

I will continue the report of Bella Center later in a new post.

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