Direct from Copenhagen, Denmark - 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference - (8 – 18 December '09)

Acting as the official High Tide COP15 envoy, distinguished ecological artist Aviva Rahmani will be immersing herself in the burgeoning eco-political activism in the city and sharing her experiences with us via this daily blog.

Why not get involved and join in dialogue with her? Log-on to share your views! This is the gathering storm…

Produced in association with FACT

Monday, 7 December 2009

10:AM Plenary 2 COP15 Copenhagen December 7, 2009

Bhutan in a huddle on the big screen. Panning over the delegates, palpable excitement.

10:15 Still waiting for events to begin. Chatting with Karine Peloffy: Sustainable, Humourous & Innovative Thinking, about to take her first UN job on the environment, about CapeFarewell and whether artists should visit the Arctic. I'm strongly against it, altho I'd be thrilled to go. If I could go to the Arctic without carbon emissions, environmental impact to the ecology... turning it into a gentrified Disneyland with artists int he usual vangaurd to beautiful places..

Karine is opening interesting URLs: PlosOne; Open Access: "Oil in the Western Amazon."

10:28 We still haven't begun. The room now looks pretty packed. An imposing black woman in a vivid lilac purples silk thing and head dress just walked past the seated woman delegate from Azerbaijan in a tweed suit. It looks like 40-50% here are women.

10:29 the room is quieting.

10:42 We have begun. Clapping. References to and a film about the impact of climate change on children obviously geared to the first world: a child (white) awakens from sleep in a desert, flees opening crevices, loses her teddy bear, is approached by a tornado, a tsunami, clings to a tree, googles to Africa, world leaders describing migrations of climate refugees, ends with the child saying, "please save the world." More clapping.

Danish Girls Choir enters, in bronze and black, singing acapela. Harp. trombone in counterpoint. Instrumentalists and director men. A crowd of pretty, innocent, earnest faces and sweet voices. Audience attentive and quiet (no chattering). Sounds like folk music based sound. Several soloists folded in with the pure soprano (and one alto) typical of young girls. More clapping

10:58 Silence, panning delegates sitting at the main table. Prime Minister Rasmussen introduced with clapping. Until 2001, Denmark had a great reputation on climate issues but since then, with a new administration, they have withdrawn from investments in wind energy, etc. Nonetheless, he's asking for effective solutions, speaking to Denmark's determination to address the urgency of the problems. He is asking for political will, asserting that we here do all have the determination for significant, immediate action (despite the recent announcement from Saudi Arabia that they are just here to protest the climate change hoax and demand $ reparations) and calling on ordinary citizens for the ultimate responsibility (right: change a light bulb before the Tsunami). Concluding with a list of how Copenhagen has limited the carbon footprint of the conference (ie., tap water vs bottled) contributed money to fund climate scholarships. Ending remarks about qualities needed to inspire hope: courage, etc.

11:11 Mayoral address, Ritt Bjerregaard, beginning with a reference to Coca Cola's greenwashing "Hopenhagen" PR stunt (yuck. A bad sign of how corporations rule?): "let's turn Copenhagen into Hopenhagen. Quoting Al Gore, "if you want to go first, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." References to progress towards carbon neutral, ie bikes (yes, there are armies of bikes, whole families.)

11:17 Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chair IPCC. "Warming .. is ... unequivocal... due to anthropogenic consequences.... Sea level rise 17 cm = island states, Bangladesh: every storm surge = threat to life." Article 2: stabilization of ghg emissions or- consequence- loss of ice, increase of heat, cyclones, loss of water, sea level rise of 7 meters. 20-60% species in danger of extinction. Causes include urbanization; coming desertification. 20% of 2 billion in way of river floods by 2020 75-25 million will be subject to water stress. Reduction of agriculture by 50%. Seas acidified serious impact on all marine life. High benefit cost measures to address issues now. First world must finance and act to mitigate: 3% of GDP. Limits must be achieved by 2015. Still may not be enuf. Holding Denmark up as an example for wind energy (but what about the Danish political retreat? Purchasing windmills from China of such poor quality that the Chinese don't use them and not supporting Danish companies). References to stolen documents from East Anglia to discredit IPCC, summary of IPCC review process. Conclusion: thanking for trust (makes me think of the EU negotiator who said it was all about trust).

11: 32 Yvo de Boer, Exec Sect of UNFCCC, opens with account of 6yr old boy surviving cyclone, flood, losing parents, brother, drifting all night: "(this) is what we're here to prevent. The time has come to deliver. ' 'Make a xmas cake: layer 1: capacity building, layer 2: financing $10 bil per yr. Icing: shared commitments.' Focus on the practical. Responsibility on developed countries (implicit message to Obama, China, India). 6 days before ministers. 2 days before world leader: endorsement must come the 18th. "The time has come to reach out to eachother: ...deliver."

11:38 Conclusion of opening of the Conference of the Parties (COP) & more clapping. speakers exit. Short break.

11:45 President of COP. "Conference... set directions for several decades... simple human solidarity.. fundamental changes of economic systems.. a historic moment for entire planet. We are are taking part (in history) ... let us see above our particular interests... to serve whole mankind.. to reach this goal."

11:50 Elected President COP15 Connie Hedegaard approaches: tall, thin, all energy, "let's get it done. This is the time to deliver. It is doable. I base my confidence... on my meetings with governmentas and ministers. The science is clear, The solutions are abundant. Political will, will never be stronger (USA conspicuously absent from list of countries making commitments)... we need money for mitigation, implemtation, adaptation... compromise, agree, find concrete solutions, use every skill available... to those that hold back... fearing economies will suffer... a global deal will drive drive energy security.... the time has come. It must be comprehensive. It must be immediate. Look eachother in eyes on September 18th.... open the door."

12: Organizational work begins.

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