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Update from Copenhagen

By: Dr. Ricky Rood, 11:44 AM GMT on December 11, 2009

Update from Copenhagen

There's nothing new from me here, but I wanted to give some specific links to the blogs from our delegation in Copenhagen. Some are leaving today, a few more are coming. The meeting is half over.

I've been looking at the coverage on the newspapers' web sites. With the exception of the Washington Post and the New York Times coverage of COP15 seems to have dropped off the front page. I can't figure out the Wall Street Journal, as it keeps redirecting me to the European edition.

If you are paying attention to the news, then you know there were some big protests urging the "leaders" to act more definitively.

Protest links:

March on Copenhagen

Demonstration and Candlelight Vigil

50,000 Protesters Expected

Global Climate Day from the Detroit Free Press

Population and Climate Change

IPCC Press Briefing and Climategate

IPCC Press Briefing

Climategate: Not IPCC


Breaking the Funding Deadlock

Financing the Beast

There's a LOT more there, and I just don't have the ability to list them all. Just started at the top and worked backwards.

And I know no one starts here and then goes to Jeff, but I was completely unaware of this paper. The Arctic Dipole

And my current entry.

Copenhagen: What’s going on here?

In the English newspaper in Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Post, there is a front page story of the statue that sank and has been recovered. The statue is by Jens Galshoit, and is “an obese Lady Justice sitting on an emaciated African man.” A protest piece on temporary exhibit, whose toppling and sinking was a seeming act of vandalism. That is one of the themes here, protest, advocacy, and social justice.

Out in front of the discussions are the issues of justice. Sometimes it is social justice, but more often it is a matter of economic, financial, and ethical justice. As is recognized by most, the developed nations have largely used and benefited from the use of fossil fuels – they are rich. In many cases developing and poorer nations suffer the consequences. The consequences come in two sorts: 1) Those associated with the impacts of climate change, and 2) Those associated with the possibility of retarding economic development in order to mitigate climate change. Many of the words I hear from the official plenary sessions are just how little has been done on issues of carbon dioxide emission reduction and on addressing these issues of justice and fairness in the duration of the Kyoto Protocol.

The meeting has formal sessions discussing issues of policy and science informing policy. Much of the activity, however, is on the floor of the events and side shows that are outside of the official meeting rooms. There are people protesting and advocating specific many positions. This morning I saw signs talking about how carbon offsets are a false solution … something I agree with. There are people dressed up like aliens looking for the absent climate leaders. There is a vocal group advocating vegetarianism and how being vegetarian would have vast changes on the environment.

There is a lot in interest in the Michigan Delegation in finance and the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). One of most informative discussions I have had was with an employee of the Global Environment Facility , which is an organization that helps to take current development programs and provide the incremental financing for those programs to also address climate change. Since my life seems a long quest of reducing ignorance, this organization has been around since 1991. They have been addressing adaptation to climate change since the Kyoto Protocol was implemented; they work with the countries that ratified the Protocol. So this organization is doing things. I love to find these organizations that push on, trying to do smart things, despite all of the turmoil and the rhetoric that goes on about global warming.

Speaking of the rhetoric, I have heard remarkably little about the emails of climategate. This seems to be an issue of, primarily, the U.S. It has riled up U.S. politicians, and in particular Congressman Sensenbrenner has called for action to not allow certain U.S. scientists to participate in future IPCC assessment activities. This is the sort of overt politicization that occurs in the U.S. which, ultimately, serves to politicize both scientists and science. It’s an escalation. What is, perhaps, a more consequential result of climategate in the U.S. will be any investigation that occurs due to perceived violations of the Freedom of Information Act. (this article again).

I think it is safe to say that this does not really impact the conference as a whole. It creates anxiety amongst those directly involved with the IPCC and some of the government agencies. It creates an extra level of people who have to deal with the turmoil, but there are others who carry on with the work. It is the type of wasted aggravation that contributed to my leaving the U.S. government.

Enough for now. Given the immense size of this meeting, the scores of nations, it is an amazingly well run meeting. I sit amongst the 100s of computers that have been set up for the participants. There are signs all over the city directing people to the right trains and buses. Haven’t found where I can buy the COP scarf. Every one searches for their platform, to say what they feel they need to say.


If you want to see the statue mentioned above click here

And here is

Faceted Search of Blogs at climateknowledge.org

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.