Update from COP15 – What a ‘Whirlwind’

December 9, 2009, by Tim Stumhofer

To say my first two days at COP15 in Copenhagen have been a whirlwind, would not only be a tired cliché, but would also horrendously underestimate the speed at which the wind has proverbially encircled this program associate cum international correspondent.

Indeed the COP, loosely charged with forging the framework for a new global treaty addressing the largest collective action problem the world will ever see, has had the effect of galvanizing more than just the technocratic climate brass. First and foremost, serving as the venue for a dizzying (with another caveat on the limitations of this term) array of concurrent UN negotiations, the COP’s deliberative core is in turn orbited by myriad official and unofficial side events, adding several layers of complementary conversation, debate, and information sharing amongst a diverse set of international actors representing civil society, government, and industry. A rich and fascinating informational overload, the parallel to multi-ringed circus is not lost on this author…

Over the next two weeks I will be delivering a few “postcards” from my experiences at this climate ground zero. I won’t get too deep into the nitty-gritty of the negotiations – there are plenty of other outlets for that level of analysis. But I will offer some observations from Denmark that bear particular relevance to the work of the Institute.

This first post takes that mantra quite literally speaking to my experience presenting an overview of the Institute as a part of the UNFCCC’s iSeeT exhibit. Located in the heart of the Bella Center, this open-aired venue is a central crossroads of exceptionally high visibility. A great locale to catch the ear of interested passers-by, it is also an obvious spot for demonstration. So it was with little surprise that two-thirds through my talk, I was forced to save my voice in deference to the sizeable swarm of media occupying a space no more than 30 feet from the podium covering an African protest to issues surrounding the negotiating topic du jour: the day’s leaked “Danish text.”

video: http://blogs.reuters.com/mario-disimine/2009/12/08/africans-protest-cop15-say-process-manipulated/

(For reference I am 180 degrees behind the cameraperson, and yes that melodic lull in the background is my presentation.)

An interesting initiation to what will doubtless be an eventful two weeks.

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