Michigan at COP15 Blog |

Follow the U-M Delegation to the Climate Change Conference

United Nations Climate Change Conference Dec 07 - Dec 18, 2009

TAG | conference outcome

“I would rather see no deal at all than a watered-down version that doesn’t help anyone,” fellow U of M delegate Ahmed Tawfik told Keith Schneider of Circle of Blue and Climate Action Network. Ahmed isn’t alone.  Only half way through the conference, already many people are beginning to fear that the bureaucratic powers-at-be won’t be able to deliver at the end of all of this.  The problem as I see it is that there is such a disparity between the climate proposals that each nation has brought to the negotiating table, making it virtually impossible for anything but more dialogue and digress to emerge.  But there isn’t time for more dialogue—our time is running out to make a change that can actually save lives.

However, the estimated 5,000 climate demonstrations planned for today—both in Copenhagen and around the world—might be the united front that all of these factions have been looking for.  Maybe next week’s talks will “get serious” enough, following a weekend of international action, and the more than 50,000 expected to march today in Copenhagen.

This morning I woke up early to start researching the Global Day of Action, hosted in large part by many different groups in the TckTckTck coalition and Global Climate Campaign.  In fact, there are currently more than 527 organizations and networks from 67 countries (85 from Denmark alone) that have signed on to be part of what is assured to be the largest demonstration on climate change to date.

In Copenhagen, a rally begins today at 1pm (AMS), with speakers and music at Christiansborg Slotsplads (Parliament Square).  After mobilization efforts to energize the crowd, fifteen large recycled sails—each embellished with climate messages—will be carried more than three miles over the course of 2 hours, arriving at the Bella Center where they will be given directly to Yvo de Boer, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Executive Secretary. (Watch a video of Greenpeace preparing banners and signs for the event here.)  A candle light vigil will immediately follow at 5pm.

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Adam Ellsworth

First day impression

My initial impression of Copenhagen and the conference is overwhelmingly positive and that there will be a well thought out consensus outcome, not a last second deal that will be ignored by the major players.

I talked with two people today I will be following up with:

- Ted Maclin, a Doctoral student from University of Georgia composing an ethnographic study of the workings of the World Wildlife Federation at the conference, following up his previous work at another UN meeting. He is doing lots of  research in the field of event ethnography, and how the social networks which are built during meetings like COP15 can create a significant amount of change on the micro-systems level leading to eventual macro-level changes. This is something worth looking into as while the conference outcome may not be the optimal one, the thousands of people who return home with new insight and social ties/networks to be utilized in furthering local environmental goals in so many different places that it can potentially make up the difference.

- Kimberly Hill, the deputy director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. She wishes to meet up with us at some point to discuss the conference and Michigan.

There were more and would like to let everyone know their names but I cannot recall them and do not want to attribute the wrong names to the wrong people as I am currently working on close to zero sleep since Saturday morning.

I am now headed back to the Bella Center to find the person in charge of media for the Alliance for Climate Protection at the conference. I’ll do another entry about that, and include some pictures if I get any.

Adam E.

For more info on today’s proceedings as things happen, follow The Guardian’s COP15 First Day Live Blog here


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