Transparency & Civilian Participation Falls Apart at COP15

After a disappointing day for many of us, who waited in seemingly endless lines to nowhere, the COP has essentially come to an early end… at least for observers.

As anticipated, COP15 has become the most attended climate COP to date.   Unfortunately, the Bella Center in Copenhagen (capacity of 15,000) is not large enough to handle the overwhelming number of parties and observers that traveled to Copenhagen (over 30,000) to view history unfold.  Today at the COP, it was announced that a new system for entry would be instituted for the remainder of the convention.  As a result, our ability to observe has been significantly restricted.  The VLS delegation was issued only 4 secondary badges that we can use at any one time to enter the Bella center to view negotiation and side events.  However, even the secondary badges are not going to ensure our access.  Continue reading

Initial Impressions

The Bella Center, where the conference is being held, is enormous and full of things to see.  There are green plant displays, internet stations, pamphlets on all aspects of climate-related issues, cafes, and more.  The variety of people from all over the world is exciting.  Standing in the “observers” line to get our registration badges we heard a variety of languages including English, Danish, Hindi, French, and Chinese.  For us, coming from Vermont, the weather seems relatively mild–low 40’s and damp.  For an Australian woman standing in line behind us, it was unbelievably cold (which she described using a more colorful vocabulary).  Tomorrow the real events begin–more to come then!!

Getting Settled In

Most of us have made it to Copenhagen now.  A few travel snags, but nothing too serious.  The Bella Center is very well organized, and the registration/badge pickup has gone fairly smoothly.  We’re excited to have free passes for travel on all public transit in Copenhagen — trains, buses, Metro, etc.  They’ve really thought of everything.  We’re all a bit jet-lagged and travel weary, so we’re glad to have this day to get ourselves acclimated and figure out the lay of the land.  The folks arriving mid-week will have to hit the ground running.  The meeting schedule is awe-inspiring and overwhelming.  The side events alone could occupy us full time.  I think I’ll need to focus on just a few subject areas and follow those through out both the sessions and the side events.  Trying to absorb everything would probably cause a serious brain overload.  More news to come when things really get underway …