Environment Forum

Youth groups bending the ear of business at COP15

There are numerous youth groups at the Copenhagen Climate Conference (they are known as ‘Youngos’, short for young non-governmental organisations) and they have all come here to make sure their collective voice is heard as delegates negotiate an agreement on how to tackle climate change.

Youngos represent a significant portion of the 34,000 people who have registered to attend the conference, and some have even managed to gain access to politicans and business leaders to put pressure on them on ethical business strategies.

One of these unfailingly vocal groups is the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), which has travelled to Copenhagen to lobby businesses, investors and world leaders to adopt practices which would safeguard the environment for future generations.

We corralled three of these 18-25 year olds onto a youth panel and asked them to talk about how they are applying this pressure, what they would like to achieve in Copenhagen and the successes they have had so far.

Here is a video of Victoria Barron on the success she has had working with businesses on ethical strategies.

from Mario Di Simine:

For rent: COP15 apartment, $5,000 for 2 weeks

DENMARK CHRISTIANIA

In a country where income taxes can run as high as 60 percent and the word most used to describe almost everything is "expensive", it's little wonder the locals are eager to pocket a few extra Danish kroner during the COP15 Copenhagen climate conference.

And if the extra money comes in under the table, even better.

With the hotels and hostels booked solid, some Danes have opened their homes to some of the 34,000 delegates who were tardy in their bookings.

A waiter told me that he and his roommate had rented out their two-bedroom apartment for the two-week duration of the conference for a whopping $5,000. He didn't want his name used, of course. That money will not make it into the country's coffers.

from Mario Di Simine:

WWF, businesses deal on emissions

The debate over lowering greenhouse gas emissions is sometimes depicted as a fight between environmental groups concerned over the health of the planet and businesses concerned about economic growth and bottom-line erosion.

Occasionally, though, there is a meeting of like minds between the two.

The WWF has a program in which it partners with companies to target emissions reductions. The Climate Savers program is an agreement between the WWF and its partner companies to lay out targets and set out projects to meet those goals.

"We want to show that doing business and reducing emissions go hand in hand," said Matthew Banks, a senior program officer at the WWF and an economist.

Climate skeptics hold their own Copenhagen conference

With the world’s eyes firmly fixed on the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen it is easy to forget that there remains a significant group of scientists and politicians who do not accept that humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause of climate change.

These climate skeptics are in Copenhagen too and they held their own two-day conference not far from the Bella Center, home of the main summit. The Copenhagen Climate Challenge brought together a cluster of scientists who believe the real causes of climate change are being overlooked, ignored and even purposefully distorted.

They presented their evidence and called on world leaders to recognise that there is in fact no scientific consensus on climate change and asked that their dissenting views are given a fair hearing.

from Mario Di Simine:

Youth get in bed together on Lennon anniversary

youth lennonIt was 29 years ago today that a lone gunman assassinated John Lennon and the anniversary was the spur behind  a youth "bed in" at the COP15 conference center.

Socres of young folks from around the world used the day to remember Lennon's famous bed-in protest of the Vietnam War and to put their own spin on it. They pulled on their P.J.s, pulled out their pillows and protest signs and got in "bed" together to perform a rendition of Lennon's iconic Give Peace a Chance, remaking the lyrics to reflect their climate concerns.

An example: "All we are saying, is give youth a chance/All we are saying, is cut greenhouse gas."

from Mario Di Simine:

Is there a climate conference going on?

Walking through the Copenhagen airport, it's pretty much impossible to miss the signs that illustrate the city's focus is squarely on the climate. Those signs, literally, are everywhere, with advertisements adorning the walls on the walk from the flight ramp through to baggage claim and off into the arrivals area.

Big companies from Siemens to Shell are making sure you know they care.

siemens pic

shell

Those are nice, but to really get a message across the big conglomerates may want to contact the ad guy for Greenpeace and its NGO alliance. The environment group has plastered the airport walls with a campaign "to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion" to help bring about a new climate deal. The ad series features unflattering photos of world leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel (pictured in the ad below), President Obama,  and others beside this quote: "We could have stopped catastrophic climate change" followed by the subtext "We did ... nothing". Whether you agree with the group and the alliance of NGOs participating in the ad, you gotta admit it's pretty striking.

merkel

There was another ad from Accenture that caught my eye as I strolled toward the baggage claim area, although it had nothing to do with the climate conference.  I just like irony:

from Mario Di Simine:

Copenhagen Climate Conference: Who is right?

CANADA/Ask anyone about climate change and you likely will get the kind of emotional response not seen since George W Bush left office. People on both sides of the debate – from politicians and scientists to your regular Joe on the street – are often adamantly in one camp or the other, with little wriggle room in between.

The majority of the camp believes that Mother Nature is indeed terribly sick, and that humankind is the virus that caused the disease. The symptoms are a climate that is warming to such a degree we are faced with certain calamity if we don’t do something about it.

Sounds alarming, doesn’t it?

On the other side, are the folks who say the climate is not warming at all or that, if it is, it is a natural phenomenon that will correct itself. In other words, Mother Nature can heal herself, if she’s even sick. To spend billions trying to do what Earth can do itself is folly, pure and simple, and will lead to economic ruin for many developing nations.

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