Mario Di Simine's Profile
At COP15, the waiting is now the hardest part
You go for walks, maybe stretch out on an open couch, perhaps stand in long lines for a luke-warm bite to eat. You make numerous trips to the vending machines, munch on biscuits, chat with colleagues. Life in the fast lane of the COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen has slowed down to a crawl, and the waiting is most certainly the hardest part.
On the final day of the conference, the media — and everyone else — is looking forward to an outcome, any outcome of a two-week marathon that was supposed to lead to cuts in greenhouse gas emisions and a 2010 deadline for a legally binding treaty.
The world leaders gathered here and their negotiators are still working on the cuts, but that deadline is now out in the cold. What kind of deal will finally emerge? No one here, not the media at least, has an answer to that yet.
In the meantime, we work the phones, we watch twitter chatter, we hope for word and the prospect of finally putting this behind us.
In the Bella Center, site of the two-week session, a quieter tone has set in.
It’s quite the contrast to the earlier days when NGOs and environmental activists made their presence known with staged protests, costume stunts and undoubtedly the most popular event during the proceedings: the awarding of the Fossil of the Day, given to the country that did the least to help along the talks (or the most to hamper them). The grand winner was Canada, but we all knew that was coming after a near unbroken string of “victories” during the two weeks.
That all ended when the organizers decided to kick out the NGOs after days of chaos as 45,000 registered delegates tried to gain access to a venue that holds 15,000. Frustration and anger were the tones for those days when lineups for badges stretched and snaked from the entrance to the train station hundreds of feet away, often five or six people wide.
It’s easier to get in now, but it’s not nearly as entertaining.
And it’s a more serious tone, now, too. Media and the remaining party delegates are camped out. Waiting.
Obama’s much-anticipated arrival was anti-climactic at best. And the reviews of his speech to the conference were far from glowing.
Even on twitter, the popular president came in for some harsh criticism.
“As a person from Malawi, a poor African nation, I had too much hope in Obama. … His speech, however, has killed my spirit and COP15,” wrote bvutoB.
I could reprint dozens more just like that.
But the real emotion will come when a deal — or no deal — is announced. That may be soon. Or it may not.