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.
When you’re one of thousands of people trying to get a message out at once, you need an edge.
In Copenhagen during the COP15 conference a plethora of nongovernmental organizations, environmental groups, country delegations and even businesses have gone to sometimes unusual lengths to get their word out, and hopefully into the newspapers, or onto the Web and television.
The COP15 conference on climate change will be a success even if no deal comes out of it, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday in Copenhagen.
“It depends on what your definition of a deal is,” Schwarzenegger told the media. “The important thing is to move the agenda forward.”
Many negotiators and large industry groups at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen argue that climate action is a question of cost, but the price paid up front is worth the savings later, says the chief executive of a leading business think tank.
The cost often referred to in talks is regarding initial capital expenditures, or capex, but climate change solutions should be compared with operational costs, which would be decreased, and they should also be compared with the collateral of damage avoided cost benefits, Fiona Wain, chief executive officer of Environment Business Australia (EBA), told Reuters.com in an interview.
Having an integrated clean technology strategy will be a big part of winning business in the 21st century, a Coca-Cola executive told Reuters.com on Monday, and its investments in refrigeration will likely have the biggest impact on that strategy long-term.
The world’s biggest soft drinks maker has hooked up with Greenpeace on an initiative to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — greenhouse gases with a high warming effect — from its refrigeration and cooling equipment by 2015, said Jeff Seabright, Coke’s vice president for Environment & Water Resources.
Demonstrators came out in force early Saturday morning as the sun broke through the clouds that have blanketed Copenhagen during the first week of COP15. A huge march, with about 60,000 protesters expected, is planned for later in the day but smaller rallies are already under way as groups make their way to the main event — the march to the Bella Center, host of the COP15 global climate conference.
Here are some video clips from one march, where protesters held aloft banners reading “Demand Climate Justice” and “Face Facts, Make Pacts”. They want global leaders gathering in Copenhagen to commit to eliminating or at the very least radically reducing CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.
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.
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.
Some businesses in the United States will have to reinvent themselves as the Obama administration moves to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but they’ll be better off in the long run, Pedro Chidichimo, president of JohnsonDiversey EMA, told Reuters.com on Thursday.
Despite the inevitable short-term pain, Chidichimo said that carbon footprint reductions simply have good bottom-line implications for businesses.
In the most heated protest of these early days at COP15 in Copenhagen, African representatives accused the political leaders of the developed world of hijacking the conference to the detriment of developing nations.
The marchers said the process of the talks had been manipulated by the developed world’s political leaders to impose on Africans a deal that won’t benefit them.