Good COP, Bad COP

The buzz in Copenhagen
by -- December 12th, 2009

Climate and climate activism is front and center all over town.

I just got in a few hours ago and three things jump out –

– the extraordinary efforts that the folks here in Copenhagen have put into the event; from volunteers at the airport to help as one steps off the plane and special immigration lines at passport control – to special buses and  free passes for all the public transport and the incredibly helpful staff at the conference center.

– the omnipresence of climate issues all over town; large banners on climate change, a large rotating sphere near City Hall with various climate issues projected on it, an exhibition on the effects of climate change on the Arctic in the heart of Copenhagen, about 8 people riding an ‘ecotaxi’ (a bike in which people sit in circle and pedal, each in a different direction, but the bike moves forward!)  are just some examples.

– but to me the most striking thing has been the large presence of climate activists.  I missed the march that Courtney and Jeannette posted on. But I saw the trains this evening, jam packed with protesters returning from the march carrying protest banners, with some even dressed as polar bears.  Also worth mentioning something that apparently has turned into one of the highlights of COP15 – the  presentation of thefossil awards to the top three countries judged to have impeded progress to a ‘fair, ambitious, and legally binding climate agreement’  on each day. Today’s ‘winners’ were Papua New Guinea and Japan, with the third place award not being given out and held in strategic reserve on the expectation that especially-egregious actions next week will require more than  the available number of awards!


  1. Freddie
    Dec 13, 2009

    What are the organizations sponsoring the protests? Are the university groups, the Sierra Club, religious groups? Also, what is the demographic of the protesters? Any gray-heads out there?

    • Prasad Kasibhatla
      Dec 13, 2009

      There seem to be a whole slew of organizations like Greenpeace and Climate Action Network. But I am not sure what organization was connected to some of the protests that resulted in arrests yesterday. There’s also an interesting campaign called Hopenhagen (, that is sponsored in part by some big businesses – today they held an event at which Desmond Tutu presented a petition with a half million signatures for action on climate change to the Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

      Protesters are mostly young, but not exclusively.

      • Freddie
        Dec 13, 2009

        Wow! Desmond Tutu! For him to use his international stature for the sake of saving the planet is, I believe, a new move for him. I know he is heavily involved in peace and justice issues, but to move to environmental issues is new. Any other notable figures?

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