The good, the bad, and the ugly
by Prasad Kasibhatla -- December 15th, 2009
Amazingly varied experiences in Copenagen
It’s been an interesting day in Copenhagen:
This morning I checked out Klimaforum09, billed as the People’s Climate Summit. It was a very interesting event, with a real grassroots feel about it – a refreshing change from the bureaucratic feel of the official COP meeting. One of the interesting panel discussions was on the effects that proposed market-based programs to reduce deforestation and degradation of tropical forests on local peoples. Opinions ranged from support for programs that provided an alternative to exploitation by logging companies to arguments that this was a new form of exploitation (of ‘carbon rights’) and even ‘spiritual violence’. I was most struck though by the comment of one panelist who pointed out that a clear cause for concern was that this issue was dividing (those for and those against market programs for forest carbon) social movements in places like the Amazon.
This a afternoon I made it back to the official UN COP meeting center. There are a bunch of interesting official meetings scheduled (a talk by Al Gore, a plenary session on the latest status of negotiations) but I can’t get in to any of them – there is only a limited amount of seating for NGOs (we are classified as a a RINGO – a Research and Independent NGO) and this has have all been assigned.
Some of our students apparently still haven’t been able to get into the Conference Center – giving up after standing outside for hours in line in the freezing cold. And it turns out we need special passes to enter the building even if we are registered. We have a handful of them for today and tomorrow, but none for Thu and Fri. I went to talk to a RINGO official about tickets for Thu and Fri. He was really obnoxious and basically told me that organizations like ours did not deserve access since we were newcomers to the RINGO world!
I guess I will be spending more time at the People’s Climate Summit.