I am now in Copenhagen, and so are about 10,000 participants to the COP15 UNFCCC Conference. The guy ushering us to the registration told me they are expecting the rest of the 20,000 other registered participants to trickle in during the second and final week. The registration took almost two hours: one hour of which was standing out in the cold weather. one cannot help not to get to know people behind and in front of me on the queue. One was a Danish lady working for an NGO, while I met another Indonesian scientist at CIFOR, who happens to know work with professors from my university back in the Philippines. Indeed, a small world. I even met one student from my Master’s programme. She told me there’s about ten of them from the university.
It has literally been a long road to get here. The trip yesterday from Hamburg by bus (and ferry) took almost seven hours. We had some delays at the German-Danish border as two of the passengers didn’t have their passports with them. I was in a bus-load of youth members of BUND, a German environmental organization. They are staying for a couple of nights in the city to participate at a demonstration early this afternoon. They should be marching right about this time as I type this. At one point during the trip, one of the organizers stood up to brief the group of what could possibly happen during the demonstration. They could get hosed down, or a tear gas could be thrown at them to break the crowd. Change your clothes and wash them, he warned us. It was almost 11 p.m. when we entered the periphery of the the city. Yet it was still busy, a telling sign of a big city. After all it, Copenhagen is the place to be as of the moment. Green lights formed like bricks (green light district?) and an illuminated globe welcomed us. Murmurs filled the bus as we entered the city. Were we amazed by the physical pleasantness and charm of the city? Or was it the thought of being at a place which is the center of the world at the moment? Probably both. From the main train station, I took a train to the flat where I stayed overnight.
Despite the grind of the sessions, everyone seems to be in a festive mood. It reminded me of the time when I participated in the COP9 of the UNCBD in Bonn. My colleague told those of us who are going to Copenhagen that thsi Conference will be like a big circus. He couldn’t have described it more aptly. This, despite the implications of the outcomes of this conference. Behind closed doors, serious discussions on how much to commit, financially and on CO2 reduction targets, are held. Or has it been a done deal? Drafts have been leaked from both sides of the fence. Who’s document will be adopted? Or will a new one be formulated during the course of the conference? No one knows. Not until this Friday.