Notes From the Trail: Copenhagen: 24 Hours Left

The COP15 Conference is about to come to its conclusion tomorrow, and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done for a treaty to rise from the ashes. Today no one from the youth delegation was able to get into the conference; fewer and fewer NGO and youth observers have been allowed in every day (45,000 could get in on Monday and only 300 could get in today, 90 tomorrow).

There were protests yesterday where thousands of activists tried to break through the fence and get into the Bella Center. Unfortunately, the end result of these protests only delayed the negotiations because some of the negotiators, such as IPCC Chairman Rajenda Pachauri, couldn’t get past the wall of protestors/ police. As the week as progressed and fewer and fewer observer NGOs have been allowed entrance into the COP15 proceedings, this has increased discontent and probably helped fuel the ill thought out protests.

What happened on the outside was not nearly as effective as some of the events that the media are not covering as well. For example, youth and NGOs have been meeting with high level negotiators throughout the conference, and youth staged a sit-in protest for being shut out of the process, refusing to leave until at 1:30am this morning when police forced them to.

Yesterday evening, members of the delegation along with Will Steger, Michael Noble, and Rep. Kate Knuth gave a Midwest Climate Presentation at Klimaforum, an alternative to COP15 open to the general public. I had a good time M.C-ing where we talked about why it’s important that the Midwest prepare for climate change, and what the Midwest has to gain about it. Although the topic might seem obscure here in Denmark, we had a packed house of people from across the world (many from the Midwest!). I was nervous as I went up in front of the packed room, but as soon as I relaxed and just had fun with the presentation, everything went smoothly.


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