I landed at Kastrup airport of Copenhagen and checked Greenpeace website to discover that the Countdown to Copenhagen clock for the UN climate summit showed exactly 24 hours were left before the most important meeting in the history of mankind was to begin to find a way forward to deal with catastrophic climate change.
But I despaired when the first thing I noticed as I was leaving the airport were eye-catching billboards featuring ageing world leaders saying “I’m sorry, we could have prevented catastrophic climate change … we didn’t”. .
I hoped that the leaders featured in the adverts, Lula of Brazil, Tusk of Poland , Brown of UK, Merkel of Germany, Sarkozy of France , Zapatero of Spain, Medvedev of Russia, Harper of Canada and Rudd of Australia will disprove these adverts produced by Greenpeace to remind them of their responsibility to the future generations and take the right decision to ensure a FAB (fair, ambitious and binding) deal for the climate and for all life on the planet.
Thousands of people have descended on Copenhagen for this unique summit (also known as the 15th Conference of Parties or COP 15 in short) and all hotels, hostels, accommodation even grounds have been turned into make shift accommodation for the thousands more that are expected to arrive in next few days. Fortunately I have a bed at a youth hostel where I am sharing the small room with 6 young members of Friend of the Earth from Germany.
On the first day at the Bella Center, the venue of the climate summit, I was greeted by a kilometer-long queue of participants waiting for registration in freezing weather as negotiating teams, journalists from 192 countries arrive for the opening sessions, not to mention mass of NGOs and civil societies from all corners of the planet. The long queue is also allowing variety of campaigning groups to interact with those who stay in the line. Greenpeace’s Café with activists serving hot coffee and pushing FAB deal, big screen that is joint effort between Greenpeace and tcktcktck partner under neat Metro line and right in front of the entrance showing several vdo clips round the clock from morning until late evening. VDO clips include features from climate defender camp in Sumatran forest at Kampar peninsular of Indonesia, climate impact in the pacific.
At the entrance, several groups are making their own voices heard; men and women in red – climate debt agent – holding banner reads “rich countries –pay your climate bebt!” ; an usual show-up of Sumpreme Master Ching Hai distributing “Be Veg, Go Green, Save the Planet” leaflets ; men and women with Kankaroo puppet with the message blaming “Australian Coal” as the killer of the planet ; a COP of coffee – a free cup of coffee courtesy of the wind energy industry – have coffee bike that serve fresh coffee, cappuccino and chai tea to those who are on way to the entrance.
Coming a long way to Copenhagen – my first climate summit – I was not able to get register on the first day as my name is still waiting to include in the new list of Global Campaign for Climate Action(GCCA), I am amazed by looking at the whole compound of Bella Center from the metro elevated platform, with one big wind turbine behind and power plant pumping out smoke plume on the horizon, yes Greenpeace’s climate rescue station next to the building, I wish for the best, a fair, ambitious and binding deal. Otherwise, Copenhagen summit will be only a showcase of corporate-driven climate solutions and a continuation of political talk fest.
The countdown clock on UNFCCC website is seen zero. Talks begin under gloomy sky of Copenhagen.
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