Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11th, 5:54 PM CET

Copenhagen, Denmark
Morten's Apartment

Jet-lagged but excited, we finally made it to wonderful Morten's apartment. He bears a slight but noticeable resemblance to Elvis, and soon left for the library to finish a term paper. Earlier at the airport, I miraculously happened to run into Janet Larsen, (Director of Research at Earth Policy Institute and my boss for the past year) as she was catching her flight out. She told us the conference was often crowded, and to expect Al Gore in the next day or so.

Check-in at the Bella Center took just over an hour. Most of the people in line were European, many speaking with British accents, but we also stood with a delegation from Nigeria and a group of Quechuans in traditional dress. We entered the conference just long enough to get our badges and pick up our transportation passes, and caught a glimpse of the immense exhibition hall featuring booths from organizations world wide. We'll be spending more time there, networking and interviewing people, over the next few days.

Traveling back to Morten's apartment, a combination metro-bus ride that took about 30 minutes, we started asking questions and debating answers that will define the rest of our stay here. Is climate change just an environmental problem, or an economic and security question as well? What does that mean for the people involved? Why do only a few have decision making power when the effects transcend the political and economic elite? Does this even matter, if it cannot be changed? Is finding a solution done through technology, or political will? Or both? And which comes first?

To me, the impediments to action are clearly political, but with economic causes and security implications. In fact, very little currently being debated surrounds technology (with the exception of the few fossil fuels that refuse to go extinct; for instance, CCS, some biofuels, etc.). Janet described the debate so far as squaring off between developing and island nations vs. obstinate well-developed and recently-developed countries. No surprises there, but perhaps what will be surprising is what happens when those developing nations have the platform here to at least try taking the world's biggest polluters to task. Recent news suggests the gap between what each bloc is willing to compromise on may be closing. Tomorrow we'll be diving in to see for ourselves.

Thanks for reading,

1 comment:

  1. Morten!!! I'm glad he came through for ya'll.