Life in Copenhagen: Working for a Climate Treaty… with a Few More Challenges

Today’s our fourth day reporting remotely from the Copenhagen climate talks.  The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has placed sharp restrictions on access to the conference center where the climate negotiations are being held due to the arrival of the heads of state.

Yesterday and today, only two of our team – EDF president Fred Krupp and Policy Director Jennifer Haverkamp – were allowed inside the Bella Center to talk with negotiators and press.

The rest of our team is working from a nearby apartment or hotels.

EDF Copenhagen team

The EDF international climate team is now working from an apartment nearby the conference center

Here are some numbers given in a press conference by the UNFCCC to explain why access to the conference center is so limited:

  • 15,000: total capacity of the conference center, due to security issues
  • 22,000+: the number of “active” badges, meaning badges belonging to people who are entering and leaving the center
  • 45,000+: the number of registered participants to the conference

A few more updates:

  • Starting yesterday morning, an additional conference venue in Copenhagen is available for outside observers with official badges.  The venue, Forum Copenhagen, has been arranged by the Danish Government and the Danish group Peoples’ Climate Action.  It will have TV links to the conference center and wireless internet.
  • Many “side events” — like panel discussions and presentations that happen concurrently with the main negotiations — that were originally to be held inside the conference center are being rescheduled in off-site locations throughout Copenhagen. We haven’t checked, but we suspect that hotels and restaurants are pretty happy about that.
  • The EDF Copenhagen team is working as hard as we can, balancing computers on our laps in an apartment (frustratingly, the place actually overlooks the conference center).
  • And on the upside, the apartments are lovely; we’re surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows designed to let in as much of the rare winter light as possible, the place is fully equipped with modern Danish furniture (think “Ikea”), and we’ve stocked up with plenty of coffee. Now if only we could get some of that free dark chocolate the conference center distributed so liberally…
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