Strange scenes at COP15: curious news stories from the Copenhagen summit
So far the UN climate summit in Copenhagen has had its fair share of drama and quirkiness, from a British viscount calling climate activists ‘Hitler Youth’ to a polar bear challenging President Obama keep his promise to act on climate change. Here is a sampling of some of the more odd and less-covered bits of news surrounding COP15.
- Alternate climate meetings are taking place in Copenhagen, including a skeptic’s conference of ‘climate contrarians’ who are against any measures which would regulate greenhouse gas emissions. On the other end of the political spectrum, is the Klimaforum09, aka ‘the people’s climate summit’, which focuses on issues relating to social justice, such as indigenous rights, ecological debt, factory farming and other aspects largely ignored at the COP15 meetings, plus art, music and food.
- Sara Palin’s op-ed for the Washington Post – also published here in the Guardian – entitled ‘Boycott Copenhagen’ was less controversial for its content (considering who it came from) than for the fact that the Post decided to run it.
- Danish police have seized ‘Nearly 200 makeshift shields, scores of paint bombs and other equipment, including nine platforms with crude staircases’ according to the New York Times. The materials were ironically found in a building that the city provided as free housing for visiting activists. No arrests were made in connection with the seizure.
- A giant ice sculpture of a polar bear (I know, more polar bears) in Copenhagen’s Nytorv is melting and revealing a bronze skeleton. A Guardian opinion piece by Bibi van der Zee is skeptical about climate art, but not about climate change. Other art includes photos of Peruvian communities living near melting glaciers taken by supermodel Helena Christensen and Angela Palmer’s Ghost Forest, which was previously in London’s Trafalgar Square.
- The Guardian’s ‘Copenhagen Diary’ details several interesting or unusual aspects of the COP15 summit, such as the fact that the Danish Queen is sat next to Robert Mugabe. Other tidbits include how 43 island states are displeased about not being featured on the giant UN globe outside the Bella Centre; and the numbers of delegates sent by different countries – the U.K. sent 70, while Brazil sent over 1000.
By Graham Land