Amsterdam is the nearest hotel room to Copenhagen you can get. It also happens to be where I’m doing press for the new Groove Armada album. Coinciding with the climate talks is quite handy as it means I can shift the conversation to that rather than ‘where did you meet’ or ‘so, your new sound, tell me more’.
Yesterday’s opening of the summit had some good points. Gordon Brown doing his bit and pressing the EU to offer 40% emission cuts by 2020, for example, or the confirmation that all the key political leaders are actually going to turn up next week. Obama has played a shrewd hand and got CO2 classified as a danger to human health, allowing him to regulate it without relying on the Senate, where an ugly alliance of oilmen, republicans and alaskans have vowed that Barack won’t pass any legislation, even if it kills them.
On the other hand, the opening day got a bit school playground when the Chairman of the talks had to request that in future the delegates come back more quickly from their lunch.
We also heard that India’s chief negotiator and right hand man have refused to come, which isn’t a great start from the world’s 5th biggest emitter. However, if the Indian press stay at home with them, that might help the organisers of the Copenhagen media zone who are trying to fit 5000 people into 3500 places.
Day one of the talks saw the Saudi’s coming clean and saying that they doubt warming is man made. I wonder why that is. A bit shortsighted though, coming from the country that is so short of water it’s had to stop growing it’s own grain. Dubai are also sounding strangely sceptical. You would think that a country which is 2mm above sea level would want to sort things out. Having said that, their famous ski area in the 45 degree desert heat is probably not compatible with a low carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, speculation was rife as to who was behind the leak of the emails from the East Anglian research centre. Theories ranged from the Russian secret service to the Canadian tar sands oil barons. The one thing that was agreed was that the timing of the leak and the speed with which it spread around the world were not accidental.
It was a good day for the UK press. The Guardian successfully coordinated a campaign in which 56 of the worlds’ newspapers carried the same editorial urging the need for decisive climate action, a move which Alistair Campbell described as ‘suprisingly impactful’. It’s not so suprising. 56 newspapers from Shanghai to London with a joint circulation of several hundred million, all agreed on the same text. It’s unlikely that would go unnoticed.
1200 limos and 140 private planes have arrived in Copenhagen. ‘It had better be worth it’ said news presenter Jon Snow, muttering angrily about summit’s carbon footprint.
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