By Christine Campeau
When we arrived this morning the number of people in the Bella Centre appeared to have doubled. We were met by the wonderful sound of indigenous drums and song as various groups called for the protection of their rights under a new climate agreement. The number and range of stunts and activities are also growing, varying from the procession of huge handmade trees throughout the conference centre to raise awareness of forest issues, to goodwill gestures such as the Greenpeace staff standing in the cold handing out free coffees to people as they wait to enter the building.
A lot has happened in the short space of time since the conference began, but the jury is still out in the cold as to where we are headed. The Conference opened yesterday with formal sessions featuring the Prime Minister of Denmark as the host and President of the Conference, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, Dr. Rajendra K. Pauchauri of the IPCC and Connie Hedegaard, the Danish Environment Minister who has been steering the UNFCCC process at Ministerial level throughout 2009.
The interventions were positive and motivating in tone; Connie Hedegaard in particular called on Parties to get moving, ‘we have to do it, and we have to do it now’, she said.
However, as you may have already seen in the press, the Danish Presidency has come into public disrepute in the last 24 hours. Rumours of an alternative ‘Danish text’ for the Copenhagen agreement has been circulating for some time. On Tuesday evening the story hit the press with a bang when the text was leaked to the UK publication, ‘The Guardian’. Although this has allowed civil society and developing countries to come out and criticize the Danish government, negotiation veterans appear nonplussed, assuring us that this is all ‘part of the pantomime’.
That’s all for day but there is certainly more to come.