Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Heading to Copenhagen

December 7, 2009

Well the day to head to Copenhagen has arrived. A cool and partly overcast sky – the grey-blue of winter. This morning, the lead stories on NPR’s Morning Edition and Marketplace were both about the start of COP15. My husband and I were bringing the boys to school when the stories aired , so they are even more convinced that mom is going to an important event!

CNN had its opinion question: “Is the U.S. doing enough to curb climate change” (or something to that effect). A rather over simplistic question given the extremely complex nature of this phenomenon. Worse yet, 1/3 of the people who took the poll said yes! Aaaggghhh.

Came to the Newark Airport early since that is when my driver could get me here. Twenty minutes from walking in the front door to being done with security! And yes, I checked a bag. Granted, I did the online check-in so had my boarding pass, but there was no line to check luggage (49.8 lbs) and only 1 person ahead of me in the line to load your stuff on the belt for security check. Remind me to arrive mid-day on a weekday for all my flights!

CNN reports that the EPA today determined that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant to humans. If Congress doesn’t act, can the EPA implement regulations to decrease carbon emissions? They also reported on the declines in public interest about doing something about global warming in the past year and an increase in skepticism. But, given the economic conditions and a convincing opposition campaign to once again pit economic growth against the environment, it is understandable. Many who study the public response to such issues also say that the public has tuned out this issue because of all the science focus. The Climategate publicity, of course, isn’t helping either.

Secretary Albright (bless her) just talked about her first hand observations in the Arctic this past summer and she said “What would it hurt” if we do something good for the environment?

Well time to sit back and do a bit of other work before getting on the plane. Next stop Copenhagen. Thanks much to Hilde for reporting back to those of us who are still “stateside” providing pointers about navigating our entrance into Denmark and negotiating our way with public transportation and registration for the UNFCCC event.

December 8, 2009

Arrived at about 7:40 a.m. local time to grey-blue overcast skies – just like I left. Amazingly smooth transit through customs and COP15 “guides” are everywhere to help. Took the shuttle to the Bella Center to get my credentials to attend the events. Only about a ½ process compared to the 3 hour lines yesterday.

So now I am here trying to figure out how everything works. The place is huge, there are all sorts of exhibits and meeting rooms, delegates from all over the world...

I was sitting in one of many work/gathering areas where there is a lot of networking going on, who should walk in the area but my hero Wangari Maathai – the Nobel Peace Prize winner, environmentalist, women’s rights advocate, etc., etc. !

How cool that she is one of the first people I see her. Last year in my conservation biology course, we discussed some of her amazing work and accomplishments. You can learn much about her by simply using Google.

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