Copenhagen Diary #1

Just arrived after 32 hours travel via Hong Kong. Flying across Asia gives you  different perspective on the earth. From the East Asia coast to England not a tinge of green. The desert in West and north China went on for ever – mountains and hills and plains, but all sand coloured. I wonder how much bigger it will grow as climate changes? Then cloud, then snow, which  covered all of Russia we could see.

Listened to some Brahms and Bach and reflected again how the heights of our civilisation were achieved without fossil fuels but so much 0f what makes life worth living is  likely to be lost because we now can’t or won’t live without them.

The Danes have pulled out all the stops to host this conference and it is obvious from the moment you land. Free public transport of all kinds, free hire bikes and alternative fuel  cars.  Big adverts everywhere for climate-friendly  products,including some clever ones of world leaders – digitally altered to look much older – saying “Sorry. We could have stopped climate change, and we didn’t.”

I’m told there are two new drafts out today which might cause walk outs tomorrow, and there is a huge march  planned through Copenhagen to pressure the negotiators to get on with it.

Sleep now. More tomorrow.

34 thoughts on “Copenhagen Diary #1

  1. Don’t go out in the streets Jeanette – there are baton-happy police out there, looking severe.

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  5. according to the daily mail, 41,000 tons of CO2 will be released by delegates travelling to Copenhagen.

    according to some random web site, the iraq war released 141 million tons of CO2 from 2003 – 2008 which is 141,000,000 / 5 / 365 = 77,260 tons per day. In 2007, Drax coal fired power station released 22,160,000 tons of CO2, or 60,000 tons per day.

    So the Copenhagen summit’s emissions are equivalent to half a day of an illegal war that has been going since 2003, or 2/3 of a day of the running of a large coal-fired power station.

    Now. I’m sure you could find more reliable sources of such numbers, but I expect that the order of magnitude of your results will be similar – a tiny fraction of any number of far less noble activities

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  8. The hackeney argument that a Green should walk to a meeting rather than take a car, no matter what the distance, is one that suits BP and his love of cliche very well.
    I recall the time, not so long ago, BP, when you declared that you were abandoning Frogblog, because you’d confirmed that the Greens could not be changed, yet here you are rabbiting-on again, about hypocrisy, and in your usual insulting way, calling greenies w*nkers. You pillock.

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  12. Isn’t there a case now for the Greens to push for teleconferencing for these meetings. It’s lovely to be able to travel overseas, I’d really like to visit Copenhagen, and see how a city can manage rather better with more cyclist and less cars, rather than what the transport dinosaurs that inhabit Wellington CC are planning for. But for a conference on global warming, this amount of greenhouse gas emissions does smack of carelessness or unconcern. (NB, The word to use is not “hypocrisy”. This is a misapplied word when used for people who don’t always practice what they preach; hypocrisy implies a true lie or deceit, in other words an outward facade contrary to inner feelings or beliefs. The delegates are not being hypocritical, but collectively are acting with insufficient responsibility. The other expression for this could be “normal human failing” )

    Thanks for the figures of likely CO2 emissions rimu. It does put them in perspective. However if there is real concern about global warming, then surely this international conference would be a good start? The amount of CO2 saved by one conference might not in world terms amount to a heck of a lot, but there are thousands of such conferences around the world every month. It would serve as a good example as to how such conferences could be done over high speed internet teleconferencing – the effort should have been made. There could have been local meetings, say one for Australasia, one for Europe, one each for N and S America, India, China, far East etc. Only the leaders themselves and their advisers might need to meet personally. Is it likely three quarters of the CO2 emissions could have been saved?

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  14. This is such classic stuff from some of you guys! You love pointing out apparent inconsistencies in your victim’s behaviour. You appear to assume that if anyone holds a particular stand on something then they should be absolutely pure in their behaviour. Are you??
    It reminds me of experiences I had when I was a young Christian trying to live a decent life which was at some variance with my work-mates, and I was constantly criticised by them for perceived breaches of moral behaviour (eg, swearing), which the critic never bothered about himself. The same kind of criticisms are aimed at the poor(usually by the rich), when they have failed to be prudent with their money. Somehow they are required to have higher moral standards.
    It seems to me that in the strength and vitriol of your reactions to Jeanette you are saying much more about yourselves than about her.

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  16. wat, a cynic, eh?

    What you say can’t be entirely true, for instance John Key, with his climate scepticism and wish to do only the minimum he think he can away with, and indeed the fact that originally he wasn’t going to go to the conference, with a good number of New Zealanders backing him in his lack of commitment should counter your cynicism a bit. You also state “these conferences”, which? The AIDS ones or the transport ones or the architecture ones, do you include these? My thoughts about minimising international travel by making better use of teleconferencing would apply to lots of different meetings;, not all represent politicians climbing greasy poles, many, indeed most, represent professional people trying to better their work and societies. (They also better airline profits, hotels bookings and taxi services, of course.)

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  17. Wat wrote: “I think you miss the point of these conferences. Their principle aim is to provide photo opportunities for politicians in order to make them appear statesmanlike,”

    That’s what a lot of the politicians go to them for. However, the conferences still provide an opportunity to convince the politicians to actually do something about the problem.

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  18. Yeah Kahikatea, for really major events, I think that peer pressure and emulation count for a great deal. Face to face, you can (often) tell if someone is sincere or not. Pardon the anachronism, but I don’t think you can do Yalta by videoconference.

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  20. “You appear to assume that if anyone holds a particular stand on something then they should be absolutely pure in their behaviour.”

    This is a side effect of neo-liberalism – condemning people who call for social change on the basis of the supposed flaws in their own lives. It’s a weak argument resorted to those who can’t see that we live collectively, and that change needs to be a “whole of society” process rather than individual.

    Unfortunately it’s rather common nowadays.

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  21. Perhaps some people need to realise that our offer of a 10-20% cut in emissions is over 30-40% when adjusted to a per head of population basis (20% population increase so far and possibly 25-30% by 2020).

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  22. Our actual emissions level is regarded as moderate, we are rated poor on trends (and ours is affected by population growth and the growth in the dairy herd to supply offshore consumers) and on policy.

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  23. Oh, if you want to be pedantic we are rated “very” poor on BOTH trends AND on policy.

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  24. If our population increase is a problem in meeting Kyoto commitments, and it is for many other reasons too, perhaps the Greens should suggest lower and more sustainable rates of immigration, and have a population policy? In the last 20 years our population growth has continually exceeded the predictions of demographers, it was only nine years ago that the maximum ultimate predicted population would be about 4.8 million before falling, it is already 4,344,486, and is now predicted to soar to 5.7 million by 2061 on the median projection, but up to 6.7 million on the most pessimistic projection. We have one of the fastest growing populations in the OECD and it is the direct cause of much of our environmental problems and economic problems and high rates of overseas indebtedness.

    Actually the Greens do have a population “policy”, but it is very vague and lacking in detail, and in particular, effectiveness, I’ve just read it. However interestingly it does quote the 5.7 million figure as the maximum population that New Zealand can sustain – looks like we’ll eventually find out if this is true or not, because we seem to be determined to test it.

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