Copenhagen Roundup: Protests, Walkouts, and the Money Wars

By Andrew Moseman | December 17, 2009 4:18 pm

copenhagen220Things are getting a tad testy in Denmark as the Copenhagen climate summit lurches toward its conclusion tomorrow. Contrary to rumors that he would skip the event because of the growing pessimism about reaching an agreement, President Barack Obama says today that he’s on his way for the conference’s decisive day.

Yesterday was protest day, as 4,000 people marched around the Bella center and police arrested 260. Activists tried a variety of methods to enter the conference centre, approaching in large groups from several directions and, at one point, sending several hundred people running with seven giant lilos [air mattresses] to bridge a moat next to the centre [The Guardian].

They were not successful, but that didn’t stop the conference from grinding to a halt. The Group of 77, the broad group of developing and emerging nations, railed against the wealthier nations’ proposals. China, by far the largest economic power in the group, has dragged its feet throughout the week by raising one technical objection after another to the basic negotiating text [The New York Times]. More than 100 countries staged a walkout Monday to draw attention.

The United States had been quiet and non-committal during most of conference, as developing countries and European leaders talked about starting a fund for wealthier countries to help the rest of the world lower greenhouse gas emissions. Then this week Sen. John Kerry acknowledged the responsibility, which was followed by a major American announcement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared in a crowded press briefing room at the summit and announced that the United States would contribute to a $100 billion international fund starting in 2020—as long as “all major nations” commit their emissions reductions to a binding agreement and submit those reductions to transparent verification. And by “all major nations,” she meant China [The Atlantic].

President Obama, fresh off receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, returns to Scandinavia tonight to try to reach an agreement during the final day in Copenhagen, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says. The president still believes that “the elements are there to get an agreement,” Mr. Gibbs said. It would be a political agreement for a future treaty, he said, rather than a binding agreement [The  New York Times]. That is, let’s all agree to agree later.

Related Content:
80beats: Day One: U.N. Climate Summit Begins in Copenhagen
80beats: Climatologist Steps Down as “ClimateGate” Furor Continues
Discoblog: Another “Climate Trick” Controversy: Copenhagen Prostitutes Giving Freebies
The Intersection: I’m Going to Copenhagen

Image: flickr / adopt a negotiator

  • Mike Smith

    This is the best possible outcome. Laws should not be based on unproven theory. Sure, man has an effect on the earth, but this “Climate Change” has been occuring ever since the dawn of time. It is cyclical, and it’s called Weather. Now for those who feel bad about the size of carbon footprint they’re leaving on this planet- stop flying your private jets, donate all your money to a favorite charity, start practising what you preach, and stop telling everyone else how to live!

  • wvdk

    Mike Smith: “man has an effect on the earth, but this “Climate Change” has been occuring ever since the dawn of time” Yes, but man’s effect on climate change is very new, and very rapid. “It is cyclical, and it’s called Weather” I can’t tell you what the weather will be two weeks from now – that’s weather. I can tell you with certainty that it will be warmer in July – that’s climate. “start practising what you preach” Amen. I’ve deliberately lived a low carbon lifestyle since the data had me convinced 20 years ago. The high carbon lifestyle is going to die, but many people are still in denial. Anger and acceptance are yet to come.

  • Bill J

    Hillary Clinton is really going to be P.O.ed when she finds out that Sen. Harry Reid swiped her 100 Million to help pay for his health care bill!!!

  • Erick Tolliver

    I usually enjoy your posts but sorry to say but this time you perhaps have been too hasty when writing because your writing it feels rushed.


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