I'm Going to Copenhagen!

By Chris Mooney | October 26, 2009 2:34 pm

Copenhagen1Just got my tickets–fortunately, the MIT Knight Program has a travel stipend for fellows, and I am using my allotted research trip to attend the 2009 IPCC COP-15 meeting from December 12-18. (I will also be able to attend the 2010 AAAS conference in San Diego this February, thanks again to the Knight program.)

The IPCC meeting itself runs much longer than December 12-18, of course, but this seemed a sampling of the most relevant chunk of time. I’ll be blogging regularly from over there, as well as perhaps filing a story. Technically, we Knight Fellows are not supposed to write for the duration of our time here, but this may merit an exception….

There have been glum news reports lately, indicating that the Copenhagen meeting may be a let-down. I’m very worried about these reports, and the lack of progress we’ve seen both from Congress and the administration on climate change (see Karen Aline McKinnon’s recent take on this below).

However, bringing people together in Copenhagen, with a deadline, will certainly create a lot of energy and efforts at deal-making–even if the U.S. cannot bring anything as good as a piece of legislation to the table. So, I am not at all convinced–yet–that the Copenhagen meeting will be fruitless.

I do have another concern that I’ve mentioned in the past–one related the timing of this event. Sure, I’m going in December; but I think it’s a very stupid time of year to have such a conference.

Given what we know of global warming and public opinion, as well as about contrarian attack strategies when it comes to climate change, having the successor to Kyoto in the middle of winter in a northern country (see here for data on the weather and climate of Copenhagen) is just asking for trouble and mockery and confusion. Whether or not there is a cold spell or snowstorm, the images of delegates huddling and perhaps freezing will just give immense ammo to the other side, and will likely generate endless sound bites on Fox News.

Oh well…it can’t be helped now. I’m still glad I’m going, whatever the temperature. I’d love any tips about the city, as well as any comments from those who are going–or those with thoughts on how the IPCC meeting is likely to play out….

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Comments (6)

  1. I just returned home to San Diego from Copenhagen a day ago. Lovely place. Lovely people. Excellent English speakers. Expensive as NYC and LA combined.

  2. Forget the weather, how about the huge carbon footprint this conference will generate?

  3. Helpful Advice

    Probably want to figure out that it is the FCCC COP, and not the IPCC COP. You don’t want people thinking that you don’t know the difference between the FCCC and IPCC when opining on climate change. They might think you don’t know what you are talking about.

  4. December in Copenhagen is the beginning of winter rather than the middle. And don’t forget that those latitudes in Europa are warmer than the same latitudes on the U.S. east coast. You would be very, very unlucky is there was a coldspell or a snowstorm at these dates. But anyway, that could also happen in New York or Boston.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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