Posted by: carbonara | December 14, 2009

“On the seventh day til COP-mas, the Mr Men sent to me…

TWELVE SUCKERS SHIV’RING,
ELEVEN CAMERAS ROLLING,
TEN ISLANDS SINKING,
NINE RUMOURS SPREADING,
EIGHT MINISTERS MILLING,

SEVEN SONGS A-SINGING”

Outside of the negotiation hall, Saturday became all about singing and dancing. A few dozen singing in the Bella Center corridors, many thousands singing in the streets as marchers demonstrated throughout the city, concerts and spontaneity in the lovely squares of central Copenhagen and finally much singing and dancing in the blurry darkness of the NGO party – but more of that later.

The COP and CMP plenaries resumed on Saturday with the expected dose of histrionics. Mr Fussy maintained the strong environmental line and request for a secondary protocol, and he received further extensive media attention by confirming that his actions were not being done to seek media attention. Parties remain divided over the possible legal form of any Copenhagen agreement, so more fireworks are to be expected n the second week. Saturday also saw the publishing of the draft schedule for high level interventions by heads of state later in the week. Those Presidents and Prime Ministers who offered their services but have been allocated the 00:00-03:00 slot must be kicking themselves, especially because this timing assumes that all the previous speakers stick to the time limit (unheard of). Any observer organisation wishing to speak – when everyone else has finished – had better be prepared for an all-night vigil and very sleepy listeners.  Such is the medieval formality of UN discussions.

Disappointingly, the exploits of tens of thousands protestors in the street was all but invisible to the Mr Men inside the Bella Center. A few small TVs showed repeats of a small knot of protestors being violently detained by police, and these screens were watched by a small but interested band of delegates with a smaller yet more interested gaggle of  film crews taping the negotiations watching a biased report o f what was mostly a peaceful and very large demonstration. There was, needless to say, also a few photographers snapping the film crews who were watching the delegates watching the protest. Such is the hunger for news, any kind of news, to come out of the middle phase of this summit.

The cameras would have done better to attend the traditional and much-anticipated NGO party in the evening. Occurring at each COP and at intercessional meetings too, this institutional knees-up is a chance for delegates to release negotiation frustrations in the presence of beer, music and a few thousand very interested followers.  After last year’s successful event, expectations were high for Copenhagen to pull-out a party to match the importance of the COP itself. The event lived up to its billing and if sour negotiation issues were not solved on the expansive dance floor then the spread of goodwill must go some way towards lightening the atmosphere. Some Annex I nations were clearly throwing themselves into it, with certain US, UK and French negotiators still shaking their moves on the dance floor well into the wee hours. One delegate even came a-cropper trying to take a short-cut down a welcoming banister, narrowly avoiding the need to call Danish medical services into night-time operation.

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