Saturday, December 26, 2009

Final Thoughts

Hi readers! Happy Holidays! I made it back safe to Minnesota and have been reflecting on the conference. Even though the outcome wasn't what many of us were hoping for, we have come a long way in the last few years. We now must look forward and try and influence what comes out of the Senate and stay informed about what will be happening this summer in preparation for Mexico City this coming November. Mexico City will probably be the last chance for a treaty before Kyoto commitment period ends in 2012. Through all the ups and downs of the conference, there were more positive aspects than negative. We got to figure out who wants and needs to step up and what nations are holding us all up. We also got to see the beauty and dedication of many in the movement, I think it is encouraging that there are thousands and thousands of people dedicated to making a difference. I hope that our government will come around and understand that there are many benefits to mitigating climate change.

Friday, December 18, 2009


As I start packing I have to reflect a bit on the last two weeks and the past few days.... Today, I had a meeting with a top Baucus aid and my shirt was inside out... But, the meeting was very good, it was super casual and it was a nice way to start the day. Then I went to the Copenhagen zoo which was awesome, there were many cool animals. It made me miss the zoos back in Minnesota and the gift store at the Copenhagen zoo was dismal.

But, back to the conference, today many heads of state are here; "119 heads of state and government are participating in the climate summit in Copenhagen, ranking the summit among the world's largest ever, and the largest outside New York. The 119 heads of state and government represent countries that account for 89% of the world's GDP, 82% of the world's population and 86% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Included in the 119 countries are the 20 largest economies and the top 15 greenhouse gas emitters in the world." ( I think that that figure alone makes this conference unprecedented and even if nothing comes out of this evening, we can be hopeful that many countries voices were heard that may not have been before. I think it was very beneficial for all the NGOs to network and learn about others working on the same issue all around the world. I hope that the US now understands their role in tackling climate change and that we can overcome all the climate skeptics and their false statements. I think it is important for every person to do everything they can to help live more sustainable lives and do everything they can to help encourage others to do the same. Even if the political will doesn't seem to be there we can still change the status quo, consider the women's suffrage movement, the end of African apartheid, and the civil rights movement. There are still many questions (some are laid out nicely in Melissa's blog here) going into the last hours of the conference.  I still have hope that we can i reach a global agreement next year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And it ran in the Missoulian...

You can read it here (it is the same article ran in the Billings Gazette)

I was just informed it also ran in the Helena paper too!!!! 

Yesterday.. Japan pledges 15 Billion in Aid

Yay Japan... Maybe the aliens from Planet B and the Japanese youth had an impact

Reposted from
Written by Marianne Born

Japan pledges a total of 15 billion USD for climate aid for developing countries up to 2012, Japan's delegation announced at the UN climate conference late Wednesday. Of that 15 billion dollars, 11 billion will be public money, according to a press release from the delegation.

The Japanese pledge is more generous than the EU's promise to fund 7.2 billion euro (9.39 billion dollars) for the same purposes over the next three years.

The Japanese funding is given on the condition that a successful political accord is achieved at the climate conference in Copenhagen.

"Upon the establishment of a new framework, Japan will with this assistance support a broad range of developing countries which are taking measures of mitigation, as well as those which are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change," the press release states.

Conference Blogging...

I realize that some of you maybe wondering why I haven't been blogging as much about the conference. It is because on Tuesday many of the NGOs got shut out of the negotiations due to security concerns, so now I am a tourist in Copenhagen and poking around the other climate related things going on downtown. To give you some idea about what is happening in the Bella read Bill McKibben's article about how the numbers are adding up so far. You can read it here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And we are in the News...

Front page Billings Gazette: here

Also on KRYK: here

Keegan (from Clear Sky Solutions) was also featured on KPAX news

Press Conference

Hey all-- We had a great press conference today.. Here is the statement I made on behalf of all three of us.  Thanks Steve Schwarze for helping me develop my public speaking skills this semester, I think they helped me at this press conference. Also, keep an eye out tomorrow for an article or two from this press conference!

There has been a lot of momentum over the last week to get some sort of deal made, but there is still uncertainty regarding the outcome of the conference and that is largely due to the United States position. We need a strong national climate bill in the United States to help propel the world, America and Montana forward. A national bill would help set Montana on the path of economic recovery, create good clean jobs and regain control of our energy future.

Something we have learned at this conference is that America is an important piece to an international treaty. Many countries are counting on us to make a strong statement here, but we cannot create strong leadership without a strong senate bill. The clean energy economy is launching all over the world, and Montana and the United States are falling behind. We have observed some beautiful actions calling for American leadership here in Copenhagen. It is imperative that the US Congress sets the bar high, so that people around the world can see our commitment to a clean energy economy and environment. America would become a leader again in people's eyes all around the world.

We are seeing the effects of climate change all over Montana, including Glacier National Park needing to be renamed because of the receding glaciers, drought is happening all over the state due to the reduced snowpack and stream flow, there have been longer and more intense fire seasons, and we are seeing some of Montana's most iconic animals such as the Pika and mountain goats disappear. These effects are happening NOW! Senator Jon Tester and Senator Max Baucus need to step up and become climate champions and strengthen the senate climate bill, if they don't they are slamming the door on Montana's future. As students we will be living with the consequences of the decisions being made now and we hope that our political law-makers will preserve the state for us and our children. Montana is an amazing state, and we need to do everything we can to protect it. With a strong American climate bill, we could create jobs, we could create reliable energy, and we could create a better Montana for future generations. The world is crying out here in Copenhagen for the United States to become a leader, and I believe we can.

We as Montanas must demand that Senator Max Baucus and Senator Jon Tester do more to help save our state because if we don't create a strong climate bill in the early spring we will see Montana change so much we may not recognize it in 2020. If we don't come up with a strong climate bill we will see the impacts on our food security, safety, health and wealth. But we can do better, as Americans we are innovative and if the willpower is there we can create an amazing shift. One thing I have learned from this conference is we cannot be immobilized by fear, we must create action and help Montana create a clean energy economy and create much needed jobs. Each person can make a difference that is another thing I have learned in Copenhagen, we can demand a change from our president, our senators, our representatives, our governor and ourselves. We can create a clean energy future, which would create jobs, new business, and save Montana for our future generations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Santa.. I would like a Danish bike please

I would just like to comment on how rad the bikes here in Denmark are. Over 50% of commuters ride their bike around Copenhagen and their bikes reflect it. The bikes are single speed and have covered chains so that your bike can sit out in the rain. All the bikes come standard with fenders and usually a basket. I mean why can't American bikes come standard with all this cool gear. Also the locks are built into the bikes so you don't have to deal with chaining it up to the bike rack you can just set it in there, and the back tire locks. I wish I could bring a Danish bike home with me because they are so awesome.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A nice little YES MEN stunt

The Yes Men, are two men that impersonate big corporations and leaders in order to publicly humiliate them, to learn more about their stunts go here. Their recent target, Canada (who is continually winning Fossil of the Day awards here in Copenhagen who is in first place on the leader board!) To learn more about Fossil of the Day go here. The Yes Men posted a fake website that looked like Canada's Department of the Environment, and stated that they were changing their position regarding climate change. They even made a fake New York Times page that ran the story, so that "this will force Canadian leaders to make the embarrassing announcement that, no, they haven’t put forward a new plan aimed at reaching a global climate-change treaty." (Grist) Read more about the stunt here. One point Yes Men, Canada zero.

Why I am in LOVE with Bill McKibben.. And other messages of hope

Saturday evening I attended a beautiful vigil ceremony at the Bella where children, Bill McKibben, Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson were all there and gave very eloquent uplifting speeches. I was three feet away from Desmond Tutu who gave a really funny and serious speech about how developed  nations must help the developing. He also stressed the importance of climate justice and the need for climate action now! Bill McKibben also echoed those words but also talked about all the other 350 climate vigils that were happening all around the world simultaneously. This was the perfect way to cap off my day because I was really struggling to keep my heart lifted. I went to the panel about mountain people's and I hated that I was an American, it made me feel dirty and disgusting because we are killing people all around the world with our lifestyles. Also, earlier in the day, Tuvalu said it is an "irony of the modern world that we are waiting for some senators in the US congress to conclude their discussions before we can proceed" and then broke out into tears after he was done speaking in front of all the other nations. Then on top of that the Democrat party will not send a delegation this week because all the senators are required for the health care bill (read about it here). It just breaks my heart that so many people are depending on us and yet we don't seem to care.

Yet an uplifting moment for me and one of the most exciting parts of the conference thus far was meeting Bill McKibben after the vigil. He is one of my heroes and I look up to him so much.  Everything he has done for this movement is amazing and he does it so eloquently and somehow he makes me stay in this. When I spoke to him and thanked him, I told him I was from Montana and he knew exactly which event I hosted. I was amazed that he had seen my picture, I was really humbled by him. When I read this article he wrote here, I was so moved because here the man I viewed as this anchor to the movement, was moved as well. I think there are many places where we can find beauty in the movement and remember we are making history. This Saturday was the largest climate demonstration ever, between 30000 and 100000 people marched from Copenhagen city center to the Bella Center. I have been listening to three songs constantly "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon, "I was here" by Lady Antebellum and "Beautiful World" by Dierks Bentley (you can search for the songs here) But, even though this vigil and meeting Bill McKibben helped lift my spirits a little, but later in the evening I still broke down because I'm part of the problem, I am still not doing enough.

I think that even though I still struggle with the inequalities climate change, how there is much more pressure on the US than many other countries to act and many in this country don't deem it an important issue. I remember that I am an agent of change and I can help change that and I can also be part of the solution. This is larger than US Congress and US climate skeptics. I just hope we can save our mother earth in time because she deserves to be saved, she is the one that gives us life and humanity is starting to understand that. We are starting to understand that we need to thank her and respect her otherwise we will die. I am not usually a cynical person when it comes to the climate change movement but this conference is changing my outlook, I hope that I can turn my anger into productivity and peacefulness. It is not up to Congress to determine the world's future, other generation's futures, my future, it is up to me and everyone of us. I think we can change the path we are on, I know we can do it. After Pearl Harbor, the US went into a crazy war time mobilization and our society changed over night, why can't we do  that now. Now is the time for the US to rise above and beyond, it is in our best interest locally, nationally and internationally. This is a life or death choice and I hope our Congress starts to get that, I hope our nation starts to get it. It is time for us to DEMAND a shift and we can shift, I have no doubt in my mind that humans can do something positive.

I encourage you all to do all that you can to spread the message tell friends, family, neighbors, and your political representatives. It is time to move beyond climate skeptics (can the whole world really be wrong? Can all these people of the island nations, of the mountains, in the rainforest, in the cities be wrong?) and move forward with solutions. We have the technology now, we have the innovation now, all we need is the will power.

Climate negotiations 'suspended'

BREAKING NEWS... Read all about it here (this is BBC) and here (this is NPR) A quick synopsis African delegations walked out and withdrew from co-operation because they did not like how the Danish government was pushing aside emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol. I just overheard the COP15 president Connie Hedegaard
 say that they have cleared up the situation and everything is back on track... I have no idea what that means but hopefully Africa has come back. So now I understand why I was kicked out.

Waiting for hours....

So I'm starting to get really annoyed.. Today I had to wait out in the cold for an hour and half before I could get near the Bella to get into security.. this was at 830 am this morning. I guess I should be considered one of the lucky ones because now they are not letting anyone else into the Bella and hundreds are waiting at a chance to get in on the last day before the two badge system goes into place. Another annoying thing is I wanted to catch a plenary before I got shut out for the week, and they pushed the plenary back and I waited over 2 hours for it to start. Then right before it was going to start all the NGOs got kicked out. I am especially annoyed because I decided to go to the plenary instead of a few other side events that I wanted to attend. So I'm somewhat glad I am getting kicked out because if this is how the IPCCC decides to run things the whole week, I would just get very frustrated. Now I have no idea what I am going to do, there may or may not be a side event I want to attend, so off to look at the daily programme. But at the same time I understand about all the confusion, I just wish there was more opportunities for transparency in this whole process, and I'm glad that so many people are taking an interest in what happens.

I also apologize for my blogs being all over the place on dates and whats happening when...

Saturday... Beautiful and Heartbreaking

I attended an amazing session on Saturday morning it was called Mountains of the World: Addressing Climate Change. The session was broken up into three sections, the science, politics and the faces. I would like to focus on the faces. Here is a brief description each panelist shared with the people who attended the session. 

Nima Lama is from Nepal, she stated how climate change is a new concept for high altitude Nepalese. The locals are the ones being affected and it is our duty to help make them aware of climate change because many of them believe they are being punished for something they did in the past life. The voices of the mountain people need to be heard especially since the white mountains are turning into the black mountains.

Farimi Samer is from Morocco and is an agriculturalist from the high plateau and he stressed that agriculture is being stressed all around the world especially in the mountain regions. We here at the conference understand what is happening but the locals on the mountains do not understand that it is climate change.  He was very grateful that he could testify, and give the people of the mountains a voice. He used two examples of what is happening on his plateau, the first is they are being forced to move their crops because they are no longer lucrative where they use to be. The second example he used was the Argan tree and how they are yielding 5x less nowadays on the same land. The tree is very important to these people's way of life and without them they may be forced to leave. For centuries Farimi said they have been able to adapt to changes in their environment but now it is happening to quickly and they cannot adapt.

Elmira Kuchumkilova who is from Kazakhstan is a cultural anthropologist trying to save the indigenous way of living in the high altitude mountains. When she interviewed her family all of the older members could list and explain many of the changes to the high latitude landscape. When she brought her grandmother back to the plains where she grew up after 25 years, her heart became broken because of the pasture space was completely different. The glaciers are water towers for millions in the lower latitudes and hundreds still lead nomadic and semi nomadic lives and depend on the glaciers. While the glaciers are melting there is less water and grass for the people and livestock that live up there.

Giam Nicolay left his small village in the Alps and came back 25 years later, the landscape had changed dramatically. Climate change is happening in the Alps yet many people do not understand what is going on but they can see, feel and experience the effects. The landscape is changing. Many people are leaving especially the farmers but they are needed. The people are also concerned about the landslides, which have wiped out many small alpine villages. Climate change is an issue of justice and the cultural dimension is very hard to show.

Angelica Canchumani is a healer in her village in Peru and spoke no english so she was translated, which made it even more compelling. "We need to harmonize with mother earth, she is dying , she gives us life. Main father is sacred mountain and takes care of us and gives us life but, he is drying up and we are running out of water. We cannot grow anymore food to sell, we must use chemicals but we will not because that is poisoning mother earth. People don't believe mother earth is alive anymore but she is sick. Mother earth is alive, you plant a seed and get food from her. Without the water you cannot live." Angelica wants to continue the traditions and strengthen them in her village. Someone asked the question "Angelica what strategies do you have to adapt to climate change in your village?" Angelica's response was the rituals to the sacred mountains and mother earth, she needs love too. Rituals toward mother water. Everything is alive and we must show respect for them.

The overall message of the mountain people was, we don't know, we don't understand but we can see it and we suffer. I think this is a heart breaking message because while we in the US haggle over numbers and deadlines people all around the world are suffering and many don't understand or have the tools to help save themselves and their loved ones.


I know I am still a couple days behind on my posts, I'm trying my best to get those written. As of right now it seems I will be shut out of the Bella Center after today. Which is unfortunate but at the same time it allows me to be a tourist and enjoy all the other climate related activities in the city.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday...; Youth Voices

This side event consisted of four youth activists who shared their ideas about how to save the planet and an expert panel commented on each idea. The room was super packed with all the seats filled and people sitting on the floor and standing in the doorway because the room was so full. (FYI, the name spellings maybe way off, they presented them really quick) The expert panel consisted of Tim Flannery, Dan Kammen, Jessy Tolken and Jeremy Leegit

Shane- International Director of Chinese Youth
The Chinese youth need to be motivated, there is 400 million of us. They have a problem with motivation and education because there is a language barrier, so youth organizers have trouble getting tools to help them create change. He believes we need to start a bilingual media outlet to connect all of the youth organizers to help interconnect the movement even more. "We need ideas to help create new ideas."

Panel Response:
Jessy Tolken said that the Energy Action Coalition (a huge youth activist platform here in the US) just got the capabilities to go international and will be expanding soon. This will help create more ideas and bilingual, trilingual organizer tools.

Amanda McKenzie - AYCC
Create a dynamic school partnership between schools in developing nations to those in developed nations. This would allow each community to learn about each other as well as help the developing community money wise.

Panel Response:
Tim Flannery said that young people are focusing on societal change, not only infrastructure change and the biggest gift is to let someone see the world through your eyes and you through them.
Jessy Tolken: There is a fundamental shift in addressing the issues and then new generation will better understand where others are coming from, we are trying to better understand where others are coming from.

Christopher - World Student Community for Sustainable Development
 His solution was helping promote small scale agriculture.

Panel Response:
Tim Flannery, agriculture is very imporant and if we address agriculture properly we can solve many problems simultaneously. 
Dan Kammen, Young people and nature are thinking about the ticking clock yet in the plenary halls we are are debating the timetables and yet nature doesn't care
Jeremy Leegit; We need governments to lead but individuals must also influence their own sphere's of influence.

Precar - India Climate Network
Since people are concerned over their daily bread over long term consequences and implement technologies at a grassroots level.

Panel Reponse:
Dan Kammen, The range of solutions are not waiting for the political will and we need to find areas that clean energy will be profitable but also be beneficial to the individuals using it.

Friday... Wangari Maathai

*First a little bit from Thursday, other than being an AVAAZ alien I attended a presentation about the IGBP climate change index which Steve Running was the brain child of. This index the press release from UM can be read here. The index is like the Dow Jones but for climate, it takes into account four climate factors; CO2 concentration, sea level rise, global temperature and sea ice. This is a new way of communicating an indication of how the planet is doing overall and have it so the average person can understand. I really like this idea, whenever the average person can understand the climate data that means there may be one more climate champion. The climate change index was introduced at this conference and I hope that it will continue being developed in the future.

So Thursday, I got to see a panel about the Greenbelt movement with Wangari Maathai, who is so eloquent, humble, beautiful, and amazing. The room was packed, all the seats were filled and people were sitting on the ground and standing up in the back. She has helped impoverished women in Africa plant trees, and give them the skills to plant them. This seems like a simple act, but it is one that helps lift them and their communities out of poverty, gives them a livelihood and empowers them, as well as combating deforestation and climate change in Africa. "We are not only planting seeds but we are planting seeds for peace, planting seeds for democracy." On this panel there were other amazing people, Fredrick NJau with the Greenbelt Movement, Mia McDonald with and Samwel Naikada from Kenya who is a Maasi forest conservation project coordinator.

The largest issues stressed by all was the need of funds, because people are getting the skills but there is no money. When Fredrick talked about getting carbon sequestration projects running, many communities cannot accomplish this to help save their forests. To start a project you need upfront money, which no community has to hire consultants and verifiers. Only companies have the $20,000 to pay these consultants, it's not as easy as just planting a tree. Right now it will be the companies who can do these projects and this money will not trickle down to the community.

The livestock sector was also talked about and the problems the industrialized system brings such as food security, conflicts, forest loss, soil erosion, "climate space"and amount of available resources for development. It is speculated there will be about 120 BILLION farmed animals by 2050. During the Q&A Wangari stressed to help solve this problem we need to educate people who are coming into wealth, because as soon as you get wealthy you want to eat meat, even though they probably didn't when they were poorer. So it is helping educate them so that they don't want to eat a bunch of  meat when they get lifted out of poverty.

I really liked Samwel Naikada who is from the Dupoto community and his community has been proactive in their future. The Maasi have realized that they have new needs now so they need to change and adapt to new challenges. The people of the Dupoto community are pastoralist and rely on their livestock. Their objective was to save the forest through active community involvement and operate as a self-help group. They also promoted other activities other than livestock raising such as bee-keeping, nature walks, camping in the forest, bead work for the women, dances, community scouts which all promote eco tourism. Samwel said that the Maasi elders have been talking about the world turning upside down since they have been seeing drought and its effects, water levels drop and their effects,  change in wild animal behavior which has been causing more animal-human conflict and a lowered quality of livestock feed.

The themes that resonated through this panel was A) Africans want to save their environment because they are so dependent on it but do not have the monetary means to B) Many of these tribes do not understand that climate change is why this is all happening (this theme is carried on throughout the conference)

To learn more about the Greenbelt Movement  here

Saturday, December 12, 2009

OH MY GOD I JUST GOT TO TALK TO BILL MCKIBBEN!!.. I have ALOT of blogging to catch up on but that will have to wait for a little while longer..

My Average Day

My average day:

7am: Get up
8am: Leave the house and walk a couple of blocks to pick up a pastry at the bakery on the way to the bus. Take the bus 4A to the Bella Center which is about a 15 minute bus ride.
8:30 am: Go through security, which is similar to airport security and then I get my badge scanned.
8:45 am: Get my coat checked
9:00 am: Pick up the Daily Program which states what side events (which are panels, presentations, demonstrations, etc) going on and what will be happening in the main plenary sessions (where countries are debating). I also pick up ECO which is an NGO publication about yesterday's events and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin which is a reporting newsletter stating what happened in negotiations the day before. Both these documents are very helpful and help me get a handle on what happened yesterday.
9:00 - 5:00: Attend plenary sessions, side events, actions and the NGO area. There are many options of things I can do every day.
5:00- 5:45pm: Head home; get my coat, check out of the Bella Centre and catch the 4A bus back.
5:45- 1:00 am: Make dinner, blog, skype, read the news and other items I missed during the day.  This is my down time.

That's been an average day this whole week. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

AVAAZ Climate Alien

So this is what I did for 75% of the day...

I was pushing for strong Japanese climate finance leaders. Japan holds the key to stepping up the finance offer for adaptation and mitigation for developing nations possibly up to $200 billion. This would provide much needed assistance to developing nations as they deal with the challenges in store for them due to climate change. The Aliens and Japanese youth finally got a meeting with the Japanese delegation to unveil their youth declaration (that included financing options) It was interesting being part of this action because it gained a lot of media for the cause and hopefully will help push Japan forward into becoming a climate leader.

So it gets even more intense...

Yesterday, I saw the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson speak about the new endangerment finding regarding GHG. This landmark decision now allows the EPA to regulate GHG pollution, "the endangerment finding is the key to the Clean Air Act, a key that fits the lock." In her speech she referenced the many initiatives that the federal government is starting to transition us toward a clean energy future. She stressed many times that we need legislation to make clean energy the profitable energy. I realluy enjoyed listening to Lisa Jackson speak, I have seen her speak at Powershift in DC a few months ago, and I am always really impressed by her. I also went to a business panel about private finance and climate change. The panel was pretty informative and very dry.

The craziness started to happen yesterday after the "Danish Text" which actually did not have a large impact on the conference but activism did. There was a huge demonstration outside the main plenary hall in support of Tuvalu, who will be submerged if climate change is not mitigated. Watch the protest. Also, the US youth crashed a climate denier live webcast, watch it here But, a large concern I have is being shut out of the plenary sessions, there is talk that NGOs (me) will not be allowed in the plenary halls or even into some of the bella centere next week due to demonstrations. There are also heightened concerns over police brutality and extreme activists this next week, police raided some activists' quarters two nights ago and confiscated many of their demonstration materials, full article here. This makes me concerned as an activist both for my rights in the Bella Centere as well as during the peaceful protests scheduled for this weekend and next week. It almost discourages me because police will be out in full force and are already concerned about the peaceful protests, read more here

On a more positive note, I Skyped into Nicky Phear's climate change class, which was really fun. Thank you all for allowing me to speak about COP15 and my experience here in Copenhagen. I will be speaking in Vicki Watson's class today at 12:40 pm (MT time) in 204 Rankin Hall. Also if you missed my radio interview yesterday you can listen to it here
Hopefully, today will be better, it is Youth and Future Generations Day here at the Bella and all of the youth received bright orange "How Old Will You Be in 2050?" shirts to be worn and some small actions are scheduled for inside and outside the Bella.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Greenpeace has many world leaders saying this phrase and aged to how they will look in 2020 all around the Copenhagen airport and the city


I just got out of a meeting with the EPA director Lisa Jackson (who I adore!) and it was pure madness getting into and out of the room. I feel like the vibe here is more urgent than ever and everyone is extra antsy due to the "Danish text" leak. Read about it here. Also there are more "suits" (as in people who seem important i.e. party members and delegates) here today, it is just a sea of black. I have a full day ahead still full of meetings, Skype interviews and radio interviews. I will update and inform all my readers as soon as I can. Also don't forget to listen to MT NPR tonight, I will be interviewed for the Montana Evening Addition, which airs tonight at 530 (Montana time) If you can't listen tonight it is available to listen on demand or download, after midnight on the day of the broadcast, I will post the link when it is available. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


You can see all the pictures from Denmark thus far here

WWF: A polar bear made out of ice, slowly melting during the conference.

So today = relaxing?

Every morning the participants of COP15 are greeted in one of the main hallways by a different activist group. Yesterday the WWF greeted us with this:

Today we had indigenous people from around the world remind us about their role in these negotiations and remind the delegates that they have rights too and should not be ignored during these negotiations.

The last six hours haven't been to bad so far, I got to the Bella Centere around 8:30 am went to a presentation about what America is doing to combat climate change. It was both informative and propaganda driven, the case studies they used were interesting. It nicely showcased what America has been doing the last few years to combat climate change and what the Obama administration has done to start sustainability initiatives around the United States.  Then I got interviewed by a woman who is with the Centre for Sustainability Leadership in Australia ( to learn more about the organization and they are putting together an online course that helps give students tools to help create change, I'm not sure when it will be available. So I was used as a case study for this course and I talked about UMCAN and the UM 350 event. It was really scary let me tell you, but I think I represented UMCAN and UM well.

Quick Observation:
Many of the food staff have shirts made from 100% recycled plastic coke bottles also Coke is a HUGE sponsor of the Hopenhagen campaign being run here in Copenhagen. I really am not sure how I feel about Coke's role but I know they are giving much needed funding to these initiatives and am OK with their role because hopefully they will start changing their business practices even more. Plus, this is reaching an even larger audience than could have been reached otherwise, these Hopenhagen ads cover Copenhagen and there is a large exhibit here at the conference promoting this idea.

Here's one of the ads...

A real quick thought (or two) before I get interviewed for an Australia Youth Training video....

A) Big-ups to the Bella Center for hosting this conference.... they are doing an EXCELLENT job as well as the Denmark Police force.. they are pulling 16 hour shifts for the full duration of the conference.
B) I was listening to "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon and hope that the delegates can give the planet a chance and make a R.A.D. treaty (listen to the song here)
C) Listen to Montana Public Radio at 89.1 tomorrow evening (12/8/09) around 530pm during the Montana Evening Edition I will be calling in and doing an interview.
D) Why is it so impossible to actually eat a full meal here and not have to go running off to meetings, sessions, interviews, etc.... It is so crazy (and fun!) here at the COP15

Climate Scoreboard

The Climate Scoreboard uses the C-ROADS simulation to calculate the long-term climate impacts of proposals under consideration in the negotiations to produce a global climate treaty. Embedded Scoreboards automatically update as the deal improves. To learn more

More from yesterday... the side events...

Yesterday, I went to three interesting side events. The side events are events that may be lectures, presentations, panels, etc put on by countries, NGOs, UNFCCC and IPCC. There are many every day, and it is sometimes hard to choose which to go to.

The first one I went to was "Extreme Ice Survey" which reviewed glacial movement. It was incredibly interesting, the presenter ran through many different visuals (both pictures and videos) showing glacial retreat all over the world. It was really interesting to see that almost all of the glaciers all over the world have been quickly retreating.

The next panel I went to was incredibly interesting, "Plan B for Climate Stabilization" presented by Janet Larsen, Director of Research at the Earth Policy Institute. The presentation started by discussing concerns about food supply due to climate change, and how it is the #1 weak link regarding climate change because we will see dire effects such as food shortages, lowered crop yields and I learned that 1 degree Celsius temperature rise above the crop optimum means that the crop yields shrink by 10% !!!! Also, climate change is related to (as many of you know) rising sea levels, depleting glaciers, floods, droughts, among other dire consequences. Janet told us about a WWF climate witness, a sherpa who has reached the top of Everest 19 times, he has seen the effects of climate change, his home village was recently flooded due to melting glaciers and his climbing colleague's house was swept away in the flood. Climate negotiators cannot continue as if we have 40 years to debate the science and whether or not the effects will happen, because climate change is happening now. Plan A - business as usual cannot go on. So Janet presented Plan B, which involves four items.
1. Stabilize population
2. Eradicate poverty
3. Restore earth's depleated ecosystems
4. Stabilize the climate
For this talk Janet focused on the fourth point, she stressed that we have the technology to reach 80% reduction in GHG by 2020. By embracing energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy, carbon tax, and reforestation.

Listen to Lester Brown speak on this topic here, he is the founder of the Earth Policy Institute and is worth the listen!! To learn about the Earth Policy Institute go to it has many different resources about climate change!

The final side event I went to was "What is COP15 all about?" which was a panel consisting of Richard Sandlow assistant secretary of energy for policy and international affairs, David Bloome who is an expert in economics and business, Jessy Tolken one of the top US youth activist, and Tom Brookes. Tom Brookes discussed what we need out of a COP15 treaty which is emissions targets, money for sustainable initiatives and enforcement. David Sandlow discussed how unprecedented the Obama administration has been in tackling cimate change and how amazing this conference is since we now have emissions targets from every major GHG emitter. David Bloome stressed the need for a price on carbon and that climate change and sustainable development are linked, business leaders are pushing for a low carbon economy. Jessy Tolken (who I love!) discussed the movement of young people to be better than before and how we understand that "survival is not negotiable". She believes that if the youth at this conference switched places with the delegates for a day we could come up with a agreement that reflects the urgency, ends the wars being fought over oil, and addresses the need for jobs, a stronger economy and a cleaner planet.

I think that everyone is hopefully that something meaningful will come out of this conference. I feel the same way, I think that something will have to come out of this conference. Right now I hope that we will see a Copenhagen agreement because the world needs it, and I believe that delegates will be able to put their differences and egos aside for the betterment of the world. Many of these delegates get it, but the US needs to get it. WE need to get it, WE need to demand it. Lisa Jackson the director of the EPA just released an amazing announcement... "Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and the Environment" go to to see the press release and more about this amazing statement.

Random thoughts/adventures from yesterday:
  • This conference is like Powershift (DC) on steroids, oh yeah and there are international negotiations going on. 
  • It's crazy the amount of very important people at this conference
  • /I realize how small this world is, the previous ASUM Sustainability Coordinator knows a person I knew back in high school and reconnected us because we are both here in Copenhagen. What are the odds?
More posts later about today... 12.08.2009

Monday, December 7, 2009