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Patience please! Media busy chasing ‘hiccups’ while waiting for negotiation phase to wrap up

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK — By Day Four at COP15, you start to notice a routine.  Every morning, usually about 10 a.m. (when most of the press arrives), a rarely noticed country raises an objection to the process as a whole, and its position becomes the story of the day.

Thursday it was Tuvalu, a small island nation, arguing that any deal must include a more rigorous temperature cap.  Considering its current status (sinking into the Pacific), the nation’s demands are certainly justified, but that doesn’t mean the story matters.

The reason these internal positions repeatedly capture the news cycle isn’t because they will ultimately make or break the negotiations; it’s because the negotiations themselves are nearly impossible to cover.

When it comes to the physical work, there’s no central chamber that holds the delegates. Instead, they organize countless side-meetings, sending draft language around the building via runners and frequently exposing working documents to an all-too-eager media.

The result is that every hiccup in the process becomes breaking news.

And the lesson for the reader?  Be patient.  In just a few more days, this phase of the conference will be concluded, and we’ll either have the foundations of a deal or we won’t.

Until then, the daily stories that continue to spread around the globe are largely white noise … the feedback from a microphone that’s turned way too high before anybody’s taken the stage.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/11/2009 - 03:32 pm.

    Naomi Klein and other activists in Copenhagen have reported on “Democracy Now” program that the Danish Text is an agreement reached in secret by the U.S. and other rich countries to prevent as far as possible any disruption to corporate-business-as-usual. The U.S. is planning to reduce emissions by some ridiculous number like a 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels. Other countries are using 1990 as a base and planning to reduce those levels by much more than us.

    Danish police in riot gear raided one of the places where activists have been provided living/cooking space by Copenhagen at 3:00 in the morning. Just as in St. Paul at the Republican Convention, the cops were after “dangerous” literature and took some away.

    All this while the real criminals were in posh hotels sleeping peacefully, knowing that the oil, gas and coal companies were safe from whatever formal agreement might be reached.

    Meanwhile, in Washington, the P.Press quotes John Kerry as hoping to get enough support from business to get Republican votes for the legislation that WAS to have resulted in greatly reduced pollution.

    In Copenhagen, Ms.Klein calls it a “class war” of rich countries versus poor — those who will do the suffering. In America, it seems to be just another giveaway to corporate interests — except that this one may lead to the destruction of the Earth.

    Is anybody else Mad As Hell?

  2. Submitted by david granneman on 12/11/2009 - 04:22 pm.

    the global warming frauds in copenhaugen are discussing how many children you can have and what foods you should eat. the united states needs to quit giving money to the un and send all these scamers packing .

  3. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/12/2009 - 01:00 pm.

    It is true, there is a minority of scientists who who dispute some of the science and some of the data about global warming.

    Of course you are going to have an entire range of opinions in the scientific community. You have to rely on the overall assessment of scientists.

    The small fraction of scientists that are in the minority are very visible because media in general is fair and balanced. So it will always give both sides of the story. Even if the science has become unbalanced and more clear. So you will continue to hear both sides and as such, the public will continue be confused.

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