I arrived in Copenhagen this morning after an all night flight with a connection in Frankfurt. We went straight from the airport to the Bella Center [sic] to register for the conference, which involved standing in the cold for what felt like hours and then going through airport-style security. (Success, I now have my photo ID delegate badge.) From there to the hotel and a resturant for food, and that’s all I’ve done today.
At first, Copenhagen struck me not as a city but as a United Nations theme park. From the moment you get off the plane everything is related to this 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. All the ad spaces have been purchased (many featuring aged renderings of our leaders in 2020 looking regretful that they didn’t reach a deal) and there is a gauntlet of people wishing to welcome you with conference-related flyers, not unlike walking down the strip in Los Vegas (though decidedly more family-friendly). The warm welcome/assault continues all the way from the airport, via transit, to the Bella Center.
However, once we got away from the Bella Center and into the city core (where our hotel is) I saw reassuring glimpses of Copenhagen carrying on as usual, biking around in sub-zero temperatures and generally being charming.
It took me awhile to calculate how many hours I’ve now been without sleep. The answer is 30. I blame the delayed calculation partly on the time change, and partly on the answer to the equation itself.
I have one more event to make an appearance at tonight, then I’ll go to sleep and wake up tomorrow perfectly synced with Central European Time, aka GMT+1.
Meanwhile, as I sit here in my hotel room trying to regroup, the above photo is what’s happening outside. It’s the largest climate demonstration ever, and through my window all I hear is every church bell in the city ringing like crazy.