The many roads to Copenhagen

December 7, 2009 | 00:00

The many roads to Copenhagen

Today, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) has started in Copenhagen. The amount of information that will be available to you via newspapers, radio and tv stations, and the internet is sure to be overwhelming.

One of the main sources is of course the site of the UNFCCC, which organizes the conference. But where to go from there? The climate change experts probably know where to go and which sources to consult for tailor-made information. But for the laymen it seems that every organization or institute that is somehow involved in climate change has set up a portal to bring the latest news and follow closely what is discussed in the Copenhagen Congress Center. ‘The Road to Copenhagen’ appears to be a highly popular title for sites and pages to attract visitors. Early risers even claimed URLs with that title in it, such as The Road to Copenhagen Initiative, an initiative of the Club of Madrid (a forum of former Presidents and Prime Ministers), GLOBE (a community of activist parliamentarians), and RESPECT TABLE (supports businesses in implementing systematic sustainable work), and sponsored by many environmental organizations and industries. The site ‘allows YOU to contribute to the UN negotiation process for a post-2012 climate change agreement’. Note the big names that chair the initiative.

A similar URL concerns the so-called R2C site with information about a 2-week road trip that people can make in relay from Den Bosch in the Netherlands, via Germany to Copenhagen by electric scooter. Only young men and women between 18 and 25 years are invited to participate. At the final destination the participants will present a manifesto at a peak moment to the world leaders. The manifesto will hold climate solutions as a result of inspirations from the experiences of the scooter drivers along the road from Den Bosch to Copenhagen.

The site ‘Act on Copenhagen’ reflects the ambition of the UK Government for a global deal on climate change. It includes a calculator by means of which individuals can find out how much CO2 they create and based on that try to reduce their carbon footprints. Respected scientific journals like Nature bring out special issues on the subject covering every aspect of the science and politics of climate change in articles. As the Swedish government has the chair of the Presidency of the European Union their site will most certainly have the latest news on the Road to Copenhagen and the COP15 event. The governmental EU organizations too will inform you about it from their point of view: for example the European Commission through the site of the Climate Action program.

It is clear that to be informed in the most efficient, direct and easy way one has to make the right choice from all these and other sources available in order not to be swamped with information. A good choice would be to subscribe to the free multi-language news service EurActiv and choose the section Climate Change and within that section the Dossier ‘The Road to Copenhagen’. And of course Denmark, being the host for COP15, maintains a site as well.

Of course now that Copenhagen has started, you would like to know: who is leading the debate? On what topics? In what media? And how is this changing? This interesting angle is pursued by The Climate Conversation, a website by the consultancy Hill and Knowlton, which shows which news outlets, bloggers, reporters and twitterati lead the climate debate – and who is talking about whom and what.

And as we are an energy website, we would be amiss not to point out the COP15-coverage of the International Energy Agency, which has links to all relevant climate documents of this leading energy institute.

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