Tales from Copenhagen - Part 2
Chilly, snowy day in Copenhagen today. The Bella Centre was packed with people waiting to get in again today, although the queues were better organized and the protester/activist types were actually fenced away from those lined up.
Today, I thought I'd describe a litte bit about what goes on in the Bella Centre.
The Centre itself is a massive convention centre. It is divided into a few different parts. As you walk in there is a security screening area - picture airport security (although considerably more efficient) times 20 or so. Once through security and registation (which, by the way took us about seven hours) you enter into the first hall, which houses the most massive coat check I have ever seen and a climate change trade show. There were probably about 50 or 60 exhibitors from all over the world promoting various businesses and NGOs. From the trade show it's a short walk past the conference room booking table (which was lined up yesterday about 40 deep) to a huge atrium filled with tables, chairs and people on computers.
Beyond that there is another large hall divided into a few different sections, with small meeting rooms off each side. In the middle of the hall, there are two work areas where the UN has set up hundreds of laptops for anyone's use. In the same hall beyond this area is a room filled with long tables. Each seat is reserved for the climate change negotiator or other representative of each nation at the conference. There is a chair behind each seat for assistants. If you've ever seen a picture of a UN meeting, this is very similar. I took pictures. This room is where the government statements take place and is not open to the public for viewing during meetings. Although the room was not filled with people when we wandered in, we did see Michael Martin, Canada's chief negotiator, stride by us as we were exiting. He looked rather focused and busy, to say the least.
Behind the hall described above are the delegate offices. The United States and the EU have trade rooms set up in this area and have rooms set aside for meetings which anyone can attend. We attended a few of these meetings put on the by the US Department of Transportation, the DOE and the European Union, which I will touch on in the second blog of the day.
You can obtain daily schedules near the conference room booking tables each day. The schedule is quite thick as there are literally meetings and plenary sessions from 9 am to 6:30 every day put on by various nations. I would estimate the book had a list of about 40 or 50 meetings taking place today alone.
As I mentioned yesterday, there are two types of side events which take place "off campus". There are cultural events happening all over the city - movies on climate change, an exhibit at the national Danish museum on climate change, an exhibition called "100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear", readings, talks (today Al Gore is speaking again) - there are about 100 different cultural events listed in the guide.
The second type of side events are just called "Side Events", but consist of other sessions, talks and meetings on climate change. We will likely go to the some of the Emissions Trading events tomorrow, so stay tuned for a description on those.
So far the days have been fascinating and this conference is, all in all, a massive undertaking, the planning for which must have been underway for years. More tomorrow!