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The Sciences

I'm Going to Copenhagen!

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyOctober 26, 2009 11:34 PM

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Just got my tickets--fortunately, the MIT Knight Program has a travel stipend for fellows, and I am using my allotted research trip to attend the 2009 IPCC COP-15 meeting from December 12-18. (I will also be able to attend the 2010 AAAS conference in San Diego this February, thanks again to the Knight program.) The IPCC meeting itself runs much longer than December 12-18, of course, but this seemed a sampling of the most relevant chunk of time. I'll be blogging regularly from over there, as well as perhaps filing a story. Technically, we Knight Fellows are not supposed to write for the duration of our time here, but this may merit an exception.... There have been glum news reports lately, indicating that the Copenhagen meeting may be a let-down. I'm very worried about these reports, and the lack of progress we've seen both from Congress and the administration on climate change (see Karen Aline McKinnon's recent take on this below). However, bringing people together in Copenhagen, with a deadline, will certainly create a lot of energy and efforts at deal-making--even if the U.S. cannot bring anything as good as a piece of legislation to the table. So, I am not at all convinced--yet--that the Copenhagen meeting will be fruitless. I do have another concern that I've mentioned in the past--one related the timing of this event. Sure, I'm going in December; but I think it's a very stupid time of year to have such a conference. Given what we know of global warming and public opinion, as well as about contrarian attack strategies when it comes to climate change, having the successor to Kyoto in the middle of winter in a northern country (see here for data on the weather and climate of Copenhagen) is just asking for trouble and mockery and confusion. Whether or not there is a cold spell or snowstorm, the images of delegates huddling and perhaps freezing will just give immense ammo to the other side, and will likely generate endless sound bites on Fox News. Oh well...it can't be helped now. I'm still glad I'm going, whatever the temperature. I'd love any tips about the city, as well as any comments from those who are going--or those with thoughts on how the IPCC meeting is likely to play out....

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