On Saturday the Danish police arrested 954 protestors at the COP (a new record in a single day according to them), and this morning, I awoke to news of other dispersed protests around the city. The real chaos, however, was at the Bella Center, where the UN temporarily halted access and where the line to secure paperwork for those credentialed was first closed and then opened to an 8 hour wait. Several US Senate staffers who flew in yesterday were effectively shut out along with much of the major press.
However, the trip to the Bella Center was not a waste of time. Almost all of the NGO observers are eager to talk and that is what everyone was doing outside the center and at the nearby Crown Plaza hotel, where some side events were still able to proceed. The main topic of conversation (aside from the chaos at the Bella Center) was carbon trading: whether it is a good idea, whether or not systems will be linked and how, whether “offsets” can be trusted, and a host of others. In general, the reaction of many representatives from Europe was turning more positive towards cap and trade as they realize it may be the only way to spurring real energy alternatives (by letting the market work). Meanwhile, the official negotiators are miles ahead, assuming that if they can reach an agreement, we will have some sort of cap and trade and that the world’s systems will ultimately be linked. As I stated in an earlier post – the idea has caught on, and part of the job here of the official business and environmental observers is to figure out a way to make it work.