Copenhagen, Day 4


From Thursday in Copenhagen…

Much of what NGOs do in Copenhagen is theatre. And it must be said, some of it is pretty decent. Every evening, the Climate Action Network and Avaaz.org present the “Fossil of the Day”. Presenters wear Oscar-style fancy dress, sing a little ditty, and give third-, second- and first-prize awards for the most obstructionist, climate-unfriendly negotiating position. It’s well attended, and the host, Ben Wikler of Avaaz, jovially hams it up. At the end of the conference, a grand winner will be announced.

(Break here while I stick my head outside the door of the filing centre to see what a ruckus is about. It’s just another mini-march through the hall, maybe fifty people chanting a particularly clunky slogan:

An NGO activist

“Don’t! Kill! Kyoto! Climate Justice Now!”)

Today, Avaaz continues its admirably goofy run with aliens wandering around with the slogans “Where are you climate leaders?” and “Are you a climate leader?”. The other day, a “Useless Magician” from Friends of the Earth tried and failed to make an airplane and its emissions disappear with “the magical power” of carbon offsets. After three failed attempts, he was forced to admit that carbon offsets were the worst magic trick of all time.

The Pulse is providing readers with a daily snippet of The Economist’s correspondent diary. You can find past updates from the conference diary here. Please visit The Economist for the full text of the diary and extended coverage of the conference.

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