You don’t need to leave a carbon footprint (plane ticket to Copenhagen) or submit to the press pass racket ($250 to declare yourself a journalist) to get access to the political event of a lifetime, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, a.k.a. COP15. The COP15 is making a lot of effort to be as transparent as possible, opening its public events to anyone with a computer.
The COP15 front page is your portal to all the news and gossip surrounding the Conference. The COP15 President and forceful Dane, Connie Hedegaard, maintains the blogs of many member countries and the news posted on the site is up to date and does not fall into the trap of being too insular, i.e. of only concentrating on events inside the conference. The front page has been quick to provide updates of the arrests made by Danish police outside the conference.
The best feature, by far, is the COP15 Webcast. Delegate negotiations are closed to the public, even the press who are physically at the COP15, but all official meetings and press conferences are webcast live and available to stream afterwards. Here is a quick guide to watching the major players at the Conference:
COP15 President: Connie Hedegaard is the forceful Dane in charge of the conference, making sure delegations are playing nice and is politically responsible for a positive outcome.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary: Yvo de Boer is the visionary of the conference, the U.N.’s climate change point man with the greatest understanding of all the issues at hand. Less politician than all the other major players, Mr. de Boer carries gravitas wherever he is seen.
CAN International: The Conference’s watchdog, CAN is a consortium of hundreds of NGOs who want to see progress made on every issue toward the best outcome possible for all nations.
Group of 77 and China: A group that often acts in concert but is notable for claiming China as a member, it contains 77 moderately developed countries. By virtue of their sheer number, a consensus among this group can go a long way.
European Union and Delegation of the United States of America: The major emitters who also claim most clean energy technology designed to get us out of this mess. They run the U.N.
Least Developed Countries Group: Tragically, they are not political powerhouses though they stand to suffer the most egregious injustices since they are the least responsible for climate change but will suffer from its effects the most.