Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Last week, I went for a 2-day conference, TH!NK ABOUT IT, in Copenhagen which was held by European Journalism Center. There were 90 other participants from over 20 different countries.

On the first day, all of us went to Bella Center. This is where this year’s most important treaty will take a new shape, the COP15. We started off with a brief speech by Svend Olling, Head of Department of COP15 Logistics on how they were tackling problems to ensure a good conference in December and their importance. Then we had a panel discussion on a journalist’s perspective on climate change with Tasha Eichenseher, editor of; RameshJaura , director of Inter-Press Service Europa; Gerald Traufetter, editor of Spiegel magazine; Asbjorn Jorgenson, professor at Arhus school of Media and Journalism; Mads Christensen, Head of Greenpeace Nordic region and Andreas Barkman from European Environmental Agency and the Head of the Group for Climate Change Mitigation.

Ramesh Jaura spoke developing nations' stance on Green House Gases emissions and agreed that its not possible for them to cap their emissions when the question of economic development comes into picture. Tasha Eichenseher discussed about some of National Geographic influential stories, Gerald Traufetter worries that some journalists are restricted from taking sides in the matters of climate change and that it would hurt a journalist's credibility. Mads Christensen threw light on EU's efforts to mitigate GHG emissions and its success of reaching Kyoto Protocol's target of 8% less emissions than 1990 by 2010. Andreas from Greenpeace believes that developed, industrialised nations should try reducing their emissions by 40% by 2020 and developing nations by 15-30%. He wishes for a fair and ambitious deal at the end of COP15 though he doesnt see that from happening. He fears that COP15 will lead to greenwashed plan (a bad deal made to look good) thereby leading to faster growth in global temperatures and threatening the of survival of islands. Gradually the discussions grew on whether Sahara was greening because of climate change, Obama sounding no different from Bush, if science was a valid tool to convince people, if US was holding up UN meetings, pressure on media, et cetera.We were later joined by Francois Roudie, policy coordinator of European Commission who gave an insight on EU’s future goals and its past achievements. EU plans to increase its renewable energy use by 10%, reduce carbon emissions by 20-30%. With their existing regulation on energy performance standards for buildings, they plan to make buildings more efficient and sustainable. While he spoke about Europe reaching its Kyoto Protocol’s targets, he unfortunately couldn’t give a good justification of why weren’t they including carbon emissions produced by the goods they imported into their annual emissions.

In the afternoon, Soren Hermansen who was ‘TIME magazine’s Hero of the Environment 2008’ gave a presentation on Samsø Island. Samsø is a small island that in 1997 won the Danish government contests to become a model renewable energy community. Today all its power comes from the wind.The next day, we went to Dyssekilde, an eco-village. Dyssekilde is a small village of 120 people near Copenhagen that generates most of its own electricity and manages its own waste. They claim to have a better waste treatment plant than the municipal. They have over 30,000 willow trees to purify waste water. The houses are so designed that consumes energy as less as possible and villagers are encouraged to use organic products.

You can read more about Samsø Island and Dyssekilde from here:

Anindita Nayak

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