By Carol Somplatsky-Jarman
Monday, December 14: Twenty percent. Our specially appointed delegate has gone to the Bella Center to the specially appointed place, to pick up the specially prepared sealed envelope with the specially prepared second passes. Twenty-one: that is the number of WCC delegation members who will be allowed in the Bella Center.
We think that Monday may be our last day in the Bella Center and attending events, so we want to make the most of it. We prepare our plan: At 11:00, the WCC event with CARITAS International, “Faith-based Approaches to Climate Justice,” (this is our WCC delegation’s event, so we will be there). There is an update at the U.S. Center where Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, will announce a new initiative to promote clean energy technologies to help developing countries. At 3:00, 350.org is sponsoring “Faith and Climate Change from a Youth Perspective.” International CAN and US CAN (both very important for sharing intelligence on who-knows-what-from-what-official-delegation-member), Fossil of the Day award at 6:00pm, church delegation meeting. We will try to get to as many events today as we can.
There are two ways to the Bella Center, either by special COP 15 bus (which stops right outside our hotel), or by metro, which is a ten-minute walk at the Copenhagen Central train station.
As we prepare to leave the hotel, buzz, buzz, buzz, there is an email flash announcing that the police have closed the Copenhagen metro station at the Bella Center. No one can arrive or depart from that station. Too bad for folks that need to travel by this method (we will find later in the day that this has not deterred people, many of whom go to the next station and walk the ¾ mile back to the Bella Center). This is OK for us since the special bus is our best transportation.
10:45am: We arrive at the Center ½ hour later and to find the registration line is now over 600 people and several hours long (about half snaking their way from the bus stop, and the other half from the metro station). Too bad for them; lucky for us. Our digital passes receive their first check, and we go right through the doors and into the security check. Since virtually all lines are open, we are through in five minutes.
Soon we are in the center and in our seats at our WCC side event. It is always good to arrive early. The event rooms usually contain 150-200 seats, and most events end up being standing-room-only.
NOON: At noon, and still in the meeting, buzz, buzz, there is another email flash announcing that the Bella Center has reached its 15,000 person capacity and has been closed by police. OOPs, too bad for all those people still waiting in line. Is this true? Is this a rumor?
2:00pm: It is 2:00pm, and we arrive at the International CAN meeting. Buzz, buzz, and another email flash. The UN Secretariat has released new information about building access, and there will be more restrictions and more special badges. By Friday, you will need at least three passes to get in (the two previously mentioned, and a third which will permit just 90 NGO members to enter). The first special badge for use on Tuesday and Wednesday will allow just 7,000 NGO people to attend. Another will be issued for Thursday, which will allow just 1,000 people to attend (1/7 of the delegations’ numbers on Tuesday and Wednesday). By Friday, this number is reduced to 90, approximately one percent of the registered NGO participants. OOPs.