Agreement Reached in Copenhagen… The U.N. Shouldn’t Be in Charge of Climate Change Policy

After waiting hours in the cold with intermittent periods of snow on Monday and Tuesday in unsuccessful bids to get into the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, many of those who have long-supported a strong global response to the threat of global warming began questioning the wisdom of leaving these decisions to the United Nations.

The venue for the conference, the Bella Center in Copenhagen, has a maximum occupancy of 15,000, yet the U.N. organizers permitted some 45,000-50,000 people to register.

If they can’t get something as simple as math correct, why should be expect them o get anything as complicated as climate science correct?

To resolve the problem, the organizers decided to scale back the size of delegations by cutting their size by – according to some reports – up to 80% after they’d already travelled vast distances at great expense to be here by requiring them to obtain highly-rationed “secondary passes.” To say Non-Governmental Organizations were angry about the cuts would be an understatement.

On Monday, those who’d waited for up to 10 hours before being turned away began chanting “Shame on You U.N.,” while others yelled “the U.N. Sucks.”

Hmm… People angered about rationing… an 80% cut… something sounds very familiar about that figure.

One woman from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, a group that has long supported climate change action, told me that if the U.N. can’t handle something as simple as a conference, how can we trust them to set the right emissions levels and enforce compliance.


She, like other environmental activists, was also concerned about accountability. There seemed to be no one to which they could address their grievances.

When some tried to find out, they were hauled away by security.

Last night, one man, one of the last to get into the Bella Center to receive his credentials, was turned away when his name did not appear on the UNFCCC’s list of registrants.

The UNFCCC has a policy of not acknowledging receipt of delegation lists, increasing the possibility of problems.

When officials told the man he would have to leave, he asked for the UNFCCC official’s name and was told, “I’m not allowed.” When the man pressed further explaining calmly that he needed it because he intended to file a complaint, the official summoned security and had him thrown out.

Another climate change conference like this, and the entire world will be filled with skeptics.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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