'People's summit' sets alternate agenda

'People's summit' sets alternate agenda


“The Bella Center is the biggest case of disaster capitalism,” Naomi Klein, the author of a book on corporate backlash and the guest of honour at the opening, declared. “The deal we really need is not even on the table.”

KlimaForum09, as the event is called, is positioning itself as a shadow summit to the far more conspicuous one that has drawn tens of thousands of government officials, business leaders and environmental organisations for 12 days of talks in Denmark. “We don’t represent vested interests such as bureaucrats, politicians, business or civil servants,” the website for the event has touted for weeks. “We do represent scientists, grassroots activists, academics, writers, artists and people from all walks of life.”

Whether or not that will prove to be the case was hard to say earlier in the day, when the venue  was still mostly barren in anticipation of the evening’s opening.
Organisers say they expect up to 10,000 participants and visitors over the course of 12 days. As volunteers dressed in orange T-shirts scurried about the venue hanging posters, setting up chairs and putting the finishing touches on a concert stage, Kristine Holten-Andersen, a spokeswoman for the event, offered her thoughts on the “other” conference unfolding a few miles to the south.

“The politicians are unambitious,” she said. “The negotiations in the Bella Center are one big charade, and the making of a common goal is taking to long.”
Meanwhile, Pradip Saha, the associate director of the Centre for Science and Environment in India, had travelled to Copenhagen to be a part of the free event. He was preparing a display showing photographs of the effects of climate change on Indian and Bangladeshi islands in the Bay of Bengal.

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