Ready for Copenhagen? Wait! We're locked out!

Photo by AFP

A few hours before the flight it always feels kind of strange. A sense of excitement, coupled with the sweet taste of what could be coming starts to invade you. You begin to image everything that you want to do: people to meet, palces to go, photos to take, amazing interviews... you fantasize about the live reporting that you will be doing and create a mental scheme for the blog posts to come.

Then, your face hits the hard wall of reality. The enthusiasm of thousands of bloggers, activists and journalists may be not enough: there is simply not space for them.

Al Jazeera journalist Jonah Hull explains the situation, in a twitter-style reporting:

Delegates, campaigners and journalists trapped outside the Copenhagen climate conference as summit is oversubscribed.

Goodness knows what's actually happening inside the Bella centre in Copenhagen. I have reports of course, but that's it.

I can tell you what's happening outside. Hundreds, perhaps more, newly-arrived, accredited delegates, campaigners and journalists crowded in the cold waiting to collect their passes to enter. Many have waited for hours, laden with laptop bags, satchels and briefcases, tempers sharpening.

My first taste of the chaos was at the airport, waiting for the COP 15 shuttle bus to whisk us to the conference in very good time.

A man turned up and warned us he'd been waiting in a queue at the Bella Centre for six hours this morning only to be told accreditation was temporarily closed. He told us not to bother trying. But we proceeded.

At the Bella Centre we were barred from even joining the throng for accreditation.

I was unable to reach a colleague who'd been in the queue for eight hours, with no end in sight. The policeman was polite but unflinching. Maybe tomorrow morning, he said. Maybe? We will have to get there very, very early.

The evening Danish news has a report saying the venue is now full, no one else will be allowed in. The leaders themselves haven't even arrived yet.

I'm told 45,000 people have been accredited in all. The venue only has a 15,000 capacity and already 30,000 are attending. More are arriving all the time as the summit enters its most fraught and crucial final period.

One woman grumbled bitterly into her mobile phone in Spanish. I couldn't hear the detail but she repeatedly and loudly stressed the word 'cojones'. One can only guess.

You have to wonder at the organisers' competence here. How on earth can they be entrusted with saving the planet?

p.s. This article was crossposted on the TH!NK ABOUT IT - Climate Change blogging competition.