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The GOOD Guide to COP15: A Primer

Copenhagen, ho! There's a famous Danish proverb that roughly translates to, "He who is afraid of asking is...

Copenhagen, ho!

There's a famous Danish proverb that roughly translates to, "He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning." So, lest you get caught in a cycle of fear and shame in anticipation of the world's convergence on Copenhagen, we offer this primer on all things COP15-and all things Copenhagen.Point of Clarification: The COP in COP15 doesn't stand for Copenhagen. It stands for Conference of the Parties, and it's the 15th such event. You're probably most familiar with COP8, which took place in Kyoto, Japan, in 1992.When is it? December 7 to 18, 2009

Who's involved:

Representatives come from the 192 countries that have ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since it was created in 1992.Annex 1 Countries: Industrialized nations (including the United States and members of the European Union) and transitioning economies.Annex 2 Countries: Less wealthy developed nations that have agreed to pay for some of the developing nations' costs associated with reducing emissions.Non-Annex 1 Countries: Developing nations that have ratified the convention.Click here to see a breakdown of the alliances the world's countries have formed in order to negotiate the treaty.

A brief history of carbon:

The atmospheric carbon count (in parts per million) has increased from 310 in 1958 to 380 today; 350 is thought to be an acceptable level.


Total attendance: Between 12,000 and 15,000 official participants are expected to attend, plus thousands of other visitors (not accredited by the U.N.) in town for media coverage, environmental meetings, business promotion, and protests.Total cost of the event: At least $7.6 million.Total revenue it will generate for the city: $5.6 million.Carbon footprint: To be determined, but all emissions generated by the event will be accounted for and offset through Clean Development Mechanism investments.

Room and board:

Where people are staying: The Nordic Hotel Group has been appointed to manage hotel accommodations. Participants can also choose to rent an apartment, room, or sofa for a day or stay for free with a local Danish family.Average hotel prices: From $132 for a single at Ansgar Hotel to $305 for a suite at the Tiffany Hotel. The average hotel room price is $292–$380 per night, including breakfast.What people are eating: Food served at the event will be at least 65-percent organic and, fittingly, Denmark's famously excellent groundwater will flow straight from the taps-no bottles at this event. Catering services will serve traditional and local Danish food like Smørrebrods (open-faced sandwiches), salads, desserts, and vegetarian dishes. There will also be one "exclusive dining" restaurant that will be serving higher-priced dishes.


Population: 518,574 (as of January, 2009) of Denmark's 5.5 million.Demographics: Copenhagen has long been one of the world's richest cities, with the average payfor workers about 40 percent higher than in New York City. But the cost of living-and taxes-is also quite high.Languages spoken (in descending order of prevalence): Danish, English, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Aleut dialect), German.Landscape: Flat, lots of waterways.Major export worth mentioning: Windmills. Could be a pretty important component of thepost-COP15 global economy.

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