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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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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