It took a very hot and sticky Durban day to, again, be struck by the irony of cramming people into a boiling hot side event room and then literally blowing hot air at them through the “cooling” system. It drew remarkable similarities between what was going on in the well air-conditioned plenary…… except in a totally different context. This stems back to the irony of the whole COP process really. Thousands of people have flown from all sides of the world to an air-conditioned venue (well some of them are) where there doesn’t appear to be any negotiating going on, not at the moment at least. But there are emissions being generously created for the luxury of providing a forum for small groups of protesters to have their say.
That’s too cynical though. The negotiations are not what COP is about, not for the majority of the NGOs that is. COP is about taking action despite the politics and creating partnerships to enforce that action. So, is what is happening in the plenary really important? Or can the critical mass that lie in the side event rooms make the real difference?