Giving the Poles a Hard Time: Copenhagen Summit Day Two

The European Investment Bank brought four organizations to conference whose renewables projects they had been helping. It was strange to hear bankers being praised in this day and age, but it happened in the Victor Borge Room at 3 o/c today.

DONG which is the Danish Energy company building a lot of our offshore wind projects including the magnificent London Array (that is set to supply electricity to electricity to 25% of London's population. Its Managing Director enthused about their plan to turn around their work.

At the moment 85% of the energy they produce is fossil fuelled and 15% is renewables. The MD thinks that in 30 year they can turn that round completely to 85% renewables! The first half will be the easy bit, he said, and we can do that in 10. The second half is more difficult and we'll need another 20.

Most of the energy will be windpower, whose production is volatile and unstable. So, he said brightly, we'll have to store it. We can store it in batteries. We can make these batteries large, put wheels on them and hey presto, cars!

This will all cost a great deal of money because we can't make cars when people can't charge them easily or get them repaired.

But my dream, he said, is that Denmark develops this new type of transport and we then give it to the Developing world. It would be similar to the way the Developing world developed its phone network. The old world put copper cables in the ground. The Developing skipped all that and went straight to mobile masts. They could go straight to electric cars as well.

He was serious.

UK Press Conference

Ed Milliband and Douglas Alexander fronted the British press conference today.

Douglas said that his presence at this conference as Sec of State for International Development shows that the British understand that extreme global poverty and climate change are indivisible.

Both men spoke with pride about the Fast Start Finance Initiative that was agreed last month and hammered through by Gordon. It will provide 10B a year for 3 years. Europe has agreed to pay a large chunk of this with Britain committed to 1.5B.

But as Doug said the Developing World needs long term and predictable financing.

Ed expressed everyone's concerns that the negotiations are not going fast enough.

In answer to a question from Ben Jackson from The Sun he emphasised the importance of getting a financial deal and an agreement on cuts of carbon emissions.

Ed also said that although the negotiations seem incredibly difficult at the moment, the stars are aligned in a way that is very propitious. There are 130 world leaders coming to this conference in the next few days including the new American president. It cannot all be left to world leaders though and the negotiations have to get a move on.

Gordon is coming tomorrow. A Daily Mail journalist asked why he was coming early. Ed explained that this was a sign of how very seriously we are taking these negotiations and that they are not going fast enough.

Giving the Poles a hard time

The Polish Ministers of Finance and Environment were having a meeting about the implementation of their climate policy.

Went along, trying to keep an open mind.

They said that they wanted to cut carbon emission by 30% by 2030. Sounds good but this doesn't bear close examination. They want to use 2005 as their baseline and since only 5% of their energy comes from renewables their emissions have a long way to fall.

They are currently being helped by the European Bank for Development (The EBRD) to spend the assistance they have been given by the EU in a way that is "transparent", "efficient" and accountable. Hmmm.

I asked whether the rumour was true that they would veto any proposal from the EU that Europe cut emissions by 30% by 2020 with a baseline of 1990?

The chair got cross with me and said that the offer wasn't going to be on the table and muttered something about people who should have more will lacking it.

I pressed him "But if it was on the table, what would you do?"

More muttering. I heard "comparability" and "no fiddling"

Double hmmm.

The official conference was closed today so I put my time to use changing hotels, freezing on the streets, reading and sounding off about the Tories on Channel 4.

I've moved to the centre of town - to The Grand. Unfortunately the only grand thing about it is the price!

It also seems to be the base for a large number of army and policemen, which is a little alarming. When I waiting for the bus, I saw 11 policevans rush past with their sirens blaring- sounding like something out of the Italian Job. (Note the gaggle of soldiers and police on the right of the photo).

The weather has got much colder and so has the general atmosphere. The centre of Copenhagen seems much more serious after the mass arrests yesterday.

I was interviewed by Channel 4 News about the Tories and whether we should go for an election. For what its worth my view is: Bring it on! The arrangement was made with London and they sent their Copenhagen team to meet me on the street. The team comprised an English journo, a Danish cameraman and a cab. I suspect their main job today has been chasing policecars looking for demos.

I attempted a bit of sightseeing, but it was too cold so I retreated inside for coffee and a read of The Global Climate Network's new discussion paper on low carbon jobs. Its a study of what is possible in eight seperate countries. And its central message seems to me to be that there are millions of green jobs that would be created by low carbon technology. Too often government action on climate change is framed by words like "limitation", "constraint" and "reduction" - the prospects for job creation is good news and something we have every reason to be positive about.

Went to see the lights at The fabulous Tivoli Gardens, then back to my warm hotel to CNN and to finish my Ian Rankin.

Am going to try to get to the conference early - like 8. Only those who know me well can truly appreciate what a challenge this will be. But the queues to get in are likely to be crazy. Will keep you posted!

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