Snow in Copenhagen: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It snowed a little in Copenhagen Tuesday.   That had some predictable — and unpredictable — impacts on my daughter, the deniers, and the Danish climate conference.  In reverse order:

THE UGLY:   Waiting in long lines that don’t move at the most incompetently managed event I have been to in my life gets even uglier when it starts to snow.  Fortunately, it was only a brief, light snow.  But as one of the fellow sufferers in line with me said, “Denmark has a lot of wind.  Great for clean energy.  Not great for standing in line outside in December.”  In fact, no planning organization in the world accredits 45,000 people for a venue that can only hold 15,000 — and then puts the accredidation line outside.

How ugly was it?  Even the press got screwed — this report was filed by the AP’s Seth Borenstein:

“You have no idea how important water and a bathroom is until you don’t have it,” he said after waiting 7 hours and 20 minutes to enter the Copenhagen climate talks.

How ugly IS it?  Click here for live video of protests of entry restrictions imposed by the UN.

THE BAD:  Of course, the anti-science crowd couldn’t wait to crow about the weather.  Newsbusters cited the Borenstein piece in their story, “Journalists Freeze Waiting To Get Into Global Warming Conference“:

A group of journalists stood for many hours in near-freezing temperatures Monday waiting to get into the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen.Marvelously among them was Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein who regularly reports on the dire consequences of — wait for it! — global warming.

Ironically, his articles are so filled with inflammatory hyperbole concerning Nobel Laureate Al Gore’s favorite bogeyman….

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Doubling the irony, exactly one year ago Borenstein was ridiculed by scientists from around the world for a piece he wrote claiming: “Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.”

Yes, I’m shocked, shocked that it is cold in Copenhagen in December!  But for the anti-science disinfomers, normal weather is evidence that Borenstein’s terrific pieces debunking the global cooling myth are erroneous (see Must-read AP story: Statisticians reject global cooling; Caldeira “” “To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous”).

(Dis)honestly, you can make that cooling stuff up!

The only people who really were unaware how cool it is in December in Copenhagen were the U.N. and the Danes for idiotically not handling accreditation at an indoor location.

As for the precipitation, the Drudge Report has been blaring “Forecast for Copenhagen: Heavy Snow…”  In fact, the snow utterly fizzled out.  No accumulation whatsoever.  It’s mostly been a cool drizzle.  I guess it’s just too damn warm here in Copenhagen for much snow.  Hmm.

THE GOOD:   I happened to call home during one of the brief snow showers, and this is a rough transcript of part of the conversation with my nearly 3-year-old daughter, who has named herself Tua:

TUA:  Daddy is in Copenhagen?

JR:  Yes.  And it’s snowing in Copenhagen.

TUA:  It only snows at the North Pole.

JR:  It’s snowing in Copenhagen.

TUA [emphatically]:  It only snows at the North Pole.

JR [pauses until (compact fluorescent LED) lightbulb goes off]:   Copenhagen is near the North Pole.  Daddy is near the North Pole.

TUA:  Daddy is near the North Pole?

JR:  Yes.

TUA [no pause]:  Is Santa there?

A parable for the entire Copenhagen conference?  Maybe not, but at least something for the family holiday letter.

NOTE TO HUMORLESS ANTI-SCIENCE MEDIA OUTLETS:  Yes, I know Copenhagen is not particularly close to the North Pole.

MEMO TO U.N.F.C.C.C.:  You owe the nongovernmental observers, many of whom have been crucial to sustaining forward momentum on climate action when governments dawdled, a huge apology.

22 Responses to Snow in Copenhagen: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Gail says:

    HuffPo is reporting that peaceful protesters are being arrested and others denied entry. Why did the UN choose to have the conference in the winter in Copenhagen? Makes it a lot more unpleasant for those freezing outside to protest. Live feed here:
    http://ekstrabladet dot tv/live/

  2. ken levenson says:

    and in NYTimes watch news….

    Elisabeth Rosenthal has top slot on A1 this morning. Another article full of substance (about REDD) and devoid of skeptic/denier nonsense. It feels like Revkin is gone already….

  3. akorozco says:

    You really think world government’s gonna solve this mess?

  4. Mark says:

    Speaking (OT) of Revkin, I just caught the very end of a conversation between him and Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I wish I had heard the entire segment–anyone else catch it who could summarize or let us know if there was anything of interest in the interview?

  5. joyce says:

    They have transcripts & videos of Democracy Now programs on their website, but I don’t see mention of Revkin on today’s program. You can check it out:

  6. Mike says:

    Gail, the UN COPs (conference of the parties), tend to alternate between developed/developing nations, so it often goes warm, cold, warm, cold, warm. Next year’s is in Mexico City.

    The last few were:
    Poznan (Poland)
    Buenos Aries
    New Delhi

  7. Joe,

    I had a nice chuckle over the conversation with your daughter. She knows what’s important! I think you better bring her a present from Santa…

  8. So you think it is bad how the U.N. and the Danes handled accreditation for the conference? Well, the really bad news is that the Danish government hosting this conference has been running the country even worse during the last 8 years. When they came in power they virtually shut down all financial incentives for investing in alternative energy and scaled back environmental protection because it did not fit their ideology. Now, just look at how thousands of people in the street are detained by the police so they cannot express their legal concerns and opinions in a country that prides itself for freedom of speech.

    Sorry for my rant. As a Dane I’m just sad to see how things have turned in last years although I still love my county. Maybe things have take a turn for the worse before it gets better.

  9. Richard Brenne says:

    And a good writer of dialog, too! (By this I mean your daughter:)

    I thought Denmark got 20% of it’s energy from Bjorn Lomborg being wrong.

    Actually the Great Danes are behind global warming, as they’ll go from being one of Europe’s smaller countries to by far its largest when all the ice and snow melts off Greenland.

    Then Danish will mean something other than a pastry – or at least quite a large pastry.

    How much can emissions be cut by recycling my terrible Danish jokes?

  10. WAG says:

    November temperature data is up. 4th warmest November on record:

    Interestingly, there’s global cooling both at Sarah Palin’s house AND the country she can see from her house. No wonder she was so confused in her WaPo op-ed.

  11. hisnamewas says:

    pretty funny that you mentioned drudgereport stating that “Forecast for Copenhagen: ‘Heavy snowfall’…”. hahaha if you click the link at most it says cloudy with a little bit of snow. way to just make stuff up drudge!

  12. noetoh says:

    This is too funny. Joe Romm whining about stand outside in the cold in Copenhagen. Ha!
    I thought the problem was global warming and yet Romm is freezing his ass off while standing outside an event that was supposed to solve all of our climate problems. Oh, the irony. The organizers give credentials to 45,000 people even though the venue holds 15,000.
    Gee, what will happen if we give those same big brains the ability (in theory) to control global carbon emissions?
    I’m sure the outcome will be much better. No really. I’m sure of it.

  13. PeterW says:

    noetoh, when was the last time you got out of your parents’ basement. With comedy like that you should go on the road.

  14. Gail says:

    noetoh, here’s the problem, and it’s not the weather in Copenhagen.

    The oceans are absorbing about 1/3 of the 90 million tons of CO2 humans put into the atmosphere every day.

    CO2 + H2O = carbonic acid.

    Carbonic acid dissolves calcium and so all the coral reefs and tiny pteropods are going to die and that is going to cause the entire food chain in the ocean to collapse.

    Did you know most of the oxygen you breathe comes from life in the sea?

    I thought not.

  15. Firestorm in the Arctic

    In support of Mr. Gore, note that his comments on Arctic sea ice coverage were NOT WRONG.

  16. Former Skeptic says:

    A simple suggestion for the next UNFCCC meeting — hold it in Phoenix in June/July. I’d love to see the denial crowd spin that weather vs. climate myth on a 110+ degree day.

  17. TomT says:

    A simple suggestion for the next UNFCCC meeting — hold it in Phoenix in June/July. I’d love to see the denial crowd spin that weather vs. climate myth on a 110+ degree day.

    They’d just say “See, the warmists have to hold their meeting in Phoenix in July to make it look like the climate is getting hotter!”

    In other words, they will never eat crow.

  18. Skater says:

    I’m Dutch, coastal area.

    Cross-country skied for the first time in my life on home sopil today. Been an avid skier for the past 4 years.

    I love what climate change is going for me. My summer asthma is getting less bad, summer are less sweaty, and I don’t need to travel to ski.

    Climate Change is a billions year old truth. Human Triggered, is a really REALLY evil lie.

    Change happens, deal with it.

    Imagine we’d enter an ice age. Would the World Bank then make plans to increase CO2 output to the maximum, in hopes of getting some warmth? Perhaps, but it will fail. CO2 rises when temps go up, not the other way around.

  19. Al Gore says:

    So why did it snow the earliest ever this year in Louisiana which is on the gulf coast? why do plants accelerate growth when introduced larger amounts of co2 and heat? God is speaking to you superego pseudoscientists… just because you read a journal, doesn’t make you a scientist. Al Gore profited $700 million in Carbon Credits last year alone, and you wonder why there are skeptics. In science you disprove a theory, you dont make up fake science to prove it. You come up with a hypothesis and you test until it’s disproved, not vice versa. This is why the skeptics are the true scientists in this argument. Photosynthesis is as basic as science gets, it alone disproves global warming. ps… it’s 40 F outside here mid day in december…. That’s abnormally cold for Louisiana…. go build a house for the homeless if you truely want to make a difference in the world.

  20. From Peru says:

    Skater, Noetoh: you really have no idea of the NONSENSE you are saying.

    Noetoh: you must understand the difference between

    -WEATHER: day-to-day , week-to-week or month-to-month variations in temperature, humidity, precipitations and sunshine.

    -CLIMATE: montly or seasonal AVERAGE of the weather variables listed before. CLIMATE CHANGE is a change in those averages.
    Usually one selects some “base period”(usually is chosen the period 1945-1975, as the global averages were relatively constant in that period), and an average of that period is chosen as “standard climatology”.
    The difference between each year, month or season average the “average climatology” are called “anomalies”.
    For example, global temperature anomalies were near -0,5°C in 1900, near 0°C during the “base perod” and now are near +0,7°C. That is ,we have had a sequence of
    3)warming (1975-2009)
    The 1900-1945 fits barely inside the last 2000-year natural variability(+-0,5°C ,with “base period” 0-1900 A.D.), but the 1975-2009 warming is now well outside of that “natural variability”.

    Skater: it is true that warming make the CO2 to up, because as the oceans warm, the CO2 solubility decreases and so that gas is released to the atmosphere (google “Henry´s Law” for the inverse relationship between gas solubility in water and temperature).

    But is also true that CO2 warms the atmosphere, because it absorbs infrared radiation (or IR in short), as do every gas with more than 2 atoms/molecule, so:
    – N2,02 and Ar, which form nearly 99,75% of the atmoshere, are transparent to IR, while …
    – CO2, CH4 and H20 are opaque in some the IR frequencies

    This is basic physics, if you don´t know that, you need to study the optical-thermodynamic properties of gases (go to any physical chemistry textbook or better, simply google “greenhouse gases”).

    So , CO2 warms the atmosphere, then it warms the oceans making them liberate more CO2(by the themal degassing I explained before)and more H20(by simple evaporation) that warm the atmosphere even more, that warm again the oceans that liberate more CO2 and H20…

    This process is called “positive feedback” and is the reason why Cliomate Change is so dangerous: the Climate System can be altered so much that after a certain point(that nobody knows what exactly it is, but is widely believed that the “point of no return” is any warming greater than 2°C globally ) the process go out of control and even if we suddenly(by suddlenly I mean a decision that is implemented in a matter of weeks) drop our emissions to zero,


  21. What you say is not true just because you said so hypocrite accuser. Stop childishly trying to take God’s place. You never will let alone throw him down as you wish. Continue denying the truth and it is you who will be thrown down and blocked in darkness forever.

  22. Rob Stavins says:

    I’m pleased to see that I’m not the only one who has written about the terrible logistics at COP-15 in Copenhagen. What the author of the above blog post says about the long lines outside in frigid conditions is true. Indeed, it’s a rather mild statement about how bad it has been. If you’re interested, please see my own posts on the Bella Center organizational disaster at my Harvard blog:

    or my Financial Times blog post:

    In my opinion, the Center for American Progress is right that the organizers owe an apology to NGOs around the world.

    Rob Stavins
    Albert Pratt Professor of Business & Government
    John F. Kennedy School of Government
    Harvard University
    Director, Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements