Colourful Characters of COP20

Kya Lal | December 11, 2014.

Climate change is a complex issue, it touches upon many facets of life. It should be no surprise then that is also attracts individuals from all walks of life. People are often unique, outspoken and committed to their beliefs. Since our last article, the Kooks of Doha, we’ve noticed that everyone on our list has since been keeping a low profile. The Verb revisits some of our favourite colourful characters that we’ve managed to track down at COP20.

One of our more memorable alum would be Supreme Master Ching Hai, the mastermind behind the Loving Hut. Thanks to her and her cult following, vegan cuisine is back at COP20. They can often be found outside the gates handing out vegan sandwiches, sometimes in a giant chicken costume. The Loving Hut happens to actually be the fastest growing vegan restaurant chain and is founded on the belief that all beings can live in peace, love and harmony with each other: and this can be achieved through a vegan diet. Veganism “can slow global warming” through “reducing short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, black carbon and tropospheric ozone.” The Verb is happy that Hai has found success outside of the COP.

For every action there is a reaction or so the saying goes. Whilst the numbers aren’t one-to-one, it is unfortunate that there will always be at least a handful of climate sceptics present at the UN climate negotiations. Lima is no exception to this with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) who’s role is to “promote a positive voice on environment and development issues”. Based in Washington, DC, this “highly respected organisation and its voice can be heard relentlessly infusing the environmental debate with a balanced perspective on environmental stewardship.” They have ringing endorsements from the Arizona Republic, who have deemed them invaluable; and the former president of the National Academy of Sciences who has applauded their “effort to bring sound science to the environmental debate”.

Yet, The Verb wonders why this is a headline from one of their most recent articles: “Hunger Games at the UN Climate Summit or Yeb Saño Should have Tried the Pierogis” or “Apollo Astronaut takes Giant Leap for Climate Realism in Peru”. The Verb are normally happy to link out; but we just can’t bring ourselves to help CFACT’s traffic right now.

There’s also International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), a controversial and self-described “nonprofit business organisation created to establish a functional international framework for trading in greenhouse gas emission reductions.” Depending on how you read that, IETA are an emissions trading lobby group. A lobby group with a large enough pavilion sponsored by Shell, Chevron and the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute amongst others. IETA have come under fire at COP20 for a deceptive event entitled “Why Divest from Fossil Fuels When a Future with Low Emission Fossil Energy Use is Already a Reality?”.

The negotiations here in Lima have moved along at a placid pace, and perhaps that’s because there just aren’t as many personalities here this year?


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