Bard does climate change

“To be or not to be: that is the question.” 

Shakespeare would have loved Denmark 2009. With sixty days to go before we learn “whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” — things are in full swing in the city of the Danes. 

The big question is who will get the part of the Hamlet, Prince of Denmark — Barack Obama, Gordon Brown or Kevin Rudd?

What with world leaders and delegates from 192 countries also vying for the part of Hamlet (and the honour of wearing the black tights) the competition could be tough. Both President Sarkozy of France and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejan of Iran certainly have the slim figure required for the part and have long experience at up-staging other would-be-actors on the world stage. Then, naturally, there will be Prime Minister Putin and Colonel Gadaffi, both nifty dressers. 

A dark horse will be President Mugabe, certainly considered a bit old for the part, but a stayer, and with wide experience controlling the press. And, of course, in Shakespeare’s day, even though women were played by men, Penny Wong should not be dismissed … a starter, at say, 50 to 1. Hillary Clinton is sure to make a late try, with husband “Polonius” Bill at her side. Another hopeful sure to attend the auditions is President Chavez of Venezuela, a tad plump, but, at a stretch, he might just squeeze into a black tutu. 

Of course the main players, those putting their carbon where their mouth is, so to speak, certainly own the Carbon Theatre, and the success or failure of this production will rest on the performances of India, China, the United states and Europe. So how are things going in the city of Lego, fairy stories and tinned short-bread biscuits — wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen. 

The Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference Dec 7 to Dec 18 has been lumbered with the unfortunate title COP15, which should make interesting copy once journalists and bloggers start to play with the words COP, Cop-out etc, but climate fans can get a taste of the excitement to come by clicking on to the COP15 website.

There they will find that COP15 isn’t an abbreviation for Copenhagen but stands for Conference of the Parties — the 15th climate change conference. And that the conference will be climate neutral because the Danish government is spending 1 million US dollars building 20 new brickworks in Bangladesh. You will also learn that the Copenhagen Harbour is so clean you can swim in it, the city’s buses are electric and there will be no free gifts for the 15,000 delegates with the US $700,000 saved going to “climate scholarships” for foreign students to study “climate-change” at Danish universities. 

There will be Al Gore doing Google Earth seminars, the world first bullet-proof limousines for VIP’s running on bio-ethanol, a climate-thinkers blog, a COP15 Facebook site and COP15 Twitter for the with-it-now mob, and a UNICEF sponsored “Children’s Climate Summit”. There will be no bottled water at the conference — only tap-water served in biodegradable cups, and electricity at the conference will be 20% wind generated. You will be able to eat honey-hearts and meet “pixies” at Tivoli’s Christmas Market. And if you skate a special power-saving ice rink will be available which uses artificial ice. 

There will be a “voice-raising” event on climate change featuring Kung-Fu “legend” Jet Li, actress Emma Thompson and Bishop TuTu (he will not be auditioning for Hamlet). There will be a photographic exhibition featuring 100 places endangered by climate change and cafes and restaurants will be serving 65% organic food (Kevin, take your RAAF cook), and for the health conscious, every 10th food purchase in Copenhagen is organic. Delegates are also advised to bring their own shopping bags as there will be no free bags.  

And to ensure that there will be plenty of wind-generated spin there is Project Syndicate, an international group of 430 newspapers from 150 countries. There will be a CO2 neutral music festival (perhaps the audience stops breathing), and the Danish government is offering “Easy peasy visas” to ensure no delegate is left out of the festivities. Delegates will be offered transport in cars “fuelled by the first litres of second generation bio-ethanol produced in Denmark”. And in Copenhagen you will have a choice of “certified green hotels” to choose from. Danish pastries will be organic and carbon neutral.

But the really big questions that should be on the agenda at Copenhagen, considering the planet’s history of physical variation over thousands and millions of years, are these; 

  1. What is the bench-mark for “normal” climate temperature.
  2. What is the bench-mark for “normal” sea level.
  3. What is the bench-mark for “normal” Co2 in the atmosphere. 

Of course these will not be asked, nor will they be answered. 

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”?

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