Copenhagen's counting game
By Juliet Eilperin
COPENHAGEN -- This week is what is considered the "slow week" in the U.N.-sponsored climate talks, because the high-level ministers and heads of government don't arrive until next week. But it's already quite crowded in Copenhagen's Bella Center, which raises a question: At what point will they have to shut down access to the talks?
According to Danish authorities, the center holds a maximum of 15,000 people. At this point, 34,600 people have registered to attend the talks, but not all of those registrants have been granted passes or have shown up.
Guards scan registrants' passes when they enter and exit the building, to keep an exact count of how many people are inside at any given time. On the talks' opening day, a total of 11,000 people moved in and out of the center, according to U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change spokeswoman Elke Hoekstra. On Tuesday, that number rose to 17,000, though it dipped to 13,000 Wednesday. Without question, the numbers will shoot up early next week, since a huge number of registrants will arrive in Copenhagen this weekend.
At some point, Danish officials plan to shut down the center when it reaches its capacity and only let in one person for every person who exit. Add to that the fact that 110 heads of government are coming Dec. 17 and 18, and you've got a logistical nightmare in the making.
Juliet Eilperin| December 10, 2009; 5:31 AM ET Save & Share:
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