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Copenhagen climate

“When we saw our star negotiators getting hot under the collar, we initially put it down to global warming,” said a suspected delegate, “but then we discovered it was Jairam Ramesh, writes Manas Chakravarty.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2009 22:43 IST
Manas Chakravarty
Manas Chakravarty
Hindustan Times

Together with melting glaciers and vanishing islands, one of the casualties of global warming has been the Indian delegation to Copenhagen. Deep crevasses opened up in the delegation as the government suddenly changed its mind over the issue and negotiators threatened to cancel their tickets to the summit.

“When we saw our star negotiators getting hot under the collar, we initially put it down to global warming,” said a suspected delegate, “but then we discovered it was Jairam Ramesh. When we looked accusingly at Jairam, he started guiltily and protested it wasn’t him.” When I told this story to a climate change professor, he misunderstood it and told us, “It’s nothing to be ashamed about. To fart is human. All he had to do was buy some carbon credits and get on with life.”

Meanwhile the delegation from the Maldives, the endangered island nation that held a cabinet meeting under water to highlight its predicament, is reportedly wandering around in the nude in Copenhagen. “This is to draw attention to how hot it is in Copenhagen even in the middle of December, because of climate change,” said a member of the delegation. But bystanders pointed out that the nude representatives were all blue with cold and one of them was down with pneumonia.

Others have a different agenda. A UN official was overheard telling a bevy of admirers that he was a member of the UNFOCCC, at the very pinnacle of the climate talks food chain. A European delegate butted in by saying that he was with the COP15. “I’m also with IPCC, REDD, HFLD,” said the UN official. “OOOh”, said the bevy. “I know all about carbon intensity, anthropogenic emissions, cap and trade, carbon dioxide equivalents,” parried the European delegate.” “AAAAh,” said the beauties. “My carbon footprint is smaller than yours”, boasted the UN official triumphantly, but no one was listening, because the ladies had moved to a handsome African delegate who was talking about global poverty.

The real work, however, is being done behind locked doors in half a dozen rooms where the hard bargaining is taking place. I would have written “smoke-filled rooms” but I’m not allowed to. In a stunning development, the delegate from Switzerland has unexpectedly switched sides and said the developed world should offer more money to poor nations. Explained a professor, “They believe a big chunk of the funds will in any case find its way into Swiss banks and the larger the amount the better.”

Scientific work is also being done. Scientists at the conference are investigating what looks like a huge cloud of hot air hanging over Copenhagen. Others have noticed that the city’s gutters are overflowing with a strange liquid, technically termed ‘hogwash’. Scientists have also been showcasing their green inventions. One of them is what the inventor calls a ‘fart-recycler’. The other is Viagra, which Pfizer claims was the first product that gave the world sustainable sex.

In another indication of how green we have become, Danish mothers are telling their children stories of Little Green Riding Hood and urging them to eat their vegetables, if they don’t want the “wolf with the giant carbon footprint” to come and get them.

And finally, Tiger Woods will soon be making a trip to Copenhagen. “I know exactly what the planet is going through,” he said, adding “I felt the same way when I was with Rachel, Mindy, Kalika, Jaimee, Cori and Holly. Things become warm, very warm.”

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint

The views expressed by the author are personal