As the thousands of people taking part in the conference began arriving – the atmosphere seemed to be relatively optimistic, compared to the deadlocks of recent years.
Pledges to curb emissions by some of the world’s largest economies have raised hopes among some at least that an agreement can be reached. Lucas Hanswille of German Watch said: “I am quite impressed that Obama is coming to the last day so there are going to be actual negotiations. But I don’t know what the outcome will be, I hope we can have something to celebrate at the end”. Petina Blackwell of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts: “I think if everyone pulls together and shows the Government that we as a people, as a voice of all the nations, aren’t going stand for anything less, they don’t have a lot of choice.” Her colleague Bernadette Fischler was slightly more cynical: “I think they will come to a binding agreement … to get a binding agreement in 2010.” The summit will still have to overcome deep distrust between rich and poor nations about sharing the cost of emissions cuts. Johannes Bahrke, Euronews reporter in Copenhagen, said: “15,000 participants are expected here, plus some thousands of journalists. This biggest of climate events produces CO2 as well. Organisers expect this to be 40,000 tons. They try to avoid waste by not giving away presents and serving tap water. And to offset the carbon emissions, organisers have supported an environmental programme in Bangladesh.”