Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day Five - Riots and Monbiot

My fifth day started getting interesting at about 11.30 pm the previous night. After the Klein/Mueller/Hardt talk in the tent people had dispersed to various venues in Christiana to watch music or dance. In the Opereaen I met up with some couchsurfers who were watching Anni Freeman and David Kovics perform. Freeman was singing songs from the 80’s: “Hey Ronnie Reagan,/ I’m black and a I’m pagan/ I’m gay and I’m left and I’m free/ I’m a non fundamentalist/ Enviro-ment-alist/ Please don’t bother me”, when we left to watch a Danish hiphop outfit in another concert venue. As we rounded a corner a fire caught my eye but I didn’t pay much attention to it until I noticed the others had stopped and looked nervous. The fire was in the middle of the public street surrounding Christiana, caused by a barricade of burning wooden frames. Men in black with ther faces covered were rolling barrels of hay towards it. “Let’s get out of here,” someone said and we started walking back the way we came. But by that time the police had already started to arrive in vans, and there were helicopters overhead. We milled around – three of the exits were blockaded thought I don’t know if it was by the rioters or the police. A flare went off , and a few minutes later another. The group was indecisive – stay to watch, or find some of the others who had headed off in the direction of trouble? My vote was strongly with LEAVE, and it got the momentum it needed when a tear gas canister got let off and people started running. Luckily, we were with a French guy who knew Christiana quite well and took us out an obscure back entrance and we managed to avoid being arrested or detained in Christiana till the early hours of the morning as many were.
The next day I attended a few Klimaforum talks – the major areas of debate seem to be the REDD strategy supported by the UN (payments to indigenous communities not to harvest from forests), carbon trading, proposals for a ‘Green New Deal’, food and agricultural production and localism strategies like transition towns.
George Monbiot spoke on a few panels. I attended one on peak oil – when it will be, what the implications are etc.
Monbiot argues that the peak oil will happen soon and that it will mean that the costs of improving and maintaining fossil fuel extraction infrastructure will be as ‘impossibly’ high as those of sufficiently investing in renewable energy technology. This reminded me of an argument made by Bjorn Lomborg (loath that I am to give him credit for anything) that the costs of the reducing emissions will be astronomical and achieve little – while massive investment in renewables will propel technologies to the point that they will be adopted without coercion.
At the end of the day it was reported that Tadzio Mueller - one of the organisers of the Reclaim Power action - had been arrested. At a meeting at Rahnhilsgade, I found an affinity group for the protest with other waifs and strays: an eighteen year old canadian boy called Mike, a fifty year old english man, a swedish goth couple, and a tall German called Lucas. We all agreed we didn't want to be on the front line.

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