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Welcome to the summit

December 12, 2009

The Copenhagen climate summit, that is. COP15.

There are so many foreign tounges in our city now. The activist café I work in is awash in activity. The whole city feels crowded. And excited.

One thing the city isn’t though, is organized. Nearly every other person that came into the café today had an information need. Mostly, I couldn’t be very specific. “Where’s the meeting?” Uhhhmm… which meeting? “What number bus that goes from here to Ragnhildsgade?” Hmmm…. I don’t take the bus, I bike. “Do you have internet?” Well, yes, but we don’t have computers, only free wireless. You don’t have a computer with you, do you…? The near constant stream of questions and my lack of definitive, clear answers makes me feel rather useless. I felt like the worst information specialist ever. It was like a reference desk nightmare! Okay, it wasn’t that bad.

Actually, different activist groups and organizations have put out all manner of informational litterature. Posters, newspapers, magazines, fliers, phamplets, websites, wikis, the list goes on. There are info-points scattered throughout the city. And yet, we all seem so uninformed! Even me, and I live in this city, with internet access and a computer. Perhaps there is just too much information, with no real home, or systematic place to find what one is looking for.

Then again, when 20 to 30 thousand people descend all at once onto a city that clocks in at just over one million, a little confusion is to be expected.

I’ll end this post with some information, in infographic form, made by Flink Labs.

I found this via Information Aesthetics, who have links to a number of other climate change infographics out there. These types of visualizations are based on raw numbers, data. And wouldn’t you know it, a lot of data is available to anyone who wants it. One source for the dataset crazy is from RealClimate, who have an extensive archive. Another is from the UK Metrological Office. I’m sure there are many other sites out there as well, for those who like to dig deep and get dirty with the data. For the rest of us, we can just watch that spinning globe light up.

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