100 days before Copenhagen, here are 100 things you didn’t know about Copenhagen
We hope you already know that the most important climate meeting evah will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from Dec. 7 to 18. If all goes according to plan at the gathering — known in wonk-speak as COP15 — world leaders will hash out a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Now, some things you don’t know about Copenhagen and the climate talks:
1. Umbra Fisk will be there!
2. The climate talks could spur a mini-boom in prostitution in the city.
3. MTV is sponsoring climate concerts in the lead-up to Copenhagen.
4. Oct. 24 is an International Day of Climate Action intended to prod leaders to get serious ahead of the Copenhagen talks.
5. 12,000 to 15,000 people are expected to attend the conference, and thousands more journalists, NGO reps, activists, and rabble-rousers will also come to town.
7. Hey, ladies: It’s now legal to go topless at Copenhagen’s public pools.
8. Oxfam has celebrities painting their faces blue for its “Blue in the Face” campaign: demand action on climate change from leaders at Copenhagen until you’re blue in the face!
9. The average December in Copenhagen has 17 days of rain and a temperature of 28 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. U.S. President Barack Obama has done some serious thinking about Copenhagen. Grist’s David Roberts explains.
11. Vaunted game theorist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predicts the climate talks will fail.
12. You can become a fan of COP15 on Facebook.
14. You can sign up online to host your own screening of the climate-change documentary The Age of Stupid; the distribution model is intended to get as many people as possible to see the film before Copenhagen.
15. Denmark has a climate minister, Connie Hedegaard.
17. International carbon-trading agreements reached at Copenhagen could spur a wave of organized carbon crime.
18. The documentary The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning will screen during the conference in Copenhagen.
19. Copenhagen averages one hour of sunlight each day in December.
20. You can buy a “CPHCARD” for easy transportation around Copenhagen and free access to its museums.
22. A site called “Hopenhagen” lets you share your future-y climate-y hopes.
23. No cars are allowed in Christiana, the leafy, free-spirited, communal-living section of Copenhagen founded by hippies in the 1970s. Too bad Christiana’s “Pusher Street” was demolished in 2004 — it might have been a temporary haven for stressed-out conference-goers.
24. Greenpeace has predicted what newspapers will report after the climate talks end.
26. The conference is taking place in Orestad, an “extension” of downtown Copenhagen that is either an urban-planning coup or an environmental nightmare, depending on your perspective.
27. The conference venue is the Bella Center; other events scheduled there this fall include the Scandinavian Shoe and Bag Fair and a meeting of the International Olympic Committee.
28. The Bella Center is constructing the Bella Hotel, Scandinavia’s largest, which will open in 2010. Talk about bad timing.
29. In lieu of creating waste (and wasting money) by giving gifts to climate conference participants, organizers will put the roughly $700,000 saved toward “climate scholarships” to allow students from around the world to pursue climate-related studies at Danish universities.
30. No bottled water will be provided at the conference — tap water only.
31. At least 65 percent of food at the conference will be organic or fair-trade.
32. No smoking is allowed in Copenhagen’s public buildings or businesses, including restaurants and pubs.
33. Tipping is not expected at Copenhagen restaurants, since waitstaff actually (gasp) make a living wage — but rounding up the bill with a little “drinking money” is appreciated.
34. Conference organizers are encouraging attendees to pursue “a better life as a delegate” by minimizing waste, drinking tap water, using public transportation, and staying in green-certified hotels (good luck getting a room).
35. Nearly 20 percent of electricity in Denmark comes from wind power.
36. Danish companies manufacture almost half of the world’s wind turbines.
37. Denmark is making a huge push into offshore wind power.
38. In 2008, Monocle magazine named Copenhagen the world’s most liveable city.
39. In May, takers of a TripAdvisor survey named Copenhagen Europe’s cleanest city.
40. Copenhagen is the seventh most expensive city in the world.
41. Copenhagen touts itself as the world leader in sales of organic food.
42. By 2015, Copenhagen leaders want all food in the city to be organic.
43. Copenhagen’s tourist website has a section dedicated to “green.”
44. It also has a section dedicated to “kissing places.”
45. A Hindu group has criticized Copenhagen summit planners for neglecting to include world religious leaders.
46. A drug-related gang war has been raging in Copenhagen — and tarnishing its squeaky-clean image.
47. Visitors to Copenhagen should be on the lookout for vicious attack dogs.
48. Actress Connie Nielsen was raised in Copenhagen.
49. Actor Leslie Nielsen was born in Saskatchewan. Just FYI.
50. Lars Ulrich of Metallica lived in Copenhagen.
51. Since 2006, Denmark’s 31 crematoriums have made $15,000 by selling metal that was salvaged from dead bodies to a Dutch recycler.
52. Hans Christian Andersen and Soeren Kirkegaard are buried in Assistens kirkegården, a cemetery that also serves as a public park where people picnic and play.
53. Copenhagen has its own cocktail.
54. You can ice skate for free at Copenhagen’s public outdoor ice rinks.
55. The Black Diamond, the newest addition to Copenhagen’s Royal Library, was built out of granite imported from Zimbabwe, then cut and polished in Italy. So much for minimizing your carbon footprint.
56. The water in Copenhagen Harbor is so clean you can swim in it. Multinational polar-bear dip?
57. Copenhagen has reduced its carbon emissions 25 percent since 1990.
58. The city has a new CityCirkel fleet of electric sightseeing buses.
59. In Copenhagen, even the kids compost, as seen in this video about the city’s transcendent greeness.
60. Copenhagen was founded in the year 1167.
61. Danish officials don’t have a crisis plan to handle a swine-flu outbreak if it crops up during the climate talks.
62. Fortunately, if you get sick while visiting Copenhagen, you are entitled to free medical treatment in hospitals or medical wards (as long as you didn’t visit just to get the medical treatment).
63. There’s a Copenhagen chewing tobacco.
64. And a song about said tobacco.
65. There’s a “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics.
67. There’s a Copenhagen furniture company.
68. The Carlsberg Brewery is in Copenhagen.
69. Copenhagen’s opposition party has proposed a congestion-pricing scheme.
70. Copenhagen is home to the world’s first walking house, a “solution to beating the floods.”
71. Grocery shopping? You either bring your own bag or buy one at the store. No bag handouts here.
72. Only 3 percent of Copenhagen’s waste goes into landfills.
73. During the last big round of climate talks, Grist’s Sarah Kraybill Burkhalter penned a delightful primer on climate conferences and Kyoto — still useful if you want to get up to speed on those COP and MOP acronyms.
74. Official municipal policy dictates that by 2015, all Copenhagen residents must be less than a 15-minute walk from a park or green space; this has spurred the development of new parks in the city.
75. Copenhagen has three ice hockey teams.
76. Copenhagen is home to the two oldest amusement parks in the world, one of which, Tivoli Gardens, contains the oldest still-operating roller coaster and ferris wheel in the world.
77. Copenhagen has 13 Michelin star restaurants, more than any other city in Scandinavia.
78. The Danish name for Copenhagen is København, which means “Merchants’ Harbor.”
79. “Copenhagenize” is a word (and an environment-related word at that!).
80. Copenhagen aims to be the world’s best city for cyclists.
81. More than 40 percent of Copenhageners bike to work, and the city hopes to get half of commuters onto bikes by 2015.
82. The city has more than 300 kilometers of bike paths.
83. Copenhagen launched a bike-sharing program in 1995, and gave Bill Clinton an honorary bike called “City Bike One” when he visited in 1997.
84. If you rent a bike from the Copenhagen shop Baisikeli, proceeds go toward sending retrofitted bikes to Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.
85. Copenhagen-based company YAKKAY makes bicycle helmets that look like hip hats.
86. Teams of kids from all over the world competed in the Children’s Climate Call in Copenhagen in May, building technical solutions to climate change out of Legos.
87. The Lego company, based in Denmark, gets an unimpressive score on the Climate Counts scorecard.
88. It’s illegal to drive without your headlights on in Denmark.
89. The highest point in Denmark is only 564 feet above sea level. Test your Danish language skills by checking the latest sea levels along Denmark’s coast.
90. What’s better than a yoga class for letting go of the tension after all-day climate negotiations or long, cold hours at the protest barricades? Copenhagen has lots of yoga studios.
91. Copenhagen is really close to Sweden. Commuting to Malmö, Sweden, can be quicker than getting to Copenhagen’s outer suburbs. “Naturally, you must seize such a great opportunity to see more of Scandinavia!”
92. Copenhagen’s current time can be found here.
93. Copenhagen’s current weather can be found here. We can’t tell you what it is because we suck at Celsius.
94. The weekend between the two COP weeks will see the traditional and popular NGO party — BYO NGO!
95. Shakespeare’s Hamlet took place in Denmark. Diplomats have adopted the line “I will speak daggers to her, but use none” as an unofficial credo.
96. More Hamlet: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” This will undoubtedly not be heeded by diplomats.
97. “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” In other words, use art.
98. “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.” Same thing for the effects of climate change.
99. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Let’s hope so.