Cross posted on Hub Culture.
I attended last year's U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen as the "Hopenhagen Ambassador," pressed with the task of "spreading hope." I can't say that we were very successful--there is no similar "Yes we Cancun" effort for this year's conference. I am here nonetheless, at the U.N.'s climate conference as a journalist with Hub Culture.
More analyses and interviews will be coming in this column--including some hopeful news from businesses--but for my first COP16 post I'd like to provide an unscientific comparison of Cancun and Copenhagen.
I flew to the airports in both Copenhagen and Cancun with a folding bike (a Bike Friday to be exact). The suitcase that carries the bike turns into a trailer that I can then put my belongings into. It is quite elegant: I can unfold the bike, load the trailer with my luggage, and then ride away from the airport. Here is a sped up video of me unpacking the bike.
Let me be clear: though I'm at a climate conference, I am not riding my bike for environmental reasons. I ride because it is fun and, more importantly, because entering a town by bike gives me a much better sense of a city's idiosyncrasies. If I took a taxi, I would have zoomed by the small stores and not spoken to the police officer along the roadside (who told me he was there for security for the conference). The fact that the bike happens to be more ecological is a bonus (although I should note that the emissions saved by biking instead of driving are dwarfed by the emissions that resulted from the flight to Mexico).
In Cancun, the route I followed from the airport to hotel was the safest I could find--Google street view was very useful. As you will see, the biking in Cancun is a bit scarier than in Copenhagen... It's no wonder I saw only three other cyclists.
More actual climate commentary in later days . . .