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4.5 The UN “Conference of the Parties”, COP17, in South Africa in December 2011

The yearly United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings are the most important conferences in the world on climate change (see here for a brief primer concerning these events). They attract many tens of thousands of representatives of governments, corporations, mass media and non-governmental organizations from all countries. ICSC has participated in two COP meetings to date – COP13 in 2007 in Bali, Indonesia and COP15 in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.


In the weeks leading up to COP13, ICSC Chief Science Advisor Professor Bob Carter worked with ICSC Executive Director Tom Harris (then with the Natural Resources Stewardship Project; he moved over to ICSC in February 2008) to create an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. They succeeded in collecting the endorsement of over 100 climate experts and arranged to have the letter published in The National Post in Canada during the conference. It was delivered to UN Headquarters in New York City* and reported on by major media around the world and presented to delegates and media at the conference.

As described in Annex D.4, the official COP13 event was attended by the five ICSC representatives who spoke with many media and national delegates, handing out climate realist literature and convening a press conference.


The UN Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009, COP15, was attended by ICSC Executive Director Tom Harris. Therein he met with many national delegates and non-governmental organizations, especially from developing countries, attracting considerable support for ICSC’s non-partisan, science-based approach (see page 20 in the just published paper here). In addition, several media interviews  were conducted with Mr. Harris from inside the conference (here is a sample).

 * Note: ICSC will continue to publicize the lack of response from the UN Secretary-General until the issue is properly handled—see here from late 2010, for example.

ICSC’s Copenhagen Climate Challenge (see Annex F) was issued during the first week of the UN event, sent to the Secretary-General in New York* and hard copies of the challenge, a listing of the signatories (then “over 150 leading climate experts from 15 countries”) and “Expert Answers” to the challenge questions distributed to media and national representatives throughout the conference. In addition, ICSC issued two news releases, here and here, the first being translated into a dozen languages and distributed by CNW Newswire to several hundred of media outlets in about twenty countries.

ICSC representatives also took part in a special two-day counter-conference (organized by allies of ICSC in the U.K. and Denmark) for reporters and the public. The event is further described in Annex D.4, as is our participation in COP15.

Drawing on our experiences in these UN climate conferences, ICSC plans to send representatives to play a similarly active role in COP17, in South Africa in December 2011. An important objective of this activity will be to continue to educate national representatives and media about climate realism and the dangerous impacts of attempts to make sudden shifts away from conventional energy sources and current industrial policies. Given adequate funding, ICSC, in cooperation with our national affiliates and other allies, proposes to organize and operate a counter-conference of climate realists as was accomplished in Copenhagen to coincide with COP15.


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