Copenhagen Diary: Missing mermaids, golf leaf and banned bottles

Click to follow
The Independent Online

*Opening the summit, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen admitted that he had an apology to make: delegates had not received Little Mermaid statuettes in their delegates packs. Indeed, Rasmussen confirmed that a few cutbacks had been made on welcoming gifts. But the short-changed delegates were no doubt relieved to hear that the money had instead been put towards 11 scholarships for students studying climate change. Surely they would be better sending them on an IT security course?

*Mercifully, there will be one Mermaid present: The Angry Mermaid, a harbinger of doom for any businesses she decides have more than just the planet's interests at heart. A suitably attired siren was loitering outside the climate talks debating with activists yesterday and will today announce the winner of the Angry Mermaid prize, "awarded to the corporate lobby groups undermining effective climate action". Elsewhere, the Fossil of the Day Award, given to the country which does most to hold up talks, was handed to... all 40 of the industrialised and transition nations. The so-called Annex 1 nations were cited for their "profound deficit of ambition" on the summit's first day.

*According to Rasmussen, two-thirds of the food provided for delegates is organic. However, while doubtlessly natural and wholesome it doesn't necessarily need to taste nice. And that seems to be the case for Nnimmo Bassey, head of Environmental Rights Action, the Nigerian chapter of Friends of the Earth. He skipped out at lunchtime to dine in a Copenhagen restaurant before addressing the activists' summit, Klimaforum.

*Any other delegates choosing to eat out can visit one of the city's 13 Michelin-starred restaurants. The Italian eatery Era Ora is one such place, where the seven-course menu with the "Limited Edition" wine menu costs about £485. Highly recommended is its signature dessert – a vanilla panna cotta topped with a razor-thin leaf of 24-carat gold.

*It is a far cry from the talks themselves where delegates are not even allowed to bring their own plastic bottles. The Danish PM has dubbed the talks a "bottled water-free environment", announcing that everyone present will have to sup the tap water, much to the rancour of many of the foreign delegates and journalists. According to reports, several Danish bar workers have been forced to reassure worried foreigners that "the water here in Denmark really is safe to drink".