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Celebs Outnumber Heads Of State At Conference on Climate Change

Celebs Outnumber Heads Of State At Conference on Climate Change

As the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change starts in the South African Indian Ocean port city of Durban today, more A-list celebrities seem to be expected to be present at these international climate change negotiations than high-ranking government officials.

At the opening ceremony, the only national leaders in attendance were South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, his deputy, Kalema Mothlante, the President of Chad, Idriss Déby Itno, and the vice president of Angola, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos.

As the two week conference proceeds, countries’ prime ministers and presidents stand to be heavily outnumbered not only by international personalities like World Bank president Robert Zoellick, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, but also by celebrities.

Among the global elite expected to jet into Durban on Tuesday are:

• Angelina Jolie, attending in her capacity as UN goodwill ambassador;

• U2 front-man Bono, who is a long-standing and active member of Greenpeace;

• Leonardo diCaprio;

• former US Vice President Al Gore;

• British billionaire business tycoon Richard Branson;

• Monaco’s Prince Albert and his South African wife Charlene; and, of course

• the former Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Critics of the event suggest that world leaders betray their lack of commitment to finding an effective solution to the global challenge of climate change by their absence at COP 17. It is generally acknowledged that heads of the major nations are only likely to jet in to the conference if and when a substantial agreement has been hammered out by negotiators behind the scenes.

Andreas is a book shop manager and freelance writer in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @Andreas_Spath


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9:32AM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Eles deviam era trabalhar mais e menos publicidade os projectos não podem ficar na gaveta

5:10AM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:50PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

I hope that short-term economic growth (at whatever cost) does not continue to take priority in each nation, over the need to significantly and quickly reduce climate changing emissions. It may be that changes such as those promoted by CASSE ( ) could be needed to achieve the needed reductions.

5:09PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Arnie should just worry about population control.

5:09PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Arnie should just worry about population control.

11:20AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

We should be represented by as many influential people as possible.

10:25AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Well, it is only the beginning of the conference. Let us hope—or pray—this is not a sign of what the end results will be!!!!

8:39AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Actually, the celebs you mention aren't lightweights. Bono, Angelina Jolie, Al Gore and the like have real clout now.

But only in opinion forming. Alas, they have no power to change laws, only the minds of law makers. This is much, but not, I fear, enough.

1:01AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Thank you for this article.

9:09PM PST on Nov 29, 2011


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