Adam Welz's Weblog

Climate branding weirdness in Copenhagen, 10 Dec 2009

Posted in ALL BLOG POSTS, nature & environment, random bits by adamwelz on December 10, 2009

Hi All

well, my post from two days ago about Lumumba Di-Aping has gone huge — thousands of hits on this site and many more over at’s updates blog, where it appeared in slightly shortened form. It’s been marked up as the 76th most popular post for 10 December in the WordPress top 100 ranking!

I’m unable to follow up with such a huge scoop today, having been in an office furiously working away at a press release for‘s African climate awareness events this weekend, but I have been Twittering energetically. I tweet only what I think is current and useful, not random nonsense, and am pretty well plugged in to a number of networks at this Copenhagen climate conference, so if you’re interested in climate issues and the COP15 confab you’ll find my Twitter stream at (After the confab my Twittering will revert to being about more general enviro issues, birds and birding, and the odd other interesting thing.)

In between typing sessions I managed to squeeze out for a lunch sandwich, and stumbled into a small square holding some of the climate-related exhibition stuff that’s all over this city at the moment.

Climate wonks are fond of saying that the Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ also means ‘opportunity’. I have no idea if that’s true.

What I do know is that the English words ‘climate crisis’ translate into ‘branding opportunity’.

It’s quite incredible how many big names have used what is probably the biggest threat to a stable future for us all to promote their brands. There’s the giant Hopenhagen campaign that is all over town, sponsored by, among others, Siemens, Coca-cola and Carlsberg beer. (Siemens, having been handed down the largest corporate fine in US history not so long ago — for massive and systematic global bribery — doubtless has some major image-polishing to do. I have no idea what fizzy drinks have to do with climate change — maybe they want to take the CO2 out of the atmosphere and put it in cans?)

The square I found my lunch sandwich in had a groovy Polar Bear skeleton sculpture made of bronze that had been set inside a Polar Bear-shaped iceblock, which was now melting. Great symbolism I guess, but the Panasonic ads all around the pedestal made any gravitas it once held, vanish. Save the climate — now buy a cheap video camera, dammit! Eish.

On the other side of the square was a mysterious golden box that informed us that Brad Pitt was (singlehandedly?) going to save the planet. I looked through the windows and all I saw was a messy office inside with no Brad. Perhaps he was hiding under the desk?

Peculiar. But perhaps not any more peculiar than the things going down in the serious negotiation environment at the giant Bella convention centre at the edge of town, where, if the waves of quiet, serious climate denialism emanating from most country delegations don’t get to you, the high-volume version from the nutty Lord Monckton might.

Maybe it’s just lack of sleep, but this bit of silly of youth climate activism made my day!