On Tuesday the politicians take over at Copenhagen, which helped account for the febrile atmosphere on Monday. On Wednesday the most gruelling part of the whole fortnight begins, with heads of government and other senior politicians booked in for more than 36 hours of speeches, from Wednesday lunchtime to past midnight on Thursday. Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, and Kevin Rudd, the prime minister of Australia, get star billing on Thursday morning. Luiz Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, must be feeling at little apprehensive as he has to follow Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad of Iran, who has a tendency to cause uproar.
Pity the representatives of Romania, Yemen, and Kyrgyzstan, who are propping up the bill after midnight, with poor Afghanistan right at the tail end. UN officials say some countries may decide to be merciful, and submit texts of their speeches, rather than insisting on delivering them in person.
As the business end of the talks approaches, the pressure on the facilities at the conference venue has become intense. Copenhagen’s Bella Centre has a regulation capacity of 15,000, and there are more than 45,000 delegates and obsevers, including 3,500 journalists, who have registered. People who arrived yesterday morning for the first time were waiting eight hours to pick up their badges. Caio Koch-Weser, vice chairman of Deutsche Bank, was spotted among the throng trying to get in.