UN officials have just admitted that there were more than 45,000 people in the conference center where COP15 is taking place, nearly 30,000 more than the center was officially designed to hold. Registration has been suspended and hundreds of people continue to wait in the freezing cold to pick up their badges, including a correspondent for The Japan Times, who remains outside as I write this, after standing in line for over six hours.
The UN also just now announced restrictions on the number of NGOs that will be allowed in for the rest of the conference. They will need a secondary badge that will be issued by the UN starting today. Those badges will be limited in number, forcing many who have been briefing the media inside the center to provide information outside the conference hall via the Internet.
It is unclear why the United Nations agreed to allow so many participants to register for badges when they knew the building had a limit of around 15,000 people. The UN was aware at least a week before the conference that overcrowding could be a problem, as press registration was suspended on Dec. 1.