At the heart of COP17 in Durban is how countries will respond to and cope with climate change. For the most part the discussions will centre on technological and economical policies and implications. However, the health care impacts of climate change tend be overlooked. The health care impacts of climate change do not receive as much attention because they are difficult to study and they also affect the most marginalized populations in developing countries. This semester, I’ve been able to learn first hand about the humanitarian consequences of climate change working with the Red Cross Red Crescent through the FES 850a International Organizations and Conferences course at Yale.

Through my collaboration with the Red Cross Red Crescent, I’ve appreciated how we are only starting to understand the how climate…

Katy Clark and I studied the issue of REDD+ and its implications for indigenous rights as we evaluated a joint project currently being implemented by the Coordinator for the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Environmental Defense Fund and the Woods Hole Research Center.

Deforestation, conversion of forests to other uses, and forest degradation currently cause about 15% of annual global carbon emissions. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a program under negotiation at the COP that is a mechanism for wealthy countries to pay for efforts in developing countries to reduce rates of deforestation. REDD appears to offer one of the few good chances for agreement at Durban that most countries would…

South Africa music and dance

Kudos to the South African conference organizers for putting together a wonderful venue and performance at last night’s opening reception, which was held in Durban’s City Hall. It was a great opportunity to network, but also to enjoy ourselves and get immersed in South African culture.

South Africa music and dance

South Africa music and dance

Personally, I greatly enjoyed talking to Dr. Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, “Pachi” — as he is warmly referred to — was noticeably disappointed at the lack of science on the opening day. Opening-day meetings were all about politics, not science. Dr. Pachauri will be addressing conference attendees on Wednesday Dec 30th. I also…

The LDC, or least developed country, negotiating bloc delivered its opening remarks yesterday at the COP17 plenary.  Speaking on behalf of the forty-nine least developed countries in the world, the delegate from The Gambia noted the devastating effects climate change has already had on the most vulnerable members of the world population over the past twenty years.

The number of floods has more than doubled over the past decade among LDC countries.  Meanwhile, droughts are occurring with greater intensity and much more unpredictably.  According to the delegate, thousands have died and thousands more may share a similar fate if parties do not act.

The consequences of inaction regarding climate change, he noted, will be “catastrophic to our countries and our peoples.”  Most poignantly, he called all nations, not…

As I sat yesterday afternoon and watched negotiating blocs deliver their opening remarks to the opening plenary of the 17th annual UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP17), a clear picture began to emerge: parties were there to point fingers, not create solutions.

The delegate from Argentina spoke first, representing the G77+China group, a conglomerate that consists of  (in spite of the name) 132 self-described developing nations plus China.  She declared that “although developing countries have not contributed to the creation of the problem, they continue to suffer worst.”  She continued along this theme, noting that developing countries have already done their part to address the problem of climate change, calling for a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, and making promises to negotiate “constructively…

Durban’s first day of negotiations was a fight for framing the debate – who is not doing their share? How much time do we have to reach a long term agreement? Was the Cancun agreement a huge success or rather just a stepping stone?
Umbrella group, representing The US, Canada and other developed nations described a reality of relative success post Cancun, with a challenge of implementation and widening the circles of participation in emission reduction through it. While they did not claim that time was in abundance, US negotiator Jonathan Pershing’s estimation that a long term agreement would not happen until 2020 illustrated de facto acceptance of he pace negotiations have been conducted. Reciprocity was also key issue – we cannot move ahead until all emitting parties are seriously…

Hello from Durban, South Africa! As Team China, over the course of the semester we have been researching China’s climate policy, both international and domestic, and how it relates to the climate policies of other key Asian nations, such as India, Japan, South Korea, and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) here in Durban, we will be following the Chinese delegation’s movements at the COP.

The  conflict between China and the U.S. received a lot of press during the past two COPs in Copenhagen and Cancun, and not all of it was rosy. Thus, we’ve been hearing that China’s main goal at the Durban COP is to do a bit of PR work, highlighting the climate achievements of…

I’d like to take a pause in my “fun” series on New Haven (stay tuned for one on “Arts & Culture” and “The Great Outdoors” coming in December) to address what I consider the most frequently asked question by prospective students that I meet with: What really is the difference between the Master of Environmental Science (MESC) and Master of Environmental Management (MEM) (or similarly, the Master of Forest Science [MFS] versus the Master of Forestry [MF])? This is an especially important question as you are undoubtedly carefully considering your application that is due in just 2 short weeks (December 15, 2011 at 5:00 PM EST… don’t be late!) and this is one thing you will have to hammer out before then. It isn’t a decision to take lightly—it may…

Greetings from sunny Durban South Africa!

After a very long trip, we are here with representatives from around the world at the Conference of the Parties 17/Meeting of the Parties 7 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (for you acronym lovers – COP 17/CMP 7 of the UNFCCC).

Students from Yale are participating in a variety of capacities – many are working with the Maldives and others are working with organizations such as Islands First and Latvian Non-Governmental Organizations. You will be hearing from these different perspectives along the way in this blog and you will likely see that, as they say “where you stand depends on where you sit.”

Two of us are working with the representatives of Afghanistan to support their involvement…