If some of the meetings you are attending are like the ones I’ve been to, there are dozens of people, but only a handful of them actively engage in discussions. Power to those country delegates who want to have their voices heard! I suppose the next best thing is to listen to the discussion, take notes and report back.

However, some meeting participants seem too bored for meeting discussions. It occurred to me that maybe there should be designated seating at each meeting as follows:

  • Last row: for those who intend to be on Facebook
  • Previous to last row: Mobile devices
  • Next row: Email
  • Next row: Twitter
  • And so on, depending on the level of attention.

My most humorous conference moment came…

While the ‘climate negotiations’ keep going, thousand of people wearing fancy clothing are walking in and out of the meeting rooms, drinking latte or espresso, exchanging business cards and using the immaculate bathrooms at the Conference Center. Hundred of volunteers and personnel are working tirelessly to allow the smooth flow of delegates and non-government participants at the COP 17. In each bathroom there is at least one African woman cleaning each square centimeter of floor and walls. Palesa, a young woman from Durban, was resting on the wall with the broom in her hands. She was hired to work from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm every day for two weeks. Her submissive attitude and tired glance encouraged me to talk to her. After a brief introduction I asked her about…

International aviation and shipping represent a growing share of global GHG emissions. With the growing use of airplanes for tourism and of shipping for international globalized trade, miles traveled by both sectors are rapidly increasing, and with them fuel consumption as well.

One of the suggestions on the table to reduce emissions from these sectors, is to charge them with a small levy which would reduce demand for their usage, and raise new revenue for the green climate fund. Thus, a double dividend will be achieved – lowered emissions, and further finance for mitigation and adaptation projects.

At a side vent hosted by the international bodies representing shipping and aviation, they presented their opposition to the levy. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) argued that the levy would…

As some of you have probably already read, next year’s COP will be hosted by Qatar, with South Korea hosting a pre-cop ministerial meeting. I would like to point out a few obstacles this decision may pose to the integrity of the intentional climate negotiations.

First and most obviously, de facto splitting the COP means doubling its price, wasting precious time and a lot of emissions on moving certain delegates who accompany the ministers and participate at the cop, staff, and the ministers themselves, who will probably have to arrive at the COP to sign on its results in any case. Not the best example to set when negotiating ghg mitigation efforts.

Second, having the ministers meeting first and professional delegates translating their decisions to elaborate text

We couldn't help but notice the many air conditioners on full blast next to open doors in the Pavilion

Air conditioners on full blast next open doors at the Pavilion

There are many Pavilions and exhibition areas that accompany the climate change conference. Trying to escape the already harsh sun at 9 AM while waiting for one of the other students, I stepped into South Africa’s pavilion. I was immediately blasted with cold air from a row of air conditioners next to the many open entrances. It’s disappointing to see this common practice here where we are trying to solve the problem caused by wasteful behaviors. As environmentalists, we can’t feel guilty about every decision we make. However, we need to incorporate environmental considerations into our decisions…