It’s the first day of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention, and I can’t imagine a more different conference from what I experienced in Copenhagen last year. The sun is brighter, my room isn’t in a youth hostel with six other grad students, and the negotiations are being held in a resort called the “Moon Palace” rather than the stark and utilitarian Bella Centre. But aside from the obvious differences between venues, what strikes me most is the difference in attitude and expectations.

Most of the international community went into Copenhagen last year expecting a landmark legally binding sequel to the Kyoto Protocol. Hundreds of heads of state flew in from all over the world, and countless protesters clamored outside, eager to have…

Students from the Instituto Tepeyac Xcaret show off their amazingly detailed work. On the left, their dark representation of what the Earth will become if no action is taken on climate change, and to the right, their representation of the eco-friendly world in which they hope to live.
I’m here in Cancun working with the international sustainable art organization ARTPORT_making waves. Yesterday my team and I went to Climate Change Village, the official cultural site for COP16, to screen some of the first selections in the film program we’ve put together. The Village, a collection of carnival tents erected along a roadside 13km north of the Moon Palace, is intended to “promote dialogue related to environmental issues amongst non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.”

But several journalists with whom I’ve talked think the decentralization of the COP16 venue is going to take some fizzle out of what is usually a lively cultural and artistic scene. In fact, at the physical heart of the COP so far seem to be the autoroutes between the…

I am a member of the Yale Delegation at COP 16, but I am also a delegate with the Federated States of Micronesia. The conference officially opened this morning with a welcome session.

Prior to the welcome session I spoke with a woman from another delegation on the shuttle ride over to Moon Palace, one of the main meeting locations. She seemed apprehensive about what, if any outcome would be achieved during the Conference. I am hopeful, that there will be a positive outcome from the conference, but I also wasn’t in Copenhagen at COP 15. People are still talking about it, and it’s disheartening to see that many of them still aren’t happy about it. It seems that the trust amongst parties has taken a beating, which is…

REDD+ Partnership and International Demand Side Drivers

REDD+ Partnership Work Plan Meeting in Cancun

As part of the Yale delegation, I am working for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) to promote the adoption of policies and language in the negotiating text that addresses international demand side drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.  The EIA is working in tandem with the Environmental Climate Alliance (ECA) a conglomeration of international NGOs that have similar goals with regards to REDD and international forest policy.  Prior to arriving in Cancun, I analyzed the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s (FCPF) REDD readiness plans (R-PPs) and UN REDD National Programme documents (NPDs) of several REDD countries to determine how they have incorporated drivers of forest degradation and deforestation into their…

By Andy Barnett.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published this essay online. It is from the heart:

Note that the comments fall into two categories:

1) Vitriolic climate skeptics who sound VERY similar to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the right-wing noise machine.
2) People who think climate change is an urgent problem that requires global response.

When the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy sponsored “Global Warming’s Six Americas” they suggested that Americans fall into these categories

“Alarmed (18%),
Concerned (33%),
Cautious (19%),
Disengaged (12%),
Doubtful (11%), and
Dismissive (7%).”

I’m fascinated by the Op-Ed comments on the Star Tribune site. Seems like the “Dismissive” group was fired up as soon as they read the essay. While they…