By Angel Hsu and Christopher Kieran
A group of Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies graduate students are following the Chinese negotiations team over the two weeks. These posts are originally being featured on Green Leap Forward and also cross-posted on Climateprogress.org and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy’s blog.
The China Information and Communication Center (中国新闻与交流中心) held an unpublicized press briefing featuring Su Wei (pictured center of panel), China’s lead negotiator and Director-General of the NDRC’s Department of Climate Change. While mainly consisting of reporters, the event was open to anyone – well, just about any one of 50 people with their ear to the ground who managed to squeeze in early before crowds more were turned away. We were two of the lucky few who successfully navigated to the quiet back corner of the Bella Center, near the Chinese delegation’s offices, where the briefing took place. The briefing also came after China and the G-77 delegations canceled their press conferences this afternoon, only to restage them later in the day, supposedly in response to some controversy over leaked Danish draft text. But more on this later.

A group of Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies graduate students are following the Chinese negotiations team over the two weeks. These posts are originally being featured on Green Leap Forward and also cross-posted on Climateprogress.org and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy’s blog.

Angel Hsu is a Doctoral Student at Yale University, focusing on Chinese environmental performance measurement, policy and governance.  Prior to Yale, she worked in the Climate Change and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think-tank.  There,she managed the GHG Protocol’s projects in China, which focused on capacity-building on greenhouse gas accounting and reporting standards for Chinese government and businesses…

this should give you the feel of the Bella Center, the home of the UN’s 15th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen, Denmark…

Yale has a strong representation at the COP15 talks in Copenhagen. F&ES students will post their observations from the conference here in the blog, and Yale Environment 360 will have frequent reports as well…

Some of the most productive events we attended were actually social events.

For instance, I made some great contacts at the NGO party hosted at Tuba Klub on Saturday December 6. Imagine all the non-profit organizations working on global warming and sustainable development – Greenpeace, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 350.org, Conservation International – all on one dance floor. Fascinating! Not only did I meet a student at Oxford studying climate change adaptation in the tourism sector, my exact paper topic for Professor Bailis’s class this fall, but I also bumped into a veritable climate celeb – the man himself, Executive Secretariat of the Conference of the Parties, Yvo de Boer! He was very approachable, and answered a few questions I posed. I told him I was a…

This statement, paraphrased to describe the 14th Conference of the Parties at Poznan by Margareta Wahlstrom, the newly appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction was followed by an essential question: are we waiting with anticipation or are we waiting with foreboding?

Until as recently as 5 hours ago, I would have said the general sense was of foreboding. A sense of foreboding that originates from considering the issues that we are currently facing, such as the lack of political leverage at many levels, the prejudice and difficulty in communication across topics, sectors and regions, the lack of information regarding cost-benefit analysis, the limited resources and institutional capacity at the local sites and the unclear financial mechanisms –along with the problems already mentioned in previous comments within this blog. Additionally, we…

I heard this theme—that REDD is not just about carbon storage—in two strikingly different contexts over the last few days.

On Saturday, in the opening plenary of Forest Day 2, Sunita Narain, stated that one of the three main forestry issues in the negotiations is that forests are not just places of carbon storage, but habitats for communities. To preserve communities of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, a successful REDD deal must have equity as a prerequisite.

Yesterday, during the financing and investing session of Business Day, Peter Gardiner, Natural Resource Manager, Mondi UK, criticized some aspects of the REDD dialog. He stated that REDD should not just focus on deforestation: essentially, he too said REDD should not just be a about carbon storage. However—in…

The current political transition in the U.S. is affecting our national strategy here in Poznan. The current head negotiator, Harlan Watson, is still taking his cues from the Bush Administration, which makes the U.S. more irrelevant than ever. At a press conference yesterday, Watson said that his team has had no contact with the Obama administration. The short session with the U.S. delegation Monday revealed little of substance. All Harlan could say was that his team was trying to keep all options open for the incoming administration.

 

Far more revealing (sort of) was a briefing by a U.S. Congressional delegation given later in the day. This event had much better attendance on the assumption that the assembled staffers representing Rep. Dingell and Senators Kerry, Lugar, and Snowe…

My impression of the UNFCCC process, which is now almost 15 years old, was that much less gets accomplished than planned. I’m starting to realize that this is because the ones doing the negotiating are humans.

Attending the COP is a really draining experience. Meetings can start early in the morning and can last until late into the evening, and some people have breakfast meetings to prepare for the day’s events. All the attendees have just flown in from all over the world, so they are jet-lagged and adjusting to a new time zone. I watched a delegate from China nap while the AWG-KP (Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol – there’s a mouthful) discussed mitigation targets – kind of…