Following on “a picture is worth a thousand dollars”

It seems that all are in agreement that climate change will affect the most those who contributed the least to the problem. Let’s call these people the ‘affectees’. I’ve always found it fascinating that you will almost always never find an ‘affectee’ at these meetings. Those of us from the ‘vulnerable’ developing countries are mostly from the labs of research organizations, lecture halls of universities, are politicians, government officials or from the NGO brigade – people whose ‘adaptive capacity’ seems quite intact and whose ‘GHG footprint’ is often comparable to the average citizen of the developed regions of the world. I have been looking out for those people who will be affected the most by climate

The 14th Conference of the Parties has been an eye opening experience.  I have been able to see how many of the organizations I have read about actually conduct their business, and I must say that I am not completely satisfied with what I am witnessing.

Many of the side events that take place throughout the conference are held in buildings adjacent to the main hall.  Walking down the corridor leaving the main area, the passageway opens up to a large, cold conservatory where most organizations have exhibits and booths setup.  Here you will find a plethora of brochures, flyers, posters, t-shirts, CD’s, and mountains of other miscellaneous climate change paraphernalia.  It is interesting, then, to attend an event and watch how many of those items end up directly…

Under a sectoral approach, countries would pledge to achieve GHG intensity targets for certain industrial sectors (such as tons CO2 produced per ton steel). Applicable sectors include electricity, cement, and steel. By encouraging sectoral emissions reductions in non-Annex I countries, sectoral playing fields can be leveled in internationally competitive sectors. Such an approach will likely alleviate fears of job loss/migration and leakage.

In a side event entitled “Benchmarking and Project Based Mechanisms: Can they Work Together?,” Holcium’s definition of “sectoral approach” was provided: a “policy, based on multiple systems with efficiency objectives and implementation mechanisms tailored to characteristics of sectors of society and regional socio-economic development.” This definition raises an important issue: the need to consider differences in national circumstances and economic development. A sectoral approach should…

Good COP Bad COP: fashion

Fashionistas

Today I’ll kick off the first in a short series of observations of everyday life at the COP, as seen through the eyes of an outsider, just so everyone at home can get a feel for it. I’ll start with one of the most visible (if superficial) topics – fashion.

COP seems to have a really heterogeneous style of dress. Men pretty much universally wear suits and collared shirts. You can spot some corduroy jackets and vests – those are the university professors. Jeans are only appropriate for certain NGO events.

Many women wear suits as well, but I’ve noticed that COP actually has its own style. To pull…

Defining COP is an interesting challenge. The main purpose of COP is to negotiate climate change agreements between countries. But COP is so much more than just negotiations between governments. It’s also a professional conference, a trade fair, a networking event, and an excuse to party. Alongside the official negotiations are hundreds of side events. These are discussions, presentations, protests, receptions, and parties. These side events have become an important part of the whole negotiations process. Here, delegates, NGO workers, journalists, and business people meet to exchange ideas and business cards. It’s an arena of relative informality, as opposed to the stifling formality of the negotiations. I suspect that, in many ways, this is where the real action on climate change is taking place.…

Poznan: Good Climate For Talks

Boarding the plane in Munich

The Yale contingent has arrived to the 14th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP14 – the first of endless acronyms). Twenty students will spend the next week observing the international climate change negotiations, this year held in Poznan, Poland.

The welcome posters in the airport proclaimed: “Poznan – A good climate for talks.” So far, it has been! Poznan is a former industrial city about 2 hours by train from Warsaw. Not quite as balmy as Bali, where last year’s negotiations were held, Poznan has been cooler and darker than New Haven, with a crisp mist in…

I found this useful while at Bali in understanding different countries’ policies. (At least we beat Saudi Arabia!)

I hope things are going well for those still there. New Haven is verrrrry cold.

http://www.germanwatch.org/klima/ccpi2008.pdf…

I think the applause that greeted the new Australian Prime Minister during the opening of the high level segment at Bali surprised even him – it went on and on, until even the other dignitaries on the stage started to shift a little awkwardly.  And what a dream welcome to the international stage for the 10 day old Labour government: Prime Minister Rudd at the head UN table, giving an address to a packed opening ceremony, immediately after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Indonesian President Yudhoyono.  His address was littered with the usual platitudes and calls for action that the well-conditioned audience was able to see coming from the other side of the Timor Sea.   However, those words also planted a seed that I fear indicates that Australia’s new…

“David Attenborough has said that Bali is the most beautiful place in the world, but he must have been there longer than we were, and seen different bits, because most of what we saw in the couple of days we were there sorting out our travel arrangements was awful. It was just the tourist area, i.e. that part of Bali which has been made almost exactly the same as everywhere else in the world for the sake of people who have come all this way to see Bali.

The narrow, muddy streets of Kuta were lined with gift shops and hamburger bars and populated with crowds of drunken, shouting tourists, kamikaze motorcyclists, counterfeit watch sellers and small dogs. The kamikaze motorcyclists tried to pick off the tourists and the…

Today at the US press conference, James Connaughton, Paula Dobriansky, and Harlan Watson had much to say about what the US wants to come out of Bali and what they are already doing at home to address climate change. They claimed that “we already have prices on carbon” because of the high price of coal, oil, and natural gas. They even claimed we have a price on carbon because of the automobile fuel efficiency standards that Congress is considering and the tens of billions of dollars it will cost to upgrade the US automobile fleet. Goals of reducing greenhouse gas intensity were trotted out as more evidence that the US is a leader on addressing climate change.

Underlying this claim of action and leadership was the reality that the…