Lessons Learned from Tweets

Though my personal Twitter account languishes from disuse, this semester I have started tweeting actively under the FES handle. In Doha, I’ve gotten to put this skill to serious work. Through the International Organizations and Conferences class, David Emmerman, Bunyod Holmatov and I partnered with homo ecos, a Latvian NGO whose primary focus is generating environmental awareness and social movements in Latvia. Our role was to help in climate policy research and capacity building for the larger Latvian NGO community. To do this, we produced a policy paper about key issues for Latvia at COP18 (Short primer: http://homoecos.lv/uploads/files/COP18_Short_Primer(1).pdf). The paper was intended for NGOs and ministries and distributed to the Latvian delegation. We also agreed to facilitate a social media campaign for…

Doha is turning into a huge construction site. The COP 18 convention center itself is surrounded by several ongoing construction projects. The high standing cranes seem to signal the country’s ambition in not only expanding its infrastructure but also engaging more in international affairs. The modern, fancy and huge convention center has clearly achieved such ends. It took me more than half an hour to simply walk through the building. I like the giant spider sculpture in the center, the many laptops for the participants to use, the food courts named “Grab n Go” and the wifi server named “Plug n Play”. But when I was about to go the opening ceremony, the volunteer told me the room was full. Last year in Durban, big TV stations lively broadcasted the…

If you think the upcoming Doha Climate Conference will be full of yet more uneventful climate diplomatic fanfare, think again. The Guardian recently reported that the US may be considering diverting substantive elements of climate change governance away from the long-established United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) framework and into an alternative arena – the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF). This move would seriously undermine, or even completely kill the future effectiveness of the UNFCCC. Why might the US to possibly go down this route and what would be the ramifications? Let us take a closer look at both the UNFCCC and the MEF frameworks.

The current UNFCCC framework utilises a consensus-based decision making process, and every word in the…

by Marissa Knodel and Omar Malik

This month, a group of enthusiastic Yale students will take part in the ongoing drama of climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar. They will participate in the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the global stage where countries have been meeting to tackle climate change since 1992. While the experience will be new for the students, seasoned diplomats are prepared for a familiar scene: from Cancun to Durban to Doha, efforts to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and prevent harm to millions of vulnerable people around the world have instead turned into deliberations over the process itself.

Even if developed countries were in full compliance with their Kyoto Protocol greenhouse…