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…