As I sat yesterday afternoon and watched negotiating blocs deliver their opening remarks to the opening plenary of the 17th annual UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP17), a clear picture began to emerge: parties were there to point fingers, not create solutions.

The delegate from Argentina spoke first, representing the G77+China group, a conglomerate that consists of  (in spite of the name) 132 self-described developing nations plus China.  She declared that “although developing countries have not contributed to the creation of the problem, they continue to suffer worst.”  She continued along this theme, noting that developing countries have already done their part to address the problem of climate change, calling for a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, and making promises to negotiate “constructively…

Durban’s first day of negotiations was a fight for framing the debate – who is not doing their share? How much time do we have to reach a long term agreement? Was the Cancun agreement a huge success or rather just a stepping stone?
Umbrella group, representing The US, Canada and other developed nations described a reality of relative success post Cancun, with a challenge of implementation and widening the circles of participation in emission reduction through it. While they did not claim that time was in abundance, US negotiator Jonathan Pershing’s estimation that a long term agreement would not happen until 2020 illustrated de facto acceptance of he pace negotiations have been conducted. Reciprocity was also key issue – we cannot move ahead until all emitting parties are seriously…

Hello from Durban, South Africa! As Team China, over the course of the semester we have been researching China’s climate policy, both international and domestic, and how it relates to the climate policies of other key Asian nations, such as India, Japan, South Korea, and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) here in Durban, we will be following the Chinese delegation’s movements at the COP.

The  conflict between China and the U.S. received a lot of press during the past two COPs in Copenhagen and Cancun, and not all of it was rosy. Thus, we’ve been hearing that China’s main goal at the Durban COP is to do a bit of PR work, highlighting the climate achievements of…

I’d like to take a pause in my “fun” series on New Haven (stay tuned for one on “Arts & Culture” and “The Great Outdoors” coming in December) to address what I consider the most frequently asked question by prospective students that I meet with: What really is the difference between the Master of Environmental Science (MESC) and Master of Environmental Management (MEM) (or similarly, the Master of Forest Science [MFS] versus the Master of Forestry [MF])? This is an especially important question as you are undoubtedly carefully considering your application that is due in just 2 short weeks (December 15, 2011 at 5:00 PM EST… don’t be late!) and this is one thing you will have to hammer out before then. It isn’t a decision to take lightly—it may…

Greetings from sunny Durban South Africa!

After a very long trip, we are here with representatives from around the world at the Conference of the Parties 17/Meeting of the Parties 7 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (for you acronym lovers – COP 17/CMP 7 of the UNFCCC).

Students from Yale are participating in a variety of capacities – many are working with the Maldives and others are working with organizations such as Islands First and Latvian Non-Governmental Organizations. You will be hearing from these different perspectives along the way in this blog and you will likely see that, as they say “where you stand depends on where you sit.”

Two of us are working with the representatives of Afghanistan to support their involvement…

A wonderful tidbit of information from this morning’s COP17/CMP7 plenary meeting: the outgoing President of COP16/CMP6 is Patricia Espinosa of Mexico, the incoming President of COP17/CMP7 is Ms. Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa, and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC is Christina Figueres. Notice anything in common? Power to the women in leadership positions!…

Seeing the puzzle for the pieces...

Greetings from Durban, South Africa!  My name is Lauren Graham (MEM, 2013) and I am here at the COP17 representing Team Red Cross (TRC) that also includes Kanchan, Vanessa and Sophia from the International Organizations & Conferences course.  This semester, we have been working with Pablo Suarez of the            Red Cross Climate Centre to examine various issues related to climate change and humanitarian response.  I have personally been evaluating how well climate change information has been integrated into the disaster response policy of RC national societies.  Look out for another blog post with a summary on TRC’s work over the past few months.

Here is a brief outline of the categories of issues that I will…

The 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has begun.  COP17/CMP7 officially got underway this morning in Durban South Africa but the Yale crew attending the conference got underway on Friday.

We arrived at the Ballito Life Hotel on Sunday Nov 27th at 5:40 PM.  For me this was  47 hours after leaving New Haven.  The total air time was just over 18 hours with a short layover in Amsterdam and a night spent in Johannesburg.  After getting some food I did a little work on my Sustainable Development final paper, which is due this Thursday, and went to bed. I got up at 5:35AM to go for a short run.  Our hotel is an hour bus ride from the…