Today was the opening day of the twenty-first conference of the parties (COP21) and wow was it everything and more than I expected. After an early morning commute and security checks I along with other Moravian College representatives opened the door to what I think everyone anticipated to be the most historical COP of our time. With the news of the approximately 150 Heads of States from around the world planning to show up for the first day we were unsure if we would be able to attend or even enter any of the conferences, side events, and various exhibit booths. With the great news that the venue would still be open to those with accreditation, we made our way into the center. The excitement was in the air between the beautiful artwork lining the different paths, the expectations of Heads of States opening remarks, and COP21 itself. With the expectations to watch the opening address and plenary meetings on large projector screens in separate viewing rooms, I was awestruck when I was graciously offered and received a badge to enter into and sit in on the High Level Plenary meetings where the various Heads of State were giving their remarks on COP21.
Many of the remarks from the Heads of State plenary discussed or touched upon similar topics such as solidarity among member states, transparency, ambition to act now, compromise, shifting incentives from fossil fuel subsidies to alternative energy solutions, and to remember future generations as well as those people who don’t have a voice. I think a good summary of the work expected to be done this COP21 can be from these quotes stated by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, “You (Heads of State) are here to write a script for a new future” and “We must go much further, much faster.”
After leaving the plenary discussion (even though many more Heads of State still had to speak) I was advised to go and attend The Heads of State Media Event on Carbon Pricing which I am very pleased I attended. It was interesting to see the members who made up the team of states who promote and advocate for carbon pricing mechanisms in the economy. A closing remark on the event was “Carbon is the Enemy.”
Overall, I have to say my first day was more than amazing and to think this is only day one …. can’t wait to see what the rest of the week will bring!
until tomorrow, Au revoir!