Friday, December 4, 2015

My Final Day at Le Bourget

How bittersweet today has been. Although it is my final day at COP21 in Le Bourget, my experience has been like no other. After years of hearing about the COP meetings and learning about climate and envrionmental policy in my studies at Moravian, I feel as if I have found my niche and could not think of a better experience than to attend such a prestigous and important event.

I attended an overflow viewing room to watch the negotiations today on the ADP (Ad Hoc working group on the Durban Platform for enhanced action) - a mouthful I know. I'd like to stress the importance for these meetings to be displayed in viewing rooms for observers because it creates a transparant political process that adds to the two-way process. What an exciting event and educational experience no classroom lecture could ever teach. No book could explain to you the tension, anxiety, and passion of delegates as they work through a document and raise questions or concerns about terminology, relevance, and importance of words. People may wonder why the process may go so slow, but in watching such meetings one will certainly begin to understand. Sometimes formalities along with confusion on processes burden the meetings' time constraints and I feel as if it be best to diminish such causes to increase the efficiency of the process, but no political process is perfect, unfortunately the same goes for COP meetings, especially since a consensus is needed for approval of documents and it is a lot harder than you think to get a developed nation and a small island nation to agree on the same thing. 

Here is a link to the document the delegates were working on:

As you can see, there are numerous brackets around phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. These represent where the language is not finalized and still needs a consesus approval. When I first looked at the document I couldn't believe it's length as well as all the brackets it contained. How could we ever get an agreement? But we have to be optimistic that these representatives will continue to fight for action and continue to realize the ever decreasing amount of time and increasing amount of destruction from climate change. 

I cannot wait to see if the goal for the ADP draft to be finalized by Saturday at noon, since when I left at 4 PM Friday they had not moved on from Article 2. We must stay hopeful and be the agents of change the world needs. You can make a difference right at home, it's as simple as walking or riding a bike instead of driving a car, switching of a light switch when leaving a room, planting a tree, recycling, unplugging chargers from walls when not in use, as well as advocating local elected officials to take action on energy efficiency, public transport, and adoption of climate/ environmental action policy. We are all agents of change and we need to work for the world that we want.

Here are some images from througout my week in Paris:

This image along with others can be found displayed throughout the city raising awareness for actions on climate change now. (Translation "Act for Climate)

The Eiffel Tower took on a new look this week with a  light show projection of a growing forest and changing phrases related to climate change action.

Last image walking out of the Le Bourget COP21 venue.

We still have a whole entire other week of COP21 to take action on climate change and develop a binding agreement with consensus from all parties. I will certainly be watching and following and I hope all of you will be too. As Executive Secretary Christiana Figuerra stated in her briefing to NGOs today, "We the people caused the problem, and we the people need to take responsibility."

Happy COP21-ing this is will be an experience I will never forget!

For more updates and to stay up to speed with all things COP21 download "The Negotiator" app on either the Apple Store or Google Play. 

Au revoir! 


  1. The learning experience you spoke of is something I feel needs to be stressed. Yes, not everyone can attend the COP meetings, but there are debates that anyone can sit in and watch. We might not hear the same types of debates. I doubt a local town meeting would discuss global issues, but it is a start. I think that anyone with an interest in public policy should experience this! As you said, it would definitely give one insight on why issues take a long time to be fixed.

    "We the people caused the problem, and we the people need to take responsibility."---- powerful statement, especially since it uses the language from the US Constitution. This was a great take away!

    I also read this with your amount of excitement! I'm so glad you had such a great time, both learning and exploring!

  2. There have been some good town meetings about these issues - at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, at the Lehigh Valley Sustainability conference, etc.