There are daily constituency meetings; my mornings typically start with the Research and Independent NGOs meeting since I serve on the RINGOs steering committee. It is a chance for participants to review what is going on in the various tracks that they are following; a "Cliffs Notes" version of what is progressing (or not). This is helpful for those who cannot be everywhere at once or who aren't inclined to sit through too many lengthy negotiations sessions that often move at a snail’s pace. At the end of these meetings, it is often a good time to check in with students from Moravian’s delegation. Today, the researchers from the U.S. – many of them representing the next generation of scientists and lawyers who will work in the environmental field – gathered to discuss an upcoming meeting with the U.S. delegation (i.e. from the State Department of the only country that is now publicly pulling away from the Paris Agreement). Oh, what an interesting conversation that will be!
|Three women in STEM and from the Rocky Mountain Science and Sustainability Network|
"Discuss the chances and challenges energy intensive industry is facing on the way to GHG-neutrality; Identify how the framework and instruments of the Paris Agreement can support industry on its way to become GHG-neutral by 2050; showcasing (inter)national initiatives that contribute thereto."I listened to information about carbon pricing, the company Bosch’s story (or propaganda, depending on your perspective), the ability to purchase certificates (carbon offsets), and ways to become more energy efficiency. Yawn. The business world, like many scientists, needs to learn to be a bit less dull.
|A typical session audience|
Besides the negotiations and side events, many countries have pavilions where they offer their own programming along with some cultural flare, and there are countless exhibitions from NGOs, universities, think tanks, and other organizations. Having come to these events for many years, I enjoy wandering around reconnecting with interesting friends from around the world, including people I met at the community-based adaptation conference in Uganda last summer from Bangladesh and Zanzibar, representatives from Mediators Beyond Borders International, faculty from other campuses, etc. I had two back-to-back conversations with people who had been in Svalbard this past summer! It is, ironically, a network of friends with a high carbon footprint from travel. Tonight, I will have dinner with a French glaciologist who studies in Scotland and does research in polar regions. And that is a typical day at a COP meeting: exhausting, but never dull.
Some scenes from around the COP:
|Yes, those are lights made from hollowed out fish!|
|The last 4 images are from the Fiji Pavilion - the official host of COP23 even if we are in Bonn|