Yesterday was the first day of COP19. There is an incredible amount of activity here at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. Here is a quick overview of some of the most interesting and controversial events from yesterday and today. Blog posts focused on specific issues and impressions are in the works!
Last night we attended a reception at the Warsaw University Library. There were appearances from Hanna Gronkeiwicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw; Christiana Figueres UN Climate Secretary and Marcin Korolec, President-Designate of the Conference and Polish Minister of the Environment (all pictured below).
The library was a stunning venue for the reception and the Polish government arranged a variety of music and entertainment acts for the evening.
One of the musical acts that performed last night was The Recycling Band who play instruments made from recycled materials.
Check out this video on how they have made their instruments and you can listen to some of their songs here.
This morning, we all attended the Youth in Non-Governmental Organizations (“YOUNGO”) meeting. YOUNGO is very interested in seeing a meaningful agreement come out of the negotiations that is calculated to significantly reduce emissions and move away from fossil fuels. Some of the NGOs represented are: Connected Voices, Sustain US, Young Friends of the Earth, Global Voices and [Earth in Brackets].
There are several working groups operating as part of YOUNGO, including Loss & Damage, Fossil Fuels, Adaptation, Intergenerational Equity, Capacity Building, Finance, and Land Use, Agriculture & Forestry. You can follow YOUNGO through their facebook group.
At the YOUNGO meeting this morning, Sustain US and Climate Action Network (“CAN”) announced that they would engage in a solidarity fast to show their support for the Philippines. This announcement spurred a discussion of possible solidarity fast by YOUNGO, but no agreement was reached on the parameters for how such a fast would be conducted. Sustain US and CAN started their fast this afternoon and it remains unclear whether they will be engaged in a complete fast or whether they will solely be fasting during the hours that COP is running each day. Follow Sustain US on twitter to see photos of the action and CAN’s blog to stay updated.
Jake and I went to an informal consultation on CDM modalities and procedures this morning. We heard from the European Union, Togo, Indonesia, South Africa, China, Brasil, Malawi, Switzerland, Lebanon, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Egypt on what elements of the CDM they think should be reviewed and revised and whether new sections should be added.
The discussion yielded a lot of interesting ideas and perspectives, but ultimately the parties were asked to focus on whether they actually be expected to create new modalities and procedures in Warsaw or merely guidance for future work. Looking at the schedule for the next two weeks, the CDM group realized they would only meet two other times, once for 45 minutes and once for an hour and half. It was clear how difficult it is to accomplish substantive goals like revising modalities and procedures during the Conference of the Parties itself. Some delegates suggested that an electronic working group be created where parties can write proposals and new language. The co-chairs facilitating the session agreed to try to find time to arrange an additional meeting in the hopes that some substantive progress can be made. However, it was noted that it would have been best if new or revised sections were drafted ahead of the conference that could be re-worked and potentially adopted over the course of the next two weeks. The parties also discussed the possibility of meeting informally if additional time could not be scheduled.
Informative blogs and twitter feeds to follow:
TckTckTck is an alliance of 400 NGOs: https://twitter.com/tcktcktck
Adopt a Negotiator follows negotiators from several key countries: http://adoptanegotiator.org/
[Earth in Brackets] is a group of students from the College of the Atlantic: https://twitter.com/earthinbrackets
International Youth Climate Movement: https://twitter.com/IYCM