My Wednesday, Nov. 13th at COP 19

After I finished getting ready on the morning of Wednesday, November 13th I spent some time looking over the UNFCCC’s Wednesday Daily Programme. The Daily Programme is a PDF document posted online by UNFCCC conference organizers each evening that contains information about the following day’s sessions, side events, and special activities.

Unlike Tuesday’s agenda, Wednesday’s schedule contained few events related to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (the focus area of my and Caitlin M.’s group’s research), which was a tad disappointing. However, I was glad to see that a host of events would be taking place regarding REDD+ (the focus area of Caitlin L. and Rachel’s group’s research). Moreover, being successful in our research endeavors while at COP 19 will require me and Caitlin M. to develop and pursue connections with individuals and organizations that can offer critical perspectives on how the CDM’s Programme of Activities (PoA) could be made more just and more effective. So, a less rigid schedule would permit us to pursue the development of such connections.

First on my and Caitlin M’s agenda, however, was a YounGo morning organizing meeting (for a description of YounGo and its activities, please refer to previous posts). YounGo, which operates using a consensus-minus-one decision making process, spent the majority of its meeting time discussing whether to send a representative to a meeting being hosted by the World Bank regarding climate finance, to which they had been invited by the World Bank itself. I’ll offer a more personal reflection about this YounGo discussion and its result (three people vote against sending a youth representative, meaning that YounGo declined the World Bank’s invitation for YounGo representation at the meeting), but suffice to say that I found it fairly ironic that this youth organization, which has bemoaned the lack of youth participation in COP 19 negotiating processes, would reject a high-profile extraordinary opportunity to voice its concerns about a host of complicated, serious issues. More on this later.

Afterwards, Caitlin M. and I planned out the rest of our day’s agenda. Our second tasks consisted of following up with some connections that we’d made earlier in the week; for example, on Tuesday we met a former employee of the Belgian government agency tasked with buying Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) associated with CDM and PoA projects, so we sent him an email asking if he could connect us to individuals within the Belgian delegation that are knowledgeable about the CDM. Next, we spent a large amount of time navigating the COP 19 exhibit booths, which were established by countries and NGOs in order to provide a space for conference attendees to converse about countries’ and NGOs’ climate commitments and initiatives. We met some very passionate people at the exhibits.

In between the aforementioned endeavors Caitlin M. and I found ourselves exploring the U.S. delegation’s outreach center (more on this later, too), consuming an inappropriate amount of coffee (our sleep schedules have been pretty whack this week), and touching base with Beth, Caitlin L., and Rachel (all of whom seemed to be keeping very busy, too). We also had the opportunity to learn about the historical context of the COP 19 negotiations.  This conversation was one of my favorite parts of today because after hearing what was said I felt much more grounded in the happenings of this conference.   We ended our time at the stadium attending a fairly corporation-centric panel discussion about future opportunities for carbon markets.

I enjoyed Wednesday’s dinner; Beth had scoped out an excellent traditional Polish restaurant, at which we enjoyed pierogis, mead, and other superb food. We stayed there for more than two hours, during which we took the time to decompress from our whirlwind of conference activities from the past three days. Back at the hostel, getting ready for bed was permeated by some thoughtful dialogue regarding consensus-based decision-making and climate activism at Wash U.

The week is now more than halfway over; I’m in the midst of processing what I’ve learned and how I will take those lessons back to WUSTL and St. Louis.

I’ll have another post soon. Until then, y’all.