It is hard to believe it has already been two weeks since our time at the COP ended. It was a hectic and incredible experience every day. There were always several events or meetings going on at once and we constantly found ourselves running from one to the next. However, my personal favorite part of each day at the COP was reading the ECO newsletter which was handed out as you walked into the venue each morning. The newsletter was one page, front and back, and it had several different articles about negotiations or other big things going on at the COP. It was the perfect way to stay updated on everything that had happened the day before, since obviously we can’t be in every meeting or negotiation ourselves.
At the very end of the newsletter was a section called the Fossil of the Day Award. This award, given out by CAN International, was announced every day in the early evening. Its given to a country that is viewed as not doing their full part in the conference that day. There is a ceremony that goes a long with the award, including the playing of the Jurassic Park theme song. The Fossil of the Day Award is a great way to call out countries to do more.
On the last day, CAN gave out the Colossal Fossil, or the Fossil of the Year award, to Australia. Australia received 5 Fossil of the Day awards in the two weeks of the conference. You can watch the last Fossil of the Day below:
Half of the Dickinson research team is into their fourth day at COP20 and we are starting to get into a bit of a groove, but in traditional COP fashion it is hectic and can shift without notice. It starts off for me with a 06:30 wake up time. I spend the next hour gathering my things, running across the street to the supermarket to grab my breakfast and lunch, and then walk to the shuttle bus to COP at 07:30. The bus rides are long, but provide a good place to meet Party delegates or other observers (that’s what we are). We also occasionally fall asleep on the busses, since they are so comfortable.
By 08:30 or 09:00 we arrive at the venue, after which we generally sit down for about an hour and talk about the coming day’s events or interviews. We then break off to either track down delegates to speak with, head to the exhibition hall to meet interesting people from all around the world, attend side-events, attend negotiation sessions, secretly slip into closed events until we are politely asked to leave, or conduct interviews. This morning I will be attending a side negotiation and text editing session on Climate Financing Mechanisms. This type of event is one where negotiators from the Parties attend and offer edits to text in the draft agreement or discuss the negotiations.
At 11:30 everyday most of the group attends the Climate Action Network (CAN) press conference in Press Room 2. This is a great 30 minute press briefing hosted by CAN, a global network of civil organizations. Three new panelists speak everyday, one is usually form Greenpeace and the other two are generally wild card NGOs. They touch on everything from negotiations around forestry to the discussions around what the “safe” warming limit is. Afterwards we grab the business cards of the three panelists, in hopes of interviewing them later.
The mornings go fast and by 12:00 we are all sweaty and exhausted, so at 12:30 we have the team meeting, eat some lunch, drink water, and rest our aching feet. Soon after we are back on the hunt for delegates or doing scheduled interviews. For instance my afternoon today involves and interview with a Professor from PSU, an NGO observer who we spoke with after a press conference, and an observer from a second NGO (CDKN) that works on knowledge brokering (post on this forthcoming).
The afternoon are also when most of the side-events occur. This afternoon I will be sitting in on one that is about promoting climate technologies. This events provide good information for our research paper, introduce new research, and are a great spot to find delegates or experts to interview about research topics. We also tend some time running around the exhibition hall doing quick interviews with those representing groups that pertain to our research.
Around 18:15 I generally head to the exit with a few others, but some of the group stays until 20:00. Once we are back in the city, we find a good dinner spot. Last night we had some Middle Eastern food, and the two nights before we enjoyed great local food at a restaurant called Mezze. After dinner, we all converge at Butler University’s abroad center. They have kindly offered it to us in the evenings as a meeting spot. Here we download the footage we shot throughout the day and discuss how the day went. Generally we are out of there by 22:30 and head back to the Flying Dog (our hostel).
For the next couple of hours I usually organize my things for the next day, take a shower, grab a bite to eat, download any more footage that wasn’t downloaded at Butler, and relax for a bit, always making it to bed by 01:00.