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Copenhagen Climate Talks – Day 1 (for me)/Day 6


-by SURGE Vice President

[Editor’s note: Our vice president is in Copenhagen this week for the COP 15 conference and will be keeping us posted]

Update from COP15, the UN Copenhagen Climate Conference: I arrived this morning, made it to the Bella Conference Center (where all the official events are taking place) within two hours, and proceeded to wait around another four hours trying to sort out accreditation problems…but finally got it sorted, and headed inside! Outside-in, the place is buzzing with people who know so much about climate change – it’s a pretty amazing scene. Standing in line for lunch talking to a friend about biofuels and degraded land, the woman behind me (from a private sector business working in CCS – Carbon Capture and Sequestration) joined right into the conversation! And the rest of the day was like that.

I sat in on the SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) Plenary Session II, which was an interesting exposure to the formality (and bureaucracy) of the system. Most interesting point was Kenya and Australia proposing that CCS be included for eligibility under the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism – the system established in the Kyoto Protocol for rich, developed countries to transfer technology and funds to developing countries to help them reduce emissions while simultaneously promoting development). This is bad news – CCS is a fossil-fuel technology, and while the technology has some potential, it’s not certain, it’s highly expensive, and it’s still years off: certainly not “clean” tech for development.

After the plenary session, I walked back to the main entrance of the Bella Center to meet up with a few U.S. climate friends – and on the way in the course of about a minute passed both Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing (super big-shot from the U.S. delegation) and an Amazonian tribesman in full feathered headdress. That’s COP15!

I also ran into Ben Court, former SURGEr and WWS grad – shoutout to him!

Exhaustion sadly prevented me from going to the NGO party…but I’m pooped. Time to hit the hay and get back to it early tomorrow!

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