The coolest thing happened to us last night (Monday). Lets start at the beginning...
So, if you've been keeping up on your blog reading you probably know that a bunch of us attended the U.S. press conference yesterday. Actually, we found out today that the meeting was for press only and that we got let in by mistake but, it was really cool and I'm glad we had the privilege. It was interesting to hear for ourselves the diplomatic and hands off way that the United States represents themselves in climate change talks. It was also a bit frustrating to know that the United States does not plan on making a firm ghg emissions reduction goal for 2020 or 2050.
After that we attending different sessions on various topics. Every room I was in I felt like I was surrounded by very intelligent people who are all very passionate about their work involving climate change. It was even more humbling when we went to the reception to celebrate the end of the first day at the conference. I may never again have the chance to be in a room with SO many influential people from around the world. We met a few people from different organizations throughout the night, they were all very interested in us and were great to talk to. Towards the end of the night we met two delegates from small island countries. One was from Barbados and the other from St. Vincent, they were extremely interesting and seemed like fun.
As the reception started winding down, a few of us decided to stay out a bit and go to a bar. Our new found island delegate friends joined us at the Sheraton hotel right down the street. Ok, this is where it gets good. So not only were we enjoying great conversation with two delegates from small island countries but we look over and see Harlan Watson in the same bar as us! Harlan was appointed by Bush to be the U.S. ambassador to the UNFCCC. He is known for his stubborn approach to politics and his lack of negotiation at COP meetings. He was the guy we had seen earlier at the press conference!
it gets better...
He actually came over to talk to us, and I personally had the privilege of talking to him one on one for a while! I asked him about his view on carbon trading in the U.S. as well as his thoughts on the many things Obama has promised us regarding his climate change policies. He was also interested in our group's background and interest in the conference. Needless to say he was a lot more friendly in person than the way he appears at conferences. We were also introduced to an Australian delegate and a NGO person from Canada. Of course we took pictures of the whole thing to have something to back up our stories.
So that's it, the coolest thing ever, my first day at a conference and I have drinks with the delegates...I think this is going to be a great week.