Hi all, today is the first day of the COP 14 (the 14th Conference of the Parties), and it is SO cool. We arrived at the conference just in time to get seats in the back of the plenary session. It was VERY cool to be sitting there, behind the World Bank and IMF representatives- the Holy See was to our left, members of the South African delegation were sitting in front of us, and it was very cool to be in the midst of all these diplomats and representatives. We were priveledged to hear several people speak, including Yvo De Boer who is in charge of the UNFCCC, the Prime Ministers of Denmark and Poland, and the president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As we were walking out of the session, Paige and I were so close to the president of the IPCC and we determined that we will probably never be that close to a nobel prize winner ever again.
After that session we explored some of the booths set up by NGO and other organizations so that people can come and talk about the issues with each other. We visited the United States' booth and talked with a very nice woman named Claire, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. While we did not talk to her about the issues so much, we did talk about how Model UN and the real UN compare, and it seems like it will be pretty similar once we are able to see a real session. Unfortunately, much of the cool important stuff will be in closed meetings, and the big sessions will be all the procedural stuff. We also found out how she came to be here, and she was telling us about this Pickering fellowship, which I will be researching as soon as I finish this blog.
We just came from the US Delegation's press briefing, which was not as exciting as I wanted it to be- I had hoped it would be very West Wing crazy and tense.
Yesterday we went to the very end of the Conference of the Youth (COY), which was both humbling and frustrating. It was exciting to be in the midst of all these young people who really care about the environment, but when we went to one of the small sessions, they all had very specific issues they were pressing; whereas the IC kids are really just here to see whats going on. Most of us went to a session all about being interviewed and how to answer tough questions. At the end of the session, the woman who was leading it went around to every member of the group and we had to answer "What are you doing here" in a sentence- it was very challenging because "I'm here to learn" just didn't seem like it compared with the rest of the answers in the group.
Anywho, this afternoon we are going to a session about gender equality and climate change, a cross-section which I had never even thought of before. We are also hoping to score some free food at the Prime Minister's reception tonight, becuase the food at the conference is VERY expensive.
Until Next Time!