1 day into the UN

Two Atlantic College students, Laura and Lindsay, are attending the COP16 conference in Cancun. They have kindly allowed United Words to publish their blog entries from before, during and after the conference. The original entries can be found on http://atlanticcollegeatcop16.blogspot.com/.

 Laura Emily Rigell (USA, AC 09-11), Lindsay Riddoch (Scotland, AC 09-11)

Another day the Conference of the Youth and my first day at the UNFCCC negogiations and how do I feel? Exhausted, to say the least. But simaltaneously wierdly excited. We managed to get 350 on board with our campaign, which is exciting stuff, almost finished our report, and I spent a lot of yesterday writing emails to encourage people to take notes for delegationsupport.

We also made contact with the delegation from Kiribati, a useful link to start with.
All in all for us quite a succesful day.

Yet nonetheless the somewhat tacky structures of the Moon Palace, the suit wearing serious negogiators and the complex array of acronyms and facts being thrown around made for quite an intimidating atmosphere. I suppose it is to be expected.

On the actual negotiations – here are a few highlights of what was said yesterday. The Mexican President made a hugely powerful opening speech about the need of strong action and the need for it now, he spoke of how leaders should not approach these negotiations as politicians but as ancestors of the human race.
The statement of aims made by all the groups were an interesting start with a lack of concrete commitments from anyone from the West and very concrete requests from the countries of the southern hemisphere.
Also interesting was the speech made by Venezuela on behalf of a number of South American countries which launched a vicious, if unnaming, attack on the lack of American participation in all the negotiations up to this point.
Almost unanimous among the speakers though, and perhaps the thing we really need to aim for in Cancun, was the need for a 2nd commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. For those who don’t know the Kyoto Protocol was set up to have a number of commitment periods, but in the original document they only included the targets for emissions up to 2012, with the expectation that the ones for post 2012 would be written in the interim. So far, they haven’t been.
If you want more detailed notes on the discussions check out delegationsupport.wordpress.com where more and more notes will be posted as the conference continues.

Since Laura hasn’t posted for a while I will say that she is still alive and well and being as overwhelmed and excited by this process as I am.

Blue Skies


-United World Colleges Student Magazine-


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