Monday, December 1, 2008

First Day of Climate Change Talks

It was a cool and damp morning in Poznan as the Annual Conference of the Parties (COP14) got under way today. Frost tipped the grass and by the time I approached the conference centre, breathing felt almost like drinking.

The first day of these meetings is always is an interesting contrast of excitement and dullness, anticipation and resignation.

  • Meeting dear climate change buddies - this work breeds close connections.
  • Ten thousand delegates converging together to solve one of the Worlds' greatest threats

  • The opening speeches are seldom stirring or inspiring, recycling established positions and offering platitudes

  • The possibility that these talks could deliver some real outcomes such as a deal on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries (REDD) - a concrete activity for developing countries to help combat climate change while saving biodiversity and forest-dependent communities.

  • To the slow pace of the talks and the low expecations expressed by the Parties to the Convention.
At the end talks on the first day and before the host country even has a chance to welcome everyone at its formal reception, Poland has earned a "Fossil of the Day" - the award given each day by the Climate Action Network to a country with the worst performance for the climate. Poland's crime: trying to pull down Europe's ambition and commtments in the lead up to this meeting.

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