Following long journeys from all across Germany, the delegation of Global Change Ecology students and alumni has arrived safely in Le Bourget, Paris, France. Registration and opening ceremonies took place on Sunday, November 29th, and Monday, November 30th and so far we can say that we are significantly impressed by the sheer size of this conference! In fact, it is the largest conference in the history of international climate policy. The conference site at Le Bourget mirrors the city of Paris itself: the Champs-Elysees serves as the main street on the conference grounds, and leads towards a small replicate of the Tour Eiffel, sparkling and lit-up in red today. In addition to the negotiations themselves, many side events are taking place in the various halls of the venue. The “Climate Generations Area” aims to bring the climate change topics closer to the general public and is open to everyone from December 1st – we’re looking forward to checking it out!
A moment of silence during the opening ceremonies reminded us of the tragic events that took place here just a few weeks ago. In passing the Stade de France on the way, those events feel all the closer, but increased security across all of Paris but also on the COP grounds in Le Bourget are hard to miss. It seems that no one wanted to miss this event – the enormous amount of attendees shows how important these climate talks and the pending Paris Agreement is to all nations of the world.
With a metro pass in hand (which we haven’t needed yet because the Metro was free yesterday and today), a stylish “This was a Sweater” bag over our shoulders, and the gobi water bottle at our side we’re ready for two weeks of observation and networking at this milestone conference in Paris, France!