Today is the first day of negotiations, our second day at the COP, and the impressions keep pouring in. The Climate Generations Area opened today, a space accessible to the general public. On an impressive area amounting to 27 000 m², 340 civil society organizations are showcasing their work and engaging in debates, not only with the public, but policy-makers and observers as well. For us, this has meant that the number of events to choose from has tripled. The COP, in short, continues to be overwhelming.
Today, we finally went to our first ADP meeting as sessions having been closed for observers yesterday. For those of you who don’t recall, the ADP (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) has been responsible for building the Paris Agreement in the lead up to this Conference of the Parties. It is abundantly clear that underneath the studied pokerfaces of the negotiators is a sense of urgency and overwhelming importance. This is quite appropriate, seeing as the most optimistic statement on the future of the climate which I have heard so far was “well, the window to reach the 2 degree goal isn’t completely closed yet”.
No time to dally then! Consequently work schedules are packed, with the ADP working in parallel in at least five spin-off groups, supplemented by several informal meetings on different portions of the text. As has been the case in past years, smaller delegations are worried because they simply haven’t the capacity to send people to all ADP meetings – and there are also other subsidiary bodies where input is needed!
Lesson of the day: Time is short, resources are scarce, and the stakes are high – both for the delegates, and all the rest of us. We’re looking forward to tomorrow!
– Henrike Schulte to Buehne