Katowice COP24 Tuesday Dec 4
Another long day and with more energy and action than the previous.
Negotiation on Common Time Frames
After our constituency meeting, we went straight to the Common Time Frames negotiation, which was an open session.
Basically, for each country’s nationally determined contribution report (emissions targets), they have been trying to decide collectively on the timeline — whether they should be required to submit at the same time, how frequently, etc.
So, there was a negotiating session with a bunch of countries for two hours today where they were working on deciding what it’d officially look like.
- It was efficient that many different countries spoke on behalf of their negotiating bloc — so Colombia spoke on behalf of the AILAC bloc, Saudi Arabia on behalf of Arab States, etc
- It was very congenial, collaborative, efficient — each country basically addressed the points they wanted their opinion to be known about and just stated where they were at
- It was a special opportunity to get to hear the countries respond to one another’s points, to progress on different ideas, particularly one approach by China that took a bit of clarification and then was agreed upon by many, and to just see this being played out since it’s important, will impact climate negotiations for years to come, and we got to be in the middle of it, very near the negotiators
- It makes sense that it’s this way, but I was still a bit surprised by how organized they were going into the event. Countries weren’t really arguing, but rather stating opinions and working on moving towards a finalized text — where a draft was put together by the facilitators and being spoken on
- This issue wasn’t particularly complex at this stage and many ideas were similar, so it was a pretty effective and easy to follow session
Event on water
After that, I went to a side event on water. Such a massive and important topic that touches the entire gamut of climate and development-related concerns. There’s countries needing to prepare for rising sea levels and floods as well as others preparing for droughts. Water is a key component in hydroelectric power, which is a growing industry. It touches agriculture in a big way, and there are other externalities.
I know very little about the world of water, but was exciting to hear where things are at a bit and to hear from global leaders.
Negotiating NDC info
This was the long, tough afternoon session I went to. Basically, negotiation was happening on the NDCs in relation to their features, ICTU (Info for clarity, transparency and understanding), and accounting for emissions after the release of reports. It was a long working document and countries had a wide variety of different ideas.
Following was a bit challenging and mind-numbing. But, again, being there was special, the stakes are high, and hearing all different opinions was informative.
Blockchain and the environment
At the end of the day, I went to a panel on blockchain.
They talked about different use cases, who’s working on bringing the tech into conversations, and other issues related to implementing them.
I think climate finance is the biggest use case since $ that is given to countries that are often very corrupt could be tracked via the blockchain so that it’s adequately used, which would be massive, especially since large-scale projects across the entire world are very necessary.
There are other cases as well, like trying to keep a registry on trees, and using smart contracts that I think could be interesting, but are either more technically challenging or less immediately useful. Just my opinion, though, and honestly don’t know too much about the blockchain.
Highlights and takeaways
- Being in the negotiations today felt very real. Also weirdly reminded me of bid vote for my fraternity where there are these discussions and you have to take into account other people’s opinions, work and listen when you’re tired, and the stakes are relatively high (of course much higher here)
- I was thinking about how cool it was to be here, but one of my friends in my class made a good point that although it seems like this wild experience for us, the stakes are super high and it’s just this very important thing for the negotiators that could (some would argue) determine, or at least impact the future of the planet
- Water is extremely important
- There are tons and tons of new people and it’s a challenging balance between going to the negotiations, side events, relaxing so I can pay attention, and meeting those around me
- The opportunity cost of each minute I spend at this conference is massive since I could be doing so many different things while I’m there, like meeting people, hearing a huge diversity and range of people talk and so on. Puts an emphasis on maximizing the time
- There was a ‘party’ at the end of the night with tasty food, drinks, and a live rock-ish band that was fun
- The days are real long, and super packed, but been a solid, learning-filled experience thus far. Wild that it’s been 3 days already