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Friday, December 9th: COP Exhaustion
The conference was supposed to end on Friday, theoretically with an evening plenary session that began at 8 pm. However, the meeting only ran an hour, with little to no concrete accomplishments or timeframe for wrapping up the COP. So the COP continues on Saturday, but with much less energy and lower attendance. I can only hope that the skeleton crew here wants to get down to business so we can move on.
In some ways I’m happy the negotiations are still going on, as little has been accomplished, although I’m also getting frustrated that things keep getting dragged out with little assurance of a final, successful outcome. Apparently some parties were at the conference center until 3am last night/this morning, which meant approximately 16 hours of being at the COP for many delegates.
“A People United, Will Never Be Defeated”
One week ago in the big march and rally through the streets of Durban those words were echoed over and over along with many other chants as 7,000 activists from all over the world made their statement.
Were the delegates and ministers from the 191 countries represented at COP 17 listening? I’m thinking not. Now that the COP has finally been gaveled until COP 18 in Qatar next year what are we left with?
Student Group Delivers Over 1000 Petitions to Ask for Clean Energy
Campus Beyond Coal members, UMN-TC students, and community members gathered outside Xcel Energy Inc. on Wednesday, December 7th to deliver petition cards, hear individual’s clean energy stories, and stand for clean energy and a clean future for Minnesota. Students and community members carried wind turbines to demonstrate that the path toward a clean energy future involves renewable energy and energy efficiency. Student leaders and community members representing the Sierra Club, Will Steger Foundation, Campus Beyond Coal, and the Minnesota Youth Environmental Network were present.
Minnesotans gathered at Edina Library last Saturday for YEA! MN’s Learnin' from Durban: Global Action on a Local Scale event. Sheltered from the cold and snow, attendees checked-in on the climate negotiations happening halfway around the globe in the 90 degree heat of Durban, South Africa. Will Steger Foundation Delegates Paul Thompson and John Howard offered their firsthand account of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) via a skype call. We also heard from Steve Suppan from Minnesota’s Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and delegates from countries who will face serious impacts as the climate changes.
The title is an acknowledgement that more than just the US is playing a role here at COP17. Some of the most vocal and straightforward public statements have been made by South American and Caribbean nations, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, and Grenada. These nations are not often shined upon by American media, and partly because of this, I did not expect they would play a large role in Durban. One of the more interesting aspects of the COP process is that every nation gets to be here and has a voice.
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