Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 2* @ COP15: Getting My Feet Wet

My first day at COP15 in Hopenhagen was a bit anti-climactic as I still had some serious jet-lag issues and was finishing up some editing for a solar PV report I’m working on with Zizzo Climate Law. We are identifying the barriers to the adoption of rooftop solar projects for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. So despite the hangover euphoria of Canada “only” getting third place in the Fossil of the Day Award competition for Day #1, I was in my own little world. Nevertheless, there were some highlights:
  • At the opening of the conference, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer expressed his hope that agreement could be reached on a strong and long-term response to the urgent challenge of climate change.
  • A number of countries stepped up their willingness to take on commitments to reduce or limit GHG emissions in recent weeks, generally increasing hope at COP:
  • China indicated that it will target an emissions intensity reduction of 40-45% between 2005-2020;
  • Brazil has offered to reduce its emissions by 36-39% below a comparable reference level by 2020 including the objective of reducing rainforest deforestation by 80%;
  • South Korea has pledged a 30% cut below reference levels by 2020; and
  • Indonesia has expressed a willingness to reduce emissions by 26-41% below business-as-usual depending on how much assistance it receives from Annex I countries.
  • Copenhagen (renamed Hopenhagen for the purposes of COP) has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2025 and given the multitude of cyclists and wonderful public transit in place, I wouldn’t bet against them.
  • The IPCC held a panel that opened with a fervent defence of the scientists at East Anglia who were at the centre of “Climategate” and the rigorous methods used in arriving at in their reports. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, drew attention to the criminal nature of the hacking.

    On a more personal note:
    • Smørrebrød: I had my first culinary foray into Danish delectables with a couple of this country’s “famous” open-faced sandwiches. I have decided they are better than Iceland’s equally “famous” hot dogs but the French need not worry that their world-reknown baguettes will be usurped from Scandinavia.
    • Latte: I somehow convinced myself that spending $6 on a morning latte was money well spent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fan of the northern European coffee (hello, Iceland!) but that’s even a price, Starbucks would blush at. The fun epilogue is that there was free coffee being offered outside the conference centre by the likes of Greenpeace. I probably missed out on fair trade, shade-grown, bird-friendly morning java! Sigh.
    • Islands First: A number of Canadian legal colleagues have volunteered to assist building capacity for small island nations to better participate at COP. Since Guam and Palau are still on the to-do list, I have decided to join in!
    That’s a wrap, folks! Hopefully, I’ll have some pics and a few neat stories to tell tomorrow. Warmingly yours, Climate Rob

    *It’s my first day, but second of the conference.

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