Classic Day at the COP

Thea Whitman

Some people might be wondering what we do all day at the conference. It’s different every day, but I feel like yesterday was a classic day at the climate talks for me, and thought I might describe it for those at home who are wondering. Spoiler alert: it includes lots of buses.

Many of the CYDers inside the conference centre this week stumbled sleepily out the hostel door bright and early to take the bus to the conference centre in order to kick things off with an 8AM meeting with Canada’s lead negotiator, Guy St.-Jacques, where we discussed the implications of the recent Wikileaks documents for the legitimacy of the Copenhagen Accord. After this, I returned to the civil society area of the conference, where I had a strategy session with my school (Cornell)’s delegation for tomorrow’s meeting with Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality before meeting with Claude Généreux, of CUPE to do an interview for the podcast. Then, it was back over the the Moon Palace  (the negotiations venue at the conference) on a 20-minute bus ride, to participate in a CYD action on tankers. I strategized with the NS-related CYDers for our evening meeting with Jason Hollett, acting climate change director for NS, before heading back over to the Cancun Messe for a side event on agriculture and land use policy, which was related to my research.

The NS meeting was awesome – several of us discussed Nova Scotia’s Climate Action Plan, our Energy Strategy, and the Renewable Electricity Plan. Nova Scotia is really progressive in a lot of ways (despite what John Baird may think). The plans are really solid, and if we keep working toward implementing them, Nova Scotia can really be a leader on clean energy and climate change action. Emilie made some great points about where we could improve our plans and it was refreshing to meet with government officials who seemed to really listen to what we had to say.

We managed to catch the #5 bus home (the one bus that doesn’t go to the fancy hotel zone runs less often, so all the local workers and youth staying downtown have had to wait in long lines, the optics of which are somewhat unfortunate), in time for a meeting with Elizabeth May, where we discussed how the negotiations are going and climate action in Canada. (Just to remind you, the CYD is non-partisan, and we’re looking forward to meeting with John Baird, Gerard Kennedy, and hopefully Linda Duncan and Bernard Bigras, later in the week.)

We managed to start our group meeting by 10:20, to plan for the Via Campesina march happening today, after which, Erica and I went to work on finishing the podcast, publishing it on, the NCRA, the k”>Media Co-op and, of course through our website. We managed to finish our podcast by 2AM, falling asleep to happily dream of COP.


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