Its been a fascinating if a bit tiring first day here at COP21 in Paris. I arrived last night on the Eurostar and made the dash over to register as the world and its Limo’ were arriving on Monday where doing normal things like registering was going to be difficult. My first day was one of acclimatisation and finding where things where. Coffee sellers = check, travel pass = check Press rooms where groups of nations would be committing to stuff = check. Being here I suppose its like watching a football match in a huge stadium. You probably get a better view on the TV but nothing beats being here to feel, taste, share and absorb the atmosphere. Yes it does feel like a ‘moment’ but we have all been reminded not to look at this as a make or break moment but as part of a process that will be on going far beyond Paris. But back to a football analogy. Yes to win a season you have to look at all the games but you still remember the key matches. This feels like one of them. (that’s enough football)
I am here as part of the International National Trust Organisation Delegation. Our security passes state that we are here as ‘Observers’ to bare witness, to form partnerships and even in our tiniest butterfly wing sort of way cajole for the recognition that culture, heritage and conservation have a big part to play for our future generations and that Climate change is the single greatest threat to this. From arrival today in the new hybrid busses, past the phalanx of EV cars and the snipers (yes that’s right… many a sniper today on grassy knolls) the overall atmosphere was one of solutions. There was not much reminding of what climate change meant but there was an emphasis on the ‘possible’ On the INTO stand we had Canadian Indigenous Indians, Mongolian representatives, African ministerial representatives and so on. All with one thing in common which was one of ‘finding a way’ to deal with the Climate change threat. I asked a few ‘old hands’ at COP’s what was the feeling like in Paris compared to the previous ones and the response was ‘it feels like we are all working towards a solution’ rather than paying silly beggars with brinkmanship
As well as the getting to know the site day I also popped into a few of the many observer sessions including the Mary Robinson chaired session on funding for the most impacted nations (lots of ministers standing up to pledge funding… is this new funding, will it appear and such like is probably another blog?) I was interviewed for Climate Change TV (RTCC). We won an award last year at Lima COP for our Hydro work from RTCC. The Kingdom of Netherlands site gave a good show on their overall approach to mitigation and the list went on of what was on the go. The big cheeses were in town and all seemed to be saying aspects around ‘future generations, once in a life time, have to do stuff now, moral obligation’ which were all good scene setters. Now lets see if thoughts turn to deeds in the next two weeks and then beyond. Tomorrow I have a presentation at a UNESCO hosted session in the centre of Paris… I will be featuring a ‘roof gutter’ as my climate change indicator. More to come!