by Gabrielle Carbonell Praz -- November 29th, 2010
Sharing the first experiences at the COP.
For a first timer at a COP, just sitting on a bus heading towards the events is a rich experience. Traffic due to the arrival of so many participants to COP 16 makes commuting from hotels to the COP location longer than you would expect (1 hour and a half). Still two great things happen when commuting. First of all you are able to meet people from all around the world with very different perspectives on the climate problem, and second the trip is actually a panoramic view of the beautiful Caribbean beaches and tropical vegetation. The mood in the bus so far is easy going and relaxed. Though, again, these are first impressions, let’s see how it evolves.
But what is going on at COP 16? Several meetings are going on at COP 16, the COP meeting, the CMP reunion, the SBI, SBSTA discussion, the AWG LCA and the AWG KP plus hundreds of side events lead by non-profit organizations and private companies.
The official events are mostly related with these official groups’ discussions and presentations on the science of climate change led by the IPCC. Official events are taking place at the Moon Palace Hotel. A spectacular location by the way. Side events are all concentrated in a nearby location at the Cancunmesse, built specifically for the event. Interestingly enough, so far COP 16 has not achieved an agreement but has at least made the face of Cancun change towards a more environmentally friendly one. About 47 million pesos (approx. 5 million US dollars) were invested in improvements to the city to accommodate the COP. The federal government has promised to at least offset the carbon footprint of the COP through the installation of ONE wind turbine and the acquisition of carbon offset certificates. But the question, that only time will answer, is if the changes and this green inertia will be “sustained” at Cancun. Actually this is not a local question exclusive for the Cancun case, this is THE global question.