Protesters: So far I have only seen about a dozen protestors, many who are advocating for GHG reductions through veganism. The perimeter around this facility seems to go on forever, who knows how far they had to walk.
Cancunmesse: After registration, I had my first walk-through of one of the conference facilities. The exhibit hall is full of the usual suspects – from Greenpeace to the Pew Center. In addition to a ton of free amazing publications, the exhibit hall was a great way to find organizations with similar interests…and ask for recommendations on plenaries and side events. I found yesterday that even though the agenda gives pretty good descriptions of events, its not always clear whether the event will have more of a science focus or policy focus. Not that the two aren’t intertwined, but I ended up at a side event last night that went into some technical details about satellites and remote sensing data that was a bit much for a non-scientist at 8PM.
Favorite side event of the day: From Space to Village, Using Space Technology for Improved Environmental Management. NASA and USAID are working with groups in Mesoamerica, East Africa and the Himalayas to put earth observation data into the hands of local decision makers. NASA used amazing imagery to show land use changes in Guatamala and Belize over the last 30 years. There were some tough questions from the audience about why NASA has not declassified more of the available data. The spokeperson for NASA said that they are working to improve access to digital elevation data currently available at 90 meters, to allow open access at 30 meters. Some of the existing technology has been able to demonstrate climatic impacts on biodiveristy and even how deforestation of lower elevation rain forests affects cloud forests.
At this side event, one speaker from the Himalyas was particularly interesting from ICIMON, the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development. He introduced some statistics about global vulnerability that I hadn’t considered. I knew about glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region, but didn’t realize it included over 15,000 glaciers and is 17% of global glacial area. He also had maps of existing land use classifications in the area that have much to be desired. He used this map in the presentation.