Failure to include local governments

On Friday night at 8:15, I went to a very well attended side event on local government. Panelists included Felix Gonzalez Canto the Governor of Quintana Roo State and mayors from Denmark, Vancouver, Mexico City and North Little Rock, AR. Even though all the panelists are elected government officials, they are only allowed ‘non-governmental organization’ passes.

Local Governments side event at Cancunmesse

Ronan Dantec, the Climate spokesperson for United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) said that local governments have the most significant capacity to reduce emissions in a short time and the failure to include local governments affects the credibility of this negotiation. Continue reading

Local Partnerships for City Adaptation


On December 3rd, NOAA sponsored a side event to discuss lessons learned from air quality monitoring in Mexico City and LA over the last 20 years.  The event began with a technical explanation by NOAA of how climate forcing agents and air quality producing pollutants are often the same. The spokesperson from NOAA suggested that reducing emissions for air quality can help climate change mitigation opportunities to create a “win win” situation.  Continue reading

more bad news for Kyoto’s second commitment period

Now Canada seems to be joining Russia and Japan to not extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2010. On Wednesday Japan stated, “Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto Protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances.”  Yesterday, Christiana Figeres, United Nations climate chief said that Canada is 1/3 countries among the 36 signatories opposed to extending their emission targets under the pact.

1st day/1 de Diciembre

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 Entrance. Photo courtesy

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… Continue reading

COP 16? Really? Why?

So far, the two most common responses after hearing about the trip to COP 16 are about:

  1. (1) Sunshine, not surprising given the lack of it in Vermont lately.
  2. (2) Pessimistic opinions about how nothing is expected to happen, also not surprising given what happened in Copenhagen.


    Cancunmesse: Venue for COP 16. Photo courtesy of

Targets set by the Copenhagen Accord are not good enough to stop climate change. No heads of state are even to attend COP 16. Expectations are very low. So why even go? I hope to learn from Latin American countries who, like Vermont, have significant greenhouse gas emissions coming from land use, agricultural and forestry.  I hope to share with them what is being done in Vermont and other parts of the U.S. I’m not holding my breath for internationally binding commitments to solve this problem, so I am interested to see what is being done locally and regionally in different parts of the world. I already know that I will have trouble deciding between events. If anyone has an interest in any specific side events, please let me know, I could easily be convinced to check it out over another event.  Currently the forecast is “mostly cloudy” – not much better than people’s expectations for this COP. We will see what happens.