COP15 coming to a close…

As the negotiations are coming to a close, a select number of world leaders are struggling to come to an agreement.

Here is a smattering of recent press:

World leaders come together to continue meeting

The world’s leaders have come together once again to move the climate negotiations forward, after having gathered in smaller groups during the afternoon.  At the same time the UN conference continues in the form of large meetings.  Barack Obama, Wen Jiabao, Ban Ki-moon and Fredrik Reinfeldt were among the speakers in plenary during the afternoon. Continue reading


Senator John Kerry: “Amateur hour is over. It’s time for science fact to trump science fiction.”

Wednesday, December 16, our last day in the Bella Center due to NGO restrictions, was an intense day.  In the first meeting, we witnessed the resignation of COP15 President Connie Hedegaard and several Heads of State statements, as well as the concern from developing countries regarding the imposition of the Danish text.

Senator Kerry at the Bella Center

I left the plenary to hear U.S. Senator John Kerry discuss the critical role of a global deal in advancing domestic legislation.  Kerry is the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and lead author of the Senate’s climate bill.

As I was attempting to enter the meeting, I ran into Brice Lalonde, Kerry’s first cousin and French ambassador in charge of international climate change negotiations since 2007.  I had the luck of finding a seat in the front row!

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CMP Plenary: Report from the AWG for KP Track on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark

Breaking News:

Meeting opens over 30 minutes late due to heightened security.  Brazil and India delegates upset about security, and both had difficulty getting into the plenary.  After several delegate statements, including a renewed call for action from Tuvalu, COP15 President Connie Hedegaard resigns.  Danish Prime Minister (PM) Lars Løkke Rasmussen is now also the COP15 President, and Hedegaard will be his special assistant regarding informal consultations.

Now waiting for high-level segment including statements from Heads of State…More to come!

For a flavor of the current discussion:

Rasmussen: “The whole world is seeking a solution to climate change, and not just procedure, procedure, procedure.”

China: “Not just procedure, but substance…not here to obstruct the process.”

As you can see, it is getting tense here.


Transparency & Civilian Participation Falls Apart at COP15

After a disappointing day for many of us, who waited in seemingly endless lines to nowhere, the COP has essentially come to an early end… at least for observers.

As anticipated, COP15 has become the most attended climate COP to date.   Unfortunately, the Bella Center in Copenhagen (capacity of 15,000) is not large enough to handle the overwhelming number of parties and observers that traveled to Copenhagen (over 30,000) to view history unfold.  Today at the COP, it was announced that a new system for entry would be instituted for the remainder of the convention.  As a result, our ability to observe has been significantly restricted.  The VLS delegation was issued only 4 secondary badges that we can use at any one time to enter the Bella center to view negotiation and side events.  However, even the secondary badges are not going to ensure our access.  Continue reading



Half Way

With the first week of the COP 15 coming to an end, a draft proposal is finally on the table, although it leaves many of the details still “to be determined.”  http://unfccc.int/files/kyoto_protocol/application/pdf/draftcoretext.pdf

During negotiations this morning, Tuvalu made another impassioned plea for the world to realize that its very survival depends on a binding and effective  agreement.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuG5vR3HJDU]

Negotiations this afternoon went back and forth as the parties are still divided about whether or not to abandon the Kyoto Protocol  in favor of a totally new agreement.   

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Renewable Energy Advocates Get Upclose Look at Middelgrunden Windfarm.

Denmark has been a leader in renewable and clean energy for over 40 years.  While some policies were perhaps misguided, like banning car use on Sundays in the 1970’s, slow but steady expansion of the country’s renewable energy portfolio has allowed the country to maintain its emission levels while boasting of continuing healthy economic expansion.  One of the best examples of the country’s advances in renewables technology is the Middelgrunden windfarm located just offshore in Copenhagen’s harbor.  Built in 2000, it currently has twenty 2 MW turbines that generate a total of 40 MW of power (about 3% of Denmark’s total requirements).   [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0Qi5xBA-ow] Continue reading



Dramatic November Leaves Hope for Significant U.S. Contribution at COP15

Reading a recent article highlighting Sen. James Inhofe’s now-international obstructionism on efforts to stem climate change, I was struck by how eventful and dramatic the last few months have been for folks who have been paying attention and are holding their breath for actual progress at the Copenhagen Conference of Parties.

Beginning back in mid-November many of us were shocked when national news outlets casually threw out the dour headline “So much for Hopenhagen,” effectively calling off the push for a binding international agreement while at the conference. Continue reading


A global perspective…

As part of an exchange program at Vermont Law, I am spending my 3L year studying law in French at l’Université de Cergy-Pontoise.  Although adapting to the French method of learning has been challenging, I have also found it to be an excellent learning experience.  Specifically, I believe that the time I have spent here over the last couple of months has given me some practice in explaining the U.S. position on issues such as climate change to those who view us from afar. Continue reading