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Me at Cancun December 22, 2010

Posted by agastyamuthanna in Climate Change.
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I’m going to start this blog post with a summary of the people I have met, the events I have attended and what I have done. I shall start with the superficial. Over the last week I have met several “cool, famous” people. These have almost by definition been extremely short conversation. The first two people I met were The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC secretariat, Christiana Figueres, and the President of the 16th Conference of the Parties (this one) Patricia Espinosa. This was at the initial party thrown by the Mexican Governemnt to, and was nothing more than an introduction and a quick photo.
On Wednesday, I happened to sit down for lunch at a table right next Dr Rajendra Pachauri. We had a quick chat about an uncle of mine he knows and what events he was going to be at COP16. The last was a meeting with Lord Stern, the author of the Stern report.
This meeting was set up by the British Council, and was a mind blowing experience. Six champions got to sit with lord Stern for over an hour discussing the current situation of the negotiations as well as our projects. Lord stern is the rare celebrity who is extremely grounded, well travelled and sparkling with intelligence. He gave all of us extremely relevant feedback about our projects and on many occasions whipped out old business cards he had collected, of people that he had met and who could have a direct impact on helping our projects.
The British Council also set up a virtual skype meeting with Champions from around the world. Champions from over 20 countries participated, and me and Ding (the Chinese champion) filled everyone in on what was happening and discussed International policy with the Champions for an hour.
My attitude to this entire COP was two-fold on one hand I wanted to help the Govt. delegation a s much a I possibly could, which I did consistently, on the other hand I wanted to use this as a 2 week Crash course on climate policy. I have always read a lot about climate policy, and tried to keep abreast with the latest policy proposals. At this COP with all the side events (events organized by different governments , research institutes and NGO’s) which literally had the who’s-who of climate policy speaking I had an opportunity to consilidate everything I knew and learn a lot more.
I sat in on events ranging from the role of the UN in climate negotiations to presentations of the most recent research papers on the Carbon Budget (the Idea that each country has a specific amount it is allowed to emit, which it should not exceed) . This was an amazing learning experience for me. The interesting part is that every single side event is available for free video streaming of the UNFCCC website (http://unfccc.int/) .

Regarding my work with the Indian Delegation, over the Summer I interned at the office of the minister at the with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India. As a result I knew a lot of people coming with the Indian delegation this year, and managed to get myself a role in the delegation, helping out in anyway I could. This was a very interesting experience and through this I got to meet several extremely interesting Indians. I met several young and enthusiastic Indian PhD and Masters students and older and extremely passionate scientists.

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