Dispatches from Copenhagen
Friday, December 18: A successful COP?
Thursday, December 17th: It Only Gets Harder
Wednesday, December 16th: Cheerful Danes and Accreditation Woes
Tuesday, December 15th: Posturing and Politics
Monday, December 14th: Surrounded by Mayhem
Sunday, December 13th: Trust and compliance
Saturday, December 12th: "Sights" in Copenhagen
Friday, December 11th: Into the depths of the Bella Centre
Thursday, December 10th: Welcome to Copenhagen
Friday, December 18: A successful COP?
In the past couple of days, there was already talk about COP16. Much of that talk centered around how much more enjoyable it would be to stand in lines in December 2010 in Mexico City than it has been here in freezing Copenhagen. This talk of COP16 is both good and bad. It is bad because unless something spectacular happens during today, there is a very strong possibility that the only thing that will come out of the COP is a statement thanking the Danish government. The talk of COP16 is good because although some countries are hoping for the process to fail so that the G20 could deal with it—or fail all together—there is considerable hope that the process will continue and eventually reach agreement.
I spend yesterday morning before dawn, lining up in the 20° blowing snow, waiting to be let into the Bella Centre so that I could present at our official side-event. I was the first person in line and someone from the Canadian government was going to come and escort me inside. However, over the night, new rules had been made—you had to either have a new green or black pass (I didn’t) or already have a temporary pass (I didn’t). After explaining to the fairly kind Danish police officer that someone from the Canadian delegation was going to come and escort me inside to get the temporary pass, he made it clear that unless Ban Ki Moon came out to get me himself, I was not getting inside. After leaving, rejected (again), I found out that all official side-events had been cancelled for Thursday and Friday. Luckily, our consortium had anticipated such an outcome and already had space and advertised for an additional official (but outside the Bella Centre) side-event at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law.
Our quasi-official side event when off without a hitch (other than a freezing room) with James and I presenting about various aspects of climate finance. Last night, we had the closing reception at the first CO2-neutral hotel in Denmark where we had the international launch of our Climate Finance book, launched a couple of weeks ago by Amartya Sen and Georg Kell of the UN Global Compact at NYU. The book was a big hit, especially because it could be downloaded for free. A couple of professors indicated that they are thinking about using it as a textbook and I found out that the table of contents for the book had been circulating around the UNFCCC secretariat for a bit now.
In the afternoon, I got to indulge my other love—Danish modern furniture. Copenhagen has not one, but two, museums devoted to Danish design. In a whirlwind afternoon, I was able to hit both the Danish Design Center and the Kunstindustrimuseet (Danish Museum of Art & Design) where I could revel in all the Danish chairs I had loved from afar, and make plans on how to spend all of next year’s salary. As well, a couple of days ago, Kate Miles, a lecturer at the University of Sydney and NYU Law alum, and I brazenly walked into the Royal SAS Hotel, (high security venue during the COP) to lounge in the Egg, Swan and Ant chairs while drinking coffee. It was the world’s first designer hotel and one of those places that I had to visit before dying.
I blog now from the Copenhagen Airport, getting ready to fly to Reykjavik and then to NYC. On Monday, we will be posting a COP round-up with contributions from all of those that attended from NYU. And we will also be telling you about our new blogging project beginning in the new year. Over our time at the COP, we have realized that there is a lack of analysis of many of the ideas in climate finance. While we have been posting some of those ideas here (James’ post on Sunday), as well as Dick, Benedict and I blogging at Opinio Juris, we are going to launch a new blog to tackle some of these substantive issues on the new blog.
I really hope the weather is warmer in NYC than it is here.
-- posted by Bryce Rudyk
Thursday, December 17th: It Only Gets Harder
No doubt, negotiators in Copenhagen will be up all night, trying to forge language that can bridge the large divides that still remain between key players. Getting to an agreement that can set up the next round of talks for success, without giving up too much bargaining power, is no doubt the first priority for all parties. But as we keep moving from discussions to the moral and value questions of responsibility for taking the next step, the negotiations will only continue to get harder.
At COP 15, the focus on climate financing and monitoring, reporting, and verification shows a real desire to work out the nuts and bolts of how we can achieve real emission and adaptation gains. There has been less focus on lofty goals, and more focus on the pragmatic realities of coordinating the massive international cooperation that will be necessary to bring down carbon pollution.
At the same time as the negotiations, largely tucked away and secluded from view, has been the massive civil society theatre. Protesters outside and inside the Bella Center, businesses and trade groups, scientists and "skeptics," parliamentarians from Bangladeshi districts in the cross-hairs of climate change and a certain Senator for Oklahoma who is bent on maintaining the status quo.
In all of the cacophony, various narratives compete against each other, with villains (rapacious industrial countries and "capitalists" who are spoiling the planet; greedy developing countries that want to funnel adaptation money into personal coffers) and heroes (the climate change "truthers" holding their smoking climategate emails, or young people sitting-in at the Bella Center demanding action "now"). Like it or not, it is these narratives, as much or more than scientific data or economic reality, that will dictate climate policy.
It is anybody's guess who is winning this fight. Judging by the speeches, the science of climate change is now widely accepted. Without the United States giving support to the "skeptics," it is only the likes of Saudi Arabia, with its obvious interest in preserving the status quo, that are buying into the climategate fantasies about a vast global scientific conspiracy. Now that we are exiting the relatively stable ground of science, however, we move onto the much more difficult and varied terrain of morality and values as we decide who pays, how much, and when. With science, at least there is some observable world that can form the basis for shared belief; in the realm of values, arriving at some level of shared agreement will be much more difficult.
The political agreement that will be announced on Friday, if we are lucky, will an important first step in creating that deeper consensus. "Common but differential responsibilities" - the famous phrase from other environmental treaties that describes the relationship between developed and developing countries in dealing with environmental threats - is likely to remain a basic principle. But it will be in its ability to add flesh to this idea, that COP 15 will ultimately be judged.
-- posted by Mike Livermore, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law
Wednesday, December 16th: Cheerful Danes and Accreditation Woes
The Danish Police, and the Danish COP organizers, are getting savaged in the media here and around the world. But that as not always been our experience here. Meera de Mel writes about her experience in attempting to get a late accreditation for Professor Richard Stewart to attend the COP.
“The streets remain calm and civilized. Traffic is minimal and the sidewalks are not bustling except down in the city center by the river, where the myriad protestors and counter-protestors remain with camps set up. But what's really remarkable is the experience here at the Bella Center on Monday afternoon, as lines of eager on-lookers snake around the sprawling conference center and into the subway station (which was so crowded it was shut down at certain points today). The dark descends by 415, the air temperature precipitously dropping, and people are getting restless and anxious as rumors of further-limited access throughout the week ripple through the crowds… New badges are nearly impossible to obtain, and even current ones will no longer get you access after today, we're told. We are lucky enough to storm past the crowds with our hard-earned passes from Thursday, on a mission to see if, indeed, the rumors are true.
My task sounds deceptively simple: to get clearance for Professor Stewart to come to our side event on Thursday. We just need a day pass, and he is a high-level speaker, so one would assume this wouldn't be so tricky. However, the little speedbumps we first encounter quickly become big and obstreperous roadblocks… The US State Department has informed us they can't help without White House clearance, which is impossible to get at this point. The numerous NGOs that we are affiliated with are having to send their people home, their own access is so limited. Our own accrediting agency is struggling to figure out if even they can get back into the event come Wednesday. The mood, needless to say, is becoming grim and a little panicky.
What is most remarkable in all of this, in the midst of the swirl of emotions and egos…. I realize when I finally reach the front of the creeping line… is that the cheery Danes are somehow remaining ever-cheery. People are shouting, one woman is even tearfully pleading, while her male companion paces angrily behind her. "They only are letting the CEOs in!" one girl cries in frustration. "You must must help me!" The security guards, the receptionists, the welcome desk folks, and the janitors…. They all smile and patiently explain the situation, over and over again. They acknowledge the frustration, sympathize with the angst, even offer up supervisors to go to plead special cases. Without ever raising a voice or an eyebrow. They remain calm and gracious and relaxed, and as a result, the mood-- while filling with anticipation and distress, for sure, particular as the negotiations remain off the rails this afternoon -- is surprisingly relaxed, despite all odds.”
In the end, it was impossible for us to get accreditation for Professor Stewart, and even into the Bella Centre until late Tuesday afternoon. After the protests that happened inside the Bella Centre on Wednesday afternoon, they have further clamped down and are only letting in 300 NGO members on Thursday. That selection was done by lottery earlier and I wasn’t selected. However, I am supposed to be presenting at an official COP side-event tomorrow in the Bella Centre. It means I have to get up quite early (5:30am) and trudge through the large amount of snow that has fallen and get assistance from the Canadian delegation (I’m Canadian) to get me a temporary pass to attend our own side-event. It will be interesting.
-- posted by Bryce Rudyk
Tuesday, December 15th: Posturing and Politics
With the world's attention turning more fully to Copenhagen as presidents and prime ministers begin to descend upon the Bella Center this week, delegates and observers in the packed convention center grew increasingly frenzied on Monday afternoon. Besides the usual bevvy of colorful, costumed protesters and the teeming crowds at plenaries and side events, the pressure became palpable around 11:00 AM as a number of delegates from African countries, India, and other developing states were seen storming angrily through the halls. What was going on?
The answer was less than obvious.
Tensions had already been simmering between Annex I (developed) countries and the G77 (developing countries), but conflict came to a public boil Monday as members of the G77 walked out of the talks to protest what they saw as a dangerous eagerness among developed countries to scrap the Kyoto Protocol in favor of a new treaty framework. Although most observers expect any new treaty to be signed not here in Copenhagen but at COP16 in Mexico City next year, developing countries tied the Bella Center in knots Monday over fears that some Annex I parties are seeking to "kill Kyoto" without agreeing on any commitments to take its place.
By Monday night, the public crisis had passed; G77 delegates were back in the plenary hall. But a deeper problem emerged overnight, with China-U.S. disagreements over "monitoring, reporting, and verification" taking on new urgency. In a nutshell, where the U.S. wants to know that any improvements in Chinese emissions intensity are real and verifiable, China wants assurances that its sovereignty will be respected at all costs.
In order to understand Monday's maneuvers, it is important to take a step back and bear in mind that the Copenhagen talks are proceeding on two parallel, acronym laden, tracks. First, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) is discussing how to extend country-specific emissions targets beyond the 2012 commitment period. As my colleague Bryce explained yesterday, China is not an Annex I country, and the U.S. never signed on to Kyoto, so the KP negotiating track is somewhat of a bare bones operation.
At the same time, however, some delegates from the G77 and negotiating blocks like the African states and AOSIS (the Alliance of Small Island States) see Kyoto as the only real set of commitments that matter. From the perspective of historical emissions, the concept of "climate debt" makes a lot of sense. However improbable, then, the KP track may be the best way for these states to capture this concept in anything close to binding legal language.
Most of the action this week is in the second negotiating track, known as the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA). From a possible deal on U.S. and Chinese emissions commitments to climate finance (see NYU's Climate Finance website for more information) or REDD, the LCA track is abuzz with proposals, counterproposals, leaked "drafts," and even some draft "leaks" that seem anything but.
As security at the Bella Center tightens today, many NGO observers (and even some delegates) have decamped to the hotel next door, where the International Emissions Trading Association has been hosting side events all week long. I've just come from a great panel discussion with U.S. House and Senate staffers on the future interplay between domestic legislation and an international climate treaty regime. Stay tuned for more news shortly!
-- posted by Dan Firger (J.D. M.P.A. '10)
Monday, December 14th: Surrounded by Mayhem
I had intended to write today about our weekend events (which went brilliantly), but events at the COP and announcements from governments today need to be mentioned. Things at the Bella Centre are certainly heating up as the weather outside gets progressively colder—even the Danes are saying that it’s cold out.
Nearly 40,000 people have registered to attend COP15. However, the Bella Centre has a capacity of around 15,000 people. I assume that they thought that not all the people registered were going to show up. But from the horde of people waiting outside the Bella Centre, that was an incorrect assumption. All morning, we heard that the line to get in was quite insane (there was even a notice on the metro trains about it).
On arrival, James Chapman, Meera de Mel and I were able to get right by the secondary line as we already had our accreditation passes. As we got closer to the building, there was another very large group who had already gotten through the secondary line, but were not yet being allowed to get inside. A double line of police created a corridor for us to walk through this crowd and get inside the building. We were like rockstars. Or at least rockstars with COP badges.
A colleague of ours (and a contributor to our Climate Finance) Arunabha Ghosh was among the people attempting to get accredited today. After waiting 8.5 hours to get his pass, he wrote, “if this had happened in a developing country, we'd have been saying 'poor governance', 'need for capacity building', etc.” And from today, the COP organizers have strictly rationed entry even for those that are already accredited. There are questions whether all of the speakers at our side event on Thursday will be able to enter the building.
On the inside, things are looking up for climate finance. Last year in Poznan (COP14), Mexico made a proposal for a Green Fund that would take contributions from both developed and developing countries, though not the least-developed countries, based on responsibility (emissions) and capability. The proposal had been tepidly received and to the best of my knowledge, no large developed countries had signed on. Earlier this afternoon (just after the African delegation walked out of the negotiations), Norway and Mexico re-proposed the Green Fund. The inclusion of Norway in the fund means that it might well get more support this time around. What is most exciting is that Mexico and Norway estimate that between 30-$40 billion may be raised annually by 2020. Recent estimates by the UNFCCC and other reputable independent suggest that $75-105 billion will be required by public funds, so the Green Fund is a good beginning, but won’t be sufficient to meet the necessary funding from public sources.
Furthermore, as Dick, Benedict and I blogged over at Opinio Juris public finance will be only a part of the solution to the “financing question” as it is being referred to here at the COP. Also necessary will be fairly significant levels of private finance, which are not included in the Green Fund proposal, nor any financing proposal before the COP. However, there was recognition in the very recent negotiation draft from the Chair of the AWC-LCA (the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action—where most of the negotiating is happening) that private finance was a necessary component of any financing deal. This is the first time that private finance was definitively (not in square brackets) included in a negotiation draft.
And back to our weekend events. On Saturday we held a research meeting, and Sunday, a climate finance capacity building sessions. Both went quite well, with a number of academic, student, NGO and negotiating delegate participants. The results from the Saturday session will help to shape our academic research project at the International Climate Finance Project for the next year. One particular insight was that discussed by James yesterday. Although all weekend, the Copenhagen Law Faculty (where we were hosted) was surrounded by protests and marches, our only interruption came from tolling church bells. Directly across from the law building was the Vor Frue Kirke, where in the presence of the Queen of Denmark, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Desmond Tutu, the bells tolled 350 times symbolizing the number of parts per million of carbon dioxide the atmosphere can absorb before we will face a global mean temperature increase of 2 degrees. Pictures and a video of the bells will follow soon.
In other exciting news, two NYU Law community members have just posted interesting blogs on climate finance: Michael Livermore, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Integrity and who is here with us in Copenhagen, at the National Journal; and Terra Lawson-Reamer, a former JD-Ph.D student in Law and Society and now assistant professor at the New School, at Huffington Post on REDD.
Tomorrow, Dan Firger (’10) will be blogging about his day with the Ecuadorian delegation and the current negotiations on forest issues.
-- posted by Bryce Rudyk
Sunday, December 13th: Trust and compliance
Much of the negotiation drama during the past week here at the COP has been the escalating dispute between China and the US. While we don’t know what’s happening behind doors, there are quite stern words passing between the two in public. The breadth of the dispute between the two is wide, but has been focused most recently on the concept of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV).
There is general consensus that the climate regime post-Kyoto will be bottom-up. This means that countries will decide on their own nationally appropriate mitigation and adaptation actions, implement them, potentially link them to other countries’ actions, and then monitor them via domestic mechanisms, report them internationally and subject them to external verification. This MRV is the “cost” of participating in the international regime.
But China and the other BASIC countries (India, South Africa and Brazil) are now suggesting that MRV in the traditional sense above is only for those domestic mitigation actions that receive international funding. In a sense, they only want to participate fully in the international bargain when they are being paid to. China has even proposed a new term to demarcate this difference in meaning: ASA (auditing, supervision and assessment).
This development is relevant not only this week, but especially in the coming months and years as there a few ways that this will interface with some other elements in the climate debate. The first thread is US policy, in particular certain provisions in the cap-and-trade bills we have seen bouncing around the Hill for the last few years. These bills have required an appraisal of a foreign country’s abatement efforts in two contexts: when foreign allowances are allowed for compliance in the US scheme, and when a border tariff will be imposed on imports. These bills in general require “comparability” of foreign efforts to those in the US to produce a favourable outcome for the foreign country concerned (its allowances can be used in the US or no border tariff is applied to its exports).
These bills rarely make clear what constitutes “comparable” effort, and the extent to which this decision is dependent on whether foreign allowances or border tariffs are being considered. Little discussion has focused on the international provisions of any of the bills, and an assumption that “comparability” refers just to a similar price on carbon in the foreign jurisdiction is hasty and requires a little more thought.
The second thread is the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), enshrined in the UNFCCC, to which the US has signed up. This suggests that there might be some ambiguity, within this context of “comparability”, in the standards expected of foreign abatement endeavours depending on whether developed or developing countries are being considered. For example, the EU might be expected to meet a different standard than India, not just in goals but also in the methods chosen to achieve those goals. The third thread is the new paradigm outlined above, in terms of both (i) the soft-law, domestic actions focus and (ii) ASA rather than MRV for some actions.
The US is showing signs of balking at both of these last elements, which are being framed as a departure from accepted practice. However, if the lens of CBRD is applied not just to an appropriate distribution of efforts among the international community (the nominal goal of Copenhagen) but also to the US “comparability” criteria, both elements of the new paradigm begin to look as though they could form the basis of “comparable” efforts in both developing and developed countries. To this end, further exploration and elucidation of what would amount to “comparable” efforts would be useful in the context of COP15 to evaluate negotiating positions and drafts. The greater the extent to which efforts are regarded as sufficiently equivalent and the degree of trust placed in these efforts, the fewer hindrances the flow of climate finance will encounter in the years to come.
Tomorrow we will be posting about the events that we have helped host over the weekend and the plethora of insights that resulted from both the research seminar and the capacity-building course.
-- posted by James Chapman (LL.M '09), CELUL Research Fellow
Saturday, December 12, 2009: "Sights" in Copenhagen
While high-level discussions on climate finance were taking place today at the University of Copenhagen Law Faculty, another seminal event unfolded in the heart of town as thousands of demonstrators and an equal number of excited observers gathered to press urgent action on the environment. 40-50,000 were expected, and I imagine at least 30,000 showed up. Meera de Mel and I slipped surreptitiously into the heart of the protest to give you a firsthand account from ground zero.
“What are you looking to accomplish out here today?” I asked one oversized Nordic man dressed as a polar bear and holding a placard that read I’M GLAD TO BE NO ICE BEAR. Next to him, a dozen or so members of a communist party held up Soviet-like flags and offered me a brochure.
“I’m out here to have some fun and do my part to protect the climate,” he responded in English just about as good as mine. “My wife and two kids are right over there and we’re all headed to the Bella Center. Are you here to demonstrate, too? Where are you from?” When I told him California, he told me about a recent trip along Highway 1 and asked me if I had ever been to Sequoia National Park. As we were talking, another man dressed in a bright green save-the-environment suit walked passed me with a placard that read BLA BLA BLA ACT NOW.
On a day that global warming felt like it had escaped this frosty Scandinavian capital, everyone came heavily bundled up, including the many blanketed babies in strollers who showed up with their parents to make sure their governments got the message that the developed world needs to take urgent and resolute action to prevent catastrophic climate change. Northern Europeans seemed to dominate the crowd, although the loudest voice was that of a somewhat shrill American equipped with a PA who demanded a stronger emissions reduction treaty. After a while, she gave way to a Ugandan woman who led the crowd in chants of Climate-Justice-Now! A steady stream of would-be protesters ducked into the cornerside Nordic café to grab a mug of glögg—delicious hot mulled wine—along with a little pastry to go before starting on their march. I saw one guy handing out Carlsberg lagers and reminding people to recycle their cans.
“The crowds make Manhattan look quiet,” Meera commented to me, as an endless stream of people squeezed into the cobblestone city center and began to move on the Bella Center. Her favorite sign read “THERE IS NO PLANET B.” This protest was really starting to take on a life of its own, and climate action began to merge with other important goals. In addition to polar bears, a few came dressed as vegetables. Over by the big blow-up globe representing one ton of CO2 emissions, another group had set up camp to demand the ouster of the Iranian regime.
More than die-hard climate activists from NGOs, fringe political parties, and the vegetarian lobby came out for the event. Indeed, the climate skeptics were well-represented by a group who held catchy placards like DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE, AL GORE DOESN’T RIDE A BIKE. In response to the Ugandan woman on stage asking the crowd “what do you want?” one of these guys provocatively retorted “climate change now!” Although they were probably seething inside, I only witnessed devious cordiality as the adversaries slipped by one another. They’re probably too afraid of the legal consequences of unveiling their true emotions, I surmised, as unarmed policemen lingered about the square and smiled pleasantly at the demonstrators. A woman in front of me aggressively held up a sign that read, MAKE LOVE, NOT CO2.
-- posted by Shane Christensen, NYU Adjunct Faculty in the Centre for Global Affairs and Davis Foreign Service Fellow at Columbia
Friday, December 11, 2009 - Into the depths of the Bella Centre
For many of us—even though we've been interested in climate change and working in climate change for a while—this is the first COP that we have attended. Yesterday evening, we met with our academic consortium partners from around the world, a group that includes a number of leading universities in developed and developing countries. It is with this group that we have been organizing a series of events that will be happening over the next eight days (more on these events below). After a confusing subway ride, a fairly painless accreditation process, and a slightly strict security check, we were inside the Bella Centre in southeastern Copenhagen, where the COP is happening. Although we arrived late in the day, it was still packed with delegates, almost everyone meeting in little groups around the very large convention centre. There was also a surprising number of youth delegates at the COP, many decked out in bright orange fleece scarves—I’m not sure exactly why orange, but considering the temperature here, the scarves (and not political agreement) might just be the most sought-after item at the COP.
But I thought I would start off this dispatch giving a sense of the negotiations as they are happening here in Copenhagen. As I mentioned yesterday, the hopes of a legally binding agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol are unlikely to be realized. Instead, Yvo de Boer, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary has outlined four goals for a successful COP 15. First, developed countries will need to make commitments on emission reductions and the timetables to achieve them. Second, advanced developing countries like China and India should outline how they are going to reduce their emissions. Third, there will need to be commitments from developed countries on finance for mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries. And fourth, an agreement on institution (or institutions) to govern this climate finance. There has been some movement on all of these points, but all are still quite short of agreement
Our work at NYU and the subject of our events from Copenhagen is climate finance. Notwithstanding any political agreement that comes out of COP 15, there will be a significant challenge to raise the needed funds to finance mitigation and adaptation in both developed and developing countries. The one thing we have seen over the past couple of days here in Copenhagen is the estimates for a sufficient level of funding vary by an order of magnitude, with the most liberal estimates being in the range of 300 billion euro of additional funds annually. This level of funding cannot be achieved solely through public financing sources, but will require finance from private sources and also a significant ability to maximize the emissions achieved for the funding available from both public and private sources. Not surprisingly, there are significant questions about how we will raise this money and also what the institutions that will be required to transfer and monitor the funding for effectiveness should look like. There are also concomitant questions about how these institutions will be governed (and by whom), and how what is likely to be a plethora of varying institutions will interact.
Tomorrow, with our academic partners, we will be hosting a full-day research seminar that brings together academics and government negotiators to discuss research that is needed in international climate change law, climate finance, and related international legal regimes. As of this morning, we have nearly 100 participants registered for the research meeting, including developing country negotiators. On Sunday, we have organized a day-long capacity building course on climate finance. As we learned from our conference in Abu Dhabi in May 2009, discussions on climate finance can very quickly descend into the minutiae of the mechanisms of finance, like the Clean Development Mechanism and the effectiveness of its project developers. But to adequately shape a new international legal regime on climate finance, or a component of such a regime, negotiators and academics must understand that coordinated national and global regulation—of cap and trade and offset markets, forest and energy policy, international development assistance, international trade and investment law, and sustainable development—is required. We hope to achieve this in a single day, but realize that this may be the beginning of a larger network and dialogue around climate finance.
Our last event, on Thursday, the academic partners are hosting an official COP 15 Side Event on Climate Finance, and then in the evening, celebrate the launch of a number of new books on climate finance and associated issues, including our climate finance book that resulted from the Abu Dhabi conference.
Tomorrow, Shane Christensen, NYU Adjunct Faculty in the Centre for Global Affairs and Davis Foreign Service Fellow at Columbia (and accomplished travel writer) will give you a flavor of the COP, the Bella Center and Copenhagen as the hordes of climate geeks have descended.
-- posted by Bryce Rudyk
Thursday, December 10, 2009:
Welcome to Copenhagen
The NYU Law team has started to arrive in Copenhagen for COP15--the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2009--on a day when we might hope for a little localized global warming.
COP15--as the name suggests--is the 15th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), first signed in 1992 in Rio. There were great expectations that the Copenhagen COP would result in a legally binding agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. However, over the past month, expectations were dampened, only to be heightened in the past week. Needless to say, the COP will be interesting.
For the next week and a half, nine members of the NYU community will be at the COP--running research and capacity-building events, giving presentations, attending meetings and making contacts to advance our research and policy agenda (more on our agenda and events tomorrow).
NYU Law's work in climate change
Unsurprisingly, NYU Law has serious bench strength in international environmental law, climate change, and most recently, climate finance. Our newest initiative is the Global Climate Finance Project, a joint project of the Institute for International Law and Justice and the Frank J. Guarini Center on Environmental and Land Use Law. The Project is a result of the highly successful conference run by the IILJ and CELUL in Abu Dhabi in May 2009 on the novel topic of climate finance (more on this tomorrow as well) which brought together 60 leading policy-makers, academics and business people for three days of intensive discussion. The outcome of the conference was a book of 36 policy essays edited by Professors Richard Stewart and Benedict Kingsbury, and me. It includes essays from a number of NYU professors, fellows and students, and leading academics and policy makers from around the work, including Daniel Bodansky, Ngaire Woods and Ambassador Rae Kwon Chung, Climate Change Ambassador for Korea. The book, published by NYU Press in record-time, is also available as a free PDF here.
NYU Law also hosts the Institute for Policy Integrity, directed by Dean Richard Revesz and Michael Livermore. The IPI has recently released two reports, The Other Side of the Coin: The Economic Benefits of Climate Legislation, and Economists and Climate Change: Consensus and Open Questions. Both reports have received significant media attention.
It is not just our faculty and fellows that have distinguished themselves in the realm of climate change. A team of four NYU J.D. students: Richard Powell, Robert Reyes-Gaskin, Sasha Zolley, and Stephanie Tatham, and coached by IILJ Scholar Sasha Khrebtukova, attended the Copenhagen Moot on Climate Change in March 2009 and placed second overall, after a very close, and very impressive final round.
NYU Team in Copenhagen
Coming with me to Copenhagen are: Professor Benedict Kingsbury, Meera de Mel (Director of Global Initiatives, Hauser Global Law School Program), Mike Livermore (Executive Director, Institute for Policy Integrity), James Chapman (Fellow, CELUL) and Dan Firger '10.
Also joining us are Professor Maria Damon (NYU Wagner) and Shane Christensen (Davis Foreign Service Fellow, Columbia University), as well as Rich Powell '10. Rich will be assisting Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit Environmental and Human Rights Activist.
Among the thousands of other attendees will be Adjunct Professors Jake Werksman with the World Resources Institute and Nathaniel Keohane with the Environmental Defense Fund.
Join us for the next nine days as we post daily updates about our work in Copenhagen and the progress of the COP. We promise that it will be informative, and likely interesting. Tomorrow, we will be talking about climate finance and our events here in CPH.
-- posted by Bryce Rudyk (LL.M '08), Coordinator, NYU Global Climate Finance Project and Research Fellow, CELUL.