Day 2: Conference of Youth

5 Dec

COP-15 News:

  • Obama to arrive the 18th, not the 9th. YAY!
  • Badges needed to get into COY are not being provided in time, I wonder what this means. =S
  • We found a club in København that has a vibrating floor. How cool is that? And yes, it does generate energy.
  • Danish keyboards are annoying so if you see ÆP that’s supposed to be =P and if I wink provocatively at you ; ) that’s supposed to be a typical smiley face. ÆP!


Alright, so where’d we leave off? Oh yes, the European guys keying into our room at night. We slept well after that.

The next day I woke up to this: InsideToronto Article, and was decently impressed. The conference of youth started that morning so Zack and I went down for some European breakfast (none of your sausage and eggs) and head out for the University of Copenhagen which was in walking distance and had some beatiful European architecture on the way.

The conference started off great. We walked into a hall filled with people – all of different ages and cultures. I immediately spotted some familiar faces which was pleasant enough. These familiar faces also included Elaine from our very own delegation. She had also arrived the night before. In the crowd were also Laura F and some other WYC-ers.

The day included some icebreakers, two workshops and open space. Piece of advice – check the language of a workshop before you sit your bum on one of the chairs. All the Mexican delegates definitely recognize me now as that white girl that walked out of their Spanish session! But I did meet a buddy from the International Student Energy Summit which was another pleasant and much more unexpected surprise.

After changing workshops I excitingly listened to the science of climate change. None of those predicting models were discussed, or any of the controvertial data. We just discussed how permafrost changes with heat and the science behind the issue – with the presence of oxygen, bacteria will break down the permafrost and release CO2; without oxygen it will release methane, both contributing to the positive feedback loop of global warming. I was also informed about how the arctic is being affected by a shift in climate (no need to specify naturally or due to human activity – it’s didn’t matter in this session). Most of the ice (68% as of 2008) is new ice that has only been there for 1 year. Such ice melts a lot easier compared to multi-year ice which was predominant in the Arctic in 2004 (when only 32% was new ice). Being an engineer I need to understand things, and here I started to understand just how fragile our planet’s systems are.

I also learned that our emissions have changed – from increasing 1%/year during the 90s to 3.4%/year during the current decade. I was also introduced to “carbon budgets” and more. I enjoyed the workshop and the COY delegates involved. One individual in particular I will talk to later because he had a lot to say as he is personally experiencing the effects of erosion and water levels rising in his home in coastal India. Quoting the elders from his community he said, “When I was young the stream was full all year round,” to which he adds himself, “Now I look it’s just a trickle”.

The next workshop I attended was “Carbon Trading & Clean Development Mechanism”. I had an interest in the topic because of the international debate I took part in this June (and of course I’m interested in international development and anything sketchy like the CDM). Unfortunately I had to run out near the beginning to find Nora and Paige, but turns out the crowd was unaware of the basics of the mechanism and Zack who was there found it to be all review.

Once found, Nora, Paige, Zack, Elaine and I chatted with some of the other Canadian delegates over lunch. That also included Emily from WLU that somehow pin-pointed me in the crowd.

The afternoon open space I dearly enjoyed. Both because of my love for open space and because of the topics discussed. Our group of 15 people, spanning from New Zealand to Kenya to UK and beyond, spoke about what our role as youth is in COP-15, what projects we are taking part in, and continued to discuss more complicated issues such as whether we would appreciate a treaty (quality questionable) coming out of Copenhagen or whether we would rather wait an extra year but produce a better quality treaty. Not an easy decision.

After that our delegation (Emily included) headed off to Zack and I’s hotel and then to dinner. Since then we’ve just chilled at the train station we live besied and posted some updates on all of our forms of media so check us out! F T & more to come!

Tomorrow is day 2 of COY, and also the day that the rest of our delegation arrives – can’t wait!

Julia ; )


2 Responses to “Day 2: Conference of Youth”

  1. Cathy MacLellan December 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

    Julie – great to read the blog, keep it coming. I really believe it is you students that will actually do what needs to be done to deal with climate change. Cathy in Waterloo


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