My journey to COP began at 2am British Standard Time when I left Bristol, enduring a series of consecutive sleepless bus and flight rides. It was during this journey that I was not only carrying the weight of my luggage but my pending coursework in climate model output – but it was a positive weight since the assignment was relevant to climate change. After landing at Katowice, the blistering sub-zero winds gushed at me as soon as I exited the lukewarm hallways. I then took a bus to Krakow bus station where I met my mates, who had reached Krakow a day prior, in a shopping mall proximate to the terminus.
Although I might have appeared nonchalant (probably because I and the team were fatigued), I was gleeful to not only see them physically but also excited at the prospect of being in the same team as them. I believe every team requires a certain amount of time to develop synergy but providentially we were getting along deftly and swiftly, and we were unequivocal about cooperating well with one another. The team then proceeded to gear up for the following two weeks by having a good night’s rest because potential forthcoming slumberless nights would probably look like this: –
So moving along the conference of youth, I was pretty much ambivalent as to the happenings and events that were occurring. I was under the rhetoric to not select the mainstream or popular working groups (WGs) at first (e.g. adaptation, mitigation, finance, etc.) but was rather looking forward to joining the Special Report 1.5 and Oceans WG. The SR1.5 working group – The concept of this working group is relatively new and was introduced this year. Although the possibility of the group submitting a position paper to the council was possible, this group didn’t have direct affiliations with any specific agenda bodies or negotiating levels. The very relevance of the SR1.5 relies on the message and urgency it should be instilling to the WGs to curb emissions that lead to warming above 1.5C of Earth’s mean surface temperature. Nevertheless, the group decided to be an information provider to other WGs in assisting with their SR1.5-related agendas.
The misalignment of my COY schedule was due to a combination of my late-coming, personal coursework and choice of WGs that were not “mainstream”, these however were a fairly ordinary experience on a personal level. Despite that, it is sufficient to say that the conference of youth was a decent starting point leading to the conference of parties on the 2nd of December. Although the event organisation at COY could have been better, the event gave me enough room to think more about the topics and agenda items I would be intrigued to track during COP24.
Picture credits – Liyana
Written by Varun
Edited by M. O. Denney