My time in Paris prior to Opening of COP 21

11st article picture126th November 2015
Together with my team, we departed from Malaysia in late evening. I was so excited because this day has finally arrived! This is also my 1st time traveling on an Airbus A380. One of my highlights during the flight is, the food, or to be specific – bread! The bread was warm and soft when served. It tasted even more delicious with butter melted inside. *heavenly delicious*

27th November 2015
We reached Paris 6.00 am in the morning. We queued up for an hour for security check. Due to the Paris havoc that happened a week ago, I thought the security check would be very stringent. To ensure a smooth check, I prepared all relevant documents such as accommodation receipt, accreditation letter from MYD, my funder – The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and acknowledgement letter from Embassy of Malaysia in France.

After we passed the border control, we met Scott from Northwestern University in Chicago. He is studying journalism and wanted to shoot a short documentary about youth activism cropping up in response to the climate talks. His partner, Miranda was also in Paris and we met her shortly at COY11. From now until 4th December, they will be filming us.

11st article picture 2We went to 11th Conference of Youth (COY11) by taking train. We were a bit clumsy as both our hands were carrying luggage. We need to thank Scott as he helped to reduce some of our burden.

We reunited with one of our team members there as he arrived Paris earlier than us. After touring around for half an hour, we had our vegetarian lunch, served with a very sweet apple. Too bad I forgot to take a picture of it.

 

After lunch, we had an ASEAN Youth meet up session. Approximately 30 ASEAN youth attended this session. During the meet up, everyone was given a chance to talk about their passion in combating climate change. As youths, we really hope our voice would be heard.

We headed to the apartment after the session ended. An instruction was given by the host prior to our arrival. I felt like playing “Escape Room” because it took some time for us to locate the keys. The apartment was cozy and fully furnished. No complaint!

28th November 2015
Today I am not attending Conference of Youth because I made up my mind to stay in the apartment and do a little bit of reading regarding Malaysia’s INDC.

In the afternoon, my team and I decided to visit Paris De L’AVENIR. One of the event by Paris De L’AVENIR is an exhibition that consist of green innovative technologies that helps in curbing GHG emission. The event also featured immersed discovery of the future Paris around 4 themes which are energy, mobility and logistics, resource and recycling and urban development. The exhibition is located very near to our apartment, so we walked.

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Along the river bank, each of the exhibition is located in a cargo container. I not sure about the origin of the cargo containers but I hope the organizers did consider re-using used/old container instead of using a brand new one.

Among all the exhibitors, there are 2 new innovations that really gave me a WOW impression. The 1st one is called a shower loop which is able to reduce 10 times water and energy usage. The state-of-art is kind of simple. There is an adapter that captures hot water from the drain, purified it with filter and pumps it directly for bath. They also claimed that quality of the recycled water exceeds both USA and EU standards for drinking water. In other words, you can also drink the water while bathing.

The second one is the production of “green” hydrogen. Hydrogen can be obtained by electrolysis process by applying electric current. Conventional ways of producing hydrogen gas required the burning of fossil fuel to generate electricity. In a plain text, it is a “dirty” hydrogen.

The production of “green” hydrogen is by using electricity generated from renewable energy such as solar and water. In my opinion, hydro dam should not be relied on because building a dam required a change in landscape and this will affect the ecosystem and also, intrude the land right of people. Whereas solar power would be more promising. With the advancement of technology, hydrogen can replaces fossil fuel in the future. Hydrogen is a good fuel because it does not produce any GHG during combustion. It emits water vapor as its side product which does not bring negative impact to the environment.

29th November 2015
I was getting mild sore throat. This affected my mood. I went down to the foyers and did some reflection. I realized that I did gain lot of new insights and knowledge on UNFCCC and policy tracking after I joined MYD 6 months ago. This cheered me up and motivated me again. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

Lunch was prepared by Amalen. The Nasi Briyani Ayam was indeed delicious yet spicy. I was so tempted to eat more but for the sake of my health, I need to resist. Such a pity. After lunch, we headed to Le Bourget Airport (COP21 venue) to acquire our badges. Surprisingly, the public transport for the day is free of charge, which is marvelous.

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Hundreds of pillars can be seen in front of the COP21 main entrance. Each of the pillars featured one country flag. Since COP21 will be attended by leaders from all around the world, security check is unavoidable. The security here is stringent too. To prevent everyone from bringing dangerous fluid, everyone is obligated to take a sip of the water contained in the water bottle. #smart. We were done with our registration in 15 minutes and the badges were securely acquired.

The ADP opening plenary was brought forward to today. Before the plenary start, we spent around 1 hour touring COP21 venue a.k.a Blue Zone. This venue is huge and there are 6 major halls within. During the tour, I was amazed by the Indian delegation pavilion. The layout and decoration of the pavilion totally stood out, so much win.

The ADP opening plenary started at 5 pm. The incoming COP21 President, Laurent Fabius and both of the ADP co-chair (Ahmed Djoghlaf and Daniel Reifsnyder) were delivering their opening speech. They emphasized on the fact that that transparency, trust, openness, involvement of all stakeholder and no surprise give legitimacy and success towards COP21. Albeit the speech sound promising, but things cannot be done without actions. Hence, I hope all the stakeholders can cooperate and work together for the sake for a better future.

Written by: Thomas Lai
Edited by: Merryn Choong

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