I am eager to go back to a COP. My first and only COP was COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. I went as the Policy Director for the Cascade Climate Network which is a regional super organization of youth activists from environmental groups in Oregon and Washington. It did not go well. I was thrown out along with the other NGOs into the cold of a Danish winter. Luckily, some Danish anarchists let my delegation stay in their concrete bunker for the rest of the COP. Our whole strategy was dependent on us being in the venue. We overhauled our approach and focused on building awareness and political pressure in real time from supporters in the US. The whole experience was jarring to me and caused me to refocus on local environmental issues for a while.
I am currently a second year JD/Master of Environmental Law and Policy candidate at Vermont Law School. I also am a Research Associate at the Institute for Energy and the Environment, focusing on how environmental data is used during permitting for Arctic oil drilling.
I will be working with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) on safeguarding forests and forest livelihoods. My role is to flit from meeting to meeting and take notes so that CIEL is aware of all of the developments regarding safeguards in results-based finance. Currently, forest protection under the UNFCCC is based on the REDD+ (link) mechanism. There is a debate about how much of the finance should be tied to results, how strict the safeguards should be, when they should kick in, and how they will be monitored. Non-carbon benefits aren’t included now, but may be added into the REDD+ mechanism. Indigenous groups are pushing for more participation as equal partners, stewards and monitors.
I am looking forward to having a real (indoors!) COP experience.