A day in the life of a UN climate conference observer– Ellie’s COP24 Blog Post #3

by Ellie Cohen

(See also my other COP24 posts: From Katowice to Auschwitz — Ellie’s COP24 #2 blog post and 2018 UNFCCC Global Climate Meeting– Ellie’s COP24 blog #1 from Katowice, Poland with video and news links)

One of the joys of attending the UNFCCC global climate meetings is meeting passionate, caring people from all over the planet. Sitting at lunch today, I met The Nature Conservancy’s climate change and energy director of China, a sustainable agriculture NGO staff person from Kenya, an environment minister from Uganda, and the global UNFCCC Associate Liaison Officer for Observer Organizations. The UNFCCC officer explained how the number of people formally registered for COP24* has skyrocketed to over 30,000, likely making this the largest ever.  He said how committed the UNFCCC is to being as inclusive as possible but he also wondered aloud how they would organize it in the future to successfully engage the growing number of attendees.

Inside the main entrance to COP24 in Katowice, Poland– jammed with new arrivals from all over the world going through security and registering.

I arrived last Friday and the enormous venue felt a bit empty. Not so now! It took me a half hour to get through security yesterday morning as thousands more arrived (see photo above). Wherever you go, there is an energy and intensity just from the sheer numbers of people.  I am putting on an average of 4 miles every day just walking to various presentations. There are the main plenary sessions in enormous halls that have formal seating for representatives from all the countries of the world as well as room for observers such as Point Blue. There are the officially recognized side events organized by the UN, countries, NGOs and businesses. There are the unofficial side events hosted in country, business and NGO pavilions (imagine an enormous conference with temporary displays that include meeting and presentation rooms), and there are press conferences held just about every half hour, every day sharing new findings or bringing attention to various concerns (see photo below).  [Note: You can see many of the official sessions and press conferences by webcast on demand here at the COP24 website. It’s worth just taking time to look through just to see the titles of the various sessions!]

Amazonian indigenous peoples organization’s press conference on destruction of rainforests, COP24, Dec 11 2018

The United States has a muted but unfortunately distinct negative presence again this year, promoting “clean oil and coal” (see more here) and working behind the scenes to slow down the process of advancing urgently needed climate policy. The “We Are Still In” coalition (of more than 3,500 CEOs, mayors, governors, college presidents, and other leaders telling the world that the US is still committed to climate action as part of America’s Pledge) has a smaller-than-last-year but visible presence here, sharing a pavilion with the World Wildlife Fund (webcasts of sessions held there can be seen here). I was thrilled to personally be able to thank Pittsburgh Mayor, Bill Peduto, for his climate and community leadership before he introduced a showing this evening of the outstanding new documentary, From Paris to Pittsburgh (recommended watching- you can now see it on the National Geographic channel).

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto introducing the excellent new documentary, From Paris to Pittsburgh, at COP242.

One highlight for me today was an excellent side event entitled “Planetary Boundaries and Global Commons– managing risks and solutions” organized by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Its director, Professor Johan Rockstrom, is renowned for his collaborative work identifying nine planetary boundaries that if passed would spell doom for life on our planet.  Humanity is already pushing past four of those boundaries into unknown territory (climate change, biodiversity loss, shifts in nutrient cycles [nitrogen and phosphorus] and land-use) with major debates on how far we’ve gone with two other boundaries: water-system change and chemical pollution.

In Rockstrom’s presentation today (see photo below), he called for a new framework of planetary stewardship (read more here) that brings together the planetary boundaries ideas with our global commons — newly defined as “a resilient and stable planet.” He described this as “No Paris without Earth Resilience” and said we need to go beyond carbon for planetary stewardship. We need fresh water, biodiversity, and the ocean — fundamental tools essential to regulating our climate– along with a sustainable food system to secure a future for human society. [Note: Point Blue’s Board of Directors recently approved a new five year strategic plan focused on increasing the pace and scale of climate-smart conservation that is built in part around Rockstrom’s Planetary Boundaries work.]

Dr. Johan Rockstrom, Potsdam Institute: No Paris without Earth Resilienceplanetary boundaries + global commons = planetary stewardship.

Another highlight was attending several side events on agriculture including one entitled Transforming agriculture by recarbonizing the earth’s soilOrganized by CGIAR, a global research partnership dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources, the panelists presented on some of the latest soil science and the case for investing in healthy soils. I am particularly interested in the potential for soil carbon sequestration on agricultural lands to help countries meet their greenhouse gas emission reductions goals under the Paris agreement while also providing other benefits such as food security, biodiversity and greater climate resilience. The latest science projects that healthy soils on agricultural lands could provide as much as 25% of the carbon removal needed by 2030 but there is much to learn about how to scale up these efforts. It was great to meet some of the panelists afterwards, to learn more about their work and share some of what Point Blue is doing.

I was also thrilled today to see my friend, Dr. Steve Hammer (photo below), of the World Bank. In his presentation about their new report “Financing a Resilient Urban Future,” he mentioned the SF Bay Area’s recent passing of Measure AA as an example of a successful “local authority taxation” adaptation strategy. Measure AA, a $12/year parcel tax in the 9 counties of the SF Bay region, will raise $500m over 20 years for green infrastructure to increase resilience. I am delighted that Point Blue’s STRAW project is already implementing climate-smart wetland restoration as a recipient of Measure AA funds and so grateful to our conservation colleagues around the Bay Area for their visionary leadership that made Measure AA a reality.

Dr. Stephen Hammer, World Bank, presenting on urban adaptation funding strategies, highlights Measure AA in the SF Bay area.

And, of course, I was able to do some “observing” today, spending time in one of the plenary sessions listening to country delegates from around the world urging strong climate action. For many of these countries, climate change is an existential threat. In that sense, it is truly humbling to be here, coming from one of the wealthiest countries, one of the wealthiest states and one of the wealthiest regions in the world. This reality strengthens my commitment to doing everything possible in support of our global community and to make the changes necessary to return to a safe climate. My hope is that when my children are my age, they can celebrate and enjoy the benefits of our efforts here today.

The minister of Congo speaking to the parties in a plenary session.

I even had the honor of meeting Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development for Argentina. He has been an inspiring leader in his country and globally. I particularly liked his comment on a panel this morning: “The future is the decision you make today.”

Indeed, we must be more ambitious immediately– and to do that– each of us must make decisions this morning then start acting on them this afternoon to steward our planet’s life support systems for a healthy, just and secure future for all.

One long but wonderful day at COP24– so full of interesting interactions, learning, inspiration and networking!

Together we can zmniejszenie ilości gazów wpuszczanych do atmosfery (reduce emissions in the atmosphere) and ochrona środowiska (protect our environment) for a zdrowego życia (healthy life)!*

*COP24 is the 2018 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “Conference of the Parties” -the 24th meeting of the 195 countries of the world signed on to the Rio environmental treaty of 1992 to prevent dangerous climate change.

**Picking up a little bit of the beautiful Polish language here but these phrases I found on the internet!

Small and isolated habitat patches crucial to species survival — new study from Point Blue and partners

  • Small and isolated habitat areas are very important to the survival of many rare and endangered species

Point Blue Conservation Science  Read full ScienceDaily coverage here

Small, local patches of habitat could be playing a much bigger role in conserving biodiversity than you think, according to new research.

…Co-author Dr. Sam Veloz, Climate Adaptation Group Director at Point Blue Conservation Science, added “We have many existing processes in place to fund restoration or conservation activities that are largely focused on large patches of habitat. While it’s important to continue these efforts, our paper emphasizes that small but important habitat patches should be included in an overall conservation portfolio.

An example from the paper explored suitable habitat for four songbird species in California and Oregon (the streaked horned lark, savannah sparrow, Western meadowlark and the Oregon vesper sparrow). Research showed that highly fragmented parts of the study areas for each species contain habitat patches of very high conservation value. And the four species studied have ranges primarily in those small, isolated patches….

Brendan A. Wintle, Heini Kujala, Amy Whitehead, Alison Cameron, Sam Veloz, Aija Kukkala, Atte Moilanen, Ascelin Gordon, Pia E. Lentini, Natasha C. R. Cadenhead, and Sarah A. Bekessy. Global synthesis of conservation studies reveals the importance of small habitat patches for biodiversity. PNAS, 2018 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1813051115

How will the winds of climate change affect migratory birds?

  • New study finds both positive and negative impacts possible

Cornell University Read Science Daily coverage here

Under future climate scenarios, changing winds may make it harder for North American birds to migrate southward in the autumn, but make it easier for them to come back north in the spring. Researchers came to this conclusion using data from 143 weather radar stations to estimate the altitude, density, and direction birds took during spring and autumn migrations over several years.

…[Researchers] project that winds from the south are expected to become stronger by the end of the century during both spring and fall migration periods. Winds from the west may be stronger during spring migration and slightly weaker during the fall. Westerly winds are much more variable overall and harder to predict because they are tied to erratic fluctuations in the high altitude jet stream. Wind changes will be most pronounced in the central and eastern portions of the continent.

With an assist from stronger tailwinds during spring migration, birds would likely arrive in better condition on their northern breeding grounds with better odds of survival. Their fall migration flights into stronger headwinds would drain more energy. If headwinds are too strong, birds may choose not to fly at all on a particular night, throwing off the timing of their migrations….

….Some birds may be able to adapt because the expected wind changes are likely to happen gradually. Studies also show that migratory birds already adjust their migration strategy under current conditions, altering their headings to compensate for winds that push them from their intended flight path….

Frank A. La Sorte, Kyle G. Horton, Cecilia Nilsson, Adriaan M. Dokter. Projected changes in wind assistance under climate change for nocturnally migrating bird populations. Global Change Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14531

Must-Knows for UN COP24 Climate Negotiators: 10 New Insights in Climate Science 2018

Read the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research introduction here and see a summary of the 10 new insights in climate science for negotiators below.

Weblink to the 10 New Insights in Climate Science:

Weblink to the full press release of Future Earth:

DEC 10, KATOWICE – Many impacts of human-induced climate change, from drought and heat waves to Antarctic ice melting, are coming earlier than expected. Extreme events, such as recent fires in North America and floods across Asia, can with increased certainty be linked to global warming. Halving global emissions over the next decade is technically achievable and would save the world billions of dollars, say scientists in a new statement to coincide with the UN annual climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

Their warning comes as global emissions are projected to rise for a second consecutive year to a new historical high after three stable years.

Professor Johan Rockström, Designated Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Co-Chair of Future Earth and Chair of the Earth League, the organisations that produced the statement says: “Emissions must peak by 2020. The world cannot allow climate extremes to unfold and increase the risks of violating the planetary boundaries when all the solutions to solve this challenge are here in front of us.”

“Our analysis of the most recent research shows that a global transition to clean energy is affordable, achievable, and already underway,” says Future Earth Executive Director Amy Luers. “But to avoid catastrophe, we must ratchet up the pace and move beyond energy. The research shows clearly that we must cut emissions by half across all economic sectors in the next decade, to have a chance of avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”

The statement, “10 New Insights in Climate Science,” will be presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 24th Conference of the Parties, 10 December, and distributed to negotiators in Katowice. It is published by Future Earth and the Earth League, two major international organizations representing networks of global sustainability scientists, and summarizes recent Earth-system science, policy, public health and economic research.

Summary of the 10 new Insights in Climate Science:

1. Extreme weather events are now clearly attributable to climate change

The frequency and intensity of extreme events, including flooding, heat waves, and drought conditions have been increasing. Until recently, it was difficult to clearly attribute these events to climate change. Now, more accurate observations and progress in modelling has made the link clear.

2. Growing climate impacts show risks of critical tipping points

Changes have been observed in major Earth systems – like a weakening of the Atlantic overturning circulation, mass mortality of the world’s coral reefs, and the tripling of ice loss from the West Antarctic ice sheet. These and other systems could reach points where they rapidly collapse or a major, largely unstoppable transformation is initiated. The risks are growing.

3. Every half degree matters: Large difference in impacts between 1.5°C and 2°C degrees of warming

This year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5oC has shown that the magnitude and risk of a range of climate change impacts increase significantly between 1.5°C and 2°C.

4. New understanding of the acceleration of sea level rise and its future

The rate of ice loss from Antarctica is increasing. It is now almost twice as high as projected by the latest IPCC assessment (2014). Limiting warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C can avoid the inundation of lands currently home to about 5 million people.

5. Managing plants and soil: a prerequisite for meeting the Paris Agreement

Between 2007 and 2016, land use change was responsible for annual global emissions of, on average, 4.7 billion tons of CO2, which is around 12 percent of CO2 emissions. Natural climate solutions could potentially provide over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilize warming to below 2°C.

6. Options to remove CO2 from the atmosphere are limited

Scenarios that have recently been assessed by the IPCC show that the world will need to draw down between 100 and 1000 billion tons of CO2 out of the air, so-called Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), during this century to achieve the 1.5oC target. But research shows that CDR at the upper end of this scale is in conflict with other sustainable development goals.  [NOTE: see a presentation on the current state of Carbon Capture and Removal at a UNFCCC COP24 press conference at Katowice, Poland with Sir Nicholas Stern here.]

7. Major socio-technical transformations needed to meet the 1.5°C target

Globally, approximately halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement goal to stay “well below 2°C.” This is technically feasible but this scale of emissions reductions requires transformations of full socio-technical systems, across all sectors and scales. There is already considerable momentum in the energy sector that it could see major shifts towards very low emissions, with the right support. However, there is worryingly little progress in reducing emissions from buildings, transport, food systems and industry.

8. Stronger policy measures would reduce climate risks

Global fossil fuel subsidies remain massive. Phasing out these would reduce global carbon emissions and strengthen public budgets, but reforms should consider acceptance, effects on poverty, and possible adverse effects such as shifts from gas to coal. A portfolio of policies including standards, regulations, incentives, and carbon pricing would effectively support and accelerate a low-carbon transition.

9. Transformation of food systems needed for global health and reduced greenhouse gas emissions

Decarbonizing and building resilience in the world food system is a prerequisite to succeed with the Paris Agreement. Dietary shifts away from unhealthy “Western diets” towards reduced meat and dairy consumption are a significant way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health.

10. Benefits for global health by addressing climate change

Climate change is increasing the numbers of injuries, illnesses, and deaths from, for example, extreme weather and climate events, infectious diseases, and undernutrition. Efforts to combat climate change would have significant co-benefits for health, chiefly, saving millions of lives through lower air pollution.


10 New Insights in Climate Science




Climate Change Performance Index 2019: Not enough countries prove political will to prevent dangerous climate change

  • Global CO2 emissions are rising again / Sweden and Morocco leading countries, Morocco with significant expansion of renewable energy / eight of the G20-countries perform very low – USA and Saudi Arabia at the bottom of the index

Katowice (December 10th, 2018)  Read full report here

  • The Climate Change Performance Index by Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute published together with the Climate Action Network (CAN) is a ranking of the 56 countries and the EU, together responsible for about 90% of global GHG emissions.

After three consecutive years of stable CO2 emissions, emissions are rising again. The Climate Change Performance Index 2019 (CCPI), published today at COP24 in Katowice, shows only few countries have started to implement strategies to limit global warming below 2 or even 1.5°C. While there is a continued growth and competitiveness of renewable energy, especially in countries that had low shares before, the CCPI shows a lack of political will of most governments to phase out fossil fuels with the necessary speed. Because of that, in most countries the climate policy evaluation by national experts is significantly lower than in the last years. Jan Burck, co-author of the CCPI at Germanwatch, comments: “Based on techno-economic developments in the last years, delay in implementation of low-carbon solutions can hardly be justified. While the G20 summit has shown strong support of 19 countries to support the Paris Agreement, the political will of those Governments to set the right frameworks and incentives for its national implementation is not yet reflected in these words.”…

From Katowice to Auschwitz — Ellie’s COP24 #2 blog post

by Ellie Cohen (see my COP24 #1 post here and #3 post here)

I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp complex (Oświęcim in Polish) today while here in Poland for the annual UN climate meeting. My visit was sobering, to say the least. It was only a 35 minute drive from the COP24* in Katowice. As my “premium Auschwitz tour” passed under the infamous “arbeit macht frei”** gate, I was transported back in time and deeply moved.

Over 1.1 million people were exterminated there, the vast majority Jews. Brought by cattle cars from all over Europe in horrific conditions, families were forcibly separated, then individuals selected by Nazi doctors for their ability to “work” or not (providing labor for the Nazi regime under horrendous conditions that most people ultimately did not survive). Most women, children and older men were not selected to “work” but were told to take the long walk paralleling the train tracks to the gas chambers where they were, unbeknowst to them, about to be murdered then cremated.

Visiting Aushwitz-Birkenau– walking the long “ramp” from the entrance (behind in the distance) to the gas chambers where hundreds of thousands were murdered.

The night before at the UN climate proceedings in Katowice, Big Oil, in the form of the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, prevented the initial acceptance of the recent IPCC 1.5°C report, a conservative assessment of the latest science on how dire things are becoming due to climate change (read more here).

While the events of the holocaust occurred more than 70 years ago, I began to realize how the lessons of Auschwitz relate all too tangibly to our world today. Some studies predict that society will move toward more authoritarianism and fascism as climate change worsens and threats grow. One definition of fascism is “a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by ‘dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy.'” We are seeing increasing shifts in this direction across the world, including in the United States. [Note that Brazil had committed to host the UNFCCC’s COP25 next year but with its new authoritarian-leaning leader, they have withdrawn from that commitment. The UNFCCC has yet to determine where next year’s COP will be held.]

At COP24, renowned climate policy expert and economist, Ottmar Edenhoffer, of the Potsdam Institute, said, “In the end, the climate problem is not our biggest market failure, it is the biggest government failure.  Other players are important, but governments assess and enact the policy implements for change.”

And a small sign posted at one of the Auschwitz prisoner blocks read, “Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Are we forgetting the past and moving from one authoritarian, horrific outcome to another?  Not if we remember history and take action to protect the fundamental democratic values most us in the West now take for granted. We must keep hope alive, working to ensure that democratic processes thrive despite the challenges our changing climate is already imposing on humanity.

That also necessarily means we must continue to support and engage in science with its inherent evidence-based, transparent frameworks, to guide the best possible decision making during this time of rapid change.

*This COP24 is the 2018 “Conference of the Parties” to the United Nation Framework Convention on the Climate Change–the 24th meeting of the 195 countries of the world now signed on to the Rio environmental treaty of 1992 to prevent dangerous climate change.

**Translated as “work will set you free”– a terrible perversion of meaning as most prisoners walking through this gate never returned due to hard labor in subhuman conditions.


Microplastics found in guts of every species of sea turtle across world


Despite concerns regarding the environmental impacts of microplastics, knowledge of the incidence and levels of synthetic particles in large marine vertebrates is lacking. Here, we utilize an optimized enzymatic digestion methodology, previously developed for zooplankton, to explore whether synthetic particles could be isolated from marine turtle ingesta. We report the presence of synthetic particles in every turtle subjected to investigation (n = 102) which included individuals from all seven species of marine turtle, sampled from three ocean basins (Atlantic [ATL]: n = 30, four species; Mediterranean (MED): n = 56, two species; Pacific (PAC): n = 16, five species). Most particles (n = 811) were fibres (ATL: 77.1% MED: 85.3% PAC: 64.8%) with blue and black being the dominant colours. In lesser quantities were fragments (ATL: 22.9%: MED: 14.7% PAC: 20.2%) and microbeads (4.8%; PAC only; to our knowledge the first isolation of microbeads from marine megavertebrates). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT‐IR) of a subsample of particles (n = 169) showed a range of synthetic materials such as elastomers (MED: 61.2%; PAC: 3.4%), thermoplastics (ATL: 36.8%: MED: 20.7% PAC: 27.7%) and synthetic regenerated cellulosic fibres (SRCF; ATL: 63.2%: MED: 5.8% PAC: 68.9%). Synthetic particles being isolated from species occupying different trophic levels suggest the possibility of multiple ingestion pathways. These include exposure from polluted seawater and sediments and/or additional trophic transfer from contaminated prey/forage items. We assess the likelihood that microplastic ingestion presents a significant conservation problem at current levels compared to other anthropogenic threats.

Why greens are turning away from a carbon tax

  • Putting an economic price on greenhouse gases is proving a hard sell with the public, even as time to head off climate change shrinks.

Zach Colman, Eric Wolf  Read full Politico article here

Taxing carbon to tackle climate change is one of those big ideas that have long held a kind of bipartisan sway in Washington — endorsed by Al Gore and former members of Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet, economists from both parties and even Exxon Mobil.

But environmentalists are increasingly ready to look elsewhere.

This month’s fuel-tax riots in Paris and the defeat of a carbon-fee ballot measure in Washington state show the difficulty of getting people to support a levy on the energy sources that heat their homes and power their cars. Meanwhile, even the most liberal Democratic candidates this year gave carbon taxes scant if any mention in their climate platforms, focusing instead on proposals like a phaseout of fossil fuels and massive investments in wind and solar power.

The story of the carbon tax’s fading appeal, even among groups that like it in principle, shows the difficulties of crafting a politically palatable solution to one of the world’s most urgent problems — including greenhouse gas levels that are on track to reach a record high this year……

….Some plans would direct the money to investments in clean energy investments, or — in the case of Washington state’s proposal — toward helping communities suffering from the effects of climate change or the closure of fossil fuel industries. Others, such as a plan backed by former Republican Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker, would also phase out existing carbon regulations.

But the Washington state proposal won the support of just 43 percent of voters last month, after a barrage of oil and gas industry lobbying opposing the carbon fee. The reaction was violent in Paris, where days of riots forced French President Emmanuel Macron to scrap a 6.5-cent fuel tax that had been aimed partly at weaning motorists off diesel and gasoline….



Industrial fisheries are starving seabirds all around the world

  • Researchers found that annual seabird food consumption decreased from 70 to 57 million tonnes between 1970 and 2010.
  • Meanwhile, fisheries increased their catches of potential seabird prey from an average of 59 million tonnes in the 1970s and 80s to 65 million tonnes per year in recent years.

University of British Columbia

Industrial fisheries are starving seabirds like penguins and terns by competing for the same prey sources. Seabirds are now the most threatened bird group…

…This diminished food supply is putting seabirds at risk – making them the most threatened bird group – with a 70 per cent community-level population decline in the past seven decades.

“Since the 1970s and 80s, we’ve lost a quarter of all penguins and nearly half of the terns and frigatebirds,” said Grémillet. “Meanwhile, seabird-fishery competition continues to increase in areas such as the Asian shelves, Mediterranean Sea, Norwegian Sea and the Californian coast.”….

David Grémillet, Aurore Ponchon, Michelle Paleczny, Maria-Lourdes D. Palomares, Vasiliki Karpouzi, Daniel Pauly. Persisting Worldwide Seabird-Fishery Competition Despite Seabird Community Decline. Current Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.10.051

2018 UNFCCC Global Climate Meeting– Ellie’s COP24 blog #1 from Katowice, Poland (video and news links)

by Ellie Cohen

Just arrived!

I’m honored to be representing Point Blue again this year at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 24th Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC’s COP24).  The “parties” are representatives of the 195 countries of the world that have signed on to the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

You can watch various COP24 events live and recorded here (see for example some of the inspiring opening plenary).  Read daily summaries and listen to daily podcasts prepared by Climate Home News here (and sign up for their informative e-newsletter here and see for example Katowice brief: Final push for Paris).  Also sign up for updates and find excellent information at the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s COP24 website pages here.

Point Blue became an officially recognized Observer NGO in 2017 as one of about 2000 globally.  This year’s meeting is being held in Katowice, Poland.  COP24 kicked off Sunday, December 2 (you can read more here) and goes through Friday, December 14th at least (could be extended depending on where negotiations are at).

This year’s COP is considered very urgent as it is time (past time!) to nail down specific “teeth” to the Paris agreement of 2015 and ensure that the countries of the world reach their greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2020.  Those goals as currently committed- while ambitious- are not enough to keep us below 2C warming above pre-industrial times; we are already over 1C warmer now with severe consequences.

An exciting trend is that nature-based solutions including the oceans and agriculture are increasingly being considered as part  of the solution.

It is also exciting just to be “in the room where it happens” with dedicated and bright climate leaders from around the world.  Per a recent Eco-business article, “according to the provisional list (pdf) published by the UNFCCC, there is a grand total of 22,771 registered participants at COP24. This includes 13,898 people representing specific parties, 7,331 from observer organisations – such as scientists, business groups and various non-governmental organisations – and 1,541 journalists.”  Inspiring!

Check my blog over the next week for more updates.