CCL at COP21, Day 6: Never enough hours in the day

CCL at COP21, Day 6: Never enough hours in the day

By Claire Richer

While I ran around Paris preparing for the CCEN High-Level Dialogue on Accelerating Climate Action, I kept getting updates about encouraging progress in the accredited Blue Zone. Ten Democratic U.S. Senators gave a press conference that two of our team members attended saying they will support the commitments President Obama made and will not back down from supporting action on climate change.

I was trying to find out more information on the press conference as I struggled to find a normal office supply store (and not an overpriced Papeterie). The Guardian helped bring a dose of reality to this encouraging news writing that a bigger bipartisan delegation from the U.S. will be coming later next week to the Paris talks with a much more lukewarm message. As I walked back through the streets of Paris with my supplies, Ban Ki-Moon announced more exciting news about the creation of the Climate Action 2016 Partnership with a summit in May 2016 in Washington, D.C.

This first week of the Paris negotiations has made much more progress in comparison with previous COPs. The ADP (Ad-hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) has released the third draft of the Paris Conference so that the COP (Conference Of the Parties) can get right to work on Monday. It is encouraging that the negotiators have kept a reasonable timeline.

(Paul and Mindy in front row, 1st and 3rd from left)

CCL team following the High Level Dialogue on Accelerating Climate Action. (Paul and Mindy in front row, 1st and 3rd from left)

I can’t wait for the second week to start with the High-Level Dialogue I’ve been preparing for all day. There will be some serious deliberation on how to accelerate climate action strategies. CCL is co-convening it with the Partnership for Change and the People+Planet Project. The event is a bold start for the CCEN, an example of how new convening spaces can be created that welcome people of different backgrounds, and different levels of influence, to the same table, to do real work.

As I went about the day, touring Le Marais, and the surrounding neighborhoods, I got small reports from other team-members. Paul and Mindy sent me this:

Saturday at the COP with big plans to see Paris and get to the Alternative Summit in Montrei, which is a hands-on day-long workshop that makes the transition to sustainable living more painless and perhaps joyful. However, as our day started we realized how much work we needed to do to continue uploading videos to Citizens’ Voice and posting on our Citizens’ Voice Facebook page.

We still went to the Alternative summit, and after six hours we looked at each other and said: we’ve got to go if we want any daylight outside. When we got to the train station in Montreuil, we realized Paul forgot his pass. So we laughed and spent two hours walking around that neighborhood and had a meal in a hole in the wall Indian restaurant. We then returned home to our tiny living space to prepare for our Google hangout with 5 of our Minnesota CCL groups. Mairtin, who is from Ireland, gave them an update from COP21 and thanked them for their work to build our climate solutions movement in Minnesota and around our country.

The interaction between Mairtin and the Minnesota CCL groups is what Citizens’Voice is all about: sharing the experience of being at COP21 and empowering people who cannot attend.

Every day is like a marathon. We need the whole team, because there is always a need for someone to slow down, catch up on sleep, or be uplifted and supported by others. The COP process has people working around the clock inside the negotiations. The most engaged nonprofits and observers are doing the same. Our team is so full of energy, ideas, and projects, there are never enough hours in the day.

Right now, I am looking forward to bringing some of the team to take a water break and recharge at my most favorite café, Café Angelina, to have the best hot chocolate in the world.


Steve Valk
Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.