In which I get a pink badge!

On Monday, November 18th, 2013 in Blogs

I started out early, memories of the appalling arrangements in Copenhagen left me not wanting to take any chances in a cold city. In Copenhagen at COP15, we had to line up and wait outside for hours (day after day) in the bitter cold. Just to be on the safe side, I got to the huge stadium in Warsaw, converted to a convention centre for COP19, at 7 am and only had to wait outside for a half an hour before security guards decided we should be allowed to wait inside where it was warm.

Afghan BadgeThe accreditation from the global Greens, granting me limited access as an observer, was waiting for me, but, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I was hoping to move to a pink badge, identifying me as a member of a government delegation. Of course, all the other Green Parliamentarians here are part of their own government’s delegation – whether they are in opposition or in power.

As previously arranged through email messages, I met with the Deputy Minister of the National Environmental Agency of Afghanistan and head of his country’s delegation, Ghulam Mohd Malikyar. He took me back to registration to request I be listed as a member of his delegation. With only three representatives of the Afghanistan government and one volunteer member of his delegation, Australian academic Dr. Ian McGregor, who has been working with the Afghanistan delegation in climate meetings for several years, my inclusion increased the delegation size by 25%.

I am volunteering to assist a country that has had such a difficult experience through war and conflict. In UN terms, Afghanistan is described as “post-conflict.” In the climate negotiations, Afghanistan works within two country groups – the G77 and China (that’s one group, chaired in this session by Fiji), and the LDCs (least developed countries, chaired in this session by Nepal). These are groups pressing for more climate action and sooner. As an advisor to the Afghanistan delegation, I assist in policy advice, as well as helping them by taking notes in sessions where the small delegation could not stretch to participate.

Ian McGregor, an Australian, and I, a Canadian, decided we had become a new variety of “environmental refugee.” Our own national governments are so dreadful that we are better able to be productive as “refugees” – taken in by another national government.

Today, I also pinned on one of the small red fabric circles worn by delegates to identify as fasting in solidarity with the head of the Philippines delegation.
In substantive terms, today’s discussions centred on a draft text circulated by the co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. (Which for some UN acronym-laden reason is referred to as “ADP”.) The co-chairs worked long hours through the weekend to developed a proposed text to form the decision coming out of Warsaw. The next COP will be in Peru, so the Peruvian delegation is particularly concerned that real progress on a text be made in Warsaw. As one (not Peru) delegate commented, the real agreement will be reached in Lima in 2014 and not Paris in 2015, when, with luck, the tough work will have been done well before.

The co-chairs text was not what any of the groups wanted. The rich industrialized laggard club (called the Umbrella Group and including Canada, the US, Japan, Australia, NZ, Russia and Norway – although Norway has great domestic plans, and is on track to go to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020) didn’t like it much, but neither did the G77 and China or the LDCs. The best that can be said is that it is a start to allow serious negotiations to have a text going forward to 2014. You can find all the texts from the COP on the UNFCCC website.

Apparently Minister Aglukkaq arrived today, but I didn’t see her in the conference hall. She will be speaking in the high level segment on Wednesday. She will have some cover as Australia is snatching up the fossil awards this week. The official opening of the high level is tomorrow.

As for me, between jet lag and fasting, and trying to concentrate and do my work, it’s been a long day.

More tomorrow…

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  • george

    keep up the good work…

  • L.lea

    Good for you Elizabeth! I hope the conference can move along in spite of sabotaging countries like Canada.

  • David Wimberly

    Good on ya! May you and this conference make genuine progress!

  • Dave

    The next thing I’ll read will be that you have emigrated to Afghanistan or somewhere more friendly to you than the Government of Canada.

    • V10_Rob

      I’ll chip in a few bucks for a one-way ticket.

  • sunny77753

    TY for all you do & now … just breathe .. :-)

  • Joni McMillan

    I salute you and Dr. McGregor, Elizabeth! Please take care of yourself. I know you’ll be of immense help to the Afghanistan delegation.

  • Jim Pinkerton Simcoe-Grey, ON

    Canadians love and respect you Elizabeth. Stay warm and stay strong. Big congrats on getting the pink badge. Brilliant move!

  • Marilyn Goode

    Thanks for sharing your experience at the conference. I applaud your tenacity and integrity and standing with the fellow from the Philippines:-)

  • Marnie Mellish

    Perhaps being an ‘environmental new refugee’ will give you the power you need in order to continue to help with the real and necessary changes. The networking that you are able to do will also help with the necessary work.

  • Pat Nichols

    You amaze me, yet again. Thank you for your dedication, commitment, cheerful attitude & willingness to do whatever may help the greater cause. Please take care of yourself…

  • Gudrun Smith

    I am appalled that you have to be a refugee delegate and not representing our own Canadian Government. I feel ashamed as a Canadian that we are so blind to the obvious climate change and the need for a major change in our planning for the future. Thank you for all the work you do for us.

  • Clarity

    You are simply amazing. Tomorrow on the 19th I will fast with you in solidarity. You are the change that you want to see!

  • zulis

    with you in spirit and applaud your integrity, humanity, courage, vision, determination and willingness to take a stand!

  • Marty Layne

    Thank you, Elizabeth on behalf of my children, grandchildren, and all the children everywhere in the world. You are an inspiration!

  • Jodi Williams

    Elizabeth May, the real voice of the Canadian people! So grateful that we have one sane MP in Canada. Thank you for all you do. We stand behind and support you all the way! Go Green, Go May!

  • Don

    Kudos to you Elizabeth. Try to take care of yourself; you won´t be any good to anyone if you get sick. Get some rest.

  • judith

    so grateful for your courage, expertise, and ingenuous strategy to make a difference at this conference elizabeth.

  • Michelle J. Mainwaring

    “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
    ―Mahatma Gandhi

    Thank you for your indomitable will Ms. May ~ You are a light in the Conservative darkness that has been hovering over our beautiful Canada ~ thank you!

  • LLP

    You are a symbol for what it to come – you are leading the way, in so many ways. Gratitude and strength to you..

  • JJ

    When it comes to saving the environment for our children and grandchildren, there are no borders, no boundaries.

  • mindom2004

    Respect as when a Canadian politician must take such action so they can actually have a voice it just shows how corrupt and deceptive our government is and the fact they are being dictated to by corporations that are in fact the major polluters and money makers makes it that much sadder and shameful as a Canadian. Keep up the good work and thank you.

  • GreenCarrie

    Thank you Elizabeth! Showing more respect for people and planet than our own govnt.

  • Karen durant

    Thank you Elizabeth, take care of yourself, we need you. All the best.

  • Simon Fraser

    COP19 .. Oh boy another meeting of the Glowball Warmistas and their merry band of rent seekers trying to get rich of the Great Scam. A complete waste of time and money but at least you are freezing yer butt off instead of like the old days when they scammed the meetings in nice warm place like Bali.

    Enjoy your time in Warsaw, the rest of the world, the 99.9999% of people who recognize a hoax when the see one will carry on drilling and fracking so our society can continue to make progress.

    And don’t forget to say a few prayers to Gaia. She is touchy about being ignored by her flock of Greenie fools.

  • Kim Devonshire

    Thank you so much for keeping us informed, you are opening our eyes to what is truly happening and I too am appalled that you were not asked to represent Canada !!! Shame on those in “Control”

  • Dave Shirlaw

    Sure hope taxpayers aren’t paying for your ego trip. You and Fred Rose will go down in history as freak anomolies.

  • Dave Topping

    As usual, everyone is out of step but Elizabeth.

    • V10_Rob

      And thank whatever divine force you happen to believe in for that.

  • Edward Underhill

    Being an ‘environmental refugee’, I expect you will protest vigorously against being sent back to such an awful place like Canada and will embrace your new life in Afghanistan. Good luck finding a latte.

    Or was that all just for show?

  • Simon Fraser

    Yea Canada !

    “The G77+China group of 133 countries walked out of negotiations on Loss and Damage at around 3:30 am on Wednesday morning after the rich countries refused to budge from the position that the subject should be discussed only after 2015.

    The U.S., Australia and Canada have been the most vocal and trenchant advocates against setting up a separate mechanism on Loss and Damage while the E.U., though not belligerent, has also played a part to make sure the mechanism does not materialise at the Warsaw meeting.”

    Excellent job by Canadian government for calls out the great Glowball warming Ponzi acheme.

  • lensfocus

    Elizabeth: you travel to CoP19 via a CO2 spewing aircraft to attend a conference on Global WARMING which decries the human emissions of CO2 and you complain of the cold. Do you see the IRONY? What happened to the supercharged overheated Polish summer air? Did CO2 forget to trap it? Did CO2 stop working? Is it on strike? Does it only work part time? Can’t find full time employment? Is kryptonite zapping the heat trapping superpowers of CO2? Is there a hole in the CO2 blanket over Poland?

    Perhaps something more influential than CO2 is responsible for the cold. Gee, wonder what that might be?

    Do we need a new STAR for the lead role in the climate change drama while we relegate CO2 to a bit part or exclude it from the cast altogether? We owe CO2 an apology.

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