COP21 moves to new phase

Sunday and COP21 moved to the working groups to review cross-cutting issues.  There were four groups announced by COP President Fabius last night, with another announced today – adaptation.  We also learned that Canadian Minister Catherine McKenna has been asked to be co-facilitator for a group as well.  This is further evidence that Canada is seen as a new actor here.  Not in the last ten years has a COP president asked Canada to do anything,

Today Canada shifted our position on a key issue. Minister McKenna stated Canada’s position was to make the long term goal 1.5 degrees C, or at least to protect 1.5 as a goal in the text. I am so happy about this … it put us in league with the most progressive nations, at least on this.  She also confirmed Canada wants the treaty to be legally binding and ambitious with 5 year reviews to ratchet up the pace of emissions reductions.

Other random thoughts strike me for this blog.  The terrorist attacks hang over our day to day reality, but we  adapt.  We accept that security tells us not to take the subway due to the suspicious packages found now and again.  Delegates speak of having to leave the subway.  Security orders all passengers up to the street, and people grab cabs to get to their destination.  It is so routine it reminds me of the ways we speak of delays due to snow.

At the COP21 convention facility we could be anywhere – Ottawa, Detroit or Chicago.  Anywhere with a slightly chilly pre-winter grey.  The location, out near the airport, is called Le Bourget.  The whole complex feels oddly temporary. The whole thing could be a set that will be struck and moved to another town.  In a way, that’s what it is.

It sure isn’t Paris, although a successful treaty will be called the Paris Agreement.   Anyway, we’ll always have Le Bourget.