Last year's COP experience in Peru was a rollercoaster of emotions. I came away much more informed and aware of political landscape but I also came away with a sense of frustration and pessimism about the future of our planet.
It's easy to get jaded and cynical about the whole UNFCCC process and question whether there will be any progress. After all, at the surface the "negotiations" seem to be little more than each party taking positions of self-interest rather than letting go of egos and actually discussing solutions for the greater good. It's somewhat disheartening when it feels like international level negotiations are really no different from a playground scuffle with each culprit insisting it's not their fault that the swing is broken.
Yet almost a year later, I find myself on a plane flying with a delegation to the last intersessional dialogues before COP21 in Paris. So, why am I going back? Here are some reasons why I chose to not give up:
People - for every 5 people who are apathetic to the climate change dilemma, there is one person who makes up for it in passion. These individuals come from various places and backgrounds and a lot of them have been involved in the climate change movement for many years and it makes you realise that you are not alone in this. There are other people who care just as much as you and they are still at it. That alone gives me a reason not to give up.
Politics - Most of us recognise that there are some fundamental issues with the system we are working in, but it would be impractical to think we can swap out the system or ignore it altogether. The more I can understand about the whole process and politics, the better equipped I am to offer up solutions and to educate others and going to the negotiations is the best way to immerse myself in this.
Planet - We only have one planet to live on, and climate change is putting that at risk. Some problems can be ignored or left to others, but this is not one of them. This is everyone's problem and If nothing else, there's too much at stake to give up on our future. What's nice is that we are seeing a lot more momentum in the divestment movement and with more people and companies understanding that even a little bit they do can make a difference.
Personal Responsibility - The future is uncertain, but if we keep going the way we're going it's not going to be a good one. I know that if I don't do anything, then I have only myself to blame if things turn out bad. The way I see it, if I do my best to create a brighter future, at least I won't be left wondering "what if" when that future comes.
So I prepare myself mentally for the worst and hope for the best as I head into ADP2.11. There's a lot at stake here and I hope the negotiators in Bonn understand that too and work hard to build a solid platform for a good Paris outcome. If nothing else, it will be another interesting experience to see how the negotiators deal with the new draft text.
All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.