Six random observations from the UN climate negotiations

1. Trump-ing Trump. After more than a week here at the negotiations, I can say with confidence that, yes, the President-elect may loathe the Paris Climate Agreement but not nearly as much as the people who negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement loathe the President-elect.

2. Find it difficult to work the day after the U.S. election? Feel for the Islamic American climate activist who had to speak at the interfaith climate dialogue a few hours after the election results became official.

3. Transparency efforts can be opaque. A key focus of the negotiations is developing a transparent reporting framework for parties to the Paris Climate Agreement. Between the constant evolving schedule, the last minute closing of previously open sessions to observers, and the UNFCCC website’s Byzantine document filing system, progress on the transparency framework has been anything but transparent. The UNFCCC needs my wife, a professional organizer, a heck of a lot more than it needs me.

4. Caffeine as an alternative fuel. All conference, there has been a steady stream of delegates from around the world feigning interest in the United Arab Emirates displays in order to grab a precious free cup of coffee or tea.

5. Here comes the sun. That same United Arab Emirates has a diorama of a massive 5GW solar farm in the works – including rows of PV cells, concentrated solar plants, a battery system, and new transmission lines – sufficient to provide about a quarter of Dubai’s electricity. It is just one of the many incredible solar projects on display here. The host country of Morocco itself committed to getting more than half its power from solar and other renewables by 2030.

6. Oh, the modalities. I appreciate the importance of developing clear communication procedures and of proper legal language, but good lord, if I hear the word modalities again, I might strangle someone.

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