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COP 21 Update – Tuesday, December 1

While some of the remaining leaders were negotiating behind the scenes this morning, the few who were left on the speakers’ list had their say, and then civil society took its turn. Civil society speakers were all from the Major Groups: Women/Gender, Business, a group called Environmental NGOs, Farmers, Indigenous People, Local Authorities, Research Institutes (in place of Science and Technology), and Labor Unions. Several of the major groups called for a return to the conversation about a 1.5 limit on degrees of global warming. We especially liked tthe firm comment by Labor Unions that “There are no jobs on a dead planet! We must transform the world of work; unions are mobilizing around climate change.”

After a lunch of crepes we attended a side event on the topic of insuring that Indigenous Peoples can get access to small grants from the Green Climate Fund, so they can share their knowledge and best practices. There was a fascinating speaker from Peru who told about a project that indigenous women are running, in which they are recovering and saving native seeds and varieties of plants resistant to drought, cold, and other results of climate change. For example, they have 115 varieties of potatoes, 80 of corn, 40 of beans, and 4 quinoa! And they are doing this without the use of industrial chemicals…other projects involve the use of tree products and plant dyes.

There are dozens of meetings going on — some closed meetings involving groups of nations negotiating on wording, other groups hammering out last minute wording to the various documents, and uncounted side events. Today was the first day that the “green zone” was open for the general public not accredited to get into the UN official “blue zone.” There will be exhibits and meetings and literally hundreds of side events. We will go look for our NGO friends thereĀ tomorrow.