Thoughts Before COP:
A couple of days ago the BBC published a report stating that leaked briefing documents revealed the UAE’s plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations. The article quotes Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the head of the COP20 summit in Peru in 2014, saying he “worries a collapse in trust could mean no progress on tackling climate change in Dubai.” I wonder whether this straw will break the camel’s back. But it seems to be just another form of suppression and misdirection. Strangely, Dubai puts so much emphasis on making this the largest COP and emphasizing inclusion yet is stifling the attendees. Protestors are not allowed to use flags or mention party states by name. How will protesting against ideas and concepts instead of against the actions of specific parties pressure nations to change their ways?

Meeting my Client:
This week, I will be helping out Paulina Resich, the senior communications manager at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Today we met up to plan our next couple of days and I learned about the strategy behind communication work and how important it is to have consistent coherent messages. She talked about the power NGOs have when their communications personnel collaborate and release communications using unified language. Meetings between different communications teams happen at COP and throughout the year to make sure the public is getting the same consistent and factual messages from all the organizations. This alignment ensures that each message is amplified and has more legitimacy. She talks about how different communications work is in this sector compared to the private sector. The former works to build community and promote each other’s materials while the latter only competes. I am very interested in diving into the world of communications with this new perspective and appreciation for its importance.

Attending Events:
I attended a few side events today but the one that stood out most to me was “Changing course to keep below 1.5˚C: WWF expectations for COP 28”. The President of WWF spoke about how the need for adaptation is due to the failure of mitigation. And the need for loss and damage is the failure of adaptation. He went on to talk about who really pays for loss and damage. He brought up Pakistan’s 2022 flooding and how it was calculated to have caused $42 billion in damage but only $8 billion was pledged to them to rebuild and only $700 million was ever received by the government. The rest of the $41 billion was paid by the poorest of the poor. A farmer whose house is washed away will not wait for a loss and damage fund to pay to rebuild his house. He will sell his cattle, his only investments, to pay to have a roof over his head again. He will pull his fifteen-year-old daughter out of school and marry her off so she has stability. I hope these realities are portrayed effectively on the negotiating floor and catalyze change.