COP22 log: Understanding basics of international policy making for combating climate change

Sunday at COP22

Hi all! As promised by Natalia, I (Rhythima) have arrived at Marrakesh on a nice sunny day. This post won’t be specific to COP, but more of the effect of COP activities on the Marrakesh city. It is so because technically it is supposed to be a holiday for COP22 today, but come on, who would take holiday when there are so many passionate preachers of climate change from around the world in the city. 

So after meeting Natalia, I couldn’t wait more than 20 minutes in the room to dump my bags and run exploring the city and the amazing activities going around for COP22. The first thing that struck me was the city and administration has put a lot of efforts into making it perfect as a perfect international host. It was undoubtedly commendable. After a lunch full of Natalia’s excitement filled description about COP, and delicious Tagine (the first thing to eat in Morocco), we ended up at a climate March which took place around the city center. The climate march had people from  different organisations talking about why they think climate change is important. There were issues about social justice, women and gender equality, environment laws, biofuels, recycling of plastic, and many more from people of all ages, all countries from Indonesia to USA, presented in one single march! The march took momentum with time and we talked to some counter-protesters who believed COP22 was just a distraction from the real problems faced in the city of Marrakesh. There were also some other protests which were taken on the same route by people in the field of political and social justice, to attract the media’s attention. The amazing part was that the march had slogans which were played with electric guitar and congos. Thus, it felt like a chorus singing some tunes, which even the people in traffic were applauding. The zeal of everyone in spite of the sun at our heads was very encouraging. There was a street play by students from Bali, which really touched me and it was a protest against the palm oil industry and plastic wastes in water resources. Go check them out here

That’s it for today folks, you will hear more about the real COP days from me in next 24 hours.

Day 6 at COP22

Today, COP22 was on the topic of education. This week is supposed to be more political because of more high level events (including negotiations by global leaders). Though there were many side events on other topics like the rural communities, indigenous people issues, etc. the prime focus remained on the research, education and technologies. So indeed, it was a long day full of many interesting things. The first thing I visited were the exhibits from various organisations working on different aspects of climate change like the climate storage capture to the virtual reality tools for showing forecast of carbon emissions and climate changes. Then I ended up in the countries’ pavilion where I mostly saw the presence of UAE (unexpected, but obviously considered as they are soon going to run out of fossil fuels for sure) and the most important point they mentioned was about their ministry’s investment in sustainability like the initiative of the solar park. You can check their initiatives here. The other countries I saw was Malaysia, and India, which had really good initiatives like Forest City and Smart city, respectively. France (unfortunately everything there was going on in French) had some good very good field action science reports on the decentralized and rural electrification.

After this,I went to the climate tracker meeting, which consists of really cool young people who give updates about the events a day before and day to come. They notified about very important things that I would like to share (which you can read more as some facts): (1)Global carbon budget evaluation is out now and the carbon emissions has stalled for the third year running. (2)  Also, China gave a statement that they are going to be the global leader for climate change as US falls out and they declared it in a coalition event of China, Brazil, and South America. (3)There were some questions about different type of funding for investment in climate change: “How the balance in private and public equity will be?” (4) On similar lines, in terms of climate change, 2017 is believed to be the year of  finance and 2018 a major decider for global stocks

Next I attended an event by imperial college London’s Grantham institute, which researches on investment and risks for climate change in a new concept called Green bank. These green banks do majorly two things: invest in the activities which are green like sustainability innovation ideas, or second, reshape the setup institutions to accommodate for the new financial green market. This was a very well received concept in developing countries like China where the government showed interest in starting their own green bank. You can check more about green banks here.  There were questions raised about the biomass and the skepticism about why it is involved in the policies of green bank (BioCCS). The speakers replied that they understand the debate and they will accept it only if they are burnt on the marginal lands. They are also looking into mainly other solutions and not just biofuels. “There is no way it (biofuels) is going to happen from investment point of view” one of the speakers said, boldly

Then, I attended the event at the Indian pavilion on women entrepreneurs in renewable energy. This was a milestone event as the UNWomen and the renewable energy ministry of India signed an agreement to promote more women entrepreneurs in India. This event not just talked about this specific agreement but also the investment of India in renewable energy sector. I would like to mention some interesting facts that I listened. These facts are also from a small event I attended later in the the evening for Indian pavilion, which had the main speaker as the Minister of environment of India, Mr. Anil Madhav Dave.(1) India and developing countries in general need to focus in tropical region on  3 things: Economies of scale, Solar power, and Self Help. (2) 600,000 LEDs have been provided in households in India, dropping the price (3) It targets to electrify 650,000 villages (350,000 more) by 2018, and many more…

Then after a pure vegan (and delicious) lunch (after a very very long queue), I ended up in other side event which was hosted byAbibimman  foundation, climate initiative, and CoLab of MIT. This event talked about various different topics but majorly showed the new different types of tools coming up for tackling climate change. CoLab talked about their various competitions where 1000s of communities are participating to bring a solution. Abibimman  foundation talked about their technology (a device) in Ghana which prevents the people getting affected by the pollution produced in domestic areas due to the smoke of stoves. 4.5 million people die due to this type of pollution every year. Finally climate interactive showed their technology which lets people generate scenario for climate change and see the results. 

For half an hour gap in between I bumped in a press conference hall where the business leaders talked about their take on climate change. This was quite interesting looking at the combination of companies like Bosch.They all promised their interests in sustainability and how they are giving their best to reduce their own carbon emissions. One of their means was minimizing their energy consumption. Frankly, it felt like they were present there because they had to be there. So nothing interesting I got from here. Still you can check the 30 minutes press conference here.

Finally I ended up in the IPCC conference on "what is next? After 1.5 degree target”. Here the IPCC vice chair was present who told the process of how the various scientific reports of 1.5 degree target was made and negotiated with the governments. That was a rather long discussion! But definitely helpful and informative considering a policy analysis background.

All in all, the day was way too fruitful than expected. Looking forward for tomorrow which would be focused over gender related discussions. Good night folks, my dinner is here :D

PS: For the photos, I would ask you to follow @energyclubtudelft and @tudelft on instagram! ;) 

Day 7 at COP22

Today the day was a amalgam of different types of events. The events for me started with a plenary meeting on the  report on the Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. Next were the exhibits area that I couldn’t see yesterday that I ended up in. I visited Korean, Indonesian, USA, Brazil and Pakistan pavilion. Then, was the time for an event on the “Urban development as the catalyst for the climate change”. The other event that happened in the afternoon was a highly policy-oriented event which focused on how the parties can write their technical analysis reports. A small visually appealing event I attended was by NASA which discussed how satellite imaging can help in gathering information for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Then was a science policy event which discussed how science and policies are interacting for easier implementation of solutions.  Finally, I attended the event on Woody Biomass Energy to understand the controversy around it. And then I headed for a dinner in the center with my co-observer delegates from YES-DC!(they are cool! check them out on their website:

To start with the plenary meeting, it was like a general assembly and more of a high level segment meeting. It discussed the report of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. This was related to the funding from the Global Climate Fund by parties to the developing countries in case of loss and damage. The discussion bodies were Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). They talked about need of a comprehensive gender and climate action plan, and mentioned about further assessment in the Paris in May 2017. 

There were some awesome tools I found at German Development Institute’s exhibit and USA center exhibit. First one is called the NDC explorer with future forecasts and present scenario due to strategies of climate change adaptation, mitigation, finance & support and planning process. The second one by NASA can be found on their climate website which imposes satellite images on the maps to depict the changes over time from 6000 meteorological stations in terms of sea temperature rise, Carbon di-oxide emissions, and further changes. I wanted to attend the pacific islands: information management event which cancelled, but I am sure it would have been fun for data science enthusiasts! 

RECNET and RESURBE held their event on urban development as catalysts and discussed that highly developed countries do not mention a lot about the urban content, while developing countries mention it in depth (not so good news!). They discussed over carbon trade systems, funding for working unions, retrofitting buildings, participatory involvement, fiscal policy (which is light on land, heavy on building and this needs to be reshaped). This event also had Sweden ministry of environment, who talked about integrated approach, requirement of local leaders required, gender equality, housing and infrastructure. WMO (World meteorological Organisation) talked about their models on hazard mapping in static and dynamic risk domains like floods to UV radiation forecasts in the cities. The interesting part was that they are able to study emissions tracing back to the sources via atmospheric monitoring using wind patterns mapped over cities. This helps urban decision makers monitor the right sources and thus help planning of cities better. There was also the mention of shared economies, autonomous vehicles  and leading technologies like IOT and their role in the transition of cities. 

International Consultation and Analysis (the high end policy oriented event) by FSV was a technical analysis session specifically meant for parties, and this included many high words that I would need another full post to explain. So, maybe another time ;) 

Science policy event was held by ICLEI, Carbonn, WBGU and they talked about the need of managing the vertical integration between all levels of government as necessary because of the integration approach on adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development needed for local, regional and national level. Sweden, Canada, Denmark, and Fiji was present in this event.  "Canada is back" was the first statement mentioned by the delegate and he talked about the research from University of Alberta & Alberta climate dialogue where citizen panel from different demographics and occupations was set up. These people were put in a room for 6 consecutive sessions and they helped translate science into layman language. Though they were divided on their opinions in the sources of climate change, they had consensus on the idea about the transition. City administration found it useful to convince people. Public took it more seriously. This helped transition from very ambitious things to more basic ideas which locals can relate to. Taiwan shared their ecomobility concept. The discussion ended with again mention about the digital revolution.

Finally, the discussion over woody biomass energy was what I attended. This was a highly controversial discussion. It was claimed that this is a cheaper, faster and easier path for developing countries. It was mentioned that the idea behind this is to stick to “not let anyone behind” which included the poor sections of world who relied on biomass for fuel everyday. Bioenergy is said to be the only renewable energy, where the term renewable is taken literally unlike solar, wind, wave, etc. A new improved value chain for charcoal was presented and then the idea of biomass charcoal was also shown, which is actually smokeless fuel for household. Coming to the controversy, about loss of biodiversity due to heavy plantations and non-clumping bamboo, the answer was that a proper landscape planning is done before this plantation is done. It was promised that 10 hectares of land can support 1600 households i.e. 14000Kwh/ hectare, but the problem of efficiency was disregarded. 

Btw, some of the news I heard: (1) International Solar Alliance (ISA) corpus fund investment is done (Yaay!) which aims at development and deployment of solar energy and it is the first International and Inter-Governmental Organisation of 121 Countries to have Headquarters in India with United Nations as Strategic Partner. (2) WMO support established for the UN Urban Agenda. (3)  ICRAF and INBAR MOU signed for production in bamboo biomass energy (I was not that happy about this one!)

Finally because I heard this quote a lot, I would like to say this “Cost of inaction is much higher than action for climate change!” So it is now or never!

See you tomorrow, folks! It is going to be exciting day again :D 


Day 8 at COP22

Hi all! I am back with another information overloaded day of COP22. The first event I attended was the Transportation strategies for low carbon future by International Emissions Trading Association. The next short event I attended was how developing countries can tap into finance models for better energy efficiency with using innovative business models. This was facilitated by International Energy Agency (IEA). Later, I spent a long time in the green zone around the exhibits which were open to everyone and ranged from initiatives and technologies from EV vehicles to sustainable fashion. 

The first event was about the transportation strategies for low carbon future, held by IETA where California, BMW, Ontario, Vermont and Washington State and company officials were present. California mentioned about 25-30 million cars on roads and their 3 goals on sustainability: change the fuels, increase fuel efficiency, and use less fuel leading to low carbon fuel reduction. This has been Incentivizing investment in EVs and biofuels. The target has been that by 2025, 1.5 million EVs are on the road. 250,000 EVs mark has already been crossed. There was a mention about planning California sustainability for walking and riding bikes. 480 million dollars for affordable housing has already been invested in this field. BMW has also focussed on zero emission vehicles after push from California. Not just this, they have also aimed at production sustainability by producing energy of windmills. Ontario state officials discussed how being one of the biggest manufacturing district affects their sustainability. They promised to be the first province to have autonomous vehicles legalized on road. The officials also discussed about the spaces occupied by parking lots, which can be reduced. This is very important as billions of dollars of land can be saved by reallocation to other purposes using efficient IOT technologies. Vermont officials talked over the hybrid vehicles, hybrid vehicles and capacity management for EVs and their charging stations. Finally Washington mentioned about their research investments in this field and fuel efficiency. 

Next I attended a very informative lecture by geeks of UN, i.e. UNDESA who talked about the modelling tools. They have made their tools open source already on They discussed about various case studies in Africa and how these modelling tools have helped them in planning demands from water to energy management and in policy analysis. The methodologies used were discussed in steps and thus the session was really practical as a researcher. The capacity building and communication tools with Georgia as an example was discussed. Steps like data collection, scenario analysis, participatory involvement of people in understanding scenarios, and general steps for policy analysis were basis of this discussion. There were discussions about building institutions to inform sustainable development policies like generating models from economy, microsimulation, sector models and facilitating tools across ministries after data gathering to generate policy report.

Next I visited Korean Pavilion event on Global Inventory Research institute (GIR). What they do is basically calculate the Greenhouse gas emissions for a country. They presented their case studies on this with Nepal and Cambodia. They showed how they systemize distributed statistics and information in cooperation with relevant ministries and institutes across the country, and establishes networks with various domestic and international stakeholders:

Then, I attended two events; one on how to create resilient communities in remote places like forests, or Nordic regions (mostly close to poles) and how the communities are storing this energy in extreme weathers and how they are preserving their cultural values and biodiversity. The second event was on carbon pricing for developed and developing countries and its impact on businesses. Finally the day ended with me a lot of information at hand, and announcement of Australia as the “fossil of the day” sarcastic award winner. See you tomorrow then!


Day 9 at COP 22

Hi all again, today was a mix of political and energy activities for me. Okay, what is meant by political? The events that happened all over the “blue” (only for observers and party delegates) zone were about ACTION. It was all about how the Paris agreement can be implemented in one or another form. As you might have seen for this week, majority of my posts talked about policies, because it was how COP was like this week – All about implementation! So here comes more. The first event I attended was towards implementation in the form of legislative framing for the countries or NDCs (Nationally determined contributions). The next event was the energy day from Morocco Pavilion. Further, I attended a very innovative event just out of pure curiosity: “How consumers can drive the transition to planet-cooling regenerative beef, poultry & dairy systems”. Finally I attended the meeting on the “Nexus of Innovation and Clean Energy” which was all about technologies on energy for meeting the 2 degree challenge.

The Legislative framework implementation event started with the discussion about the G20 countries. How they have taken the ambitious pathway to achieve the Paris agreement, but also the challenges of doing this for the 2 degree target with consistency given their own challenges. The representatives from East Africa talked about the inadequate funds for the investment in the climate transition, let it be adaptation or mitigation. They also emphasized that we need funds as per the need and not give the funds to where we “feel” is the need. There needs to be awareness at national, local and rural settings, and exchange of knowledge across countries. EU parliament official were also present in this discussion who talked about how different countries are trying to balance the burden through EU. The focus of EU has been in renewable energy, transport and for emphasizing the ambition there is review every 5 years to adjust the legislation to the more ambitious plans. EU is presenting themselves at Abu Dhabi in January with discussion on legislation on renewables where 175 countries will be participating. (You can be there too as a delegate!) There was mention about the refugee crisis and Brexit and the means to tackle this with still a priority over the measures to prevent the “global” climate change. Bangladesh mentioned about how the migration from 25 million to 1 billion in 2030 is going to impact on food security and mitigation due to climate change. They discussed over the need of an amalgam of mitigation and adaptation strategies. Kenya presented the problem of urbanization influx and solutions to prevent this to affect the climate change via funding arrangements with promoting the local communities.  Need of civil society for overcoming the reluctance of the national government, and need of cross-party climate action (to prevent something like USA post-election scene now) were also some of the legislative approaches mentioned.

Post this political session, I attended event at the Morocco Pavilion where Germany, Portugal, and Morocco state officials were present. Germany mentioned their transition to renewable in a very interesting way: Renewable energy was looked upon as the expensive energy, but it has changed now.  They have penetrated Renewable using 32% of their production as annual average. After 50 years - new windmill and solar panels at the cost of gas. But the challenges are of consistent power system which is efficient in itself. The proposition to move the renewable from feed in tariff to the market was made. This would help in reducing the costs and make a sustainable market for renewables. Today, Germany has touched as low as 7 cents for even solar, where solar is not Germany’s biggest physical asset. Considering fluctuating sources like wind and solar has to be taken in account too here.  An interesting point was that the worlds of kilowatt hour is now going towards bits and bytes and thus definition of privacy standards are needed. The Decentralized system need to be connected using information technology. There is also a need of integration into European single market. Portugal mentioned about the need and importance of interconnection with North Africa and European countries of the renewable energies. They have aready implemented feed-in tarrfis for solar and started using LNG for the ports.Portugal Energia is the organisation which can be checked out on this line. Finally Morroco presented the plans of 42% reduction in emissions by 2030. They are ready to mobilize capital. There was signing of many contracts within Morocco and research institutes and companies for investment in renewable energy. Interesting of them were those with Novare energy, risen energy, green of Africa, China railway Construction Company. The other one was for solar plants in Morroco and Africa aiming at 45 MW solar energy. There was one more with the Volatile Morocco and Green of Africa for wind farm investment.

There were two more events, one on ICT solutions and the innovation in energy that I will mention very shortly.  For all these solutions, you should visit the momentum for change website of UN: There were solutions ranging from Bangladesh to Sweden, micro grids to climate rights, and mangroves to carbon taxes.  

There were some more small events I would like to share, but for that the post would get overflooded - so we can meet over coffee sometime in Delft! We can be reached at info@energyclub.tudelft anytime :)  Tomorrow would be a small day for me in COP22 as I am leaving Morocco early afternoon, but you would here from me for sure with final notes for this year from Energy Club at COP22.



PS: Check out our photos on instagram @energyclubtudelft :)

Final Day (10) at COP 22

Hello all to the final post of this series. This is my last day at COP22 and Morocco,and today I decided to start the day with a very peaceful session because I wanted to take back home a message of optimism. The event was titled “Trust and peacebuilding approaches for ambitious climate action”. Here the spiritual speakers were from Friends World Committee for Consultation, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU), World Council of Churches (WCC) and an adaptation organisation Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW). From the speakers, you might have been thinking this to be a “boring” session to majority of the youth, but I realised this event was actually the only event which raised question from a really practical perspective for people who are not “believers” in climate science. There was discussion about how human behavior can be influenced to understand the urgency of climate change. There were critical discussions on the ethical values of communities and how to preserve them in crisis situations without overriding the rights of people. We need to transition from military investment towards climate change – this was one of the bold statements I would say. “We all have things to contribute and we can’t ask or rely upon government to take action always!” was the favorite quote I liked from this event. We were also asked to do a small meditation for 5 minutes in this event to understand the importance of harmony and peace among nations during this transition!

After this session, there were no meetings or events I could attend as it was the last day of COP22, but I met amazing people from South Africa and Nigeria who threw some light over the negotiations happening among countries. I came to know about the negotiations in food security not coming to any agreement, and actually a failure because of a dispute between the developed and developing countries strategies (split over adaptation and mitigation). This was sad to know and it would mean all the work to be re-done in agricultural negotiations after efforts of 6 years. There was also a concern raised in our discussions that COPs have become less scientific in the last years and more bureaucratic, there is need of more scientists and less lawyers, to negotiate here and keep ourselves below 1.5 degrees temperature rise.

So, I would say reaching negotiations is surely difficult when we have 190+ countries and there will be happy and sad results after such processes. But I would like to end on the note that at least there is the consent of these countries to be together to fight for climate change in some or other means. I have hope and I will have this hope that we will give our next generation a livable earth! I hope you keep the hope and do your part towards the sustainable earth too. It just takes you few seconds extra to put different wastes in different bins, less money to travel via public transport, a healthy schedule to bike to buy grocery, and it would surely ensure a happy planet for your own children.

Goodbye fellas till the next year! Shukran :) 

Energy Club (Rhythima and Natalia)


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