Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18th

Hi Everyone,

Today was the final day of the UN Climate Change two-week Conference. I watched Obama through UNFCCC website on a live broadcast. You can view it on the link below.

From my opinion, I felt Obama's speech was passionate but very ambiguous and open for a lot of interpretation. He didn't set any new carbon-cut targets and financial aid to what Hillary Clinton and Todd Stern said, which was very disappointing from a leadership standpoint. However, I have empathy for Obama. His first executive orders dealt with energy security and climate change with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law on Feb. 17th, that committed $40.75 billion to clean energy initiatives. I found out the previous day from a political organization that Obama originally had the carbon cuts at 14% and were able to increase it an additional 3%. The 17% by the year 2020 was the best the chance for the bill getting balance support from both utilities and environmentalists as well as making it through both the House and Senate. The key is that 17% target figure could be increased to 25% or 30% by year 2020 or 2025 in the near future. What will be required for this to happen is for the US public to see and understand how beneficial and easy it is to achieve the goals on a low-carbon economy.

After Obama's announcement, an agreement titled the Copenhagen Accord was reached during a meeting among Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva and South African President Jacob Zuma. This however is not a legal binding treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 and was the original aim of the talks at COP15. Instead, it is framework that will be voted on tomorrow as a first step. I have attached the most recent draft of the accord. Please have a look.

The following is text extracted from a draft of an Accord among Leaders at Copenhagen titled 'Copenhagen Accord'.

It you want the official copy of the most current draft that will hopefully be signed tomorrow, December 19th, please have a look at this link.

Otherwise, I have provided an extracted piece from a draft of the Accord among Leaders at Copenhagen. The link this came from was

This is the video with Barack Obama speaking with the press right before he left Copenhagen on late Friday night.

For commentary, analysis, and articles on this Accord, I have listed the following links for you.


Here is Youtube video of protesters several kilometers away from the Bella Center on Friday angered by the results of the negotiations.

Best Regards,

Kevin Osborne

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 16th

You are looking at Governor Gregoire, 14 Washingtonians an two staff of the Governor in Washington D.C.

Obviously it is unnecessary to point out that I met Governor Gregiore of WA. You should be able to spot me out. I was invited by Mark Rupp to met a group of Washingtonians at Kagehuset in the Fields shopping mall, not far from the Bella Center. Kagehuset was a little bakery/café. He had arranged specifically because of me since I was not accredited to get in the Bella Center. Everyone met around 11:30 AM. There were employees from Microsoft, a micro-finance group, Department of Ecology, and Climate Solutions. I was the only student present. As the governor walked into the reserved section of the room, I was amazed by the fact I was standing 5 ft away from the WA Governor. Most people hope for the opportunity to be in the proximity of the governor, but I got to engage in a conversation with her. I was happy to see how friendly, warm, and inviting she was. We sat down around a small rectangular table and the governor asked two questions.

The first was for us to go around the table introduce ourselves.
The second was 'what has been our impression from the neogiations that have taken place?'

I want to focus on the second question in respect to three responses. One was on the presentation from Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, at the Bright Green Forum. The comment was that the presentation by Steven Chu made it seem that clean technological development will eventually happen and will require more research rather than harnessing the opportunities currently available. For instance, the response was to consider the European Union and their efforts. Another response was that there was a disconnect between policy and businesses. For instance, his remark from his observations was that policy needs to be comprehensive and explicit, otherwise it is difficult for businesses to make concrete strategies. I brought up the disconnect between China and the US in regards to emission targets and financial aid. I said it concerned me greatly that we are still at the point of criticizing each other such as calling names of 'irresponsible' and 'lack of common sense'. I felt the time had well gone beyond this point to act and work closely together. I want to see more collaboration and understanding between the two countries. I explained that I had attended a China-US Youth Workshop last week, which was geared towards bridging the gap between our two cultures and in turn we can work together as partners to solve the climate crisis. I wanted to see at least the same efforts by the Obama Administration and especially Special Envoy for Climate Change, Tood Speth. I said we need to put our egos aside and demonstrate global leadership. The stake are enormous. We need focus on being partners.

The rest of the afternoon, I sat in on the 'Environmental Defense Fund/The Pew Chartable Trusts/IETA: US Congressional Update' at the IETA side event.

December 15th

Hi Everyone,

After a restful and peaceful Monday that I took off to recover from a full-throttle weekend, I was ready to get an early start this morning early. I was up and about at 6:30 AM.

My first plan was to attend the IETA Side Event titled ‘Corporate Responsibility’ sharp at 8:30 AM. When I arrived, there were very few people present and appeared that the event had been cancelled. I sat along with a group of professional awaiting the event, and I met Ruth Dobson who works for PriceWaterHouseCoopers’s branch in Beijing, China. She recommended me to get in contact in with Gary Sharkey. He had worked in China for 8 years and was originally from the US. His position was the sustainability network driver. Again this is all by coincidence.

By 9:00 AM, the panel speakers had turned up and decided to do the panel discussion.
These are some of my highlights from the event:

The questions that were being addressed was why are corporations incorporating sustainability into their core corporate fabric and how is it that corporations are engaged in these issues.

One of the companies represented was Applied Materials, an infrastructure company. Some of the comments were that employed solutions have to be employed at scale. In addition, he spoke to the shift from risk management to opportunistic outlook. In other words, it was not risk avoidance rather to seize those market opportunities. For Applied Materials, they saw a huge opportunity in the energy market, specifically solar PV. It was seen as both profitable and strategically sound. The key was to have long-term view and to walk the talk beginning with operations. He noted that the employees also appreciate these initiatives because that it offered meaningful work that they wanted to work for.

Another speaker pointed out that environmental management focus currently tends to be on climate, and in perhaps another 10 - 15 years water will be the new focus. The key parts he addressed was a company has address the questions of the risks, opportunities, do they need to adapt, how does climate change effect the company presently and in the future to come. However, the sustainability is becoming a fundamental as core in business with an added benefit of attracting youth and university graduates.

During a Q&A, Bruce mentioned several interesting functions the company is doing to promote and enable a culture of sustainability. The company has a goal of a 20% reduction of their CO2 emissions by 2010 through consolidating their facilities, putting in solar PV and energy efficiency projects. On the culture side, the company has an office of sustainability. The have a steering council that is made up of champions of sustainability from different departments such as marketing, human resources, information technology, and so on as a mechanism to engage people from across the company. Another is from a grassroots level with a team called Green Teams. They concentrate on things that the employees can make the biggest impact such as paper usage. They had a way to monitor how much each employee was using and find the biggest consumers. In addition, they educate their employees by bringing in speakers. One very well recognized speaker was Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. The goal behind this is that the employee will take there knowledge and share it with family and friends. For food, they bring in local farmer's produce and have compostable stations. On last note was a very effective, yet simple tool to bring people into the discussion of being involved. It was called 'Do one thing and share it with the company.' This is self explanatory, but at the end you have a large (excel?) document of all the employees, which allows them to see other creative ideas that they can use themselves. The key point is that the green groups are trying to help transform the culture.

The other panel speaker I want to briefly reference. He said we need to have a 2050 perspective, and realize that human nature is wasteful. He brought up Duke Energy. I met with the vice president of Duke Energy at the reception last Sunday evening. He said if Duke Energy was a country, it would be ranked 41st based on its GHG emissions. Lastly, as we address coal-based US states, we need to keep in mind the economic viability aspect. If we take coal away, what are you going to put in replace. At the end of the day, the governors and senators will be voting with his wallet. Job creation is the primary focus for the US.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 13th

Hi Everyone,

It seems that everyday here builds upon itself. I returned to the Bright Green Forum for the final day in the late morning and reconnected with some great companies I met yesterday and met some others as well. I found Bright Green to truly a gold mine of opportunities even if there was just learning about new, innovative technology. For instance, I met companies who are developing technology to harness wave energy to the Masdar Initiative of the world's first carbon-zero city in the United Emirates. I have attached a youtube video to view it for those interested.

The main event I want to highlight is the reception that took place the First Hotel sponsored by the US Climate Action Partnership. The Pew Center for Climate Change was a partner. This was invitation only event with two prominent politicians Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and the Executive of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changed Yvo de Boer attending. You might be asking how did I manage this. Simply by networking. Through several I got in touch with Mark Rupp, the Director for Christine Gregoire in Washington D.C a couple weeks ago. He has invited me to several events outside the Bella Center for this coming week. He had sent me e-mail invitation last Thursday about attending this specific reception and added my name to the list. The event had about 70 business leaders who were mostly vice presidents and senior directors of their company as well as a few reporters and journalist. I was the only student present. The first question was how I got invited to this event and just had to mention Mark Rupp's name.

If you want to talk about an unbelievable networking opportunity this was it!!! For instance, I met Jennifer Mattes, the Director of Global Public Affairs, from Johnson Controls. Her company builds the interior materials for automobiles for almost every car company known such as Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevy, Mercury, etc. It even develops the batteries for the hybrid cars. I met Harry Verhaar, the Senior Director of Energy & Climate for PHILIPS lighting. His branch develops and sell high energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs for consumers. I had a unique question to ask him about mercury usage within the bulbs. This was a major subject matter at the Seattle University Sustainability Conference among business elites. Harry's response was to consider the amount of mercury produced through coal fired plants that produce the energy for lighting. Using an incandescent light bulbs results in more production of mercury than these high-efficiency light bulb. The amount of mercury used in those are far less. He did say that they do currently offer mercury-free bulbs called the MASTER LED lamps. So there is no excuse not to go green with lighting. You can visit there website:

I met Jonathan Hiskes, a staff writer for Grist. He is from Seattle, Washington and was surprised to learn that he knew Richard Young, a professor of Political Science at Seattle University, and Samantha, a colleague of the Professor Young. This is all by coincidence. I met Robert G. Hilton, Vice President for Power Technologies for Government Affairs from ALSTOM. The compan develops, constructs, markets and provides systems, components and customer support to the world's infrastructure markets in the fields of power generation, transmission and distribution and transport. It turned out that the generators were produced by two ventures. One of which was ALSTOM. It was the prime turbine contractor, with work worth $212m. He said he would be more than happy to get my in contact with their offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan. I met Mark A. Proegler, the Director of Climate & Transport Energy Policy from BP, and Howard J. Chase, Director of the European Government Affairs from BP. Yes, this is one of world's largest energy companies with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products. As an environmentalist, I certainly have a very biased view against any oil companies. Nonetheless, I put my bias away and just talked and keep an open mind. It turned that BP has a long-term partnership program with Tsinghua University in Beijing, the university I hope to attend after graduation, to understand and develop clean energy technologies to support China's growth and needs for energy security, environmental improvement and sustainable, competitive energy supply. QInghua University is apparently the center part of BP's clean energy research and education center. You can read more on this at the following link.

I could go on and on with people I met that night. If I total it up, I believe I networked with about 24 people in 3 hours. It was a powerful experience. I was the youngest one there and coming on my own certainly demonstrated initiative and passion.

I have one last story to share. At the evening came down to an end, I noticed there was person still present, Yvo De Boer. He is the Executive Secretary for the UNFCCC. He was still crowded by business men, but I wanted to get a word in and shake his hand. He was right next to the escalators so I decided to meet him outside the entrance where he car was waiting. I gave a brief elevator speech (thanks to the Student Alumni Ambassodors) and he asked me directly about 'what I thought of the negotiations.'

The following is a recap of what I said.

"I feel that developing nations are underrepresented because they are the most vulnerable and have done the least to cause climate change. I think this is an ethical issue. I think the negotiations should be considered much more closely when considering financial aid to the developing world and $10B annually is not even close to being sufficient. I think it should be substantially more. It is not as if the U.S can't afford it. Consider the financial crisis. The US invested about $700 billion dollar in three months irresponsibly, why can't we invest at least 100 billion responsibly the betterment of man kind. Lastly, I feel financial aid should not be temporary; we need to think long-term commitments."

His reaction is that the U.S only wants to go as far as it creates new jobs. That is the focus of the U.S administration.

I asked for his card and shook his hand and he wished me the best in pursuits here in Copenhagen.

With this said, it was a defining movement for me. I had given my two-cents to global leaders. I was speaking up on behalf of the developing world and making a difference in our global community and living for a greater purpose. For me, this is about making a difference for the generations today and the future to come.

December 12th

Hi everyone,

Saturday was perhaps most of the most historic days I have ever lived through.

It began with attending the Bright Green Forum that is being hosted December 12th -13th. When I got to the Forum, I went to the speaker section where I entered just as Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke took stage. He expressed the need both the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents to the private sector. He also regurgitated that US stance on carbon reductions. The current plan to reduce CO2 emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2025, which is 3% below 1990 levels, and 80% reduction by 2050. I hate say that is not very encouraging from any perspective who realizes that this is the United States, the country the world is keeping their eyes on as a leader for taking a strong stance against climate change. This sends a message of a lack of urgency, and the only hope is that Barack Obama on the December 18th raises the reduction levels high and make them much more ambitious. Because the EPA has officially declared the six GHG as threat to public heath,that gives Obama's administration much more leverage in respect to not have to depend on legislation to be passed through the senate. We will have to wait and see.

The Bright Green Forum has over 170 of the world's leading companies showing their cutting-edge climate solutions. For 3 hours after Locke's presentation, I was talking to business leaders from big brand companies to new and emerging one about internships and job opportunities in China as well as trying to promote Yunnan EcoNetwork (the Chinese NGO) and the Biogas Carbon Offset (BCO). It was absolutely amazing. The keyword the separated myself from the crown when when I introduced myself. It is the last word of the sentence where I said "I am studying Environmental Studies and Chinese." The aspect of Caucasian studying Chinese with a passion and interested in sustainability was a key advantage and a huge ice breaker. I met with companies and non-profits such as the Bureau for International Recycling, Dell, General Electric, U.S Green Building Council and World Building Council, U.S Department of Commerce, China Power International New Energy Holding Ltd.,Masdar, Vaisala, and Argonne. I wish I had time to go and explain about these companies and non-profits, so I please send me an email or lets arrange a time to meet back in Seattle.

The major event of the day was the public demonstration. There was an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 participants who joined a long march from Christiansborg Slotsplads (Castle Square) southward to the Bella Center. From news reports there were delegates and observers from nearly 200 nations who gathered to seek a consensus There were a broad coalition of hundreds of environmental groups, human rights campaigners, climate activists, anti capitalists from dozens of countries. The climate demonstration began at 1:00 PM with speakers and the march started at 2:00 PM. I arrived about 2:45 and the march was massive. I wanted out of the subway station and was in encircled in the march. There was signs saying 'There is no Planet B, ' 'Change the Politics, Not the Climate,' and 'Nature Doesn't Compromise'. There was police standing in front of large corporation buildings and fast food chains such as McDonalds and KFC to stop an anti-sentiment of throwing rocks and stones at the windows. However, there was little radical protestors. I never came across any. Since I didn't represent an organization officially, I just walked into the march and walked ahead to see the different organizations present and find anyone I knew. During this time, I was realizing that I was part of history. I had been told that 100,000 were participating in this march. In the US, 15,000 to 30,000 participants is a huge deal. This was unlike any other in sense of the amount of people from all over the world marching on a common cause. It was universal. My hope as I saw the helicopter over all filming us crowds of people, that the politicians including Barack Obama see that they world wants 'A REAL DEAL' with a Strong, Ambitious Climate Change Agreement. I saw multiple groups such as GreenPeace, 350, a Tibetan Group, Oxfam International, the, and SFUNGDOM to name off a few. The streets were crammed pack and people were waving from their windows in support. Media and photographers climbed up a light poles designed as ladders to try to capture the moment. It was absolutely freezing the afternoon but everyone's spirits were high. It was amazing to be part of something that the whole world was watching and to make a stance for something I firmly believed in with a hundred thousand other people. I can't say enough about. It sent chills down my back just realizing what I was engaged in at very second. I was fortune enough to find friends from the 350 organization who I met during the China-US youth workshop. I got to join in their chants to engage the public and received a 350 sticker (in French, there were out of English copies).

The night was absolutely freezing. When we made it to the Bella Center, we waited for for another half hour until the speakers come forth. A stage was set up for more speeches. One speaker railed against nuclear power, and another against genetically modified food. The message that they said they would take away from this march was that the world wants 'A REAL DEAL' and they will push for a reduction of 25% to 40% by 2025.

I was disappointed at the end because he had started off in exuberance seemed to fizzle out. It was like an anticlimax. There was no one in charge or closure. It was just a round of English and Danish speakers. They they started speaking Danish, I decided to leave because it was too cold to listen to something I couldn't understand. However, the whole experience overall was very positive.

December 11th

Hi Everyone,

I should mention that I found out about IETA (The International Emissions Trading Association) through one of the Chinese Youth from Duke University. He told me this was a side event of the COP15 (UNCCC - UN Climate Change Conference) that didn't check whether you are accredited or not. The only prerequisite is to dress the part, business formal, and act as an official delegate like you belong there. This morning I went online, I looked up IETA and the address. It was one subway station from the Bella Center, which was very convenient for me. It was at the Crown Plaza. The name alone sounds like an up 5 star, up-scale hotel. When I walked in to the lobby, there was an arrow point downstairs. The elegance of the business lounge felt like walking down the staircase in Titanic to the dinning room. I know that sounds a cheesy, but that is the best metaphor I can come up with. There were two rooms - Everest 1 and Everest 2. Once I went through coat check, I took a seat near the fireplace where 3 professions were siting typing on their laptop computers. In matter of minutes, I introduced myself to Mr. Chang. He is the communications officer and managing editor of LowestC blog for Delta Eletronics Foundation in Taiwan. It turned out he was unable to get into the Bella Center as an observer and was sent here to the IETA. It seemed he was disappointed because that is where all the negotiations were taking place. However, he had a very engaging conversation. I told him about the Chinese NGO I was representing and what I did with this summer in southwest China. He was very interested in the Biogas Carbon Offset (BCO), one of the big projects the Yunnan EcoNetwork is trying to promote. BCO simply is trying to create a market based system by connecting investors with farmers in Yunnan Province rather than a top-down, subsidized system through the government. I gave him the link to the website and the director of the organization's e-mail. He was also interested in the China-US Youth Workshop that I attended the prior night, which I forwarded the organizers of the event's e-mail to him. It was a great discussion and lifted my confidence that I had a strong purpose being here at Copenhagen.

Shortly afterwards, I went to the other side of the lounge to meet some other professionals. However, something else caught me attention. There was a live broadcast on a television of the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei on 'stern' irresponsibility on the part of the US and their emission targets. I'll save the time paraphrasing, so I have listed the two web links for more information.

In addition, I went to two events. They were 'Africa GHG Market - Attracting Finance into Africa' and 'Development Opportunities for African Countries under a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime'. I found the second much more interesting because the first presentation I had entered late and I didn't understand the terminology being used.

The following is some of my notes from the second presentation that consisted of two sub-topics.
1. Development Opportunities for African Countries under a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime
2. NAMAs for Climate and development Potential and Challenges

1. Development Opportunities for African Countries under a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime

A joint UNCTAD – African Union Commission side events
Towards Copenhagen:
• An analysis of the Bonn negotiations
• Arguments and guidance aimed at ensuring that Africans’ perspectives are adequately involved.
• Review fothe African posilfians paper
• Review of the convention
• Analysis of the born II text vias=a=bis the African position
• Successful negotiation
• Take futeher action
• Preserving African Development objectives
Key Issues:
• Adaptation
• Food securyi and povery allevuation
• Drastic reduction of emmisions in short term
• ECOMIC competitiveness
• Little gaisn exisiting inadequent, complext and fragmented financial mechanisms
• Mobilize and strengthen existing mitigation capacities
• Identify opportunities and mitation potentials
• Propose simplified metholdogies for sectors with high potential for Africa
• Elements of adapation to be clarified
• Costing of adapation
• Anticipatory and proactive adaptation programs
o Early warning signs
o Surveillance or observation systems
• Determine baseline for Adaptation because adaptation and development are inextricably linked
• Mainstreaming of adaption into institutional and policy framework
Technology Transfer
• More support for development, diffusion and transfer oftechnology for both adaptation and mitigation
• Technology needs assessment is to be conducted on regular basis and complemented with concrete
Capacity mobilization and or bulidng
• Conceive capacity building as a process
• Mobilize, develop and strength African scientific and technical capacities and expertise
• Moblize and strengthen existing adaptation and mitiatoin capacities
• Capacity mobilization and capacity building at all levels
• Enhance systematic observation, research modeling, disaster preparedness and knowledge management
• CB in the prepariotn of REDD
• Demand driven for dunign to be channeled through national frameworks
• Low carbon development strategies
• TNA to be used in challenging support and assistance IIPRs and large-scale deployment or readily available technologies)
• Need to improve national coomunications
• There is a need to pay attention to process (tact) and arguments (substance)
• There is need to carve out a special niche with the attached benefits from well informed and document cases
• Ther si need to take a lead (more proactive on the negatations side and long term thinking) on adaption in defining methodolofies, the costing

2. NAMAs for Climate and development Potential and Challenges

Bali Action Plan
Nationally appropriate mitation actions by developing country Parties in the context of sustainable development, supported …
What are Namas
• Unilateral: no-regrets policies, strongly aligned with domestic develpemnt goals, cheaper to implement
• Supported: similar to above, both mor expensive, technilially difficult to implemtn
• CreditedL more expensive and esily quantified fired GEG reductions, provleay sectoral industrial
What Are Namas
• Part of low-emission developentn strategy
o (spelling out pathway to 2050, actions, obstacles, result, MRV)
• Internally supported
o (support should be MRV – finance, technology, capacity building)
• Faciliated by registry or mechamism
o (Links pledges and commitments, technical reviews, records achievements)
Nama Principles
• Not equaivalent to Annes I Targets
• Voluntary
• Recipient country driven
• Focused on sustainable development
• Guided by principles of equity, common but differentiated
What are the potentials?
• Achieving both sustainable development (economic development) and climate change goals (mitigation)
• New modaility of international cooperation
Clean Energy in Developing Countries
Energy supply is the biggest single contributor to GHG emissionat 25%.
Energy is also fundamentally linked to development
Clean Energy: Co-benefits
• Energy efficiency, clean supply
• Energy security
• Balance of payments
• Human health (local air quality)
• Energy access
• Reduced workload (biofuels gathering), quality of life
• Human health (indoor air quality)
• Education, commerce potential
Clean Urban Transporation
• Almost all of global growth between now and 2030 will be in urban centers
• Co-benefits
• 2030, India will be almost 100% import-dependent, China now 2nd biggest importer (was exporter in 1992)
• Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform
• Fossil fuels are over 80% of primary energy
• $310 billion per annum (consumer subsidie) - conservative estimate
Indonesia Case Study
1. 2008 20% subsidies to electricity and fuel
2008 reform increased prices by almost 30% sustained because of direct transfer to 19 million poorest families.
Concluding observations
• Huge need for NAMAs
• Elaborating LEDS
• African is the greated victim of Climate Change
• Africa has only contributed 2% of GHG worldwide.

I was one of the few Caucasians in the room but this was interesting subject matter because Africa has only contributed about 2% of the total amount of greenhouse gases and will be the biggest victim of Climate Change. In addition, the developed countries including the EU and the United States who are the big players that plan to establish a fund with an annual injection of USD 10 billion to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change. In my view this is pennies. When I asked one of the speakers as we was walking out the door about what he thought of the financial aid being currently be negotiated to help develop clean, low-carbon economies, he emphasized to me that the issues between the developing world and developed world is one of morality, right and wrong. Obvious $10 billion won't serve the needs at any capacity on a global scale. Perhaps those numbers should be considered as high as in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December 10th Part 2

Hello Everyone,

As for the evening of this remarkable day, I went to the "China-US Youth Workshop: OUr Shared Future" at the University of Copenhagen. It was a workshop for U.S. and Chinese youth to come together for an unprecedented meeting to discuss their individual journeys to the Copenhagen climate talks, create new relationships that transcend language and cultural differences, and pioneer a new generation of US-Chinese diplomacy built on shared trust and ambition. There were 50 Chinese and 50 American youth who attended the event. It was organized and put together by Holly Chang, co-organizer of the China delegation and CEO of Golden Bridges. The purpose was to illustrate that this is the relationship of 'our time' in respect to these two countries, and it is that partnership that needs to be cemented in order for our world to thrive. Furthermore, climate change is a problem that's will be shared between our two countries for decades, and this event was an opportunity to break down a lot of the cultural barriers that can hinder progress in negotiations.

The following is the schedule of the evening with some commentary:

Part 1 '你好 and Hello'

There was four presenters (two Chinese, two Americans) who discussed their own personal "roads to Copenhagen."

We breakout into small groups and discussed our own "roads to Copenhagen" focusing on the following questions

1. What has been your 'road to Copenhagen' looked like?
2. What has been the defining moment for you in your life that caused you to be involved in climate?
3. What do you think has changed (in you) now that you've been in COP and how do you think this will impact you when you return home?
4. What's been the hardest thing that you've had to overcome to be where you are today?

I was in a group of 5 people. I recall two specific Chinese youth and their specific reasons for coming. One was a graduate student from Beijing. When she was an undergraduate as an English Literature major, she did her final project on energy demand comparing China to the US. As she learned more about this issue, she was prompted to get involved in this NGO, China Youth Climate Action Network. Another student, Lina, talked about her experience with 'Students on Ice' - an educational expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic. Through a very competitive program, she was one of the few selected and highlighted her trip to us. The most significant things she point out was that it gave her an appreciation for nature, that the world is not just about human. It appeared that appearance gave her a very unique hands-on understanding and appreciation of the situation.

Part 2 - "Our Shared Future and Climate Strategy"

We had two intro speakers - "Where We Are in China and the US politically and how the youth movement is involved"

We breakout into small groups again and discussed the youth movements, policies, and collaboration

1. What are the obstacles and opportunities for China and the US moving forward?
2. Are people really engaged on climate change in your society?
3. What do you consider "real" solutions to the climate crisis? CCS? Nuclear? Hydro?
4. If you were Hu Jintao/Barack Obama how would you approach the US/China in the negotiations in order to have a sustainable future and prosperous country?

This was certainly a very interesting part of the whole talk. Since I writing my remarks for this evening several days after the event took place, I have a little difficulty giving concrete examples. I can recall that the topic of education was a universally agreed very important. One of the Chinese youth who had been doing a study abroad in the US said that there is a very negative connotation especially on environment protection in China. Yet, China has taken many initiatives with high fuel standards for cars (higher than those in the U.S under C.A.F.E) and wind power as examples. There needs to be understanding about what the efforts the countries are putting forth and work in cooperation rather than the usual 'blame game.' In terms of society engagement, we first addressed the US. I said it depends on the region, sometimes down to the city or town. I gave a short example. I said Seattle, WA is a very environmentally conscious city compared to the rest of the US. We are known as the Evergreen State. However, I met a business women on a flight from Kansas City who had never heard and knew much about climate change and was frankly uninterested. The same parallel was drawn to China. Those in the largest cities and university students usually had a higher awareness about climate change than those in western China (the rural/undeveloped part of the country). I am only giving a little bit of important to a much wider conversation so if you would like to hear more, please feel free send me a post or we can arrange to meet when I back in Seattle. The dialogue was nothing less than an eye opening experience. I am actually in contact with Holly because the entire session was filmed and I am trying to see if I could get a copy of it to bring back home.