Poznan prattle

Arrived Saturday 5th to be in the midst of a mad runaround

Dan and Debbie are rushing around to get the submission in by 6 p.m. We find out who the key player is and head for his office and meet a guard with a pistol on his hip. We blag and beg to get through security to the high temple: the UNFCCC office and found Martin ??? who is the controller/gatekeeper on this and he gave us the precise wording which Debbie then emailed to the UNFCCC but also printed out a copy and put it through the door of UNCCD, who are the official sponsors of the submission. They need to stamp it with their seal and then, as long as it gets to the UNFCCC by close of play on Monday, it’s on the main agenda, not the NGO ‘tail’ agenda that future negotiations can look at but don’t have to properly consider. Whew! But needs chasing on Monday as the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, UNFCCC=United Nations Framework Committee on Climate Change – do keep up!)

We went for a cup of tea and met Margaret Leinen from Climos, who are working on seeding the sea in expanded trials for carbon sequestration. They put 20 Kgs of iron sulfite (via propwash of boad) per square Km of sea surface and say this sequesters 25 Tonnes of C which falls to the ocean bottom (not CO2, but definitely C)

I leave her talking to Jim Fournier while we go off to the press room and collar odd journalists. One is from a group of environmental journalists and we give him the story and a press release.

Then we restock the press release stand, which is a messy table, with more of our releases.

Then we visit Reuters to thank them for the article (not that good) they sent out on their wires and clarified that we are not looking for funding but are funded and on the way. He was more interested and we gave him 5 minutes of quality information.

Then we passed around the various displays, picking up literature on REDD

Then back to the restaurant where Jim, Lopa and Debbie are still talking to the Climos ocean seeding folks.

They head off to a party and Dan and I go to the REDD meeting at 1930 in the White Tailed Eagle room where a NZ researcher is setting out the economics of different approaches: free approach, restrictions on supply, restrictions on demand. Very technical but gives an insight into how the ‘market’ economics of climate change are influenced by how much people think governments are willing to pay. What’s clear is that everyone is committed in principle but nobody wants to pay the true cost of carbon (£70 a tonne, at least, according to Nick Stern, who since said it’s probably double that.)

After the lecture we talk to Linda Krueger, Director of Global Conservation Policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly known as Bronx Zoo) She knows about Golden Stream Corridor Reserve, her predecessor, Al Rabinowitz, is a jaguar expert, has written several books about them and other big cats. We invite her to dinner but she is going to the party at Tuba and says she might catch up with us later.

Then we go to the market square where we have arranged to meet the others for dinner. Dan has booked a table for 10 at the Baizanteicie, which means, the Pheasant. Nobody’s there so we stroll around the square, which is very Christmassy with ice sculptures, amber sellers, pretty gifty stuff. Geoffrey Lean calls me to say the article is in tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday. A huge ice sculpture collapses in front of us, I thank Geoffrey for slowing my pace with his call as otherwise I’d have had huge chunks of ice on my foot. He also thanks us for the invite to Poznan but says he’d be compromised if he accepted. We wait at the restaurant and down a couple of ice cold vodkas. Then everyone arrives and we have a full table of 10. Traditional but well presented Polish food, I have Poznan duck with red cabbage, dumplings and gravy. The borshe they serve is a clear, rich beet extract with cumin and dill spicing, very delicious and clean on the palate.

There are 2 journalists from a newsletter ready by environmentalists on the Hill, Debbie’s husband who is a political worker, former aide to a Delaware senator, a gy from NRDC and then Lopa, Jim, Dan, me and Debbie. I can’t really speak to the Wash DC guys as they are at the other end of the table and there’s a lot of background noise, much of it from us.

I leave them carousing and head back for some healing sleep.

In the morning I meet Lydia Olander of the Nicholas Institute at Duke University, one of the main links between academia and Washington policy and Brian Murray, who is their Director of Economic Analysis. I’ve been talking to Francisco Ascui who is at the U of Edinburgh, knows Richard Tipper, did some analysis work for Birdlife International that probably is why Richard set up independently with support from Stephen Rumsey (Birdlife’s treasurer). We are meeting Richard in January at his request so it’s good to get a bit of background, though the report is confidential, but touches on REDD etc. Francisco is the Principal Consultant at EcoSecurities, who are the world leaders in bringing home CDM projects through the methodology process and he feels we need help at IBI if we are to get there. He would like a meeting with Debbie and me (he met Debbie a few days ago) and would like to bring along his forestry expert. It’s nearly 1 pm so I have emailed Debbie and am going to head into town to take some pictures as there’s nothing happening at the conference today, Sunday and nobody’s quite sure how the rescheduling around the muslim holiday is going to work tomorrow.

I ride into town on the tram with Bryan Murray and then wander round the square, buy some Christmas decorations for Jo that are very Polish rococo and then have Kleb, a slice of bread with lashings of fried onions and sliced dill pickles. They serve it with Kybasie too, but I pass on the sausage. A woman next to me is speaking to her husband in English and then to the server in Polish so I ask her to establish the origin of the Schmalzen (Yiddish: Schmaltz) and she says it should be goose but it’s probably pork. It’s lard. Flavoured with salt and fried onions. Too late, I down it, alienating myself from the world’s Judaic, Muslim, Hindu, vegan and vegetarian populations at a stroke. When in Poland…

Then I stroll up the hill to the Poznan museum of Applied Arts – lots of ornate swords, arquebuses, blunderbusses, armour, armoires, tapestries, inlaid furniture, old leather and wood thrones, Polish chinoiserie, a range of cocktail dresses from the 1900s to the 1990’s including some 50’s ones ‘a la mode Chanel.’ I knew that East European cars were scaled down copies of Detroit’s 50s monsters but hadn’t realised before that the same was true of fashion, too.

Then I meet up with Debbie and Francisco at the Merkure Hotel. Francisco has brought along Till his forestry associate who also works at EcoSecurities. They explain the process to develop modules for approval by the Voluntary Carbon Standard VCS that comply with the CCB Climate Communities and Biodiversity standards that is the best you can get. They estimate a cost of $60,000 to $130,000 plus the cost of our auditor, who is a VCS approved one, the proposal goes to the VCS, who give it to another auditor, then it gets approved if it’s OK, which it will be if they do it, they say. The key is that it needs little funding as they know all the people from UN and government bodies and private foundations, who fund this sort of thing, and can help us to fast track to full funding – they want the work, need us as the hook but know where the money is, so it’s potentially not much cost at all. Debbie takes copious notes and I realise that if we do this right, getting the rewards for abandoning bad practice (slash n burn, wood fire cooking, deforestation) and the rewards for good practice (Slash n char, biochar stoves, sustainable forest management) we could get a real lump of money for every tonne of C that we sequester, getting up to me dreamed-of double credits.

A very good and instructive meeting with a couple of real insiders, Debbie and I stay behind to digest, then I go off to the Sheraton to meet Tom Spencer and Icarus Moussitis, from the European Council, he’s their climate change guy. We have a beer and talk about the forthcoming events tomorrow that they’re doing, Durwood Zaelke will be doing an afternoon event with Tom and he is organising a group of 3 groups who wanted to do events and have been told they have to all squeeze into one 1 ½ hour slot, but they are compatible so it’s possibly a good thing. We’ll see, the speaking slots are very tight, 9 speakers in 60 minutes. Then we head off to dinner in the old town, with the group from tomorrow. There’s room for me and Icarus so we join them and I chat to Michiko Kainuma from the Climate Policy Assessment Research Section Center for Global Environmental Research (CGER)

Then Cornie from the Clear Air Initiative for Asian Cities tells me about the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air and their stoves, also about the Colorado State group, Bryan Wilson, who are working on this issue. These people may be able to give us an overview of what is happening with stoves. Everyone is a bit contrite because the ‘clean air’ stoves make for healthier households but actually are the main cause of the Himalayan snow melt and increased Asian soot – so a biochar stove could be a way that they can redeem themselves from the unintended consequences of the last big stove roll-out.

Then we leave and in the square a lovely tall brunette is singing arias. Her voice is trained, crystal clear, very relaxed and natural, standing a few feet away it vibrates every bone in your body. It turns out Icarus is also a singer, baritone, trained and used to sing in opera. We chat and it turns out that she’s from Belgium, he’s Cypriot but works at the Council offices in Brussels. “What brings you to Poznan?” he asks. “I’m a Greenpeace activist” she replies. “Were you at the demonstration outside the Council offices in Brussels in May? Did you get arrested?” Her face lights up, as do those of her three girlfriends. “Yes, they arrested us.” Icarus explained his job, said it took him several hours before he could get into his office, but assured them he supported their work and that it was a good demo.

They arrange to meet up tomorrow and sing some arias together.

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