Lots of people -- the Climate Tribes -- hot and sweaty -- hot air -- frayed tempers -- exhaustion -- excitement -- hope for a positive outcome.
Yes, it's that time of year again. The annual climate negotiations are upon us and last week government negotiators, scientists, ngos, industry, other diverse groups, and me, arrived in Cancun, Mexico to have our say. Now with only four days to go you would imagine that most issues have been sorted, but that is not the case. But of course there is hope. Ministers have just arrived. It is these guys and not the negotiators who will make the actual political decisions on all aspects of the talks.
I am here as part of the Greenpeace Forest team. And forests are a big issue this week. Indeed it is crunch time for agreement on just how the world will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. This is what is meant by REDD. What is needed here is the establishment of a mechanism at a national level that reduces emissions whilst at the same time protecting indigenous peoples'rights and biodiversity.
At times it can be depressing watching the slow progress. However, it is probably fair to say that there has been a noticeable improvement so far in Cancun in the atmosphere that has existed for the past year since the conclusion of the miserable Copenhagen climate summit.
And its not all talk, not for the NGOs anyway and certainly not for Greenpeace. We have been busy -- the climate rescue balloon over the Chichen Itza Mayan pyramid, a visit to a local Mayan forest to meet with the local community (descendants of the Maya) to see how they sustainably manage their forest, free diving to an undwerwater sculptor park, and much more.
With only 4 days to go the pressure is on. The forest team is working as hard as they ever have in their lives before. We made some gains during the first week. Now we are working to keep what we have gained, and of course, strengthen it. But as always at these types of international governmental negotiations it is almost impossible for a small group of people (there are 10 in the team) to stay on top of what each government is thinking, and saying, and sometimes even doing.
We need to speak with them to find out what they think of any particular proposal and then brief them on our position (protecting the forests and saving the climate and in the process of doing so making the planet a better place for all) and unfortunately in too many cases then having to heavily lobby them to gain their support.
Its all about leadership. Leadership that does not take a narrow view of the negotiations. Leadership to lead us away from fossil fuels and deforestation and climate catastrophe.
Its all about saving the planet.