CLIMATE CHANGE | The world’s largest emitters meet at the beach


The conference is centrally located in Cancun, Mexico. Official conference buses pick COP16 participants up along 8 routes transporting them to the Moon Palace and Cancunmesse where the conference and official side events will take place.

Today our delegation visited the conference center to receive our official identification passes. We underwent airport-like security before receiving photo identification cards that will be our ticket to all COP16 events. Unfortunately, we were not allowed any further inside the conference today with our observer status passes.

Approximately 15,000 participants are expected for Cop16, significantly fewer than at COP15, though a sizeable number.

Tonight we met with the Kiwi Delegation of New Zealand, a group of 12 youth as passionate about climate policy as we are! Over a traditional style Mexican dinner we talked a lot about the importance of youth presence at and our hopes for the conference. Our generation will be living with the effects of climate change and therefore our voice is important in determining the path to climate policy.

We are a part of the Research and Independent NGO (RINGO) and the Kiwis part of the Youth NGO (YUNGO). As Academic observers we are here to observe the U.N. process and attend side events. As members of YUNGO the Kiwis will participate in the conference more actively functioning more as an activist group than observers. Unfortunately, as members of RINGO, we are seated on the sidelines for this conference – but we hope to observe a lot!

Many of us agreed that because, unlike last year at COP15, there are no high expectations of the negotiations in Cancun, any forward movement will be a feat! Participation of youth from the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitting countries (per capita) is significant – it will be up to our generation to lead change within our home countries.

Tomorrow the conference officially begins!

State Senator Ellen Anderson, Representative Kate Knuth and a delegation of University of Minnesota students are attending the COP 16 conference in Cancun, and students will share the experience with TC Daily Planet readers through blog post from the conference.