New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) Deputy Director and Climate Fellow Andi Colnes is live blogging from United Nations climate-change conference COP27 in Egypt from Nov. 14-17. Read about her fourth day below.
Writing by Andrea Colnes
Lula is in, Bolsonaro is out. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently defeated Jair Bolsonaro, considered a climate nightmare for his record of ravaging Brazil’s fragile Amazon rainforest. Mr. Lula’s main message yesterday here at COP27 was that, “Brazil is leaving its cocoon where it was for the last four years.”
And two years ago, Trump was out following his withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord and President Biden was in, bringing re-engagement in global climate efforts, passage of the massive climate bill here in the U.S., and more.
Political leaders come and go, and this led me to think of those who continue to work, year after year just beyond the limelight, to forge ahead and meet the climate crisis no matter which way the political winds are blowing.
As this COP struggles not to slip off the 1.5-degree goal set in Paris in 2015, and to address the disproportionate costs of climate damages borne by less developed and poorer countries, it is the hands, minds and hearts of many who are less visible I think of, that work to build climate resilience in the face of a changing world. So, I thought the most fitting close to these missives from COP27 would be to stop and ask a few random participants why there are here and where they call home.
This is what I heard:
- “I am here with an international Woman’s Congress—I’m from Chile working for gender equity as part of climate action.”
- “I’m originally from the U.S., but now live in Germany, working to green the investments of Multilateral Development Institutions.”
- “We are from Peru as part of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change.”
- “I grew up in Benin, studied and lived in France, and worked with commercial banks on $300 million projects. But I wanted to do something that mattered, something innovative and problem-solving on climate—so now I work with the African Development Bank.”
- “I’m a student at Princeton University and want to find my way into the field of climate engineering and finance. I lived and worked in Africa for many years and want to find my place in a world of change.”
- “We are here with the FAO [U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization] working on food security and empowering people to access clean energy in the context of just transitions.”
- “I’m from Indonesia, where I work with communities to adapt to flooding in our island country. The climate crisis is literally threatening our survival.”
- “I’m here as a delegate for my high school to the Youth Climate Movement from Scotland. This is our future you’re talking about here—it’s time to do something and not just spin in place.”
- “I work on adaptation to address the impact of climate-related flooding and food insecurity issues in Pakistan.”
- “We’re from the Islamic Development Bank, working on community financing for climate adaptation and mitigation.”
- “Our program is about creating healthy cities, creating low-carbon buildings and livable urban environments as we adapt to inevitable climate change.”
- “I’m with the Nordic Development Fund, working with countries in Latin America and Africa on climate mitigation and adaptation projects.”
And these were only the first 10 or so people I asked. The climate challenge is huge. We know we are already too late, but many, many people from across oceans and nations are racing to catch up and find our way to a just, equitable, climate-forward world. It’s an honor to be among them.
New England Forestry Foundation Heads To COP27 | November 10
NEFF at COP27: Day 1 | November 14
NEFF at COP27: Day 2 | November 15
NEFF at COP27: Day 3 | November 16
NEFF at COP27: Day 4 | November 17
COP27 Wrapup—What Did We Learn? | November 22