I’m ready. I’m here in Lyon, France with all my devices plugged in and charging up for tomorrow’s opening day at the World Summit Climate & Territories. In just a few moments I’m going to plug myself into some sleep and charge that battery, too! And I just checked – we couldn’t have better weather for the occasion: it is slated to be 97 degrees F tomorrow, and a noticeably hotter 100F the second and last day of the Summit. I can’t count the number of major climate events I’ve attended where I literally froze my hands off trying to film or photograph the proceedings. This time I just need to try not to die of heat stroke as I gear up with full suit and tie. That or the suit might melt onto my skin. (I’ll keep you posted.) I considered trying to sneak in with shorts and a t-shirt but decided against it because (a) I wasn’t formally representing Pittsburgh’s Mayor Peduto and (b) if French President François Hollande wasn’t scheduled to attend.
By the way, I also created a podcast about this content that goes into greater depth than just the questions below. You can check it out here: http://markedixon.podbean.com/e/markatcop21-ep1/
OK. Enough with the logistics. Let’s get down to content. Here are the big questions that I’m currently hoping to explore during the next two days at the Summit:
1. How are other countries, states, cities cutting carbon successfully (goals AND methods paired strategically)?
2. Are the commitments on the table suitable to less than 2C warming? Maybe even 1.5C? If so, by what percentage chance? (i.e. 50/50 chance of staying below 2C, or 4/5 chance?)
3. What is the likelihood that *any* international commitment will set off a snowball effect of innovation that will drive the decarbonization faster than expected? (i.e. because economic forces around solar, wind, and storage will overwhelm fossil fuels, particularly in developing nations?)
4. Who are the cities/nations/agencies/groups willing to enter into data sharing agreements with other entities (like Pittsburgh) about the results of their carbon reduction measures?
5. How does the actual COP21 process work? Is it functional? Will it work in December/Paris? What are the big points of contention? (I have some ideas, but I’ll check those out this week and report back.)
If you have additional “big questions” for me to explore while I’ve got my boots on the ground, let me know via my GoFundMe page. I’ll try to address as many as possible.
I think it is time for me to head to bed and try to shake off last night’s red-eye flight before tomorrow’s big (and warm) day. Thank you all for your continued support and notes of encouragement. Each and every one motivates me to be more focused on reporting out.
P.S. The photo is me (duh) in front of the Saône River, a couple blocks from my CouchSurfing host’s home.
P.P.S. I have to give a tiny shout out to Delta airlines. They let me wiggle onto an earlier flight out of Pittsburgh (to Atlanta) at no extra charge so that I would have more time to make my connecting flight to Amsterdam. When they heard about my mission, they asked for the public shout out. Delivered.