Monday, November 30, 2015

Paris Climate Talks


During a dinner party at the big House in which a pretty good group of thinkers, leaders, and commotion makers met just before Thanksgiving, a group of us decided that we should go on and pull the trigger and go to Paris for COP 21.

Certainly, we had been thinking and even planning to some degree to go, but the actual commitment to go came quite late.  Given the recent events in Paris, we figured we could book the flights and find the Hotels we would need.  And we were right.

So, by the end of November, we were on our way.

This was not our first Climate Change Conference, nor, I suspect,  will it be our last. I made two videos, one which was very personal, and another  which was our Mayor's remarks at the convention at the Cities and  Region's Pavilion.

Here is the first:

During our stay we were attending meetings at the official site way north of Paris and at the Hotel de Ville in downtown Paris.  The meetings up north were in temporary well lit buildings and I was told that the site was an old military base.  The meetings at the Hotel de Ville (city hall) were in on the Seine in the Island east of the Louvre.

The Meeting of the the Nations going on to the north were significant and important, but this was the first time that the Mayors and the Cities had met at the same time as the Nations.  This was different.  And these were the meetings that drew our attention.  Besides, we all had good credentials for the Meeting of the Cities, not the case up north in Le Bourget.

For it was at the meeting of the Mayors where a great deal of excitement was occurring.  We had the President of France, the Mayor of Paris, the Mayor of Rio, the Mayor of London, Bloomberg from New York, and others like Al Gore, Leonardo di Caprio, and Elon Musk.

We were invited to the American Ambassador's  little party. Her residence is more like a Palace.   The Secretary of Energy was there.  So was the US lead negotiator at the talks.  We met  Mitch the Mayor of New Orleans.  And we met that high energy Mayor from Baltimore.  I was chatting in another room with a state department guy who looked like security.  He was sort of.  He was in charge of keeping track of all the decommissioned nuclear weapons in the world.

When the Mayors signed their agreement, we did it at the Eiffel Tower.  And it was then that the somber blue heart in the tower of the city of light was  once again brought to life.

The next day, Mayor Adler spoke at the Cities and Region's Pavilion up north:

Later that evening, I went to a piano quartet in the Sarbonne with my old friend Jim Haynes, and we ate dinner at the restaurant across the street afterwords.

Jim has been feeding and introducing people to one another in Paris for three decades.

But before that, he did it in Amstersdam, London, and Edinburg.

The next night, I took Commissioner Shea and Councilmember Pool to Jim's dinner.

We felt as if we were in the center of the universe,

in the City of Light.

Perhaps we were.


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