As soon as I received confirmation to join the Climate Generation delegation to COP22, I knew I had to capitalize on the location of the conference. Being in Morocco, the conference is conveniently located in a country that has always been on the top of my travel list. So I booked my flight to arrive three weeks prior to the conference and set off to explore the ancient medinas, admire the vastness of the Sahara desert, and sample the unique cuisine of Morocco.
Having spent almost three weeks traveling North to South throughout Morocco, I have learned a few things about the country’s expectations for COP22. Many Moroccans share pride in hosting this international summit – that the lively, modern, and still thoroughly historical city of Marrakech will become an epicenter for global change and a convergence of cultures. Yet I have also found that most people have a healthy dose skepticism about what COP22 will actually accomplish. While the majority of Moroccans (and people in general) are not deeply entrenched in international climate policy, almost everyone will tell you that it seems like not much has been done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
Like many of these Moroccans I spoke with, I too have my doubts about what will unfold at this year’s round of climate negotiations. I was fortunate enough to be part of the Climate Generation delegation to COP18 held in Doha, Qatar. While negotiators managed to agree upon extending the Kyoto Protocol (which was supposed to expire at the end of 2012), there was a general feeling that more could have been accomplished. Despite this, I found COP18 to be beyond rewarding due to the experience of meeting other youth from around the world who refused to let their government’s inaction dictate the future. I look forward to meeting more young climate activists and sharing their stories, in addition to the development of the negotiations, in the days to come.