The Change Away from The Center

by Josh Boyce

In walking the length and breadth of the convention center for the second week of COP24, I found the amount of information overwhelming. I tried to plan where I would be in the next hour, what had the most interest to my research and my career, and where I could see the most interesting aspects of the negotiation. I tried to fit in as much as I could, as I knew my last day would involve 6 hours away from the negotiations at a side event.

On my last day in Katowice, I attended the 4par1000 event on behalf of GDAE and Soil4Climate. The attendance was a relatively small group of about 75 at the University of Selisia. Consisting primarily of experts and science-focused students, the topic was on the mitigation potential of soils around the world. I was impressed with the quality of speakers, including the head of the Global Environmental Facility, Naoko Iishi, as well as their passion about the potential for soil carbon.   

The contrast was palpable after a week of the bustle inside the convention center. Debates concerning language were not present, neither was the politics at play in the main event. Instead the competition was amongst companies and organizations to try to do the most they could. Five hundred million for LULUCF investments, reversal of desertification through soil transplant processes, support of farmers around the world for soil mitigation techniques. The event was dripping with optimism and potential.

For all the accomplishments and admirable job of the Katowice Presidency in moving the negotiations forward at COP24, the 4par1000 event reminded me that the length and breadth of the conference center is not the length and breadth of the efforts to tackle climate change. It is the innumerable events on the outside of the center where we will see some amazing advances, and that have me optimistic about the challenges ahead.