Climate Conference of Madrid, Spain
The first day of COP21 focused primarily on speeches by the heads of states, setting the tone (an optimistic one) for further days at the conference. With everyone's attention on them, there were very few side events in the morning. We browsed through all the available Countries Pavilions and participated in some of their activities. Of course, a lot of important people were around, but security made it difficult to track them down. However, Thomas was lucky and got a picture with Al Gore!
One of the big highlights, of course, was watching President Obama's speech from the United States pavilion. You can check out the full text of his speech here, but we wanted to highlight some key ideas that we were inspired by!
Watching all the heads of state line up for the honorary photo (like elementary school kids lining up after recess), it's important to remember that they aren't the ones really negotiating here. While appearances by Obama and other leaders show a global commitment to change, it is other representatives and negotiators who now have to hash out the details towards our 2 C goal over the coming weeks.
As President Obama said, "Let's get to work".