What’s the first step in meeting a world leader at the COP? Be on the lookout for a group of people that look either important or are holding a lot of papers.
What’s the second step? Stand tall wearing your observer badge and boldly walk right over to them.
That is how Nina and I met Kwesi Ahoomey-Zuna, the Prime Minister of Togo.
After listening to a very engaging talk about the future energy landscape for the 2015 Paris Agreement, Nina and I wandered outside into the general plenary area of the COP. This general area has been buzzing since this morning!! The negotiations have to wrap up in just less than 4 days so everyone is teeming for some good news.
We saw a bunch of people holding up what look like a press release so we walked right up to them and struck up a conversation. After talking about and practicing our (somewhat adequate) French language skills the woman standing next to us began to laugh.
“Do you know you’re talking to the Prime Minister of Togo?”
Well, needless to say I bet you could guess how we reacted to that. WHAT. OMGOODNESS.
So then we briefly talked about U.S. environmental politics.
We were asked, “Do you think Obama’s environmental initiatives are going to continue after he finishes his Presidential term?
We need the United States to universally embrace climate change as a serious issue and someone will need to step up in his place. We need more leadership and more involvement.
On Thursday John Kerry will be arriving at his first Conference of the Parties since Copenhagen in 2009.