On what was scheduled to be the final day (it was not) of this year's United Nations climate change negotiations, I arrived at the Warsaw stadium ready for a day of negotiations and (hopefully) finalizing last minute deals. Unfortunately, I was not immediately so fortunate. First, only a limited number of non-governmental organization (NGO) delegates were allowed in the negotiating room, which was full when I arrived, so I had to wait in a line and was soon informed that it could take a while before I would be allowed entry.
It’s 2:05am, Saturday, November 23 2013 and the United Nations climate negotiations are trudging on through the night. Delegates are exhausted, some sleeping on chairs, some sauntering down the corridors in search of a midnight snack (errrr, late lunch? dinner?), and others, of course, sparring on such minutia as the use of the word “objective” versus “ultimate objective.”
Adaptation may be inherently a local issue, but its associated challenges and successes sure look similar across the globe. Almost every adaptation presentation I’ve attended in the past 2 years (both here at the UN climate negotiations in Warsaw and domestic presentations in the U.S.) has begun with the phrase, “[X location] faces unique challenges when it comes to adaptation” or “[X location]’s adaptation challenges are particularly acute.”