Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016
I arrived in Morocco about 1 p.m. this afternoon. I am here for the COP22 meetings sponsored by the UN. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, which means the countries that have agreed to address Climate Change through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is the 22nd such meeting since 1994. At the Paris meeting last year most of the world’s nations agreed to the Paris Accords that set the goals for each country to reduce carbon emissions. I am here with faculty and students from Moravian College who are primarily observing and learning at the conference. We are one of the RINGOs – Research and Independent Non-governmental Organizations. It is exciting being part of such an enormous international conference, but already the American presidential election is the major topic of discussion. Donald Trump has vowed to pull the US out of the UNFCCC, especially the Paris Accords, and to cut all funding for combating climate change.
It is now 8 p.m. in Morocco, and I am worn out from traveling. Julie took me to the Philadelphia airport for my flight across the Atlantic to Madrid yesterday afternoon. It was only a six hour flight, but then there was a three hour layover before the flight to Marrakech. I slept a little on the planes. It took a while to find the house we are renting, but eventually the cab driver found it, and I was glad Hilde Binford was here to let me in. We walked about a mile to the old walled city and had a very nice Moroccan dinner and wandered in the the shops.
I am very excited and happy to be here. I have always loved Moroccan food, art, and culture, but this is my first visit. The people are so beautiful and so friendly. Many people have congratulated me on the election even though they would have rather that Hilary won. They are mainly impressed by the peaceful transfer of power America has every four years. I am trying not to worry about what the new president may or may not about the environment and focus on learning what I can at the conference while also enjoying this beautiful city.