This morning marked the start of the much anticipated COP16 climate talks in Cancun and we’ve been on the scene scoping out what the general outlook is as the world’s leaders prepare to once again try to tackle global warming head on. It certainly feels odd to be in the center of a Disneyland-type paradise and be discussing something so daunting, but that’s exactly what is about to take place. Tensions are mounting as we wonder if the parties be able to surmount political differences and economic inequalities to get us closer to finding a solution to this planet-sized problem.
COP16 is centered around three main venues: The Moon Palace Resort, where most of the main events will take place, Cancunmesse, which will host side events, and The Climate Change Village, a cultural fair featuring concerts, exhibitions, educational demonstrations, and cultural dialogue. To gain access to any official venue, you have to put your bag through an x-ray machine and walk through a metal detector. Though access to the village is free to the public, the other venues require accreditation. Those who lack a badge can watch the talks on OneClimate.net beginning December 1st.
Amongst the world leaders, another attendee has made its way to the talks – art. At the Climate Change Village, local schoolchildren have build two globes: one representing a sustainable future, the other a dystopian possibility. Art students have chronicled Mexico’s natural wonders in digital photos. In a market downtown, UNESCO has posted satellite images of landscapes degraded by climate change. At the same market, parents can rent tiny battery-operated cartoon cars for their children. Last night, I saw a six-year-old brake to read about melting icecaps.