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November 30, 2011

The Sierra Club in Durban: Day Three

COP 17 Day 3

Today was all about youth (mostly). The Sierra Student Coalition leader Joseph Manning briefed the full delegation on what they are up to in Durban, and I'm surprised they have time to sleep –- maybe they don't. The SSC began planning for COP 17 back in August, and they decided on three primary goals: building a strong international youth network, developing media and communications so that people back home could get engaged, and making the negotiations fit into the SSC's goals.

To this end, the SSC is engaged heavily with the international youth climate movement through YOUNGO. SSC delegates have actions and tactics they are responsible for in Durban, and the delegation has divided the work into four main areas: Capacity Building, Finance, Water, and Communications.

Heather Hatzenbuhler from the Capacity Building team discussed the policy briefs and meetings they are scheduling with high-level delegates. Christa Owens went over the awesome Robin Hood actions they are doing to promote the Financial Transfer Tax by delivering Robin Hood caps to delegations that show support. Katie O'Brien talked about actions the water team is planning around World Oceans Day to ask the COP, "Where's the Water?" Last, Holly Jones and Adriana Gonzalez Delgado explained how they are using ALL forms of media to get the word out. I'd love to say more about what the SSC is planning, but some of it has yet to be unveiled, so stay tuned!

In addition to the teams, the SSC is actively reaching out to youth delegations from around the world. Their goal is to form lasting relationships that go beyond the two-week COP. They are working on trainings on campus organizing with Chinese, Australian, and South African youth, and reaching out to Latin youth to prepare for RIO +20. At this COP, it's clear that youth is leading the charge!

Of course, SSC members aren't the only ones getting it done here in Durban. Our own Steve Herz played a critical role in drafting a letter -- signed by 16 groups -- to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton challenging the U.S. negotiating position on legal mandate, the green climate fund, and long-term finance. The story has already been picked up in the Washington Post and Steve will participate in a press call later this evening. There is also buzz around the report "Unclear on the Concept: How Can the World Bank Group Lead on Climate Finance without an Energy Strategy?" -- released by nine environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, during the COP. Last, the action continued at the People's Space, where we spent the morning tabling and presented on a panel on Coal Financing at the CDM with partners in Europe and attendees from around the world.

-- Nicole Ghio

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