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November 29, 2011

The Sierra Club in Durban: Day Two

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The Sierra Club delegation showed no signs of slowing down on Day 2 of the COP 17 climate negotiations. Several of us started the day in the People's Space, where we met up with old friends who are working to fight coal projects impacting rural communities in South Africa. We hopped in their tripped out van for a very loud and boisterous ride to the Speaker's Corner, the designated space for protests outside of the conference. There, activists from Asia, Africa, and South America came together for a climate justice rally to call on delegates inside the COP to work for equitable solutions, as their communities are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change.

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Inside the conference, the Sierra Club co-hosted a packed side event: "Coal, the Dirty Truth" -- speakers from China, India, South Africa and our own Justin Guay from the United States discussed the true costs of coal, revealing that it is not cheap, that it does not relieve energy poverty, and that it's time to invest in the renewable energy that can safely power our future. It was one of those great moments that can happen at a COP conference where people from around the world can come together to discuss solutions, with questions and ideas coming from all over the planet.

The event followed last week's international "Dirty Energy Week," where the Sierra Club networked with coal fighters from around the world. Daily Kos included Justin’s blog on "Dirty Energy Week" in its eCOP Collaboration Coverage. The discussion was then furthered later in the evening at the Leave It in the Ground (LINGO) coalition meeting in the People's Space, where groups met to unify their struggles against the growth of the fossil economy.

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The Sierra Student Coalition joined the youth briefing with Jonathan Pershing, where they discussed the green climate fund. Pershing told the delegates, "You have to stay engaged. Your voice has to not be just in one place." The SSC also presented him with a Beyond Coal t-shirt for his daughter.  Later in the day, the SSC organized a meeting for U.S. youth delegates to network and discuss shared strategy for the conference. Follow Holly Jones on Twitter for all the latest on the SSC delegation.

Josheph Manning with Jonathan Pershing

-- article and photos courtesy of Nicole Ghio

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