Dinosaurs and climate change — Yesterday there were “No Nukes” folks greeting conference-goers as they alighted from the trams that stop by the National Stadium. Today, activists from the “NGO Friends of the Earth International” wanted to get the message out about the dangers of fossil fuels by inflating a huge dinosaur. But the generator malfunctioned and the poor dinosaur lay lifeless. Which reminded one of a defunct oil company, Sinclair Oil, that used to promote the use of oil through its dinosaur, Dino, a brontosaurus. Although the promotion of a fossil helped sell gallons of gasoline, it will remain to be seen whether the FOE dinosaur can rise to the challenge of reducing fossil fuel use.

Midweek jitters — There are many strands of the negotiations going on in Warsaw, over finance, over the outline of the elements of the 2015 agreement, and over how to compensate people for their losses due to climate change. The last one seemed to cause the most, but hardly the only, source of aggravation. Developing countries have said that the establishment of such a mechanism is essential, but some developed countries have not been supportive. According to accounts, the talks floundered early on and developing countries left, with some calling it a walkout. In a series of press conferences today, by the European Union, India, Brazil, China, South Africa, Bolivia, and the U.S., widely divergent views were presented, with various countries accusing others of backtracking from previous commitments.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC, ride bamboo bikes.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC, ride bamboo bikes made by women from Ghana.

Building Momentum for Change — There is always a lot of bad news associated with climate change—not to mention some of the more immediate impacts that include more severe storms, droughts, and floods. But there are also stories of people doing remarkable things to reduce emissions or adapt to climate change. To highlight one project, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres rode bicycles made of bamboo in Ghana. The project employs 30 women–20 bike assemblers and 10 farmers. Bamboo trees that are not cut to produce bike frames help sequester carbon dioxide. Growing bamboo helps prevent soil erosion and improves water and air quality. Large initiatives, such as a financing scheme in the Philippines to unlock resources needed to address climate change, were also presented.