My time at COP-15 was like a fast roller coaster ride. Emotions and moods went up and down, hour to hour. The entire two weeks sped along the rails extremely fast. Then it was over.

Demonstrating the far reaching nature of the Fletcher School, I attended COP-15 for several different reasons: to analyze proposed texts (drafts of possible treaties or accords) using the C-ROADS model, to promote an urban adaptation tool developed with MIT, to meet with country delegates and NGOs, and, as it turns out, to meet Fletcher grads.

I met Fletcher alum everywhere, simply by having my Fletcher-logo adorned briefcase. The prevalence of Fletcher grads surprised me. Having come to the Fletcher School in September, I’m still getting a sense of the school. I knew Fletcher is well-known, but I didn’t have a good idea of where all the graduates have gone. The answer, at least for two weeks this year, was Copenhagen. As I walked around the Bella Conference Center, took the metro, or sat in a restaurant, I continually was stopped by Fletcher alum. It was great: Everyone had a story, everyone was doing great work, and everyone was talking about the current news of the COP.

Fletcher was well represented in Copenhagen and, from everyone that talked with, truly engaged in the global climate negotiations process. I look forward to seeing everyone again in Mexico City.


The Copenhagen climate talks have wrapped up. There have been many different assessments of “Copenhagen Accord.” Some people focus on the negative (“no real commitments!”) while others try to put a positive spin on the accord (“China and US agree!”).

While I want to be hopeful the talks didn’t waste a vast amount of international goodwill, the reality is that many went home frustrated and angry. And we, as a global society, are still heading for an unsafe world.

Analysis we did in during the COP shows that we are on track for 3.9 degrees Celsius of warming. That analysis, as part of the Climate Interactive team, is actually higher than 3.8 degrees Celsius we calculated before the Copenhagen talks. Why? The main reason is that countries didn’t propose any new initiatives to reduce emissions, and Japan actually reduced their proposed targets. A warmer world was not the outcome I was expecting from the climate negotiations.

During the two week period, proposals were introduced that, if fully implemented, would have kept the world below 2 degrees of warming. The Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) working group suggested that global emissions in 2050 be kept below [50%/85%/95%] of 1990 levels. The [bracketed] text means that negotiators were still deciding the final number. The important thing to note is that all three values would prevent significant warming that we can expect given our likely emissions trajectory. All three values were on the right track.

The LCA texts were eventually dropped and the final Copenhagen Accord has no mention of a 2050 target.

But knowing that text did exist is heartening. My ‘optimistic self’ is trying to tell my ‘3.9 deg analytical self’, “These talks set up 2010 to be the Year of the Deal.” I hope that is right.