Tracking Climate Negotiators In Copenhagen If all the climate news coming out of Copenhagen just seems too dense, it might be time to adopt a negotiator. That's what Ben Jervey and Leela Raina did. They are in Copenhagen, tracking the lead negotiators from their countries — the U.S. and India, respectively. Guy Raz speaks with them about the "Adopt a Negotiator" campaign.
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Tracking Climate Negotiators In Copenhagen

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Tracking Climate Negotiators In Copenhagen

Tracking Climate Negotiators In Copenhagen

Tracking Climate Negotiators In Copenhagen

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If all the climate news coming out of Copenhagen just seems too dense, it might be time to adopt a negotiator. That's what Ben Jervey and Leela Raina did. They are in Copenhagen, tracking the lead negotiators from their countries — the U.S. and India, respectively. Guy Raz speaks with them about the "Adopt a Negotiator" campaign.

GUY RAZ, host:

If carbon credits Kyoto and COP15 all seem a bit opaque to you, well, maybe it's time to Adopt a Negotiator.

Ben Jervey, which negotiator have you adopted?

Mr. BEN JERVEY (Adopt a Negotiator Project): I'm here with Jonathan Pershing and the entire U.S. delegation.

And, Leela Raina, who have you adopted?

Ms. LEELA RAINA (Adopt a Negotiator Project): I have had to adopt the whole Indian delegation at COP15.

RAZ: Ben Jervey and Leela Raina are two of the 13 young people who make up the Adopt a Negotiator project. They're in Copenhagen literally tracking the wheelers and dealers who will decide the future of any global climate deal and they're blogging about what's happening every step of the way.

Ben and Leela, welcome to the program.

Mr. JERVEY: It's great to be here.

Ms. RAINA: This is my first time on radio. I'm so excited.

RAZ: So, Ben, first to you. Explain how this Adopt a Negotiator project began. I mean, how did you convince all of these sort of, you know, important government officials to give access to young people to see what they're doing?

Mr. JERVEY: Well, the project itself has been in place since the talks in Bonn in June, and we have since gone through Bangkok and Barcelona intersessional sessions, and now here in Copenhagen.

The whole point of the U.N. - or the U.N. really is built on this transparency ethic and access is essential. So it's not hard to get your delegates to talk to you. I think they're - some of them at least - excited about the attention. I think normally, they're toiling away in this world of diplomacy without, you know, any feedback or company at all.

RAZ: Hmm. And so, Leela, you're following the Indian negotiator.

Ms. RAINA: Yes.

RAZ: What lengths do you go to follow the people from the delegation that you're tracking? I mean, do you like sort of (unintelligible) around?

Ms. RAINA: Well, sometimes I really wish that I was a man. One of my colleagues actually from the Indian Youth Delegation dragged the negotiators all the way the loo.

RAZ: To the bathroom.

Ms. RAINA: Because what happens - yes. What happens is there's such big rooms in such a big conference center. And to find these negotiators, it's horribly tedious because they will go into their little cave, which is called the delegation office, and they won't come out. So I literally have to run behind them.

Once you run behind them, either they know you're here or they'll fix up a time because I've had a relationship with them from Bonn. Some of them I can easily catch any time on lunch, talk to them and, basically, I will - or go the delegation office and just intervene. So...

RAZ: Ben Jervey, what - I mean, are they sort of saying to you - because a lot of these guys that are negotiating on behalf of the U.S., they want to see some kind of movement on climate change, but, of course, they're limited as to what they can do by domestic politics. Are they sort of expressing any frustration to you?

Mr. JERVEY: If they're expressing any frustration at all, it might be with the lack of understanding in this sort of logjam that they're in. They - really, they do have their hands tied in this process because, you know, the State Department can't move ahead of Congress on this issue and then the U.S. negotiation position here, frankly, isn't very constructive in the talks. And certainly, the developing world is expecting a lot more from the United States than we are able to because of our domestic politics.

RAZ: Leela, you wrote this entry, a blog entry, where you compared climate negotiations to dating and you said in this blog entry that you wouldn't date a guy from an Annex 1 country. That's the name given to the developed countries�

Ms. RAINA: Yes.

RAZ: �like the U.S. and Canada. Why not?

Ms. RAINA: Essentially because, A, they're not willing to commit; B, they don't pass me my remote when they're at home because they don't want to transfer any technology back to my country; C, they're always wanting reports because they want everything verified. But...

RAZ: So no compromises. You won't even reconsider.

Ms. RAINA: But I would marry them in case they're willing to give me all this.

RAZ: If they would give you all this. So if somebody from an Annex 1 country would say, okay, I'm going to make a commitment to climate change, you would go for it?

Ms. RAINA: Good commitments, good finance and good technology transfer.

RAZ: Fair enough. Leela Raina of India and Ben Jervey of the United States are two of the young people shadowing the negotiators from their countries at the Copenhagen climate talks. They are there as part of the Adopt a Negotiator project.

Thanks so much to the both of you.

Ms. RAINA: Thank you so much.

Mr. JERVEY: Thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

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