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Last night I managed to get the hottest ticket in town: a seat at the plenary of the Comité de Paris, with Laurent Fabius presiding.  

The Hottest Ticket in Town

December 11, 2015

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Last night I managed to get the hottest ticket in town: a seat at the plenary of the Comité de Paris, with Laurent Fabius presiding. It was easy to get caught up in the excitement when he took his place at the table at a little after 9:00 p.m. The session lasted all of four minutes: "We are close," he said. "We've removed most the brackets, and we're headed toward the final text." He said he'd give the negotiating parties two hours to read, and they'd reconvene in a closed session at 11:00. People were pushing their way to the stands that had printed copies of the draft, hot off the press. I headed back to the Metro on one of the COP21 hybrid shuttles.

Karen PinkusPinkus, a professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature, is a member of Cornell's COP21 delegation (watch her COP21 video)

This morning I went back to Le Bourget even though I knew things would be winding down. It's very addictive, the COP. It's a bit like being in a Las Vegas casino. You lose track of time. You forget you're hungry. You just want one last chance to meet someone, feel something. I attended an event organized by the Carnegie Institute on "Oil in the 21st Century." Yes, my friends, there's still plenty of oil in the ground all over the world—all different kinds, flavors, grades. New refineries are being built in Saudi Arabia as I write. You're familiar with the term technology lock-up? Time to wake up, I guess. The Hangover part 34.

I did grab one more so-so COP21 lunch before heading out. I sat next to a woman from Burkina Faso. "For us it's all about indigenous rights," she told me. I noted that this phrase does appear in the new draft text—as part of a pretty long list—under Pp4bis:

Recognizing also that when developing policies and taking action to address climate change, Parties should promote, protect, respect, and take into account their respective obligations on all human rights, the right to health, and the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and under occupation, and the right to development, and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

"Yes," she said, "It's not just one issue for us. You know, it's how we live. It's our life."