In the hectic hallway traffic of the Moon Palace Resort, where the UN climate negotiations have been underway since last week, Washington University in St. Louis undergraduates Jiakun Zhao and John Delurey met with lead Chinese negotiator Su Wei. And by a stroke of luck, Jonathan Pershing, a senior U.S. negotiator, happened to walk by in a fortuitous moment reflective of the U.S. and China’s softer and more conciliatory tone in the talks.
Walking away from last year’s Copenhagen negotiations disillusioned, youth from China and the United States decided to not let last year’s disappointing talks and an unreleased joint statement be the last the world heard (or didn’t) of them. Instead, they decided that if they expected their respective governments to cooperate on climate change, dialogue needed to happen first amongst themselves.
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