Climate Conference Blog 1. Redhill-Katowice

We arrived this morning in Katowice where the 24th ‘conference of the parties’ (annual international climate talks) is taking place. We are currently halfway through the fortnight of talks – the first week with officials in discussion between different countries before the politicians arrive for the second week.

The journey here took 22 hours from Redhill – a real reminder of just how big Europe is and how easy it is to take for granted the damage we do to the climate when travelling huge distances by plane. We arrived at 3am and then a half hour walk to check into our hostel after a nightbus from Vienna through the Czech Republic, after leaving Redhill just before 5am on Friday morning to take the Eurostar to Brussels and then two trains across Belgium, Germany and Austria.

After a few hour sleep I joined a group from Cafod (the Catholic relief agency) on the climate march in Katowice up until the venue where the climate talks are taking place.
There were lots of police ‎surrounding the march, dressed in riot gear with machine guns and CS gas. In walking back from the march I counted 20 police vans in rows, and was shocked to see a dual carriageway passing under the climate venue. It feels like transport’s impact, and perhaps oil companies that sit behind our ‘normal ‘ way of life is one of the biggest challenges that need international agreement – right down to personal actions across the world.
Ended the day drinking a local beer in a cafe in the evening. The local beer, Hajer even has a coal mine as part of its logo (see picture). This is a challenging place to hold an international conference where we need to agree to stop burning coal, let alone ending our global addiction to oil and gas too.