Day one was a whirlwind event, beginning with an almost hour long metro ride from our hotel to the COP 28 venue at Expo City 2020 . The metro ride was notably smooth, and although crowded at our stop, most people disembarked at the Sobha Realty, presumably for work, despite it being 10 am. Once at the venue, we followed the masses toward the entrance to obtain our badges. After navigating various entry points and lines, I was finally inside COP 28 – a dream come true! The experience of being surrounded by people sharing a common goal from places thousands of miles away was incredible. 

As the first in our group to complete the badging process, I stood awestruck. People with different appearances, speaking various languages, all seemingly united for the same cause – what a privilege to be part of this! Due to the central crossing closure (which we later discovered was due to heads of state taking photos), we had a fairly long walk around the expo towards our YEAH and RINGO booths. Once there, I familiarized myself with the location and headed towards the Monash Pavilion Masterclass Panel. This was an amazing experience, hearing from four women at the forefront of the fight against climate change – Diane Husic, Tracy Bach, Gillian Bowser, and Sarah Green. They provided masterful speeches on how early career researchers can make the most of a COP and outlined my role as an undergraduate observer. Overall, the session was enlightening. With newfound courage to face the unknown, I set out to find a negotiation room., Although I waited in line for the GST negotiation, due to limited capacity I did not get in; instead, I ended up at a CMP 5 meeting on the clean development mechanism. While in line, got to see Tracy Bach again, who recognized my face from the front row of her talk (how cool!). The negotiation process, involving different conglomerates of countries negotiating with individual states, fascinated me. Most discussions centered around the Kyoto Protocol, with arguments over process dates and whether they should be moved closer or not. Africa supported the need for new clean development mechanisms and a reconsideration of dates, while the EU argued for fast-tracking. The room was near silent aside from the states speaking, with two co-chairs and two secretariats guiding the process. Hearing each nation speak, with their important differences and similarities of opinion, filled me with excitement to pursue more negotiations in the week ahead.

 The day concluded at this point – hot, sweaty, and tired, we headed back on the metro towards our hotel and dinner. At dinner, I engaged in fabulous conversations with Lucy Kramer and Myra Jackson, discussing alternative tech (entropy and Nicola Tesla), possible internships and my highlights from the day. Myra, acting as a wonderful mentor, listened intently to everything I had to say. Our most fascinating discussion revolved around negotiators prioritizing their nations’ interests over the interests of science, creating a complex divide due to political leaders’ roll-over nature. After dinner, I stayed downstairs with Myra and Lucy to further discuss longevity blue sites recognized by UNESCO, eventually ending our conversation with the idea of entropy and electrons as power waiting to be harnessed in an innovation event similar to the development of modern computing.