China activist soaks up the summit scene

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-14 08:57
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A typical day for Yu Jie in Copenhagen usually starts at 4 am, when it is still pitch-black outside. After a cup of coffee, she begins to write summaries of the previous day's conferences and then briefs her colleagues by e-mail.

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If she still has some time, she will write stories for the Chinese website of Financial Times as a special correspondent to the UN climate change conference.

Then she will show up in the Bella Center, Copenhagen, punctually at 9, attending the UN official talks as an observer, going to side events and talking to people from different sectors.

When she leaves the conference center and returns to the hotel, it is always around 10 pm.

Yu Jie, 38, is head of the Research Program of the Climate Group China office. This is the sixth Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework of Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) she has attended. The first one was the COP 10 in Buenos Aires in 2004, when she was still working for Greenpeace China.

"Among all the conferences I have attended, this is the most far-reaching one," she said. "I am optimistic. I do not think the 110-odd leaders will come here to receive a failure and be condemned by the world."

Among the attendees working for non-governmental organizations (NGO) in China, she has the most abundant experience following the UN climate change talks, which makes her a senior consultant on climate change policies and actions home and abroad.

"She is one of few people outside the government who know very well the complicated issues," said Wu Changhua, China director of the Climate Group. "She is valuable to the Climate Group. And we have much chemistry in teamworking."

Qiao Liming, policy director of Global Wind Energy Council, based in Brussels, Belgium, has been her friend since 2004.

"Yu is a professional person, but not boring. I have a lot of fun working with her," Qiao said.

Besides studying policies relative to climate change, Yu has a hobby to collect purple-clay teapots. She and her American husband live a typical Peking life in a hutong nearby the Lama Temple in Beijing.

"My dream life is sitting in hutong, bathing in the sunshine and drinking tea," she said. "What a low-emission life!"