Paris activists come in many shades of green, and of optimism

For two weeks, diplomats have been drafting a deal on climate change at the United Nations talks in Paris. Most of the world leaders have already left town, after some stirring speeches that set high hopes for an international agreement expected later this month.

And while environmentalists share that sense of urgency, some are skeptical of the process itself.

There’re a lot of “green” groups in Paris right now, but they come in many sizes. You could say there’s “big green” — the environmentalist establishment — and “little green,” or the more radical outsiders.

Shyla Raghav is definitely big green. She’s director of climate policy for Conservation International, and this isn’t her first rodeo.

“I’ve been coming to these COPs for over a decade,” she says, referring to the official U.N. title for the climate talks on the outskirts of Paris. “COP13 in Bali was my first, and that was in 2007.”

Not much has gotten done at these conferences since then. But this time around, Raghav says, the atmosphere is remarkably different. “I think there is an inspiring sense of optimism around the COP,” she says, “not only from civil society but also from government delegates.”

Read the rest of this report on