The wheels on the bus - have ground to a halt

With one day of the talks down, already things are grinding to a halt – but this time, literally.

It took a gruelling two hours for the Friends of the Earth delegation to reach the negotiations yesterday morning – a distance of just 20 kilometres.

Traffic to the conference was gridlocked – and having to drive past some pretty menacing military humvees, too.

The Mexican government has, perhaps tactically, kept the talks well away from anywhere – and anyone, bar those with a very good reason to be there.

But it didn't end there. Our epic journey was just to the edge of the compound around the Moon Palace Hotel. Then it was another 20 minutes to the conference proper on another bus – with yet more buses to shuttle delegates around the vast venue.

Once inside, it was all everyone was talking about.

In fact, the biggest drama of the day came from a journalist demanding of the Mexican hosts in a press conference – to rapturous applause from the rest of the press – why they'd put the media centre a ten-minute bus ride from the press conference room.

Buses, ironically, which are powered by biodiesel produced from Jatropha, one of the most damaging crops grown for fuel. These crops are grown near Chiapas – incidentally, the home of Friends of the Earth Mexico.

The growing of these crops – along with palm trees for their oil in vast plantations – is having devastating impacts on local communities, including cutting down rainforest and throwing people off their land.

So by lunchtime, the only thing going full throttle was a potential PR disaster.

Luckily for the Mexicans, the beginning of the negotiations proper soon diverted attention to more weighty matters – and matters on which we're hoping to see some real, if metaphorical, movement today. 

Henry Rummins is a communications and media officer at Friends of the Earth. He's travelling to the climate talks in Cancún to report as part of the Friends of the Earth International delegation.