Delegation of Students and Faculty Participate at COP15

Yale University students, staff and faculty will take part in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen from December 7 – 18 in a number of ways, including a student-led workshop.

Partnering with the University of Copenhagen, a delegation of Yale students, including a large contingent from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, will convene with more than 60 students from a dozen universities all over the world at COP15 to explore ways they and their institutions can minimize environmental damage and promote sustainable solutions. The event will take place December 13 and 14 at the University of Copenhagen. Yale will also have an exhibit at the conference.

Rajendra Pachauri, director of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute and chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will be addressing the students in Copenhagen.

“Universities have a role to play in addressing climate change that goes beyond educating our students—they can also develop and test ideas on how to reduce the impact of climate change in their own communities and local ecosystems,” said Melissa Goodall, assistant director of Yale’s Office of Sustainability, who will accompany the students to Copenhagen. “By sharing best practices, universities like Yale can help inspire institutional change around the world.”

As part of the event, a multidisciplinary team from each institution will present an ambitious yet achievable plan for addressing climate change at their host institutions, including how to secure funding and methods for tracking progress on implementation. At Yale, President Richard C. Levin has committed the University to a 43 percent reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Tony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, will be participating in an official side event. The event, organized by NOAA, will focus on climate change literacy and will take place at 12:00 p.m. EST on December 17. Leiserowitz will be participating via weblink at the U.S. State Department’s dedicated side event space and will be presenting results of work with the Gallup World Poll on climate change awareness, knowledge, perceived risk, and support for government action from surveys in over 130 countries.

The 80-member Yale delegation attending the conference includes: Brad Gentry, co-director of the Center for Business & the Environment at Yale and director of the Research Program on Private Investment and the Environment, and a senior lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies; and Lloyd Irland, a senior research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and former U.S. Forest Service research economist who focuses on forest sustainability.

Follow Yale events and people at COP15 on the Office of Sustainability’s Facebook page.

In addition to Yale’s direct involvement in COP15, Dan Esty, one of the top U.S. negotiators for the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 (which lay the foundation for the Kyoto Protocol), is available to provide comment and analysis throughout COP15. He previously served in a variety of senior positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as a member of President Obama’s transition team, and is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and of the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale. He is an expert on a wide range of environmental and policy issues, including climate change, clean energy, globalization and the environment, the economic implications of environmental policies and regulation, and scientific integrity in policymaking. He can be reached through Ysella Edyvean at or 203-432-5967.

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