Students and Faculty Participate at UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico

Yale University students, staff and faculty will take part in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 in a number of ways, including as panelists on two official side events, as members of country delegations and as part of a community art project for school children.

Michelle Addington, a professor at the Yale School of Architecture and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies as well as a member of the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI) executive committee, will lead a side event on green building and design that will challenge the current approach to evaluating sustainability. The panel discussion, sponsored by the YCEI and its partners, will take place Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m.

Lloyd Irland, a lecturer and senior research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a former research economist with the U.S. Forest Service, will participate as a panelist in a side event about how to make reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) more commercially viable. The event will take place Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m.

In addition to faculty participation, several Yale student groups will contribute to the conference. A group of eight undergraduate and graduate students affiliated with the Yale Climate and Energy Institute have spent the past several months preparing for the meeting with a seminar series organized by the Yale Climate & Energy Congress and a mock negotiation organized by Yale and Duke University, and will be following and blogging about the negotiations as they take place.

Another student group will attend COP 16 as part of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies International Organizations and Conferences course, and will work with different NGOs to help identify the issues being negotiated.

A third student group from another class called Environmental Diplomacy, which focuses specifically on international UN negotiations concerning the environment, will also be closely following the negotiations.

Several of the Yale students are also attending the official negotiations as members of the Maldives, Seychelles and Pakistan delegations.

In addition to attending as part of a student group, Kristin Pene, a School of Forestry & Environmental Studies graduate student, will help lead a community art project called La Isla Hundida (“The Sunken Island”). As education coordinator for the program, Pene will deliver a climate change curriculum to students in four local schools in Mexico to help raise awareness about the effects of climate change on oceans as well as sea level rise. The children will make model islands that they will sink in a large pool of water at the culmination of the project.

All of the students at the COP 16 conference will also be blogging about their experiences.

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