Eighty members of the Yale community will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which started Monday and will end Dec. 18.
About 15 undergraduates, 60 students from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and University faculty and staff members will attend conferences, lectures and conduct their own workshops on topics such as technology transfer between countries, biodiversity and carbon mitigation.
“People are primarily going to experience what a major international environmental conference is like, build connections to other environmental groups around the world and share their experience with the rest of the undergraduate community back home,” Yale Student Environmental Coalition co-chairwoman Lily Twining ’11 wrote in an e-mail.
All student participants are traveling under YSEC’s name, Twining said. Undergraduates, she added, received funding to attend this conference through the Yale Climate and Energy Institute.
At the conference, the Yale group will have an exhibit, said Melissa Goodall, an assistant director in the Office of Sustainability. The group has also posted more than 200 papers written by Yale faculty members and researchers about sustainability and climate change to the conference’s Web site, Goddall added. The group will present the University’s plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 43 percent by 2020.
Yale Climate and Energy Institute Director Rajendra Pachauri will address the group at the conference. Additionally, Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a former visiting fellow at the University, has also invited the Yale group to attend her closed-door lecture.
The group will also host a two-day workshop Dec. 13 and 14 at the University of Copenhagen, where they will coach students from other universities on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses, among other topics.
YSEC and WHEEL, an undergraduate publication about sustainability, will post regular updates about the conference on their blogs.
Six interviewed members of the Yale delegation said they expect that the University — and hopefully, the United States — will be a leader at the conference.
“I hope that we can be seen as a leader on climate change,” said attendee Erin Schutte ’12, a member of the Yale Undergraduate Energy Club. “Many countries are looking towards the United States to take the lead, and hopefully domestic policy won’t bog down negotiations.”
John Good ’10 said he hopes that the United States, China and the European Union will reach an agreement to reduce carbon emissions and to stop deforestation.
In addition to YSEC and WHEEL, other University groups sending members to the conference include the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale, and the Yale Undergraduate Energy Club.