Yalies head to Copenhagen

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.


  • Transparency?

    On what bases were the undergraduates chosen? I for one didn’t hear about the opportunit

  • duh

    to transparency: then you clearly were not involved. duh.
    don’t expect for every opportunity and experience to be handed to you. take some initiative and responsibility. resources abound at yale, and most undergrads are too lazy to put any work into making use of them.

  • y11

    Best of luck, guys! Make sure we give at least 1% of our GDP to poor countries for being less technologically advanced than the west!

  • catchy phrases

    The UN lies Economies die. Will they be using Decaprio’s plane or Darrly Hannahn’s to get there?

  • student

    What’s with people flying to Copenhagen, and polluting the atmopshere in the name of global warming, when people are starving?

    They should have used this money to fund development/education/health in Africa, which will have more of an impact on global warming than ALL the first-world environmental policies combined.

  • Tanner

    And in the Winter. And nice scheduling for Pres Obama. Couldn’t you have stopped by Copenhagen while in Norway? How many trips to Europe so far? If he wants to visit Europe we could have gotten an embassy posting a position his resume shows he is more experienced for then his current rank.

  • @ duh

    I am pretty involved in environmental-related activities. Remember China 100? Everyone was told about that opportunity…

  • Where the Opportunities are

    Any students interested could have applied for funding through Yale and applied to go as registered observers under YSEC’s observer status. Students might also have gone to YSEC and/or F&ES directly for suggestions about funding sources and registration. For future, YSEC has a limited amount of funding for regional environmental conferences and encourages interested students to come apply for funding for conferences they have found on their own. A list of some conferences can be found at http://www.yale.edu/ysec/

    I completely agree that flying to an international conference and generating carbon emissions is incredibly hypocritical. Unfortunately though, some things, like negotiations, still work better in person. Some of students did make contributions to URI (a urban street tree planting organization that does work in the New Haven community) to offset their emissions.

  • ’11

    Reply to Tanner,

    Please be informed before such accusations. President Obama has originally decided to stop by Denmark immediately after the Nobel ceremony. However, cooperative gestures from China and India mean the world may indeed strike a good deal this time and change the plan. So the president decided to attend the conference at its closing stage, where the deal will be struck and ultimate discussions are made, instead of now and leaving before the crucial late stage. This was on the national headlines for a few days come on.

    And lastly to you, battling for climate change, in many decades down the road, may turn out to be the most important political legacy.

  • Dr.Bob

    Warming is here. Coring in the Atlantic and Antarctica and many other measures show it. But it is not our major problem!
    According to an article in Science Daily (April 20, 2009), a survey of the faculty at the State University of New York, which has a very strong environmental science department, the planet’s major environmental problem is overpopulation.. Climate change is second. This echoes the theme of the popular free ebook series “And Gulliver Returns” –In Search of Utopia—(http://andgulliverreturns.info) As one professor at SUNY said “With ten million or even a hundred million people on the planet there would be no warming problem.” It is both the technology and the number of people using it that create so many of our planetary problems.
    There is no question that China’s one child policy has helped the world and the Chinese economy. Whenever a country attempts to reduce its population it can expect a two or three generation period of problems while deaths reduce to equal births. I hope that China will recognize this fact and keep its own population on the path to reduction–which should begin by 2050. China’s actual fertility rate is not 1.0 per woman, but 1.8–the same as Norway’s. But that is not enough to make an immediate effect.
    But it is politically more popular for Western nations to attack warming than overpopulation.

  • Trini

    I love how these people and this article about them glorify the summit right beside all the other articles reporting doom and gloom in jobs and the economy. You can’t take away our ability to create things and then complain that jobs are disappearing.

  • Tanner

    reply to ’11

    Well if India and China making “cooperative gestures” are all that is needed to “legislate the weather” then the president can unpack his tele-prompter and save himself the trip.

    A year or so ago I read an article about an increase in CO2 levels increasing on Mars. I assume this is do to sun spot activity. Or was this caused by NASA dropping a few scientific analyzers on its surface?

    I am all for clean water and clean air and history has shown us weather periods change and that science becomes corrupted by fame and rewards. As you can see from the disenting views that “Global Warming” has not been proven in fact some scientist see a period of cooling. I know many great inovations will come due to clean energy and recycling but mandates and academy award type confrences do nothing but waste more resourses.

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