Story posted December 04, 2009
Amid news that Bowdoin College has finalized its own carbon neutrality plan (see sidebar), two current students and an alumna are in Denmark for the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15), to be held December 7-18, 2009.
COP 15, attracting 15,000 participants from 192 countries, is convening elected and appointed public officials, scientists and others with a goal of determining what should be done to address global climate change.
The President's Climate Commitment Advisory Committee has announced the final version of its report, "A Blueprint for Carbon Neutrality in 2020."
The Committee, which assembled in fall 2007, helped guide the development and implementation of the plan to help achieve climate neutrality as part of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
The final report was submitted to the ACUPCC November 16, 2009.
Diana Zhang '11, who's in Copenhagen as part of a study-abroad program, has been following the progress of the College's carbon neutrality plan and will be part of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) delegation to COP 15 as an IETA intern. Zhang says she's excited to be able to witness the negotiations and observe the politics involved.
"As an economics and government — concentration in international relations — double major, this is absolutely an ideal opportunity with an organization that really blends together policy, economics and environmental issues with a focus on carbon markets, which I think will be a very useful tool in the negotiations," says Zhang.
"I want to take this opportunity to learn as much as possible from those conversations and from the myriad of side events going on," she says. "Along with other groups, I also intend to lobby our American delegation here and remind them there is a whole generation of young people whose future they are deciding who want to share their perspectives with them and who are following this whole process."
Wesley Hartwell '11 is currently studying in Switzerland and has plans to stay in Glostrup, outside Copenhagen, and attend events at the alternative Klimaforum People's Climate Conference.
Meg Boyle '05 will be at COP 15 representing What We Do, a Web site launched to coincide with the start of the negotiations and designed to celebrate a new generation of leadership and groundbreaking action.
"I also plan to lend my rigorous Bowdoin science background to the advocacy community at the negotiations, helping to distinguish between politically driven 'science' and science-driven policies," Boyle says.
"I anticipate continuing to play the role of 'translator,' helping to demystify the complexities of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) process for observers following the negotiations for the first time."
While at Bowdoin, Boyle co-founded the Climate Campaign, a regional network of major environmental groups, local organizations and students on more than 125 campuses working on state- and campus-level climate initiatives across nine northeastern states. As an undergraduate, Boyle also co-founded the Energy Action Coalition, a North American youth climate and energy coalition based in part on the Climate Campaign model.
Prior to joining What We Do, Boyle was the global warming policy specialist at Greenpeace USA, where she focused on international climate negotiations.
A new blog, Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture, by Philip Camill, Rusack Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology and Director of the Environmental Studies Program, explores big questions about society and environmental change.
"When the information deluge only contains laundry lists, factoids and policy play-by-play, there's no theoretical context in which to analyze these things as part of a bigger picture," says Camill, a global change ecologist and leading expert on climate change in boreal and arctic ecosystems.
"Global Change forges a new path. I want to analyze environmental change by focusing on the interaction between nature and culture, showcasing big ideas from all disciplines."