Welcome to the Alma College blog by students and faculty who are attending the United Nations 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change…or simply put, the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
This was made possible through a collaboration with the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan and funding provided by the Alma College Posey Global Leadership Program and The Center of Responsible Leadership.
The Alma College contingent is part of a 40-person delegation that will attend the COP14 meeting with Observer credentials granted to the University of Michigan. Observer status attending means that delegates will be able to attend actual United Nation’s sessions, though we will not be able to participate until the reserved time near the end of the conference.
In addition to attending the official conference, we will be attending side seminars, panel discussions, workshops, and other events held around the city of Copenhagen sponsored by the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations.
So, why are four students from Alma College leaving school to travel to Denmark in December when they would otherwise be studying for final exams? In short, we are leaving to witness and participate in a global dialogue which will set the agenda for the world’s efforts to combat climate change for the years 2012 and beyond.
The United States refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the original treaty designed in the 1990’s to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, the atmosphere has breached the threshold of 350 parts-per-million of carbon dioxide, which is believed to be the highest concentration of CO2 the Earth can sustain without severe and global repercussions.
The goal of the Copenhagen Climate Conference is to bring developed and developing nations of the world together in order to seek agreement and commit to global actions needed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by all nations and respond to the effects of global warming. These are not easy tasks .
We are going to the conference because it is OUR FUTURE the leaders of the world will be deciding on and, should they choose to not take the actions which need to be made after the conference, it is up to our generation to hold them accountable. Our generation cannot afford to let this conference fail; not only dollars but lives are at stake.