App State Faculty Attend 26th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference – The Appalachian
Three App State faculty members attended the 26th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, held in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 13.
Members in attendance were Lee Ball, director of sustainability at the university; Dave McEvoy, chair of the university’s economics department; and Martin Meznar, the university’s associate dean for global and civic engagement.
The aim of the conference was to “bring the parties together to accelerate action towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,»According to the United Nations Climate Change Conference website.
In 2019, McEvoy submitted an application on behalf of the university to be considered an observer institution. Non-governmental organizations must be admitted to the Conference of the Parties as an observer organization with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change before representatives are admitted to sessions.
App State officially obtained the title of Observer Institution two years after the filing of the initial application.
In addition to world leaders, including President Joe Biden, who spoke at the opening session, 197 countries attended the conference. People too protested outside the conference demanding faster resolution of climate issues.
Martin Meznar explained that there were many different sessions that the participants were able to observe.
Meznar said the whole experience was eye-opening due to the sudden realization of the complexity of dealing with climate issues, especially on a global scale.
“There was a wide range of very important climate-related issues, but the importance was not uniform across all countries. Different countries had different priorities, ”Meznar said.
Lee Ball explained that there had been a time when all countries realized the urgency and importance of solving the climate crisis and that they really had to work together to come up with a plan to address it.
“If we don’t work together, the climate emergency will only get worse and the effects will be astronomical, both for people and for the planet,” Ball said.
There were disagreements between countries, such as deciding to reduce or completely stop the use of fossil fuels. However, the parties have collectively defined a common goal of gradually reducing the use of fossil fuels in each country, along with other goals that are stated on their website, such as protecting and restoring ecosystems and accelerating the shift to electric vehicles.
Ball said App State plans to bring the conference goals to campus by decarbonizing transportation, adding more electric vehicles and encouraging less driving, as well as decarbonizing the steam plant more quickly. App State.
“We cannot afford to play Russian roulette with the planet,” Ball said.
McEvoy noted that in his campus experience, students appear to be active in tackling climate issues. He said this could be due to the university’s emphasis on sustainability.
“To help solve this climate crisis, it takes individual focus to change your own life. I think App State students appreciate this. It’s an opportunity to see how these things work in conjunction with high level policy and regulation, ”McEvoy said.
Depending on the location of the international negotiations, the university may be eligible to re-send delegates. Next year’s United Nations climate change conference will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
“It would be a life changing for the students to have the chance to be a part of this and really see the scale of the problem,” McEvoy said.