Three App State faculty members attended COP26 (the 26th annual United Nations climate conference), which was held in Glasgow Scotland from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13.
The members in attendance were Lee Ball, the university’s chief sustainability officer; Dave McEvoy, the university’s chair of the department of economics; and Martin Meznar, the university’s associate dean of global and civic engagements.
The purpose of the conference was to “Get parties together to accelerate actions towards the goals Paris AgreementU.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change” according to the U.N. Climate Change Conference’s website.
McEvoy submitted a 2019 application on behalf the university to be considered an observer institution. Non-governmental organizations are eligible to be an observer organisation to the Conference of the Parties. U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, before representatives gain admission.
App State has been officially designated an observer institution Two years after the original request was submitted.
197 countries attended the conference, along with world leaders such as President Joe Biden, who made a speech at the opening session. People also protestedOutside the conference, urging a faster resolution to climate issues.
Martin Meznar explained that attendees could attend many different sessions.
Meznar described the experience as eye-opening, mainly because it made Meznar realize how complicated climate issues can be on a global scale.
“There was a wide array of very important climate-related issues, but the importance was not consistent across all the countries. Different countries had different priorities,” Meznar said.
Lee Ball explained that all countries reached a point in which they realized the importance of addressing climate change and that they had to work together to find a solution.
“If we don’t work together, the climate emergency is going to just get worse, and the effects of that are going to be astronomical, both for people and for the planet,” Ball said.
There were differences among the countries about how to reduce or stop using fossil fuels. The parties came up with a common goal, which was to reduce or completely stop the use of fossil fuels. websiteThese include protecting and restoring ecosystems and speeding the switch to electric cars.
Ball said App State plans to incorporate the goals of the conference on campus by decarbonizing transportation, adding more electric vehicles and encouraging driving less, as well as decarbonizing App State’s steam plant more swiftly.
“We can’t afford to play Russian roulette with the planet,” Ball said.
McEvoy noted that students are active in climate change efforts from his experiences on campus. He said this may be due to the university’s strong sustainability focus.
“To help solve this climate crisis, it takes an individual focus in changing your own life. App State students are able to appreciate that, I believe. This is an opportunity to see how those things work in conjunction to high level policy and regulation,” McEvoy said.
Depending on the location of the international negotiations, the university may be eligible to send delegates again. Next year’s U.N. climate change conference will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt.
“It would be life-changing for students to have a chance to be a part of that and really see the magnitude of the problem,” McEvoy said.