Volvo presentation with YSE Students and Professor Paul Anastas at COP26

YSE at COP26: Students, Faculty Make An Impact at UN Climate Summit

From speaking on panels to taking part in critical decision-making,  students and faculty from the Yale School of the Environment played a major role at this year's COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

With more than 20,000 attendees and an enormous global spotlight, this year's “conference of the parties” hosted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP26, was seen as one of the most important in the conference’s history, as experts believe countries must begin making drastic shifts away from fossil fuels to reduce increasing global warming and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

From left: Jamie Lee '22 MEM, Urvi Talaty '21 MEM, Victoria Gramuglia '22 MEM and Ines Ayostina '22 MEM took part in the Volvo Panel on green chemistry.

Over the two weeks,  the Yale School of the Environment and Yale University played a major role, with more than 20 students and several faculty members speaking on panels, taking part in critical climate negotiations, and networking with some of the biggest names in science, technology, and policy from around the world.

The conference kicked off with several YSE faculty participating in panel discussions, including Paul Anastas, Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment at Yale. Anastas, who was recently awarded the 2021 Volvo Environment Prize in recognition of his pioneering work in green chemistry, joined Volvo CEO Martin Lundstedt , climate advocacy group We Don't Have Time, and several YSE students for a discussion on the role of green chemistry in tackling the climate crisis.

Daniel Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale, and Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, also took part in panel discussions at COP26. Leiserowitz was interviewed during COP26 by The Washington Post about youth and public empowerment; he and Esty also reflected on COP26 in an editorial published in The Norwalk Hour.

Daniel Esty, center, took part in several panels at COP26, including discussions on public finance and the role of universities in decarbonization efforts.
At COP26, Anthony Leiserowitz discussed the gap between climate information and action, as well as the public perception and understanding of climate change in the United States.

YSE faculty members also appeared live on BBC Radio during COP26 to discuss the conference, including Narasimha Rao, (profile) associate professor of energy systems, and Oswald Schmitz (profile), Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology.

Kyle Lemle '22 MF worked with World War Zero, an initiative founded by climate envoy John Kerry, and provided dispatches from the conference.  Lemle's role gave him the opportunity to interview Surangel Whipps, Jr., President of Palau, and meet Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Jon Ossoff.

Kyle Lemle '22 MF (right) with Sen. Ed Markey and Phoebe Hering '23 MEM

The Forests Dialogue was also well-represented at COP26, with the center hosting a discussion, "Forests & Forest Product Innovation for an Inclusive Net-Zero Economy," with several of its partners.

YSE students representing The Forests Dialogue at COP26
The Forests Dialogue program associates, from left, Nick Nugent '21 MEM, Yvonne Shih '22 MEM, and Luca Guadagno '21 MESc at COP26.

Four YSE students also took over the School's Instagram story during the conference! 

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