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.
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.
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.
In addition to YSE students and faculty, alumni played a major role at the November 2021 U.N. climate summit, representing global organizations and taking part in negotiations aimed at stronger climate action.