Students in Copenhagen unite to fight climate change

by Sara Imperiale

Leaders from across the globe are in Copenhagen through the end of the week to make difficult decisions about climate change that will resonate long into the future.

The 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference is also an opportunity to expand the role of students in international decision-making. I am attending through the sponsorship of IDEAS, a nonprofit working to link students in developed countries with their counterparts in developing nations.

COP15 will, in the end, include more than 15,000 participants from 192 countries representing governments, the business community and civil society. We hope to attract accredited delegates from all 192 signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – as it stands, there is an unequal distribution of representation between the developed and developing countries.

What I’m hoping to get out of this does not necessarily revolve around the most prominent negotiations. Instead, I’m most excited about contributing to the voice of youth delegatation here, and talking with other young activists from around the world. Each of us brings with us our perspectives on our home countries’ positions on climate change and our thoughts on about the international negotiation process. I hope to contribute to youth delegate proposals and continue to share ideas.

I consider climate change to be the most pressing issue facing our generation and the planet. Without a healthy environment, there will be no way to tackle other social ills plaguing the United States and the global community. I hope that even if no binding international agreement is reached here, it will have been a formative experience for me and the other young activists present – after all, we will be the ones shaping policy at the local, state, national and international levels in the coming years.

I’ll be here through the end, when President Obama and the rest of the heads of state weigh in on final decisions during the last days of the conference. Check back soon for more installments from COP 15!

Dana Patterson contributed to this report. Sara Imperiale and Dana Patterson are correspondents. Imperiale, a college senior and Morris K. Udall Scholar, is attending the Copenhagen conference through the support of IDEAS, on the web at

Posted by Green Jersey on December 14th, 2009 | Filed in Uncategorized | Comment now »

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