The University of Maryland will be represented and actively driving global conversations on climate implementation and climate policy at this year’s UN climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. Building on participation at last year’s historic meeting in Paris, as well as previous conferences, the University will be sending faculty, research center staff, and students to the 22nd Conference of the Parties of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-22) from November 7-18, 2016.
This year’s COP comes at a crucial moment in the history of global partnership as the Paris Agreement, the product of last year’s COP and the most significant global effort to prevent climate change to date, will enter into force on November 4, three days before the official opening of COP22. COP22 has thus been branded the “COP of Action” as member nations will be setting to work implementing the historical agreement and attempting to keep global warming to below the 2 degree target, with ambition to keep warming below 1.5 degrees.
The Center for Global Sustainability has been deeply involved in developing the University’s presence at the COP. CGS has helped organize three events focused on advancing global conversations that connect analytics with climate policy discussions, has facilitated a global initiative to link leading climate research organizations and universities, and has developed an exhibit to feature policy relevant climate and sustainability-related research from the University of Maryland. In addition, students from the School of Public Policy and Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences will be attending.
This will be the 11th COP for CGS Director Nathan Hultman, who first attended the climate conference in Kyoto in 1997 and who recently worked for the White House on U.S. climate policy for the Paris meeting. “This COP of Action provides a great opportunity for us as a University community to connect our research with the important work of implementing the goals agreed last year at the Paris Agreement--and raising global ambition in future years”. Dr. Hultman will be speaking at an official side event co-organized by CGS on the opening day of the conference entitled “Advancing (I)NDC implementation and ambition: bridging research and practice.” The event will discuss the implementation of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) that member nations submitted as part of the Paris agreement. To watch the livestream of the event, and the post-recording, click here.
Dr. Hultman will also be speaking in another official side event co-organized by CGS titled, “Leveraging lessons from Latin America and the Arab World: Working with the global community for a low-carbon future” which will be held by the Council on Arab World Relations with Latin America and the Caribbean (CARLAC) in the civil society zone. The panel will highlight the large-scale development of renewables in Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa and examine how these efforts can be scaled up to meet these countries’ ambitious emissions reduction goals.
SPP Professor and Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) member Anand Patwardhan will attend to participate in a STAP side event on resilience. The theme will be looking at lessons learned in climate change adaptation and examining the next steps in climate-sensitive regions around the world. Professor Patwardhan will be returning the second week for a session of the High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change focusing on Multi-Stakeholder Participation and Partnerships.
The Center for Global Sustainability is also co-hosting the high-level launch of a new Research For Climate Action (RCA) initiative. This initiative is creating coalition of partners in universities, research organizations, policymakers the world over to accelerate climate action by advancing research fields, cultivating new analytical and research capacity, and connecting the research and policy communities.
Several UMD students will be attending. Second-year Master of Public Policy student Luting Jin has been involved in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development for almost a decade and currently works as a research assistant at the Joint Global Change Research Institute on campus. Jin says she is excited to attend the COP and grateful for the opportunity to learn about the process of international negotiations and multi-stakeholder governance: “I'm wondering how the COPs actually work to deal with climate change, how they reach an agreement, and how it unites research institutes, universities, NGOs and civil society.” In addition, Brian Bennett and Austin Hope from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic sciences will participate.
Finally, CGS will also host a dynamic exhibit space in the first week of COP22. The exhibit will feature leading University of Maryland research and provide a point of interaction to conference participants on what the University is doing to contribute to the achievement of global climate goals, such as implementing the Paris Agreement and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals Research from departments across the University on topics such as sea-level rise, land use change, and resiliency will be made available to participants.