MISSOULA – A delegation of three University of Montana students will leave Nov. 9 for the United Nations international climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland.
During the talks, nations from around the world aim to secure new global agreements on climate change for 2015. At issue is devising a new allowable target date for global greenhouse gas emissions to peak, subsequent emission-reduction targets for various nations and funding protocols.
In 2009 and 2011, UM sent students to the U.N. talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Durban, South Africa. At that time, the students were part of a youth delegation. This year, because UM received recognition as an observer organization by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UM can send its own delegation to observe the 19th Convention of Parties, which meets Nov. 11-22.
Stephanie Lackey, Sam Dexter and Mara Menahan comprise the 2013 UM delegation. Lackey, a graduate student from Milwaukee, studies environmental justice issues in eastern Europe.
“I am excited to meet people from around the world who share my concern about the impacts of climate change and who are interested in finding solutions that can be agreed upon and followed by all nations,” she said.
Menahan, a senior from Helena, double majors in environmental studies and geography and minors in climate change studies. She participated in campus and community climate change discussions and looks forward to witnessing dialogue at the global level.
“Attending the conference in Warsaw will help me understand how my own voice and the stories from my home here in Montana fit within a larger climate change narrative," Menahan said.
An aspiring artist, Menahan also hopes the experience will help her learn how the climate change issue can be communicated visually. “During my stay, I will be sketching my observations and sharing my thoughts about the intersection of art, science and communication.”
Dexter, an environmental studies graduate student originally from Portland, Maine, and more recently from Boulder, Colo., also will be part of the UM delegation. Dexter hopes to work as a Foreign Service officer on international development projects.
“There are many much-needed, small-scale local projects around the world, but they are no substitute for the continued global-scale efforts I hope to see the Warsaw talks produce,” he said.
The student delegation is supported by the UM President Royce Engstrom’s Excellence Fund and the Environmental Studies Program. The three students will blog daily about events, offering their photos, sketches and commentaries. Visit their blog at http://umstudentdelegatesinwarsaw.tumblr.com/.
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