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Author: Mae Bowen

An End to the Fossil Fuel Era: Why the Paris Agreement, Despite its Flaws, Matters

An End to the Fossil Fuel Era: Why the Paris Agreement, Despite its Flaws, Matters

This blog has been cross-posted from the Emory Globe, Emory University’s international affairs magazine.  Source: atlasmonitor.com On the evening of December 13, 2015, delegates gathered at an airport complex on the outskirts of Paris, France made history. With consensus from 195 countries, the world’s first-ever universal agreement on climate change became a reality. This Paris Agreement has been nearly six years in the making, though the goal of an agreement to combat climate change harks back even further to the Earth Summit of…

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Humans of COP21: Kate Knuth

Humans of COP21: Kate Knuth

“I’m a Minnesotan. I currently work at the University of Minnesota at the Institute on the Environment. I also serve as a citizen member of Minnesota’s Environmental Quality Board which is an executive branch board of 9 state agency commissioners and 5 citizen members. I’m here at the COP as an eye-witness to a really historic moment in the world in terms of dealing with the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced and the biggest opportunity to show what is…

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Giving Nature a Voice

Giving Nature a Voice

At tonight’s Momentum for Change Awards hosted in the COP21 press conference room, Conservation International Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan presented a new short film series which attempts to bring the natural world to life. Several A-List actors lent their voices to various natural phenomena, including Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, Ian Somerhalder, and Lupita Nyong’o.  A particularly powerful personification of Mother Nature herself was voiced by Julia Roberts….

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Transparency and Access for Civil Society and Youth

Transparency and Access for Civil Society and Youth

In the morning on Wednesday, December 9, I was able to attend the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Briefing for Observer Organizations. It was an hour-long session meant to engage the civil society and other constituencies observing the negotiations, provide answers to our questions, and act as a bridge between us and the high-level officials. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres was joined by Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who is serving during COP21 as the President’s Special Envoy to Observers. Pulgar-Vidal previously served as…

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Humans of COP21: Jack Kafwanka

Humans of COP21: Jack Kafwanka

“I’m here with Zambia. I’m here with Plant for the Planet Foundation delegation. We’re here at COP to support and encourage the negotiators. We’re the ones who are giving away the awesome chocolates if you had them. We make sure you stay motivated in the negotiations so that you fight for the future of young people. That’s why were here at COP21 to ensure that we get results and have a long term climate agreement and get on the path…

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Humans of COP21: Dr. Jane Goodall

Humans of COP21: Dr. Jane Goodall

“What I really want to say to the youth around the world is that you are our hope for the future. We have messed up the planet and its not your responsibility to fix it, but if you don’t, with us helping, then your great grandchildren will have a pretty bad time. The main thing is to get involved, to realize most importantly that every single day you live you make an impact on this planet and its up to…

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Humans of COP21: Jeff Horowitz

Humans of COP21: Jeff Horowitz

“I’m at the COP because I have three film projects that I am screening, two of them with Jane (Goodall). One is Stop the Burning, which is this 9-minute clip on the fact that deforestation is alive and well and we’ve got to stop it cold. The second is Time to Choose which is a 90-minute full feature film about climate change and solutions. The third is two of episodes of Years of Living Dangerously with Arnold Schwarzenegger and a lot…

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Welcome to Week Two of COP21!

Welcome to Week Two of COP21!

On Monday, December 7, high-level officials opened the second week of the UNFCCC COP21 meeting in grand fashion. Delegates from over 190 countries gathered in plenary La Seine at 10:00am to hear from leaders which included United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, COP21 President and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change Hoesung Lee, and UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft. The COP21 negotiation space at the Le Bourget site

City of Atlanta Triumphs Local Solutions to Global Problems

City of Atlanta Triumphs Local Solutions to Global Problems

On December 3rd, several Emory delegates and Dr. Eri Saikawa supported Mayor Kasim Reed at the Le Bourget La Galerie site as he spoke on behalf of Atlanta’s innovative sustainability initiatives to an international audience. The official “Buildings Day” panel highlighted the challenges and opportunities within the development sector on maximizing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially since 80% of greenhouse gas emissions are sourced from urban areas. Other panelists included Mayor Clover Moore of Sydney, Mayor Bima…

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Assessing Sustainability?

Assessing Sustainability?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “sustainable” is defined as “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.” Thus, “sustainability” is commonly linked with the idea of leaving a better planet for future generations. However, in reality, defining “sustainability” is like nailing Jell-O to a wall- impossible and pretty pointless.