Emory Students Take the Stage at COP24

Emory Delegates: Communities Key to Resisting Global Climate Change

Emory students took the stage at international climate change negotiations to spotlight university efforts to save Atlanta’s scarce water resources and to call for city residents to think globally but act locally on climate change. On December 6 at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, the four–Lauren Balotin, Maya Bornstein, Halle Bradshaw, and Shirley Ma–highlighted ways universities can manage water and food resources and strive for social justice in the era of human-cased climate change.Also participating in the presentation, titled “Youth Researching and Advocating for Climate Action, Equity and Global Justice,” were students from Colorado State University, Clark University and the Caribbean Youth Group.    

Emory Week One Delegates: l to r, Halle Bradshaw, Faculty Member Sheila Tefft, Shirley Ma, Lauren Balotin, and Maya Bornstein.

For the fourth straight year, Emory students and faculty have served as official partners at the annual talks to shape the Paris Agreement and stem the global impact of climate change. The university also sent delegations to the UN negotiations in Paris in 2015, Marrakech in 2016, and Bonn in 2017.  Emory has 12 students and faculty in Poland this year as official observers in the UN process. However, this was the first time Emory spoke publicly on climate at COP. In the presentation and  a follow-up press conference, the students highlighted the benefits of the WaterHub water reclamation plant, the first of its kind on a university campus, and urged more local initiatives to address the Atlanta area water crisis and blunt the impacts of climate change. 

The annual meeting that was held December 3-14 in Poland is sponsored by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is known as the Conference of the Parties or COP24 this year. In 2015, Emory joined an estimated 50 American universities accredited to attend the annual negotiations and dispatched its first delegation to the ground-breaking discussions that led to the Paris Agreement. In that historic accord, almost 200 countries agreed to hold the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Emory’s Office of the Provost and the Coalition of the Liberal Arts funded the program launch and trip to Paris.

In Katowice, the Emory team witnessed high-stakes diplomacy to adopt a package of measures to implement the Paris Agreement in full. With the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord and disappointing results from other major greenhouse gas emitters, however, the Paris goals are on the line. The U.S., the world’s second largest emitter after China, is reversing its climate policies and hurting progress toward emissions reductions. China and the European Union also face problems in meeting their international commitments.

Emory at COP24 Gallery 

Emory Week Two Delegates, l to r: Faculty Member Eri Saikawa, Mariangeles Gutierrez Rivera, Megan Withers, Anna Bell, Paris Wagner, Cande Bergero, Laura Toledo

Explore the Changing World of Climate

The human-caused imprint of climate change is advancing across the globe.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations panel of scientists, warns that heat waves, hurricanes and health threats are among the spreading signs of warming temperatures.

Use this map to delve into the impacts on nations and what can be done. This map is the project of Emory University students in the Climate Change and Society and Climate Change and Multimedia courses. For reports about climate change, click on green markers for countries, purple markers for climate talks attended by Emory delegates, yellow markers for U.S. positions, and pink markers for U.S. cities and states.

Learn more and take action. The moment is now.

Welcome to Emory Climate Talks Website

We have  come to a point where  universities play a unique role at the frontlines of climate change. Today, Emory University is part of a select group of institutions in the U.S., sending delegations to the annual climate negotiations, strengthening research on global climate change, and taking an active role in our communities. This was possible because Emory administrators, faculty and students worked together to build the university’s role on climate. As I mentioned in my remarks at COP23 in Bonn, higher education brings an important voice to efforts on climate change. Sheila Tefft, my Emory co-leader at the climate negotiations, and I hope to build on past successes and grow together with partners on our campus and at other institutions. This website is the centerpiece for our students to showcase their  experiences and engagement on climate change. We hope you will enjoy it, use its resources to gain insight, and help us start more climate dialogues at home and around the world.  
–Eri Saikawa, Associate Professor Environmental Sciences/Environmental Health                                          


Webmaster Team: Katelyn Boisvert, 20C, Environmental Science; Lauren Balotin, 19C, Environmental Science and Media Studies; Dillon Wu, 19C, Environmental Science and International Studies; Sheila Tefft, Faculty Advisor