COP23 White Papers

Science, policy and the search for solutions were at centerstage at the COP 23 climate talks in Bonn. Student delegates wrote these white papers based upon their research, interviews and experiences at the negotiations.

The Future of Climate Change Migration

-By Aspen Ono, '18C, Environmental Sciences and International Studies

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that human migration would be the single greatest impact of climate change (IPCC 1990). Yet the academic community nor global political networks have yet to reach a consensus on how to identify, govern and protect individuals displaced by environmental disasters.

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The Looming Threat to Food Security

-By Lauren Balotin, '19C, Environmental Sciences and  Media Studies

The adverse effects of climate change on food security and malnutrition are growing. Millions of individuals could face physical, emotional, and cognitive hardships due to undernutrition, or deficiency of energy, protein, or essential vitamins and minerals. As the effects of climate change become increasingly clear, the search for appropriate methods of mitigation and adaptation is reaching a critical stage.

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More Voice for Indigenous Communities

-By Claire Barnes, '19C, Religion

Although the United Nations created a platform for indigenous peoples and local communities to get involved in climate change negotiation, the UN has had a history of acting slowly on decisions regarding these communities that only have observer status. If the platform is not broadened, climate policy will lag behind indigenous knowledge, and the UN will create culturally irrelevant policies regarding these communities. Indigenous peoples are often the first to be affected by climate change, but they remain excluded within the highest levels of negotiations.

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The Climate Trials of the Vulnerable

-By Jennifer Fundora, '18C, Environmental Sciences

Countries that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 have committed to a set of goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions and damage called Nationally Determined Contributions. However, island nations face the even more pressing concerns of weather-related disasters, drought and flooding. Vulnerable countries face the double challenge to find ways to mitigate emissions and adapt to the threats of climate change.

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Protection of Nepal'a Ecosystems

-By Meggie Stewart, '18C, Environmental Sciences and Arabic Minor

Worldwide, climate change is wreaking havoc on farms. Scientists look to rising food production to meet the needs of ballooning populations but also fear climate change will disrupt seasonal rains and leave fields barren. In Nepal, mountains support some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. It is a country rich with natural biodiversity as well as agrobiodiversity. Protecting these diverse ecosystems and their human keepers is essential.

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Negotiating in an English-dominated World

-By Orli Hendler, '18C, Linguistics and Sustainability

The English language dominates world climate negotiations and creates issues of comfort, fluency and power balance among delegates speaking other languages. Those communicating in a second language may be unable to negotiate effectively or achieve a higher status generally. For those who speak English as a second language, communication in their native languages may find themselves constricted by a limited vocabulary, additional time and effort to write proposals, and frustrations in expressing themselves fully.

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A Level ETS Playing Field in China

-By Ken Wakabayashi, '18C, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences

China, one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, has developed a national emissions trading system (ETS) to promote adjustments in their industry and energy infrastructure and help meet national commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The government needs to establish sound policy for the ETS, which will be the world’s largest, and encourage competition and ensure an equal playing field for the market system.

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The U.S. and Pakistan: Communities Face Rising Water Issues

-By Maria Jolly, a student in the Rollins School of Public Health

Across the globe, countries seek local solutions to water intrusion and flooding in resource-poor communities. Climate change has led to changes in precipitation, melting snow and ice, and extreme weather, and has made this quest more imperative in many locales. The United States and Pakistan are two case studies of adaptation in a changing world of water issues.

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Spreading Climate Risk Through Insurance

-By Dillon Wu, '18C, Environmental Sciences

The United Nations has identified insurance as a key strategy to help developing countries adapt to climate change. Climate risk insurance could promote economic growth, cut investment risk, and encourage efforts to restrain the acceleration of climate change. But uncertainty and uneven information unsettle market conditions for insurance. Politicians need to step up and create viable markets.

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EU Renewable Energy and Shared Policy

-By Zola Berger-Schmitz, ‘18C, Music and Environmental Sciences, and Cassidy Schwartz, ‘18C, Environmental Sciences and International Studies 

The European Union (EU), a cooperative federalist system, stands to expand its renewable energy section by member states sharing policy initiatives. This process of borrowing policy approaches to achieve similar outcomes is called diffusion. Learning from each other could be the best way forward for the EU to cut costs and grow renewable energy to contain climate change.

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