Tufts student delegates at the U.N. climate conference in Egypt expressed excitement at experiencing high-level negotiations firsthand, even though the content of the talks on fighting climate change is often technical and complex.
“Not everything is headline-friendly or easy to see where it will land, but it has been a fascinating experience to get to stand in the kitchen while it’s being cooked.” said Lily Hartzell, F23, who attended the first week of the November 6 -18 conference. Diplomats attending the summit are trying to forge agreements on issues such as cutting carbon emissions and providing funding to developing countries suffering severe losses from climate change.
Comparing this year’s conference to last year’s in Glasgow, which she also attended, Hartzell said, “Glasgow was much more focused on high-level agreements, which in some ways made it easier to focus on one issue. This year is all about implementation [of the 2015 Paris Agreement], and because the Paris Agreement is so comprehensive, it means there are a million issues to track.”
Students and faculty from across Tufts are gathered in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt, for the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. The conference is known as the Conference of Parties or COP27.
In addition to the country delegates who participate in the negotiation process, the conference brings together thousands of advocates, academics, students, and professionals from across the full spectrum of the climate field. The Tufts students in attendance represent this wide range of interests and have been eager to take advantage of all that the conference has to offer, while remaining critical of slow efforts by countries to adequately address the scale of the climate crisis.
Here Hartzell and nine other members of the delegation share their observations of the historic negotiations and their hopes for the future. The first five students participated last week.
Sophia Friedman, N23, is earning a master’s degree in agriculture, food, and the environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, with a focus on sustainable business.
“Although I’ve been here for only been one day so far, there has already been so much to see and do. We hopped from fascinating event to fascinating event. After hearing a great panel discussion about innovative companies in aquaculture, we had the opportunity to speak directly with one of the panelists about her work in the cellular seafood industry, which isn’t something you hear about often.
As a student studying sustainable agriculture and the food industry, it has already been a great way to make connections in the field and put my studies into context at the international level.”
Olivia Grieco, N23, is earning a master’s degree in agriculture, food, and the environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, with a focus on sustainable agricultural practices, alternative proteins, and food law and policy.
“We are not even a full day into week two of COP17 and there is already so much to digest. The maze of pavilions and lack of windows creates a time warp. After attending back-to-back meetings, discussion panels, and a film screening, I am definitely going to need time to collect my many thoughts.
As a graduate student with a focus on agriculture and food, I was excited reading the list of events focused on food systems, considering this is the first COP with an official Food and Agriculture pavilion.
I’ve really enjoyed my time connecting with others in the field, including many focused on my specific interest area of alternative proteins and cellular agriculture.”
See the other delegates' profiles at the link below.