The world is on the brink of beginning the most important global climate negotiations yet and the University of Waterloo community is going to be part of it! Known as “COP21” for short, the 21st Conference of the Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, 2015. A University of Waterloo delegation of six students and two faculty/staff advisors will be attending the conference along with four additional UW students who are going to support the Kiribati country delegation. While the event is happening in Paris, there will also be numerous opportunities to discuss and watch from right here on campus.
The ultimate goal of this conference is widely considered for all 194 countries of the UN to commit to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets that would collectively keep global temperatures from rising no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Approximately 40,000 delegates from across the globe are expected to arrive in Paris over the next few weeks, and many, many more citizens from throughout France and around the world will follow the negotiations from home. Over 80 heads of state will be in attendance, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama, showcasing leadership at a national level. The stakes have never been higher, but neither has the excitement!
We’d like to introduce you to the team who will be leading the charge to bring the COP21 experience to UW. This team, alongside all of Climate Students, is here to connect with you on all things COP21. Whether you’re in Paris, on campus or at home, we want YOU to be a part of this conversation. Follow @climatestudents and use #UWCOP21 online to join the discourse!
Jordan Blake is a graduate student in the Master of Climate Change program. For COP21, Jordan is coordinating the Home Team projects and events that will run in tandem with the delegates attending COP21, ensuring the campus remains both informed and engaged throughout this critical negotiation process.
Sara Ganowski is a third year Honours co-op student, pursuing a double major in Environment & Resource Studies and Speech Communication. As Communications Lead on the COP21 Home Team, Sara hopes to increase public awareness on climate change, motivating stakeholders to reduce GHG emissions and adopt sustainable management systems.
Michelle Gordon is a third year undergraduate student in the Environment and Resource Studies co-op program. Michelle, as part of the UW COP21 delegation, is particularly interested in the areas of climate change and parks/restoration as well as environmental education.
Alexandra Graham is currently completing her Master of Environmental Studies within the School of Planning. As part of the UW COP21 delegation, Alex hopes to make research connections and investigate innovative ways cities can mitigate and adapt to climate change, while engaging the Waterloo community in the negotiation experience.
Siva Kumar Kuppuswamy is pursuing his Master of Climate Change program after two decades of professional experience. He comes with a strong industry experience in delivering large scale projects and as a member of UW COP21 looks forward to collaborating with corporate leaders engaged in decarbonizing business to understand their challenges and interact with global renewable energy players.
Rahul Mehta is in his final year in Planning (Master of Environmental Studies), studying to become a Professional Planner. As part of the UW COP21 delegation, Rahul hopes to build connections across disciplines focusing on climate education, de-growth, the cryosphere and urban/regional planning.
Bianca Salive is a fourth year Environment and Business student minoring in geography. As a member of the UW COP21 delegation, Bianca is looking forward to building new connections with professionals as well as learning more about policy on loss and damage, northern and Arctic communities and their relationships.
Dominique Souris is in her final year of the Environment and Resource Studies program. She is accredited with the Seychelles delegation for COP21 and will support both the UW delegation and Youth Arctic Coalition. Dominique will also be conducting her thesis research focused on the barriers to meaningful progress on the issue of loss and damage in UNFCCC negotiations.
Rija Rasul is a first year student in the Master of Development Practice (MDP) program. Rija is one of four students in the MDP program attending COP21 as members of the Republic of Kiribati delegation. Her research interests include climate change, international security and terrorism, and renewable energy.
Kadra Rayale is a first year Master’s Student in the Master’s of Development Practice program. Kadra is attending COP21 as one of four student members of the Republic of Kiribati’s delegation. Her research interests include forced and voluntary migration trends and climate change.
Sarah Brown is the Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) at the University of Waterloo. Sarah was part of the UW delegation that attended COP19 in Poland and is pleased to be going back to COP21 to represent the University, seek research partners for IC3, and act in an advising role to the student delegates.
Ian Rowlands is a Professor in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies, as well as Associate Dean (Strategic Initiatives) in the Faculty of Environment. He is looking forward to attending COP21 with the Waterloo team, and will be leading the delegation in the second week. At COP21, Ian is particularly interested in the areas of energy transitions, environmental governance, and business as actors.
Didn’t get enough info about the team? Learn more about each of our delegates, here!
This website will be regularly updated with the latest from Paris, as well as on-campus events, volunteer opportunities and ways to stay connected online. You can also follow via our many social media channels. Have any questions, comments or feedback for us? Perhaps you would like to get more involved with our COP21 Home Team? Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!