At COP25, Students Will Help Forge
Solutions to Global Climate Challenge

More than 40 members of the Yale community, including 38 students from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), will be in Madrid, Spain next month for COP25, the annual “conference of the parties” hosted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
During the conference, which will be held Dec. 2 to 13, several of the F&ES students will serve on the delegations for their home countries, including for Mexico, Rwanda, Turkey, Morocco, Tonga and Peru. Others will work for non-governmental organizations, including the Climate Action Network (Latin America and Southeast Asia), Rock Environment and Energy Institute (China), the Energy & Resources Institute (India) and the India-based Development Alternatives.
During the conference, F&ES will also coordinate a “Big Ideas” studio that record innovative solutions to the climate challenge from conference participants. The recordings are part of the Yale Environmental Dialogue, an F&ES initiative that aims to bring new ideas to the global environmental conversation.
The annual conference was shifted from Chile to Spain after Chile withdrew citing social unrest.
Here’s what a few F&ES students will be doing at COP25:

Lysa Uwizeyimana ’20 M.E.M.

uwizeyimana at cop
“At COP25, I will be supporting the country delegation of the Republic of Rwanda. Though a low-emission country, Rwanda is highly vulnerable to climate change as it depends on rain-fed agriculture for rural livelihoods and exports. The Rwandan government seeks to encourage parties to ratify the Kigali Amendment (2015) to the Montreal Protocol and looks forward to robust negotiations to forge transparent technology and financing mechanisms for climate change. My role will be to support the delegation during the negotiations and achieving Rwanda’s long term goal of boosting capacity at international negotiations. 
“I am particularly looking forward to (i) seeing the outcome of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, which outlines the responsibility of rich developed nations to help communities overcome the loss and damage from climate disasters, (ii) seeing more developing countries ratify the Kigali Amendment, which will lead to a global phase out of HFCs -powerful greenhouse gases, and (iii) seeing a clear framework and a roadmap on how developed countries will provide finance and technology to developing countries to assist in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.”

Aymane Eddahmani ’21 M.E.Sc.

eddahmani at cop 2019
“As a member of the national delegation of the Kingdom of Morocco, I will be tracking topics of special importance to developing nations and the African continent. In particular, I plan to focus on the effect and burden of climate change on developing nations, and the mechanisms of flowing climate funds towards adaptation to limit this impact. I will also focus on the results of the African Climate Week, which further confirmed the consequences of climate change on the continent in relation to achieving development goals.

“For my master’s research I am studying the relationship between climate change and poverty/inequality. This is motivated by an awareness of the vulnerabilities of developing countries, where the social and economic infrastructures are barely able to deal with the status quo, let alone the effects of climate change. The economically disadvantaged find themselves in a vicious cycle where they are more vulnerable to climate change risks and less able to recover and adapt, further worsening their economic situation, increasing the risk, and so on.

“Therefore, it is not only pertinent, but extremely important, to attend and participate in international dialogues on climate change with a lens focusing on development issues. This will allow me to gain priceless insight on the behind-the-scenes workings of international negotiations directly impacting the future of the planet, and learn about the barriers to strong climate policies — in the hope of being part of the solution.”

Anelise Zimmer ’21 M.E.M.

zimmer at cop 2019
“In Madrid, I’ll be assisting the Climate Action Network of Southeast Asia (CANSEA). I’m looking forward to experiencing an international conference of such importance and potential for impact. It will be interesting to witness groups from around the world negotiate and work together towards the common goal of addressing climate change. In assisting CANSEA, I will be focusing on renewable energy development and finance. I will be tracking meetings and negotiations related to the Clean Development Mechanism in the context of Southeast Asian countries.
“In Southeast Asia, there is strong potential for developing effective renewable energy infrastructure. Developing nations in the region would see positive results in economic, environmental, and health sectors if a transition to a low-carbon economy occurs. However, the region faces pressure and financial incentives from other countries — China, especially — to develop carbon-intensive coal infrastructure. I wish to see more developed nations contribute to the Green Climate Fund, and to have a portion of the funds go to support the transition to renewable energy infrastructure in Southeast Asia.”

Daniel Csonth ’20 M.E.M.

csonth at cop 2019
“I will be working with the Data Driven Environmental Policy Lab and the Yale Open Innovation Lab [which is part of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale]. I have been working with them over the past year on researching the potential for using blockchain and other digital technologies to track global climate action. We are planning to host side events showcasing our work so far, demystifying blockchain for policymakers, and announcing the winners of our global collaborative Hackathon that is running in the lead-up to COP25. Robust, transparent, decentralized (i.e. democratic), and fraud-inhibiting blockchains could be a true 21st century implementation of Article 6 on cooperation and emissions trading as well as Article 13 on transparency — both key topics of this year’s COP. 
“I am excited to see the reception of such novel ideas by the typically slow moving policy community as well as to generally experience the most global collaborative effort to move the needle on climate change at its core. Hopefully, through the delegation of Hungary (my home country), whom I have offered my support, I will be able to experience the inner workings of the politics tied to COP as well and above all be part of negotiations.”

Margaret Oliver ’21 M.E.M.

Oliver at cop 2019
“At COP25, I will be working with Climate Action Network-Latin America (CANLA), a network of civil society organizations devoted to sustainable development and climate change mitigation and adaptation. At the conference, I will be tracking and reporting on this year’s revisions to the Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage, with a specific focus on the financing methods to address loss and damage associated with climate change in developing countries.
“I am excited to be working with CANLA because I am keeping a connection to the sustainable development world in Latin America while at Yale after returning from two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. I hope that CANLA’s NGO members will be able to use my reports on Loss and Damage finance to better strategize the funding of their climate adaptation projects.”

Hardik Pokhrel ’21 M.E.M.

pokhrel at cop 2019
“I will be attending as a part of the delegation from Prakriti Resource Centre (PRC), a nongovernmental organization focused on international climate policy processes, climate finance, and low carbon development practices in Nepal. Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world in terms of climate change and, as a LDC (Least Developed Countries), it would need significant capital to finance climate measures. Besides providing the needed support at the COP, I would be working with PRC on developing knowledge product on how to leverage financing mechanisms specifically, Green Climate Fund (GCF) that could potentially translate into policy recommendations. The objective is to carve out specific action items for private sectors in Nepal that enable technology transfers and equip project developers with access to low-cost capital to unlock investment into areas like clean energy, transport, and local community development.
“I am really excited to be part of this global conversation that demands urgent action and at an unprecedented level. My personal goal is to follow the conversation across two broad agenda items: (i) climate finance and energy finance within the existing GCF mechanism, and (ii) technology transfer, including the transfer of renewable energy technologies to developing countries. As I am from Nepal, I will most likely draw insights on these agenda items on a personal level as well. Besides this, I also want to broaden my perspective and knowledge on how other countries are implementing these strategies.”

Kareem Hammoud ’20 M.E.M.

hammoud at cop 19

I will be working with Rocky Mountain Institute to support the launch events surrounding a new America’s Pledge report. I helped work on this report for the past six months and am excited to support the panels and press events related to its launch.

America’s Pledge is a collaborative effort between Rocky Mountain Institute, World Resources Institute, and University of Maryland’s Center for Global Sustainability that quantifies, analyzes, and showcases the climate ambition of thousands of U.S. cities, states, and businesses. These subnational actors are the U.S. coalition that is “still in” the Paris Agreement. This year’s report both communicates progress made to reduce U.S. emissions thus far and exhibits how greater reductions could be achieved by 2030 through enhanced bottom-up action and a re-engaged federal government.

Enhancing national ambition and implementing climate actions at the local scale are two themes that underly this year’s COP. America’s Pledge hopes to serve as a model for other countries looking to quantify subnational progress towards their climate goals, assure the international community that climate ambition exists in the U.S. despite federal rhetoric, and inspire the adoption of more ambitious emissions targets for COP26.

PUBLISHED: November 20, 2019
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.