HOUGHTON, Mich. – More than 35,000 participants are expected to attend the annual gathering known as the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP). This year’s summit — referred to as COP27 — marks the 27th conference of the 193 parties that signed the original UN climate agreement in 1992. It’s the largest climate change-focused event in the world.
Professor Sarah Green leads the Michigan Tech delegation. “This is a singular opportunity to see the really big picture of the dynamics of climate action. Students have a chance to meet and talk with people from all over the world, and gain a perspective of both the immense complexity of the problem and the multitude of powerful people dedicated to solving it.”
The summit is a headline-maker known for generating awareness and policies aimed at addressing climate change through adaptation, mitigation and economic action. The gathering of government and industry leaders, nonprofit nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) and interdisciplinary climate experts is perhaps best known for the 2015 Paris Agreement, a negotiated treaty setting expectations for curbing the rise in global temperatures.
There is always anticipation surrounding what issues will rise to the forefront at COP27. Green anticipates economics will be top of mind this year.
“A primary topic on the agenda is ‘Loss and Damage,’ which asks the question, ‘Who is going to pay for damage from climate change, particularly for developing countries that are suffering damage from a problem they did not cause?’” said Green. “Another important topic is whether the world can get on track to limit warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
“Countries have been asked to increase their commitments to urgent action,” she said. “I will be looking for promises to increase ambition and for concrete evidence that countries will achieve the targets they have set.”
In addition to observing negotiations, delegation member Shardul Tiwari, who earned his doctorate in environmental and energy policy in October 2022, will be presenting his research on pumped underground storage hydro (PUSH). Tiwari is a member of Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Energy Transition Lab, which has been studying the feasibility of siting electrical energy storage facilities in abandoned hard-metal mines and using a closed-loop system to pump water from lower to upper reservoirs, turning turbines to generate electricity and giving old mines a new role in the energy transition.
Among other notable research presentations, Michigan Tech is helping lead an event in the U.S. Center, where Ph.D. candidate and alumna Rose Daily is a panel member for a discussion on national climate change education. Read Daily’s blog on her journey from local to global sustainability advocacy on Michigan Tech Unscripted.
Presentations will be streamed and available for viewing after the conference. The United Nations features a full COP27 schedule of events by day and topic. Follow Michigan Tech social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Snapchat for the latest from Huskies at the conference. Summit updates can also be found by tracking the hashtag #COP27.