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COP21 and Actually Doing The Things

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Bonjour from Paris! COP21 is in full swing, so it’s time for some Student Energy reporting from the ground!

But first, let’s take a step back and ask – what is COP21 and why is Student Energy here?

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“COP” stands for Conference of the Parties, and the full name of the event is “The 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change”. Quite a mouthful! The first COP took place at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and the one in Paris is widely viewed as the “last chance” to reach an international agreement that will keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

While formal negotiations are taking place between countries, the word’s environmental community convenes to debate and discuss solutions to climate change. There are a BAJILLION side events happening, both at the venue and all over Paris. Student Energy is here to act on our mission to “educate, inspire and unite the next generation of global energy leaders”. There is a big youth engagement component to COP, not to mention the NGOS, GOs and companies that we work with and who support our activities are all here as well. We will also host our signature Innovation Jam this Saturday to give students a platform to identify and develop their ideas for energy solutions that can combat climate change.

Going into my first COP, I was filled with a certain sense of questioning – how will 40,000 people from 190 countries coordinate to reach the outcome our earth needs? How does an organization find their voice in the sea of activity happening every day for a jam-packed two weeks?
 

To answer this, I looked inward and asked – what is your COP21 about? And I decided that mine is about action, or to put it in meme-y, millennial speak “actually doing the things”. In every session I attend, person I meet and article I read, I look for the action that can spark change and move us closer to that 2-degree target. In my own career path, I’ve always chosen the most real and raw actions I could – case in point, moving to the world’s biggest energy market (China) to build solar projects.

 

So for everyone following the proceedings or taking part I would ask you: what is your COP21 about? Over the next week I will share my inspirations to action from COP21 – stay tuned!