Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Letter submitted by the Swarthmore COP19 team: Alex Ahn ’15 and Ben Goloff ’15
“If there is no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
– Rajendra Pachauri
Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
November 17, 2007
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush fulfilled one of his campaign promises when he signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in an apparent effort to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The twenty one succeeding years have witnessed the birth and decline of several international emissions agreements in the face of growing public confusion, politicization and obstruction in the U.S. Meanwhile, the scientific case for action grew ever more robust. Historically marginalized communities continue to suffer disproportionately from worsening effects of fossil fuel emissions and extraction. Now, more than ever, every additional year of inaction increases our collective risk from the climate crisis. Swarthmore College was recently granted observer status at the UNFCCC, the international body charged with negotiating binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The College’s first engagement will be a student faculty delegation to the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) of the UNFCCC, which will convene in Warsaw, Poland this November. We seek lively participation of Swarthmore students, faculty, and staff throughout the process, beginning with an open meeting to discuss how we can best make use of this opportunity as a College community. Please join us at 6:30 PM in the Scheuer Room on Friday, October 25th. This will be a great opportunity for Swarthmore to engage with the international movement, and we want to hear your thoughts.
Swarthmore COP 19 Team