University College Cork will be the only Irish university with observer status to send a delegation of students and researchers to the crucial UN climate change COP27 conference this week.
Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt is to host the United Nations talks on November 7 and 8.
UCC President John O’Halloran said: “It is imperative that universities are central to the discussions on our planet’s future, and there is an onus on us to demonstrate how we can lead the way on tackling climate change.
“Our UCC Futures programme of research, together with our practice-focussed award-winning green campus, has singled out sustainability as an area of strategic importance, and we are working on creative, innovative, and inter-disciplinary solutions to the greatest challenge facing us all.”
Hannah Daly, Professor in Sustainable Energy and Energy Systems Modelling, who is to attend COP27 as part of the UCC delegation, said:
“While countries have made strong commitments to decarbonisation, that ambition is being realised only at a snail’s pace relative to what is necessary. This will be the COP of implementation: governments, businesses and civil society must come together to collaborate on the millions of individual actions essential to drive emissions down rapidly.”
Natasha Sutton, an undergraduate from UCC’s School of Law said: “I believe it is incredibly important that young people be at the forefront of discussions around climate destruction. UCC are sending a very young delegation which reflects on the fact that they will be affected by climate change in years to come - and are already affected.
“It is my expectation that a wide variety of voices will be listened to and their opinions acted on.
Egyptian citizen Omar Ibrahim from UCC’s School of Engineering, is one of the delegates. He said, “personally, COP27 is not just special because it’s a representation for Africa - it’s held in my home country.
“Joining the Irish delegation under UCC’s flag as an Egyptian is live evidence that different perspectives are encouraged to engage in the conversation, and even shape it. I hope to see an implementation COP, where countries share clear roadmaps and strategies about meeting climate targets relative to their contribution to carbon emissions.
The UCC delegation also consists of experts in carbon emissions and budgets, transport, societal change, sustainable cities, air and water pollution, and energy efficiency.