Tag Archives: Qatar

An Interview Six Months Late: WesKids Saving the World in Doha, Qatar

Awesome WesKids doing awesome stuff about an awesome cause in an awesome place. Six months ago.

Pictured: a desert.

In late November 2012, three WesKids, Samantha Santaniello ’13, Sophie Duncan ’13. and Chloe Holden ’15 went with Professor Michael Dorsey to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) in Doha, Qatar (that’s in the Persian Gulf, which is in the Middle East, for the geographically challenged). There they helped Professor Dorsey with his research, kept a pretty informative blog for the College of the Environment, witnessed firsthand the wrangling of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as part of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18), learned a bunch of acronyms, and generally did “a lot of typing.”

Shortly after they returned to Wes, just in time for Fall finals week, I sat down with them to talk about their thoughts on the conference, the future of climate changed, and generally speaking exactly how screwed we all are. Enjoy!

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pyrotechnics: I’ve been reading your blog. How successful do you think the conference was?

Sam: It was completely unsuccessful. The only thing that is really being discussed further is loss and damage which is really important for small island states and less developed countries. Loss of coastlines and stuff in Africa. That will hopefully be negotiated at the next conference. But yeah, everything is pretty bleak.

Sophie: It’s hard to say whether such as big conference with so many different goals is successful or unsuccessful. I would say they failed to meet the very low expectations that were set or the achievements they wanted. They failed to create any sort of significant agreement that would be legally binding or include really high-polluting countries like the US or Canada.

Chloe: It wasn’t the goal of this conference to create a legally binding agreement but you could talk to people who walked away from it with very specific agendas, like people who are involved in accountability measures; there was progress in that, in little areas. Overall, in the negotiations as a whole, across recent years, doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Sam: Obviously the small island states and less developed countries were very important and with their agenda they called for a five-year second commitment period and they ended up with eight because the EU and a lot of the negotiation coalitions with more political clout were able to get what they wanted as opposed to the small island states who really needed it, because this is a huge threat to them.

Fight the Power: Thoughts on Wesleyan’s Power Plant Proposal

Those who have not attended the minimally publicized meetings regarding the administration’s plans to build a new natural gas power plant on campus—it is time you paid attention.

After the Snowpocalyspe of last October, President Roth mandated that the University strive to reduce the risk of losing schooldays in the event of a similar weather emergency in the future. Some administrators and Physical Plant staff developed a plan to construct a natural gas co-generation power plant near Freeman Athletic Center to supplement a similar plant that Wesleyan built in 2008 on the corner of Williams and High Streets. This new plant, they claim, is necessary to allow us to go into “island mode” and avoid a blackout during the increasingly common extreme weather events. For a combination of logistical, budgetary, and moral reasons, I argue otherwise.

First, some background. The plan was set on trajectory behind closed doors, without input of the community or students, until Evan Weber ’13 gleaned through a comment made in passing at a sustainability meeting that this was being proposed. In fact, Wesleyan’s new Sustainability Coordinator, Jen Kleindienst, hadn’t heard of it either until about a week before Weber. By the time Weber organized an emergency organizing meeting, Wesleyan had already hired a firm to site and start designing the plant. As Weber told the Argus, “I want to start a conversation about the power plant with all constituents because students, professors, and other members of the community have been largely left out of the discussion.”

So why not have that discussion now?

There are many problems with the proposed plant, which are laid out in a recent Wespeak written by a few concerned students, including Weber and myself. These are what I believe to be some of the most compelling issues at hand:

Wes Talks Climate in Doha

From Samantha Santaniello ’13:

We are a group of three Wesleyan students – Sophie Duncan ’13, Chloe Holden ’15, and Samantha Santaniello ’13 – who are attending the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Doha, Qatar. This blog is a space to discuss some of the issues that inspire, frustrate, and energize us most during our time at the Doha climate negotiations.

We’re writing the blog and we want you to read it! There are some hot topics being discussed and the blog is extremely informative.