RCJGC Panel 8

Collaborative Event Ethnography: Interdisciplinary Analysis of COP Meetings

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Simon Chin-Yee, Lauren Gifford, and Emily Hite, UC Santa Barbara

6 replies
  1. Felicia Winfrey
    Felicia Winfrey says:

    Thank you all for such a wonderful panel! I would love to hear your perspectives on how youth activists and youth voices are represented at the COP meetings. Do you think youth voices will be valued at the COP 26?

    • Lauren Gifford
      Lauren Gifford says:

      Hi Felicia, I believe youth voices are incredibly valuable at the COP, but it is unfortunately not valued by the delegates and negotiators who are making decisions on agreement text. I will say that youth participation is important not only for their voice, but also for the experience young folks gain in learning about the multilateral negotiation process, international cooperation, and climate policy broadly.

  2. David Jones
    David Jones says:

    Towards the end, Emily used the term “net zero” as a goal for 2030. I have heard a number of critiques of the term from those in the climate justice community who believe this language allows emissions to continue, essentially allowing economies to burn now and pay later while putting too much reliance on carbon capture technology. Thoughts?

    • Emily Hite
      Emily Hite says:

      Thanks for the question! Yes, I think “net zero” is problematic for a few reasons. It is used by many, but defined by few, giving too much leeway to its application. Second, the goal of achieving “net zero” is set in the Paris agreement for 2050, clearly way too far off into the future to be effective for reaching the goals of 1.5 degree maximum temperature raise. You can see on the UN site that current cuts are insufficient for reaching the 2050 target – https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/net-zero-coalition

  3. Grace Parrish
    Grace Parrish says:

    I am a political science major so I found it super interesting listening to Simon and his connection to environmental policy. Currently, I am taking a class about public policy so it was cool to hear Simon speak about different countries restrictions and blocks on climate change progress because I could relate it back to my coursework. I also thought it was so amazing hearing about all the different places the speakers have gotten to travel to through their involvement with COP. Hearing Dr. Hite speak on indigenous communities makes what she assigns in class make a lot more sense since she is so passionate about the topic. This conference gave me a new outlook on smaller countries and how they are often not heard when it comes to the conversation of climate change. I think it is so important to look at global warming in a global context like this because climate change is not just an issue involving western countries.

    • Simon CHIN-YEE
      Simon CHIN-YEE says:

      Keep an eye on those smaller countries, as they are often the loudest in the room (Maldives, Tuvalu etc), and small island states can be seen as the conscience of the conference, while African countries can bring in a moral legitimacy – but what does this mean for power politics? They are still often marginalized, but we still need to listen to them, hear what they are demanding – as they could/should be a guide for what ACTUAL action at the intergovernmental level.

      Here is an article I wrote during COP21 (if of interest): https://academic.oup.com/afraf/article-abstract/115/459/359/2195229?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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