Student to Attend UN Climate Conference

November 17, 2010 - News Release

A University of Guelph student has been selected to represent Canadian youth at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.

Joanna MacDonald, a fourth-year environmental sciences student, will attend the international conference for the second year in a row. She went to Copenhagen last year with the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD).

This year, she’ll be among 29 young Canadians in the CYD.

“I am thrilled to be joining my peers from across Canada to represent Canadian youth at such a critical event,” said MacDonald, who grew up in Stratford, Ont. “Climate change continues to have dangerous impacts around the world, and an international agreement is paramount in addressing the challenges we are and will be faced with.”

During the conference, official representatives from 192 countries will discuss a new global climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, set to expire in 2012.

The CYD will join more than 100 international delegates to voice concerns and call for stronger policies on climate change. The CYD was established in 2006 to educate young people and promote government action on climate change.

Observing the UN conference, youth delegates will learn about global negotiations and international governance.

Macdonald will write blog entries, press releases and news articles during the event. She also plans to speak about the conference and the climate change agreement in her community and on campus after she returns to Canada.

“What drives me the most is the fact that, as one person, I can make a difference and contribute to working on the challenges facing our planet due to climate change,” said MacDonald, who will also attend an international youth summit in Cancun.

U of G has had a strong presence in the CYD during previous UN climate change conferences. In 2007, a Guelph student and five graduates attended the 2007 climate change conference in Indonesia. Three graduates represented Canadian youth at the 2008 gathering in Poland. Last year, MacDonald attended the Denmark conference with U of G student Yvonne Su.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, at 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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