Students to Attend UN Climate Conference

November 20, 2009 - News Release

Two University of Guelph students have been chosen to represent Canadian youth at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Third-year students Joanna MacDonald, an environmental sciences major, and Yvonne Su, who is studying international development, are among 30 people who will make up the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD) at the international climate conference Dec. 7 to 18.

They will join more than 100 youth from across the globe to voice their concerns and advocate for stronger policies surrounding climate change. During the conference, representatives from 192 countries will be meeting to discuss a new global climate deal that will take the place of the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

“You can’t talk about a policy that will be around in 20 years without talking to the people who are going to be around then,” Su said.

Both students also hope to get a chance to speak with members of the Canadian government’s delegation in hopes of influencing the country’s role in the conference.

“This meeting is especially important because the decisions made will affect our future,” said MacDonald. “We have been working to engage youth and put pressure on the Canadian government to take on a more ambitious target.”

MacDonald and Su will also attend an international youth summit both before and after the UN conference.

The CYD, which includes representation from every province, was established in 2006 as a non-partisan youth organization dedicated to educating young people and promoting government action on climate change issues. During the UN conference, the youth delegation will serve as official observers, learning about global negotiations, international governance and how people from other nations address such issues.

“We also strive to be a liaison between youth in Canada and the decision-makers at the conference,” MacDonald said. “We will put a lot of work into getting information about the happenings at the conference back to Canadians.”

U of G has had a strong presence in the CYD during previous UN climate change conferences. A Guelph student and five recent graduates went to the 2007 conference in Bali, Indonesia, and three recent graduates represented Canadian youth at the gathering in Poznan, Poland in 2008.

For more information, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982, or

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