Each fall, students in Beth Martin’s course on “International Climate Negotiations” learn about climate change while also gaining rare access to international climate policy negotiations. Martin, a teaching professor in environmental studies and interim director of the Washington University Climate Change Program, designed the course to engage students from a wide range of disciplines in discussions about climate change. This academic year, students’ fields of study included political science, engineering, sociology, chemistry, environmental analysis, social policy, and business.
Throughout the semester, students enrolled in the course study the past 30 years of international climate policy in preparation for a life-changing opportunity: a trip to the United Nations climate change conference.
In November, students arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 27th annual conference, known as COP27. Each student was assigned a particular topic of negotiation to explore. They sat in on negotiations, attended informational side events, and networked with global leaders and diplomats.
“Being in that U.N. environment cemented a lot of the things we had learned in class,” said chemistry major Sabrina Hu, Class of 2023. “And it helped us develop our own perspectives on what we think is necessary going forward.”
Students shared the experiences they gained at the conference by posting their observations and comments on the Research and Independent NGO Constituency (RINGO) website.
United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP)
Since 2011, Washington University students have attended the annual United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) to learn more about international climate negotiations. Find out more about the university’s participation through the years in this all-important program.
Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference
Review the reports, decisions, and outcomes of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, held in Egypt in November 2022.