The 2022 United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) is drawing delegates from around the world this week and next, and Austin College will soon have its own representative there. Physics professor Dr. David Baker flies to Egypt on November 11 to attend the second week of the annual event as an official observer.
At the conference, nations come together to take action toward achieving the world’s collective climate goals as prescribed under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Baker will have access to the COP27 “Blue Zone” sessions, where heads of state and environmental ministers negotiate policy concerning various climate issues. He also can engage through the “Green Zone” where lobbyists, activists and exhibitors will be pitching their interests.
Organizers of this year’s convention in the host city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, expect that nations will be demonstrating how their climate goals are being turned into action. New policy goals also will be adopted. Topics on the agenda include climate finance, resilience and agriculture, and local communities.
Baker applied in August 2022 for Austin College to be granted official observer status as a research or educational institution, a process that takes 10 months for approval. He is able to attend this year’s conference through an access exchange system that allows institutions with unused passes to designate them to another individual upon request. Baker is attending through Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
Once Austin College is granted its official observer status, Baker expects to select six students per year to attend the conference, starting with the 2023 event in United Arab Emirates. “Experiencing the climate conference in person fits with Austin College’s mission for global learning and service, and our students will bring back what they’ve learned so they can make a difference by sharing their knowledge about climate action,” Baker says.
While at COP27, Baker will present live reports via Zoom to two environmental studies classes on the Austin College campus about his experiences and observations. The professor also will be sharing his experiences via his Twitter account. He can be followed at @dave4planet.