At the recent COP26 meeting in Glasgow, world leaders met to hammer out the details of the Paris climate agreement and to find new ways to reduce emissions and adapt to a warming planet. Business leaders, researchers, and activists were also on the scene, sharing knowledge and innovations and helping to push for the dramatic change that is needed to prevent catastrophic warming. Among them were scholars from the Columbia Climate School, who helped to shape the conversation by hosting and participating in a number of special events. You can see a few highlights in the slideshow below.
Alex Halliday, founding dean of the Columbia Climate School, explained why it was important for the School to be present at COP26. “A Climate School that just does great research and education will not necessarily make much of a difference,” he said. “This school needs to be more like a medical school that connects with its New York community and the wider world, devising actionable solutions in partnership with others who are at the front line of the issues… COP26 is all about this. COP is an amazing gathering of stakeholders young and old from different sectors of society and from all around the world. Hearing those voices and building the kinds of partnerships and constructs that can make a difference, whether in climate mitigation or adaptation, is essential.”
Together with the Obama Foundation, the Columbia Climate School helped to organize a roundtable discussion between former president Barack Obama and young climate activists. The group, including three representatives from Columbia, discussed youth activism and how to accelerate climate action. Obama said that he was especially keen to meet with these young people because activism was in his “roots.” He acknowledged and thanked Columbia for setting up the Climate School, and told the audience to not be discouraged or feel their efforts diminished if expectations were not met in Glasgow: “You’re building power,” he said.