Echoes from COP24 - Luke Ehler

UNA-Canada is at COP24 and this is the first blog of a series covering the Conference. 
Follow us: @UNACanada 

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Back in November of 2015, the nations of the world gathered at the COP21 global climate summit in Paris to create the Paris Agreement. This was a ground-breaking moment for international environmental cooperation in the fight against climate change. Now 3 years later, governments, businesses, organizations and the world over have come to COP24 in Katowice, Poland in the hopes of taking the Paris agreement to the next step.

What this entails is the creation a comprehensive rulebook to provide the necessary framework for nations to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions as the world transitions to a net-zero carbon economy in the coming decades. An ambitious but necessary goal to help ensure that this shift creates a prosperous and equitable future for all. Having the opportunity to attend COP24 with the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) as a representative of the Canada Service Corps and the Canadian Conservation Corps is an absolute honor.

Thus far our UNA-Canada group has had the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of leaders, experts and organizations doing amazing work to combat climate change. Including Canadian environmental champions like Elizabeth May of the Green Party, BC Environment Minister George Heyman, and Canadian Environmental Minister Catherine McKenna; who is Canada’s most senior political figure attending the conference. 

Even after our first two days, it honestly still feels a little surreal walking the halls of the conference centre. The atmosphere here is positively electric! It’s like having a front row seat to history in the making. There are tens of thousands of people here from around the world and every one is working tirelessly to ensure the outcome of this conference is a success. The stakes couldn’t be higher; the fate of future generations are on the line.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the week, I am excited to hear more from other countries about what they are doing to mitigate and/or adapt to future climate change. This process of nations sharing their successes as well as their challenges or failures, is vital. It enables us to learn from one another and implement more effective climate strategies in a timely manner. I’m very much looking forward to learning more in the coming days.     

With high hopes,

Luke Ehler is from Dartmouth, NS and is a Canada Service Corps volunteer with Canadian Wildlife Federation. He volunteered at the Education and Outreach Department at the Calgary Zoo developing and expanding education programs for school groups.  He is currently in Katowice, Poland attending COP24 with UNA-Canada as a UNA-Canada Service Corps delegate.

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