University of Michigan Delegation to COP 24

From left to right: Maanya, Emily, Tim, Lotte, Tae, Alexa, Hira, Calli, Jacob, and Avik

Read about our delegates’ backgrounds and accounts of COP24 as summarized in The University Record here.

This year it is a great honor that Climate Blue gets to announce the University of Michigan’s Delegation to COP24. Our delegates have a wide range of interests and specialties, and each of them will give a unique perspective on the developments of COP24. They have been preparing themselves on how to properly engage with the COP’s inner workings through a course taught by Dr. Avik Basu, and we know each of them will foster involvement with COP at the University of Michigan. The members of the University of Michigan’s Delegation to the  24th Conference of Parties in Katowice, Poland are:

Timothy Arvan (week one):

Tim is a graduating senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts where he studies in the Program in the Environment (PitE) and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). He is also pursuing minors in Energy Science and Policy and Urban Studies. Tim is particularly interested in understanding political barriers to developed countries’ adoption of market-based climate change mitigation strategies–including emissions trading and carbon pricing policies–at sub-national and national levels. He is currently preparing his undergraduate thesis on the role of environmental NGOs and pressure groups in advancing the mitigation efforts of European Union member states. Tim looks forward to talks on climate finance and the global stocktake, and plans to closely monitor pathways of NGO influence at COP24.  

Marlotte DeJong (week one):

Lotte is a second-year Master’s student at the School for Environment and Sustainability studying environmental policy and planning and environmental justice. She is also pursuing two graduate certificates in Science and Technology Public Policy from the Ford School for Public Policy and African Studies from LS&A. Her academic focus is on understanding intersections between the environment and violent conflict and is particularly interested in the role of climate change within this discourse. Currently, she is conducting a policy analysis on the international community’s response to climate change-induced migration and displacement. At COP24, Lotte plans to follow ongoing conversations around the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, particularly as it relates to migration and displacement (climate refugees) and compensating countries for the large scale impacts and damage that results from climate change and its effects. Additionally, as a scholar of environmental justice, she is interested in engaging in dialogues around climate justice with state officials, policy-makers, and representatives of indigenous groups.  

Emily Yang (week one):

Emily is a third-year PhD student in the department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. She also has a strong interest in science policy and is pursuing a graduate certificate in Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Her research focuses on urban carbon dioxide emissions in the Middle East, using a combination of satellite data and modeling. She is presently working to better understand global, gridded carbon dioxide emissions inventory representations of Middle Eastern cities, using satellite data to inform the output of models relying on the inventories. At COP24, Emily is interested in examining the effect of the Talanoa Dialogue, and the extent to which actual science (as opposed to politics) is integrated into the negotiations. Additionally, she would like to follow discussions on measurement, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions, especially in urban settings.

Alexa White (week one):

Alexa is a second year Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. With a focus on tropical herpetofauna, her research explores their efficacy as agents of biological control in organic coffee agroecosystems in Mexico and Puerto Rico. She also focuses on how their presence within a network of invertebrates affects their limits as agents. Alexa is working to expand her investigation to include an extensive evaluation of how these systems have also been affected by hurricanes (ie. Hurricane Maria). In 2015 Alexa attended the COP21 in Paris as a delegate. At COP24 she hopes to reconnect with influencers of agricultural climate policy, learn about the latest ecological strategies for tackling climate challenges in agriculture and assess how the dimensions of physical science are discussed across negotiations.

Tae Lim (week two):

Tae Lim is a second year Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering department, researching diverse aspect of carbon dioxide management with a systems-level perspective. He has conducted techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment on diverse energy and sustainability-related studies. Currently, he is working to better understand the role and feasibility of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as well as the opportunities of utilizing and sequestering CO2 during concrete manufacturing. At COP24, Tae is interested in learning how knowledge of climate change-relevant technologies can influence the negotiation and the existing barriers that hamper the integration.

Jacob Rumschlag (week two):

Jacob Rumschlag is a second-year master’s student studying environmental informatics and conservation ecology at the School of Environment and Sustainability. Historically, he has assisted on multiple climate change related research project regarding the impacts of warming on arctic ecosystems in Barrow, Alaska as well as plant community response to a changing climate in Minnesota. Currently, Jacob is focusing on his master’s project which is meant to improve climate resilience in the Seychelles by evaluating the impacts of sea level rise and storm surges on Seychelles’ critical infrastructure. Therefore, he is interested in attending sessions at COP24 led by developing countries and small island nations and learning about their adaptation plans.

Maanya Umashaanker (week two):

Maanya is a second year master’s student at the School of Environment and Sustainability. As part of her master’s thesis, Maanya is looking at understanding various factors that influence a farmer’s decision in deciding sowing dates of rice in India and to what extent climate variability impact these decisions. Prior to joining SEAS she studied the impact of climate change on the Himalayan glaciers. Broadly, she is interested in the field of climate change impacts on natural resources and their adaptive capacities. At COP24, she plans on understanding climate adaptation communication with respect to the developing countries.  

Calli VanderWilde (week two):

Calli  is a first-year PhD student in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). For her masters dissertation she conducted research on rural electrification in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a specific emphasis on social aspects of transitioning to a distributed, de-carbonized electricity grid. She has also worked on multiple projects in Samara, Costa Rica: (1) investigating village water security challenges and (2) conducting a social life cycle assessment (SLCA) of a local coral reef restoration project. Her research interests now center on the development of decision-making tools to enhance community resilience to climate change given the evolving, adaptive needs of the food-energy-water nexus. At COP 24, she is excited to attend sessions highlighting the adaptation strategies developing nations—especially in Latin America—can implement to address the impacts of climate change on water-energy-food securities.