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UB law school students and their adviser to deliver scroll of signatures to Paris climate change conference

Jessica Owley and students from the UB Law School's climate change seminar will travel to Paris to participate in the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

Release Date: December 4, 2015

“To be a student observing and participating in international treaty talks, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They’re up for a totally amazing, unique experience.”
Jessica Owley, environmental law professor
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Six University at Buffalo upper-level law students and their professor will travel to Paris to be part of the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

The students – all members of the Law School’s climate change seminar – will deliver a scroll with the names of 2,300 residents, organizations and public officials from the Buffalo Niagara region who signed a climate justice pledge requesting that President Obama “lead the world to a universal agreement to cut greenhouse gases.”

The students will deliver the scroll and its names to national Sierra Club officials, who then will forward them on to top negotiators at the two-week international summit.

They also will meet and receive a behind-the-scenes tour from Alejandro Rivera Becerra, the lead negotiator at the summit for Mexico. Becerra earned his doctoral degree and two master’s degrees at UB, and recently was recognized as an international distinguished alumnus.

“To be a student observing and participating in international treaty talks, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Jessica Owley, an environmental law professor in the UB Law School who coordinated the trip, contacting United Nations officials and organizations to set up meetings and interviews for the students.

“They’re up for a totally amazing, unique experience.”

Owley says the students will take part in programs put together for the public and civil society. They plan to be a part of some high-level talks with chief negotiators and world leaders through the Climate & Clean Air Coalition and United Nations Environmental Program.

“We are bringing two video cameras and two audio recorders, and hope to film some of the action, as well as do some interviews,” she says. “We will be posting everything on our blog sunyclimate.”

The six students who will travel to Paris are Collin Doane of Elmira, Leah Bernhardi of East Aurora, Alyssa Erazo of Orchard Park, Christina Kennedy of Tonawanda, Andrea DiNatale of Buffalo and Bridget Steele of Amherst.

Owley left for Paris on Dec. 3. The students will leave Saturday, Dec. 5. The Buffalo group will attend negotiations and side events during the second week of the two-week-long climate summit.

“We hope that this will be a continuing program and we will take students every year,” Owley says. “Next year it is in Marrakesh, Morocco.”

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