St. Mary's Student Attends UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's Student Attends UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

Will Use Twitter to Help Get Binding New Treaty

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (Dec. 7, 2009) — The Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) selected St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student Chelsea Howard-Foley, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to serve as a youth delegate to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen December 7-18. Howard-Foley, a junior political science major at SMCM, is one of 19 high school students, college students, and recent college graduates in the SSC delegation traveling to Copenhagen. They join Sierra Club volunteers, board members, and staff in what is expected to be a turning point in international climate politics.

Other SSC delegates are working on policy research, logistics coordination, and new media communication. Howard-Foley, who is in the policy and international coordination working groups, said, "Our role will be using blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to educate people about relevant policy. We'll assemble a policy guide for the delegation and work with youth climate organizations from other countries. We're also spreading the word that we need to pass a strong, internationally-binding treaty. We won't settle for less. This is our future we're talking about."

Follow Howard-Foley in Copenhagen:

The SSC blog:
E-mail: cchowardfoley(at)
The SSC Twitter page: SSC_Intl

“This is a historic moment in the struggle to solve the international climate crisis, and I’m honored to be a small part of it,” said Howard-Foley. Each year since 1995, global leaders have convened to discuss implementing a 1992 treaty, named the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But this year is different, notes Howard-Foley, due to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions targets for industrialized nations. The treaty is set to expire in 2012. The U.S. was a signatory but never ratified Kyoto, said Howard-Foley, and many of the emissions reductions have not been met by other countries. But the political climate has since changed. "Barack Obama is president, and he has declared that he will be a leader on environmental issues. We need to hold him to that."

“Chelsea is an exceptional student, going beyond the barriers of most college youth,” said SMCM Provost and Acting President Larry Vote. “Chelsea’s dedication to the environment is moving and inspiring. With her determination, she will be one of the leaders in environmental changes we see in this country and the world.”

In the weeks leading up to the negotiations, the SSC delegates lead a grassroots campaign aimed at mobilizing students and communities across the United States. The SSC delegates will take part in the plenary sessions and the workshops at the conference. “It's exciting to know that there are dozens of students like me from all over the world gathering in Copenhagen because we care about the same thing—our collective future,” Howard-Foley said.

The Sierra Student Coalition is a broad network of high school and college-aged youth from across the country working to protect the environment. The SSC is the youth-led chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization.

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