School of Natural Resources and Environment


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On what was scheduled to be the final day (it was not) of this year's United Nations climate change negotiations, I arrived at the Warsaw stadium ready for a day of negotiations and (hopefully) finalizing last minute deals.  Unfortunately, I was not immediately so fortunate.  First, only a limited number of non-governmental organization (NGO) delegates were allowed in the negotiating room, which was full when I arrived, so I had to wait in a line and was soon informed that it could take a while before I would be allowed entry.

It’s 2:05am, Saturday, November 23 2013 and the United Nations climate negotiations are trudging on through the night. Delegates are exhausted, some sleeping on chairs, some sauntering down the corridors in search of a midnight snack (errrr, late lunch? dinner?), and others, of course, sparring on such minutia as the use of the word “objective” versus “ultimate objective.”

Adaptation may be inherently a local issue, but its associated challenges and successes sure look similar across the globe. Almost every adaptation presentation I’ve attended in the past 2 years (both here at the UN climate negotiations in Warsaw and domestic presentations in the U.S.) has begun with the phrase, “[X location] faces unique challenges when it comes to adaptation” or “[X location]’s adaptation challenges are particularly acute.”

United Nations climate negotiations

Jenny Cooper (MS/MBA 2015), Rachel Jacobson (MPP/MS 2015), and Chris Wolff (MPP/MS 2016) are attending the United Nations climate negotiations this week, representing University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources & Environment, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Erb Institute in Warsaw, Poland. This is the first in a series of blogs reflecting on their experiences and thoughts on climate policy.

Four teams of University of Michigan graduate students were recently selected to receive Dow Distinguished Awards for Sustainability, a competition for applied sustainability projects that cut across disciplines and academic levels. This years teams received more than $135,000 with projects being pursued in Southeast Michigan focusing on built environment matters and investigating water demand management issues in India.