UCSB Researchers to Attend UN Conference on Climate Change


Pragya Parmita

The International Institute of Climate Action and Theory (IICAT), a research network at University of California, Santa Barbara focused on climate change and global warming, will be attending the Conference of Parties (COP) 19 from Nov. 11 to Nov. 22 in Warsaw, Poland.

Co-Directors of IICAT, Professor John Foran and Professor Richard Widick of the Department of Sociology, along with six researchers from UCSB, hope to engage with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) plan of action regarding climate change and also interact with the various global climate change activists who will be attending the conference.

The IICAT network focuses on the interactive relationships between climate, society, and a law, and strives to educate and inform the general population about modern climate concerns and alternatives. According to their website, they engage with various climate-science, economic history, environmental governance, the global climate justice movements, and activists “in the interest of fostering new collaborations and synthesizing new data and skills that together stand a better chance of contributing to the mitigation of global warming.”

To this end, Foran and Widick, as official delegates representing the University of California, have hosted five official UN Press Conferences at the UNFCCC. They also maintain the IICAT website, where they publish their analyses, interviews, and educational materials.

Two of IICAT’s researchers, Emily Williams and Jenna Liddie, will be going to Warsaw two days ahead of the group to interact with the Conference of the Youth and meet with global youth activists. IICAT hopes to engage the youth in the climate-change fight, as the future of the climate would affect the youth the most.

At COP 19, IICAT will be interviewing climate negotiators, carbon capitalists, and climate justice movement activists. They will be publishing their analysis through blogs and videos.

After the conference, the research network is planning on producing a short documentary, “At the COP: The Global Youth Climate Justice Movement,” which, according to their website, “focuses on the actions and visions of the young activists of the movement for use in schools, community settings, and in movement organizations.” They will also be publishing a free e-book, “At the COP: Global Climate Justice Youth Speak Out,” in May 2014. It will contain informational materials collected over the past two COPs: COP17 in Durban, South Africa in 2011, and COP18 in Doha, Qatar in 2012.

Also in May 2014, the group will host an open conference, Reimagining Climate Justice, at UCSB. According to IICAT’s website, the conference will be “a space for envisioning ways to help make the many struggles for climate justice stronger and more creative as they scale up their efforts to force governments and the corporations who control them to take the measures necessary to ensure a livable planet for future generations.”

To follow the group while they are in Warsaw, check out their page, http://www.iicat.org/cjp/, for upcoming news and reports. Corrie Ellis, graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at UCSB, will also be updating her website, http://agoodfuture.wordpress.com, with her daily notes from the conference.