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Emory University admitted as observer to UN climate talks

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The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change approved Emory University as an accredited, official observer to the UN climate talks. 

The accreditation allows Emory faculty, staff and students to participate in annual negotiating sessions such as those that produced the international agreements in Kyoto in 1997 and Copenhagen in 2009.  Emory joins more than 35 other universities that hold this status, including Brown, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford, and Washington University.

"Several thousand non-governmental observers attend these sessions each year, and they are a great opportunity for the Emory community to present our research, and to network, teach and learn. Participation in these events will increase Emory's visibility in an important global forum, while reinforcing Emory’s public commitment to working collaboratively for a positive transformation in the world," says Stefanie Sarnat, ScD, associate professor of Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, who coordinated Emory's UNFCCC observer application.

This accomplishment is the first major milestone for Climate@Emory, a new campus-wide initiative designed to advance scholarship, teaching, partnership and engagement in climate change at Emory and beyond. For 2015, Climate@Emory is planning efforts to boost climate research at Emory and in Georgia, strengthen climate-related education at Emory, and further leverage Emory's expertise to inform climate-related policy discussions locally and internationally. The initiative reflects Emory's long-standing commitment to sustainability and builds on Emory's December 2011 Climate Action Plan, which set targets for reducing Emory's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, 36 percent by 2036, and 50 percent by 2050.

"Climate@Emory is harnessing the intellectual resources, collaborative energy and creativity of the entire university community to make a lasting, positive contribution to one of this century’s greatest challenges," says James W. Curran, MD, MPH, the James W. Curran Dean of Public Health at Rollins School of Public Health. “Obtaining observer status works in tandem with our goal of advancing the understanding of and ability to respond to climate change."

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