Student Conference of the Parties

Wow. I just got back from SJSF’s Student Conference of the Parties (SCOP) in collaboration with the Pricing Carbon Conference. I was utterly impressed with and inspired by both halves of the event.

The Pricing Carbon Conference took place on Wesleyan University campus in Middletown, CT, November 19-21st. The event was co-hosted by Wesleyan’s newly established College of the Environment and the Price Carbon Campaign. Partners in the Conference included the Climate Crisis Coalition, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Carbon Tax Center, Future 500, Progressive Democrats of America, and our very own Students for a Just and Stable Future.

SJSF held its Student Conference of the Parties during workshop sessions and overtime, diligently amending, debating, and deliberating on our final product: a Declaration to be sent to our leaders at the international Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico next week.

The process of creating the declaration filled me with a sense of empowerment and renewed dedication to complete our part in the solution. The declaration consists of 3 parts: the first, a picture of climate change -– a view of the alarming state of the world we will see unfold if we continue on the road before us; the second, a commitment on our own behalf to act in very specific, deliberate ways to lead us to a clean energy future; the third, a strong and sincere call to action that we demand from our local, state, and world leaders. I give extra kudos to the students who worked on the first of the three parts; the first read-through of their revised version sent goose bumps through the room.

The Pricing Carbon Conference itself was fascinating. Key note speeches were given by James Hansen, leading Climate Change scientist, and Bill McKibbon, founder of 350 movement. The conference focused on the immediate necessity of pricing CO2 emissions. Speakers and attendees reflected a shift in the majority support in terms of pricing carbon options; while the Cap & Trade method was discussed, most prominently supported was the method of Fee & Dividend. Under Fee & Dividend, a fee would be placed on products based upon the inherent carbon costs of their production, and then the full amount of the revenue (or a majority percentage, if so decided) would be returned to the consumers by way of a check/electronic deposit. The revenue money would be returned evenly to all consumers, and so those who consume less carbon-intensive products will end up saving money, while those who consume more may lose money in the end.

A sincere thanks to everyone who made this conference possible and to the organizers who invited SJSF students to attend! I look forward to SJSF working alongside the other sponsoring organizations in building up the fight against climate change!

-Rachel Soule

You can view the declaration and add your name to the signatories list at: