A delegation of ten students from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business is attending the United Nation's COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Countries attending the conference hope to negotiate more ambitious plans to limit global warming.
Hannah Payson, associate director of the Tuck School’s Center for Business, Government and Society, is attending the conference with the students.
“It’s really kind of like a bustling city,” she says. “You hear all these different languages spoken from around the world.”
Payson says the conference center, which is situated on Madrid’s northeast side, is divided into two distinct areas. On one side is the negotiation area, where onlookers can sit quietly and observe the negotiators in action.
“It’s very somber and very serious,” she says.
On the other side is the pavilion, which hosts side events that give countries and organizations a chance to showcase the work they’re doing to combat climate change.
“That area is full of color, and there’s conversations, and there’s coffee and it’s just very, very different,” says Payson.
First year MBA student Posie Holmes says she has been enjoying these side events the most.
“What’s really cool is that they’re really collaborative,” she says. “You’ll have a panel that has somebody who has a business background, maybe they’re a CEO, and some country representatives, and someone from a trade union, and they’re all talking together about a topic with a moderator and they’re taking questions from the audience.”
Holmes says it’s hard to find the time to attend all the sessions she’s interested in.
“It’s a lot of looking at the schedule, forcing yourself to prioritize, and then moving amongst all these various dialogues, presentations, and negotiations,” she says. “I would advise to wear flats because you will walk 5 miles on any given day”
The Tuck students are attending the conference with a special focus on climate finance issues.
Sneha Nagarajan, a second year MBA student, says she’s always been an advocate for what she calls “personal climate hygiene,” but attending this conference will help her understand how she can have an impact on a larger scale.
“Just to be just sitting amongst the UN Secretary General and the president of COP25, to be seeing these people on a day-to-day basis and hearing them talk about stuff that is so important, that’s going to literally shape the future of the world, to be a part of that conversation is incredible.”
Payson says it's important for the students to see this negotiation process in action, because it will impact the kind of society we live in and the economy we'll have in the future.
“As our students graduate and move on to lead businesses, this is something they’ll really need to understand. How the process works so they can challenge it and advocate for it.”
The conference, which started Monday, will last until December 13th. The delegation from Tuck plans to host a debrief session when they return, to share what they've learned with their fellow students at Dartmouth.