On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, Beata Jaczewska, under-secretary of state in Poland’s Ministry of Environment, spoke to Pace Law School students and faculty about the upcoming 19th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In November, the world will gather in Warsaw, Poland to discuss the biggest environmental challenge we face – global climate change. There is no question that our world is changing. Twelve of the hottest years on record took place in the last 15 years. Rising temperatures will continue to affect our economy, health and communities in diverse ways. The validity of climate change, and the need to address the challenges it brings, is clear. “Negotiations are not about climate,” says Jaczewska, but about “the actions needed” to address it.
Solving the climate crisis will be a truly global effort. “Make no mistake,” said Ms. Jaczewska, “climate change is not a local problem.” However, reaching global climate accord will not be easy. Each nation comes to the table with its own unique challenges. “When you have 193 countries sitting together, trying to combine their common grounds . . . it is not an easy task,” said Jaczewska.
A variety of stakeholders will take part in November’s summit. For the first time in the history of COPs, businessmen, non-governmental organizations, and local officials will sit together with the world’s ministers. “Many actors have a role to play,” said Jaczewska. “It is better to have as many infected with the virus as possible.” Local communities and individuals play a vital role in combatting climate change. “The choices we make every day are important”, said Jaczewska.
Jaczewska ended her talk by challenging the students in room to seek creative solutions to the world’s problems. “Studying law gives you questions, not so often the answers,” she said. “Because of that, we can be most influential. We can be most creative.”
An expert in climate issues, air pollution, and sustainable development, Undersecretary Jaczewska studied at the Warsaw University, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Warsaw School of Economics, and the University of Cambridge.