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UMaine students, faculty attend UN climate summit in Egypt

The 13-day conference, commonly referred to as COP27, brings together diplomats, scientists, activists, lobbyists, and businesses from around the world.

ORONO, Maine — More than 30,000 people are expected to meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt, which began Sunday. 

In addition to the diplomats, activists, and environmental groups from around the world attending the summit, a University of Maine-led delegation of students and faculty is also in attendance.

By attending the conference, also referred to as COP27, graduate students and faculty from UMaine and the University of Maine School of Law will learn first-hand how delegates, scientists, and other stakeholders work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and help countries mitigate the effects of global warming.  

"It is a very significant thing that we can send our students to have this experience," University of Maine School of Law Associate Professor of Law Anthony Moffa said.

Moffa, one of the faculty members at the summit, said their delegation is under observer status, which was awarded to UMaine last year during COP26.

During open meetings and other events, the UMaine delegation plans to meet with representatives from different countries to discuss important issues.

“My work is on climate migration, looking at how climate change drives migration and how international organizations and countries cooperate to help them," Nicholas Micinski, an assistant professor of political science and international affairs at UMaine, explained. "It’s not a big issue at the COP right now, but we’re hoping to make it an issue.”

A lot of countries impacted by climate migration are small island countries, according to Micinski. 

"These people and countries don't have much of a voice, and so, we're hoping to bring some of our data and research to influence bigger, richer countries to acknowledge this as an issue," he said.  

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