University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Students don't care about COP16

Students may no longer care about climate change. Straw poll reveals that four out of five University of Copenhagen students don’t know anything about the present climate talks

Four out of five students are unaware that the follow up to COP15 has been taking place this week. This is according to a very unscientific quick poll among 20 random students at the Studenterhuset student bar, and at the Social Sciences faculty buildings CSS.

Of twenty students asked, four respondents had been following the news reports, with those same four also able to identify the conference’s location in Cancún, Mexico. The students cited sparse media coverage as the reason for their lack of information.

The Cancun conference started 29 November and will run until 10 December. As the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) it is the successor to the failed COP15 event in Copenhagen last year.

Only for climate nerds

The leaders of 25 countries will work towards a global agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol – a cut to emissions by rich countries. Last year thousands of climate activists marched through the streets of Copenhagen.

Ditte, a sociology student, comments that she was not aware of the event due to a lack of big news stories on the subject.

»People won’t really be aware of what is going on there unless they specifically follow climate issues, or happened to find a small article somewhere, by chance«, she says.

Not our problem any more

Theis, from Odense in Denmark, claims that Copenhageners have relinquished a sense of responsibility.

»Our feelings were made clear here last year«, he says.

»Climate change is still something that people are interested in, but they don’t search for news issues as they did when the conference was held in Copenhagen«, he adds.

Waste of Co2

Of the four students surveyed who were able to identify that COP16 is taking place, one, Helene, from Copenhagen, claims to be actually following the proceedings.

But she is still a climate conference sceptic. »It is a waste of money, and CO2,« she says, referring to the costly transport of delegates to Cancún, and the expensive corporate hospitality at the event.

A final agreement is scheduled to be brought to the table at COP17, which will be held in South Africa in December 2011.