Sam Harrison (Year 3 EngSci) has been selected among just 17 Canadian youth to attend COP22, the world’s premier climate change summit organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Harrison will be representing the country at the event in Marrakech, Morocco from November 7-18, 2016.
At COP22, Harrison will be serving on the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition’s policy and research team, where he aims to hold politicians accountable for their promises — and help them devise practical steps forward. “We want change to be made in a way that provides a just transition to a low carbon economy for everyday citizens, Indigenous peoples and workers. People in the fossil fuel industry shouldn’t get left behind,” he says. “There has to be support for retraining.”
He and his co-delegates have four goals for COP22: to urge Canada to develop a stronger policy framework for mitigating climate change at home; to devise ways to divest from fossil fuels that increases equality in the Canadian economy; to work intimately with Indigenous communities and other environmental stewards; and to examine Canada’s role in global financial support for climate change action.
Harrison has been a vocal advocate on climate change, energy and sustainability issues since high school. In Grade 11 he became director of Kids for Climate Action, a group founded by his sister Sophie Harrison, who will also be attending COP22 as part of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. Although they were too young to vote, the siblings saw decisions being made that would affect them and their futures, so they formed Kids for Climate Action to speak directly to policymakers.
“Sam is unique in that he has a passion for understanding policy as well as technology — I’ve been thrilled to see him bring this unique perspective to the classroom,” says Professor Aimy Bazylak, director of the EngSci Energy Systems Option. “I’m certain that he will provide a key contribution to the conference and serve as an outstanding representative of Canadian youth.”