A Coquitlam engineer will be a fly on the wall in some of the most critical climate changes talks of the decade.
This week, Amelia Trachsel, who currently works for TransLink in capital project management, is in Katowice, Poland participating in COP 24, also known as the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.
The is the year participants hope to implement the Paris Agreement — an international accord that requires all countries to take action on climate protection. Global leaders are supposed to be working out how to implement the agreement with rules, financing and a way to measure how countries meet their commitments.
Trachsel, who recently visited the Arctic with the Students on Ice expedition and is a member of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists, will be representing the engineers’ group and working with students during the conference, Dec. 3 to 14.
“A lot of it is to connect, support and see what others are doing in terms of climate policy and technology action, and then bring those connections home and hopefully through policy actions, make a difference” Trachsel told The Tri-City News.
She will be involved in several panel discussions on sustainable solutions to combat climate change and expects to be able to listen in on some of the negotiations as countries work out a deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
When she spoke to the Tri-City News, Trachsel was looking forward to the conference but a bit pessimistic because of the United States’ opposition to the agreement.
“I know that there’s been kind of a loss in momentum in international governance and I guess the spirit of cooperation, which I think I have to thank our neighbours to the south for perhaps shunning that kind of multilateral diplomacy. That gives me cause for concern and our financial systems and the way we align economic prosperity [with climate change goals].”
But she’s also optimistic that some positive change is being brought about by individuals and organizations, and that young people are showing an interest in the issue.
“They’ve got the most to lose, and at least the most energy and idealism that is kind of working for them — maybe they are a bit more flexible in their ideas about what it means to have a good life which is in alignment with the principles of sustainability.”