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Vermont Law Students, Faculty Heading to Copenhagen As Observers to U.N. Climate Negotiations

November 30, 2009

SOUTH ROYALTON - Six Vermont Law School students and three faculty members will travel to Copenhagen next week to witness the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference. The VLS delegation has been granted "observer status" for the U.N.'s 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) negotiations, meaning the students and faculty will be eligible to attend the proceedings and participate in conference events.

The conference, to be held Dec. 7 through Dec. 18, will draw participants from 193 nations in an effort to negotiate an international agreement that would set ambitious goals to address climate change from 2012 onward.

Teresa Clemmer, a VLS professor and associate director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, will head up the delegation. She said the observer status will provide the students with a remarkable opportunity—which they will also document through daily blog posts.

"We have been preparing for this for months, and we are all on the edge of our seats," Clemmer said. "We want to know whether world leaders are committed to getting climate change under control, and we think this is the moment in history when that will become clear."

Clemmer said it will be "especially meaningful" for her to witness the landmark event through the eyes of the VLS students.

"They will be learning how change happens at the international level and what it takes to overcome entrenched obstacles. Regardless of what happens in Copenhagen, they will be the ones on whose shoulders the outcome falls," she said. "It is gratifying to know that this experience will give them insight as to how they can make a difference in the future."

Clemmer will be joined on the trip by VLS students Anna Ellis, Ashley Santner, Lillian Kortlandt, Jessica Scott, Michael Cote and Dustin Brucher, as well as VLS professors Tracy Bach and Laurie Beyranevand.

The VLS delegation will detail their experiences with daily blog posts, which can be read at Vermont Law in Copenhagen For more information on COP15, visit the COP15 website.

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