Green Drinks: COP21 Paris Agreement & Climate Change

With Singapore signing the Paris Agreement on Earth Day, we would like to commemorate the move by focusing on the COP21 Paris Agreement and Climate Change for our upcoming session! We have three interesting speakers conveying insights related to COP21 and climate change.

Melissa Low of Energy Studies Institute (ESI) will explain key elements of the Paris Agreement, Pui Cuifen of Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA) will share SYCA’s observations of the journey to COP21, and Sandra Marichal of #up2degrees will tell us about her 13-day Antarctic Expedition alongside renowned polar explorer Robert Swan OBE and a movement she founded to raise awareness of climate change and global warming, and to inspire Singaporeans to take action.

Understanding the Paris Climate Change Agreement

Delegates from 195 countries met over two weeks from 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris, France to negotiate a historic deal on tackling global climate change. The Paris Agreement is a landmark conclusion because it reflects a delicate balance between the vastly differing negotiating positions and agendas of 195 countries, in crucial areas such as mitigation, transparency, adaptation, loss and damage, support (including finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building). For the first time, there is now a legally binding agreement that involves action on managing emissions from both developed and developing countries. Yet, the Agreement has met with criticism that it has achieved little progress beyond status quo. This sharing will explain the key elements of the Paris Agreement, including its achievements and limitations.

Reflection of COP21, from the perspective of a first-time COP Civil Society Observer

Pui Cuifen is a co-founder of an all-ladies team which attended COP21 as a newly formed group, Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA).  This was Cuifen’s first foray into climate policy at the UN level, after a brief introduction to climate policy as a delegate in ASEAN Power Shift 2015. Each of SYCA’s co-founders went to COP21 with individual objectives, but a common mission – to integrate their learnings from the COP21 experience, and return to create a network of climate action leaders in Singapore. In this sharing session, Cuifen brings you on how the team prepared themselves to meaningfully follow the negotiations, the inspiring people they met, and the team came home with a broader understanding. Cuifen will also share what SYCA has been focusing on since their return, and what you can look forward to in the coming months.

#up2degrees – An Expedition to Save the Antarctic Aircon

Sandra Marichal has successfully completed a 13-day Antarctic Expedition alongside renowned polar explorer Robert Swan OBE – the first man in history to walk to both the North and South poles – and will be sharing her story, hoping to educate and inspire Singapore to play its part in fighting global warming and climate change.

“I joined the International Antarctic Expedition 2016 to see climate change with my own eyes, to understand the scale of the impact our lifestyle has on the environment. Since returning back from the expedition I have taken on a new climate ambassador role, and I am determined to help trigger a global positive change for the preservation of our planet and the human race.”

Sandra recently founded the #up2degrees initiative which aims to raise awareness about the impact to the environment caused by air conditioning in Singapore: “Antarctica is the aircon of the world, as it keeps our planet cool. But Singapore’s air conditioners, which contribute to increased carbon emissions, are warming our planet up. If Antarctica was to melt completely, it would raise worldwide sea levels by more than 60 metres – we need to stop the melt before it is too late!”

The #up2degrees movement aims to get people to turn the temperature of their air conditioning units up by #up2degrees in order to reduce overall energy consumption and carbon emissions. The organisation will work directly with Singapore’s environmental authorities to regulate temperatures in public spaces and commercial buildings, and will launch its ‘Blue Bus’ education initiative aimed at school children later this year.

Event Details

Date: 21 April 2016 (Thurs)
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm
Venue: SingJazz Club, 101 Jalan Sultan, #02-00, The Sultan.
Admission: Free (contributions to society accepted)
RSVP: Via Facebook or email

See you there!

About the Speakers

Melissa Low

Melissa Low is a research associate at the Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Management and a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Geography (with Honours) and a minor in Urban Studies, from the  National University of Singapore. For her Master thesis on past and contemporary proposals on equity and differentiation in shaping the 2015 climate agreement, Melissa was awarded the Shell Best Dissertation Award 2013. She is currently working towards an LLM in Climate Change Law and Policy at the University of Strathclyde through distance learning. Melissa has  participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) talks since December 2009 and most recently the two-week Paris Climate Conference on behalf of NUS.

Pui Cuifen

Cuifen is a Senior Environmental Scientist at a Danish environmental not-for-profit, DHI. She works on environmental projects, including climate change ones, through analysing geospatial data and presenting them on maps and scientific illustrations. She holds a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Science, from the University of Sydney. Cuifen is an alumnus of ETH Zurich’s Youth Encounter with Sustainability. Cuifen also leads her estate’s community edible garden project (Pavilion’s edible garden), and also co-founded Foodscape Collective.

Sandra Marichal

Awarded ‘Top 20 Women to Watch in Marketing’ by Campaign Asia in 2014, Sandra is a Brand Strategy Consultant, born Millennial, living digital and trying to make the world a better place. She is the Founder of #up2degrees – a movement that aims at triggering people and local authorities to increase the set temperature of their air conditioner at home and in public spaces by #up2degrees so the planet won’t have to do it…See #COP21

Keen to see for herself the impact of climate change on the planet, Sandra recently came back from the International Expedition to Antarctica #IAE2016, organised by the 2041 Foundation and led by renowned polar explorer Robert Swan, who invited participants to become climate ambassadors for education, the environment and sustainability.

When she’s not on the road, Sandra advises Fortune 100 companies, corporate organisations and local businesses on how to make their brand more sustainably appealing to the world. She has helped find purposes for businesses that had lost it or never really found it – and as such, made them relevant to a world hungry for inspiration, positivity and beauty. She recently expanded her services to provide pro-bono advise to local green NGOs and tech start-ups at Block 71, helping them hack their concept and boost their growth.

Sandra’s engagement also includes Fashion Revolution – a global movement to raise awareness about the environmental and social impact of our fast-fashion industry. This year, she will be hosting the Fashion Revolution Day in Singapore.

Sandra holds a Masters in Management from the London Business School and is the Social Representative of the Singapore Alumni Club – she knows where to take you for a good drink. She is also a BBA alumna from the ESSEC Business School and proud ambassador of the global programme in Singapore.

Born French, Sandra has lived in Canada, Luxembourg (don’t ask), the UK and is now calling Singapore ‘home’. She is a passionate yogi, reiki practitioner, modern-jazz dancer, sailor, sand collector and polar explorer. She is a true globetrotter and her biggest struggle in life is to ensure she’ll have enough empty passport pages for immigration stamps.

Her dream (and next project) is to raise awareness and educate the next generation about single-use plastic pollution and invite them to use the newly developed technology to clean the oceans on her boat while sailing around the world. You are invited.


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