Tuesday, December 5, 2000 Volume 66, Issue 74



UH law student lobbies in Hague

Sixth annual Conference of Parties focuses on environmental issues, ends with no agreement between countries

Romina Kim 
Senior Staff Writer

A UH law student traveled to the Netherlands during Thanksgiving week for a United Nations global warming conference, where representatives from around the world met to discuss strategies to relieve international environmental issues.

Jason Hill was in the Dutch city of The Hague for the Sixth Annual Conference of Parties (COP6) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as part of Ozone Action, an organization focused on global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion.

The non-profit group sent 200 students from around the country to lobby U.S. delegates at COP6. Hill was one of four students from Texas and the only one from UH.

Hill, president of the UH Environmental Law Society and a governing board member of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies, was more interested in the academic side of the convention.

"I was more interested to see how UH could send a delegation to COP7 (Seventh Annual Conference of Parties) in Morocco next year," Hill said.

"What takes place can be a valuable learning experience to those interested in environmental law," he said.

Different things were going on at COP6, Hill said.

The process was "transparent," Hill said, with the meetings being open to the public.

The conference also felt like a trade show, with booths placed in the convention center, Hill said. Outside, protests were going on during the conference.

The international delegates convened in The Hague for two weeks to further develop the guidelines of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 agreement among developed countries to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

"The convention was supposed to put more meat on the bones than what they did in Kyoto," Hill said.

However, he said the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada took a position where they wanted to take credit for already reducing emissions by having forests and agricultural crops in their countries, which did not sit well with the other delegates.

"This was seen as unfair by the other nations, especially the European Union," Hill said.

The European Union did not agree that these countries should be rewarded for a process that will happen anyway, with no effort from their governments.

The delegates could not reach a consensus at COP6 and the conference ended with no agreement among the parties.

"It was not necessarily a failure," Hill said. "Some things need to be worked out."

Hill is working toward a master of environmental studies and bachelor of environmental studies and philosophy.

"I am proud to be one of the few students chosen to represent the United States and Texas at this year's convention," he said. "The energy and ideas I bring back from The Hague, I hope to pass along to other students who also want to take steps toward proactive initiatives. I look forward to graduating in May and will continue the environmental, global battle."

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