2010 Climate Talks in Cancun, Mexico

Anthony Tomaine and Leah Block attended and blogged about the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held Nov. 29 – Dec. 10, 2010, in Cancun, Mexico. They were invited to attend the Cancun talks following a trend Dr. Peterman noticed during the Copenhagen Climate Change talks in late 2009. Peterman covered the talks as a member of the press, blogging daily for the York Daily Record, a local newspaper. While there, he observed that students from other nations were attending and blogging about the Copenhagen talks.

“They were engaging their peers in a discussion, a conversation, they would typically not be engaged in,” said Peterman. “Students are social, they network. For this age-group climate change will be one of the most compelling issues of their time, and it is sitting right under the bigger umbrella of sustainability.”

Leah and Anthony posted their blog posts at the C&EN Editor’s Blog.

Student Bios

Anthony Tomaine

Tomaine, 21, is a native of Lafayette Hill, Penn., and attended Plymouth Lake Whitemarsh High School. Currently a senior at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) majoring in chemistry, Anthony most enjoys conducting laboratory experiments. In addition to his studies at York, Anthony is working on an independent project with the U.S. Department of Agriculture developing a compound that inhibits the growth of a fungus that adversely affects corn both in the field and in storage silos.

Anthony is excited about the opportunity to interview policymakers, national leaders, and scientists while at the Cancun talks.

“Climate is something I’ve always been interested in. In high school we wrote research papers on alternative fuels to reduce carbon emissions and ever since then I’ve had an interest in climate change. But I’ve never had an opportunity like this to find out as much as I will at this conference.”

Leah Block

Block, 21, is a native of Marlboro, N.J., and attended Freehold High School. Also a senior at YCP and majoring in chemistry, Leah is at work on an independent project that focuses on synthesizing biodiesel from used vegetable oil from the school cafeteria that will eventually fuel a campus shuttle.

In addition to her work in chemistry, Leah has developed a reputation as a strong writer and has held several leadership positions with her sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau.

When asked about the Cancun talks, Leah says she is really excited about the project because she “wants to be part of the change.” “Climate change is something we’re living with. This is a very pressing issue. I want to show both sides of the story, and help people understand what is happening with CO2, so maybe it won’t continue to increase as fast.”