Can COP26 deliver on the promise to tackle climate change?


TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2021 – Can the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) change the current trajectory of an increasingly warm planet? With COP26 coming up, several York University experts are available to weigh in on what needs to be done and whether there is a will to do it.

Idil Boran, a professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and associate director of CIFAL York, will be on site at COP26 until Nov. 12. She has close to 10 years of experience at UN Climate Change Conferences. Boran specializes in interdisciplinary research and outreach and cross-sectoral collaborations and partnerships, with a focus on climate, biodiversity and health interlinkages. She is also the founding director of the Synergies of Planetary Health Research Initiative based at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. She will be at York University's flagship event, Multi-level action for biodiversity and climate: Planetary challenge & lessons from Latin America, an official side event at COP26 on Nov. 5.

Mark Winfield, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, has written extensively on Canadian climate change policy and politics at the federal and provincial levels. He can comment on Canada's role at COP 26, the federal climate change policy, and provincial climate change and energy policies, particularly in Ontario and Alberta.

Nirupama Agrawal, a professor in the Disaster & Emergency Management Program, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, who wrote the textbook Natural Disasters and Risk Management in Canada, is available to discuss the role of better understanding the science of changing climate, historical perspectives on how we got here, and a fresh look at the issues and potential solutions such as bringing back biodiversity, breathing room for the rivers to flow, and rethinking plastic. Her research includes disaster risk management, physical dynamics of natural hazards, and engaging communities to understand gaps between perceptions and actual disaster risks.

Trevor VandenBoer, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, can discuss the relationships between climate and air quality that create challenges for a transition to net-zero, with focus on emerging issues related to volatile chemical products (VCP) and emissions of reactive nitrogen species. He is also available to discuss relationships between nitrogen from agriculture or urban pollution, and their climate-related impacts.

Cora Young, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, can discuss emissions, sources, and impacts of halogenated greenhouse gases, such as CFCs and replacements, as well as the relationship between the Montreal Protocol and climate change.

Dawn Bazely of the Faculty of Science applied for and received observer status for York University in the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organization Civil Society Sector in 2008. As the University's UNFCCC Secretariat's focal point, she assembles the York delegation at the annual COP and other UNFCCC meetings. These delegations frequently include members from across Canada and the world, whose organizations lack observer status. Bazely will attend COP26 virtually. Her research examines, among other areas, human security and environmental security in the arctic, and how climate change impacts biodiversity and the spread of novel organisms.

Mark Terry, an instructor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, currently teaches the graduate course, New Social Movements, Activism, and Social Change: Underrepresented Communities in Climate Change. Terry is available to discuss new and emerging methods, approaches and technologies related to climate change communication. In his book, The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change, he discusses bridging the gap between climate science and climate policy with the United Nations. He is also the executive director of the UNFCCC's (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Youth Climate Report, the UN's only database of documentary films produced by the global community of youth. The project is used by policymakers at COP conferences as a data delivery system to supplement written texts provided by the world's scientific community. The media conference for the Youth Climate Report will take place on Nov. 3 at 8:45 a.m.


York University is a modern, multi-campus, urban university located in Toronto, Ontario. Backed by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, we bring a uniquely global perspective to help solve societal challenges, drive positive change and prepare our students for success. York's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education. York’s campuses in Costa Rica and India offer students exceptional transnational learning opportunities and innovative programs. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet, and our future.

Media Contact:

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-272-6317,