As the HWS campus becomes increasingly involved in the global effort toward environmental consciousness, Ben Ryan ’10 is making his honors work in carbon markets known to some of the world’s most central climate change figures. Ryan was the only student in attendance at the Carbon Market Insights 2009, one of the forerunning international conferences on carbon markets, held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Already in Copenhagen with the study abroad program, Ryan was able to listen to an awe-inspiring list of keynote speakers, including Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Jos Delbeke, the deputy director-general for the Environment at the European Commission; Sanjeev Kumar, the emissions trading coordinator at the World Wide Fund for Nature, as well as environmental ministers from around the world.
“At this conference I gained a wealth of knowledge about carbon markets, ranging from voluntary carbon markets to the effect of the financial crisis or oil’s volatility on carbon markets,” Ryan said.
“On top of this knowledge I made invaluable connections with the world’s largest players and firms in the carbon markets. During our conversations, I was able to share my honors thesis with them and get their perspectives. Many of them were shocked that I was a student.”
Ryan’s trip to the Insights conference was coordinated by Tom Drennen, associate professor of economics, who is overseeing his honors work and is an international energy expert and author. Ryan’s thesis will analyze carbon markets, investigate how they function and will develop possible improvements on the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.
“What Ben is proposing to do is create an actual working proposal for a global cap-and-trade system. His ideas are pretty radical, so I thought it was important for him to have the chance to float some of those ideas and try them out on real world people in related industries and institutions,” Drennen said.
The trip to the conference was sponsored by the Hobart Dean’s Office and the Office of the President. “The conference was such a great experience, and I could not have done it without the support of Hobart and William Smith,” he said.