Monday, July 27, 2009

Climate science on the Road to Copenhagen

Greetings from the Australian National University Climate Change Institute Open Day in Canberra. Professor Will Steffen is presenting "What does the science really say about climate change?" This follows the release of his report "Climate Change 2009: Faster Change & More Serious Risks" (Department of Climate Change, 22 July 2009) and the Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (March 2009). He started by debunking climate change sceptic arguments. I missed the morning sessions as I was presenting to the ANU Green ICT Working Group, so I missed: the Southern Ocean, terrestrial ecosystems, Smart grids and renewable energy, but there are brief audio previews available on: Climate change and public health, smart grids, the global carbon cycle. Last on the agenda is a panel discussion "The Road to Copenhagen".

My question for the panel is: "The evidence for climate change is now clear, so shouldn't the research effort change to economic, social and political processes to help governments, business and the community make changes to their behaviour?". In my own Green ICT Strategies COMP7310 course at ANU, we only spend about half the course on the science and technical theory and the other half on how to communicate this to business leaders and to change business practices.

Another question would be: "Why aren't you practising what you preach? Why isn't this event online so people can attend without expending addition energy? The room is full to capacity, so clearly this is something which many more people, that the few here want to hear about". As you can see from this posting the room is online and facilities are available.

ps: "The Road to Copenhagen" is also the name of a web forum, chaired by several well known personalities, for providing non-government input to the next round of climate change discussions at COP15, 7 to 18 December 2009. Despite being sponsored by several multi-national companies, this seems to be a genuine effort to get community input to the process.

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