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Stanford researchers speaking at U.N. climate change meeting in Copenhagen

Ten Stanford researchers, experts in a broad range of subject areas involving climate change, are scheduled to attend the 15th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week and next. 

BY LOUIS BERGERON

Some 15,000 participants from 193 nations are expected to attend COP15, the 15th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place in Copenhagen through Dec. 18. The conference is an attempt to reach a global agreement on how to combat climate change. Among the mass of attendees will be a Stanford delegation, roughly 65 strong, consisting of faculty, staff and some 50 students. Many of the students will be volunteering as interns for a broad range of academic and special interest groups.

Stanford faculty will be involved in two press conferences and several other special events at the meeting, some of which may be available to view live on the COP15 website.

The first press conference will be Thursday, Dec. 10, when Stephen Schneider, professor of biology, will launch his latest book, "Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate," published by National Geographic Books.

A recent review on Newsweek’s website said the book "… exposes the bare-knuckles infighting, bruising backroom brawls, and arm-twisting that characterize climate science, of which Schneider, now at Stanford University, has long been a leading light."

Schneider was a coordinating lead author in Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore. Working Group 2 focused on the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change and options for adapting to it. Schneider has been working on climate change issues since 1970, when he helped pioneer the discipline by co-authoring the first published climate modeling review paper. 

On Monday, Dec. 14, Stanford and Scripps Institute for Oceanography will hold a joint press conference titled "The Oceans and Climate Change: Perspectives from Science." Rob Dunbar, professor of environmental Earth system science, and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland (Australia) and co-director of the Stanford in Australia Program, are scheduled to speak.

Dunbar will discuss his research on the Antarctic ice shelves, and Hoegh-Guldberg will discuss his work on the impact of climate change on tropical ecosystems.

Also on Dec. 14, Dunbar and Hoegh-Guldberg will speak at two panels that are part of a series of events for "Oceans Day" at the European Environmental Agency in Copenhagen. The Center for Ocean Solutions, of which Stanford is one of three partners, is a co-sponsor of the day. Some members of the group from the center are blogging about the meeting.

In the evening of Dec. 14, the center will co-sponsor a reception for government officials. Meg Caldwell, executive director of the Center for Ocean Solutions and a senior lecturer at Stanford Law School, will introduce a video segment in which researchers from Stanford and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explain the importance of the ocean to climate and overall human survival.

Caldwell is also affiliated with Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, as are Dunbar, Schneider and many of the other Stanford attendees.

The Center for Ocean Solutions is a collaboration of Stanford, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Other Stanford researchers attending include Juan Jose Alonso, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, Lisa Curran, professor of anthropology, Chris Field, professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science, Terry Root, professor of biology, and Michael Wara, assistant professor of law.

According to the official COP15 website, "All official meetings and press conferences will be available live and on-demand in original languages and in English translation. Shortly after the close of each meeting, on-demand files will be available." Selected side events may also be available on-demand.

A list of available sessions is on the COP15 website.

Details for press conferences and other events:

The press conference for Steven Schneider is scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-noon, Central European Time, Dec. 10, 2009.

The press conference, "The Oceans and Climate Change: Perspectives from Science," is scheduled from 1:30-2 p.m., Central European Time, Dec. 14, 2009. 

"Oceans Day" will be held at the European Environmental Agency in Copenhagen.