Copenhagen: United Nations climate change policy conference underway

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The big United Nations climate change shindig kicked off today in Copenhagen. Around Coyote Gulch we’re pretty jaded as to whether there is enough political will to formulate policy or an action plan. Here’s a report on the University of Colorado connection to the conference from Laura Snider writing for the Boulder Daily Camera. From the article:

The researchers headed to the United Nations talks — which include scientists from the University of Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — are not strangers to international conferences. But the meeting in Copenhagen will be different. “It’s not like going to just any conference,” said Waleed Abdalati, director of CU’s Earth Science and Observation Center. “It’s a policy conference, and I’m not a prominent player. I’m there to deliver information that’s of use and provide context.”

Abdalati, whose center is housed at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, will present information at several side events on satellite data that illustrate how the Earth’s ice cover, including the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica and Arctic sea ice, has been affected by climate change. “We have tools from space that can look at the entire ice sheet now and observe how fast the ice is flowing, how much melt is occurring and where the mass is changing,” he said. “The satellites can really look at those facets collectively and provide and integrated picture.”

The work of climate scientists is often the target of intense scrutiny compared to their peers in other disciplines, since their research findings are informing political decisions about whether or how to wean the global economy off of its dependence on carbon-rich fossil fuels. But Abdalati said he welcomes the opportunity to share his research in Copenhagen, and he tries to divorce his personal views on climate change policies from his scientific results. “I’m very clear at these talks to say, ‘I’m not trying to win you over to one side or another,'” he said. “‘I’m going to lay out the information that scientists are seeing and explain what we think it means and explain why we think it means that. You can process that in your own way.'”

More Coyote Gulch Climate Change coverage here and here.

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