Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions

Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions was a conference on climate change held at the Bella Center by the University of Copenhagen . The event was organized with the assistance of other universities in the International Alliance of Research Universities . The Stated aim of the conference Was to provide “a summary of Existing scientific knowledge two Years After the last IPCC postponement.” [1] The conference took place on 10-12 March 2009.

Notable Speakers

The conference advertised the following notable speakers:

  • Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri , Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Professor Nicholas Stern , author of the prominent Stern report .
  • Professor Daniel Kammen , Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley and Climate Advisor to the Obama Administration .
  • Connie Hedegaard , Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy .
  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen , Danish Prime Minister [2]
  • José Manuel Barroso , 11th President of the European Commission (did not speak)
  • Ian Chubb , President of Australian National University [3]

Political significance

The United Nations Climate Change Conference talks ( COP15 ), also in Copenhagen . The Danish government will submit the results of the scientific congress to decision makers at COP15, [1] with the intention of scientifically informing the political COP15 negotiations. [4]

Key Messages

Plenary speaker frequently likened global warming to playing Russian roulette . The “Congress’ Scientific Writing Team” summarizes the findings of the science in six preliminary messages. [5]

Climatic Trends

Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realized. For Many key parameters , the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability Within qui our society and economy -have Developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature , sea-level rise , ocean and ice sheet dynamics , ocean acidification , and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk of accelerating, leading to an increased risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.

Social disruption

The research community is providing much more information to support discussions on dangerous climate change . Recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities at risk. Temperature Rises Above 2 o C will be very difficulty for contemporary societies to cope with, and will Increase the level of climate disruption through the rest of the century.

Long-Term Strategy

Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid dangerous climate change irrespective of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions greatly increases the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.

Equity Dimensions

Climate change is having, and will be, strongly differentiating effects on people and regions, on this generation and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world. An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for Those people least able of coping with climate change impacts, and a common goal Differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and vulnerable MOST.

Inaction is Inexcusable

There is no excuse for inaction. We-have already Many tools and approaches – economic , technological , behavioral , management – to deal Effectively with the climate change challenge. But they must be vigorously and widely implemented to achieve the societal transformation required to decarbonize economies. A wide-range of benefits will flow from a concerted attempt to alter our energy economy now, Including sustainableenergy job growth , reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystemsand revitalization of ecosystem services .

Meeting the Challenge

To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and sixteen critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems ; building on a growing public; removing implicit and explicit subsidies ; Reducing the impact of vested interests That Increase Emissions and Reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government , the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability .

Scientific Findings

Katherine Richardson , from the University of Copenhagen, has been “little, if any, good news”. Notably however, one paper suggests that the Greenland ice sheet may be longer than those contemplated by the IPCC , when more advanced modeling techniques were used. [6]

Initial press briefings Focused on the Estimates Increases to the potential for sea level rise expected as a result of global warming , with the session led by Stefan Rahmstorf . Eric Rignot , Professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine , said “As a result of the acceleration of outlet glaciers over wide regions, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already Contributing more and faster to sea level rise than Anticipated If this trend continues, we are more likely to witness the rise to a meter or more 2100. ” [7]

Media Coverage

Coverage of the conference was extensive, with the BBC leading its reportage with the sea ​​level . [8] The Guardian Focused on the news that the Greenland is expected to be more stable than those contemplated by the IPCC , [9]with additional coverage of the Amazon rainforest , [10] A story also run in The Times . [11]

The conference acts as a focal point for the media coverage of climate science, and significant coverage has been given to the announcements made prior to the conference by scientists [1] . The Times reported notable scientist scientist Professor Kevin Anderson said “We all hope that Copenhagen will succeed but I think it will fail. We will not come up with a global agreement, … I think we will negotiate, there will be a few fudges and there will be very weak daughter of Kyoto . I think it will be very much based on the science of climate change. ” [12]

The Observer reported Dr. David Vaughan , of the British Antarctic Survey as saying “People are shifting to the coast, which means they are going to be infected by sea-level rises.” “It is becoming increasingly apparent from our studies of Greenland and Antarctica that they are being transmitted to the heart of the land-ice sheets in a remarkably short time,” [13]


One of the more controversial aspects of the conference was the inclusion of a panel on geo-engineering . Over 80 civil society groups released a statement against geo-engineering to coincide with that panel. The Statement, which originated at the World Social Forum in Belém in January 2009, asserts that “Ocean fertilization and other unjust and high risk geo-engineering schemes are the wrong answer to the global climate change challenge.” [14]

Seed magazine criticized both the credentials of the International Alliance of Research Universities , and the drafting process for the conference’s key messages. [15]

Fringe sessions

The conference included fringe sessions, which were co-located but not part of the official timetable, including one on modeling change climate change .

Co-sponsoring Institutions

The following institutions are co-sponsoring the event: University of California, Berkeley , Yale , Cambridge University , Oxford University , University of Tokyo , Peking University , Australian National University , National University of Singapore and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology .

See also

List of abstracts [16]


  1. ^ Jump up to:b “About the Congress” . Archived from the original on 2009-10-05 . Retrieved 2009-03-09 .
  2. Jump up^ “Plenary Speakers” . Archived from the original on 2012-07-12 . Retrieved 2009-03-09 .
  3. Jump up^ “Webcasts from plenary sessions” . Retrieved 19 June 2013 .
  4. Jump up^ McCarthy, Michael (9 March 2009). “Carbon cuts ‘only give 50/50 chance of saving planet ‘ ” . The Independent . Retrieved 2009-03-10 .
  5. Jump up^ “Key Messages from the Congress” . Climate Congress. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 16 March 2009 . Retrieved 2009-03-12 .
  6. Jump up^ Bamher, J .; Steig, E .; Dahl-Jensen, D. (2009). “What is the tipping point for the Greenland Ice Sheet?” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science . 6 (6): 062007. Bibcode : 2009E & ES …. 6f2007B. doi : 10.1088 / 1755-1307 / 6/6/062007 .
  7. Jump up^ “Rising sea levels set to have major impacts around the world”. Press briefing . Climate change: Global risks, challenges and decisions.
  8. Jump up^ Shukman, David (10 March 2009). “Sea rise ‘to exceed projections ‘ ” . BBC . Retrieved 2009-03-10 .
  9. Jump up^ Adam, David (2009-03-10). “Greenland ice tipping point ‘further off than thought ‘ ” . Th Guardian . London . Retrieved 2009-03-10 .
  10. Jump up^ Adam, David (March 11, 2009). “Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say” . The Guardian . London . Retrieved 2009-03-11 .
  11. Jump up^ Smith, Lewis (March 12, 2009). “85 percent of Amazonian rainforest at risk of destruction, warn researchers” . The Times . London . Retrieved 2009-03-12 .
  12. Jump up^ Smith, Lewis (March 9, 2009). “Hopes of climate change agreement ‘are sinking ‘ ” . The Times . London . Retrieved 2009-03-09 .
  13. Jump up^ McKie, Rob (March 8, 2009). “Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures” . The Observer . London . Retrieved 2009-03-09 .
  14. Jump up^ “The best world we seek is Geo-engineered! A Civil Society Statement against Ocean Fertilization” . ETC Group Website . March 10, 2009 . Retrieved 2009-03-11 .
  15. Jump up^ HULME, MIKE (March 13, 2009). “at_was_the_copenhagen_climate_change_conference_really_about /” . Seed Magazine . Retrieved 2009-07-05 .
  16. Jump up^ “IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science” .

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