When Matt and I were in Copenhagen we caught up with the Stanford students, and have found their experiences at COP15 to be very insightful. One of the students, Sarah Rizk, has had two interesting posts, “The Challenge of Communicating Complex System Science” and an Interview with Rob Dunbar of Stanford University, which I have re-posted below. Thanks, Sarah!
Cross posted from Take Part
by Sarah Rizk
Although the IPCC reports are provided to parties to give them the most up-to-date science on climate change, the constantly evolving state of the scientific evidence sometimes results in an omission of key new findings by the time the negotiations roll around. The side events here at COP15 provide for some of this gap, but with all the action, it’s not at all clear that parties can attend these.
Sea level rise is one of the key impacts from climate change and the expected magnitude of this is a key issue. In the IPCC’s most recent report, AR4, the predicted sea level rise ranging from 7 to 23 inches excluded impacts from the melting of Greenland and Antarctica due to a lack of published studies in this area at the time of the assessment.
New research indicates that in the past 5 million years there have been 38 melting events in Antarctica, occurring with a 3-4 degree global temperature increase, and at CO2 concentrations of 400 ppm. With these melting events, sea level can rise 6 meters in height. As negotiators look at targets in the 350-450 ppm range, this evidence offers a scary insight into the potential consequences of a high-range target. Prof. Rob Dunbar of Stanford University discusses this research in the video below.
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