CU-Boulder contingent makes trek to Copenhagen climate conference

By Staff

A contingent from the University of Colorado at Boulder is attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which began Monday, Dec. 7, in Copenhagen and continues through Dec. 18.

Known as the 15th Conference of the Parties, or COP 15, the international climate conference includes representatives of 192 countries. The U.N. is seeking an agreement on reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that will either extend or replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol in order to reduce global temperature increases believed by scientists to be climbing as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

Events will include a presentation by Waleed Abdalati, director of CU-Boulder's Earth Science and Observation Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), on recent changes in polar ice cover and interactions between polar ice and the rest of Earth's climate system. Abdalati, also an associate professor in the geography department, will present the latest observations and research findings on Arctic sea ice and the rapidly changing Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

CU-Boulder also has been admitted as an observer organization under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, entitling the university to nominate representatives to observe the sessions of the conference and the Kyoto Protocol, including COP 15.

CU-Boulder observers at the Copenhagen conference include Marilyn Averill, an attorney who is a doctoral student in the environmental studies department and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, and Ben Hale, assistant professor of the environmental studies department. Both are members of CU-Boulder's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, part of CIRES.

The University of Colorado Law School has three observers at the Copenhagen conference: Associate Professor William Boyd, Senior Research Fellow Kevin Doran and Research Fellow Julie Teel. All are with the school's Center for Energy and Environmental Security.

Also, Richard Armstrong of CIRES and the National Snow and Ice Data Center is a member of a task force writing a document on the status of the planet's snow and ice resources, which will be presented by Al Gore and Norway Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at the conference.

Averill and Jim White, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, coordinated the credentialing process for CU-Boulder's designated observers at the event.