Politicians aren’t listening, so climate scientists have convened an emergency meeting in Copenhagen over the next three days to collate the latest scientific findings so they can exert pressure on the negotiating teams that will meet in Copenhagen next December. The International Scientific Congress on Climate Change will feature keynotes by leading advocates for dramatic global warming policies, as well as a who’s who of climate scientists.
Several well-known universities are organizing the ISCCC to address outstanding issues leading up to the UN-sponsored climate summit, including the likely costs of inaction, and the threat to global security and world poverty posed by dramatic climate change.
The real concern now being voiced by the majority of climate scientists is that the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is already out-of-date. Recent studies suggest that the pace of climate disruption has quickened, so that we may already be too late to stop changes that scientists warned of just five years ago. In fact, the most recent IPCC report failed to adequately account for several climatic tipping points ‚Äï like methane released from a thawing tundra, and decreased albedo from a melting arctic ‚Äï which are happening earlier than predicted. The concern now is that climate change could accelerate so quickly that humanity will unable to slow the outcome.
The conference will synthesize the latest climate change science and publish a master document for negotiators heading to Copenhagen in December.
Katherine Richardson, a marine biologist at the University of Copenhagen, said the synthesis would make direct calls on policy-makers to respond. “This is not a regular scientific conference,” she says. “This is a deliberate attempt to influence policy.”
Dr. Richardson’s quote could become fodder for the Rush Limbaughs of the world, who contend that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by climatologists greedy for research funding, but I’m impressed that a scientist would lay it on the line in such vivid and concrete terms.
With the scientists stepping up the pressure on negotiators, and President Obama and the Senate leadership both taking concrete steps toward a cap-and-trade system in the U.S, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December promises to be a dramatic departure from recent history. We’ll be following events this week as the reports come out, fast and furious.