Yale Experts Led by President Levin to Attend Climate Change Congress

President Richard C. Levin will lead a Yale University contingent to the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change at the University of Copenhagen on March 10-12, 2009.

Sustainability Director Julie Newman, faculty members William Nordhaus, Mark Ashton and Karen Seto, and students from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies will participate in the Congress.

The University of Copenhagen has organized the congress in cooperation with Yale and the eight other universities that make up the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU). The congress aims to provide a synthesis of existing and emerging scientific knowledge necessary to make intelligent societal decisions concerning mitigation and adaptation strategies in response to climate change.

The findings of the congress will be supplementary to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The congress will provide a summary of existing scientific knowledge two years after the last IPCC report. The findings will be provided to policy makers at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held at Copenhagen later this year.

At the congress, the IARU member institutions will present their goals for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and share information on the strategies they are pursuing to achieve the reductions. The IARU will also make available an online “tool kit’ that other universities and organizations can use in formulating their own goals and strategies for reducing their carbon footprints and operating in a more sustainable manner that lessens their environmental impact.

“Yale, its IARU partners and other leading research universities are contributing significantly to the development of the most promising methods and policies for mitigating the effects of climate change,” Levin said. “We are showing by example that large organizations can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in ways that are not prohibitively costly. The world’s governments meeting later this year in Copenhagen need to follow our lead and take concerted and decisive action on global warming.”

As part of a broad commitment to sustainability at Yale, Levin in 2005 committed the University to a 43% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a goal within the range of estimates of what is required to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees centigrade. Yale is making progress toward its goal through conservation, green construction and renewable energy projects. Overall, Yale’s comprehensive sustainability framework includes protection of natural ecosystems, conservation of water resources, recycling of materials, and the use of natural, locally grown food in its dining halls.

Levin will chair the plenary session of the congress on March 10 and he and Newman will participate in the program on creating green universities. Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics and author of “A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies,” will address the plenary session on March 11 on reducing the risks of climate change. Ashton, the Morris K. Jesup Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology, will chair a session on reducing carbon emissions by avoiding land use changes. Seto, associate professor of the urban environment, will present two papers; “Urban Land-Use Change and Affects on Regional Climate: Examples from Rapidly Growing Cities in China” and “Rapidly Growing Cities and Their Resilience to Climate Change: A Meta-Analysis of Global Trends in Urban Land-Use Change and Indicators of Resilience and Vulnerability.”

Regular updates on the activities of Levin and the other Yale members of the team at the congress will be available via the Yale Office of Sustainability’s Facebook page.

Full information on Yale’s sustainability program, including its greenhouse gas reduction strategy, may be found at www.yale.edu/sustainability.

Other related links:
President Levin’s Climate Lecture at the University of Copenhagen (January 2008)

Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this

Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345