John Liu has recently joined The Center for Climate and Society. By way of introduction, I am here reprinting some of John's recent essays. Here is his view of Ecosystem Function, presented on Oct 11, 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya
The problem of global warimg is attributed to green house gases including carbon in the atmosphere. Forests have a huge potential to hold and capture carbon thereby mitigating the build-up of the gases in the atmosphere and thereby warming.
The Loess Plateau is the cradle of Chinese civilization and generally believed to be the second place on earth where settled agriculture was practiced. Long known for science, art, literature, this area was the center of power and affluence for the Qin, the Han and Tang Dynasties. Over time, vital aspects of the ecosystem such as biodiversity, soil fertility, infiltration and retention of rainfall were massively degraded.
Climate change assessment reports are an essential intellectual tool for synthesizing the state of scientific knowledge in terms of its implications for policymaking and society. But we have learned that these periodic communications from the science community are delivered, not into a neutral, pragmatic, problem-solving arena, but rather into a hotbed of conflicting political agendas and values that may be antithetical to science.
Current status of forestry and land use in the international climate negotiations - the World Bank's BioCarbon Fund perspective
To-date, the Clean Development Mechanism, one of the project-based mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change only allows reforestation or afforestation as eligible land-based activities. Current negotiations are discussing a wider-range of activities that could potentially be included in a draft treaty that is being discussed between now and the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties in December 2009.
The Development of Climate Change Assessments and the Emergence of IPCC as the Scientific Basis of International Climate Policy
Abstract : Assessments developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) form a foundation for climate change policy. Dr. Solomon will discuss precedent attempts to assess the anthropogenic caused global climate change and will then focus on IPCC origins, structure, procedures and products. These will be examined in the context of international institutional and political forces that have shaped 20 years of IPCC assessments and special reports. Dr. Solomon will reflect on his experience as an ecologist and climate scientist, IPCC contributor and science policy expert.
Thomas Lovejoy, environmentalist and founder of the PBS show "Nature," will give a public presentation on April 23 at 11 a.m. in Research I, Room 163. His talk, "Climate Change, Nature, Ethics, and Health," will focus on the ways in which climate change affects the living fabric of the planet and threatens the fundamental underpinnings of human health.
The application of satellite data to environmental issues is a challenging problem requiring an improved understanding of how the Earth works. Research scientists in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) strive to answer key questions about the Earth's environment and climate. Assessing climate trends is core component of satellite research. Recent scientific findings derived from satellite data and their potential impacts will be discussed.
Gone the Bull of Winter: Grappling with the Cultural Implications of and Anthropology’s Role(s) in Global Climate Change
In this presentation I explore the cultural implications of and anthropology’s role(s) in global climate change via my field experiences working with Viliui Sakha, Turkic-speaking native horse and cattle breeders of northeastern Siberia, Russia, with whom I have worked since 1991. Viliui Sakha have adapted to a sub-arctic climate, Russian colonization and the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Their newest adaptive challenge is climate change.
There is considerable historical evidence that major scientific and technical discoveries are often followed by the creation of institutions that can take advantage of those discoveries for the betterment of society.