Innovative Science Coalition Launches New Initiatives


The University of California Revelle Program on Climate Science and Policy has been established to strengthen interaction between scientists engaged in advancing the understanding of Earth’s climate system and decision makers in government and the private sector applying climate science to societal needs. By expanding the collaboration among researchers studying natural science, economics, policy, and public health aspects of climate change, the program can magnify the value of research far beyond the academic environment. Scientists involved in this interdisciplinary program are taking direct action to provide scientific and economic information and research results to key international climate negotiators, policy makers, and decision makers.

"The world’s climate negotiators have an enormous challenge in keeping current with scientific understanding of the climate system, and yet the success of their deliberations depends on having a solid scientific foundation," said Dr. Lisa Shaffer, newly named executive director of the UC Revelle Program. She is the director of policy programs and international relations at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. "Through the UC Revelle Program, we are providing objective research, both natural science and social science, which can inform U.N. climate negotiators and leaders in industry and government who are making critical decisions every day. A healthy future for the planet depends on sound science that can expand the public’s understanding of the Earth."

Global warming and the human impact on greenhouse gas emissions are prominent in today’s news and are critical discussion points in international climate policy negotiations. Identifying uncertainties and appreciating their magnitude is an integral part of understanding climate change and effectively responding to the human impact on the global systems. Natural scientists today are focusing on understanding how complex climate systems interact, while policy researchers and economists are studying how human systems affect and are affected by the changing climate. Only recently have scientists begun to integrate research in social sciences, such as economics and behavioral science, with climate science to realistically evaluate potential impacts of human behavior on the climate system, and impacts of the climate system on society.

As part of the UC Revelle Program, nine of the top science experts from the University of California and other leading institutions involved in many aspects of global climate change research participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP-6) in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2000. In a unique role, the scientists comprised a formal nongovernmental organization (NGO) accredited to the negotiations process to provide objective science input and to act as "honest brokers" in addressing scientific questions from national delegations, media groups, and other participating organizations. Three graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UC San Diego also were part of the delegation.

The University of California is well suited to conduct this comprehensive program to integrate global climate science with social policy to provide an effective and thorough understanding of today’s compelling climate issues. Students are also offered opportunities to participate in the interaction of science and policy. Scripps Institution of Oceanography possesses a worldwide reputation for scientific integrity and proven leadership in climate sciences. Scripps has breadth and strength in all aspects of the climate science problem– the global carbon cycle, ocean and atmosphere observations, modeling, and more. UC’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation is a program with a history of facilitating successful, informal diplomatic negotiations and has substantial expertise in understanding social science issues. Together scientists can now provide participants with a clearer understanding of the fundamental science underlying the issues and new policy opportunities can be discussed productively.

The UC Revelle Program is organizing a comprehensive program to tackle the needs facing both scientists and policy makers today. The group is sponsoring an interactive workshop at Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Sept. 10-11 to further strengthen the dialog between climate scientists and policy makers facing climate science issues in their decisions. This workshop, "Regional Air Quality and Global Climate Change: Connecting Scientific Discovery to Decision Making," reflects the program’s goal of increasing interaction and addressing society’s critical issues.

Future plans for the UC Revelle Program include hosting annual seminars aimed at industry, developing country negotiators, and domestic policy makers; developing internship support for science graduate and post-doctoral students to obtain hands-on policy experience; and creating a speakers series to build understanding across disciplines.

Scientists involved in the UC Revelle Program will continue to participate in the formal United Nations negotiating sessions as a policy-neutral science group to provide scientific facts and to interact with delegates, media, and other attendees.


University of California Revelle Program on Climate Science and Policy

The UC Revelle Program (UCRP) is designed to improve communication and enhance the impact of natural and social science on the issue of global climate change. The program does not take policy positions or make policy recommendations. Rather, it endeavors to identify important scientific research relevant to policy issues and to make this science readily available in an understandable form to nonscientific audiences. The UC Revelle Program stimulates interaction between natural scientists and researchers in social sciences and law. It enables scientists to learn about the policy-making process and how scientific results are taken into account in deliberations, as well as to provide policy makers with timely scientific knowledge needed for those deliberations.

The UC Revelle Program is led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography of UC San Diego; the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), a multicampus research center of the University of California; and the UC San Diego Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS). Scripps is a world leader in research on climate science and the role of the oceans in the earth system. IGCC draws on science and social science experts throughout the UC system and other institutions in order to create bridges between the academic and policy communities. IR/PS provides graduate education and research in international environmental and economic policy issues relevant to climate change. Funding for the UC Revelle Program also is provided by the University of California Office of the President.

Sponsors of the UC Revelle Program on Climate Science and Policy:

UC Revelle Program on Climate Science and Policy

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies

University of California Office of the President

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