COP15 update – Melting ice sheets, natural disasters and koalas (14 Dec)

Pressure begins to mount as events get underway for the final week of talks. There’s been a noticeable up-tick in the number of side events planned, as preparations for global leaders’ arrival at the negotiations get underway. Announcements are expected today on both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, as well as a focus on agriculture, planning for natural disasters, and how climate change will affect endangered species.

The SMC has set up a COP15 resource page here.

Highlights from the programme (14 Dec):

Press briefings (available to watch online on demand)

09:30 – 10:00 Delegation of the UK
Press Conference Room

10:30 – 11:00 International Energy Agency
Asger Jorn Room

10.30 – 11:00 Natural disasters in 2009
Joint press conference by WMO and UNISDR. Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General; Mrs Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
Press Conference Room

11:30 – 12:00 – IUCN: Climate change impacts on species – it’s more than just the polar bear
Asger Jorn Room

13:30 – 14:00 – Stanford University: the Oceans and climate change – perspectives from science
Asger Jorn Room

15:00 – 15:30 – Greenland ice sheet – Melting snow and ice: Calls for action
Snow, ice and permafrost conditions are globally changing much faster than anticipated. This will profoundly change living conditions in the Arctic and also living conditions throughout the World. An event with the participation of the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Stoere, former US Vice President Al Gore and Greenland Premier Kuupik Kleist. (NB report will be officially launched 13:00-14:30 Niels Bohr Room)
Press conference Room

19:30 – 20:00 – Delegation of Australia
Press Conference Room

Side events (for those in Copenhagen)

13:20 – 13:40 Carbon and Koalas Collide: The science of trees, mapping and the carbon economy
Deborah Tabart, CEO of the Australian Koala Foundation, will discuss the staggering consequences of the removal of existing native forest and demonstrate the impossible task of replacing this carbon.
cc Solutions Studio.

14:45-16:15 – International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Early adaptation actions – IFRC together with IASC and ISDR system organisations will share experiences on how to bridge the gap between climate science early warnings and practical early actions in disaster risk reduction and management approach.
Liva Weel Rm

14:45 – 16:15 – Beyond Copenhagen: Agriculture and forestry are part of the solution.
A consortium of the major international organisations and donors will present strategies and actions towards an agricultural adaptation and mitigation workplan, based on stakeholders’ recommendations and previous meetings.
Niels Bohr Rm

16:40 – 17:00 – Getting Agriculture Right in a Climate Deal
Jim Harkness, President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, will discuss the essential role of agriculture within the climate negotiations
cc Solutions Studio

17:40-18:00 – Stanford University – West Antarctic ice sheets melting faster than expected
Dr. Robert Dunbar, Professor, Earth Science, Standford University discusses new projects on sea level rise.
cc Solutions Studio

18:15-19:45 – World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Building on Copenhagen – A high-level panel of government and business leaders convened by the Pew Center and the WBCSD will discuss options to build on the Copenhagen outcome toward a full and final post-2012 agreement. Invited speakers include Ministers, Members of the U.S. Congress and CEOs.
Niels Bohr Rm

20:00 – 21:30 World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  – Life begins at 40
At the COP15 launch of WWF’s Scientists Statement, prominent scientists will explain why industrialized countries must reduce their emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020 and why the science behind this demand is solid.
Niels Bohr Rm

Updates from the AusSMC:

A list of Australian scientists who are in Copenhagen has been compiled by the AusSMC. Please contact Nigel Kerby or SMC(NZ) for more details.

If you are in Copenhagen and require assistance tracking down an expert, contact the AusSMC’s Nigel Kerby on (+45) 2660 7655 (Danish mobile) or email

Audio is being added to our web page at:

Further Information
To talk to any of the experts quoted above contact the Science Media Centre on tel: 04 499 5476 or email: