Nearly 100 people including several UN ambassadors, corporate executives, foundation leaders and key representatives from NGOs and academia gathered at Columbia University to attend a brainstorm session on a way forward after December’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Led by Earth Institute Director Jeff Sachs, the agenda covered topics including improvements to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, what’s happening in Washington with regard to climate legislation and administrative action and how action and lack of action affects those living in the developing world today.
The discussions were open, dynamic and geared towards finding improved ways for scientists, diplomats, environmentalists, business leaders and other policymakers to communicate more effectively to the public about climate change and take concrete action on both mitigation and adaptation. Also discussed were alternative strategies for international climate negotiations and the potential of sector-based approaches. The meeting closed with many staying behind to exchange more ideas and make plans for future collaboration.
The event proved instrumental in opening up frank dialogue between a group of engaged leaders in the climate change arena who are ready to move past what most agreed was a frustrating experience in Copenhagen and add input to the future of the UNFCCC as well as other actions that the public and private sector worldwide can take now.
For more information on climate change communication, check out the Earth Institute’s Center for Research on Environmental Decision’s The Psychology of Climate Change Communication guide.