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UCSD Students Presenting Latest Ocean Research At UN Climate Conference

November 13, 2013 1:23 p.m.


Yassir Eddebbar, Doctoral Student in Oceanography, UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Amy Van Cise, Doctoral Student, Marine Biology, UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Related Story: UCSD Students Presenting Latest Ocean Research At UN Climate Conference


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. The devastation caused by a typhoon in the Philippines has become a rallying cry. Climate change experts are making pleas that world leaders should take seriously. The threat of more dangerous storms and rising sea levels. Two graduate students will be witnessing this process and participating in presenting research during the conference. I would like to welcome Amy and Yassir students at Scripps University. How did that come that your group was invited to make this presentation?

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: I went last year and gave a presentation on the efficiency of the UN policy process and the role of science and it. One thing that stuck with me is that science is not a very big part of the policy process. After the top, we got together and thought we should fix it. We created a group called ocean scientists for informed policy your peer. To understand the research and recent scientific advances, with the policy committee at the UN.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Amy, in a sense you're trying to bring science back into the policy of climate change?

AMY VAN CISE: That is right. What we've seen is that there was not a lot of conversation about science happening in these policy talks we thought it was important to bring more of that into the conversation.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tell me more about the group. I understand that ñ especially ocean scientists are not necessarily brought into the discussion about climate change as much as they should be

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: It's an interesting thought. That actually has an origin in that the ocean in packs and the role of the ocean occurs below the surface. So there is a land bias in the policy process at the UN where you do not notice effects caused by the ocean. The ocean please excuse role in mitigating climate. It traps over 90% of she caused by a kudos gossip gases and also peer is the world's largest emitter. The changes to the ocean and its ability to take up carbon is very important to the policy process. The current development currently does not have the notion delicate if you will. If you're going to have science-based targets, they have to include changes in the ocean and impacts.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It is ironic to be considering that the scripts ocean all of largest started this.

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: He was one of the first to start a talking about the science. He shared the first report about climate change and sent it to Lyndon Baines Johnson and word about the effects of carbon dioxide. We want to continue that tradition, we wanted our university to be constantly engaged in the world and want to continue the legacy of applying the sites and communicating it to the society.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Amy, you will be doing a blog?

AMY VAN CISE: That is correct. Myself and three other people will be doing this blog every day. The goal is twofold. As you as he had mentioned to we're trying to bring science back into the conference. The second goal is to bring the policy back to the public. Our local public academic peers and our national peers. This is a very important topic to any member of the United States. We believe that we should take the time to educate yourself about this topic. That is a hard thing to do because the conference proceedings are mostly behind closed doors. It's very hard for some of to access this information in the general public. But we would like to do is share with the general public what is going to be happening. On a daily basis and we will be doing daily interviews with David delegates and will cover important panels that are occurring to me made to surveys of the public there at the conference to see what the general feeling is about ocean science.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And the point want to be and to reemphasize this is not a blog for only for academics.

AMY VAN CISE: It's not. Our academic peers need to be educated about this topic, but this is deathly a blog that is meant for the general public. It is meant for anybody who is interested in what our world leaders are doing to combat climate change.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What is the nature of the research that you will present at this conference?

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: We want to focus on three topics. The first was covered yesterday in the event that we coordinate with NASA. It identifies the underrecognized impact on the ocean and its loss of oxygen. That happens because warmer water hold less gas. Warm water is also more satisfied and it will not mix well. We have regions of low oxygen expended. The second topic is ocean acidification. It has tension lately and not enough to get engagement from policymakers. An aerosol to the stratosphere and it cool the planet, but it does not affect the carbon dioxide problem. This makes it hard for it shall-based life to survive. Also the effects of ocean warming and the ability of the ocean to take up eating carbon. This last issue is very important for civilization targets. As we put up the 2015 global treaty we must keep in mind that the ocean is dynamic. It changes in her understanding of it is always evolving. Before we set up satellite civilization targets we need to allow a good understanding of the national natural sinks and how we can add that to those changes. Should we make our civilization targets are strict or should be addressed different issues here is really important because there is a huge gap between scientists and policymakers. It's so big that the UN wrote a report about it called the UN EP Mission report. You can actually see it in Poland now where they are hosting a conference at the same time as the climate negotiations conference.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A coal conference as in burning coal?

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: A energy conference about the burning of coal. There is different perspectives here between what about and communities going after and what scientists are recommending. We need to bring that back into the policy form, because it is an extremely important that we cannot lose sight of what is happening.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Given what you're saying, a lot of the policymakers do not seem well-versed in what causes the warming. I'm wondering what had you expected to be received?

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: We're a tireless and enthusiastic bunch. We are very positive and so we want to address the delegates with as much positivity and help as possible. Usually they use usually the youth sidelines the events and we have in the interesting and unique perspective to bring to the solution process.

AMY VAN CISE: It is important to note that the policymakers have a vested interest in this. We will be definitely better received than if we were at the cold light cold conference. That being said, we can expect diversity. Policymakers have to consider economic and cultural response abilities as well as environmental interests. We're there to champion environmental interests, they will be discordant. That is an important part of the process. Talk about these priorities and meet in the middle here.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm wondering, how would you like to see oceanography incorporated into an international response to climate change?

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: That's an interesting question. It has not been a part of the UN FCC process. By having more ocean scientists involved in the policy process and informing it, and by recognizing all of these impacts in the world that the ocean place, we hope to bring those issues to the awareness and then we can see how we can add it to the policy process. Bullet is very important because this the year called a construction conference. They will sit up the architecture of the 2013 global agreement. They will also find out where the funding will come from year to the ocean plays a huge role because these impacts are very wide and the end packed effects coastal areas and fisheries. We want to add all of these important aspects of climate impacts and discussion and it's a work in progress. As we go along we will learn and that is part of why we will go. See how we will solve this issue.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When people get together and they have to maintain their own personal interests, talking about mitigating climate change, I suppose one of the arguments is how important the health of the ocean is to so many nations. Nations who are have coastlines or even landlocked to show them that this is of vital concern to them as well.

AMY VAN CISE: That is correct and we're trying to bring that with us. They want to help facilitate these conversations. Acidification is going to affect fisheries in countries all over the world, and a lot of those are developing nations that rely on fishing industries for livelihood. Even here in the United States, there is a 270 million-dollar fishery in the Pacific Northwest. They are losing money every year because of ocean acidification already. That is not something happening in the future it is happening now or to the think this is happening all over the world. People talk about climate change is something happening in the future, but in our oceans happening now.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So, when are you leaving?

AMY VAN CISE: Six in the morning.

YASSIR EDDEBBAR: I leave on Friday but there are some students already there.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you both.