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Lessons For Calif. At UN Climate Summit

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Aired 12/5/11

Despite the squabbling at the climate conference, some participants expect meaningful results toward reducing global warming.

Despite the squabbling at the climate conference, some participants expect meaningful results toward reducing global warming.

Waves break on December 4, 2009 off Sunset Beach, California. Climate change is expected to cause sea-levels to rise.
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Above: Waves break on December 4, 2009 off Sunset Beach, California. Climate change is expected to cause sea-levels to rise.

Louis Blumberg heads up The Nature Conservancy's Climate Change Program.

He said delegates are embracing ways to reduce the risks to people from a changing climate as they consider adaptation strategies.

"For example, ways to protect people in San Diego from rising seas, sea level and storm surge," said Blumberg from Durban. "And those kinds of activities are really relevant to California and our citizens."

Blumberg said the the chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, is also at the conference.

The Air Resources Board is the lead agency charged with implementing California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act.

Blumberg said international efforts toward adapting to climate change - for example, reducing deforestation - would benefit California.

"We can protect a wetland to protect our coast from sea level rise, we can manage the forest better to protect the water supply and reduce the risk of fire," Blumberg said. "These kinds of notions like proper forest management could really be applied in San Diego to reduce hazards there and throughout California."

He said delegates are following up on efforts to reduce deforestation.

Blumberg said deforestation speaks to the heart of the entire climate program.

"Because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, it also helps people adapt to climate change by ensuring clean water and clean air," Blumberg said. "It is also a mechanism to eliminate poverty by the movement of money from the developed to the developing world."

Blumberg is working alongside governmental leaders, international organizations and other representatives as they talk about how to advance, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

Despite annual predictions of the demise of the United Nations climate process, there will be another conference next year in the Persian Gulf State of Qatar.

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