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Scripps PhD Student On Progress Made At UN's Climate Change Conference

November 21, 2016 1:38 p.m.

Scripps PhD Student On Progress Made At UN's Climate Change Conference


Charlotte Beall, Ph.D. student in climate science program, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Related Story: Scripps Ph.D. Student Discusses Progress Made At UN's Climate Change 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.

The Marrakesh global climate change summit started early this month on Highmount as scientists gather determined to strengthen the agreement reached last year but with the election of Donald Trump that changed. He asserted that climate change is a hoax and has named a skeptic to had his EPA transition team. It was a shock to the delegates at the conference called COP22 that many left determined to move forward with or without US leadership on climate change. Joining me is Charlotte Beall she is a third-year PhD student at Scripps institution of oceanography. She attended the COP22 and welcome to the program.
I saw some pictures of American environmentalists in two years at the conference. How concerned are you that America's climate change policy will change during the Trump administration?
At the COP22 conference there were a lot of questions asked about what was going to happen. People wanted some kind of reassurance from the US which is the face of the US Department of state at COP22. It is hard to say. Their response was that they cannot speculate what is going to happen with the turnover. I don't know what kind of contact they have with the Trump transition team but what they can say is that there are many economic and physical realities acting on the United States currently that are going to propel us toward making our cup 21 contributions whether or not our leadership supports that.
There are those that say market forces are moving the climate change effort forward in developing clean energy and creating green jobs do you agree that this is moving forward a man -- no matter what American policy is?
The clean energy market is a multi-trillion dollar market and there is not an imaginable scenario in which the US would not participate in that when there are so many upside market opportunities.
So many opportunities for jobs and businesses and wealth creation by going down the green path so to speak.
That's right.
Could this mean a larger role for China or India as leaders in the effort to control climate change if America takes a backseat.
I think it does. I'm not sure what that means I think going forward in the next two conferences 2018 and 2019 there are some major opportunities for leadership and that is a major concern that China and other countries will take over leadership positions whereas the US will take a backseat.
Transparency and accountability is the major goal of this. They wanted to address current -- accountability. What we should disclose how frequently and what practices are essential to the data sharing and the measurement campaigns and the measurements on how are those scientifically robust to provide a basis for what targets are being met.
We both live in California representatives from California at COP22 said they would be eager to work with other nations informing climate initiatives no matter what the US does. Is that a revolutionary kind of statement or is that just par for the course in climate change prevention.
I did hear people say when I was going to happen it is referenced as an opportunity. Although California is one of -- only one state it was referenced as a source of hope toward meeting those aggressive goals set by COP21 .
You presented your research at the comp -- conference.
I researched aerosol cloud interactions. Aerosols are minute liquid and suspended in the atmosphere. They are the greatest source of uncertainty to climate change models and these models are a predictive tool and those are what we based our negotiation platform seven we go our US Department of State and the representative of delegation goes to one of these climate conferences so as a scientist working really hard at decreasing I wanted to represent that science and remind the delegation that science is an evolving story and although they have taken a bite into the science to form their platforms now they have to stay in touch with the change in story. We study particles the triggering file and clouds and if it turns out there's a lot we don't know about that process and there is profound effect of those particles not only on the ability of a cloud terrain but when it is reflected of sunlight that is important for the earths balance and global warming. You describe the can --
You describe the community has determined to move forward despite the new administration. What about you personally? Are you concerned about the future?
While I am determined to contribute I think now more than ever I must admit that we are concerned. I am concerned personally. I have to graduate and I have to have job opportunities when I graduate. Some of my opportunities depend on the availability of funding and that is something that we just do not know the future of with the next administration.
Whether or not there will be federal funding for various programs devoted to research and climate change. I have been speaking with Charlotte Beall PhD student at Scripps institution of oceanography. Thank you very much.
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