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UC San Diego, Scripps Oceanography sends delegation to COP28, the UN Climate Conference

The United Nations Climate Conference, called COP28, begins on Thursday in Dubai and San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography will be there. KPBS sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge says they want to highlight the ocean's role in climate change, and introduce the next generation of climate scientists.

The United Nations Climate Conference, called COP28, begins on Thursday in Dubai and students and faculty from UC San Diego (UCSD) will be there.

The UN climate conference is a global meeting of politicians and scientists that have a strong bearing on the fight against global warming. It’s where the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015.

UCSD’s presence will include a large contingent from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The institute will play a major role at the conference in Dubai, co-hosting the Ocean Pavilion to show how our oceans have borne the brunt of so much of global warming.


“Treating the ocean as being as important as the land is really, really important,” said Scripps oceanography professor Lynne Talley, who’ll be attending her second UN Climate Conference.

Talley points out the ocean absorbs 90% of the extra heat generated by global warming, and 30% of the excess carbon dioxide.

“The ocean provides a huge service in absorbing so much heat and so much of the excess carbon dioxide, but have very negative impacts on the ocean’s ecosystem, so we can’t rely on the ocean to take care of the problem,” Talley said.

Environmental effects on the ocean from global warming include bleaching coral reefs and rising sea levels.

The students attending COP28 represent the next generation of climate scientists and policy makers. Along with Scripps Oceanography, UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy is sending several students.


Mitchell Chandler is a Ph.D. candidate at Scripps Oceanography. He comes from New Zealand, where he said the warming of the ocean is causing marine heat waves.

“Which then influences terrestrial land heatwaves; you can have more extreme temperatures or drought. We recently had some tropical storms or like hurricanes that have extended out the tropics and caused a lot of damage to the north islands of New Zealand,” Chandler said.

Chandler studies ocean currents at Scripps Oceanography. He said he’s excited to meet with policy makers to talk about how global warming is affecting island nations like his.

When it comes to mitigating climate change, he said previous generations have been too slow to act.

“It’s definitely frustrating seeing how slow and resistant to change that people, places, companies and countries are. But there’s also optimism there, right?” he said, adding that today there is a global will to make changes.

Talley said she agrees.

“I feel energized. Energized to go to this meeting because there’s so much bubbling about finally recognizing in a broad sense that climate change is here,” she said.

COP28, the UN Climate Conference, runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.