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Researcher on international environment panel

December 6, 2012

Researcher on international environment panel

Massey University Professor Ralph Sims has been appointed to a major international panel tasked with mitigating climate change in developing and emerging nations.

Professor Sims, of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, will sit on the science and technology advisory panel of the Global Environment Facility.

The facility unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. It is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment.

The United Nations Development Programme, led by former Prime Minister Helen Clark, is a Global Environment Facility implementing agency.

Last month she spoke about the need to act quickly to stop climate change. "Why isn’t the world doing more? We could, as a global community, make the transition to green and inclusive economies that tackle inequality, advance development and stop the ongoing assault on our ecosystem."

Professor Sims will now help decide what initiatives are funded by the facility. The projects, usually between $20-50 million each, relate to water, biodiversity, afforestation, climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation.

He says the position is an important one. “For climate change mitigation to work, some funding from the wealthy countries has to reach the least developed countries in assisting their sustainable development goals in an environmentally acceptable manner.”

He says New Zealand could also learn from some of the facility’s recommendations. “The GEF has just put out a report providing advice for developing nations on how to reduce their lighting energy demand. New Zealand could also benefit since we are one of the few OECD countries not to have a policy in place.”

Professor Sims has taught and researched sustainable energy topics at the University since 1971 and has achieved significant influence on climate change policy at an international level. He is a fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand and the Institute of Agricultural Engineers in Britain, and is a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He has written for more than 300 publications, is a regular media commentator on energy issues and is passionate about sustainable energy.

He was lead author on reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including one on renewable energy and another that won the panel’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and currently is leading the transport chapter of the panel’s next assessment report.


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