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Climate Change Expert Visits New Zealand

One of the foremost experts on climate change visits New Zealand as a guest of government next week.

Dr Robert Watson is the Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

He is also senior spokesperson for the World Bank on global warming and climate change and was the Associate Director for Environment in the Executive Office of the US President in the Clinton administration.

During his visit he will address business, politicians, policy makers and other interested parties on issues related to climate change, including domestic policy initiatives undertaken by other countries.

Dr Watson arrives in the country on Sunday, 17 February, and will be involved in a whirlwind schedule of meetings and seminars, starting in Invercargill and moving to Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington, before flying out on Friday 22 February.

His schedule includes attending the Auckland Regional Council Transport meeting on Tuesday 19 February, addressing the Employers and Manufacturing Association (EMA) in Auckland on Wednesday as their keynote speaker, and speaking at a workshop for local government on Friday. He will also meet with school children in Invercargill and the Hutt Valley, and join a special schools video-link to discuss climate change issues – with those who will live longest with the consequences of global warming.

Dr Watson is expected to draw from his extensive knowledge of overseas initiatives to address climate change. He will also emphasise the opportunities available to New Zealand through ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The Government has stated its intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases, by this September at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Dr Watson visited the country previously in April 2001. He is a lively and entertaining speaker, skilled in taking complex technical information and explaining it clearly and entertainingly to diverse audiences.


Dr Robert T. Watson

Current Positions

 Chief Scientist and Director, Environmentally & Socially Sustainable Development, World Bank

 Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

 Co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
 Co-chair of the international scientific assessment of stratospheric ozone

Previous Positions

 Director, Environment Department, World Bank

 Senior Advisor, Environment Department, World Bank

 Associate Director for Environment, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, D.C.

 Director and Chief Scientist, Science Division, Office of Mission to Planet Earth, NASA


 Ph.D., (Gas Phase Chemical Kinetics) – 1973 - QMC, London University, London, England

 B.Sc. 1st class (chemistry) – 1969 - QMC, London University, London, England`

Awards (include)

1995 ­ UNEP Award for Protection of the Ozone Layer

1994 ­ Environmental Protection Agency Award for scientific understanding of the ozone layer

1993 ­ Climate Institute Scientific Achievement Award for Coordinating Scientific assessments

1993 ­ American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility

1993 ­ American Meteorological Society Special Award "for notable efforts in organizing and conducting international assessments in ozone depletion and global change"

1992 ­ National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing

1991 ­ American Geophysical Union's Edward A. Flinn, III Award established to recognize individuals who personify the American Geophysical Union's motto of unselfish cooperation in research through their facilitating coordination and implementing activities (first recipient)

1989 ­ Designated member of UNEP's "The Global 500: The Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement"

1989 ­ NASA Distinguished Service Medal

1983 ­ NASA Exceptional Service Medal

Previous Experiences (include)

 Chair of an International Panel on the Scientific and Policy Inter-linkages Among Global Environmental Issues

 Co-chair: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation) - February 1993 – September 97

 Chair: UNEP Global Biodiversity Assessment - 1993 to 1995

 Chair of the Science and Technical Advisory Panel to the Global Environmental Facility (World Bank, United Nations Development Program, and United Nations Environment Programme) 1991- November 1993

 Technical Advisor for the U.S. Government for both bilateral and multilateral negotiations of the Vienna Ozone Convention and the Montreal (CFC) Protocol

 Technical Advisor for the U.S. Government on Climate Change and member of the U.S. delegation to the International Negotiation Committee on Climate Change

 Testified many times before U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Committees and Sub-Committees on Ozone, Global Warming, and other Global Change Research issues

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