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Climate change conference attracts attention


3 February 2006

Climate change conference attracts international attention

A major conference on climate change being organised by Victoria University of Wellington has drawn a host of internationally distinguished speakers from New Zealand and around the world.

The programme for the conference on Climate Change and Governance: Critical Issues for New Zealand & the Pacific has just been released on a new website.

The conference will be held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on 28 and 29 March 2006 and is being organised by the University’s Institute of Policy Studies, in the School of Government, and the School of Earth Sciences.

Professor Jonathan Boston, Chair of the Organising Committee and Deputy Director of the Institute, says the calibre of the speakers points to the significance of climate change as a global threat.

“Climate change represents one of the greatest challenges for the world community. This conference will explore the nature and likely impacts of climate change and the options for accelerated action by governments. That combination, with a focus both on scientific knowledge and policy initiatives, has drawn leading participants in this debate from New Zealand, the Pacific and the rest of the world.”

The first day of the conference opens with the scientific evidence regarding climate change, assessing the risks and its impact on health, water, biodiversity, food and the marine environment in New Zealand and the Pacific. The second day examines the policy issues and options.

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Heading the speakers is Lord Ron Oxburgh, who is a distinguished British geologist and former Chairman of Shell. He was formerly chief scientific adviser to the British Ministry of Defence and Rector of the Imperial College, London. Lord Oxburgh, who was made a Life Peer in 1999, has been outspoken in calling for governments, business and the public to tackle issues related to increasing carbon emissions.

Other speakers include: Dr Kevin Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the United States National Centre for Atmospheric Research; Professor David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey; Professor Peter Barrett, Director of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University; Professor Ronald Prinn, Co-Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Programme on the Science & Policy of Global Change; the Hon Simon Upton, Chair of the OECD Roundtable on Sustainable Development; Dr Dave Lowe, Principal Scientist at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research.

Professor Boston said the conference was actively supported and sponsored by the New Zealand and British governments. Other supporters include the Royal Society of New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Climate Defence Network, a coalition of concerned non-governmental organisations.

The conference website, with programme details and registration information, can be viewed at:


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