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Cornell University is sending 3 faculty presenters plus 21 researchers, students, and staff to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. This 16th Conference of Parties follows one year after the highly charged climate conference in Copenhagen failed to produce a binding international accord. 

It may be now or never for U.S., world to face climate change crisis

November 23, 2010

COP16 Logo

Cornell University is sending 3 faculty presenters plus 21 researchers, students, and staff to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. This 16th Conference of Parties follows one year after the highly charged climate conference in Copenhagen failed to produce a binding international accord.

NOTE TO MEDIA: All three Cornell faculty presenters will be available throughout the Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 climate conference for interviews with journalists. Professor Antonio Bento welcomes interviews in Portuguese and Spanish. Professor Johannes Lehmann also welcomes interviews in German.

Johannes LehmannProf. Johannes Lehmann (CSS)

Johannes Lehmann , associate professor of crop and soil sciences and a COP 16 presenter on sustainable agriculture and carbon management, comments on the urgent need for action:

“We can not afford another failure. The scientific evidence clearly indicates that climate change is a reality we have to deal with ­– now.

“The science is in place to provide opportunities to address global warming. Technological and scientific progress is severely crippled if no international and national agreements are in place to set targets and provide a mechanism to achieve those targets.

“COP16 is one of the very few conferences where scientists can be relevant in directly informing policy decisions at a high level.”

Sean SweeneyProf. Sean Sweeney (ILR/GLI)

Sean Sweeney , director of the Global Labor Institute at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a presenter on the role of labor unions in promoting climate protection, comments on the United State’s critical leadership role:

“There will probably be progress around important issues, but the big question surrounds the U.N. climate process itself. Will it survive?

“The Obama administration has openly expressed doubts that the U.N. can produce an agreement next year in Johannesburg – but this says more about the U.S. failure to make a national emissions reductions commitment than it does about the U.N. process. The U.S. could have made the difference in Copenhagen, and it can do again in Cancun and South Africa. But it needs to come clean about the problems in passing a bill in Congress and the interests that stand in the way of U.S. climate policy.

“Consensus is unlikely, but a ‘coalition of the willing’ could emerge. Many hope the U.S. can get on the right side of history in this respect.”

Antonio BentoProf. Antonio Bento (AEM)

Antonio Bento, an associate professor of Applied Economics and Management, also will present at COP 16 on the use of agricultural and forestry sectors to claim carbon offsets:

“We have hope that the progress made at the last COP can be continued at COP16.

“The conference provides an atmosphere necessary to attain a worldwide, legally binding agreement for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the culprit of global warming.

“We would like to communicate information on Cornell climate change research, with the hope of providing insight to policy makers and other scientists on particular aspects of global warming policy, including the economics of biofuels and carbon offsets.

“The well-being of future generations may be severely compromised if carbon emissions continue increasing unchecked.

“Our research group brings cutting-edge theoretical and large-scale computational tools from economics to some of the fundamental issues surrounding climate change policy. We consider ourselves unique in the sense of scope and magnitude that our work encompasses.”