September 20, 2010

Two Cornell Professors Working on Climate Change Panel

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Two Cornell professors are working with a federal government panel that is writing special research papers addressing climate issues and potential responses.

Prof. Natalie Mahowald, earth and atmospheric sciences, was recently tapped to be one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report, while Prof. Jefferson Tester, chemical and biomolecular engineering, will be completing his term this year as a head author of IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation.

According to the Cornell Chronicle, Mahowald will be primarily focusing on the physical science aspect of the report, leading the writing for part of the report. Mahowald is one of 831 experts from around the world who will participate in the report.

Though the work for the IPCC is unpaid, according to Tester, it is among the most relevant to any academic’s research work.

“They picked us as people who are knowledgeable,” Tester said. “You want informed opinions.”

Mahowald declined to comment when reached by phone on Monday night.

Established in 1988 by the United Nations, the IPCC primarily issues reports on wide-ranging environmental topics that bring together recent original research and climate monitoring. Past work of the IPCC has led to such international legislation as the Kyoto Protocol, which has been signed by 187 nations pledging to fight global warming. Additionally, the IPCC’s work with former Vice President Al Gore on climate change earned both a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

According to the IPCC website, the assessment report will be completed in 2014.  Additionally, amongst the lead authors of the paper, Mahowald is the only American-based researcher. He is joined by scientists from Sweden, Italy, Norway and elsewhere.

Tester said that the paper he is currently working on is focused on presenting and assessing various methods to reduce the imact of climate change.

Tester also works as associate director of energy programs in the University’s Center for a Sustainable Future.

Original Author: Brendan Doyle