About COP-15


Scripps Institution of Oceanography at COP-15
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is the world’s premiere ocean and earth science institution. Scripps has an obligation to speak for the oceans and bring its objective, leading-edge science to bear to the greatest extent possible at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-15) in Copenhagen. At COP-15, the Scripps science delegation will have a threefold message:

  • The likely threat from ocean acidification should accelerate CO2 reduction timelines. We will make the case for immediate CO2 emission reduction based on the findings of researchers such as Andrew Dickson, Victoria Fabry and colleagues indicating how fast and to what extent ocean acidification is changing ocean chemistry, and will change ecosystems. While many details remain to be understood, we know enough to be concerned. Our chief goal at Copenhagen is to have ocean protection be an essential component of any agreement that emerges from COP-15.
  • A major barrier to the effectiveness of emissions regulation legislation and carbon trading lies in the large discrepancies thatcan exist between actual greenhouse gas emissions and those calculated by current “bottom up” accounting methods.  We will emphasize the need to establish “top-down” verification mechanisms based on atmospheric measurements for emission regulation legislation and carbon taxes or cap-and-trade schemes to succeed.  Work done by atmospheric chemists shows that current reporting of emissions can grossly misrepresent true levels of some greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Professor Ray Weiss argues that available monitoring technology, coupled with modeling of atmospheric transport, must be deployed broadly if this barrier to real greenhouse gas emissions reduction is to be removed.
  • Fast-action mitigation can buy the world time as CO2 reductions take effect — the good news story of Copenhagen. Renowned climate researcher V. Ramanathan calculates that immediate reduction of non- CO2 greenhouse agents coupled with initial CO2 reduction efforts can help society avoid reaching the threshold of catastrophic climate change. Readily available technologies ranging from biochar carbon capture to the retrofit of regenerative filters on diesel-burning vehicles to methane-capture can start the world on the path to climate stability immediately. It would also provide a clear demonstration of the human imprint on climate.


The Scripps Oceanography-led delegation has applied for assigned spaces at the locale of COP-15, the Bella Center, from conference organizers:

  • Exhibit space at Bella Center to feature posters on ocean acidification, video monitors and print materials in partnership with Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and Oceana.
  • Press conference time to draw international media attention to areas of special research focus at Scripps that have direct bearing on the COP-15 talks.

Further information about the conference is at http://en.cop15.dk/.

Additionally Scripps is a co-organizer of Oceans Day, an awareness event taking place Dec. 14 at multiple locations in Copenhagen featuring United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations and universities. Activities will include a joint Scripps/Stanford University press conference at the Bella Center and panel discussion on ocean acidification in downtown Copenhagen. More information at http://www.globaloceans.org/Oceans_day/index.html

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