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Start of second Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability in London

From 26 to 28 May 2009, Nobel Laureates from a variety of disciplines, leading scientists and experts will discuss the environmental, economic and development challenges related to climate change. Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate in physics and United States Secretary of Energy is one of the participants. The Symposium on sustainability is the second in a series initiated in 2007 by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). This year’s Symposium is held under the auspices of HRH The Prince of Wales.

“In face of the nuclear arms race Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell published a manifesto in London in 1955, calling for science to take social responsibility in a time of crisis,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. “This led to the initiation of the Pugwash Conferences, where leading scientists from various disciplines thought out ways out of the arms race. The threat of climate change requires that, as they did then, leading thinkers come together to support the search for technical, economic and political solutions.”

More than 60 leading scientists from various disciplines, among them more than 20 Nobel Laureates, as well as top-level representatives from politics and business will discuss the dimensions of the climate crisis and innovative strategies for solutions.

Major items of the agenda will be measures to counter deforestation, the development and implementation of new technologies, the options to establish a low-carbon energy infrastructure, as well as the role of global and national economic and political frameworks. The symposium will also address the issue of the role of the scientist in society and the coordination of global responses to the challenges.

The London Symposium is the second in the series “Global Sustainability” that was initiated by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The first interdisciplinary Symposium was held under the auspices of German chancellor Angela Merkel in Potsdam in October 2007 (www.nobel-cause.de).

This year’s symposium is jointly convened by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. It will be hosted at the Royal Society and St. James’s Palace. Among others, the Volkswagen Foundation and Vattenfall support the event.

This year again, scientists from Potsdam will contribute substantially to the event.

PIK's director Schellnhuber will open the Symposium with an introductory talk on the idea behind the Potsdam Symposium Series. Wolfgang Lucht, co-chair of the PIK research domain “Climate Impacts & Vulnerabilities” and professor for Sustainability Science at the Humboldt University in Berlin, will discuss the importance of the world’s forests for coming generations and the stability of the Earth system, as well as internationally coordinated measures to halt deforestation. Among the participants of this session will be The Prince of Wales, the British economist Lord Nicholas Stern, und Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. PIK’s chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer will report on how a global carbon market could mitigate dangerous climate change and how “green” investment programmes could contribute to a recovery of the global economy. Edenhofer is chair of Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC.

The symposium’s results are to be incorporated in a Memorandum to give orientation for the United Nations’ climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December this year.

The first Nobel Laureate Symposium in Potsdam had been concluded with a Memorandum agreed to by all participants and addressed to the conference in Bali in 2007. The “Potsdam Memorandum” was the core contribution of the German government to the conference. The Laureates proposed a Great Transformation and described a number of measures to open “a ‘third way’ between environmental destabilization and persisting underdevelopment”. The Memorandum to be published this Saturday is expected to build upon that.

 

Note for documentation and reporting:

Conclusions from the discussions as well as video-documentations of presentations and interviews will be available on the Symposium’s website: http://www.nobelcause.org


More information:
Website of the St. James's Palace Nobel Laureates Symposium
http://www.nobelcause.org/

Prince's Rainforests Project
http://www.princesrainforestsproject.org/

Website of the 1st Interdisciplinary Symposium Global Sustainability: A Nobel Cause
http://www.nobel-cause.de/

University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership
http://www.cpi.cam.ac.uk/

Volkswagen Foundation (Press release)
http://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/service/termine/article/128/nobelpreistr.html


For further information please contact the PIK press office:
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
E-mail: press@pik-potsdam.de

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For further information please contact the PIK press office:
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
E-mail: press@pik-potsdam.de

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