Wednesday, December 16, 2015
One day before the Paris climate summit concluded with an agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions around the globe, students, faculty and staff packed a room in the Green Building to hear a panel of MIT experts assess the likely outcome of the negotiations. While the climate negotiations wrapped up over the weekend, their impact in the decades to come remains far from certain.
Moderated by Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science, the panel included Noelle Selin, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Data, Systems and Society, and of Atmospheric Chemistry; Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Assistant Professor of Energy Studies; and Henry “Jake” Jacoby, the William F. Pounds Professor of Management Emeritus and Co-Director Emeritus of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
In introductory remarks, Solomon noted that negotiators at the Paris meeting—known as COP21, or the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—had devoted considerable time to finessing language within 1600 sets of brackets in the proposed agreement to address concerns among its 195 signatories. Three days before the close of talks, that number had been whittled down to 361, and with two days remaining, it stood at 50.