Report Distills Science for Legislative, Diplomatic Playoffs

November 14, 2007

As Congress members and international diplomats roll up their sleeves for serious efforts at action in coming months, a final "synthesis" report from the top U.N. climate science body will brief them this week. The report, to be released Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007, in Valencia, Spain, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will distill decades of laborious science into a comparative handful of relevant pages.

Most reporters who are not already on-site in Valencia will be "covering" the event remotely - via wire services or national media. But the fallout and follow-up stories will be much closer to home, and will keep breaking in the remainder of 2007 and into 2008.

SEJ will be updating and upgrading the resources on its Web site available to help reporters with the climate change story. These will include virtual front-row seats at the Valencia events and an online Rolodex of experts who may help with regional stories.

Drafts of the "Synthesis Report," which summarizes weighty, technical tomes released by three "working groups" released earlier this year, have already been circulated. But scientific experts and government delegates in Valencia planned to spend most of the week hammering out a final text line-by-line.

As a synthesis, or executive summary, of earlier reports, the new document is unlikely to contain any revelations or findings not mentioned in the previous working group reports. However, its value lies in what points scientists choose to include and emphasize - and their direct application to the most crucial policy questions.

The drama will culminate, if all goes as planned, in a Saturday press conference in Valencia. That press conference, which will include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will be available live by satellite feed and Webcast.



L. Bernstein, University of North Carolina at Asheville
(Core Writing Team Member)

David Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council
(Core Writing Team Member)
Press contact: E-mail, 202-289-6868

Jonathan Pershing, World Resources Institute
(Core Writing Team Member)

Cynthia E. Rosenzweig, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
(Core Writing Team Member)

Susan Solomon, NOAA OAR
(Working Group I Co-chair)

Stephen Schneider, Stanford University
(Core Writing Team Member)

Ronald J. Stouffer, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
(Core Writing Team Member)

Gary Yohe, Wesleyan University
(Core Writing Team Member)


  • Earth Negotiations Bulletin: International Institute for Sustainable Development. This is a fairly reliable reporting service that will cover the meeting and side events in excruciating detail - with daily multimedia updates available via Web and E-mail in English, French, Spanish, and Japanese. Subscriptions are free. They will also be covering the treaty negotiations in Bali.
  • National Environmental Trust: NET will hold a dial-in press teleconference Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007, at 9:30 a.m. EST. Panel will include: Sen. John Kerry (D-MA); Philip E. Clapp, president, NET; Kristie Ebi, Ph.D., lead author for the Human Health chapter of the IPCC 4AR WGII report; Jim Lyons, VP, Oxfam America. Dial-in to 800-351-9742 or 334-323-7224; passcode is "warming." An audio file of the briefing will be available here about an hour after the call. Press contacts: John Anthony, 202-887-8855; or Brandon MacGillis, 202-887-8830.
  • Climate Action Network: David Turnbull, 202-609-9845; press contacts.
  • Reuters' Planet Ark: World Environmental News.
  • TerraDaily (Agence France-Press and United Press International).
  • "Experts Completing Final Climate Report," Associated Press, Nov. 12, 2007, by Arthur Max.
  • "Top U.N. Official Warns Against Inaction on Climate," Reuters, Nov. 12, 2007, by Richard Waddington.
  • "Failure To Tackle Climate Peril 'Criminally Irresponsible,' IPCC Told," AFP, Nov. 12, 2007.
  • For a quick take on what climate skeptics have to say about what happens in Valencia, check out the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
  • For analysis of how reporters are dealing with this topic, look up the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.


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