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Professor Peter Haas contributes to Nobel-winning climate change reports

Raymond S. Bradley, director of the Center for Climate Change, is among four researchers affiliated with the campus who contributed to reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in recent years. The reports earned the panel the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore, a leading environmentalist and former U.S. vice president.

The Nobel Committee granted the prize to the IPCC and Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” The three assessment reports issued this year explained the physical science basis of global climate change, predicted future impacts of climate change and suggested steps toward mitigation.

Research conducted by Bradley, a Distinguished Professor of Geosciences, and Michael E. Mann detailed substantial human-induced rates of global warming in a 1999 paper that was the major highlight of the third IPCC assessment report. Mann, a former postdoctoral researcher in Geosciences, is now a faculty member in the department of meteorology at Penn State University. Alumnus Caspar Ammann, who received a Ph.D. in Geosciences, also contributed to the reports. Ammann now studies paleoclimatology at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Mark Serreze is now a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a member of their Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Pavel Groisman now works at the National Climate Data Center.

Political Science professor Peter M. Haas reviewed portions of the fourth report, dubbed the “synthesis report,” which will be released at the 27th IPCC Convention Nov. 12-17 in Valencia, Spain. This final report synthesizes the scientific and socio-economic aspects of the previous three reports in the context of long-term sustainable development. Haas has worked on international environmental issues for 20 years and specializes in the role of scientific expertise in international governance. His current research focuses on the management of global environmental threats. Haas is also co-author of the book “Global Environmental Governance: Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies,” which explains how societies addressed global environmental problems in the past and explores what needs to be done in the future.

“I feel that I played a small part in this enormous endeavor,” said Bradley, “and I’m delighted that the Nobel Committee acknowledged all who took part.”

October 23, 2007.

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