Bittersweet in Parting but with an Aftertaste of Optimism and Hope

Written by Natalya on .

Wow… What a whirlwind experience these last two weeks have been! I had to leave before the end of the second week of the COP so I could return just in time for a deep-sea cruise on the R/V Sproul this weekend. But that’s how it goes - graduate school responsibilities call! I’m ready to go home, but it’s pretty weird to think I won’t be spending all my time at the Warsaw National Stadium anymore and living with my wonderful SIO colleagues.

Overall, I left feeling so fulfilled and inspired by my COP experience. I also left saturated to the brim with knowledge that’s very different from the type I accumulate day to day in graduate school. I’m pretty sure no major deal will be reached at the end of this COP, so perhaps the COP itself was not successful, but for me, it was an extremely successful experience because it taught me a lot about how scientists can inform policy. And I had a blast working with my fantastic SIO colleagues!

Problems vs. Solutions: Identifying Where Scientists Fit In

Written by Natalya on .

One of the important themes that has come up both during the question and answer for the event on Climate Change and the World’s Oceans that I presented at, and during informal conversations with delegates, was the types of mitigation and adaptation policies that are needed to respond to the consequences of climate change in the ocean. As a delegate from the Solomon Islands told me after a lengthy discussion on ocean impacts: it’s great to know about the problems, but now let me know what types of solutions we can implement.

You Can Have an Impact - Scientists Informing Policy

Written by Natalya on .

One of the main insights I gained from this COP experience is that you can have an impact on policy as a scientist, particularly when attending such a high-level international conference. This is quite contrary to what I was expecting. I came to the COP expecting that as a young scientist I would just be drowned out in the bustle and that the COP may not be the right place to present scientific data, since it’s really a mechanism for legislative negotiations.

World Coal Summit During COP19

Written by Lauren on .

The government of Poland was heavily criticized for agreeing to host the International Climate and Coal Summit alongside the UN climate change conference (COP19). This came as an additional blow to climate change mitigation efforts after Poland announced earlier during the first week of the COP that it would pursue 100% coal-based energy production and phase out renewable energy projects by 2060, as the most economical energy option.

OSIP Photos from the COP

Written by Sierra Stevens-McGeever as a guest post on .

To give a sense of place, here are the photos that Sierra Stevens-McGeever, also a Scripps Institution of Oceanography student, has taken so far at the COP.

The International Ocean Acidification Community

Written by Natalya on .

During the COP, it became quite apparent that the way forward should include more international collaboration (and cooperation in general) on research topics pertinent to climate change impacts in the marine environment. By having a global network of colleagues, several goals are reached. These include, having better overall monitoring (and thus a better understanding of the global ocean), making use of the different scientific perspectives in different countries (more insights), and increasing the scope and broader impacts of your topic at the global level (more languages, more local knowledge).

Sour Candies and Hydrogen

Written by Nick on .

Imagine you're sitting in a movie theater, it's dark (duh) and some moderately bad flick is playing. Say 'A Good Day to Die Hard', or something. The best part about it is that junk food you've got sitting in your lap. Today, you're chomping down on Sour Patch Kids. Chomp. Chomp.

With each piece munched, your mouth gets increasingly sour; this begins very pleasantly, but the pleasure with each additional Kid begins to drop. At some point sour becomes too sour, which then becomes uncomfortably sour, which becomes a mild tongue burn, to a moderate burn, to just a nastily painful, sour acid burned tongue. If you've been in this situation before, don't feel bad, I've been there too. If you haven't been there, Sour Patch Kids are uncannily addictive, and ending up with a tortured tongue is all too common. You just can't stop.

Being Young and Female at the COP

Written by Lauren w/ contribution from Natalya on .

It’s an exciting time to be a young, female scientist at the COP. Four of our six co-founders of Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy fall into this category, which is underrepresented at the COP at large. This places us in a unique position to play an influential role. The international community is recognizing the importance of hearing the voices of youth and women around climate change issues. In this vein, the UNFCCC created two whole days to honor women and youth, of only four thematic days at COP19: Young and Future Generations Day, which is historically on the first Thursday of the conference, and Gender Day, which was today, November 19.

Oceans Matter

Written by Nick on .

Our group is keeping it real at the COP, trying to make sure that the oceans make it into the climate change policy process. For the most part we're trying to keep our coverage upbeat. There's a lot of (deserved) doom and gloom in the writing and coverage of climate change. Sometimes a bit of levity can be refreshing. But, there are some issues that, no matter how you cast them, are simply sad.

Enter Poland, Stage Right

Written by Nick on .

Well, we've now all made it to Warsaw. Lauren and Natasha are lucky enough to have accreditation for both weeks of the conference, but the rest of us are only accredited for the second week. Fortunately for us, the second week is when a lot of the big-wigs show up and when more of the 'action' happens.

Warsaw is alright, though definitely no San Diego. We're pretty spoiled on that front. Here the weather is dreary, the people are (too) fashionable, the structures are blocky, and the food is meaty, very meaty. We are having a good time getting settled in, and enjoying our shared company. My colleagues are pretty damn funny, for being scientists.

Yesterday we ran into a climate protest and chatted up some of the participants. More on that in a bit. Today we're working on putting together videos and setting up for tomorrow, when the action begins. So, hold tight; we're about to roll.

Science with a Side of Mustard

Written by Kate on .

Scientists are normal people. Normal is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle, or conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern.” It’s surprisingly easy to make the very idea of normal sound like jargon. How about cheeseburgers? A Cheeseburger, as defined by Furbster’s Dictionary*, is a pulverized bovine protein spheroid accompanied by coagulated milk protein casein, encapsulated in a baked roll of refined wheat. The wizardry of science and technical information works both for us and against us. By re-packaging scientists as the truth-seeking, normal people they are, we can connect the public with scientific issues.

Talking Hot, Sour, and Breathless...

Written by Nick on .

The oceans are slated to become hot, sour, and breathless in the decades to come. And, to describe the sour part of this equation, on November 18th Lauren will be giving her talk on ocean acidification at the "Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem" side event at the UN's COP. The talks at this side event will cover the most recent science on the issue and policy actions being taken to address it. Speakers will also highlight the need for continued research, global ocean monitoring networks, and further policy actions.

Giving Young Scientists a Voice

Written by Natalya on .

I had the exciting opportunity to present at a joint event on Climate Change and the World’s Oceans with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Carmen Boening at the US Center yesterday. My presentation was titled Ocean Deoxygenation in a Warming World and was focused on how climate change is causing the oceans to lose oxygen, and what the biological ramifications of these oxygen reductions will be. I’m also pretty sure this is the first time deoxygenation got coverage at a COP even though the consequences are very pertinent to policymakers.

OSIP on KPBS Midday Edition

Written by Nick on .

Today Yassir and Amy were on KPBS's Midday Edition discussing our upcoming efforts at the COP and recent research on how climate change will affect our oceans. Listen in and read about it here!

The UN Climate Negotiations: A Brief History

Written by Yassir on .

20 years after the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) held in Doha, Qatar, represented a major milestone in the long and arduous route to reaching an international climate change policy agreement, a process known as the “Climate Negotiations”. Throughout the last twenty years, countries have dithered in their commitments to reach an effective agreement for various reasons, most of which are economic or political in nature. As we approach the other milestones of 400 parts per million (ppm) in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) concentrations and 1ºC surface warming since the preindustrial revolution (approx. 1750), it is becoming evident that the rate of progress in climate change mitigation is trailing well behind the rate of physical global climate change.

Climate Negotiations: The Doha Gateway

Written by Yassir on .

With an approaching deadline of 2015 for the Global Climate Treaty, an expiring Kyoto Protocol of 31 December 2013, an ending Bali Longterm Cooperative Action Track, and a vaguely worded Green Climate Fund, there were too many expectations for COP 18 in Doha, Qatar last year. In fact, Doha was expected to be a “gateway” from a period of ambitious but vague promises to an era of concrete targets and measurable actions.

Many Voices, One Purpose

Written by Amy on .

OSIP is a group of graduate students from all walks of life and with all sorts of experiences and expertise. We’re lucky in that fact – it’s more common to find that a group like our own couldn’t work together, but we’ve found that our different backgrounds have been our strength. We have a variety of outlooks on how to approach science communication, climate change, and policy, which we think fosters creativity and innovative solutions.

Our blog is a reflection of the talents and interests we bring to the table as a group. We each have our own unique voice, yet we are sharing the same message – the hope that scientists and policymakers will spend more time working together to address global issues like climate change. As each blog entry is posted, we’ll include the author of the post so that readers know who is talking to them. We hope that our diverse perspectives on issues surrounding climate science will help more people understand how important it really is that we keep having the hard conversations, until a solution is found.

COP 18 Doha, My Experience

Written by Yassir on .

Minutes after landing in Doha, Qatar, I was welcomed by an army of cab drivers, of various origins, offering a wide variety of discounted rates to every corner of this brand new city. Once aboard my cab, the driver sped up across Doha’s wide streets, towered by endless skyscrapers and construction cranes, awkwardly spaced between mosques and souks. A few kilometers away lay a great deal of fossil fuel carbon, ready to be extracted and burnt into the sky and the oceans. I couldn't help but sigh: “What an interesting place to hold a climate change conference!”

Shout Outs

Written by Nick on .

Giving credit where credit is due is a good thing to do. We are here due to a generous donor to The Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. We're an interdisciplinary group that met as a result of the National Science Foundation's IGERT program.

Moreover, the beautiful marine photos that we feature on this website were generously lent to us by Ralph Pace and Octavio Aburto, two highly skilled scientist-photographers variously affiliated with Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Ralph Pace received his masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps. View more of his work here. Octavio is currently a marine biologist at Scripps, and you can view more of his photography here. Thanks guys!

Where's the Ocean at the COP?

Written by Nick on .

We're going to the COP to try and raise awareness about the role of the global oceans in a changing climate. Earth's oceans absorb both carbon dioxide and heat, helping to delay what would otherwise be more immediate negative effects of our fossil fuel emissions. They play a very important role.

Contact Information

Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92083-0202