October 17, 2007

Three Lecturers of The University of West Indies (UWI), who have contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will now share in the glory of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Following the release of its Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its 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 IPCC was established in 1988 by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is a made up of three Working Groups and a Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The IPCC, which has completed three full Assessment Reports, presented its Fourth Assessment Report (also referred to as AR4), titled Climate Change 2007, to the Royal Geographical Society in September 2007.

The UWI Lecturers, who have been recognised for their contributions to Working Groups of AR4, are: Dr Anthony Chen, a retired Jamaican Professor in Physics at UWI Mona Campus, Jamaica; Dr Leonard Nurse, a Barbadian Lecturer in Coastal Management at UWI Cave Hill Campus, Barbados; and Dr John Agard, a Trinidadian and Senior Lecturer in Life Sciences at UWI St Augustine Campus, Trinidad, and Chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).

Dr Chen was a member of Working Group One and Lead Author of a chapter titled, ‘Regional Climate Projections’ (Chapter Eleven) in Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Doctors Agard and Nurse were members of Working Group Two, and worked on ‘Small Islands’, Chapter Sixteen of Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Dr Agard was a Lead Author of the chapter while Dr Nurse was a Coordinating Lead Author.

Two other West Indians also contributed to Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, the contribution of Working Group Two to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. They are Samuel Rawlins, retired St. Lucian parasitologist of the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre; and Roger Pulwarty, Senior Physical Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Colorado, USA, and Director of the US National Integrated Drought Information System.

Rawlins was a Lead Author of Chapter One, ‘Assessment of Observed Changes and Responses in Natural and Managed Systems’. Pulwarty served as a Lead Author on Chapter Seventeen, ‘Assessment of Adaptation Practices, Options, Constraints and Capacity’, and contributed to Chapter Three, ‘Freshwater Resources and their Management’.

The Nobel Peace Prize, awarded annually to people or organisations for outstanding contributions to society, is widely regarded as a supreme commendation. In 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize was divided equally between the IPCC and former United States Vice President, Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. It will be presented in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2007.

The official website of The Nobel Peace Prize, http://nobelpeaceprize.org, states: “Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming.”

The website further states: “By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind.”

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