UCSC climate conference draws top scientists, policy makers Feb. 24-25

Fred Keeley will moderate a special session on climate change science and policy under the Trump administration, which has threatened to pull out of Paris climate agreement

Veerabhadran Ramanathan

Climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan will give the keynote lecture at the UCSC Climate Conference. (Photo by Glenn Marzano)

climate conference poster

UC Santa Cruz will host a national conference on climate change on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25, featuring top climate scientists and policy experts from across the country in a series of talks and panel discussions.

"Changing Climate: Acting Now to Secure a Sustainable Future" is co-sponsored by the UCSC divisions of Physical and Biological Sciences and Social Sciences. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

The conference begins Friday evening with a keynote lecture by renowned climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan, "Climate Change Morphing into an Existential Threat: Need for a New Approach." A distinguished professor of atmospheric and climate sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, Ramanathan has been widely honored for his contributions to climate science, and his discoveries have led to many policy actions to slow climate change. Gov. Jerry Brown, Pope Francis, and the Dalai Lama are among those who have sought his advice on climate issues. His talk will take place in the Media Theater on the UCSC campus at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, all conference events will take place at the College Nine/Ten Multipurpose Room on the UCSC campus starting at 10 a.m. A series of panel discussions will focus on the actions society can take to prevent catastrophic climate change. The "Engineering Change" panel will consider the most viable clean, renewable options for powering society; "Motivating Change" will evaluate the economic and policy incentives needed to drive rapid adoption of those options; and "Communicating Change" will feature journalists and educators discussing ways to mobilize communities to action.

The conference will conclude with a special evening session on "Climate Change Science and Policy in a President Trump Administration." Sponsored by the Fred Keeley Lecture in Environmental Policy, the discussion will be moderated by Fred Keeley, former state assemblyman and county treasurer. Panelists will include Ken Alex, senior policy advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown and director of the Office of Planning and Research; Miriam Greenberg, UCSC professor of sociology; John Laird, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency; and Erika Zavaleta, UCSC professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.