2nd Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report
On 5 April 2001 ProClim- organized the second Swiss Global Change Day in Bern. The aim of this yearly meeting is to provide a platform where the Swiss global change research community can meet as a whole and discuss current problems in a transdisciplinary manner. About 150 participants took the opportunity to hear about new findings and future challenges in the broad field of global environmental change research.
Some of the interesting topics adressed were:
- the health benefits of climate change policies: the most efficient greenhouse gas mitigations are at the same time clean air policies. A 25% reduction in the Swiss CO2 emissions may result in the prevention of approximately 1'300 deaths and 18'000 cases of bronchitis among childreen every year. However, these benfits may depend on the chosen strategies: emission reduction will show greatest health benefits while mere technological solutions, e.g. promoting diesel engines to reduce CO2 emissions, may have adverse health effects by increasing fine particulate emissions.
- studies of attitudes, values and policy preferences with respect to sustainable development: a corresponding dutch study showed that there is a real danger of misunderstanding the public and thus of policy fallacy. In a questionnaire most of decision makers and the public (84 and 75%, resp.) set the priority on protecting environment compared to economic growth. However, decision makers estimated that 65% of the public would prefer economic growth.
- future occurrence of extreme events: Despite difficulties in examining extremes, there is remarkable agreement that north of the alps, there is a tendency towards increasing in mean precipitation as well as in heavy events and floods during the colder seasons. South of the Alps there is a tendency towards decreased summer precipitation and increased likelihood of droughts.
- biotic responses to climate change: evolutions in the past show that biotic responses to environmental changes can be very fast (within 1 to 10 years), but are also individual for species, which may lead do disruptance of relationships and perturbation of ecosystems. Considering evolution, biotic adaptions are often highly intricate and prediction is therefore difficult.
- A better collaboration between science and economy was claimed. E.g. insurance companies rely on more specific information about future climate, even if there are still uncertainties. It seems that the specific information needs of economists are not very interesting from a pure scientific point of view, thus it has to be funded by the users.
The event was also an opportunity to «recycle» posters that have been shown at international specialist meetings during the last year and to present them to a broad research community. The best two posters in each of the three fields of WCRP (World Climate Research Programme), IGBP(International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme) and IHDP (International Human Di-mensions Programme on Global Environmental Change) were selected by a jury (two members of the national committees of each program). The authors (students or post-docs) of the awarded posters received a travel award of SFr. 1000.- each, which will allow them to attend an international conference in the current year. The following posters were awarded:
WCRP (10 Posters were presented):
- Bettina Jenni, Universität Bern: "Holocene Moisture Changes Related to the Westerlies in Central Chile as Derived from Lake Sediments"
- Sonia Seneviratne, ETH Zürich: "Risks of Summer Dryness in the Midwestern United States"
The awards are sponsored by the CCA(Commission for Atmosphere and Climate of the SANW).
IGBP (9 posters):
- Esther Thalmann, Universität Bern: "Comparison of Wet and Occult Deposition to a Forest Ecosystem"
- Adrian Gilli, ETH Zürich: "Lake-Level of Closed Basins as a Proxy for Past Atmospheric Changes – Seismic Stratigraphy of Lago Cardiel, Argentina"
The travel avards are sponsored by the Swiss IGBP Committee.
IHDP (3 posters):
- Hans-Joachim Mosler, Universität Zürich: "Voluntary Collective Action in Neighbourhood Slow-Down – Using Communication and Diffusion Instruments".
Only one award was given this year by the Swiss IHDP Committee of the SAGW.