The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has now reached 400 parts per million. The impacts of climate change have “moved firmly into the present,” as noted in the draft United States National Climate Assessment. Moreover, the pace and magnitude of climate change and its impacts are occurring much faster than was predicted even a few years ago. The window for turning the situation around is closing very rapidly.
The 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Building Climate Solutions, organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), will take place January 28-30, 2014. The conference will engage over 1,200 key individuals from many fields of natural and social science, humanities and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to develop actionable partnerships, strategies and tactics that advance solutions to minimize the impacts of anthropogenic climate change. Topics will include mitigation solutions to minimize the consequences of climate change and adaptation solutions for those consequences that cannot be avoided. We will consider both the built environment and agriculture & natural resources.
The emphasis will be on putting ideas into action – moving forward on policy and practice. We will focus on “opportunities for impact” on the most critical issues domestically or internationally in the relatively near term. To that end, we invite partners from all sectors of society, including multi-national groups, to utilize the conference to advance initiatives and climate actions.
We strongly encourage solutions that mobilize and utilize science, technology and education carried out with appropriate financing and policy. We will explore innovative and successful approaches that can be scaled up, and identify barriers to action and how to overcome these barriers. Sessions will consider both domestic and international issues.Plenaries, symposia and breakout workshops will connect to facilitate action.
Plenaries, symposia and breakout workshops will connect to facilitate action. Plenary sessions, moderated by journalists, will provide strategic overviews from diverse perspectives. Symposia will explore issues more deeply and set the stage for breakout workshops, where participants can develop actionable outcomes and commitments to further collaboration and work toward implementation.
The conference will operate under “Chatham House Rules.” Participants can speak freely and constructively without restrictions imposed by their professional, occupational or political affiliations.
The Built Environment: including cities,
housing, manufacturing and transportation
Agriculture and Natural Resources: including
food security, ecological integrity and ecosystem
services on land and in the ocean
Mitigation and Adaptation
Domestic and International
Natural and social science and technology, humanities and education, economics and financing and policy.
We will look for solutions that will reduce the generation of greenhouse gases, adapt to the changing climate, and improve health and well-being of all species. More information will be available on the conference website: www.BuildingClimateSolutions.org.
Call for Proposals
We invite you to submit a proposal for a combined symposium and breakout workshop. The symposium will present a project, initiative or partnership that is building climate solutions. The breakout workshop will be a facilitated discussion that follows the symposium, with a purpose to get additional feedback on the project, develop partnerships to help implement the project, and to share lessons learned from related activities. Presentations will take place only during the symposia, in order to use the full time of the workshop for discussion of ideas and building of partnerships and strategies. (Note that this is a change of format from previous NCSE conferences). The format should lead to actions and partnerships rather than recommendations for others to carry out.
Symposia –Symposia will take place Tuesday afternoon, January 28th and will provide focused discussion on how to implement climate actions on critical cross-cutting topics. Sessions that look at the connections between natural resources and the built environment are encouraged. There will be two sets of 12 concurrent symposia. Each 90-minute symposium will present the project or activity (e.g., a project to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the world’s largest cities). It should include an overview by the project leaders, presentation of the project’s current and planned activities by project participants (including from partner organizations), and comments by one or two individuals with expertise in the area or involvement in similar projects elsewhere, but who are not involved in the project (discussants). NCSE strongly encourages a set of speakers who are diverse in perspectives as well as demographics. The purpose of the symposia is to help conference participants become aware of significant efforts to tackle climate change and its impacts.
Breakout workshops – Each symposium is to be followed by a 3-hour breakout workshop that will take place Wednesday afternoon, January 29th. The workshops are the core of the conference and are intended to be an opportunity for participants to play a role in generating science-based outcomes within the topic area. The goal of the workshop is to generate additional action through development of improved strategies, tools and partnerships. The workshop and follow-up after the conference should develop action plans with commitments to work together for implementation. For example, a workshop on reducing greenhouse gases in the world’s largest cities might involve government, business and civil society representatives of those cities along with scholars and students who together identify several activities that they could take together and then continue to collaborate after the conference to carry out those activities.
The breakout workshop will not involve speakers or presentations (with the expectation that breakout participants have listened to the corresponding symposium) unless part of the workshop is specifically intended to provide training to the workshop participants. It will be a discussion facilitated by the project leader (or preferably a neutral facilitator with expertise in the topic area). Breakout participants will be able to get additional information about the project(s), discuss related activities that they may be involved with or knowledgeable about, and make suggestions on how to improve the project or related projects, including by their participation. Ideally, participants will continue to work together to carry out the action agenda.
Outcomes will be constructive, action-oriented, non-partisan, science-based approaches to improving global performance in the area of the breakout workshop. They may draw upon past and current initiatives, studies or reports, but they should also take the next steps and propose activities that will lead to implementation after the conference. As an outcome, the workshop leader will provide NCSE with an action plan on how they will use partnerships and knowledge gained at the conference to improve their projects. The plans will be shared with conference participants, decision makers, and funders.