IRI in Copenhagen

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, part of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, will host and participate in a number of events at this year’s Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark. Event details are below, in chronological order.

Climate change in Google Earth
Climate Change Kiosk in the Bella Center, December 10, 11 a.m briefing will showcase a series of Google Earth layers and tours that allow viewers to explore the potential impacts of climate change and solutions for managing it. IRI’s narrated tour talks about the link between climate and devastating meningitis outbreaks in Africa. Haresh Bhojwani gives a brief presentation on how we are using information technology for managing climate risk, and then introduces our Google Earth tour. (watch a video of the tour)

Climate risks and insurance: Index insurance projects in Africa
Holland Climate House, December 10, 5-6:30 p.m.
IRI’s International Development Officer, Haresh Bhojwani, discusses index insurance for adaptation.

Designing climate robust agriculture
Holland Climate House, December 11, 10a.m.-12p.m.
What is the impact of climate change on agriculture and how do we design climate robust agriculture? Research scientist James Hansen and his colleagues present a general overview, show the effects of climate change on the production of potatoes, milk and wheat and offer insight into the design of climate robust systems. They also discuss the role of scientists, policy makers and farmers in the design process.

Negotiating climate information needs for improved humanitarian response and rural livelihoods
Koncerthuset (The Concert House), December 13, 9-10:30 a.m.
IRI scientist Molly Hellmuth and colleagues examine efforts to improve humanitarian practice and rural livelihood strategies through the provision of climate information. The session focuses on the IRI – Red Cross/Red Crescent partnership and on ‘Climate Change Adaptation in Africa’ experiences. One case is community based, the other engages global-scale decision makers, yet both present a common set of challenges and opportunities. Chaired by Claude Jibidar, Deputy Director of the World Food Programme’s West Africa Regional Bureau.

IRI Side event – Climate Services for Adaptation: Knowledge Transfer and South-South Collaboration
U.S. Pavillion. December 14, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
Walter Baethgen introduces the general subjects of climate services and South-South collaboration. Mr D. Korecha (Ethiopia) describes the activities of the Climate and Health working groups in Africa and the work conducted in malaria early warning systems. Dr D. Martino (Uruguay) presents the Information and Decision Support System (IDSS) for the agricultural sector established in Uruguay in collaboration with the IRI, and how the approach, methods and tools are being expanded to Paraguay and Chile. Dr M. Diallo (ACMAD) discusses the role of institutions form the North in the development and improvement of climate services provided by ACMAD in collaboration with National Weather Services.

Using Climate and Weather Forecasts to Improve Humanitarian Decision Making
iSeeT @ Climate Change Kiosk in the Bella Center, December 14-15th, Screen 5, time to be determined.
Looped video showing how the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and IRI have been collaborating on using climate information such as seasonal and extreme forecasts to help with humanitarian community’s preparation and assistance. IRI and IFRC will give a brief presentation.

Insurance and Adaptation,
Bella Center, Room 6, December 16, 6:15-7:45 p.m.
Munich Climate Insurance Initiative with IRI, the UN Development Programme, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Oxfam. Experts, including IRI’s Daniel Osgood, give examples of how insurance approaches help vulnerable countries and people adapt and reduce risk. Delegates and experts discuss ways to build risk reduction and non-profit insurance entities. They also look at alternatives for moving from the negotiating text to action between 2009 – 2012.

Community based rehabilitation of degraded land: an effective response to Climate Change in Ethiopia
December 16 6:15-7:45 p.m.
Ethiopia in collaboration with its partners is implementing land rehabilitation projects. An example is “Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transition” (MERET) with the World Food Programme. The presentation focuses on how local communities manage fragile ecosystems and build sustainable livelihoods capable to adapt to climate change.


Interested Journalists, please contact:

Kevin Krajick, Earth Institute Press Office,


212-854-9729, Mobile: 917-361-7766

Clare Oh, Columbia University Office of Public Affairs:


212-854-5479 Mobile: 646-415-2479