Colloquium on Forests and Climate

New Thinking for Transformational Change

24 September 2014, Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University, New York

To foster new thinking, CIFOR and the Earth Institute issued a challenge to six thought leaders on climate: Tell us your big ideas on how to change the future by challenging the present.

These thought leaders will present their responses in a special high-level scientific debate held as part of New York’s Climate Week in September, Colloquium on Forests and Climate: New Thinking for Transformational Change.

Following the presentations, participants will join leading climate and forestry experts in debating these fresh ideas, charting the future direction of climate research – and envisioning bold initiatives in forestry, landscapes and sustainability to improve the lives of millions.

The Colloquium will start at 1.30 pm, to ensure there is enough time for discussion. Refreshments will be served from 12.30 pm. Please bring a photo ID for registration. For directions to the venue, please see here.
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John Holdren

Assistant to the President for Science and Technology; Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Carlos Nobre

National Secretary for R&D Policy, Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation, Brazil (MCTI)

Cheryl Palm

Director of Research at Agriculture and Food Security Center, Columbia University; Deputy Director of Vital Signs Africa

Pushpam Kumar

Professor in Environmental Economics, University of Liverpool; Chief, Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, UNEP

Eduardo Brondízio

Professor of Anthropology, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Sciences, Indiana University; Science Committee, Future Earth

Dan Nepstad

Executive Director of the Earth Innovation Institute; a lead author of the IPCC Fifth Assessment

Peter Holmgren

( Opening address )
Director General, Center for International Forestry Research

Christine Padoch

( Moderator )
Research Director for Forests and Livelihoods, Center for International Forestry Research

Lisa Goddard

( Closing )
Director, International Research Institute for Climate & Society, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Louis Verchot

( Closing )
Research Director for Forests and Environment, Center for International Forestry Research

Big ideas

  • 01

    What are the alternatives for sustainable energy supply for emerging and developing economies and what does the landscape need to provide? What role do technology and forests play in the solution?

    Speaker : John Holdren

  • 02

    Fossil fuel emissions continue to go up, but emissions from tropical land-use change are declining. This is mostly due to reductions in deforestation in tropical Latin America, equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia. But scientific tools such as models give a glimpse of what will happen if we do not stop climate change – how the Amazon forests might look like in the future. Is what we are seeing in the Amazon the beginnings of a more permanent climate shift due to global warming? How can climate information be improved to support economic growth and solutions for local livelihoods?

    Speaker : Carlos Nobre

  • 03

    How do agriculture and forestry intersect and what does that mean for the changing face of sustainable development, land uses, local livelihoods and ecosystems? Is there room for landscapes solutions to bring these issues together?

    Speaker : Cheryl Palm

  • 04

    One of the major emerging issues for the global community is the question of how to enhance human capability to bring transformational change toward a green economy. Two elements are critical for bringing about this transformation for the seven billion people on the planet: to organize and resolve trade-offs; and to identify indirect drivers of change such as investment and other macroeconomic factors. If we manage to change the ways in which progress is measured, and at the same time succeed in demonstrating and internalizing the economic worth of natural capital, we have a chance of making the green economy a reality.

    Speaker : Pushpam Kumar

  • 05

    Although we have made a lot of progress, our efforts to reconcile development and conservation in forest regions currently rest on unsustainable grounds. We need to confront – intellectually and in practice – several mismatches and misconceptions: a mismatch of governance institutions, a mismatch of values, and a mismatch of representation and expectations.

  • 06

    Climate change and rapid growth in human consumption of food, fuel and fiber are driving agricultural expansion — especially in the tropics. This trend could accelerate tropical deforestation, releasing lots of carbon to the atmosphere, making climate change worse. Or, we can get out ahead of this problem and grow more food on lands that are already cleared. To change the crisis into a revolution we need to overcome the intense fragmentation that we’ve seen and we need to find ways to bring sectors together at a scale that actually makes a difference.

    Speaker : Dan Nepstad