Colloquium on Forests and Climate

New Thinking for Transformational Change

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

Carlos Nobre

Challenges from climate variability and change to creating sustainable landscapes

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?

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Carlos Nobre is National Secretary for Research and Development Policy in the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation of Brazil. Areas under this Secretariat include climate change, sea and Antarctic meteorology, climatology and hydrology, ecosystem management and biotechnology. During his period as Secretary, Nobre created the National Early Warning and Monitoring Centre of Natural Disaster, known as CEMADEN.

In 2013, Nobre was appointed to the UN High-Level Scientific Advisory Panel on Global Sustainability. He is also Chair of the Board of Directors of Rede CLIMA (since 2011); Chair of his ministry’s Sectorial Funds Steering Committees for Water Resources, Biotechnology, Agriculture and Health (since 2011); Chair of the National Commission on Meteorology, Climatology and Hydrology (since 2011); Coordinator of the National Institute for Climate Change (since 2009); and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change (since 2009).

His scientific career is dedicated to biosphere–atmosphere interactions, climate modeling, tropical meteorology, climate change, global environmental change, Amazonia, and natural disasters. Nobre has authored or co-authored more than 180 scientific articles, books and book chapters, which have received a total of more than 4500 citations in the scientific literature.

He has received a number of prestigious awards: Dr. Luis Frederico Leloir Prize on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation of Argentina (2011); Anchieta Medal and São Paulo City Gratitude Certificate (2010); Grand-Cross Medal of the National Order of Scientific Merit of the Presidency of Brazil (2010); Alexander von Humboldt Medal of the European Geophysical Union (2010); WWF Environmental Personality Brazil (2009); Scopus Prize – Elsevier and CAPES (2008); Personality that Makes a Difference, Science category, awarded by Brazilian daily newspaper O Globo (2007). In 2007, Nobre was named one of the 100 most influential Brazilians by the weekly Brazilian news magazine Época, and is recipient of the José Pelúcio Award – Climate Change from the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology (2007). He was a Lead Author of the fourth IPCC Assessment Report (the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007). Other awards include the Conrado Wessel Foundation Award on Science and Culture, category Environmental Sciences (2006) and National Order of Scientific Merit Medal, Presidency of Brazil (1997).

Nobre has a degree in Electronics Engineering from Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA) (1974) and a PhD in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1983).

Nobre’s previous positions include: Chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (2006–2011); Creator and Director of the Center for Earth System Science, National Institute for Space Research (2008–2011); Scientific Director of the Brazilian Research Program on Climate Change (Rede CLIMA 2008–2011); Scientific Director of São Paulo State Research Foundation’s Research Program on Global Climate Change (2007–2010); Director of the Center for Weather Forecasts and Climate Studies (1991–2003); Program Scientist for the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA 1996–2003); Chair of the LBA Science Steering Committee (1997 and 2004); Chair of the International Advisory Committee of the Program to Protect the Rain Forests of Brazil (2005–2007); Chair of the Committee on Graduate Programs in  Multidisciplinary Sciences of the Brazilian Ministry of Education (2005–2007); Brazilian Coordinator of the Anglo-Brazilian Amazonian Climate Observations Study (1990–1996); Participant of the Amazonian Micrometeorological Experiment (1983–1985); Participant of the Global Tropospheric Experiment/Amazon Boundary Layer Experiment (1985–1987); Participant of the Amazon Trace Gas Experiment (1990); Participant of the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth IPCC Assessment Reports; Visiting Professor Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil (1991–1993); Visiting Scientist University of Maryland, USA (1988–1989); Assistant and Associate Researcher, and Senior Scientist at the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (1981–2012); Assistant Researcher at Brazilian Institute of Amazonian Research (1976–1980).