Cedar Rapids Gazette: E. Iowans Go to Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen

Saturday, December 12, 2009

By Cindy Hadish
Cedar Rapids Gazette

An Iowan traveling to observe climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, hopes the United States and other countries will agree to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

University of Iowa engineering professor Jerald Schnoor said it appears doubtful that a treaty will result from the 15th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The convention is working to renegotiate the Kyoto protocol, an international agreement that the United States failed to sign, which aims to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming.

While a treaty would be enforceable by international law, Schnoor is hopeful that at least other agreements will be reached.

Among those could be agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and financial commitments from richer nations to help developing countries adapt to climate change, he said.

An estimated $20 billion annually is needed for countries to build higher floodwalls, protect rainforests and take other measures to adapt to the global changes.

Schnoor, who chairs the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council, is among a 30-member delegation traveling to Copenhagen as part of the Iowa United Nations Association.

The delegation includes professors, graduate and undergraduate students from Drake University; Grinnell College; Iowa State University; Rice University in Houston; the UI and Wartburg College.

Student members were chosen through a competitive selection process based on their academic achievements and community-engaging program proposals.

Schnoor said the group will make presentations to the campus community, state Legislature and elsewhere after they return to Iowa on Dec. 19. Most members are leaving for Copenhagen on Saturday.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “The students are really neat and dedicated to making a difference in the world.”

The UI delegation includes Schnoor, Jana Schnoor, Adam Abelkop, Anthony Berger, Ryan Drysdale, Abbie Gruwell, Amy Oberbroeckling, Bethany Patten, Zachary Rogers, and Simeon Talley.