The climate conference conundrum / Columns / The Foreigner

The climate conference conundrum. COMMENTARY: As I spend yet another week attending scientific conferences, I wonder, are these just a talk shop? It might seem glamorous – bouncing around countries, presenting at posh universities, and interacting with top scientists. It is certainly an immense privilege. But a struggle always exists to give something back. Can I make the cost worthwhile? Is my time well-spent? How do I justify my participation?

norwayresearch, globalwarming, climatechange



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



Columns Article

LATEST:

The climate conference conundrum

Published on Sunday, 14th July, 2013 at 09:00 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

COMMENTARY: As I spend yet another week attending scientific conferences, I wonder, are these just a talk shop?

A group of participants
A conference breakout group this week in Erlangen, GermanyA group of participants
Photo: Ilan Kelman


It might seem glamorous – bouncing around countries, presenting at posh universities, and interacting with top scientists. It is certainly an immense privilege.

But a struggle always exists to give something back. Can I make the cost worthwhile? Is my time well-spent? How do I justify my participation?

In the end, it is not about condemning or condoning conferences in general. It is instead about selecting the right ones. For me, that means working on solutions to problems, without being self-indulgently smug about giving a witty and erudite talk.

I enjoy workshops  where we really do work. That can mean succinct, pithy presentations followed by plenty of questions. Another format uses breakout groups where we must return to the plenary with ways forward.

My current conferences are about creating an agenda for research and application. We aim to identify missing knowledge, determine how to fill the gaps, and ensure that we make the new knowledge useful and useable to people who formulate policy and enact practice.

The problems that we wish to solve range from integrating local culture into disaster preparedness to defining and supporting people migrating due to climate change. Participants are dominated by researchers presenting innovative science.

Policy and decision makers are included too. They tell us what science they can and cannot use while advising us on research directions which would engage them.

The face-to-face time substantially assists in sharing different perspectives and developing mutually acceptable goals and actions. We do not always agree, but we can collaborate.

Talk is necessary, provided that it is conversation rather than dictation. I am continually humbled at how much I learn by travelling, meeting people, and hearing what they do and why.

I also hope that I can teach them, especially inspiring them and myself to science-based action. We have a long way to go in dealing with environmental hazards, including climate change. A balance of conferences can contribute towards solving this societal puzzle.

Dr. Ilan Kelman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO)



Published on Sunday, 14th July, 2013 at 09:00 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: norwayresearch, globalwarming, climatechange.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!