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1999 Biodiversity and Climate Change: Conservation in the Face of Uncertainty

The geologic record provides a unique long-term history of dramatic changes in the global climate and of the impact of these changes on life.  It reveals how past environmental change may have causes species to migrate, become extinct, or give rise to new species.  Scientists agree that our planet is now 5-9 degrees warmer than in the depths of the last ice age 20,000 years ago.  The dominant view among experts is that if we continue to release heat-trapping gases at the present rate, the average global temperature will rise by another 2-6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

Global warming presents a particular challenge to biodiversity conservation in a world already largely modified by humanity.  Biodiversity and Climate Change: Conservation in the Face of Uncertainty joined scientists, natural resource managers, conservation biologists, and policy makers to explore the evidence for past and present climate change and its consequence for ecosystems and species, and address conservation planning in an age of uncertain climatic trends.  A special session examined the past, present, and future of a changing climate on New York City, and addresses regional and local conservation planning issues.

The symposium was sponsored by the Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, and held in conjunction with the opening of the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth.


AGENDA

DAY ONE

9:00  PART I
CLIMATE CHANGE: UNDERSTANDING THE PAST

Moderator: Michael Novacek, Provost and Senior Vice-President for Science, American Museum of Natural History

SURPRISE IN THE GREENHOUSE
Wallace S. Broecker, Newberry Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE HOLOCENE
Dorothy Peteet, NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

THE POLAR ICE CORE ARCHIVE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Edward Brook, Department of Geology, Washington State University

11:00 PART II
CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTINCTION: WHAT'S THE CONNECTION?

Moderator: Niles Eldredge, Curator, Department of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History

MASS EXTINCTIONS AND THE HISTORY OF LIFE
Paul E. Olsen, Storke Memorial Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FOSSIL RECORD
John Van Couvering, Head, Micropaleontology Press, American Museum of Natural History

VERTEBRATE EXTINCTIONS AND QUATERNARY CLIMATE CHANGE: NO CONNECTION, BAD CONNECTION, OR MISSED CONNECTION?
Ross D. E. MacPhee, Chairman and Curator, Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History

THE LAST GREAT WARMING
Scott Wing, Research Curator, Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

2:00 PART III
IS THE EARTH WARMING?: A LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE

Introduction
Ellen V. Futter, President, American Museum of Natural History

Keynote Presentation
D. James Baker, Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, U.S. Department of Commerce

3:15 PART IV
THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON BIODIVERSITY

Moderator: Rob DeSalle, Associate Curator and Co-Director of the Molecular Laboratories, American Museum of Natural History

NOWHERE TO RUN: THE THREAT OF GLOBAL WARMING TO ECOSYSTEMS AND SPECIES
Adam Markham, Director, Climate Change Program, World Wildlife Fund

GLOBAL CHANGE AND PLANT EXTINCTION: HOW GREAT IS THE IMPACT?
Kent E. Holsinger, Professor of Biology, Director, Center for Conservation and Biodiversity, University of Connecticut

INSECT RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: EVIDENCE FROM THE QUATERNARY FOSSIL RECORD
Scott A. Elias, Fellow, Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research, University of Colorado

UNPREDICTABLE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: CORAL BLEACHING AND CORAL DISEASE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS
James Porter, University of Georgia


DAY TWO

9:00 PART V
CONSERVING BIODIVERSITY IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY

Moderator: Eleanor J. Sterling, Program Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation

THE NATURE OF CONSERVATION: MANAGING THE DYNAMIC
John G. Robinson,Vice-President and Director, International Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society

REEFS, RISK AND RESPONSIBILITY: CORAL BLEACHING AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
Peter O. Thomas, Senior Conservation Officer, U.S. Department of State

CONSERVATION PLANNING FOR AN UNKNOWN FUTURE
David Wilcove, Environmental Defense Fund

11:00 PART VI
A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE BIG APPLE

Moderator: Ira Flatow, Host, National Public Radio's Science Friday

THE BAKED APPLE SCENARIO
Douglas Hill, Consulting Systems Engineer, Regional Plan Association.

KEEPING COOL HEADS IN A HOTHOUSE WORLD: CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON NEW YORK CITY
Cynthia Rosenzweig, Research Scientist and Head, Climate Impacts Group NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies

THE BIG APPLE'S BIODIVERSITY: PROSPECTS FOR SURVIVAL IN THE POST-EISENHOWERIAN ERA
Michael W. Klemens, Director, Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society

1:30 PART VII
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Moderator: Francesca T. Grifo, Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation

Keynote Address
Frank E. Loy, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

LINKAGES BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND BIODIVERSITY
Tony Janetos, Senior Vice President for Programs, World Resources Institute

BUILDING SOLUTIONS TO FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Peter Frumhoff, Director, Global Resources, Union of Concerned Scientists

Panel Discussion
Tony Janetos, Senior Vice President for Programs, World Resources Institute
Thomas E. Lovejoy, Chief Biodiversity Advisor to the President, World Bank
Peter Frumhoff, Director, Global Resources, Union of Concerned Scientists

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