“Implementation of near term measures to limit climate change in the Arctic is crucial if humanity is to avert consequences that could imperil coastal cities, disrupt weather and ocean circulation patterns and trigger large releases of methane from the tundra and ocean sediments,” stated Climate Institute President John Topping. “Working with other concerned groups we seek to promote both a US and an international Life Cycle Assessment standard that will slow climate change in the Arctic and adoption of measures that will ensure that Arctic warming does not spiral past humanity’s capacity to adapt. As a modest initial step we have recruited a team of 21 volunteer fellows and interns from Sweden, Bulgaria, Slovakia, India, Canada, the US and the UK to work closely with our program staff who hail from Mexico, US, Australia, Pakistan, and Costa Rica. Climate change in the Arctic will affect every human on Earth and this warrants an international response.”
Drawing on its international reach and the emergence of such enabling technologies as Skype, the Climate Institute is launching an ambitious effort to meld together the talents of 21 individuals, all of whom are serving pro bono as Virtual Fellows or Interns. This complements two other activities of the Climate Institute: 1) the Sir Crispin Tickell Climate Network that includes both the world’s highest climate observatory and 12 (and soon14) climate theatres, the climate education equivalent of a planetarium, all in Mexico (See http://www.climate.org/publications/Climate%20Alerts/Winter2011.html; and the Center for Environmental Leadership Training (CELT), a virtual center based in Hanover, NH, drawing on the volunteer talents of students from Dartmouth College and Vermont Law School. CELT has three primary thrusts for the moment: 1) fostering the development in a variety of languages of problem solving games and tools (See http://gamelab.info/ designed to empower CELT participants and others to master and design problem solving games 2) building a Smart Environmental Solutions section of www.climate.org and modules on YouTube, Vimeo.com and other sites and 3) facilitating collaboration on climate solutions among Dartmouth College, Vermont Law School and interested tribal colleges.
There are roughly comparable numbers of participants in CELT and in the new virtual intern program, with some in each case working on similar efforts, e.g. the Global Sustainable Energy Islands Initiative, the Smart Environmental Solutions postings and the nascent efforts to launch an Arctic Climate Action Registry. Ultimately it is envisioned that much of the focus of the Virtual Intern and Fellows Program will be in support of the growing Tickell Climate Network, but for now it is anticipated that much of this collaboration will come from CELT that is seeking to develop tools and games that might be of use to Tickell Network visitors. For the next year it is envisioned that the primary activity of the Virtual Fellows and intern Program will be in support of two closely related Climate Institute activities: 1) working to ensure adoption of a pioneering and robust US ANSI Life Cycle Assessment standard that might become the basis for a very strong ISO on Life Cycle Assessment (See draft standard out for public comment, especially Annex A Part 4 pp. 33-47. http://www.leonardoacademy.org/services/standards/life-cycle/comment-form.html) and 2) creating in collaboration with other environmental and standards organizations an Arctic Climate Action Registry.
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