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JSGS professor has leading role in climate change for international body

Margot Hurlbert will lead an international team of writers and editors on the topic of Land and Climate

A University of Regina professor will help craft an international document on climate change.

Margot Hurlbert – a Professor at the Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy – has been appointed a Co-ordinating Lead Author by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its Special Report on Land and Climate.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme to provide periodic scientific assessments regarding climate change to governments at all levels and to inform the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  

Hurlbert says she’s “excited and honoured” to be appointed to this position because only 104 people were selected as Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors by the IPCC from the 640 names proposed by governments.

“My background working in the energy sector is important in relation to the greenhouse gas science that will inform this Special Report, and my work on climate adaptation, agricultural producers and drought provides background in relation to the issues of desertification, land degradation, food security, and the interlinkages, synergies, trade-offs and integrated responses to these issues,” Hurlbert explains.  

IPCC assessment reports are written by leading scientists who volunteer their time and expertise as Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors of the reports. They enlist hundreds of other experts as Contributing Authors to provide complementary expertise in specific areas. Reports undergo multiple rounds of drafting and review to ensure they are comprehensive and objective. Thousands of other experts contribute to the reports by acting as reviewers.

“Coordinating Lead Authors coordinate the content of the chapter they are responsible for. I will work with another author from a developing country leading the team of 11 lead authors and future contributing authors in producing the content of the chapter on the basis of the best scientific technical and socio-economic information available. We will attend several face-to-face meetings, but also work remotely and through virtual meetings with a deadline of September 2019 for the finalization of the Special Report,” she says.

Hurlbert thinks her work at the U of R was a key reason why she was appointed.

“My employment and support at the University of Regina, as well as the opportunity I had to participate on inter-disciplinary international climate change projects with Drs. Harry Diaz and David Sauchyn of the University of Regina, allowed me to gain the experience and skills to qualify me for this prestigious appointment.”

Hurlbert is looking forward to getting down to work on the project.

“As a scientist working on energy and climate change, this provides me with a unique opportunity to make my research count and make an international contribution to solving the problem of climate change,” she says.  

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