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For Immediate Release: December 10, 2009

  • Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory; 508-289-7139 or 508-289-7423; dkenney@mbl.edu
  • Media Relations Office, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; 508-289-3340; media@whoi.edu
  • Elizabeth Braun, Woods Hole Research Center; 508-540-9900, x109; ebraun@whrc.org

Woods Hole Consortium Scientists Engaged in U.N. Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Directors and scientists from the Woods Hole Consortium are in Copenhagen, Denmark, to speak on climate change impacts on ocean, air, land, and polar-ice ecosystems—whose fates are inextricably linked—at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15).

The Woods Hole Consortium, whose members include the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), brings its members combined scientific power to bear on some of the major issues facing society today.

The Woods Hole Consortium is actively involved in formulating the scientific basis for climate and environmental policy decisions, both in the U.S. and internationally.

WHOI and MBL are participating in COP 15 (which runs through December 18) under the auspices of the WHRC, which is a registered observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

WHRC is involved in events and sessions throughout the Copenhagen conference, primarily addressing the issues surrounding Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). This proposal, which came into the forefront of climate negotiations at COP13, in Bali, Indonesia, is central to the language of an agreement which could succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

“The place is buzzing with energy and filling up fast with people from all over the world,” reported WHRC policy advisor/research associate Tracy Johns from Copenhagen yesterday. “REDD is proving to be the superstar of the negotiations so far. All of the hard work and research of the past four years seem to be paying off.”

The WHRC has released a series of reports and publications related to the key aspects of REDD. Those are available at http://www.whrc.org/cop15. WHRC Acting Director R. A. Houghton and Director Designee William Y. Brown are presently in Copenhagen.

WHOI and MBL directors will be panelists at Oceans Day on December 14, which will highlight the importance of oceans, coasts, and small-island developing nations in climate change assessments and policy deliberations.

Susan Avery, director and president of WHOI, will present an introductory overview to Ocean Day attendees, who include H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco (delivering the keynote address) and many other international policymakers.

Also representing the Woods Hole Consortium at Oceans Day are Gary G. Borisy, director and CEO of the MBL, who will speak on the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity; and Scott Doney, senior scientist at WHOI, who will speak on ocean acidification as a result of CO2 emissions. During the conference, the two organizations will also release a “white paper” on the ocean’s role in climate and how climate change impacts the oceans.

Other Woods Hole Consortium scientists attending COP 15 include Linda Deegan of the MBL Ecosystems Center; Carin Ashjian and Richard Camilli of WHOI; and Alessandro Baccini, Andrea Cattaneo, Connie J. Clark , Michael T. Coe, Eric A. Davidson, Scott Goetz, Nora Greenglass, Tracy Johns, Josef Kellndorfer, Nadine T. Laporte , Daniel C. Nepstad, John R. Poulsen, Wayne S. Walker of WHRC.

Woods Hole Consortium scientists are available for interviews. For more information on the Woods Hole Consortium and its participation in COP 15, go to:



The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Americas. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu.