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ASU faculty share in Nobel honors

October 17, 2007

ASU faculty and researchers have had a long history of involvement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. The Geneva-based IPCC relies on a federation of scientists that have acted as the authoritative voice on global climate change.

IPCC assessments are based on peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature. The reports are written by teams of authors from all over the world who are recognized experts in their field.

IPCC officials say the panel relies on the work of thousands of scientists in hundreds of countries, all of whom provide their services for free.

IPCC is in the midst of releasing the “Fourth Assessment Report,” which will be completed by mid-November.

ASU’s connection to IPCC includes Netra Chhetri, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, who was involved in the “Third Assessment Report” and “Fourth Assessment Report” of IPCC’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. This report provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change, the vulnerability of natural and human environments, and the potential for response through adaptation. Chhetri’s main contribution was in the chapter titled “Food, fiber and forest products.”

“As a contributing author, my role was to review the literature on impacts of climate change in agricultural sector and its socio-economic impact in tropical and temperate regions of the world,” Chhetri says. “This involved compiling and analyzing data from hundreds of studies published from different parts of the world.”

Chhetri also prepared information that illustrates the impacts of climate change in cereal prices.

Other ASU researchers who have been involved with the IPCC include Robert Balling, a professor the School of Geographical Sciences. Balling has been a chapter writer for several past IPCC assessments.

James Buizer, executive director for Strategic Institutional Advancement in the Office of the President, also has been involved in past IPCC assessments. He has been a contributing author to several IPCC special reports, a reviewer of the “Second Assessment Report” and “Third Assessment Report,” and as lead coordinator of the U.S. government response to Working Group II of the “Third Assessment Report,” which came out in 2002.

Many other ASU faculty have offered time as expert reviewers of various IPCC reports.

“This is an honor that goes to all the scientists and authors who have contributed to the work of the IPCC, which alone has resulted in enormous prestige for this organization and the remarkable effectiveness of the message that it contains,” says Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC upon learning of the group being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.