05 Jun 2007

Lieu: International Environment House II (7-9 ch. de Balexert)

Organisation: Geneva Environment Network

Cclimate change roundtable featuring lead authors of the IPCC and UNEP reports and a discussion of the interplay between science, public awareness and global policy-making, organized by the Geneva Environment Network to celebrate World Environment Day.

About this Session

Climate change awareness has reached a tipping point. From corporate CEOs to city mayors, and from the UN Secretary-General to movie and music stars, the call has gone out: the time for decisive action on greenhouse gas emissions is now.

The inclusion of the issue on the G8 agenda last year, the Oscar for the Al Gore film “An Inconvenient Truth” and the independent Stern Review on the economics of climate change have all contributed to the growing crescendo of concern. Most recently the release of the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change placed climate change on the soundest possible scientific footing and confirmed that the technologies and solutions are at our disposal – if only we have the will to use them.

As part of its own contribution, the United Nations Environment Programme is marking the aptly timed International Polar Year by putting the spotlight on one of the most dramatic impacts of climate change with the launch of a new report, Global Outlook for Ice and Snow.


Welcome by Christophe Bouvier, Director, UNEP Regional Office for Europe

Introduction by the moderator, Amb. Thomas Kolly, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

Presentations by the panel members:

  • Dr. Renate Christ, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Prof. Martin Beniston, IPCC Working Group II Lead Author, University of Geneva
  • Prof. Wilfried Haeberli, Director, World Glacier Monitoring Service, University of Zurich
  • Jacqueline Coté, Senior Advisor, Advocacy & Partnerships, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

General debate, Q&A and wrap-up by moderator


Christophe Bouvier was recently appointed Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Europe. Prior to this, he was the UNOPS Regional Director for Central Asia, North Africa, Near East and Europe. He has held senior positions at the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agricultural Organization, in charge of a range of development, humanitarian and environment-related activities.

Ambassador Thomas Kolly was appointed head of the International Division of Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment in November 2005. Prior to this, he worked for the Integration Office, the leading Swiss agency responsible for the relationship between Switzerland and the EU, and at the Swiss Embassies in Washington DC and The Hague.

Renate Christ is Secretary of the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She previously was responsible for climate change and other issues at the European Commission’s DG XI, the UN Environment Programme and the Austrian Ministry of the Environment. She has carried out research and lectured at several Universities and institutes. She holds a Ph. D. in eco-physiology from the University of Salzburg.

Martin Beniston is a professor at the University of Geneva, where he holds the chair for climate research and will be involved in the activities of a new institute on environment and sustainability scheduled to open in mid-2007. He served as an IPCC vice-chair in the mid 1990s and was a Lead Author for the recently released Fourth Assessment Report.

Prof. Wilfried Haeberli is Director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service and Head of the Physical Geography Division of the University of Zurich. He served on the Steering Committee for the new UNEP report Global Outlook for Ice and Snow. He specializes in research on environmental glaciology and high-mountain areas.

Jacqueline Coté joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2004 as Senior Advisor Advocacy & Partnerships. An international commercial lawyer for a large part of her career, Ms. Coté spent 15 years with the SGS Group in Geneva, first as corporate counsel and then as head of a new corporate unit created to develop product and service certification on a world-wide basis.