Seminar to discuss climate

Setting the record straight and circulating good information on climate change is the aim of three climate commentators who will be holding seminars in Otago this week and in early October.

Dr Jim Salinger, Prof Caroline Saunders and Rod Oram will speak at a seminar in Omakau tomorrow, focusing on the impact of climate change on the primary sector.

The free seminar is hosted by the Central Otago District Council.

Dr Salinger, a climate scientist based at the University of Auckland, was lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts in disseminating greater knowledge about man-made climate change and laying the foundations for the measures to counteract such changes.

Prof Saunders, of Lincoln University, is known for her work on the carbon footprinting of agricultural exports, while business and financial journalist Rod Oram has commentated widely about the Emissions Trading Scheme and climate change.

The trio are embarking on a nationwide tour, hosting 35 seminars throughout the country.

They will be in Palmerston and Oamaru on October 10 and in Dunedin the following day.

"We're apolitical and just wanted to get good climate change information out there and also what's happening in terms of carbon footprinting in terms of agriculture and its implications for trade," Dr Salinger said.

Although the subject of climate change was a controversial one, "97% of climate scientists are in agreement that it's the actions of humans that are affecting the climate - all the more reason to set the record straight and get good information out there".

The seminars would run for about two hours and the commentators would field questions from the audience at the end, he said.

The council's business development manager, Jonno Gadd, said the topic was an important one for those earning their living off the land, but would interest all residents.

"This is an opportunity to hear first-hand the potential impact on our district and what steps should be taken to manage the impact of climate change. Primary industry is the largest sector of the economy and managing the challenges of our climate is critically important for the long-term wellbeing of Central Otago's rural communities," Mr Gadd said.

Anyone interested in attending the seminar is asked to register with the council.


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