Smokestacks emitting greenhouse gases. Photo courtesy Environmental Protection Agency

A 16-member delegation of UC San Diego scientists and students will join the international climate negotiations in France next week to press for action on climate change.

The United Nations’s 21st Conference of the Parties on climate change, or COP21, will be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Le Bourget outside Paris.

Negotiators are hopeful that the accord will yield a binding agreement among countries to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Participation in COP21 and associated climate negotiations advance our understanding and protection of our planet, which is one of our grand research themes at UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We are committed to conducting cutting-edge research and disseminating our knowledge to improve our world.”

The researchers, students, and staff are from the UC Revelle Program for Climate Science and Policy, a non-governmental organization that represents the University of California system at United Nations climate conferences.

“Our role in these climate conferences is to bring science into the conversation as much as possible so that the strategies that may become national policies have the best chance to be effective in mitigating the changes in nature that human activities have precipitated,” said Margaret Leinen, irector of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and leader of the delegation.

Scripps climate and atmospheric scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan will take part in several events at COP21 related to a June 2015 encyclical from Pope Francis, Laudato Si, that calls on Catholics to understand the importance of environmental protection as a social justice objective.

Ramanathan, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since 2004, played a pivotal role in the creation of the encyclical and will attend COP21 as an advisor to the Holy See.

“My primary goal at COP21, including my role as science advisor to the Holy See, is to make sure the interests of the poorest three billion people who had very little role in carbon pollution receive global attention,” he said.

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