The first week of March saw leading scientists from around the world come together at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama to discuss preliminary findings from a global research program into the impacts of climate change on the world's forests supported through the HSBC Climate Partnership.
The conference, orchestrated by Earthwatch's head of climate change research Dr. Dan Bebber, marked the mid-point of the five year partnership, which involves over 2000 HSBC employees in collecting data to feed into a global experiment to determine how the world's forests are responding to climate change.
Dr. Bebber said, "This conference brings together for the first time a global scientific community, at the cutting edge of forest carbon research. The unprecedented scale of this research has been enabled by the involvement of many hundreds of HSBC employees in data collection at research locations around the world."
The first three days' talks were webcast live at http://www.stri.org/. Delegates heard from scientists from some of the world's leading research organizations working in partnership with Earthwatch including the Indian Institute of Science, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Science. Research methods are being replicated at Earthwatch's five regional climate centers in Brazil, China, India, UK and the USA, with the help of “climate champions” - citizen scientists from HSBC.
Francis Sullivan, HSBC's advisor on the environment, also attended the conference where he talked about HSBC's commitment to sustainability, and policies and practices in place to encourage and support sustainable business practice among their clients. Sullivan said, "Through the HSBC Climate Partnership, we have deepened our understanding of the impacts of climate change across the world and have begun to address our own business response while working with our customers to realize the opportunities of the new green economy."
The conference speakers revealed emerging patterns in the results from the global research program, which will inform management strategies of forests across the world that sustain livelihoods and provide vital ecosystem services.
For more information on the HSBC Climate Partnership visit www.earthwatch.org/hcp