At COP21 negotiators from around the world will decide on what action to take against climate change.
At COP21 negotiators from around the world will decide on what action to take against climate change.


A small team of UQ and GCI researchers will attend the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, where negotiators from countries around the world will decide on the action they intend to take against climate change.

Global Change Institute Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said people were starting to wake up to the fact that the value of the ocean was not "just a great day at the beach".

"The ocean is a valuable earth system which is regulating the atmosphere, stabilising temperature providing food and employment for billions of people and it's a system we can't do without," he said.

"One thing to know about the ocean is it's very hard to get to change, but once it starts to change it almost impossible to stop. And we're at that point in history where we can stop the changes that will have a devastating effect on coastal and marine societies across the planet.

"We've got to (at COP21) take this and the other issues in the climate debate very seriously, because if we don't we're committing future people to a planet which may not be that liveable," Prof Hoegh-Guldberg said.

"Over the past year there's been an enormous evidence base that's built-up. We've seen major studies on non-climate factors and their influence on the ocean, and the impact on fisheries of over-fishing, the pollution and so on. We've also seen the IPCC deliver its report last year.

"All that is on the table now. There is no excuse for negotiators to ignore that," he said.

"This is the best science; it's the consensus science and it needs to be taken very seriously."


Six researchers (see below) from The University of Queensland and UQ's Global Change Institute are attending the COP21 talks in Paris. To facilitate better communications between journalists and the COP21 team in Paris, many of the UQ participants will provide regular voice pieces from Paris during the COP21 talks.

GCI will make this audio available to registered media representatives on arrangement.

For more information, please contact GCI Communications.


Professor Ove Hoegh-GuldbergProfessor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
Global Change Institute

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has actively collaborated with organisations such as the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Royal Society of London and The World Bank, as well as advising government and business on the science and urgency associated with climate change.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has worked extensively with the media, believing that scientists need to extend the impact of their science using the full set of communication options. He has published works that include more than 200 refereed publications and book chapters and is one of the most cited authors within the peer-reviewed literature on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems.

His interests in climate change has led to significant roles within the IPCC (coordinating lead author Chapter 30, 'The Ocean') and other international organisations in his role as Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and as Coordinator for the Australasian Centre for Excellence and Chair of the Bleaching Working Group within the World Bank-Global Environment Facility Coral Reef Targeted Research Program.

As Director of the GCI Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has a key role in engaging with the UQ community and external stakeholders to create opportunities and build strong external links and networks for the Institute. He heads a large research laboratory (more than 30 researchers and students) that focuses on how global warming and ocean acidification are affecting and will affect coral reefs.

  • Prince Albert II of Monaco's Climate Change Award (2014)
  • Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow (2012)

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Dr Justine Bell
School of Law
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law

Justine Bell's research interests include environmental law and policy, property law and planning law.Justine is a Lecturer at the TC Beirne School of Law, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the areas of Environmental law and Climate Change law. Justine obtained a PhD from the Queensland University of Technology in 2010, and was awarded an ARC funded Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2011. Justine undertook her postdoctoral research at the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, focussing on legal, policy and insurance responses to sea-level rise.

Justine's main area of research interest is climate change adaptation law, as well as environmental, planning and property law. She is also particularly interested in multidisciplinary approaches to these issues, and has collaborated widely with researchers from science.

John CookJohn Cook
Climate Communication Fellow
Global Change Institute

John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland. He created the website, which won the 2011 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge. John co-authored the college textbook Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis and the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. His writing was included in The Best Australian Science Writing 2014, a collection of Australia’s finest science writing of the year. In 2013, he published a paper analysing the scientific consensus on climate change that gained worldwide media attention, being tweeted by President Barack Obama. The paper was awarded the best paper of 2013 published in Environmental Research Letters and is the most downloaded paper in the 80+ journals published by the Institute of Physics.

He developed a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, which is currently available at John is currently completing a PhD in cognitive psychology, researching how people think about climate change.

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Dr Sophie DoveAssociate Professor Sophie Dove
Affiliate Associate Professor
Global Change Institute

Dr Sophie Dove's research interests include UV and coral reefs, marine biochemistry, light effect on algae, sun and coral reefs, coral biology, coral - heat and light stress, global warming and coral reefs, photosynthesis - marine life, coral bleaching.

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Dr Matt McDonaldAssociate Professor Matt McDonald
School of Political Science and International Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 53042

Dr Matt McDonald is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the School of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS).He researches and publishes on global environmental politics, international security, Australian climate policy and Australian foreign policy. His main area of expertise is in critical theoretical approaches to security in international relations, and their application to environmental change and Australian foreign and climate policy.

Read Matt's recent blogs on The Conversation:


Adrian WardDr Adrian Ward
Climate Policy and Ecological Economics
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (GPEM)

Adrian Ward has more than 10 years’ experience as a climate policy expert in both the private and public sectors. His specialty is in international carbon markets and climate finance. Adrian has delivered capacity-building projects and carbon management/financing strategies for many government and private sector companies around the world including in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Chile, Malaysia, Italy, the Philippines and New Zealand. This training has included projects with the Shanghai Environmental and Energy Exchange, World Bank, UN FAO, the Australian Commonwealth Government and some of the world’s biggest companies such as Petronas, CNOOC and Glencore Xstrata.

Adrian has also developed a particular specialty is dynamic multi-user climate policy simulations which use the latest ICT technologies and incorporate both human players and artificial intelligence systems. He developed the GCI’s award winning CarbonGameTM, and recently, an advanced emissions trading simulation for the National Development and Reform Commission in China to assist in the training key stakeholders in the coming national ETS. Adrian has a PhD in climate policy and ecological economics. 


9 Dec 2015

AUDIO: A/Prof Matt McDonald reports on the final week behind-the-scenes manoeuvers at COP21.








4 Dec 2015

AUDIO: COP21 summary by Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg after day three.







3 Dec 2015

AUDIO: Scaleability and time-frame still represent significant challenges to Pacific & small island nations seeking COP21 solutions, Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says.

Audio link: Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg on climatechange solutions at COP21








AUDIO: Dr Matt McDonald comments on the growing importance of India at this year's Conference of Parties in Paris.

AUDIO LINK: Dr Matt McDonald comments on India's growing importance at COPO21.








2 Dec 2015

AUDIO: Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg provides a personal update on day one of COP21 from Paris.

AUDIO link: Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg at COP21 in Paris after Day one.








1 Dec 2015

AUDIO: Dr Matt McDonald ponders the significance of vulnerable countries aiming for a 1.5 degree target at COP21.

Dr Matt McDonald audio








21 Nov 2015

GCI Board Chairman Robert Hill AC has outlined on the Science Show what Australia can expect to achieve as a nation at the COP21 negotiations in Paris. Honourable Professor Robert Hill was the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations (2006 - 2009), Minister for the Environment (1996 - 1998), and Minister for the Environment and Heritage (1998 - 2001).








Science show interview link


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