November 13, 2014
On Thursday, November 13th, 2012, Mohammed Reza Salamat, Senior Program Officer on the UN Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team, traveled to Savannah State University to deliver a lecture as part of the Humpty Dumpty Institute’s Higher Education Alliance (HEA). The lecture was part of the ongoing partnership between the Institute and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Mr. Salamat focused his remarks on Climate Change and the United Nations prompting a wider discussion on the perception of climate change at the UN, in the US and among the international scientific community. Mr. Salamat explained how the UN works with the scientific community to recommend policy reforms and practical actions that Member States can take. Salamat began his lecture by explaining that climate change is not short term weather change. Climate change is concerned with long term trends. He covered the most recent conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Fifth Assessment Report. AR-5 states that human influence on global warming is unequivocal. The three decades from 1983 to 2012 are the warmest 30 year period in the past 1,400 years. He also focused on the power of public diplomacy in rallying political will and public support. Mr. Salamat also stressed the need for broader public education on climate change and UN issues, and urged the academic community to follow Savannah State’s example by integrating a global affairs into curriculum and campus-dialogue. "We need to engage people from all walks of life, particularly the universities on global issues. The more you know the UN the more sensitive you will be to global issues." Mr. Salamat said. The take away from Mr. Salamat’s lecture is that the UN is seeking help from youth and academia to push decision makers and spread the word on the urgency for action to mitigate climate change. Salamat emphasized there is no excuse for delay. The cost of action is estimated at 1% of worldwide gross domestic product, but the cost of inaction is 20 times that.
Mohammad Reza Salamat currently serves as a Senior Program Officer at the UN Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team, based in New York, USA. He joined the Division for Sustainable Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as an expert on policy aspects of climate change in January 2002. As a member of the Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team, his primary responsibilities were providing policy analysis and advice on the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations in the run-up to Copenhagen, and contributing to the preparations for the Summit on Climate Change convened by the Secretary General in New York on September 22nd 2009. Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Salamat worked as a chief climate change negotiator for his country, Iran, and also as one of the spokespersons of the Group of Developing Countries (G-77) in the lead-up negotiations to Kyoto Protocol and the ensuing negotiations.