Climate Policy Topic of Environmental Symposium

The topic of “Climate Policy: A Progress Report” is the theme of the Fourth Annual Robert Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium “Where on Earth are we Going?” which will be held on Oct. 18.  The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in Exley Science Center Room 150, the Tischler Lecture Hall.

More than 160 countries, including the United States, have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under its provisions, these countries are hoping to prevent dangerous interference with the world’s climate system. The symposium will look at how policies are – or are not – being structured by these countries to address these issues.

Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, will speak on climate policy during the Fourth Annual Schumann Symposium.

Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, will speak on climate policy during the Fourth Annual Schumann Symposium.

Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics and a senior member and coordinating lead author on the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will begin the three-part symposium at 9 a.m.

Yohe will discuss the latest results from the 2007 IPCC assessments, which have re-framed debates about climate policy at home and around the world. According to the IPCC, countries are now negotiating how and when to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. IPCC assessments have also begun to attract considerable attention within the halls of Congress and statehouses across the country.

At 10:15 a.m., William Blakemore ’65, former Wesleyan trustee, and television correspondent for ABC News for 38 years, will speak on “The Many Psychologies of Global Warming Given the Hard Realities We Face.”

Blakemore has reported on many wars, and other international stories as well as science, environment, education, and popes before starting to focus exclusively on global warming four years ago. He will speak on how the unprecedented nature, scale and gravity of the accelerating climate crisis is producing a wide range of psychological responses. They include not only various types of denial but also diverse positive affective engagements and cognitive confusions and innovations.

At 11:30 a.m., Richard Houghton, deputy director and senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass., an independent, nonprofit institute focused on environmental science, policy and education, will speak on “Global Climate Change – The Role of the Carbon Cycle in Global Warming.”

Houghton has studied the interactions of terrestrial ecosystems with the global carbon cycle and climate change for nearly 30 years; his area of expertise is the documentation of changes in land use and determination of historic and current sources and sinks of carbon resulting directly from human activity. He will discuss how emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use and land use (deforestation) are contributing to global warming.

The Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the Feet to the Fire campus-wide initiative.

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