University of Toronto Professor Hoffmann describes ongoing collaborative research and answers audience questions regarding attempts to conceptualize how climate governance experiments are working towards decarbonization. Hoffmann contends that politics and political dynamics are the lynchpin for conceptualizing how to disrupt carbon “lock-in” and foster pathways to decarbonization. Further, carbon lock-in is not a single system that needs disruption. On the contrary, the carbon ‘system’ that we experience is the result of multiple, interlocking systems that exist at multiple levels.
Law and Policy
John Walke, Sr. Defense Counsel for the NRDC discusses three categories of advocacy that have been adopted by activists in the currently polarized environment where the mention of “climate change” makes people choose sides.
With evidence mounting that climate change is severe, pervasive and perhaps irreversible, why is society not responding as if it were preparing for war? Professor Mary Wood says it’s because we assume that environmental law will protect us. But unlike many other facets of society that are innovating in anticipation of a changed climate they accept is on the way, the law is not.
The world’s megacities are on the forefront of efforts to deal with climate change for a variety of reasons, says guest speaker Rit Aggarwala: Most are located in coastal zones where the impacts of climate change are strongly felt by their residents. And the mayors of those cities, he says, have jurisdictional authority to address those impacts.
Todd Wilkinson’s most recent book, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, is a diligently detailed, keenly interpreted, portrait of a smart, prescient, independent man driven to doing lasting good in the world on as large a scale as possible. Wilkinson is an environmental journalist and author of the critically-acclaimed book, Science Under Siege: The Politicians War On Nature and Truth.
Fran Ulmer reminds people that “Antarctica has penguins. The Arctic has people.” Ms. Ulmer was a University of Alaska Chancellor and Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 1994-2002. She talks about the effects of climate change in Alaska where average seasonal temperatures have already increased by 4 degrees in summer and 7 degrees in winter. Her talk is wonderful for anyone who forgets how very different the situation is at the Earth’s poles: Antarctica is uninhabited land surrounded by an ocean, whereas the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by 8 nations.
Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, shares his experience and perspective on key decisions made while working with the City of New York to mobilize scientists for a rapid assessment of the damage in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. He also discusses another project involving the loss of Arctic sea ice and its potential for effecting mid-lattitude climate.
Professor Burkett, Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP), discusses possible new government structures and considerations needed to deal with a projected 250,000,000 refugees from island nations and coastal cities in the 21st century as a result of rising sea levels.