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BARD CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY EXPLORES GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE ON SEPTEMBER 28 Second Annual Open Forum Series Starts with "Climate Change: the Science, the Economics, the Politics. What Do We Know and What Are We Doing about It?"

Darren O'Sullivan
914-758-7649
osulliva@bard.edu
09-01-2000

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— On August 19, the New York Times reported the startling discovery by a United Nations–sponsored scientific expedition that a portion of the ice cap at the North Pole had turned to water. While the significance of that finding has since been disputed, the sighting has sparked the latest argument in the long-running scientific, economic, and political battle over the existence of global warming and its potential impact on the Earth’s climate.

To help illuminate this controversial and complicated issue, the Bard Center for Environmental Policy will begin its second annual Open Forum series on Thursday, September 28, by presenting "Climate Change: the Science, the Economics, the Politics. What Do We Know and What Are We Doing about It?" The forum starts at 7:30 p.m. in Olin Hall and is free and open to the public. A panel of experts will explore what is really known about the science and environmental impact of climate change, the extent to which businesses are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the efforts in Congress and internationally to address these issues. Following the forum, there will be a reception with the panelists.

Distinguished panelists include Leslie Carothers, vice president of Environment, Health, and Safety at United Technologies Corporation; John Firor, senior scientist and director emeritus at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Annie Petsonk, international counsel for Environmental Defense’s Global and Regional Air Program. The forum’s moderator is Peter Berle, host and director of The Environment Show, a weekly public radio show.

Joanne Fox-Przeworski, director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, stresses the need for more public education and discourse on climate change and global warming, especially with the U.S. presidential election approaching and hundreds of world leaders gathering this month in France and again in November in the Netherlands for the next round of climate change negotiations. "With all the attention being given to these serious, and controversial issues, the general public needs to be an informed participant in the ongoing discussions," she contends.

Is enough known about the science of climate change for us to take actions to address its consequences? Why is Congress so adamantly opposed to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Why are major corporations, including some that were opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, joining the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to research alternatives to current ways of doing business? These are among the questions the panel will consider.

About the Panelists:

Peter A.A. Berle, moderator, is host and director of The Environment Show, a weekly radio broadcast on over 200 public radio and ABC radio stations in the United States and to 138 countries on U.S. Armed Forces Radio. An environmental lawyer, he has served as state legislator, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, and publisher of Audubon magazine. Appointed by President Clinton, he is one of five American members on the joint Public Advisory Committee to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation, established under the NAFTA environmental side agreement.

Leslie Carothers is vice president of Environment, Health, and Safety at United Technologies Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut, and is responsible for the company’s environment, health, and safety programs worldwide. Prior to joining UTC in 1991, she spent four years as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Carothers has also served as senior environmental counsel for PPG Industries in Pittsburgh and is a former deputy regional administrator for the New England Region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

John Firor is a senior scientist and director emeritus at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He served as the Center’s second director and later directed its Advanced Study Program. Firor also chaired the board of trustees of the Environmental Defense Fund for five years, the NASA Space and Terrestrial Applications Advisory Committee for three years, and the advisory board of the Natural Resources Law Center of the University of Colorado. He has participated in expeditions to measure continental structure along the Andes Mountains in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Firor’s book The Changing Atmosphere: A Global Challenge has appeared in eleven languages.

Annie Petsonk is international counsel for Environmental Defense’s Global and Regional Air Program in Washington, DC. She coordinates Environmental Defense’s advocacy efforts related to international environmental law, international agreements, and institutions, and works to develop international laws that provide economic incentives for environmental protection. She has been an adjunct professor at the George Washington University and University of Maryland law schools since 1994. Formerly, Petsonk was a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Policy, Legislation, and Special Litigation unit and worked in the environmental law unit of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Joanne Fox-Przeworski is director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy and former director for North America of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The second Open Forum in the 2000-2001 series, "Election Special: Environment and Politics," will be held on Thursday, November 2. The third, "Global Environmental Changes and Human Health," will take place on Thursday, February 22. The final forum, "Global Environmental Changes and Food," will be a joint program with the Culinary Institute of America on Thursday, March 22, 2001.

The Open Forum series is sponsored by the Bard Center for Environmental Policy as part of its commitment to make current and important environmental issues available for widespread public discussion. Through education, research, and public service, the Center, established in 1999, addresses local and global policy issues pertaining to the natural and built environments. At the Center’s core is a new two-year program leading to a master of science in environmental policy, to begin in the fall of 2001.

Reservations are requested for the forums. Call 845-758-7071 or e-mail cep@bard.edu for further information.

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Website: http://www.bard.edu

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This event was last updated on 05-21-2003