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Evening at Egan lecture, JWAC forum to explore long-term climate change policy

Posted: November 11, 2011 - 1:01am
Detlef Sprinz
Detlef Sprinz

Each year, the Juneau World Affairs Council brings together local, national, and international experts to encourage dialogue and understanding of important contemporary issues. For the 2011 forum, the theme focuses on “the politics of climate change” with a variety of workshops and lectures that offer opportunities to learn more about the political, social, and environmental implications of climate change.

Among many special guest speakers, this week’s Evening at Egan lecture will feature international climate expert Dr. Detlef Sprinz, who will give a keynote address at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11 at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library.

Sprinz is a senior scientist with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He is also a professor with the Department of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Potsdam, Germany, and the chairman of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. His areas of research and publications encompass international institutions and the evaluation of their performance, environmental policy and modeling political decisions.

In his presentation “Is Long-Term Climate Policy Politically Feasible?” Sprinz will explore how governments can pursue long-term policies that impact large segments of society where delay or failure to act prevents a return to the status quo. He will also discuss the capacity for democratic institutions to respond to science.

For policymakers, addressing climate change involves the politically challenging task of shifting from short-term thinking to long-range strategies. Nevertheless, Sprinz offers an optimistic perspective.

“When it comes to long-term climate policy, we are not powerless,” he commented in a telephone interview earlier this week. “Long-term climate policy not easy, but it is feasible. We already have a range of institutions that are built for longevity.”

In his presentation, Sprinz will elaborate on examples and case studies in policy and business where long-term thinking can be applied to the challenges of global climate change.

UAS Provost Richard Caulfield encourages students and community members to attend.

“This lecture will present a global perspective on climate change, and the forum as a whole will be a place to connect local issues with national and international issues,” he said.

Linda Kruger, a Juneau resident and member of the Juneau World Affairs Council said that Friday’s lecture will also be an opportunity to gain an awareness of what Europe and other countries are already doing to prepare for the future.

“Climate change will affect different parts of the world differently, but each community needs to decide how to deal with those changes,” she said. “Dr. Sprinz’s presentation can give us ideas on how we in Southeast Alaska can develop our own ways to best respond and adapt to climate change in the future.”

Prior to the Evening at Egan lecture, Kruger will moderate the forum session “Climate Change and Social and Economic Justice” from 1-4:30 p.m. with guest speakers Jennifer Krencicki Barcelos and Jennifer Marlow of the Three Degrees Project. From 5-6:45 p.m., the forum will host a climate change science poster session from Alaskan scientists. Researchers will be available to answer questions and present their projects relating to climate change study and research.

The JWAC forum began Thursday, Nov. 10, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 12 at the UAS Egan Building. All events are free and open to the public.

For a complete schedule, event locations and speaker information, visit the website at www.jwac.org

* Jennifer Nu is a freelance writer based in Juneau. Contact her at jennu.jnu@gmail.com

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