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NASA's James Hansen speaks at climate change workshop May 1-3 [video]

April 28, 2009

PLEASE NOTE: The venue for the keynote address has changed to Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125)


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Middlebury College will host a global climate change workshop sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation titled Getting to 350: Building Strategies for 21st Century Aspirations the weekend of May 1-3, under the direction of Luce Professor of International Environmental Economics Jonathan Isham. The public is invited to a keynote address by NASA climatologist James Hansen, via live video feed, on Friday evening, May 1 at 7 p.m. in Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). Hansen's address and the workshop are free and open to the public. Reservations for the workshop are required.

VIDEO:
 
James Hansen on 60 Minutes April 26

Jon Isham discusses 350 workshop (3:05)

Dr. Hansen's keynote talk on Friday night will be centered on the idea that if "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted," the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 parts per million or lower. According to climate scientists, the current global mean concentration of CO2 is 387 parts per million (ppm), already a dangerously high level, and on a rapid increasing trajectory. Hansen and colleagues brought the 350 ppm recommendation to light last year in a study published in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal.

Following the keynote, participants in the weekend workshop will share, critique and build strategies for taking on this challenge. "We need to completely de-carbonize the global economy within a generation," says Isham. "This is the hardest thing humankind has ever tried to do, and it's not just a problem of greenhouse emissions. 'Getting to 350' must entail reinvigorated economic and political systems that improve well-being for the world's poorest and assure the most basic freedoms for all. So our goal with this workshop is to gather leading thinkers, scholars, activists and students to ask, 'How can we re-engineer the systems on which we all depend - economic, political, socioeconomic and cultural - in order to bring the number down to 350 and assure a more sustainable and more desirable future?'"

Author, activist and Middlebury Scholar-in-Residence in Environmental Studies Bill McKibben will join the conference via live video feed from New Zealand on Saturday afternoon. McKibben and several Middlebury College students launched 350.org, an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.

The conference dovetails with the senior seminar course Isham is currently teaching, also titled "Getting to 350." Students in the course have been closely involved in planning the workshop and will both facilitate and present during the weekend. In 2005, Isham and Middlebury students organized a similarly formatted workshop titled "What Works," which helped to accelerate new approaches to fighting global warming, including Step It Up (www.stepitup07.org) and Power Past Coal (www.powerpastcoal.org).

To follow is a schedule of events for the "Getting to 350" workshop:

Friday, May 1, 7 p.m.

Keynote Lecture (via video feed). "Getting to 350" and follow up conversation with Dr. James Hansen, director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Introduction by Betsy Taylor of 1Sky. Follow up discussion led by Betsy Taylor; Ted Glick, Chesapeake Climate Acton Network; and Jesse Jenkins, the Breakthrough Institute.

Saturday, May 2.

8:30-9:30 a.m.
World Café Session Moderated by Jon Isham, Middlebury College

9:30-10:45 a.m.
"Getting to 350: Where Do We Stand?" Moderated by John Passacantando, From Crisis to Opportunity, with panelists Kandi Mosset, Indigenous Environmental Network; Meg Boyle, Greenpeace USA; Frank Ackerman; Tufts University

11 a.m-12:15 p.m.
"Building Solutions in an Open-Source Century" Moderated by Ida Kubiszewski, University of Vermont with panelists Michael Woolcock, University of Manchester and Jared Duval, Demos

1:30-3 p.m.
"Breakthrough Ideas that have Worked" Moderated by John Maluccio, Middlebury College, with panelists Beryl Levinger, Monterey Institute for International Studies; George Overholser, Nonprofit Finance Fund; and Elena Panaritis, Panel Group

3:30-5 p.m.
"Building Systems for the Future" Moderated by Rebecca Henderson , MIT, with panelists Lew Milford, Clean Energy Group; Phillip Thompson, MIT; and Jessy Tolkan, Energy Action Coalition

5-5:30 p.m.
"Building a Global Movement: An Update" Bill McKibben, Middlebury College and 350.org (via video feed)

Sunday, May 3

8:30-10 a.m.
Break-out sessions, including:
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Green Squash Media
ES401 students and Phil Aroneanu, 350.org
ES401 students and Randy Kritkausky, Ecologia
ES401 students and Elaine Wang, Institute for Sustainable Communities
Tracy Himmel Isham, Middlebury College
Sierra Murdoch and Dana Kuhnline, Power Past Coal
Stephen Nodvin and Steven Leibo and others, Climate Project

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Beginning the World Anew: Taking our Next Steps. Led by Middlebury students and conference participants.

For more information or to register for the workshop, visit the "Getting to 350" online, or call Jennifer Herrrera at 802.443.5743

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