World class researchers and practitioners engaged with the MSU community on cutting-edge environmental topics related to environmental science and policy.
The Distinguished Lecture Series is funded by Michigan AgBio Research and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.
Abstract: Climate change is one of the major challenges facing China today and in the coming decade. The government has addressed this challenge by altering growth patterns, namely, reducing energy intensity and mitigating wasteful emissions. Performance of these efforts over the past five years was mixed. In the coming decade, China has to find and use new policy instruments in order to reduce the social cost of environmental improvement and enhance effectiveness. In the international climate negotiation process, China will have to play a more positive role and make a stronger commitment to greenhouse gas abatement. International collaboration, especially with major players, is necessary for China to achieve her goals of sustained and quality growth and to make a positive contribution to the international process for a viable climate treaty.
Biosketch: Jintao Xu is a professor of natural resource economics and chair, Department of Environmental Management, at the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, as well as professor of economics at National School of Development, Peking University. His research ranges from forest tenure and regulatory reform, forest carbon and water resources, to valuation of industrial performance under environmental regulation. His papers have been published in journals such as Environmental and Development Economics, World Development, AJAE, Land Economics, Ecological Economics, and International Forestry Review. Currently he serves as senior editor for the journal "Regional Environmental Change", and member of the policy board for "Environment and Development Economics".
He also leads the Environmental Economics Program in China (EEPC), one of six world centers sponsored by Swedish SIDA. EEPC conducts rigorous economic analysis of China's environmental and natural resource policies.
Jintao Xu has frequently been involved with policy consultations with national and international organizations. During 2000-2004, he led studies in the socio-economic impacts of China's ecological programs (i.e. the Sloping Land Conversion Program and Natural Forest Protection Programs), and helped formulate advice to the Chinese government to improve their implementation. Recently, he served as senior expert to China's forest carbon management program. He also participated in the biannual Sino-US Economic Dialogue organized by Council of US-Sino Relations and Peking University.
Jintao Xu received his master of economics degree in 1996 and Ph.D. in natural resource economics in 1999, both at Virginia Tech.
Cosponsored by Asian Studies Center
Abstract: Managing the National Climate Assessment is an act of faith – faith that connecting people and information, building community, and doing a better job of synthesizing science and experience from multiple disciplines will help us make better decisions. It is also an act of faith because the intellectual and technical challenges are so large that reasonable people might question whether it can be done, and whether it can be sustained over time. Fortunately, this Assessment is informed by wisdom and experience from the leaders of previous assessments, National Academy reports, and years of working on collaborative governance and exploring the interface between science and society. If we succeed, this effort should yield benefits previous assessments have not – including building a foundation for adaptation decisions at multiple scales.
Biosketch: Kathy Jacobs is the Assistant Director for Climate Assessment and Adaptation at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is on a mobility assignment from the University of Arizona, where she is in the department of Soils, Water and Environmental Science. Jacobs is Director of the National Climate Assessment and part of a team working to develop a national adaptation strategy. Jacobs recently chaired a National Research Council panel on climate change adaptation within the America's Climate Choices Project, and has served on six other Academy committees. From 2006-09 Jacobs was the Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of the three state universities focused on water-related research, education and technology transfer in support of water supply sustainability. She has 23 years of experience as a water manager for the state of Arizona, including 14 years as director of the Tucson Active Management Area, and has a master's in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Biosketch: Stephen Polasky is the Fesler-Lampert Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He was a faculty member in Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University (1993-99) and Economics at Boston College (1986-93). Polasky was the senior staff economist for environment and resources for the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1998-99. His research interests include ecosystem services, natural capital, biodiversity conservation, endangered species policy, integrating ecological and economic analysis, renewable energy, environmental regulation, and common property resources. In 2010, he was elected into the National Academy of Sciences. He was also elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007. His research has been published in a number of journals and he has served as co-editor and associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, as associate editor for International Journal of Business and Economics, and is currently an associate editor for Conservation Letters, Ecology and Society and Ecology Letters.
Abstract: Psychology can make a significant contribution to limiting the magnitude of climate change by improving understanding of human behaviors that drive climate change and human reactions to climate-related technologies and policies, and by turning that understanding into effective interventions. This talk develops a framework for these contributions, summarizes what we have learned, and sets out an agenda for next steps. I emphasizes that the greatest potential for contributions from psychology comes not from direct application of psychological concepts but from integrating psychological knowledge and methods with knowledge from other fields of science and technology.
Biosketch: Paul C. Stern is a senior scholar at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences and works with its standing Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change and is also Professor II at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research interests include the determinants of environmentally significant behavior, particularly at the individual level; participatory processes for informing environmental decision making; processes for informing environmental decisions; and the governance of environmental resources and risks. He is a long-time contributor to behavioral science research on energy consumption and recently served on the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Interface between Psychology and Global Climate Change. He has won the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America.
Abstract: "Risk governance" is an integrated way of dealing with environmental problems, and especially those with complex, ambiguous and uncertain impacts. This approach has been informed by interdisciplinary research drawing from multiple fields, including psychology, sociology, policy, and law. Governance refers to the many ways in which relevant actors deal with interventions that impact the environment and its service to human societies.
The term inclusive governance refers to a policy approach in which actors are invited to consult with decision makers or even co-determine key policies for risk reduction and mitigation. For this purpose, new procedures for stakeholder involvement have been developed and partly tested. Beyond this horizontal level of inclusion, environmental policies have to be aligned to across vertical levels, from the local to the international. Both vertical and horizontal governance dimensions face many challenges and problems.
The lecture will introduce this inclusive governance approach as it relates to environmental risks such as climate change, water scarcity, biomass conversion and others. It will summarize existing attempts to secure support for collective action and conclude with some general lessons for future research and practical applications.
Biosketch: Ortwin Renn is a professor and chair of environmental sociology and technology assessment at Stuttgart University. He directs the Interdisciplinary Research Unit for Risk Governance and Sustainable Technology Development (ZIRN) at Stuttgart and the non-profit company DIALOGIK, a research institute for the investigation of communication and participation processes in environmental policy making. In 2006, Renn was elected Deputy Dean of the Economics and Social Science Department and Acting Director of the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Stuttgart. He also serves as Adjunct Professor for Integrated Risk Analysis at Stavanger University (Norway) and as Contract Professor at the Harbin Institute of Technology and Beijing Normal University. He is a member of the Scientific and Technical Council of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) in Geneva, the International Committee on Integrated Research on Disaster Reduction (IRDR), the National Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management of the People's Republic of China, in the panel on "Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making" of the U.S.-National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. (from 2005-2007) and the European Academy of Science and Arts (Vienna and Salzburg). He serves on the senate of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (Berlin) and on the Board of Directors of the German National Academy of Technology and Engineering (Munich and Berlin). Renn is primarily interested in risk governance, political participation and technology assessment. He has published more than 30 books and 250 articles, most recently the monograph "Risk Governance" (Earthscan: London 2008).
Pam Matson, Dean of the School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University and Chair, National Resource Council Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Abstract & Biosketch | Download Presentation
Abstract: The last two decades of scientific research have led to dramatically improved understanding of the dynamics and causes of human caused changes in Earth’s environment. Relatively less progress has been made by the scientific community in the design of solutions for sustainability challenges – solutions that will help meet the needs of 9 billion people while at the same time sustaining the ecosystems, air, water and climate systems on which future generations will rely for their well-being and survival. In her talk, Pamela Matson will briefly describe some of the great leaps in knowledge about global change that have resulted from research over the past several decades, and will describe the recent “call to arms” for the scientific community to focus not just on understanding change but developing solutions for sustainability. Using an example from her own research, she will illustrate how use-inspired research can contribute to general understanding as well as to the development of useful and usable sustainable management approaches, especially when carried out in collaboration with decision makers.
Biosketch: Pamela A. Matson is Dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. She is a co-investigator on the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability Program. Her research addresses the links between development and environment, focusing primarily on agricultural and other land use issues in the Yaqui Basin, Sonora, Mexico. Matson's research in the Yaqui Valley has dovetailed with her writing and policy work on issues of sustainability. As a member of the National Research Council's Board on Sustainable Development, Matson used the Yaqui Valley as one of several case studies that argue for the need for "place-based integrative analysis" -- understanding the dynamics and forces of change in social and biophysical systems as one integrated system, through the use of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, management, and policy making. Until 1993, she was a research scientist at NASA/Ames Research Center. From 1993-1997, she was a professor of ecosystem ecology at the University of California, Berkeley. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1994. In 1995, Matson was selected as a MacArthur Fellow, and in 1997 was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.