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The politics of the environment and climate change

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 06/23/06 • Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

Experts gather at Dartmouth to discuss solutions to climate crisis

Climate change is, well, a hot topic for the global community. Carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, and pollution are all issues regularly debated among politicians, business leaders, and other decision makers worldwide.

Karen Fisher-Vanden and Larry Lohman
“What Comes After Kyoto?” was the topic of a three day symposium at Dartmouth. Pictured above are: Karen Fisher-Vanden (left), assistant professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth, and Larry Lohmann, with the The Corner House, an environmental and social justice organization in Dorset, UK. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Dartmouth's Michael Dorsey, an assistant professor of environmental studies, explains that serious duality exists among those who are working on this issue. He says that at a United Nations climate change meeting in Bonn, Germany, in May, 2006, delegates from 165 countries supported efforts to reduce harmful emissions to mitigate environmental impacts per the Kyoto Protocol. In separate meetings, the G8 leaders have talked about easing climate change and addressing country debt, but Dorsey says that at the July, 2006, G8 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, it's expected that the leaders will focus on promoting expanding access to fossil fuels, which will exacerbate both problems of emissions and debt. So what's the bottom line?

"There is an urgent need to think beyond the Kyoto Protocol," says Dorsey. "There is growing evidence that the Kyoto targets may not avert a climate crisis. Citizens and governments likely will have to do more. What the course of action is needs to be collectively thought out and planned. We are beginning a global dialogue here at Dartmouth that will bring valuable insights and solutions to the climate crisis."

Dorsey and Darren J. Ranco, an assistant professor of Native American studies and environmental studies, organized a "What Comes After Kyoto?" symposium at Dartmouth on June 23-25. At the meeting, representatives from universities and environmental and human-rights organizations discussed the multitude of players involved in the global markets that impact key aspects of climate change.

"From petroleum drilling and mining, to automobile manufacturing, to international trade policies, to local labor markets, the issue of climate change is only getting more intricate," says Ranco. "This is the beginning of a critical dialogue among scientists and experts in an effort to provide valuable critique and offer suggestions to help address climate change."

Documents developed at this gathering will be presented at the November, 2006, UN climate change meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

"What Comes After Kyoto?" was sponsored by the Office of the Associate Dean for Sciences, the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Environmental Studies Program, the Dartmouth Sustainability Initiative, and the Native American Studies Program, all at Dartmouth, and it was held at Dartmouth's Center for the Advancement of Learning.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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