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News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

March 15, 2007

NIU experts will hold series
of public presentations on global climate change

DeKalb, Ill. — Top Northern Illinois University researchers on climate change will share their expertise in a series of seven public presentations revolving around the recent report on global warming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The series will kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in the Montgomery Hall Auditorium with an overview of the IPCC report and a discussion on the science that goes into global-climate models. Each presentation will include question-and-answer sessions and discussion.

“This entire series aims to provide the general public with a sense of the science behind the IPCC report, information on the causes and consequences of global warming and possible solutions,” said NIU Presidential Science Adviser Gerald Blazey, who along with Geography Professors David Goldblum and Jie Song, will present the first public presentation.

“What we’re really tying to do is put the evidence out there so people can learn about the issues and make their own judgments,” Blazey said.

Objective look at issues

The report by the United Nation’s IPCC warns that global warming is very likely caused by human behavior and will require international action to stem potentially devastating effects across the globe.

“The topic of global warming has had a history of being politically sensitive. We intend to examine the issues objectively and leave politics outside the door,” said Andrew Krmenec, chair of the NIU Department of Geography.

“The extent of climate change that our planet has seen could have a component that is natural, but we also know without question that humans are having an impact,” he said. “We’ve known that for a long time. The key questions are: How much are we contributing to global warming and what can we do to counteract those impacts?”

Krmenec, whose department organized the series on climate change, said the presentations will be geared for high school students, college students and adults. “These presentations are intended for a non-science audience, so you won’t need a degree in physics, chemistry, geology or geography to understand the information,” he said.

Listing of presentations

The presentations will be held on consecutive Thursdays, all from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Montgomery Hall Auditorium. In addition to the March 22 kickoff event, the schedule of presentations is as follows.

  • March 29—Addressing climate change through decision tools; and climate change and the risk of weather extremes. Presenters: Geography Professors David Changnon, Mace Bentley and Walker Ashley.
  • April 5—Soil carbon, agricultural-land use and global-change relationships. Presenter: Geography Professor Michael Konen.
  • April 12—Climate change and ecosystems: impacts on plants and animals. Presenters: Geography Professor Lesley Rigg and Biology Professor Peter Meserve.
  • April 19—Waterworld: global oceans and ice. Presenter: Geology Professor Paul Loubere.
  • April 26—From science to societal response: political and historical perspectives. Presenters: Political Science Professor Brendon Swedlow and History Professor Eric Mogren.
  • May 3—Slowing climate change: our responsibility, our options. Presenters: Philosophy Professor Mylan Engel Jr. and Geography Professor David Goldblum.

More to come

Krmenec added that the geography department intends to hold another series on global climate change sometime during the next academic year.

“There are many dimensions to this issue, including environmental ethics, economics and alternative energies,” he said. “As a public service, we want to continue with these presentations in the foreseeable future.”

For more information on the series, contact presentation organizer David Goldblum at dgoldblum@niu.edu or (815) 753-6839.

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