EPA Climate Change Lecture Series –release of video broadcasts

Date released: Jun 24 2008

The EPA has released the video broadcasts of the lectures from the recent, highly popular, climate change lecture series. The seven-part series explored key aspects of climate change ranging from predictions and impacts, to its economic and political consequences. An impressive group of international speakers presented a comprehensive assessment of the facts, challenges and opportunities arising from a changing global climate and their lecture presentations, along with the ensuing question and answer sessions, are now available as a video broadcast on the EPA website.

Each lecture attracted an unexpectedly large audience, proving that climate change is an issue of great importance to all sections of society.   The video broadcasts serve as an excellent record of the lecture series and will be of great interest to those who were unable to attend. They will provide valuable teaching material for schools and any organization interested in finding out more about the key facts from science; about the potential impacts as well as the solutions and actions required.

Dr Mary Kelly, Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency said:

“Climate change is now acknowledged as one of the most serious threats facing humanity.  Responsibility for dealing with that threat falls to this generation and fundamental and far-reaching structural and lifestyle changes are required if we are to deal with the environmental and social consequences.    

The time for action is now and we need to mobilise everybody to the task if we are to be successful.   Clear, accurate and timely information is vital in raising awareness among the public, the politicians and among key policy and decision makers in the country.  We feel that making this series of lectures widely available on the internet will be a valuable step towards raising awareness about this important topic.

Clear, accurate information, at the cutting edge of the science of climate change, as well as insights into the political processes involved in developing and implementing global solutions to climate change, were presented in the series and the Environmental Protection Agency is indebted to the guest speakers who each gave willingly of their time to engage with the Irish public.”

 The series was introduced by Dr Mary Kelly, Director General of the EPA and was chaired by Dr John Bowman, historian, broadcaster, TV and radio presenter.

Details of the lectures are as follows:

NO 1: The Science of Climate Change – Facing the Facts
Speaker: Dr Martin Manning, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, USA,
Director of the Working Group I Support Unit for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr Manning gave an overview of the key findings from the latest IPCC review of the science which showed what changes are occurring, explained what drives climate change and looked at indications for the future.

NO 2: Time for Action? – Options to Address Climate Change
: Dr Bert Metz, Environmental Assessment Agency, the Netherlands and Co-chair IPCC Working Group 3.

This lecture outlined the range of actions that are available to address climate change across the economic sectors and presented macro economic cost estimates for the coming decades. He gave an overview of the adaptation planning challenges and pointed out where there could be co-benefits. He emphasised the need to clear policies to manage adaptation and mitigation.

NO 3: Meltdown? – Evidence of Climate Change from Polar Science
: Dr Eric Wolff, British Antarctic Survey, UK.
Dr Wolff’s presentation discusses both the history of Earth’s climate as revealed by ice cores, and the likely impact of future climate changes on the polar regions.

No 4: A World Transformed – The Consequences of Climate Change and Human Land Use
: Professor Wolfgang Lucht, Potsdam Institute, Germany.

Dr Lucht’s presentation  explains how climate change, if left unchecked, will cause large-scale changes in vegetation across the globe.  He advises how continued expansion and industrialisation of agriculture will cause further deep transformations of landscapes with profound consequences for ecosystems and human cultures.

NO 5: Technological Solutions: Grey Clouds and Silver Linings
: Dr Leonard Bernstein, L.S. Bernstein & Associates, member of core writing team for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Synthesis Report and convening author of Working Group 3.

Bernstein’s presentation explains how full use of currently available technology, and the technologies expected to be commercialized in the next few decades, could achieve the required reductions in GHG emissions.

NO 6: Gain V Pain – Political and Economic Consequences and Options
: Mr Michael Zammit Cutajar, Malta’s Ambassador for Climate Change, former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, (Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations). 

Mr Zammit Cutajar addresses the reasons why it is necessary to have a coherent, globally agreed policy and programme to deal with the challenges of climate change and gives some insights into how such agreements are achieved and why it is that they can succeed or fail.

NO 7: Our Own Backyard – Ireland’s Response to Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities
: Mr John Gormley, TD, Minister for Environment Heritage and Local Government.

The Minister outlined the key issues for Ireland in order to respond effectively to the challenges of climate change. He unveiled the government’s climate change awareness campaign. This major campaign aims at informing the public about the importance of climate change and mobilising public support for emissions reductions.

Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)