URI Vetlesen Lecture Series to examine global environmental change, Feb. 23

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First speaker to “confront the climate-energy challenge”

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 10, 2010 – Harvard University Professor Daniel Schrag is the first speaker in the University of Rhode Island’s spring Vetlesen Lecture Series examining global environmental change. His presentation, “Confronting the Climate-Energy Challenge,” takes place on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on the URI Kingston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture series, presented by the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and sponsored by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, is a follow-up to the 2008 Honors Colloquium series that explored human-caused global change, its consequences, and potential human responses.

“We learned from the Honors Colloquium series that there is still a great deal of misinformation out there about this topic, and many people are trying to gain a better understanding of the tremendous changes that humans are causing here on Earth,” said Steven D’Hondt, URI professor of oceanography and a co-organizer of the series. “The four distinguished speakers in this Vetlesen series will shed additional light on this vital topic of global importance.”

Schrag teaches earth and planetary sciences at Harvard and serves on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. His recent research has focused on the feasibility of storing captured carbon dioxide as dense liquid and solid hydrate in deep-ocean sediments. He has advocated for a large-scale effort to prepare the world to capture carbon dioxide from large point sources and store it in geologic repositories. This lecture will also be webcast at URI Live.

The second lecture, on March 2, will feature author Naomi Oreskes discussing “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth About Climate Change.”

A professor of history and science studies at the University of California at San Diego, Oreskes is an active investigator of the interplay between science and society. She is the author of an influential essay on whether major climate review panels downplay legitimate dissenting opinions on human-caused climate change.

The final two speakers in the series are:

March 16 – Dalhousie University Professor Boris Worm on “Saving the Blue Planet: Patterns, Trends and Prospects for Marine Biodiversity;” and

March 30 – Filmmaker Norbert Wu on “Exploring the World’s Notable and Threatened Underwater Habitats.”

All of the lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium.

For additional information, visit www.uri.edu/vetlesen or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.