In collaboration with University of San Diego Department of Political Science & International Relations
Symposium on Energy and Climate Change
14 May 2014, 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Anthropogenic climate change has moved to the forefront of world affairs. Rapidly rising concentrations of long-lived greenhouse gases due to industrialization and population growth portend a worrisome future for our planet. Our depleted ecosystems face existential threat from changes in climate and chemistry that may overwhelm nature’s capacities to adjust. Human civilization is conducting an un¬intended experiment on a planetary scale.
New temperature norms, ocean acidification, increasing drought and flood, more powerful storms, rising sea levels, and melting in the arctic are signals the world will look very different in coming decades.
In the face of greater systemic stresses, cities, farmers, and governments will struggle to understand. In human terms alone, the potential economic and social costs of mitigating climate change are huge. Trillions of dollars in infrastructure will need to be adapted or replaced. Agricultural practices worldwide will have to adjust. Millions of people will be displaced. Deepening social and geopolitical conflict resulting from climate change will further increase the costs in both human and economic terms.
THE ROLE OF ENERGY
Civilization has been transformed by industrialization, which can be viewed as the human imagination leveraged by machines powered by fossil fuels. Carbon-based fossil fuels remain the primary source of energy for modern societies – even as efforts to increase the use of renewable energy grow. The trajectory of climate change depends on our energy choices.
Modern civilization is at an historic crossroads: can humanity transform its energy use in time to avoid irreparable damage to the ecosystems on which humanity’s survival ultimately depends? Given the scale of the transformation required, and the decades of effort and vast expense that will be required, what policy narratives will produce the best results? How will the global energy mix change? What actions can we take to decrease the use of fossil fuels without inducing politically unsustainable economic costs to our societies? What clean and low carbon energy sources can be ramped up fast enough to make a difference? Will we have to resort to geoengineering and drastically different lifestyles?
The San Diego World Affairs Council and the Department of Political Science & International Relations at the University of San Diego see the need for a wide-ranging dialog on energy use. We understand our community will need to consider options for addressing, adapting, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. The Symposium on Energy and Climate Change is the forum to consider these new possibilities.
Would you like to join the talented and passionate community creating the breakthrough technologies and organizations necessary? San Diego is facing urgent issues of sustainability. As we respond to climate change and transform our energy profile, where are the career opportunities? What new industries and technologies are going to make a difference?
Join us to find out!
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park,San Diego, California 92110