When: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 @ 12pm-1:00pm
Where: In-Person: MidWestOne Bank 102 S. Clinton St., Iowa City, IA
Speaker: Stratis Giannakouros
This talk will discuss the challenges to a zero carbon transition posed by the simultaneous crises of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As the world emerges from the pandemic, disruptions in global supply chains and pent up demand have caused inflation not seen since the oil crisis of the late 70s. This in turn has lead to increased commodity prices from oil to food staples, as well as scarcity in the materials necessary for renewable technology deployment (chip shortages and rare earths). The ongoing Russian Invasion of Ukraine has further destabilized energy markets, supply chains and raw materials procurement. The geopolitical energy landscape has at once been transformed, with Europe redoubling efforts to wean itself from Russian energy through accelerated clean hydrogen R&D, as well as other clean energy targets. At the same time, the US has doubled down on shale oil production and LNG export, while it remains to be seen how we will respond through accelerated renewables R&D. What do all these changes portend for our efforts to address climate change? How does this affect the commitments made at COP(26) in Glasgow? How will this catalyze our energy transition? How will it undo progress?
Stratis Giannakouros is the Director of the UI Office of Sustainability. He comes to the UI from Arizona State University, where he served as project manager and program manager for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Prior to that, he was the assistant director at the Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College and sustainability outreach coordinator at Colorado State University. Mr. Giannakouros has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Loras College and a master’s degree in Environmental Politics and Policy from Colorado State University.
When: Wednesday, October 20th @ 12pm
Where: In Person at MidWest One Bank (across from the Pentacrest, University of Iowa)
Speaker: Jerald Schnoor
Jerald Schnoor is the Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Co-director of the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research. Schnoor’s research interests include phytoremediation, groundwater, and water sustainability with special fields of knowledge in water quality modeling, aquatic chemistry, and climate change. Dr. Schnoor is a registered Professional Engineer and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
A new report, the sixth in a series since 1990, Climate Change 2021:The Physical Science Basis was released this fall by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called the report a “code red for humanity.” Among its many findings, “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.” Widespread and rapid changes have occurred in the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere and glaciers. Furthermore, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are the highest concentration in at least 2 million years; methane and nitrous oxide are the most in more than 800,000 years; and our average temperature on earth is the warmest in at least 2,000 years.
Iowans face more frequent and severe storms, greater runoff and soil erosion, warmer nights, and more humidity, pollen and mold spores. In California and the western US, climate change manifests as drought and wildfires; in the Northeast as flooding, and in Miami as blue-sky flooding. If you live in coastal Louisiana, it means more intense hurricanes, power outages and floods. Last year, thirty named storms set a US record, and 13 of those hurricanes made landfall, also a record.
A turning point could be the upcoming United Nations Glasgow Climate Conference, November 1-12, also known as COP26. There, the world will try to agree on greater cuts in nationally-determined greenhouse gas emissions, more funding for the most vulnerable nations (The Green Climate Fund), ending oil exploration and production, constraints on international financial transactions, and limits on international travel. Cuts in emissions of 50% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 are deemed necessary to avoid catastrophic warming and dangerous interference with the climate system.
Global response to transitioning out of the fossil fuel age to renewable energy, electric vehicles, battery storage of wind and solar power, a smart grid, a rebuilt infrastructure, and a circular economy promises high quality jobs, resilience to climate change, and an engine for economic development in the 21st century. In short, climate action promises healthier ecosystems and people, cleaner air, stable climate, a dynamic economy, and a sustainable future for our children.
When: Thursday, September 9th @ 12pm
Where: In Person at MidWest One Bank (across from the Pentacrest, University of Iowa)
Speakers: Dr. Sara Mitchell and Yufan Yang
Dr. Sara Mitchell and Yufan Yang will discuss how climate change and natural disasters influence the chances for war and peace between countries. They will review what we know about this important topic, connect to their ongoing research, and discuss the policy implication of their findings.
Dr. Sara M. Mitchell is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. She is the author of six books and more than 55 journal articles and book chapters. She has received over 1.1 million dollars in external grants. Her areas of expertise include international conflict, political methodology, and gender issues in academia. Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior IR women. She received the ISA Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2015), a distinguish alumni award from Iowa State University, and she served as President of the Peace Science Society.
Yufan Yang is a doctoral candidate of political science at the University of Iowa. She studies international relations and political methodology. Her areas of expertise include political violence, environmental politics, and text analysis. She is the author of a journal article in Defense and Peace Economics and a book chapter in What Do We Know About War (Third Edition).
When: Thursday, February 11th @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
This program will first touch briefly on the science of climate change and the events of 2020- including the California drought and wildfires, the unprecedented number of hurricanes which made landfall in the US, and the midwestern derecho. Then, Professor Schnoor will address updates on the Biden administration's plans to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. Policies in China and the EU will also be discussed, together with the lack of funding for vulnerable and affected nations.
Jerry Schnoor is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (elected in 1999) for his pioneering work using mathematical models in science policy decisions. He testified several times before Congress on environmental protection, including the importance of passing the 1990 Clean Air Act. From 2003-2014, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the leading journal Environmental Science and Technology and of ES&T Letters in 2013-2014. He chaired the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development from 2000-2004; and served on the EPA Science Advisory Board and the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council for NIEHS (2007-2011).
In 2010, Schnoor received the Simon W. Freese Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize from the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) for his research and leadership in water sustainability and climate change. In 2013, he was awarded an Einstein Professorship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in 2015, the Perry L. McCarty AEESP Founders’ Award for sustained and outstanding contributions to environmental engineering education, research, and practice. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) presented to Jerry the 2016 Dixy Lee Ray Award “for outstanding achievement in environmental protection through improvements in technology, science, and policy”. Most recently, the American Chemical Society bestowed the 2019 Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology national award for pioneering phytoremediation. In summary, Schnoor’s mathematical models of acid deposition and water quality and his research using plants in phytoremediation have been foundational to the field of environmental engineering.
By Rei Tang & Mark Conway on Wednesday, February 5, 2020
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By Katina Lillios, Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Katina is the author of Heraldry for the Dead: Memory, Identity, and the Engraved Stone Plaques of Neolithic Iberia (Texas, 2008), In Praise of Small Things: Death and Life at the Late Neolithic-Early Bronze Age Burial of Bolores, Portugal (BAR, 2015, coauthored with Waterman, Artz, and Nilsson-Stutz), and The Archaeology of the Iberian Peninsula: From the Paleolithic through the Early Bronze Age (Cambridge, 2019).