Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 6, 2008

Public invited to 'Climate Change and Human Rights' symposium Feb. 15

People living in the Arctic are dependent upon dwindling fish and plant life, not just for their livelihoods, but also for their very survival. Many environmental experts believe that worldwide, the number of severe storms, the incidence of drought and the melting of glaciers will only increase as time goes on, impacting more people around the globe.

Experts from across the country will gather at the University of Iowa from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 Friday, Feb. 15, to discuss climate change and its devastating impact on human rights during the "Climate Change and Human Rights Symposium." The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the UI Boyd Law Building's Levitt Auditorium.

Joseph Michaels, editor-in-chief of the Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems Journal and a third-year law student, said this topic was chosen in collaboration with journal members because of its relevance to human rights.

"We need to fix things now as opposed to later; later will be too late," Michaels said. "We're not just talking about the current climate but how climate change will affect people and their children in the future. It applies to all of us with no consideration to sex, gender, race or class."

The symposium will also feature climate change's impact on indigenous persons, the greening of energy policies, and the legal issues and options affecting future generations.

Highlights include a keynote presentation at 12:30 p.m. by Jerald L. Schnoor (photo, left), Allen S. Henry Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering in the UI College of Engineering and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) co-director, titled "Future Climate Change:  Mitigation and Adaptation."  He will present options so that future generations will know how to adapt to this warmer climate. He will also discuss how the planet is warmer by 0.8 degrees Celsius than it was 100 years ago, with most of the warming occurring in the last few decades.

Schnoor recently was appointed by Gov. Chet Culver to chair the new Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council. He also has a long history of involvement in environmental causes, focusing on such research studies as groundwater contamination and hazardous waste remediation, global change, water quality modeling, and carbon sequestration.

Other symposium speakers include: Carolyn Raffensperger from the Science & Environmental Health Network; Laura Westra from the University of Ottawa; Eileen Gauna from the University of New Mexico; and Brian Hook, counselor to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The UI College of Law's Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, CGRER, the International Law Society, and the UI Center for Human Rights are sponsoring the symposium.

For more information or special accommodations to attend the symposium, contact Joseph Michaels at or at 319-335-9736 or see

For more information on the Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, see For information on the UI College of Law, see

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Joseph Michaels, UI College of Law Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, 319-335-9736,; Tom Snee, University News Services, 319-384-0010,; Writer, Jenna Ely