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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 25, 2009

UI hosts Energy and Climate Change Symposium Oct. 16-17

The University of Iowa will host a symposium Oct. 16-17 examining new energy opportunities being created in response to the growing challenge of climate change.

Registration is under way for "Energy and Climate Change in the Midwest: Creating Opportunities in the New Economy," which will take place at the University of Iowa Athletic Club. Part of the Public Policy Center's Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy, this event is being sponsored by the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), the Office of the President and the Office of Sustainability.

The symposium will explore the future of energy in the Midwest in light of the causes and effects of global climate change and the potential benefits of a green economy.

"We hope that the information presented at the symposium will help attendees understand that the Midwest, and the State of Iowa in particular, can and must find ways to turn changes in national energy and climate policy to our economic advantage," said Jonathan Carlson, professor of law and international studies and senior associate to UI President Sally Mason.

"As the nation debates restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, we hope the symposium will help people understand the opportunities available to achieve energy goals in a cost-effective, and even profitable way, by exploiting opportunities for energy efficiency, emissions offsets, and low-carbon energy generation. We also hope that people gain a better understanding of the policy actions that need to be taken to take advantage of those opportunities," Carlson added.

National experts from an array of backgrounds - including engineers, industry representatives, policymakers, economists and agriculture experts - will speak. Tom Casten, chairman of Recycled Energy Development, LLC, will be the keynote speaker on Friday, Oct. 16. U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack will provide the federal government perspective on the issues at a closing session Oct. 17.

Topics to be covered include the state of the science, economic impact, renewable energy, energy efficiency, agricultural issues, and policy responses at the local, state and federal levels.

The idea for the conference originated with Mason, who served as co-chair of the Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Regional Competitiveness organized by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In May 2009, the task force released a report, "Embracing the Future: The Midwest and a New National Energy Policy," calling upon the Midwest to turn the challenge of energy and climate policy creation to its economic advantage.

"I felt that the issues, policies and recommendations discussed in the council's report were sufficiently important to Iowa and our region that the university should provide an opportunity for interested Iowans and others in the region to come together to discuss them," Mason said.

Mason added that symposium organizers wanted to share the knowledge and expertise of internationally renowned faculty affiliated with the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER).

CGRER was established in 1990 to promote interdisciplinary efforts that focus on global environmental change. CGRER supports research and education and outreach activities that address both Iowa and global environmental concerns. Under the direction of Jerry Schnoor and Greg Carmichael, the center supports faculty members and students across the state doing environmental research.

Schnoor and Carmichael are experts on causes and impact of climate change. Schnoor also heads the state's Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council. In 2008, Carmichael received worldwide recognition for his article in the journal Nature Geoscience linking soot to climate change.

"We are excited to bring together state and regional experts to examine the progress we are making to transform our Midwestern energy economy and address the impacts of a changing climate," Schnoor said.

Carlson and Mason encourage concerned citizens, state and local policy makers, business people, labor leaders, educators and entrepreneurs to attend. The symposium should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the challenges, and opportunities, that will be presented to Iowa and region as the nation moves forward on climate change legislation.

The Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy is a regular public series presented by the UI Public Policy Center to provide a forum for dialogue about policy issues from an applied, academic and interdisciplinary perspective.

Registration for the full two-day symposium is $100, $50 for full-time students. Single-day registration is also available for $50, $25 for full-time students. Both registrations include lunch. To register for the symposium or learn more about the program and speakers, visit or contact the Public Policy Center at 319-335-6800.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Peter Damiano, UI Public Policy Center, 319-335-6800,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,