Workshop: What is Climate Change?

Friday October 25, 2013, 9:00AM - Saturday October 26, 2013, 5:00PM
BSIA 1-42

 

The open two-day workshop drawing about ten scholars from a diverse array of disciplines will address the two questions specified in the title of the meeting, first "what (from your disciplinary perspective) is climate change?" and second "what (given your disciplinary specification of the problem) should we do about it?"

This free workshop will be organized in a slightly unorthodox manner as follows: the invited scholars each from a different discipline will be asked to make two fairly short presentations on the basis of prepared position papers. On the first day, each presenter will address the question “what is climate change?” On the second day, each presenter will address the question “what should we do about it?"

Each day will consist of three sessions for presentations followed by a lengthy roundtable where the commonalities and differences between the various disciplines can be teased out, with the aid of some BSIA and MCC graduate student facilitators. Presentations, and the papers they are based on, will not be circulated prior to the workshop so that there is a certain surprise element during the event to focus attention on the details of both definition and response.

This workshop will address questions of definition and governance and crucially how they are related in terms of how definitions of the problem are related to proposed social and governmental “solutions”. In the process cross-disciplinary dialogue will be facilitated and the commonalities and differences between disciplinary perspectives elucidated. This should shed light on the very difficult problems of how to deal with climate change as a matter of international affairs, and how university educators can better address these issues too.

If interdisciplinary efforts are to bear fruit on this problem, being explicit about the various assumptions structuring the viewpoints in the discussion is necessary for effective dialogue and common research efforts subsequently. Comparing and contrasting different disciplinary specifications of the problem and the related proposals for tackling climate change will add an explictly interdisciplinary perspective to understanding the issue.

This workshop, open to the public, but drawing heavily on BSIA, MCC, SEED, geography and other local graduate students (session chairs, registration assistants etc, and rapporteurs,) is designed to facilitate such a dialogue. (Round tables will be recorded for the use of all participants, not for broadcast.)!

The event is timed to complement activities to mark the launch of the new University of Waterloo Masters in Climate Change in addition to fostering useful cooperation between the Balsillie School and the Interdisciplinary Institute for Climate Change (Director Daniel Scott is an event co-organiser).

Please register by emailing your full name, position and organization to [email protected]. Please also indicate whether you are able to attend both days (Friday and Saturday). There is no cost to attend this workshop, but space is limited.