Leading climate scientist to give public lecture at UC

12 May 2011

One of the world's most well-known climate scientists, Dr James Hansen, will give a public lecture at the University of Canterbury on 20 May as part of his New Zealand speaking tour. This is Dr Hansen's first visit to New Zealand.

One of the world's most well-known climate scientists, Dr James Hansen, will give a public lecture at the University of Canterbury on 20 May as part of his New Zealand speaking tour. This is Dr Hansen's first visit to New Zealand.

Dr Hansen is probably best known for bringing the urgency of the climate change issue to the world's attention when he gave evidence to the US congress in 1988. He is Adjunct Professor at Colombia University's Earth Institute and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

His book, Storms of my Grandchildren (2009), updates climate science and tracks a path that he believes could lead the world to a stable climate.

His lecture at the University of Canterbury is entitled "Understanding the intergenerational policy implications of climate science" and will be held in the University of Canterbury's A1 Lecture Theatre from 12pm-1pm on Friday 20 May.

Dr Hansen has been invited to New Zealand by a group of environmental, social justice and business organisations, academics and individuals as a contribution to the ongoing debate about climate change and coal.

University of Canterbury Senior Lecturer and political scientist Dr Bronwyn Hayward said that inviting Dr Hansen's to present a public lecture at the University about the issues facing children and young adults was a deliberate choice.

"At present Christchurch, more than any other community in New Zealand, understands both the daunting and the exciting responsibilities of legacy decision-making. Right now, in every choice we make, from the homes we rebuild to the types of public spaces, industries, education, health services and even pension plans we invest in, we are shaping the quality of life of the grandchildren of Christchurch.

"Our city has a chance to do something few communities ever get to do - to think and plan for the long term. Dr Hansen's timely lecture reminds us we need to understand the full range of complex challenges that face our children and grandchildren to ensure that in the decisions we take today we are doing everything we can to support the capacity of Christchurch's youngest citizens to flourish in the future."

Dr Hansen has been an active researcher in planetary atmospheres and climate science for nearly 40 years, with the last 30 years focused on climate research, publishing more than 100 scholarly articles on the latter topic. He is in New Zealand from 11-21 May.

On Friday, 20 May Dr Hansen will also giving a public talk at 5.30pm hosted by Kennedy Graham, MP at the Canterbury Horticultural Centre at 67 Riccarton Road, Christchurch.

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