Notre Dame to host multidisciplinary climate conference

Author: Rachel Novick (for ND Newswire)

Read this article on ND Newswire.


The University of Notre Dame will host “Climate Change and the Common Good,” a national conference addressing the multifaceted challenges presented by our changing climate, on April 8-10 (Monday-Wednesday). The event will engage nationally recognized scientists, ethicists and strategists in conversation with students, faculty, administrators and members of the broader community.

As Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have stressed, climate change is a moral issue that calls for a concerted approach among people of good will.

“We know that climate change will disproportionately impact the poor and vulnerable, those who have contributed the least to our present energy and environmental crisis,” said Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and church affairs at Notre Dame. “By coming together as a community to learn about these challenges and the paths to solutions, we can better answer God’s call for us to be stewards of the finite gifts of our planet.”

Each day of the conference highlights a different theme. The first day focuses on the science of climate change. The second day addresses religious and ethical approaches to understanding our collective responsibility in addressing climate change. The third day explores practical approaches to addressing climate change from perspectives including public policy, national security and community adaptation.

“Climate change is a complex problem that requires multidisciplinary thinking,” said University Provost Thomas G. Burish. “This conference will offer unique insight into the diverse array of approaches needed to adequately address it. I hope that many of us from the Notre Dame community will be able to take advantage of it and continue the discussions after it.”

“Climate change is constantly in the news: 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S., and extreme events from climate disruption are costing businesses and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars from fires, crop losses and storm damage,” said Jessica Hellmann, associate professor of biology and conference co-chair. “There’s so much negative information that it’s tempting to look the other way. This conference will help people make sense of what is often seen as an overwhelming problem by connecting the dots between science, ethics and practical solutions.”

Keynote speakers at the conference include Andrew Revkin, author of the New York Times’ Dot-Earth Environmental Blog; Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy; Ian Noble, chief scientist at the Global Adaptation Institute; Nancy Grimm, contributing author of “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States”; andDavid Titley, retired Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy and recently chief operating officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“These speakers represent some of the leading thinkers on this topic, and they bring a wide variety of perspectives to bear on some of the most challenging issues of our time,” said Robin Darling Young, associate professor of theology and lead conference organizer. “Our goal is to engage Notre Dame and the broader community with this critical topic, which is so integrally tied to our University mission.”

Registration is free for members of the Notre Dame community. The conference agenda and registration information can be found

“Climate Change and the Common Good” is sponsored by Notre Dame’s"Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values":, Center for Social Concerns andEnvironmental Change Initiative, and is supported by the University’sInstitute for Scholarship in the Liberal ArtsOffice of the ProvostOffice of the Vice President for ResearchCollege of Arts and LettersCollege of ScienceCollege of EngineeringCushwa Center for the Study of American CatholicismDepartment of TheologyInstitute for Advanced StudyCenter for Sustainability EnergyKroc Institute for International Peace StudiesSchool of Architecture and Office of Sustainability.

Contact: Rachel Novick, 574-631-1439,