Expert Sees Big Changes Ahead with Obama as President
Internationally recognized environmental ethicist Andrew Light will discuss “Nanotechnology and Climate Change” at Gonzaga University at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 9 in the Wolff Auditorium of the Jepson Center for the School of Business. The lecture, hosted by the GU Environmental Studies Program, is free and open to the public.
Professor Andrew Light
Light, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University and is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress with the Energy and Environmental Policy Program in Washington, D.C. He also is an associate professor of philosophy and environmental policy at George Mason.
With the election of Barack Obama as president, Light says the United States is committed to joining the international community to take on the problem of climate change. As a result, he believes the next few years will see a rapid and dramatic move toward finding a feasible technological pathway to meeting global energy needs without pumping more carbon into the atmosphere.
Global energy demand is now approximately 15 terra watts with 86 percent of it coming from fossil fuels, he said. Even with ambitious conservation efforts global consumption may double by 2050. After providing an assessment of the possible routes to meet this energy demand without fossil fuels, Light will evaluate the case for a substantial investment in nanotechnology should be pursued to meet a core part of that demand.
“If we go this route, though, questions of the just distribution of the techniques used to create this new clean energy, as well as its products, will quickly become crucial,” Light said. “As we enter the next round of the UN (United Nations) climate change process, developing countries will face increased pressure to forge a cleaner path to development. Therefore the potential embrace of any new clean energy technology needs to be measured in part on how effectively it can be transferred to developing economies without imposing an unjust burden on their existing energy infrastructure.”
Light specializes in the ethical dimensions of environmental policy, restoration ecology, and, more recently, climate change. He has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books on environmental ethics, philosophy of technology, and aesthetics, including “Environmental Values” (2008); “Philosophy and Design” (2008); “The Aesthetics of Everyday Life” (2005); “Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice” (2003); “Reel Arguments: Film, Philosophy and Social Criticism” (Westview 2003); “Technology and the Good Life” (2000); and “Environmental Pragmatism” (1996).
He is finishing a book on the ethics of restoration ecology and coordinating the Center for American Progress’ strategy for the future of the United Nations’ climate treaty process. Light also is co-editor of the journal Ethics, Place, and Environment and serves on the editorial boards of Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, Ecological Restoration, Philosophical Practice and Theoria.
For more information, contact GU business-ethics Professor Brian Steverson at (509) 313-7027 or via e-mail.