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Notes on Guest Speakers' Lectures, 2009-10

Page compiled by Jeremy Lewis, revised 20 Apr. '10.

  • Dr. William Moomaw, Tufts University and co-chair of the UN International Panel on Climate Change, spoke to PSC 305 on 6 April, before a speech to AWAC that evening.
  • Major Ryan Oakley, '98, (History with political science minor), an instructor at the Judge Advocate General school at Air University, Maxwell AFB, gave a full briefing to PSC 305 on 8 April, on the role of the JAG school.
  • Prof. Jaime Demick of HC kindly spoke about her experiences in promoting a sexual harrassment bill in the Maryland state legislature, to PSC 212.  [Notes are from 2009]



  • Dr. William Moomaw, 6 April 2010, to PSC 305
    Nation State diplomacy began with the Treaty of Westphalia [1648] after reformation wars, invented national sovereignty. Territories with boundaries.
    Fall of Rome led to 1,000 years of theocracy, then nationalism till WW2.  Now Europeans giving up sovereignty for EU.
    NATO alliance, but not part of EU.
    Negotiating boundaries and lesser things, such as international mail, internet and travel.
    New diplomacy more problematic: human rights, global environment.
    UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) more difficult to make universally accepted – even in US.
    Trade agreements, now considering illegal trade such as drugs and human trafficking.
    Trade in illegal plant and animal species, including parrots and pets. Some are endangered, others a threat to public health.
    Global issues:
    first was ozone depletion issue, 1973 unknown to public, though known there since 1930s to absorb UV radiation that damages crops and skin.
    Half life of 200 years in chemicals.
    Chlorine atom destroys 10,000 ozone molecules.
    Several nations banned CFCs unilaterally.
    Worked For Sen. Dale Bumpers of Ark., on 1977 Clean Air Act.
    CFCs now phased out by Treaty, even of developing countries 2010.  Auto A/C no longer uses CFCs.  Success of new diplomacy.
    1995 big hole in ozone layer over Antarctica discovered, Treaty upgraded every few years.
    Climate shift became broader issue.
    Gases from our energy system, drives economy and ubiquitous.
    Coal releases CO2, half of coal atoms are carbon – plus other toxins.  Often disasters show we are very much off estimates of pollution (TN coal collapse, example).
    China recently overtook US in heat trapping emissions.
    1992 Treaty brought forth on recognized climate change.
    Emissions to be limited to protect climate system.
    Goldilocks climate: ten degrees less is ice age, ten more too hot.
    7500 climate stations, satellites, human reporters around world.
    Evidence:
    NASA data chart (also another in US; UK and Japan, similar data) shows temp rises interwar and post 1975.  (7 year cycles within long trend are from El nino). Just lately leveled off over a few years, but long term trend is still up.
    IPCC.ch 2007 conclusion: “most of ... increase … is very likely due to … anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
    Very international panel with thousands of scientists, comments and references.  Upgraded from first version, “possibly”.
    Mistaken on only one endnote out of thousands – 2035 written for 2350 – and taken from World Wildlife Fund.
    Attacked also for underestimating how much emissions would grow, but within the upper limit of their projection cone.
    Global warming like solar heating inside car, clouds like putting reflective sunshade on windshield.
    Greenhouse gases even re-radiate heat back to earth.
    Hawaii study from David Kealing 1960- showed both annual cycle but long term rapid increase.
    Every spring plants absorb more CO2, but in Autumn less.
    Red line of long term increase is development of economy – astonishing increase in C20th, took us well above peak 120,000 years ago – to peaks of last 800,000 years.  Glaciers have receded around world.
    Sea level changes from tidal data – satellite data show rise at top of cone of IPCC prediction cone from 1990.
    Arctic sea ice, despite annual cycles, has long term decline since 1980.
    US not a signatory to international law of sea, despite desires of military and businesses – blocked by a few senators.
    US has too few ships and no current icebreakers.
    ¼ of oil reserves now believed in Arctic.
    Nixon negotiated but Reagan pulled out over specious undersea mining argument.
    IPCC cone of estimates of arctic ice decline was too conservative – real loss of ice much worse.
    Bush (41) did sign Rio Treaty, in 1992, among 154 heads of state – but still not signatory to law of sea.
    US one of last to sign genocide treaty – Sen. Helms blocked till his death.
    Landmine treaty we did not sign -- but we have done more than others to clean up landmines, eg Cambodia.
    UN convention on climate change voluntary -- only requires reporting emissions of CO2.  OECD formed IEA to track oil around world, and agrees to share in case of embargo.  During oil shock, US panicked.
    Kyoto Protocol (KP): all developed countries must reduce below 1990 levels by 2012.
    8% for Euros, US 7%, Japan 6% (more efft).
    Debate is whether emissions = economic development.  India and China now like US in C19th, belching smoke over the clean land.
    Montgomery now cleaner – air, water, and costs were a fraction of the initial estimates – expect 10% real cost compared to those.
    Clinton signed Kyoto but W. Bush unsigned – novel concept in international law.
    US, Aussie and Russia were out = 55% of emissions from developed countries.
    Blair persuaded Putin to sign in return for joining WTO.  Blair brilliant at getting things done.
    KP most imp. By 2007 design process for end of KP in 2012 – did so in Dec. 2007.
    Stayed up for 64 straight hours of negotiation, in Bali.
    Blocked by W Bush administration.
    Papua New Guinea rep lectured US negotiator for lack of leadership.
    Condi Rice with Bush and Cheney agreed to withdraw opposition to Treaty negotations.
    US, China and India use a lot of coal.
    Copenhagen 2009:
    Obama met to assuage Chinese who had been snubbed – but US position is subject to (unlikely) Senate approval – so Copenhagen a failure.
    Obama did however join developing countries like Brazil, China, India in preventing a consensus among others.
    Next up is Mexico negotiation.
    Question Time: Personal contributions?
    Has built a low-energy house in MA with solar panels and low emissions – but comfortable.
    Question: US to take legislative, administrative or judicial strategy?
    Cannot rely on legislation, but EPA can regulate under clean air act until Congress acts.  Obama administration not focused on this but did get CAFÉ standards up on auto manufacturers during bailout.  Car lobby in Congress (such as Rep. Dingell of Mich., had retarded progress for years.  Unlike federal government, states in NE and Midwest have formed environmental associations, pursuing innovative policies.
    Afterwards: China replacing old coal power plants with newer, efficient coal plants – and a major manufacturer of solar panels and other green tech.
    Disappointing that US is less innovative in this area.

    See notes of Dr. Moomaw's speech that evening at Alabama World Affairs Council (AWAC),  6 April 2010



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