ECLA-Oxford Climate Change Conference

The ECLA-Oxford Conference on Climate Change, Energy and Security opened up a venue for the first interinstitutional forum of enquiry from May 31 to June 2 on the ECLA campus. The topics of the conference corresponded with the themes covered by the elective course “Global Issues” offered by Dick Shriver in the Spring term. The course is a survey of the most prominent challenges to humanity, also outlined in the list of the issues recognized and declared in the Copenhagen Consensus of 2003. Dick Shriver – the organizer of the conference – integrated it into the course. The participants included ECLA students, students of the G8 Research Group of Oxford University, academics and practitioners. The focus of the conference was to employ an interdisciplinary approach towards addressing the needs and challenges posed by climate change, energy efficiency and politics. The talks presented at the conference sparked discussions on climate change, energy politics, economics, technology, entrepreneurship, national security issues and G8 policy.

One of the lectures of the conference was presented by Dick Shriver on “The US Political Scene Vis a Vis Energy Security” introducing the stand of the US on the current policies concerning climate change. In light of the American resistance towards regulations proposed and agreed upon by the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol the discussion took an interesting turn. The morning of the presentation, the newspapers announced a sudden change in George W. Bush’s tone regarding the policies dealing with climate change. The USA proposed a different approach toward the problem relying mainly on new technology rather than suggested reductions in CO2 emissions. The news sparked a lively discussion and shed more light on the complexity of the issues discussed at the conference.

An important part of the agenda of the G8 Summit taking place in Heiligendamm from June 6 to June 8 aims at forming concrete steps to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius and preparing the ground for a new framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012. Discussions on the necessity, challenges, obstacles and opportunities associated with reaching an international agreement became an integral part of the Climate Change Conference at ECLA.

The last day of the conference was designed to give participants a chance to engage with policy drafting simulation imitating the work of the G8 Summit group. “I liked very much the presentation by Maria Banda (G8 Research Group), because it gave a comprehensive review of the activities of G8 specifically in light of their work on climate change problems”, stated Elnura Botobekova (AY 2007, Kyrgyzstan). “The conference gave the chance to think about a global issue without over-simplifying it. I felt the lectures were sufficiently informative for the discussions to be genuinely critical”, said Martin Aher (AY 2007, Estonia). The conference was sure a success providing precedent for future conferences at ECLA.

By Nargiza Majidova (2007, Uzbekistan)

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