While students are bundled up, climate change is heating up public policy across the globe.
The Baker Center's Energy and Environmental Forum begins its 2013 schedule with a visit from Dr. Karen Seto on Thursday. The Yale professor will discuss the methods of developing countries to combat climate change, specifically in China and India.
"Her work has been in proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other top-notch journals," said Jacob LaRiviere, a professor in economics and member of the interdisciplinary committee that plans the forums.
He added, "Academics are more and more looking for opportunities to present their work to an interdisciplinary audience, and she is a great example of that, as a geographer."
Climate change is especially relevant after President Obama's recent inauguration comments. He made addressing climate change the primary policy objective for his second term. For Kenna Rewcastle, a sophomore in environmental and soil science, the president's message resonates with the upcoming lecture.
"He's been one of the first big-time politicians that mentions climate change, and of course, a big player in climate change is developing countries," Rewcastle said. "Students, especially around UT, seem to be taking an interest in climate change. And having someone from somewhere as prominent as Yale come speak to us about ways that China and India are developing and where they fall. It's something to get us thinking."
Rewcastle hopes to be excused from her evening's class to attend the lecture, the first of the 2013 Energy and Environmental Forum. Nissa Dahlin-Brown, the associate director of the Baker Center, explained that the lectures occur four times per semester.
"It's usually packed, probably 80 or 90. It's really neat, because they're from all colleges. Students and faculty from various places all have an interest in this stuff," she said.
The interdisciplinary aspect of the forum is especially important to LaRiviere. To the average economics professor, energy and the environment may not rank highly on his list of priorities. LaRiviere, however, considers public policy as something for everybody.
"I just think it's an example of the Baker Center's continued commitment to energy and the environment across all disciplines, with the goal of improving public policy," he said.
The lecture is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Thursday in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center. There will be 45 minutes of presentation, followed by 30 minutes of mediated discussion.