Oxford Round Table, Ruth A. Reck, Professor, University of California, Davis, coordinated the 2008 Oxford Round Table session titled: Sustainability: The Ultimate Quest, August 10 to August 15 at St. Anne's College, Oxford. Meetings were held at The Rhodes House, Oxford. Scholars representing several disciples from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States presented papers regarding the world quest for sustainability. Professor Reck also presented a paper and prepared an article published in The Forum on Public Policy, Vol. 4 No. 3, 2007 titled "Climate Change and Sustainable Development."
See abstract of Dr. Reck's Oxford Round Table article below:
Setting the Balance for Global Climate Change: Scientific Evidence and the Consequences for Society
Ruth A. Reck, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California.
It has become clear to many scientists that the problems of global climate change are the most pressing issues the world faces, far exceeding the concerns of terrorism and the need to promote democracy around the world. In fact the outcomes of these other major concerns may hinge in great part upon our ability to deal with the consequences that changes in climate will have on the world's populations. Because climate has been recognized to be the most serious for the economically challenged peoples it follows that decreasing food availability, decreasing fresh water resources and deterioration of living conditions can but only add to the burdens of those less well off. Regions become politically more unstable the more unstable the weather that they experience. It is a natural consequence. It is within this frame of reference that we embark upon this topic of managing in the face of changing climatic conditions.
In this paper we review the present IPCC Reports, released in 2007, discuss the perilous nature of the current climate situation, and review some of the most recent research findings to support this conclusion. The paper then goes on to discuss an example, livestock, demonstrating the details necessary to put this sector into sharp focus by considering the impacts on and the impacts of livestock. It goes on from considering dairy cattle in California to generalize, and demonstrates the major contribution worldwide. Livestock are shown to contribute 40% to the total agricultural GDP with one billion (i.e. 20%) of human beings getting their livelihood from livestock activities. It is in this reference frame that the paper demonstrates the complex nature of responses to climate change. It suggests the need for a process-based approach for dealing with and preventing undue impacts. It calls for accepting our responsibility to be part of the solution which requires a new ethical basis involving fairness, the rule of law, while maintaining the dignity of all people. Our response to climate change is about learning to do new things and developing new technologies in the face of both climatic change and extreme (cataclysmic) events.
Facilitator of the Oxford Round Table
Ruth A. Reck is a Land, Air and Water Professor in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Science at the University of California, Davis. She has studied global climate change and climate modeling for 37 years, overseeing and conducting research previously at the National Institute for Global Environmental Change, Argonne National Laboratory and General Motors Research Laboratories.
Dr. Reck has chaired or has served as a member on more than 40 national and international boards and committees related to climate and is an author of many refereed publications, books and invited papers, most notably on the role of light scattering, aerosols and clouds in the climate system. She holds numerous citations including being named the 15th recipient of the Gold Award in Engineering.