Events

2019 Annual Meeting, Nov 23-26

The 2019 Annual Meeting will be in San Diego, CA, November 23-26. Register Now!

AAR Plenary Sessions at the 2014 Annual Meetings, San Diego

Release of PRRI/AAR National Survey on Religion, Values, and Climate Change (A22-145)

Saturday – 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Convention Center

What do Americans think about climate change, and how do religious and moral beliefs impact their opinions about science, human responsibility, and environmental policies? This panel will feature the release of a new national public opinion survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in collaboration with the AAR. The survey of 3,000 Americans is one of the largest surveys on religion and climate change ever conducted. 

The survey explores a range of topics, including Americans' belief or skepticism about the reality of climate change; the roles that partisanship, religion, and media consumption play in the development of those views; whether Americans see climate change as a manageable problem or an imminent crisis; how committed Millennials are to the issue of climate change; and how important policies that address climate change are to different religious groups.

Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute, Washington, D.C., Presiding

Panelists:
Laurie Zoloth, Northwestern University
Willis Jenkins, University of Virginia
David P. Gushee, Mercer University
Laurel D. Kearns, Drew University

Rajendra K. Pachauri, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (A22-142)

Saturday – 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Convention Center

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for mitigation and adaptation. The IPCC has completed four full assessment reports, guidelines and methodologies, special reports and technical papers.

The IPCC has three working groups: 

Working Group I: The Science of Climate Change
Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairperson of the IPCC, will address the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change of, and the negative and positive consequences for, ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health.

Bill McKibben, 350.org
Updates from the Front Lines of the Climate Fight (A22-402)

Saturday – 7:30 PM–8:30 PM
Convention Center

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He is founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities; Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world's 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was "probably America's most important environmentalist." A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern.

Plenary Panel: Religion and the Roots of Climate Change Skepticism (A23-106)

Sunday – 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Convention Center

Despite widespread and substantial agreement in the scientific community that the earth’s climate is changing, and that these changes will have severe and lasting impact on billions of people around the world, a robust resistance to the climate change consensus has developed alongside it in recent decades. “Climate skeptics” embrace an array of secular and religious arguments that reject the science, or the human responsibility, or the merits of public policies designed to slow or reverse climate change. From creation (and destruction) narratives to theologies of environmental stewardship and care for the poor, religious communities offer resources to those who both embrace and deny the moral imperatives to act in the face of climate change. This plenary session presents a robust roundtable discussion among influential scholars and religious leaders with expertise and personal experience with resistance, skepticism, and denial of mainstream climate change scenarios.

Hanoch Ben-Pazi, Bar Ilan University

Hanoch Ben-Pazi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Bar Ilan University and teaches at the Kibbutzim College of Education, where he is a former head of the Biblical and Jewish Culture Department. He is currently the head of the M.A. Teaching Training Program in Jewish Thought at Bar Ilan University and is a member of the Board of “Agudat Shay” — a voluntary association for the rehabilitation of young people with disabilities.

Ben-Pazi’s research is devoted to the philosophical writings and Jewish thought of Emmanuel Levinas, in various contexts: as a phenomenological philosopher, following Husserl and Heidegger; in the context of the philosophical discourse of hermeneutics; and within the framework of religions studies. Religions studies and inter-religions dialogue constitute a major part of his research and his social commitment to tolerance and pluralism, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility. His present study is devoted to the question of witnessing, and the call for ethical and social responsibility in the context of witnessing and testimony. His publications include Emmanuel Levinas: Educational Contract: Responsibility, Hopefulness, Alliance, Tel Aviv: Mofet and Ha-Kibbutz ha-Meuchad, forthcoming; Interpretation as Ethical Act: The Hermeneutics of Emmanuel Levinas, Tel Aviv: Resling, 2012; and coeditor of Moses the Man — Master of the Prophets, Hanoch Ben-Pazi, Moshe Hallamish, Hanna Kasher (eds.), Ramat-Gan: Bar Ilan Press, 2010.

Richard Cizik, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, Oak Ridge, TN

Richard Cizik is the President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a faith-based organization committed to an agenda that fosters values consistent with an open and free society.

He served for ten years as Vice President for Governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, the top staff position of the organization, a post he left in 2008 after enduring years of political opposition from the Religious Right. An interview with NPR's Fresh Air in which he expressed support for civil unions, climate change, and political collaboration with the newly elected Obama Administration, led to a national uproar within the movement and over one-hundred top evangelical leaders defecting to a "New Evangelical" agenda. As a result, Cizik founded the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good (www.newevangelicalpartnership.org) and has been a leader in bringing evangelicals, scholars, and policy-makers together in the search for common ground on a host of national and international challenges, including climate change, civil liberties, economic justice, and national security.

In 2002, Cizik was a participant in Climate Forum 2002, at Oxford, England, which produced the "Oxford Declaration" on global warming. He was instrumental in creating the Evangelical Climate Initiative, introduced in 2006. The following year, Cizik formed a group of scientists, including nobel laureate Eric Chivian and Harvard Professor Emeritus Edward O. Wilson, along with leading evangelical pastors and professors, to together release a groundbreaking document entitled the "Scientist and Evangelical Call to Action" as well as to hold first-ever dialogues on religion and science.

Thomas Ackerman, University of Washington

As Director of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and the Ocean (JISAO) at the University of Washington, Tom Ackerman heads the institute's multi-pronged research effort into climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries, and tsunamis. His own research includes studies of the climatic influence of volcanic eruptions and asteroid collisions, the impact of clouds on the Earth's climate, the use of ground-based and satellite observations to study clouds and climate, and the science and ethics of geoengineering. He has been elected a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prior to coming to the University of Washington, Ackerman was Chief Scientist of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and for his work in that capacity he was awarded NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal.

David F. Ford, University of Cambridge

David Frank Ford is the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.  His research interests include political theology, ecumenical theology, Christian theologians and theologies, theology and poetry, the shaping of universities and of the field of theology and religious studies within universities, hermeneutics, and inter-faith theology and relations. He is the founding director of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme and a co-founder of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning.  

Laurie Zoloth, Northwestern University
Presidential Address: Interrupting Your Life: An Ethics for the Coming Storm (A23-146)

Sunday – 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Convention Center

Laurie Zoloth directs the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at the School of Medicine. From 1995 to 2003 she was Professor of Ethics and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. In 2001, she was the President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. She has been a member of the NASA National Advisory Council, the nation's highest civilian advisory board for NASA for which she received the NASA Public Service Medal, the NASA Planetary Protection Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, and she chairs the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Bioethics Advisory Board.

Plenary Panel: Religion, Skepticism, and Scientific Consensus on Climate Change (A​24-242)

Monday – 2:00 PM–3:30 PM
Convention Center

What does climate change have to do with religion and religion with climate change? Quite a lot, but the grounds on which these two domains meet is complex and conflicted. Many commentators have suggested that “religious” believers reject the scientific evidence of climate change. That broad claim is clearly incorrect. Across the globe, religious leaders from the Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew to the Dalai Lama have addressed climate change as a religious issue. In the United States, several denominations and sectarian colleges have divested, or announced their intention to divest, from the fossil fuel industry. In all these cases, there is a shared understanding that climate change is a religious issue because it involves the care and preservation of creation, and because it involves protecting the poor from harm.

Yet, at the same time, it is also true that in the United States evangelical Protestants are more likely than other groups to reject the scientific evidence of climate change. The reasons for this are not difficult to discern: American evangelicals tend to be politically conservative, and link climate change to ‘liberal’ causes of which they are skeptical, particularly the role of government in protecting the poor. American evangelicals also tend to link climate science to other forms of science that they question, most obviously evolutionary theory, and to a general perception that scientists are anti-religion. This suggests that if one wishes to reaches evangelicals, it may be useful to remind them that not all solutions to climate change involve big government, and many scientists, historically and currently, have been people of faith.

Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University

Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. Professor Oreskes’s research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent.

Her 2004 essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” (Science 306: 1686) has been widely cited, both in the United States and abroad, including in the Royal Society’s publication “A Guide to Facts and Fictions about Climate Change," in the Academy-award winning film An Inconvenient Truth, and in Ian McEwan’s novel Solar. Her 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global warming, coauthored with Erik M. Conway, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and received the 2011 Watson-David Prize from the History of Science Society.

Charles Kennel, University of California, San Diego

Charles F. Kennel is Distinguished Professor, Vice-Chancellor, and Director emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. From 1994 to 1996, Kennel was Associate Administrator at NASA and Director of Mission to Planet Earth, a global Earth science satellite program. Kennel’s experiences at NASA influenced him to go into Earth and climate science, and he became the ninth Director and Dean of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor of Marine Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, serving from 1998 to 2006. He was the founding director of the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative.

Kennel was a member of the National Science and Technology Council and the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites while at NASA. He has chaired the US National Academy’s Board on Physics and Astronomy and Committee on Global Change Research. For the State of California, Kennel was a member of the founding board of the California Climate Action Registry, the first chairman of the California Ocean Sciences Trust, and now chairs the California Council on Science and Technology.

Natan Levy, Board of Deputies of British Jews

Rabbi Natan Levy is the Interfaith and Social Action Consultant for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, UK Jewry’s democratically elected representative group. Rabbi  Levy is the environmental liaison to the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, and the co-author of “Sharing Eden: Green Teachings from Jews, Christians and Muslims.” He holds an MA in Jewish Studies from King’s College, London, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in environmental theology at Bristol University.

Jimmy Carter, The Carter Center
The Role of Religion in Mediating Conflicts and Imagining Futures: The Cases of Climate Change and Equality for Women (A24-340)

Monday – 4:00 PM–5:30 PM
Convention Center

In this panel, President Carter will answer questions about his efforts to address climate change both during and after his administration, and his latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power (Simon and Schuster, 2014). Questions will be posed by Steven D. Kepnes, Colgate University and Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, but additional questions may be submitted at https://aar.wufoo.com/forms/questions-for-president-carter/ before November 15. This session will be followed by a book signing. Warwick's Books will be selling A Call to Action Monday, 8:30 AM–3:30 PM only in Booth 1109 in the Exhibit Hall. Books cannot be purchased during the signing.

Jimmy Carter served as the thirty-ninth president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. His administration negotiated the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. In 1982 President Carter became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and founded The Carter Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that actively addresses international and national issues of public policy. He is the author of twenty-eight books and numerous articles. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.