Sem News

The first "Sem Speaks" lecture series will feature presentation on climate change
Posted 04/20/2017 01:19PM

The economic and ethical aspects of climate change will be discussed in a special free public lecture to be held on Tuesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Wyoming Seminary Upper School.

The speakers will be Professor Donald Brown, scholar in residence and professor of sustainability and law at Widener University Commonwealth Law School, and Keith Welks, Esq., deputy state treasurer for fiscal operations in the Pennsylvania Treasury Department.

The lecture, a presentation of Sem Speaks: A Global Topics Lecture Series, will be held at the Kirby Center for Creative Arts, 260 North Sprague Ave., Kingston, and is free and open to the public.

Brown will discuss the topic "On the practical importance of seeing and responding to climate change as a civilization-challenging moral problem." He will describe why he believes it is vital that governments face the moral and justice dimensions of responding to human-induced warming in order to develop and carry out effective climate-change policies. He also will discuss ways in which those who are concerned about climate change can best help the public understand the moral and ethical problems of the issue and how the issue is publicly debated.

Welks will explore "The importance of impact financing, particularly public financing, in combating climate change." He will explain the role of public financing in promoting clean, alternative and energy efficiency, and will discuss how public financing has changed during the past 15-20 years.

Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers following the lectures.

Brown teaches international environmental law, human rights law and climate change law at the Commonwealth Law School. He also is a part-time professor at the Nanjing University of Science and Technology in Nanjing, China, where he lectures regularly on climate change ethics. He also has served as a visiting professor at Nagoya University in Japan and Griffith University in Australia. Previously he served as associate professor of environmental ethics, science and law at Pennsylvania State University where he taught courses on climate change and sustainable development issues, and as an environmental lawyer for Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 5th Assessment Report, he is the author of "Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm, Climate Ethics."

As Pennsylvania deputy treasurer for fiscal operations, Welks oversees the processing of more than 24 million payments each year for more than $75 billion, and is responsible for developing and implementing special Treasury programs enabling Commonwealth assets to produce greater returns. He led the Treasury's creation of the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) and the Better Choice program, designed to combat predatory payday loans. He also is actively involved in developing a secondary market to support energy efficiency financing for residential improvement and to transform energy conservation on college campuses and other built institutional environments. He has served as chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER), chief criminal deputy general for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and founder and president of the Phoenix Land Recycling Company, a 501(c)(3) firm.

For more information about this lecture or the Sem Speaks lecture series, please call the Sem communications office at 570-270-2192.

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