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2013 Spring Colloquium Series

All colloquia are held in Student Building 150 unless otherwise indicated. The colloquia start promptly at 4:00 pm. For the most up-to-date schedule and for contact information to meet with speakers, please email Susan White or phone: 812-855-6303.


Daniel H. Cole (February 2, 2013)

Title: Polycentric Approaches in Climate Policy: From Regime Complexes to Building Blocks and Tipping Sets

Abstract: Global governance institutions for climate change, such as those established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, have so far failed to make a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Following the lead of Elinor Ostrom, this presentation offers an alternative theoretical framework for reconstructing global climate policy in accordance with the polycentric approach to governance pioneered in the early 1960s by Vincent Ostrom, Charles Tiebout, and Robert Warren. Instead of a thoroughly top-down global regime, in which lower levels of government simply carry out the mandates of international negotiators, a polycentric approach provides for greater experimentation, learning, and cross-influence among different levels and units of government, which are both independent and interdependent. After exploring several of the design flaws of the existing set of global institutions and organizations for greenhouse gas mitigation, the paper explores how those global institutions and organizations might be improved by learning from various innovative policies instituted by local, state, and regional governments, using various examples from recent literature on the use of “regime complexes,” “tipping sets,” and “building blocks” for climate policy. Ultimately, any successful governance system for stabilizing the global climate must function as part of a larger, polycentric set of nested institutions and organizations at various governmental levels.

Biography: Daniel H. Cole is Professor of Law and Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. Professor Cole is author or editor of seven books and more than 40 articles, book chapters, and essays. His book Pollution and Property: Comparing Ownership Institutions for Environmental Protection (Cambridge University Press, 2002) was published in Chinese translation by Peking University Press in 2010. Most recently, Professor Cole co-edited with Elinor Ostrom, Property in Land and Other Resources (Lincoln Institute 2012). He currently is working on a book about the use and abuse emissions trading and offsets in climate policy, a four-volume collection of Elinor Ostrom’s major works (for Routledge), and an article on “grandfathering” in environmental policy (co-authored with Elinor Ostrom, Thomas Sterner and Maria Damon).


Doug Edmonds (March 29, 2013)

Title: A sedimentological perspective on river delta restoration

Abstract: Environmental restoration typically aims to remove human-induced perturbations.  In deltaic environments, often both ecology and sedimentology are affected by human activities.    An effective restoration plan for deltas must therefore restore both the ecological and the less understood sedimentological systems. Restoration sedimentology seeks to re-establish the natural processes of sediment transport, erosion, and deposition.  I argue that rapid advances in the developing field of restoration sedimentology are crucial to protecting the world’s river deltas.  In this talk I will review the sedimentological processes operating in deltas, how they construct deltaic land, and how those processes could be used to enhance restoration schemes. 

Biography: Dr. Douglas Edmonds holds the Robert R. Schrock professorship in sedimentary geology in the Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University.  He was previously an assistant professor at Boston College.  He received his Ph.D. from Penn State University in 2009 and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota.  Edmonds’ research seeks to understanding the processes that construct modern depositional environments, and then to use those processes to make novel interpretations of sedimentary strata.  He solves research problems with a combination of physics-based numerical models, field-based research, and flume-based physical experiments.  He is an active member and contributor to the Comminuty Dynamic Surface Modeling System, which is an NSF funded community-wide mathematical modeling initiative, in addition to the National Center for Earth Surface Dynamics, which is an NSF-funded initiative to further our ability to predict surficial dynamics.  He is widely published in journals including Journal of Geophysical Research, Geology, and Nature Geoscience.


Robert E. Davis (April 19, 2013)

Title:  Weather, Climate, and Human Health:  How Temperature, Humidity, and Season Impact Health in the United States.

Abstract:  In most mid-latitude locations, human mortality and morbidity exhibit strong seasonality, with significantly higher rates for most disease categories in winter vs. summer.  Major deviations from this seasonal pattern tend to be related to years with significant influenza outbreaks and/or heat waves, both of which are (at least partially) related to climatic factors.  Interestingly, while the seasonal course of disease is well-known, the underlying factors are not.  I will examine several of the major outstanding questions in human bioclimatological research with respect to both winter and summer morbidity and mortality.  In the cold season, key issues are the extent to which influenza transmission is related to climatic factors, and carryover (autocorrelation) influences from previous months.  In the warm season, although the impacts of extreme heat events and heat wave at the MSA scale are well-known, a surprising number of key research questions about heat responses remain unanswered.  I will examine current and ongoing research related to fine-scale (intra-urban) heat-related mortality, human adaptations to heat stress, and factors such as lags and variable selection that can significantly impact modeling results and potential impacts.  I hope to identify not only those areas in which bioclimatic research has answered some of these outstanding questions, but also highlight shortcomings of current thinking and suggest where future research might resolve these issues.

Biography:  Robert E. Davis is Professor of Climatology in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he has been on the faculty for 25 years.  Professor Davis received his Ph.D. in Climatology from the University of Delaware in 1988.  Davis' research emphases include human biometeorology and synoptic climatology, particularly large-scale circulation and storms.  Professor Davis has twice co-authored award-winning papers from the Climate Specialty Group of the AAG, and has won an All-University Teaching Award from the University of Virginia and an Editor's Award from the American Meteorological Society.  He is past Editor of the journal Climate Research, past Chair of the University of Virginia's Faculty Senate, and is currently a Councilor to the International Society of Biometeorology.