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Dickinson Professor Michael Heiman will discuss "The Inconvenient Truth of Neoliberal Global Carbon Trading" on September 21, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-Would a cap-and-trade approach or a carbon tax be more effective in the long-run for global emissions reduction? Michael Heiman, Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography at Dickinson College, will discuss this topic on Monday, September 21, in his lecture: "The Inconvenient Truth of Neoliberal Global Carbon Trading." The program, sponsored by the Department of Earth Science and Geography, will begin at 7pm in Sanders Classroom's Spitzer Auditorium (room 212) and is free and open to the public.

"It now appears that the United States will adopt some form of a cap-and-trade system to address greenhouse gas emissions, principally for carbon dioxide. With this, it is anticipated that the global carbon market will reach over two trillion dollars by 2020, making the right to pollute the world's most valuable commodity, beyond even oil or natural gas," Heiman stated. "However, in my opinion, carbon credit trading deflects change in the social relations of production required for more sustainable production while commodifying access to the atmosphere and nature's ability to recycle carbon."

In this presentation, Heiman will examine how "the cumbersome cap-and-trade approach toward emissions reduction could be replaced by an upstream tax based on the carbon content of the extracted fossil fuel." He said that he believes through "bypassing neo-liberal carbon markets that turn the atmosphere into a tradable commodity, a carbon tax is the most effective, efficient, and equitable way to secure global emissions reduction."

A geographer with a background in environmental science and social theory, Michael Heiman's scholarship and teaching center on environmental regulation and policy. His recent articles have addressed waste management, environmental racism and justice, risk assessment, and the democratization of science, while his current research and publications center on U.S. and European energy policy, carbon offset trading, and the sustainability of alternative transportation fuels. He and his students have worked with community groups and local industries in Pennsylvania, New York State, Louisiana, West Virginia, and elsewhere. Heiman is Chair of Environmental Studies at Dickinson.

The Department of Earth Science and Geography is unique at Vassar in combining both the natural and social sciences. By exploring the physical processes shaping our planet, Earth Science illuminates the possibilities and constraints of human activity. By examining societies in their spatial and regional contexts, Geography addresses the human dimensions of global change. Shared interdisciplinary research and teaching interests, include water resources, soils and food, climate change, resource conservation, political ecology, environmental justice, historic preservation, urbanization, natural hazards, and sustainable development.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Dean of the Faculty, Environmental Studies, and Urban Studies.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, August 28, 2009