Widener Law professor speaks at U.N. climate control talks in Bali, Indonesia
Public Relations - Published: December 21, 2007
dernbachBalism Widener Law Professor John C. Dernbach recently participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.

The conference was held to negotiate an agreement on what countries should do to address climate change after 2012, when obligations under the Kyoto Protocol expire. It attracted about 10,000 environmentalists, scientists, academics and government officials from around the world.

Dernbach, a professor on Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus since 1993, presented his paper “Energy Efficiency and Conservation as Ethical Responsibilities,” on Friday, Dec. 14. The paper involved suggestions for the future work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Dernbach argued that the U.N. Climate Convention contains ethical principles which create a strong preference for energy efficiency and conservation. He suggested the work group issue a special report soon assessing the potential of energy efficiency and conservation to contribute to the stabilization of greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.

His presentation was part of a panel on the ethical dimensions of the IPCC’s work on climate change, organized by Penn State University. Oglunlade Davison, co-chair of the IPCC working group on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, participated in the panel after flying to Bali from Oslo, Norway, where the Nobel Prize ceremony was held. The IPCC, an international body of climate scientists and other specialists, shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

Dernbach’s teaching specialties include environmental and property law as well as international environmental law. His research concentrates on environmental law, climate change and sustainable development. Dernbach spent 2 ½ years on leave from the law school serving as director of the policy office at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and resumed teaching in 2006. He has written widely on environmental law and sustainable development and is the editor of Stumbling Toward Sustainability (Environmental Law Institute, July 2002), a 32-chapter book assessing U.S. efforts on sustainable development in the 10-year period since the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio De Janeiro (or Earth Summit) in 1992. Dernbach was part of the legal team that represented 18 prominent scientists in a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA, the climate change case that was decided this spring.

He is available for interviews. Reach him at 717.541.1933 or jcdernbach@widener.edu.