Wiener joins international team for climate change update

September 16, 2011Duke Law News

Professor Jonathan Wiener traveled to Changwon, Korea, in July to attend the first meeting of lead authors of the Working Group III contribution to the fifth Assessment Report (AR5) being prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Wiener, the William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy, and Professor of Public Policy, is serving as a lead author of a chapter in AR5 titled “International Cooperation: Agreements and Instruments.” His co-authors on the chapter hail from countries including the U.S., China, Germany, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Chile, Canada, and South Africa. They will next meet in New Zealand in March 2012.

An intergovernmental organization of 194 sovereign nations and states, the IPCC is the leading global organization assessing the science, impacts, and policy options for climate change. Its responsibility, according to the Working Group III website, is to provide policymakers “with objective scientific and technical findings that are policy relevant but not policy prescriptive,” and to serve as an “honest broker” between science and policymakers and other relevant stakeholders.

Headquartered in Germany, Working Group III of the IPCC focuses its work on the mitigation of climate change. The working group will produce one of three volumes of AR5, due to be finalized in 2014. Working Group I of the IPCC covers the physical science basis of climate change, and Working Group II addresses climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability.

In Changwon, the Working Group III author teams outlined their chapters, identified common themes across chapters and working groups, and discussed an action plan for completing their review and report, the IPCC WG III website stated.

Before joining the Duke Law faculty in 1994, while serving in the U.S. government, Wiener helped organize the IPCC’s First Assessment Report, helped organize the working group on economics for the Second Assessment Report, and helped negotiate the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. He worked on U.S. and international environmental policy at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the U.S. Department of Justice, in both the first Bush and Clinton administrations.

Wiener was one of the first academics to analyze cap and trade systems for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a topic he first explored in 1989. In addition to numerous articles on climate policy over the past two decades, he co-authored with Richard B. Stewart the book Reconstructing Climate Policy (AEI Press, 2003), which urged the U.S. to engage China and other major developing countries in a cost-effective strategy for emission reduction.

He has written widely on U.S., European, and international environmental law and risk regulation, including the books The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe (RFF Press/Earthscan, 2011, with others), and Risk vs. Risk (Harvard University Press 1995, with John D. Graham). Wiener served as the founding faculty director of the Duke Center for Environmental Solutions (now the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions), for which he chaired the faculty advisory committee from 2007 to 2010. He also served as president of the Society for Risk Analysis in 2008 and will co-chair the 2012 World Congress on Risk.
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