An important new book on Climate Change is launched in the Quadrangle

12 August 2011

Wednesday evening in the beautiful and intimate Art Gallery in the Quadrangle, guests gathered for the official launch of The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Edited by University of Sydney Professor David Schlosberg, ANU's Professor John Dryzek and Professor Richard B Norgaard from the University of California, the Handbook is a major analysis of perhaps the most profound challenge ever confronted by human society.

David Schlosberg, a Professor of Government and International Relations, and John Dryzek, Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and Professor of Political Science at ANU, were both at the gallery to launch the book. Professor Dryzek was visiting the University of Sydney for both the book launch and to lead a special guest lecture on Thursday called Deliberative Democracy and Climate Governance in conjunction with the Sydney Democracy Initiative and Sydney Political Theory Workshop.

After guests mingled over wine and canap├ęs, Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, began his speech to welcome everyone and officially launch the book. Acknowledging that Oxford Handbooks are a crucial resource for scholars and students, and alerting guests to the fact that three such handbooks have come out of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in recent times, Professor Ivison then highlighted the importance of the issue at hand, and questioned whether or not new ways of looking at climate change were possible. He then commended Professors Schlosberg and Dryzek on their fine work in putting this important text together and encouraged them to say a few words.

Professor Dryzek spoke first, saying a few positive words about Australia's involvement in combating the climate crisis, before making the joke that one could be discouraged by the amount of paper it takes to put such a tome as The Oxford Handbook for Climate Change and Society together, but that the upside is that the book can be used after reading as a carbon sink itself.

Professor David Schlosberg says of the book, 'Climate change really is the most profound and difficult challenge human societies have ever brought upon themselves. What we have tried to do in this Handbook is move beyond the science and physical impacts to get a range of thinkers to address the social implications of climate change. From rethinking the ethical foundations of economics, to considerations of the injustice of climate impacts, to innovative methods and structures of governance, the point is to begin to understand how climate change is impacting the social and political realm - and how we might begin to respond."

Professor John Keane then concluded the official proceedings by encouraging guests to stay around, mingle and enjoy the gallery. Which is exactly what they did.

"It's always good to celebrate the launch of a book - or any accomplishment - so I appreciate the support of Duncan Ivison and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Simon Tormey and the School of Social and Political Sciences, and all of my colleagues in Government and International Relations. And it is also very encouraging to see so many academics at the University of Sydney interested in the issue of the social implications of climate change - from government to history, cultural studies to law, there is a lot being done here to try to understand and address our climate-changed society. Given the issues and impacts, we have a lot of work in front of us", says Professor David Schlosberg.

The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society is available from Monday 15th August through Oxford University Press

To see more photographs from the launch, please visit our Facebook page

Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208

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