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2009.05.28 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO to Host Climate Change Forum on June 3

Omaha - Omaha has been chosen by the United Nations Environment Programme as the host city for North American celebrations of World Environment Day 2009.

Events will include a forum on the topic of renewable energy and climate change sponsored by the Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, the United Nations Environment Programme and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

The forum will be held Wednesday, June 3, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at UNO's Milo Bail Student Center. The forum is free and open to the public, and attendees will have an opportunity to ask panelists questions.

Dr. Mace Hack, director of the Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, will moderate the forum.

“Climate change threatens to become the dominant environmental issue of our lifetime, and our children's lifetime. And it's not just about nature; it's about people in nature. Climate change is beginning to unravel the natural systems that provide us with clean water, clean air, and the food, fuel, and other natural resources that sustain our lives on this planet. Right now we have time to react in an effective and thoughtful manner - if our carbon emissions continue to grow, our options will decrease,” Hack said.

The panel discussion will feature the Nature Conservancy’s Jonathan Hoekstra and Joseph Fargione.

Hoekstra, managing director of the Conservancy’s Climate Change Program and an expert on the issue of adapting natural and human communities to the new realities of climate change, will provide an overview of climate change and what it may mean for the Great Plains and perhaps Nebraska.

Fargione, a lead scientist for the Conservancy’s North America region, will discuss renewable energy development in the Great Plains and whether wind energy and biofuels are the answers in the United States as the nation works to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Amy Fraenkel will represent the United Nations Environment Programme on the panel as its regional director for North America. Fraenkel has more than 20 years of experience in environmental law and policy. She has worked in both the executive and legislative branches of the United States government, inter-governmental organizations and the private sector. She served as senior counsel of the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

For more information or to RSVP, send an email to nebraska@tnc.org or call (402) 342-0282, ext. 1009.

World Environment Day is commemorated each year on June 5. Created by the UN General Assembly in 1972, the event is one of primary ways the United Nation works to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment. Individuals, environment and conservation groups, schools, nonprofit organizations and corporations from around the world are expected to participate.

More information about Omaha’s events is available at www.OmahaEnvironmentDay.com.

* * *

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908. This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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