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Previous Conferences

“Science, Democracy, and Global Environmental Regulation”

 Friday, May 15, 2009 ~ All Sessions in 300 Wallace Hall

Workshop Participants:
Robert Entman (Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University)
John Ferejohn (Political Science, Stanford)
Dale Jamieson (Environmental Studies and Philosophy, NYU)
Simon Levin (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), Princeton)
Arthur Lupia (Political Science, Michigan);
Ronald B. Mitchell (Political Science, Oregon)
Stephen Pacala (EEB, Princeton)
David Schlosberg (Environmental Studies, Northern Arizona, visiting Princeton)
Robert Socolow (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton)
Richard Stewart (Law, NYU)
Alexander Todorov (Psychology and WWS, Princeton)
Elke U. Weber (Psychology and Business, Columbia)

Workshop Schedule:

Session 1 (9:00-10:30). Information, the Media, and Public Decision-Making.
How do publics process information about complex public decisions? What role does the media play? What “communicative engineering principles” (Lupia) could be defended on the basis of scientific analysis? What distinctive processes operate when fear is part of the motivation for action? Discussion Leaders: Entman, Lupia, Weber. Chair: Keohane.

Session 2 (10:45-12:15). Science and Democratic Decision-Making.
What role does science play in democratic decision-making on issues involving scientific questions, such as climate change, that also implicate ethical and distributional questions? Under what conditions could what Ferejohn calls “modularity” enable decisions to be made by democracies on issues involving science, despite the generally understood impossibility of neatly separating scientific issues from issues of values? Discussion leaders: Ferejohn, Jamieson, Mitchell. Chair: Macedo.

Session 3 (1:15-2:45). Scientific Elites and Publics in Decision-Making.
Is what Schlosberg calls the “coproduction of knowledge” by scientists and publics desirable; and if so, does the example provide a model for how it could improve the legitimacy and quality of public decisions on science? Do models of leader-follower relationships with respect to consensus formation illuminate this issue? Or if an ecological crisis seems imminent and a democratic policy is unable or unwilling to respond, would it be legitimate for a scientifically sophisticated political elite legitimately temporarily to bypass or override democratic procedures? Discussion leaders: Levin, Schlosberg, Socolow. Chair: Moravcsik

Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet

The Challenge of Making More Food and Fewer Greenhouse Gases


April 29–May 1, 2009, Princeton University


As part of the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 Ethics and the Environment Lecture Series, the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) is hosting a one-day symposium and a two-day conference on campus (both events are open to the public, registration suggested) that seek to explore the scientific, policy and ethical questions presented by the need to greatly boost food production to feed a growing world population while reducing agriculture’s contribution of about 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

The world population is projected to grow from 6.7 to 9 billion or more people by 2050, and many more people will have the income to eat meat and other foods that require more land and other resources. Avoiding land use change while feeding the world of 2050 will require improvements in the world’s current rate of crop yield growth, yet reducing greenhouse gases will require reducing methane emissions from livestock and probably require reductions in fertilizer use. Measures that increase the cost of food could have harsh impacts on the world’s 1 billion malnourished people, yet low food prices disadvantage poor farmers in developing countries.

These events are sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and co-sponsored by University Center for Human Values and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
To view Powerpoint Presentations, please click here.


Symposium: Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainability


Modern biotechnology holds enormous potential to solve many of the world’s intransigent problems in medicine, agriculture, energy and the environment. At the same time, questions regarding safety, environmental impacts, bioethics, intellectual property rights and social equity of biotechnology remain unanswered.

The Princeton Environmental Institute, with the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the University Center for Human Values and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is hosting a one-day symposium to gather leaders in biotechnology, food security, agricultural development, biodiversity conservation, and environmental protection to discuss major technology and policy issues and to suggest best possible policy options to move the technology forward.

The participants in the symposium will strive to answer the question: Can modern biotechnologies help tackle global poverty, fight hunger, moderate climate change, and contribute overall to the development of a sustainable world?


October 2006

Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Technology Innovations and Financing Mechanisms for Developing Countries

Innovations and Financing Mechanisms for Developing Countries

Sponsored by:
WWS Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy
Princeton Environmental Institute
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
Center for Economic Policy Studies
WWAC Student Initiated Projects
Program in Latin American Studies
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Graduate School
Program in African Studies

October 2004

Innovative Ways for Public and Private Institutions to Value Environmental Goods

The goal of this conference is to bring together financial, corporate, government, and non-governmental experts to discuss innovative methods to address environmental concerns. Over the last ten years, the global community has seen an emergence of new ways to deal with environmental concerns and value environment goods. These range from voluntary programs that integrate green business procedures to the development of public- private partnerships to the mainstreaming of financial instruments that encourage environmentally sound investment. We hope that this framework will allow people to share ideas and encourage cross - fertilization between the experts and the students.

This day-long conference, which will take place at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs, will mix a plenary setting with break out groups, as well as allow time for interaction between the participants and students at a conference lunch and cocktail hour. Each session will deal with cross cutting issues and will be facilitated by Princeton Faculty, students, or outside experts.

Princeton University's Woodrow School for Public and International Affairs trains undergraduates, graduates, and mid-career professionals. The School's program offers rigorous preparation for careers in public life. The program seeks to develop in its graduates a lasting commitment to public affairs. It fosters an appreciation of the historical, institutional, and cultural contexts of public, environmental, and international policy.

December 2003

Unilateralism and U.S. Power

Unilateralism and U.S. Power

An all-day conference which will examine U.S. policy in trade, environment, human rights, and security affairs, the historical extent of the U.S. commitment to multilateralism, factors that explain the U.S. inclination towards uni- vs. multilateralism, and the means for countries to influence such U.S. policy.

March 2003

The Politics of Biomedical Research: Issues, Information and Policy Decision-Making

The Center for the Study of Democratic Politics is sponsoring a one-day symposium on the politics of biomedical research. The goal of the symposium is to investigate the impact of different types of information flows (specifically scientific, political and market) on the policy process and outcomes in biomedical research in the United States. 

Since 1989 with the advent of the Human Genome Project, biomedical research has experienced three significant changes. First, the rapid pace of technology transfer in biomedical research often outpaces existing standards and procedures within the scientific community. Second, the fluid relationships between research, market and policy communities within biomedical research are often governed by imperatives that create conflicts of interests. Third, advances in areas such as reproductive genetics, neuroscience, and pharmacogenetics have fundamentally altered the public and policy discourse around issues of privacy of information (e.g., does consent of one member family to provide genetic information violate the privacy of other family members?) and the role and nature of the scientific enterprise and its relationship to the public marketplace (e.g., should scientific findings funded by the federal government be considered part of the public domain or subject to proprietary strictures?). Which groups or interests should have rights in profit sharing in the fruits of medical research? Should patients’ rights be limited?

This symposium brings together leading scholars and practitioners in the fields of molecular biology, medical genetics, political science, public policy, health policy, law, and bioethics to address these concerns.

February 2003

Sink or Swim: Building Sustainable Coastal Communities in the Wider Caribbean

A two-day conference on pertinent regional issues of environmental health, land-use practices, and economic development in the Wider Caribbean Region. The goal of ths event is to faster awareness of urban coastal communities and discuss sustainable growth alternatives.

Go Green at your next event

GO Green...
Here are a few resources to help green your event:  - Ecoproducts is a large and good overall source of what's available in the marketplace.  - Greenhome is also a good source of products

Want to reduce the use of plastic bottled water at your event ( improve your carbon footprint and avoid the problem of potential leaching of chemicals from plastics into bottled waters?) Try this:  Filtered tap water served in large lead free ceramic crocks.

For paper based containers:

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Local Organic Produce

Princeton Sustainability
What is sustainability?

Sustainability is: providing for the needs of the world's current population without damaging the ability of future generations of humans and other species to provide for themselves.

A sustainable approach is one which can be carried out perpetually without negative environmental effects or impossibly high costs. Today sustainability is driven by the global challenge of human-induced climate change and the need to stabilize and subsequently reduce greenhouse gas emissions, most notably carbon dioxide. Sustainability requires that multiple aspects of society be included in the solution, including economic development, environment, food, transportation, energy, education, and social organization.
WWS sustainability presentation- june 26 08

Princeton dining services is going green: