USF to Host Pew Forum

TAMPA, Fla.  (Aug. 26, 2009)  - The domino effect of climate change leading to natural disasters, famine and increased security threats will take center stage at the University of South Florida on Monday, Aug. 31, as two former U.S. senators, a vice admiral and a leading academic authority on the issue come together in the Pew Project Forum on National Security, Energy and Climate.


Former Senators John Warner (R-Virginia) and Bob Graham (D-Florida) will be joined by Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn and USF professor Thomas Crisman in the event, co-sponsored by USF’s Joint Military Leadership Center and the Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions. The event – which is open to the public – will be held on at 3 p.m. in the Kokolakis Auditorium at C.W. Bill Young Hall.


Earlier this summer, Warner and the Pew Environment Group announced a nationwide series of discussions designed to inform the public on the critical links between climate change, energy and national security. The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate brings together science and military policy experts to examine new strategies for combating climate change, protecting national security, increasing U.S. energy independence and preserving the nation's natural resources.


The concern is that climate change will bring about natural disasters, crop failures, famine, and disease which will lead to mass migrations and more fierce competition for food, clean water, jobs and other limited resources. Resulting conflicts could destabilize vulnerable nations and lead to a rise in terrorism targeting wealthier nations perceived to be to blame for the crisis.


“There is real potential for climate change to wreak havoc on parts of the world with natural disasters, droughts and famines,” said Crisman, the Patel Professor of Environment at USF. “One of the impacts will be agricultural and economic instability and increased national and international security threats. It is important that the public understand the potential ramifications of climate change that are going to affect them directly, through the economy and altered weather patterns that can lead to global conflict.”


Those interested in attending the forum can email Admission is free, but seating is limited.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 224 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.