UWs Shogren Joins International Royal Panel on Sustainability

February 27, 2012
Man smiling
Jay Shogren

Jay Shogren and all the other king's men and women, or more specifically, the King's Professors, are combining their expertise and taking aim at global sustainability.

Shogren, chair of the University of Wyoming Department of Economics and Finance, is among 14 international scientists who have served as Royal Guest Professors of Sweden's King Carl Gustaf XVI. All were invited and accepted the king's invitation to take part in the Royal Professors' Symposium on Global Sustainability, scheduled March 22 at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden.

The prestigious professorship appointment, created in 1996 to honor the king's 50th birthday, was established to promote education and research in environmental protection, says Shogren, who served his professorship during 2007-2008. He says the Royal Guest Professorship has become an important way to promote high-quality research in both the social and scientific aspects of the environmental sciences.

The only economist in the group, Shogren will discuss the interaction of the environment and economics, and what it will mean over the next decade.

"People affect nature; nature affects people. In thinking about climate risks, for instance, we need to understand better how mitigation and adaptation choices are interlinked; how our choices affect the climate risks; and costs of protecting humans and natural systems," Shogren writes. "By explicitly identifying and examining feedback loops between these systems, we can make good policy better by supplying more environmental protection at less cost."

The conference will showcase what Sweden has done in its leadership role in promoting environmental awareness, says Shogren, UW's Stroock Professor of Natural Resource Conservation and Management.

"This will mark a waterline, showing how scientists from around the globe are approaching complex environmental challenges from many different angles," he says. "We'll share a ‘what do we know, what do we need to know' perspective in assessing where we need to go in the future in terms of developing and raising gross domestic products around the world without damaging the environment."

Shogren has published many articles on the cost and benefits on how to control climate change. He was among the elite group of scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. Professor Gabor Vali, now retired from the UW Department of Atmospheric Science, also was a member of the panel.

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