Dickinson College to Host International Climate Symposium

IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee speaks at a white podium.

IPCC Chair Dr. Hoesung Lee speaks at Dickinson's 2022 Commencement Ceremony. Photo by Dan Loh.

Three-day event will feature insights from the UN IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report

by Craig Layne

Internationally known climate scientists, ecologists, agronomists, economists, policymakers and other experts  on climate change risks and responses will gather at Dickinson for a three-day symposium featuring authors of the newest reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Science-Based Choices for Climate Action: Insights from the IPCC 6th Assessment Report,” an in-person and livestreamed symposium, will take place in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium from Oct. 24-26. Attendance is free, and pre-registration is requested. The schedule, speakers and registration information are available at the symposium website

The symposium is timely, coming as the IPCC has released three recent assessment reports on climate change and on the eve of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP27, a world gathering where next steps for achieving global goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change will be negotiated.  

“Hosting the symposium at Dickinson puts our students right in the thick of things, having direct access to scientific and policy leaders who are grappling with one of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Neil Leary, chair of the symposium and a participant in past IPCC assessments. “Our goal is to engage the speakers in conversations with each other and with our students about findings from the IPCC assessment, why they matter and how they can be used to mobilize more ambitious and equitable actions on climate change,” said Leary, who also leads Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education. For decades, the IPCC’s reports have informed and galvanized action by governments, businesses, nonprofits and activists to reduce climate change risks. 

“We welcome this opportunity to strengthen the nexus of climate change science and academia, allowing us to educate and engage new and diverse groups of young future scientists,” said Hoesung Lee, the chair of the IPCC. “This constant renewal of our volunteer scientific force is critical for preserving IPCC’s authoritative voice. Our world is at a historic crossroads, and the global importance of IPCC’s work on assessing and communicating scientific knowledge about our climate cannot be overstated. It is the foundation of informed and effective action on climate change.” 

"The work of the IPCC aligns strongly with the mission and values of Dickinson,” said college President John E. Jones III '77, P'11. “As an institution that is committed to working toward a world that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, we are excited for this opportunity to share the IPCC’s critical work with the Dickinson community and the public.” 

The symposium celebrates the awarding of the 2022 Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism to the IPCC in recognition of the panel’s important work producing and communicating scientific knowledge that is the foundation of informed and effective action on climate change. The IPCC plans to use the $100,000 prize money to further fund the IPCC Scholarship Programme, which provides scholarships for Ph.D. students from developing countries to conduct research that advances understanding of climate change risks and response strategies.  

Leading climate experts, including IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, will participate in the symposium. Sessions will feature discussions of many aspects of climate change, including pathways to net zero carbon, science and policy, land, ecosystems, food, agriculture, water, cities, social justice, technology and advocacy. The symposium is open to the public and students and sustainability leaders from Dickinson and many other institutions will be in attendance.  

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Citizens Climate Education, Global Council for Science and the Environment, Our Climate, Second Nature, The Stone House Group and Sustainable Development Solutions Network – USA are supporting organizations of the symposium. 

About the Rose-Walters Prize

The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism is a $100,000 prize given annually to an individual or organization that makes a defining difference to advance responsible action on behalf of the planet, its resources and people. The winner then serves a residency at Dickinson to help students prepare to combat climate change and restore the natural world. 

The IPCC joins a distinguished group of prior institutional recipients of the Rose-Walters Prize, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and Our Children’s Trust, the advocacy organization that represented 21 young plaintiffs in the landmark federal climate change lawsuit Juliana v. United States. The prize has also been awarded to individuals, including the award-winning actor and activist Mark Ruffalo; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert; Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson; award-winning nature photographer James Balog; author and journalist Bill McKibben; Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of Sunrise Movement; Brett Jenks, president and CEO of conservation group Rare; and Armond Cohen, founder and executive director of the Clean Air Task Force.  

About Dickinson College’s sustainability efforts 

As an innovator in sustainability education, Dickinson challenges students through classroom studies, living laboratories, service learning, student-faculty research and study abroad programs to build the knowledge and skills that are needed to create a sustainable world. In 2020, Dickinson became one of the first colleges to reach zero net emissions of greenhouse gases to become carbon neutral. Opportunities for hands-on learning include working with community groups to develop local climate action plans and protect local watersheds and air quality, learning about solar energy, growing food on the college’s USDA-certified organic farm and producing biogas from food waste. Sustainable practices and values are underscored by a commitment to education for sustainability, climate neutrality, green building practices, socially responsible investment and diverse community engagement. Dickinson’s achievements and leadership have earned the highest recognitions from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Sierra Magazine, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, The Princeton Review and Second Nature.


Published October 19, 2022