Public Release: 

Global Warming and the Habitability of Planet Earth, Sept. 26

D. James Baker, consultant to UNESCO, will address topic at Stevens

Stevens Institute of Technology

HOBOKEN, N.J. ¯ Dr. D. James Baker, a consultant to UNESCO and a former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will deliver a talk at Stevens Institute of Technology, Sept. 26, titled, "Global Warming and the Habitability of Planet Earth: A Time of Reckoning."

The talk will be delivered at Stevens' Babbio Center for Technology Management, Room 122, at 3:00 p.m., Sept. 26. The Babbio Center is located on the Stevens campus in Hoboken, N.J., near the intersection of River and Sixth Streets.

The first part of Baker's talk will outline the science of climate change as driven by greenhouse gases as understood from both from the past historical record and from the basic physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and ocean.

"I will talk about what is known and what uncertainties remain, and how these uncertainties can be reduced," said Baker. "I will draw examples of projections for the future for global and for regional climate change from the reports of the International Panel on Climate Change."

The second part of the talk will focus on what can be done to mitigate or slow down the emissions of carbon dioxide with examples from technology, economics and policy.

"Using the steady trend toward an ice-free Arctic as a special example," said Baker, "I will show how we are rapidly reaching a point where we will have to adapt to dramatically changed economics, ecosystems, and national interests in that region. In the end, governments need to understand and act soon on the risks of climate change and industry needs to respond with the deployment of new technology for clean energy.

"If the developed countries, particularly the United States, can show leadership in accepting the risk and dealing with it," he continued, "it is likely that China, India, and others to follow will take a sustainable course. It will not be easy, because we will need the application of major resources and human will. But preserving our habitable Earth deserves no less."


About the Speaker

Dr. D. James Baker was educated as a physicist, practiced as an oceanographer, and has held science and management positions in academia, non-profit, and government institutions. He is currently working as a science and management consultant with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in Paris, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C. to improve monitoring and warning systems for weather, climate, and environmental change. He is a member of the international Science Steering Committee for the Census of Marine Life, is designing new ocean exhibits as an Explorer-in-Residence at the Aquarium of the Pacific in California, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware. He has served on Presidential Commissions, chaired numerous national and international advisory committees, and has testified frequently to the United States Congress on environmental issues. He was a scientific advisor to former Vice President Al Gore on the Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth and gives more than forty invited lectures per year on sustainability, climate change, and oceanography. He serves on the Boards of the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia.

During the 1990s in the Clinton Administration, Baker was Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. There he guided the completion of the modernization of the National Weather Service; initiated new climate forecasting services; and merged civil and military environmental satellite systems. During his tenure, the funding for fisheries and coastal zone management dramatically increased and the backlog for mapping and charting the nation's coastal waters was greatly reduced. He co-chaired the President's Global Disaster Information Network Council and the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and served on the President's Council on Sustainable Development. As the U.S. Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission he led the efforts to establish in the Southern Ocean the largest whale sanctuary ever put in place. He was the co-chair of the Environmental Working Group of the U.S./Russia Binational Commission which led to the first release of classified Russian environmental data.

Most recently, Baker was President and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia where he established new research programs and created a popular Town Square public discussion forum on topics ranging from urban sustainability to global warming. Before coming to NOAA, he was President of Joint Oceanographic Institutions Incorporated in Washington, D.C., where he managed the international Ocean Drilling Program; co-founded and was the first Dean of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington; and taught and carried out research at Harvard University and the University of Rhode Island. He has led oceanographic expeditions to many parts of the world and shares a patent for a deep-sea pressure gauge. He has more than 100 scientific publications and is the author of the book Planet Earth: The View from Space, published by Harvard University Press.

Baker co-founded and was the first President of The Oceanography Society and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society and has served as the B. Benjamin Zucker Environmental Fellow at Yale College. He was awarded the Vikram Sarabhai Medal by the Government of India in 1998 for his "outstanding contributions to space research in developing countries"; and holds two honorary degrees. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from Cornell University.

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Founded in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the leading technological universities in the world dedicated to learning and research. Through its broad-based curricula, nurturing of creative inventiveness, and cross disciplinary research, the Institute is at the forefront of global challenges in engineering, science, and technology management. Partnerships and collaboration between, and among, business, industry, government and other universities contribute to the enriched environment of the Institute. A new model for technology commercialization in academe, known as Technogenesis®, involves external partners in launching business enterprises to create broad opportunities and shared value. Stevens offers baccalaureates, master's and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science and management, in addition to a baccalaureate degree in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university has a total enrollment of 1,850 undergraduate and 2,980 graduate students, and a worldwide online enrollment of 2,250, with a full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty of 140 and more than 200 full-time special faculty. Stevens' graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at For the latest news about Stevens, please visit

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