NYU Abu Dhabi Institute initiates discussion on climate change and carbon emissions
United Arab Emirates: Monday, November 16 - 2009 at 16:29
The New York University Abu Dhabi Institute (NYUAD Institute) hosted a discussion on Sunday about carbon emissions, one of the world's most pressing environmental challenges, as part of its fall program of events.
Tyler Volk, professor of biology at NYU and science director for the NYU Environmental Studies Program, and Anne Rademacher, assistant professor of environmental studies and metropolitan studies at NYU, were in Abu Dhabi to engage the community in a conversation about the natural carbon cycle, the effects of human-induced fossil fuel carbon emissions and the potential impact of alternative energy sources.
Volk, who authored the book CO2 Rising, pointed out during the discussion that CO2 emissions are tied to trends in the global economy.
"Wealth is energy, and energy today involves mostly fossil fuels," Volk said. "The poor use little energy and produce very little in carbon emissions."
CO2 waste spreads throughout the earth's atmosphere no matter where those emissions originated, so countries that have had almost no influence on the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are experiencing the same greenhouse effect as those countries that have been major CO2 emitters, he added.
Read the whole article here.
On Wisconsin Magazine
Lynn Margulis MS’60 is one of those rare scientists whose research fundamentally altered the way we view the world — in this case, the way we view evolution. With blunt language, she batters humanity out of its self-image as the pinnacle of life.
“Man is the consummate egotist,” Margulis has written. “It may come as a blow to our collective ego, but we are not masters of life perched on the top rung of an evolutionary ladder.” Instead, she likes to say that “beneath our superficial differences, we are all of us walking communities of bacteria.”
Margulis is a leading proponent of an evolutionary concept called symbiogenesis — a hypothesis that states that new adaptations do not arise primarily from random mutations, but from the merging of two separate organisms to form a single new organism.
Symbiogenesis theory flies in the face of an accepted scientific dogma called neo-Darwinism, which holds that adaptations occur exclusively through random mutation, and that as genes mutate in unpredictable ways, their gradual accumulation sometimes results in useful attributes that give the organisms an advantage that eventually translates into evolutionary change.
What tipped Margulis off that new traits could arise in another way was the fact that DNA, thought to reside only in the nucleus, was found in other bodies of the same cell. This realization led to research showing not only how crucial symbiotic relationships can be to the immediate survival of organisms, but also that one of the most significant sources of innovation — indeed, even the origins of new species — occurs when, over time, symbiotic partners fuse to create new organisms.
Read the whole article here.