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KNOXVILLE — As global energy consumption rises, the ethical stakes of environmental action — or inaction — may be rising with it.

Experts from academia, business and the environmental community will converge on the University of Tennessee this April to discuss these issues and more.

Energy and Responsibility: A Conference on Ethics and the Environment will be held April 10-12 at the Knoxville Hilton, located at 501 W. Church Ave. Featuring a variety of keynotes and panel discussions, the event will address topics from energy generation to consumption.

The conference is open to members of the business and academic communities, as well as those from the environmental fields and members of the public with an interest in these topics.

“We’re bringing together groups of people that don’t often talk with each other,” said John Nolt, professor of environmental ethics at UT Knoxville and one of the conference organizers. “The discussions should be productive and thought-provoking.”

Keynote speakers at the conference include noted environmental researcher Robert Socolow of Princeton University, ethicist and human rights expert Henry Shue of Oxford College, and Dale Bryk of Yale University, an expert on state-level climate and energy policy.

Panel discussions will address a wide variety of topics, including the realities of environmental decision-making for business, the impact of technological environmental solutions and sustainable planning.

In addition to representatives from Alcoa and Frito-Lay, who will address corporate sustainability, panels will include experts from UT Knoxville as well as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the African Development Bank, and universities around the world — from Bangladesh to Puerto Rico to the Netherlands.

“It’s truly global and truly interdisciplinary,” said Nolt.

Registration for the conference is currently open, and the deadline for a reduced early registration fee of $120 is March 15. After that date, the cost will increase to $175. Students of any college and university can attend for only $60, and UT students can attend conference programming for free.

The conference, hosted by a number of UT Knoxville departments, is sponsored by UT, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Alcoa, the Charter on Human Responsibilities (U.S.), and the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club.

More information on the conference, including a full list of speakers, panels and abstracts, can be found online at http://isse.utk.edu/energy_and_responsibility/.


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)
John Nolt (865-974-7218, nolt@utk.edu)