2022: A Wicked Problem: Individual Freedoms and Climate Change

Should we limit individual freedoms to stabilize the climate? Can we stabilize the climate without such restrictions? Join us to explore these questions with our distinguished experts.

The Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Department in UBC Okanagan’s Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences presents the next Roger W. Gale Symposium in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

A Wicked Problem: Individual Freedoms and Climate Change

April 12, 2022 | Online Virtual Event
9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. PST

It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed – Valérie Masson-Delmotte, IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair, 2021-08-09.

There is no reasonable doubt that the collectivity of individual human decisions has substantially changed the global climate, and on its current trajectory, the rate of change is accelerating. The impacts of this change are being seen around the world as wildfires, heat waves, torrential rains and powerful storms. The more heat-trapping gasses are added to the atmosphere, the further the climate will change and the greater the risk that the climate system tips into a new and substantially different state. A state that will seriously disrupt all ecological systems – within which human systems are embedded – on the planet.

Each of us has a range of choices available that have differing impacts on other people and the global environment. Should that range of choices be constrained for some so that the global climate system can be stabilized? Whose choices? How? What, if anything, we do together to change the choices we make as individuals is a “wicked” problem (Churchman, 1967), intersecting various important values with no objectively right solution.

Join us on April 12, 2022, to explore this intersection with our distinguished guests.

This event has passed.


The Roger W. Gale Symposium’s keynote speaker Michael Ignatieff spoke to Chris Walker on CBC Radio One’s current affairs morning show—Daybreak South.

Listen here: Daybreak South with Chris Walker | Live Radio | CBC Listen


Michael ignatieff, Keynote speaker

Professor in the History Department at Central European University

John Dryzek

Centenary Professor in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra.

Kathryn Harrison

Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.

William Rees

Population ecologist, ecological economist and Professor Emeritus.

Meghan Robinson

PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia.

Marlowe sAM

Lecturer at the University of British Columbia.

Ed Dolan

Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center.

Andrew Weaver

Professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.


Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Andrew J. Weaver is a Professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria. He was also the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis until he was elected as a BC Green Party MLA in the 2013 BC Provincial Election representing the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head. In 2015 Dr. Weaver assumed leadership of the BC Green Party, leading them to an historic election result in the 2017 provincial election with three elected MLAs holding the balance of power in an NDP minority government. He returned to the University of Victoria after completing two terms as an MLA.

Dr. Weaver received his B.Sc (Mathematics and Physics) from the University of Victoria in 1983, a Master of Advanced Studies in Mathematics from Cambridge University in 1984, and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of British Columbia in 1987. He has authored or coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed papers in climate, meteorology, oceanography, earth science, policy, education, and anthropology journals. He was a Lead Author in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th scientific assessments. He was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate from 2005-2009.

Dr. Weaver is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Over the years he has received a number of awards including the NSERC-Steacie, Killam and Guggenheim Fellowships and the CMOS President’s Prize, the Royal Society of Canada Miroslaw Romanowski Medal and the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science. In 2008 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia and in 2014 he received an honourary D.Sc. degree from McMaster University.

For his work developing British Columbia’s CleanBC economic plan collaboratively with the BC NDP, he and the Minister of Environment, George Heyman, received 2020 Clean 16 and Clean 50 awards for outstanding contributions to sustainable development and clean capitalism in Canada.

His book, Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World was published by Viking Canada in September 2008. His second book, Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming was published by Raven books in 2011.

John Dryzek is Centenary Professor in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Before moving to the University of Canberra, he was Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, former Head of the Departments of Political Science at the Universities of Oregon and Melbourne and of the Social and Political Theory program at ANU, former editor of the Australian Journal of Political Science, and former ARC Laureate Fellow.

Working in both political theory and empirical social science, he is best known for his contributions in the areas of democratic theory and practice and environmental politics. One of the instigators of the ‘deliberative turn’ in democratic theory, he has published eight books in this area with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Polity Press. His work in environmental politics ranges from green political philosophy to studies of environmental discourses and movements to global climate governance, and he has published seven books in this area with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Basil Blackwell. His most recent books are The Politics of the Anthropocene (with Jonathan Pickering, Oxford University Press, 2019) and Democratizing Global Justice: Deliberating Global Goals (with Ana Tanasoca, Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Kathryn Harrison is a Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Harrison received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering before completing her PhD in Political Science. Before entering academia, Harrison worked as a policy analyst for both Environment Canada and the United States Congress. She also has served as Senior Associate Dean and Acting Dean in the UBC Faculty of Arts.

Professor Harrison has published widely on Canadian and US climate policy. She has advised governments from the local to international level, and is currently chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on climate mitigation of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices.  Harrison is a frequent media commentator on climate policy.

William Rees is a population ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. His research focuses on the biophysical requirements for sustainability and on the implications for civilization of global ecological trends. In this context, he has special interests in cities as particularly vulnerable components of the human ecosystem and in psycho-cognitive and cultural barriers to rational ‘environmental’ behaviour and public policy.

Prof Rees is perhaps best known as the originator and co-developer (with his graduate students) of ‘ecological footprint analysis’ (EFA), a quantitative tool that estimates the extent to which humanity is in ‘ecological overshoot.’ Overshoot (of which climate change is merely a symptom) poses a serious challenge to policies promoting the continuous growth of the human enterprise — we would need almost five Earth-like planets to support just the present world population sustainably at Canadian/US material standards. Dr. Rees has authored hundreds of peer reviewed papers/book chapters and popular articles on these topics.

An active member of the academic community, he is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the One Earth Initiative; Director of the Real Green New Deal, and a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute. Prof Rees’ work is nationally and internationally recognized. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada and a Trudeau Foundation Fellowship recipient; in 2012 he received both the international Boulding Prize in Ecological Economics and a Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Dr Mathis Wackernagel).  He was a full member of the Club of Rome, 2014-2019; in 2015 the US Society for Ecological Economics awarded Prof Rees the 2015 Herman Daly Award and in 2016 he received a Dean’s Medal of Distinction from UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science.

Meghan Robinson is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She is completing her doctoral research on the possibility of giving Māori and Tsilhqot’in environmental legends human rights in both Aotearoa and British Columbia as a means to protect Indigenous knowledge alongside the environment. Her two supervisors are Dr. Wade Davis and Dr. Stepan Wood.

Meghan’s research builds on her experience and passions, having formed a strong bond with several leaders in the Māori community in 2015, while completing a placement in Aotearoa for her Outdoor Education MSc. from the University of Edinburgh. Meghan coordinated a cultural exchange with her Māori mentors and several Indigenous communities in BC. During this exchange, their group formed a strong relationship with the Tsilhqot’in Nation and subsequently a reciprocal cultural exchange was again coordinated by Meghan, this time to Aotearoa with a delegation of 23 Tsilhqot’in leaders. During these trips, Meghan helped facilitate the introductions and conversations between Māori and Tsilhqot’in leaders in the areas of Indigenization, environmental protection and sovereignty.

Other outputs include representing Canada at the Rowing World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. Meghan is also the founder of Soft Cedar Performing Arts Society, a non profit organization that provides support and creates opportunities for local artists, communities and organizations who want to push the boundaries of their performance practice and make a difference.

Mark Sagoff has published widely in journals of law, philosophy, and the environment.  His most recent books are The Economy of the Earth, 2nd Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Price, Principle, and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

He was named a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment in 1991 and awarded a Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1998.  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Hastings Center.  Sagoff has an A.B. from Harvard and a Ph.D. (Philosophy) from Rochester, and has taught at Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin (Madison), Cornell, and the University of Maryland, College Park, where for many years he directed the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy.

In 2010, he went to George Mason University as Professor of Philosophy (now retired) and as director, now a Senior Research Fellow, at its Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy.

Ed Dolan holds a PhD in economics from Yale University. He has taught in the United States at Dartmouth College, the University of Chicago, and George Mason University and Gettysburg College, and later at several universities in Europe, including American Institute of Business and Economics in Moscow, Central European University in Budapest, the University of Economics in Prague, and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. He is currently a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center, for which he writes on climate economics, health care, and social policy.

Between 2006 and 2011, Michael Ignatieff served as an MP in the Parliament of Canada and then as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds thirteen honorary degrees.

Between 2012 and 2015, he served as Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York.

Between 2014 and 2016, he was Edward R. Murrow Chair of the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Michael Ignatieff was until recently the Rector and President of Central European University in Budapest. He stepped down at the end of July 2021, to stay as a Professor in the History Department.

Marlowe Sam has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, a Master of Arts, IGS and a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies.

His research and teaching interests lie in indigenous/Aboriginal water rights, indigenous resistance to economic and military globalization and Interior Plateau Salish history. 

Marlowe Sam is a Lecturer at the University of British Columbia.

Event Schedule

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Session #1 –9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

    • Mark Sagoff, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, George Mason University.
    • Ed Dolan, Senior Fellow, Niskanen Center.

Session #2 – 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

    • Michael Ignatieff, Keynote Speaker, Professor, History Department, Central European University.

Session #3 – 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    • William Rees, Population Ecologist, Ecological Economist, Professor Emeritus.
    • Andrew Weaver, Professor, the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria.

Session #4 – 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

    • Kathryn Harrison, Professor, Political Science, University of British Columbia.
    • John Dryzek, Centenary Professor, the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra.

Session #5 – 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

    • Meghan Robinson, PhD student, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of British Columbia.
    • Marlowe Sam, Lecturer, University of British Columbia.

About the Series

The Roger W. Gale Symposium in Philosophy, Politics and Economics is a regular event that focuses on a current issue overlapping with the multiple disciplines within our department. It is meant to bring various parts of the academy and the public together into fruitful dialogue with a range of experts.

The Misinformation Age

What: Is there a vaccine for the infodemic?
Who: Diverse expert panel on how we can combat misinformation while preserving free speech

Sometimes it seems as though the world is spiralling out of control as unreflective thinking, mistrust, fake news, and conspiracy theories wreak havoc. In the last year, the impact of misinformation reached epic proportions during the pandemic and the American election. Authoritarian regimes engaged in information warfare with ever more sophisticated tools and greater reach. Meanwhile, social media platforms came under fire by many for not doing enough to counter misinformation, and by others for undermining free expression with a heavy-handed overreaction.

To stave off the negative impacts of misinformation, we first need to understand it. The good news is that researchers from across the disciplines have begun to make real progress. The goal of this symposium was to bring together eight leading voices from this effort to help us understand and counter the threat.

Guest speakers included:

  • Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.
  • Renée DiResta, Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, a Staff Associate at the Columbia University Data Science Institute, and is a Founding Advisor to the Center for Humane Technology.
  • Dan Gillmor, co-founder of the News Co/Lab at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Heidi Tworek (PhD Harvard University), associate professor of international history and public policy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Learn More

Future of Work

What: Humans, machines and the future of work
Who: Experts in public policy, higher education and international business

Technological progress is significantly changing the world of work. A new wave of disruption is impacting traditional jobs, industries and business models. Canadians are increasingly employed in non-traditional industries, working flexible hours and using technology to change the way they work.

The goal of this symposium was to explore what influence the continuing march of technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will have on where we work and how we work, and where we fit in an automated world.

Guest speakers included:

  • Paulina Cameron, author of bestselling Canada 150 Women
  • Taylor Owen, professor of digital media and global affairs at UBC’s Vancouver campus
  • Sunil Johal, policy director at the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre
  • Alexandra Matesscu, ethnographer and researcher at the Data and Society Research Institute

What: Symposium on Nuclear North Korea: Implications for Canada and the Region
Who: Canada’s former ambassadors to Korea and China, and several experts on the region

On the margins of the international community for decades, North Korea has been pursuing and ramping up a nuclear program and has made direct threats toward the United States. The most recent threat came in November when the country claimed to have successfully tested a new type of international ballistic missile that could reach North America, a claim that US-based experts confirm is supported by their data.

Heightened rhetoric from Leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have made frequent headlines around the world, leaving many people concerned about what appears to be an increasing threat, and unsure what is hype and what is reality.

The daylong symposium brought together six experts to discuss the nature of the threat, the historical context, the competing geopolitical interests in the region and what role Canada should play.

Speakers at this event included: Sven Jurschewsky, former Senior Counselor, Canadian Foreign Service in China; David Chatterson, Canada’s Ambassador to Korea (2011-2014); Gunn Kim, Consul General of the Republic of Korea; Scott Snyder, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.; Jenny Town, US-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University; and Donald Baker, Professor of Korean History, UBC Vancouver.

The discussion examined how people can better assess what they see in the media on international politics and diplomacy.

The day included three sessions:

  • Historical context: How did we get to where we are today? Analyzing previous negotiations and engagement with the regime and their outcomes.
  • Geopolitical interests and responses: What are the core interests of the main players in the region and the international community and how are they pursuing those interests?
  • What should we learn from this situation? What are the implications for Canada?


This symposium series is made possible through the generous support of Roger W. Gale.

Roger Gale

Now living in West Kelowna, Roger holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the School of International Service, American University. Roger has had a diverse career, ranging from teaching at the university level to strategic consulting with global electric power companies. Roger remains active on the boards of two equity funds in the US and he continues his interest in post-secondary education.