Climate change focus of 2019 Paul Chung Memorial Lecture

Paul Chung lecture series
From left: Admiral Paul Zukunft, U.S. Coast Guard (retired); Kay Chung, wife of the late Paul Chung; Shirley Daniel, accounting professor at Shidler College of Business and Jay Fidel, CEO at ThinkTech Hawaii

By Shirley Daniel
Accounting Professor, Shidler College of Business

The 2019 Dr. N.H. Paul Chung Memorial Lecture and Luncheon was held on August 27 at the Prince Waikiki Hotel. The lecture focused on climate change and featured keynote speaker Admiral Paul Zukunft, U.S. Coast Guard (retired). Admiral Zukunft has over 41 years of active duty service and held eight commands, including as the 25th commandant of the Coast Guard from 2014 until 2018. In 2010, he served as the federal on-scene coordinator during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where he directed over 47,000 first responders, a flotilla of more than 6,700 vessels and over 120 aircraft. 

The lecture was titled “An Apolitical View of Climate Change, US National Security and World Order, and Hawai‘i’s Leadership Opportunities.” Admiral Zukunft first highlighted scientific evidence of the rise of CO2 atmospheric levels, temperature increases, changes in the jet stream and retreating arctic sea ice levels. These changes are not only impacting the frequency and intensity of natural disasters worldwide, but they are also impacting the geopolitical landscape as Russia and China seek to control and exploit new maritime passageways in the Northern seas. Rising sea levels are also impacting coastal cities and populations around the world and will require increased investment in infrastructure assets critical for power generation, transportation (both air and sea), and security. It is imperative that actions are taken now. Hawai‘i’s leadership in coastal management and renewable energy provide us with a unique opportunity to play a key role in addressing the awesome challenges of climate change.

The lecture was an ideal venue to discuss the challenges of climate change, as UH Mānoa is one of only a handful of academic institutions nationwide to hold the distinction of being a Land-, Sea-, Space- and Sun-Grant research institution. UH Mānoa has widely recognized strengths in tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, oceanography, astronomy, electrical engineering, volcanology, evolutionary biology, Hawaiian studies, Pacific Islands studies, and Asian and Pacific studies and public health. 

The Dr. N.H. Paul Chung Memorial Lecture and Luncheon is a highlight of the Pacific Asian Management Institute (PAMI) summer program and honors the founder of PAMI, Dr. Chung, an economics professor at the UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business. The lecture is made possible by the generosity of Mrs. Kay Chung, who established the Dr. N.H. Paul Chung Memorial Lecture Fund. Over the past 30 years, in addition to this lecture, Mrs. Chung has endowed scholarships and programs at the UHM Richardson School of Law, the Center for Korean Studies, and the Shidler College of Business.

The UH motto, inscribed in both the Hawaiian and English languages on Founders’ Gate at UH Mānoa is “Maluna a‘e o na lahui a pau ke ola o ke kanaka” which translates to “Above all nations is humanity.” Clearly, climate change is an issue that is going to impact all of humanity, regardless of national politics.

2019 Paul Chung Memorial Lecture