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The demographer who studied the climate

Daniel Hogan, who passed away at the age of 67, warned about the impact on urban centers caused by climate change

ANTONINHO PERRI/UNICAMPMost specialists in the field of climate change look at the skies and at historical surveys to predict the weather. Daniel Joseph Hogan looked at land with complementary eyes – more specifically, he looked at cities. One of the few specialists in the field of humanities focused on the assessment of the impact caused by climate changes, in November 2009 Hogan presented the conclusions of a survey he had coordinated. The survey showed that some of the places in Rio de Janeiro that were most sensitive to climate excesses were located in the vicinity of Rodrigo de Freitas lake and the bays of Guanabara and Sepetiba – indeed, these regions and the people living in them were among those most severely affected by the inordinately heavy rains that fell on the city of Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of this year. In the city of São Paulo, the most sensitive regions in this respect are located close to the beds of the Tietê and Pinheiros rivers, where constant floods occurred because of the heavy rains that fell in December and January.

Hogan, who died from bladder cancer early in the morning of April 27, was one of the coordinators of the Megacidades project, a broad study on climate, soil, terrain and living conditions of populations living in cities such as São Paulo. The project is sponsored by the FAPESP Global Climate Changes Program. One of Hogan’s goals was to forward the conclusions of this study to those who could work to avoid tragedies caused by the heavy rains that fall at the beginning of each year (see article).

A courteous and helpful man, the soft-voiced Daniel Joseph Hogan was a professor of demographics and a researcher at the Center for Population Studies (Nepo) and the Center for Environmental Studies and Research (Nepam) at the State University of (Unicamp). Hogan came to Unicamp in 1972, after graduating in literature from Le Moyne College, in Syracuse, United States and after obtaining his master’s degrees in the sociology of development and in demographics, from Cornell University, also in the United States. At Unicamp, he worked at the Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences (IFCH) and was dean of Post-graduate studies in the period from 2002 to 2005. “Thanks to his ability to articulate and to conduct a dialogue, Hogan was able to create an extensive network of people dedicated to thinking of and working for a fairer, more sustainable, and more human world,” said Regina Maria Barbosa, the director of Nepo, in an interview to Jornal da Unicamp newsletter.

“Daniel was an original and imaginative researcher who contributed to the sciences and was a driver of various institutional initiatives. At FAPESP, his participation was crucial to implement a multi-disciplinary view with focus on humanities in programs such as the Biota and the Research on Global Climate Changes,” said Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of FAPESP. “His quiet way of debating, always in a low voice, his well-chosen words and fundamental ideas, defined the result of many scientific and institutional discussions and established a model for academic life. He will be sorely missed.”