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Monday, June 6, 2011

Climate Change News

By: Mary Campbell, Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent

With the recent dramatic weather occurrences in the Midwest and now Florida fires due to severe drought conditions, there is more focus on climate change and the potential impacts. More than just sea level rise and the arctic ice are impacted due to the current climate changes we are experiencing globally. In a recent article released by the National Academy of Sciences, it discusses the nation's options for responding to the risks from climate change in a report requested by Congress. The committee that authored the report included not only renowned scientists and engineers but also economists, business leaders, an ex-governor, a former congressman, and other policy experts.

The new report reaffirms that the majority of scientific evidence points to human activities -- especially the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- as the most likely cause for most of the climate change that has occurred over the last several decades. This trend cannot be explained by natural factors such as internal climate variability or changes in incoming energy from the sun. The report adds that the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems can be expected to intensify with the warming trend.

“America's response to climate change is ultimately about making choices in the face of risk," noted committee vice chair William L. Chameides, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, N.C. "Risk management strategies must be durable enough to promote sustained progress yet sufficiently flexible to take advantage of new knowledge and technologies."

The committee cited many reasons for not waiting, including that the faster emissions are reduced, the lower the risks. Waiting for impacts to occur before taking action will likely be too late for meaningful mitigation. Beginning emissions reductions soon will also lower the pressure to make steeper and costlier cuts later.


National Academies

Florida Energy Systems Consortium

Florida Climate Institute

Climate Change: A Citizen’s Guide to Thoughtful Action


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