PHOTO: Benjamin Houlton explains climate change and what we can do to reduce its effects.
By Stephanie Thompson and Connor Tang,
Benjamin Houlton, director of the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment, delivered a comprehensive climate change seminar on Jan. 23 at the Friends Meetinghouse. A multitude of statistics, photos and anecdotes highlighted the long term adverse effects caused by climate change, developments in social perception, and the power of the individual needed to alleviate this looming issue.
Currently, the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, inefficient land use and excessive waste have contributed heavily to the drastic levels of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere. As a result, the risk factor for natural disasters has developed into a phenomenon of “dangerous interference.”
The impact of anthropogenic global warming as been felt on an international scale as the graphs of carbon dioxide in contrast to global temperature change are nearly identical.
“Our capacity to link the forecasting tools of climate to weather extremes is diminishing […] The climate system is moving beyond our normal understanding of the planet,” Houlton said.
“We can no longer say, ‘hey I know exactly how this is going to work,’” Houlton said in reference to predicting natural disasters and weather irregularities.
While many share economic concerns about transitioning to green technology, Houlton assured them that there will continue to be business opportunities in the green technology fields, especially in research and development. He also stressed the use of negative emissions, cooperation and innovation from everyone.
The effects and impacts of global warming “could rival any change on the planet,” but “we can solve this challenge… [by] approach[ing] this optimistically […] take [our] awareness…and turn that into solutions,” Houlton said.