It was the first time I’ve actually sat in a room full of people and given my full, undivided attention to the topic. We’ve all heard and read various things about climate change. But what is it really all about?
Andrew Weaver did research that was awarded the 2007 shared Nobel Peace Prize. He is shy and bashful of the title Nobel Prize Winner because dozens of scientists equally shared the honor in 2007. To set the record straight it was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (of which Dr Weaver is a lead author). And if there was ever an expert on Climate Change I was listening to him!
Climate change science has its origins in the 1800s when scientists quantified the amount increasing carbon in the atmosphere and what effect that would have on temperature. Fast-forward to Jule Charney in the 1970s, who did research predicting a 1.5 to 4.5 degree warming of Earth. Since then we are bang on predictions that our Planet is heating up due to burning of fossil fuels.
The Earth warming is confusing in part because it’s not a steady rise but a drunken stagger. With unpredictable, extreme changes in weather patterns from year to year affecting different regions randomly. What we do know is that the Arctic ice cap is melting, oceans are rising, as is ocean acidity. The oceans are a carbon sink; the oceans absorb most of the excess carbon. This is of drastic concern for the health of our oceans and sea life. Even if we don’t feel, can’t see the earth’s temperature rising, the oceans are acidifying.
We need to cap warming at 2 degrees.
I asked what we could do about it, Dr. Weaver responded as follows:
“When I am asked what an individual can do, I usually respond with “use your
power as a consumer”. And I specifically used organic foods as an example of
how the power of the consumer led to a situation where pretty much every
grocery store has an organic foods section. It’s the same with GHGs.
Individuals (and corporations) can facilitate change by purchasing local as
much as possible and products that were produced in a least GHG producing
way as possible.
The single most important piece of policy that is needed is emissions
pricing. It has to be introduced in North America widely. It’s important
that people who support this talk freely about it publicly instead of
letting the libertarians dominate the conversation.”