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Jim white powerpoint durango Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Climate Change and Colorado s Future !  Online tool that localizes climate change for Colorado !  Features a series of educational videos !  Each video pairs scientists with citizens to explain how climate change is affecting our state !  Offers tools to help teachers bring climate change education into their classrooms !  Provides resources to aide citizens in making green choices! ! LearnMoreAboutClimate.colorado.edu! "
  • 2. Welcome to your new planet! ! " What everyone should know about climate and climate change…! ! Jim White, University of Colorado!
  • 3. Times have changed"•  We live in truly historic times"•  We have sought dominion over the earth for as long as we have been a species"•  In the last 30 years, we have demonstrably achieved that goal… more on that later."
  • 4. Times have changed"•  While all previous generations saw the earth as limitless in some way, all future generations will need to consider planetary limits"•  Sustainability is our goal"•  To achieve that goal, we must understand how our planet functions"
  • 5. Why you should care about climate change"1.  Because it’s real, and really simple"2.  Because there are real impacts"3.  Because it’s a hard problem that will take many of us to solve it"4.  Because we’re not facing the problem, and we need the practice if we are to achieve sustainability"
  • 6. Simple physics:1. Because its real, Global climate and actually depends on three factors" really simple" " •  How much energy we get from the sun" •  How much of that energy is reflected back to space (aerosols, ice, etc.)" •  Amount of greenhouse gases"
  • 7. More simple How can these change?" " physics! •  Sun: Hotter Sun, or an orbit of the Earth closer to " the sun = warmer planet" •  Reflectivity: more aerosols (e.g. volcanoes) and reflective surfaces (e.g. ice and snow) = cooler planet" •  Amount of greenhouse gases: more = warmer planet"
  • 8. Greenhouse gases are a natural and important part of the Earth’s climate system" " •  Earth s temperature without greenhouse gases = -18˚C " •  Too cold for advanced life?" •  Earth s temperature with greenhouse gases = +15˚C" •  …Cozy…" •  Greenhouse gases raise the temperature of the Earth by about 33˚C (about 60˚F)… and make the planet habitable!
  • 9. If we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphereOK, then…" the Earth will warm." " To expect otherwise denies physics… and the next time you feel the urge to deny physics, try stepping off a cliff…"
  • 10. But what about that complex climate system ?"•  It is a myth that global climate is too complex to be predictable"•  Climate inputs: " –  Incoming solar energy" –  Aerosols and other reflectors" –  Greenhouse gases"•  If we know these, we can reproduce temperature quite well"
  • 11. Predicting global climate"Models, simple and complex, agree… "with our three inputs, we can account for temperature changes of the past 100 years"
  • 12. Greenhouse gases are increasing"•  Carbon dioxide levels are 30% higher than they have been for about 3 million years"•  Other Greenhouse gases higher as well:" –  Methane is 300% higher (tripled)" –  CFC s are human made, so they are new to the atmosphere" IPCC SPM 2007"
  • 13. Greenhouse gases" " " " "% impact"More basics " •  Water vapor ~60%" •  Carbon dioxide ~20%" •  Methane" •  Nitrous oxide ~20%" •  Tropospheric O3" Ice cores inform us about the three in blue"
  • 14. Greenhousegas milestones"•  Preindustrial level: 280 ppm"•  Full glacial level: 180 ppm"•  Today in 2011… about 385 ppm"
  • 15. 2. Because there are real impacts" Its getting warmer" NOAA"
  • 16. 2. Because there are real impacts" Sea ice is shrinking"
  • 17. 2. Because there are real impacts" Sea level is rising"
  • 18. 2. Because there are real impacts"Sea level is rising: 3 feet by the end of this century is current estimate… and it won’t stop there"
  • 19. 2. Because there are real impacts"Think about it… Miami has no future much beyond this century!
  • 20. The last time there wasWhat does the this much greenhouse " past tell us? gas was…" " •  The Pliocene (3 million years ago): " –  350 to 400 ppm CO2" –  30˚F warmer in the Arctic… trees in the Arctic Circle" –  less sea ice and land ice" – 82 feet higher sea level!
  • 21. What does 20 meters (65 feet) of sea level rise look like?"
  • 22. What does 20 meters (65 feet) of sea level rise look like?"
  • 23. What does 20 meters (65 feet) of sea level rise look like?"
  • 24. What does 20 meters (65 feet) of sea level rise look like?"
  • 25. Is it surprising that humans are causing climate change?"•  Simply put…we re impressive, the biggest cause of change on the planet."•  We have altered the Earth s energy balance and changed climate!•  We cause 10 times more erosion than all natural processes"•  We make more fertilizer than all bacteria in the world"•  We make more sulfate than all ocean phytoplankton!•  Our current energy needs equal all harvestable wind energy in the atmosphere!How is this possible?… the power of the exponential!"
  • 26. "Population You are here"
  • 27. Energy use per capita: the big multiplier" China: 5 times below Europe" India: 8 times below Europe" US: 2 times more than Europe" " The Nasty Dilemma: we want others to live well, but if they do, the energy and resource needs will be staggering"
  • 28. Fossil fuels and CO2: The future
  • 29. A sobering thought…Kyoto was passed in 1997""Since then, CO2 levels are 20%higher… in other words, 20% ofall FF s were burned since1997… that pesky exponential"
  • 30. A rapidly changing world"
  • 31. 3. Because it’s a hard problem that will take many of us to solve it! "Why is it hard?"1.  It’s political"2.  There’s a lot of $ at stake: the US spends about $1.4 Trillion per year on energy"3.  The impacts come slowly"4.  The problem is global."
  • 32. 3. Because it’s a hard problem that will take many of us to solve it! "Why is it hard?"5.  The impacts come after the causes by about 50 years: ours is a water planet and it takes time to heat up the water… if cause and effect are not immediate, its hard to provoke action.!
  • 33. 4.  Because we’re not facing the problem, and inaction is really action…" Exponential surprises " The coal example "
  • 34. The exponential: a hypothetical example! ! "Coal Lifetime: 500 yrs, no growth in use
  • 35. " Coal Lifetime: 500 yrs, growth in use3000 Note the2500 scale change!"2000 reservoir with 1% growth in use reservoir with 3% growth in use15001000500 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
  • 36. 4.  Because we’re not facing the problem, and we have a footprint beyond energy…" Food gases "•  CH4 is in part a food gas. It is produced by rice cultivation and domestic animals"•  N2O is a food gas"
  • 37. Greenhouse effect of the ! Food gases"About half that of CO2: which means anthropogenic warming is notjust a FF issue"
  • 38. So what do we do? "
  • 39. So what do we do? "•  Despite a decade of debate over how to act, we have not stopped changing the energy balance of the planet, in fact we’ve increased the rate of change"
  • 40. So what do we do? "•  Science informs, it does not prescribe policy"•  We can’t duck the issue… inaction is action"•  If we wanted to act, could we (nations) agree on a plan?"•  The default is adaptation… is that a bad thing?"
  • 41. Boiling it down: 3 main points "•  Economics and Ethics: Is it all about the economy? Or is there a greater goal?"•  Ostrich issue: significant climate change is already in the pipeline and is arguably unavoidable. We need to learn to accept, and live with, our footprint."•  Cause, but not effect: today’s actions result in tomorrow’s change… do we have the ability to solve such time-lagged problems?"
  • 42. Context "•  Climate change is training wheels for sustainability"•  We have larger problems to face and solve" –  Food" –  Water" –  Mineral resources" –  Population" –  International cooperation"•  Every problem faced is a step towards sustainability"
  • 43. Ethics and economics" "Final comments:! My 3 simple rules of " Responsibility sustainability:" " 1.  Everything must cycle" 2.  Population must be controlled (equality of the sexes), and vary inversely with resource use per capita" 3.  Equity must be considered and acted upon"
  • 44. Climate Change and Colorado s Future !  Online tool that localizes climate change for Colorado !  Features a series of educational videos !  Each video pairs scientists with citizens to explain how climate change is affecting our state !  Offers tools to help teachers bring climate change education into their classrooms !  Provides resources to aide citizens in making green choices! ! LearnMoreAboutClimate.colorado.edu! "