Focus; Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region
In this part of the show we will be talking about climate change in our part of the country the Great Lakes region and perhaps even more specific than that. But what we think is likely to happen over the next hundred years or so here in Illinois and also Indiana our guest for the program is Katharine Hayhoe. She's an atmospheric scientist. She's an independent research consultant who is particularly interested in how science and public policy come together. She has done work on the impact of human activities on climate also on issues like greenhouse gas emissions and how they can be controlled. She has a master's degree in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois here in Urbana champagne and has done work for a wide range of both government and private agencies in Canada and in the United States including the EPA the U.S. EPA Environment Canada the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the environment the Department of Energy. And we'll be talking about a report that she was involved in a recent report looking at this issue of climate change in the Midwest she was a number of contributors to this report which was sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Ecological Society of America although the scientists who people who worked on the report don't work for those organizations those organizations sponsored the report but they were all independents independent scientists too who contributed to the report. And she's here to be a part of a panel discussion that is being called visualizing the global computer modeling ecology and politics. This is going to be taking place tonight at 6:00 at the Beckman Institute auditorium. And she has one of the panel members. And I think you know you might find it interesting depending on what kind of discipline you're in I think as we here we have been chatting before we got going that the idea of this discussion is how can you take subjects that might to the to the non-scientist be difficult to understand things that involve a lot of numbers and make them present that information in a way that's more visually appealing and accessible to as I say particular to people who aren't scientists. So that's kind of the idea. And this is open to you know anybody who is interested in attending this you should feel welcome to stop by again that's in the auditorium of the Backman Institute. Tonight at 6:00 here though on the program of course questions are welcome as always 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. We do also have a toll free hotline good anywhere that you can hear us and that is 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 if at any point here you have questions you're welcome to call. Well thanks very much for being here. It's a pleasure. Overall I guess the the big thing that you know the people want to know that the big concern in the I guess there are things that follow from that is the issue of temperatures and weather. You know what's going on in terms of trends what can we expect over the next hundred years or so. And now what this report says it says what now a series of reports and scientists have been saying for some time is that that they believe that the average annual temperature. Would. Go up.
Now the question though there from there is well. How much that's that still uncertain.
Well temperature is one of the first things we think of when we hear the words global warming for a reason. And even though temperature is expected to increase anywhere from 5 to top degrees over the globe it will change it will really depend on the area and for Illinois in specific. We found that temperature could increase seven to 13 degrees Fahrenheit in winter by the end of the century and 9 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit by summer towards the end of the century. The reason why these numbers are higher than the global average is that you might see in a newspaper report for example is because Illinois and Indiana are here in the middle of a continent. And so we're we're closer to the North Pole we're going to see greater warming at higher latitudes and we're also right in the middle without the moderating influence of influence of ocean or or lakes around us.
That's a big spread. We're we're talking about that it could be anything from 5 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and anything from 5 to 20 in summer so it could be even more serious. You know if it goes to the back to be even more serious in the summertime for that so we're looking a lot a lot hotter summers. But there's a big spread here. Is there any way to be more firm about it.
Of this spread we're likely to say yes there is a big range and there's two causes for that range. The first cause is first of all the uncertainty in exactly how our environment will react to the gases that we're pumping into the atmosphere. And then uncertainty accounts for 40 percent of the range that we've given. But the greater part of that range 60 percent is due to uncertainty in how our behavior will change over the next century. So really part of this range is up to us. We continue to use coal gas and oil the way we've been doing it over the last century or are we going to transition to more renewable sources.
Well then the issue would you say that it would get warmer. The question is just how much warmer is there even a question about whether in fact it will get warmer at all.
That's a good point. I can say with certainty that it will get warmer because what we've already been doing is we've already been releasing these heat trapping gases now for well over a century. So here's a picture from this time of year it's as if we've been raking leaves into a pile. We already have a good sized pile of these leaves and so that will already affect climate the question is do we make that into a huge pile of leaves or do we credit try to keep it small.
Now one of the things that people will point out is they will look at it going back as far as we can we can make determinations about what's happening with the climate. There have there are waves you know there are there are times when average temperature average global temperature goes up every global temperature goes down and there's this idea that you know over time there are going to be these swings because one of the questions that people want to know about this warming trend is is this something that's just another thing that's going to go up for a while and then maybe after that it will go down for a while. Is this something that is a longer term change and sort of hesitate to use the word permanent. But it's that it's that it's a longer term change and it's not something that we would expect within this normal pattern over a little over a long period of time.
This normal pattern of up and down oh that is a very good question and there is no doubt that a lot of variations in climate are due to natural causes. The sun's output changes from decade to decade and we've known that for a long time. There's also volcanic eruptions which spew a lot of dust into the atmosphere intend to cool the earth natural variability has accounted for most of what we've seen over the past thousands of years.
However in this century natural variability can account for most of what we saw for the first 50 years but during the last 50 years of the century we have seen an increase in temperature that cannot be accounted for by natural causes. We're fairly familiar with the natural variations due to solar output and due to different other different factors. And the latest computer models have shown that unless you include the effect of heat trapping gas emissions that we've been pumping out over the last century there is no way that you can model the temperature increases that we've seen over the last decades.
So so very the the feeling is that it. Yes. That that is the result of human activity. That is something that we have actually done we have have done. Not that that was the intent but it was the result of something that we had done that it is about burning fossil fuels and that. There's no there's no doubt. Well it in my There's no doubt that that's what it's all about.
What we have seen is definitely a combination of our greenhouse gas emissions with natural variability and there's no way you can account for it if you do not include the fact that these greenhouse gases.
So here we're we're in terms of what we're what you're suggesting that we're going to expect over the next century or so that there will you believe that here in Illinois any other is going to be an increase in the average temperature and that we should expect warmer winters even warmer summers on average and that probably also that we should expect. Longer summers.
Yes well we have already seen that winters have become shorter and shorter in this region and the average temperature is that increased over the last 50 years. The extensive lake ice has been decreasing to the point where in 2001 it was the winter of no ice. Mr Winter there with no lake ice. And so we've already seen a lot of signs and at this time we've seen is that heavy rainfall events have almost doubled in frequency over the last hundred years.
Now let's this is interesting because it and one of things I didn't want to talk about and certainly around in this part of the country where there are a lot of people make their living in agriculture. You know precipitation when the rain comes and how much of it comes at one time. That's that's a big issue. Is it that we're. Expecting that there should be some change in the total average. Precipitation or that we're saying all that's not exactly what we're talking about but that we should expect that we're going to have more when it does come that we're more likely to have heavy downpours and that they're so that they're we going to have more concerns about flooding for example you know potential crop damage. Difficulties working in the field and all that come that stuff that comes from getting your brain too much at one.
Time. Yes that's what we're looking at here. According to the latest projections of what temperature of the potato will look like over the next century we're not expecting a big change in annual average precipitation. But what we are expecting is a change in how that rainfall is distributed over the year and we're looking at two major shifts. The first shift is that more will occur in winter in spring and less in summer and fall. And the second shift that we saw is that more will occur in heavy downpours and less in between.
So we should expect more snow more blizzards. And then there are when it comes around to the summertime we should expect that the summers are likely overall to be drier. But we might also expect more heavy thunderstorms and big rain events within a short period of time. Yes that's very possible. Well we have a caller here would welcome other people if you have questions you'd like to call in.
We're talking this morning with Katharine Hayhoe she is an atmosphere scientist. She is a contributor to a report that was issued recently on looking at climate change in the Great Lakes. She has done a lot of this kind of work and has worked for. Both government and private organizations in the United States in Canada and Ace here to take part in a conference we talked about a little bit panel discussion we talked about beginning programs and questions. I welcome 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 Those are the numbers of color in Belgium by Danville on our line number for right here.
Well I don't know. I don't know. Are you story time. There was a huge break in this general area and one that like if you didn't plan to many many years ago a long time ago you could magically change the weather by introducing a lot of water into the North Atlantic as the water flowed out of the lake. Now recently it was so hard to melt in northern Canada and went back and I learned something like an area where water like drain very very quickly into the north. In other cases in the Arctic Ocean at that point. Now the first water first water into into the ocean changed the way that the Gulf Stream went and everything and dramatically changed weather. I don't know if it brought on the ice age or stop the ice age but medically affected the story that this large drop of water. The water so it's going to sink to the bottom. Well you know the oceans are going to weather.
That's a very good point you bring up the question of fresh water and salt water balances and how that might change the ocean circulation. I'm an oceanographer but I do know that the ocean circulation is like a giant conveyor belt that takes heat from one part of the world and redistribute it to others. And how that's going to be affected in the future is a major concern in terms of what's happened recently. I can't really speak too to the exact impact of that as though I do not believe it will be sufficient to change the thermohaline circulation of the ocean. But large scale melting of the polar ice caps certainly could do that. And if the circulation of the ocean were to reverse or to shut down as we know from records that it has in the pre-start past then we could be looking at very very drastic results and so for example that the global warming in that the temperature changes that we're looking at over the next century they do not include the potential for catastrophe. This is if the world proceeds as normal. But we always have to remember that we are in a world that's carefully balance and we are upset in that balance and who knows what could happen if we we could trigger something that is you know ends up completely out of our control.
I suck it up really. The sea level because the ice is melting on the water through dangerous waters is a great deal that I work on Antarctic which is sitting on my own. That will raise the level of oceans quite a bit which my directions are absolutely going to have a bird lurch effect on the weather. Water has a much more calming effect of the environment. We really have to worry more about the end product and we do get our pictures out right.
Yes that's a very good point. But not not only due to the rising sea levels though but also due to the injection of fresh water as you brought up earlier that can really affect that ocean circulation so that is a good point we do need to keep in mind the effect that we're having on the oceans we can't take them for granted. Thanks very much.
Thank you thank you. This is a point where I guess I'm a little confused because as as the caller suggests some people who are concerned about the issue of global warming one of the key issues that they raise is an increase in a rise in sea level which could be very significant. When you think about you know all those places around the world that are at sea level now and that people are saying you know even a relatively small rise in sea level could result for example in a loss of significant coastal area in the United States. And then there are other places in the world that that might simply find themselves under water when they're in the end I guess here's where I'm a little bit confused. The report suggests that the situation in the Great Lakes would actually be different here. There's they're projecting a decline. And the water level in the Great Lakes. I don't understand why. If there's the concern of the oceans is that the sea level would rise. Why would the level in the Great Lakes drop.
To answer that question we have to look at the reasons why sea levels rise and the reasons why lake levels would drop sea level is expected to rise for two reasons. One is the one that everybody thinks of the ice caps melting. But the second and perhaps even more important one over this over the next century is thermal expansion warmer water just takes up more space. So those are the reasons why sea level will rise but sea level does not affect the Great Lakes Great Lakes. Their lake levels are determined by a balance between the amount of rainfall they receive and the amount of water that evaporates out of them and the amount of groundwater that flows into them. So these are the factors that determine lake level and in the future we already know we've seen that winter ice cover has been decreasing. And a lot of the evaporation actually happens in the winter. So when it freezes it seals off the lake from evaporating. If there's less ice cover in the future this can be a lot more evaporation happening in the winter and a bit more evaporation in the summer as well because warmer air can actually hold more water vapor. So more water can evaporate in the summer and if precipitation stays about the same what's going to happen is the evaporation will cause the lake levels to drop low and so that's the that's the bottom line thing it is.
And if we're if we're again as if we're thinking that we're going to save gets a lot of precipitation that's not particularly an issue but if it's warmer and you don't have your ice cover then more evaporation that.
That's right and actually we've seen a drop in some of the great Like levels over the past few years since 1997. There's actually been lower than average rainfall over the Great Lakes basin and there's been a lot of warm winters with not much ice cover and so what's happened is for example in Lake Huron I like levels have dropped up to four feet. Some people who have cottages and other summer homes there have actually lost their lakefront.
Really. Well OK let's talk with someone else here someone on the campus on our line number one.
A lot of questions.
I have two questions One is do you have any predictions about tornadoes.
That's a very good question.
Currently our our model resolution is not high enough to actually look at such small scale events but that's something we're working on and that's actually something that this seminar this evening will be talking about because we're starting to work very closely with people at NCSA to develop the computer capabilities to look at small scale features like that. I think over in Japan they have a new earth system computer there that has just been able to in the last couple weeks actually resolve tornado scale events. So it's a little early to say what's going to happen with those but that is the next seven UV research that will be looking at.
Sounds like you wouldn't be surprised. And number two the thing you really when you talk about solar Of course person's personal robot versus cumulation greenhouse gases. That was a key stroke I understood the whole problem. And it sounds fine but you said a little bit more of like for example can you say which percentage like the first last or two years. So much of the increase in average temperatures. Too true. So we're all putting increasing first greenhouse gases. And number two are related. Yes. Are you saying therefore best that there are models out there that track the solar output and the greenhouse gas increases. And there are quite quite well and offering up less. Thank you very much.
OK thank you that was a great question. Yes climate models today certainly take account of changes in solar forcing because that is very important. They also include changes in greenhouse gases which traps heat also aerosols which are little particles that actually usually tend to cool the atmosphere. They also include stratospheric ozone depletion the ozone hole because that affects temperatures on earth as well. And so what we see over the last century is that if you only look at natural variations which include solar. As well as the other natural variations in the earth's climate by the end of this century you would not see much of a change and net change in temperature in fact over the last few decades due to solar forcing temperature should actually be cooling a little bit. But instead we have seen the opposite we have seen temperature rise almost 1 degree Celsius over the last three decades and the only explanation for that if you include all of the natural variations including solar is that these heat trapping greenhouse gases must be responsible for the rise that we've seen because solar simply does not account for it. In fact it should have gone down a little bit.
I'm just curious about the color of the question about tornadoes. One of the things that people have asked is about the weather we are expecting trends in the amount of severe weather that we might be that we might be experiencing we've already talked about the fact that it's predicted that while the average precipitation we're not expecting that to change very much we might see a change in the patterns so that we would expect to get get more at one time.
Surprised by severe thunderstorms it does seem reasonable to think that we might indeed have more tornadoes. Is that is that a reasonable kind of assumption to make.
I think that that is a reasonable assumption that the more extreme the weather gets the more extreme events you'll probably see right now like I said we're not able to look at the actual scale that tornadoes happen but we have looked at other extreme events for example. Heat waves. There was a big heatwave in 1996 in Chicago that was responsible for almost 700 deaths and the frequency of heat waves will certainly increase in the future. But similarly the frequency of cold waves will decrease. And then again the frequency of heavy rainfall events has been seen to increase over the last hundred years and is likely to double again by the end of the century.
Our guest in this part focus 580 Katharine Hayhoe She's an independent research consultant. She's particularly interested in and how science and public policy come together and is interested in the impact of human activities on climate on greenhouse gas emissions and also what we do to try to control that. She has done work for the governments of both Canada and the United States for Environment Canada and for the EPA. She's also worked for the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the environment the Department of Energy ice and that's the U.S. Department of Energy That's right. And she's a graduate of University of Illinois she has her master's degree in atmospheric sciences hear from you via her ban on champagne and she was one of the researchers that was involved and contributed to a report looking at climate change in the Great Lakes that was jointly sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Ecological Society of America. And I'm sure that if people are interested in looking at the report or a summary of the report and they have internet access they can get at it by right by going to the Union of Concerned Scientists to their website and they can see it there.
That's right you can reach it directly at w w w dot. You see USA dot org slash Great Lakes all one word.
And on this program questions are welcome to 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. What. What implications are there to this.
To the decrease in the of the level of the the lakes the Great Lakes.
What are issues already concern in this region.
There's a lot of demands for the water that we have here demands for consumption for industry industrial use for agriculture. Currently we're actually withdrawing from our aquifers at an unsustainable rate. Our underground aquifers are not recharging as quickly as we're actually withdrawing water from them. And then of course the city of Chicago withdrawing from Lake Michigan that's always a concern because of course the lake touches many other states and. Withdrawals are currently regulated so. Lake level drops could really affect water availability and water quality in the region and that is a major concern. And even though it's a concern let me say first of all too that it's something that we can plan for and that we need to plan for.
The reason why we did this analysis is to provide people with the information that they can use to make decisions in the future water management plans conservation other things like that.
That's Well certainly I know there are people who are in this part of the state that are concerned about this and in fact who are saying this is something we really ought to be talking about because in certain places we're having some places are growing. There's increasing demand for water here we we depend on one.
For in particular and that it's one that is going to be recharged by rainfall. You know eventually you know the rain falls in the ground eventually percolates down in there and gets into three awkward for as well but you know as we've said a couple of times we're not expecting a big change in the average annual precipitation. So I should you know we're not going to have less rain and snow overall. Why should we be concerned about the awkward first ability to to recharge itself. I mean is this the issue that is going to come in in bigger maybe in bigger amounts. Does that actually make a difference.
That could be because during heavy rainfall more of it runs off unless it is absorbed by the soil because it's already saturated. But I think one of the reasons that we need to plan for the future here is because our population is increasing. We are needing more and more water every day. We're not remaining stable and so even if our why resources did not change in the future we would still have problems with availability because we are increasing.
I know that you before we got going you said that you didn't particularly feel that you were an expert on agriculture but.
Can we get I want to talk a little bit more about the impact on egg and agriculture. We mentioned one thing where we talked about the fact that either you know we're not expecting that the average precipitation is going to change that we might expect that we were going to have more heavy rainfalls are going to be in the more weight in a shorter period time so that's that's potentially a problem. Also timing of the rainfall is an issue too because in farming you want to you know not only you've got to have it but you've got to have it at the right time. There are also I guess some some maybe on the plus side we are expecting a longer growing season because we're expecting the summer is going to be longer and winters have been getting shorter Summers meaning longer. What what can you say about or what does anybody think about in terms of plus or minus and the impact on agriculture of the of the roaming that is.
Acted Well agriculture is already under a lot of pressure particularly the smaller firms and what we found is that increased variability in climate will primarily impact the smaller fork firms that are less able to absorb their changes from year to year. First of all increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will actually boost yields for some crops and as you pointed out there will be longer growing seasons and longer frost free periods so people could even go to double cropping sometimes and there are some benefits and that's important to note. But however there are also drawbacks and those include increased frequency of heavy rainfall events shifts in rainfall from summer and fall moving back into its spring and winter more water when you don't necessarily want it unless when you do. Also higher ozone concentrations can counter the positive impacts of warmer climate by stunting plant growth and the warmer winters might actually be a detriment to agriculture because what we've actually seen happening is that pests I moving northward we're seeing pests here that we have not seen in previous years and their range is expanding northward as temperatures warm.
Let's talk with another caller here we have someone in Urbana line one.
Hello Mr. Stewart go after someone concerned with public roads. Yeah. Well we've heard about the first primarily the side. Well it was a plea to some of our public and I'd like to hang up a dollar fine and appropriate question.
Let's do that. Thank you. So obviously the the we talked about what we think is likely to happen question is in what people's mind is OK what you do about this right.
Well as we discussed earlier there's a lot there's a big range in the temperature changes that we can see in the future and 60 percent range depends on the choices that we make. And there are choices that we can make at every level. Often people feel helpless. I'm just an individual what can I do. It's up to the government the government's not doing anything. And you feel like there's nothing that can be done. But in fact there's a lot of good news already out there and there's a lot of things that can be done at every level. Obviously at the national level they could implement plans such as renewable energy portfolios vehicle emission controls plans to reduce emissions of these heat trapping gases and also plans to accelerate technology development so that we don't need to use as much energy and we can still have the same lifestyle the same benefits. At the state level there's a lot of state level regulations that can be put in place and states often govern the type of energy and the different emissions controls that are allowed. I think Chicago itself they have committed themselves to local emission reductions through what's called the international cities for Climate Protection campaign over 200 cities around the world have signed on to this plan. I myself and a native of trying to and trying to has actually reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent in just a decade.
How was that done.
The way that they did it is they looked at their fleet of vehicles an increased efficiency in vehicle fleets they did. They turned out the lights and turned off the computers when they were done for the day. And they also traps the gases that came out of the landfills because methane for example which we haven't talked much about today that methane is the second most important greenhouse gas from human activities and it's released one of Gantt material the case. And so wastewater treatment plants sewage and landfills are a major source of methane per molecule methane actually traps 25 four times more heat than a molecule of carbon dioxide.
So when you take care of a little bit of methane it's the same as if you're taking care of a lot of carbon dioxide and methane actually is a potentially usable commodity. So is that in addition to trapping it so that doesn't get released in the atmosphere was that turned into an energy source.
Yes you can burn it for fuel. That's right. So these examples you can do at the federal national and city level. Also on the city level sustainable planning planning a city so there's bypasses public transportation. People don't need to compute an hour or two to work they don't need to drive their car. That's a great way to reduce energy building codes putting in Illinois I believe does not actually have a statewide energy efficiency building code and putting that in would encourage people to actually start building responsibly and save money in the long run. And then of course on the individual level there's a lot that we can do for example in our house we recently replaced our furnace We had a very old furnace is paid about 65 percent efficient. We replaced it with a 97 percent efficient furnace and we're going to pass that furnace three to five years just with the gas savings that we have.
And then of course everybody's heard about changing your light bulbs it's very simple but these light bulbs last a lot longer and they use 10 percent of the electricity of the normal light bulb. If you use a hello john or compact bulb.
So some of the bottom line is here for the caller and for everybody else. Is that that on the individual level there are things that people can do and basically what we're talking about is greater energy efficiency using in any way that you possibly can use less energy particularly when we're talking about energy that's the result of burning fossil fuel so you were talking about the internal combustion engine or even you know when you when you flip on the light switch in your house that that most likely that energy was produced by burning fossil fuel. So again the less energy that you use the more the more you turn up the lights when you don't need them the more in your home appliances you get the most energy efficient that you can. So your refrigerator and your furnace and your air conditioner you know whatever you have that uses the smallest amount of energy those things are constructive things. People can do.
That's right here in Illinois a lot of our electricity comes from coal and the same is also true in Indiana. So when you flip on that light switch you're actually in effect burning coal.
But on a statewide level wind energy only has the potential to supply 80 percent of its electricity from wind energy. So we could become with a coal capital of the world that we could become the wind energy capital of the world very easily and then you could just switch on your light and your just is happening is that windmills turning we have about 10 minutes left here we have another caller and the next person up is in champagne.
One up one.
Well you know I am listening. I did come in late in the conversation but I have a very acute interest in the issue of climate control and things like the Kyoto Protocol and you know national agreements as well as local and state and federal regulations. My question to you and I think it's a follow up to the public policy concerns of the previous caller My concern is. Are you being a little bit Paul Janish it is because I've heard very little about the political and economic cost or impulses associated with some of the solutions you propose whether it's in terms of climate control or water conservation methods where you know the president you know. The state of economic growth trumps all other concerns and I got a feeling let me percolate to the state and local levels especially a state like Illinois who didn't have a strong environmental ethic all were you being almighty when you don't take into account the countervailing political and economic cost of what you suggest almost been suggesting on his program.
To be perfectly honest I think those who believe that economic growth can only occur at the cost of environmental progress are the ones who are being naive. The people who have actually gone ahead and implemented different strategies for example three Great Lakes states Minnesota Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have implemented renewable electricity standards and they have actually enjoyed significant economic and environmental benefits at the same time. Often I think there's actually too much of a negative connotation where you have to choose either the environment or the economy but America's built on the concept of entrepreneurship. When we're given a problem or an issue the ideas start flowing. And so I think to give the American people to give the engineers the people who are experts in technology given the incentive to do something about it and they can rise to the challenge and I think that we might actually end up surprising ourselves with what we could achieve in terms of both economic growth and environmental benefits.
I did I read I think you know you know what. World of a utopian world I agree with you I do believe in sustainable development which I think you are basically describing but I'm saying in the reality of the situation. America has a penchant for consumption rabbit and kill conservation. How we are addicted to fossil fuels especially Middle Eastern oil and Venezuelan oil. Politicians pander to the bison and I'll always know industry can overestimate the cost and underestimate the technology available to deal with pollution control political and economic reality. What real hope do we have of implementing what you suggested.
That is a good point and at the federal level I agree that the picture you have painted is fairly true industry consistently overestimate how much it will cost and underestimate the technology available. An example has requests for increases in fuel standards. Calls to roll back the Clean Air Act that's been in place for over two decades. But the good news though and one that you don't hear so often is that the state and city level there's a lot of activity happening. Certain states like the ones I cited for example you might be surprised that Michigan would be one of the ones looking at a renewable energy portfolio and of course California has a lot going on there but actually all across the country including Texas the president's home state. They are taking initiative on their own their senior leadership is not coming down from the federal level but they see that there is motivation to to clean up both greenhouse gas emissions and local pollutants to look at renewable energy sources to build sustainable cities. And this is happening believe it or not at the state and at the city level. And that's really encouraging news.
I hope you're right. Thank you. You know I think you know other questions are welcome again. We have about seven or eight minutes left with Katharine Hayhoe here on the program we have questions comments you're certainly welcome to call. She was one of the contributors to report looking at the issue of climate change in the Great Lakes region that was sponsored by a commission by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Ecological Society of America. So if you have questions you can give us a call.
I guess if the the caller puts his finger on the issue on the right question and that is we can talk about change all day long but if people don't get behind it then it's really not going to happen and it does seem that as you say on the federal level people are not quite as progressive as maybe they are on other levels. Is this something though do you. Do you think that people actually that a substantial number of people care about and are interested in and in fact are trying on their own level on the individual level actually to to to do whatever they can to. Make a contribution in this area that is to greater energy efficiency less pollution.
That's a good question and actually that would be a good question for our listeners if they have anything to say about their personal actions or people they know. I know for myself it really varies by location and it varies by how much people are aware of this issue and so what we were trying to do with this report and also with this workshop later on tonight is make people aware of what is going on around the world because why would you take action if you don't know what's going on. And so once people are aware not only of the problem but that there are commonsense solutions that we can take up right now. You don't have to feel paralyzed. This is a global problem there's no way that you can address it. One sure way that there's very very small steps that each individual person can take then I think people feel like they can take action on this.
What do you think. The you mentioned a little earlier that you were living in Toronto. Do you think that the government of Canada as a government is doing better dealing with these issues than the government of the United States.
The government of Canada has agreed to the Kyoto Protocol which one of our previous callers mentioned the killer protocols an international agreement for countries to reduce their emissions of these heat trapping gases by 2012. And that is definitely a step forward. What's happening as a result of that is that the reductions they achieve under Kyoto are not so much the most important thing. The important thing is that this agreement is starting people to think about the issue and to develop the technologies that we need to move into the next century. So for example in Canada the government has supplied several million dollar grants to different corporations to develop new technologies. But then there's also a lot of action happening at the individual level in the city of Toronto. The average consumer got together and they put up a wind turbine generator in downtown Toronto that was entirely supported by private money. Each person got a share of that generator Kustom million dollars Canadian which is about 70 700000 U.S. and their electricity is going back on the grid but they're each getting a share of that wind generator. And so there's really some very very interesting things going on north of the border that the states could actually look to and reap the benefits of.
Well again we have a couple minutes left here somebody real quick once again the phone ask a question. 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 2 2 2 9 4 5 5. Those are the numbers. And as we mentioned the beginning of the program you were one of the reasons that you're here is to take part of this. This panel discussion is going to be going on tonight visualizing the global computer modeling ecology and politics ahead. And as we have discussed I guess that the idea here is to find ways to take a scientific and technical.
Subject and present it in a way that successful to people who are not scientists. And there I guess that's that's probably always been a challenge for people who are who are scientists who are technological fields to be able to talk about what they do and their issues and their concerns with people who are not scientists. And I suppose that again there's a an issue that's connected with that and that is anytime we talk about technology and changes technology I think we say well it would be a great thing if we're talking about something that has potential wide impact that we ought to have a discussion. You know there ought to be debate and discussion everybody ought to be involved. And the fact is that often that does not happen. You think that there is a way that more people there could be a kind of discussion of technology. What we're doing and and what directions we're going in is it really possible to get that to be a kind of a conversation that more people participate in so that people actually maybe will have some at least some possibility to have a voice in policy making before the policy is made.
Well that would be ideal because we are all stakeholders we all have something to gain something something to lose in this issue and so it would be great to have everybody's voice heard. The first thing to do is to be informed on what the issues are and so I would encourage people to attend the workshop tonight and then also to morrow I believe also at 6:00 p.m. They're actually going to provide a public. Demonstration of the visualization capabilities that they have there and saying this is a really amazing opportunity to see some of the technologies they have there so I would encourage people to come along tonight to hear the presentations but then also come by tomorrow to see the visualizations that they've prepared. These are state of the art visualizations that have been used in all kinds of not just scientific but also public applications I believe NCSA visualizations are actually used in that movie Twister that they made a few years ago to look at the tourney you know the kind of think that's right.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- Producing Organization
- WILL (Radio/television station : Urbana, Ill.)
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- WILL Illinois Public Media (Urbana, Illinois)
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- With Katharine Hayhoe, co-author of The Great Lakes Climate Change Report, and who was at the time an independent research consultant specializing in the science-policy interface. In this episode of Focus, which took place shortly after Hayhoe received her Master's degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Katharine Hayhoe discusses the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes region. Since then, Hayhoe obtained a PhD in Atmospheric Science and now serves as Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. Hayhoe and her husband moved to Texas particularly because of its vulnerability to climate change, and Hayhoe has become well known for her efforts to communicate climate change to the Christian community. In 2014, Hayhoe was named as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People for her work as a climate scientist and climate communicator.
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- Climate Change; Environment; Great Lakes
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Guest: Hayhoe, Katharine
Producer: Brighton, Jack
Producer: Stansel, Travis
Producing Organization: WILL (Radio/television station : Urbana, Ill.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus031016b.mp3 (Illinois Public Media)
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus031016b.wav (Illinois Public Media)
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- Chicago: “Focus; Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region,” 2003-10-16, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 19, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-1z41r6n955.
- MLA: “Focus; Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region.” 2003-10-16. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 19, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-1z41r6n955>.
- APA: Focus; Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-1z41r6n955