Growing global CO2 emissions huge cause for concern

November 4, 2011

Reports of growing global CO2 emissions is a huge cause for concern, says Jim White, director of the CU-Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and an expert on ice cores and climate change.

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Audio Script

Nov. 4, 2011                                                              

Reports of growing global CO2 emissions is a huge cause for concern, says Jim White, director of the CU-Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and an expert on ice cores and climate change.

CUT 1 “I think what this means is that we are making more and more of a commitment to climate change. One of the key pieces of our planet is that there is a delay between when we put greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and when the climate changes. And that delay is because we live on a water planet. It takes water a while to absorb that heat. So what we’re doing now is committing our children and grand children more and more to climate change. (:29) 

White says the only choice we have is to either accept climate change and the consequences that come with it or change what we are doing to slow down the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

CUT 2  “At some point we have to either accept the climate changes that are coming or we have to change our ways and bring in renewables faster than we have been.

(:12) We haven’t turned the corner yet. When you see CO2 emissions go up and up every year it means you haven’t turned the corner. At some point we have to make those emissions level out and go down. Then we will know we are on a path towards renewables and towards a sustainable future.” (:30)

To the naysayers of the world who say climate change is not happening, White says all you need to understand if climate change is happening or not is to trust in physics.

CUT 3 “If you trust in physics – in other words – if you won’t walk off the edge of a bridge then you should also trust in the physics of climate change. It is just as simple and just as basic. (:12) If we put greenhouse gases in the atmosphere we will change the climate. The big question is: what are the impacts? What are the things we are going to have to deal with? Will it be changes in precipitation that causes us to struggle with growing enough food? We don’t know. (:31) It will definitely be sea level rise. There are some pieces to this that are very clear are going to happen. But we’re kind of rolling the dice in terms of the future climate. And we are rolling the dice and playing with our kid’s inheritance.” (:45)

Another certainty, says White, is we will run out of fossil fuels and at some point we will need to rely on alternative and renewable energy sources to survive.

CUT 4 “But there is really no getting around the fact that fossil fuels have a limited lifetime. We will burn all the oil economically available, all the gas economically available and then we will burn all the coal economically available. It will be gone at some point. So at some point we do have to become a planet that uses renewable energy. (:17) And the question is: when is that time going to be and do we do that time earlier when we have a chance to control climate change or do we do it later when we are just throwing our chances to the wind when it comes to climate change. (:30)

-CU

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