Battling global warming at Beckman Institute

By Alissa Groeninger

The global warming debate that has heated up the scientific community is headed to the University.

On Wednesday at 4 p.m., the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University is bringing three experts to the Beckman Institute to discuss climate change, as the Sixth Annual Craig S. Bazzani Lecture in Public Affairs.

The series honors Bazzani, a former vice president of the University, who focused his career on public policy and the government.

“It’s the greatest challenge of our generation,” said Christine Ervin, president of the Christine Ervin Company in Portland, Ore.

Ervin said the most recent report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which provides object information for decision makers, said the climate is warming at levels that exceed any change we have seen in the past. Green house gas emissions, the result inefficient energy use, remain in the air for hundreds of years and will continue to raise the earth’s temperature. Thus, we need to find a way to focus energy use, Ervin said.

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Along with Ervin, Paul Portney, dean of the College of Management at the University of Arizona and Chester S. Gardner, a University scientist will discuss what actions need to take place to prevent further climate change.

Ervin said she looks forward to participating because those studying climate change have had trouble drumming up public interest and getting the message out.

“Global climate change is one of the most important issues facing this country and indeed the world,” said Bob Rich, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “What should be the appropriate public policy response to global climate change?”

He said the Institute chose this topic because they expected it to be a hot topic during the election. In the past the lectures have had one speaker but the committee in charge of the event decided to bring in multiple experts this year to consider varying perspectives, Rich said.

Rich said the event is designed to encourage discussion about climate change. Students who attend the event will gain information on the critical issue and will be able to ask questions of scientific leaders, and then determine for themselves what the most appropriate response to the issue is.

“(Students can also) network with internationally renowned people, experts,” Rich said.

Ervin said there is a wide range of opinions on how to prevent further climate change. While the future is dim, moving quickly to solve the problem can help, she said.

“We’ve delayed action so long, we’ve played a real high price for it,” she said. “(However,) we know how to do it.”