UI employees address climate change with CU community

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  • Donald Fournier discusses global climate change as part of a six week lecture series at The First Presbytarian Church of Urbana on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015.

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By Yi Zhang

Four University professors are partnering with the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana to teach the public about what dangers climate change poses to the community. The lecture also aims to educate the community about how to keep climate change from affecting them.

A new lecture will be held every Sunday from Oct. 4 to Nov. 8, during which six University employees will speak about climate change. First Presbyterian is sponsoring the series as part of their Earth Care certification program, which is conducted by the Environmental Ministries Office of the Presbyterian Church.http://www.firstpresurbana.org/about-us/earth-care-congregation/

David Sherwood, member of the church’s Earth Care team and First Presbyterian congregant said the church joined the Earth Care certification program in 2011. Sherwood said the lecture series is a part of how the church demonstrates community outreach.

“In the first week, we will discuss what is the climate change problem as well as what will happen in the future; next, we will focus on both international efforts and possible states’ strategies on the climate change problem,” said David Sherwood, “Further, we will concentrate on the individual aspect, what we can do at home or on campus to contribute to the climate change problem.”

Don Fullerton, Gutgsell professor of finance and associate director at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, will give a lecture on Oct. 18 about his views on President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan in August, which aims to address climate change by decreasing carbon pollution from power plants.

“The Clean Power Plan is not really cost-effective, since it requires the firms to use expensive technology,” Fullerton said. “The state could have a tax on carbon emissions and let the firms decide their choices, so that they can have options and save money based on their choices. Also, the State of Illinois can gain revenue from tax collection. ”

Scott Willenbrock, professor of physics will tell lecture attendees about how he rebuilt his house into a net-zero energy house and will provide tips on how home owners can reduce energy use. Willenbrock will speak on Nov. 8.

He said homeowners can make simple changes to save energy, including using high-efficiency appliances or using a solar panel system to produce electricity.

It’s hard for students on campus to completely reconstruct their apartments but it may be useful for them to consider this information ahead of time, Willenbrock said. Nevertheless, he said, there are some things students can do to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

“Use LED light bulbs, buy electric cars and adjust the temperature in your apartment and make sure it is five degrees lower when you are sleeping and away from your apartment,” he said.

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