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Global warming hits home

Expert speaks at NMU

April 17, 2009
By MIRIAM MOELLER Journal Staff Writer and The Associated Press

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MARQUETTE - In 2000, scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that global warming over the last 50 years was most likely the result of an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.

Alan Robock, a member of the IPCC, speaking to Northern Michigan University students and community members this week, said it's now very likely that humans caused the recent climate change.

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"It went from 'likely' to 'very likely,'" Robock said.

Robock, from the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey, is one of 2,500 scientists from 150 nations on the IPCC. The group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Robock said despite some scientists' initial critique on the issue of human impacted global warming, nowadays scientists mostly agree that it is happening. As a result, he said "in the course of the century, water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover are projected to decline."

Robock backed up his statements with IPCC research.

"There'll be more strong hurricanes," he said. "It's already happening ...."

Droughts, floods, rising of sea levels and extinction of species are also projected to be the results of a "dangerous" climate change, Robock said.

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"How do you define 'dangerous change'? ... More than one degree of warming will change the planet," he said.

What can be done about it?

"There are possible solutions: use energy efficiency, use renewable energy or capture CO2 and put it under ground," he said. "Just a small change could produce less climate change."

Robock was asked about the cooler weather throughout the world this year.

"That's weather, not climate change," he said.

In the end, Robock explained even if global warming trends have been exaggerated, "reduced usage of energy will have many positive benefits to society. We would have cleaner air, less acid rain, greater visibility in the atmosphere, cooler central regions of cities, more trees and less dependence on foreign oil."



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