UC Davis experts weigh in on global warming

We have all heard about the foreboding effects of global warming. Global warming is happening, and its ramifications affect everything from increased natural disaster probabilities to food decline and shortage. The facts are all around us: California’s drought, rising sea water and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report stating scientists are 95 percent certain that mankind is the “dominant cause.” So how can we fix our planet?

Dr. Anthony Wexler, who is the director of the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center and a member of three departments at UC Davis (mechanical and aerospace engineering, civil and environmental engineering and land, air and water resources) offered his opinion on the crisis.

“The reality is we aren’t doing nearly enough. One of the best ways we could reduce global warming is by imposing taxes on carbon emissions which would stay until there was a noticeable decrease. Such a tax would have to be extended to both imported and exported goods, based on how much greenhouse gas emission was associated. Taxing imports in this way would be necessary to enact some degree of global contribution,” Wexler said.

Reduction methods often target different options for lowering carbon emissions, though more drastic reversal techniques have been discussed. Geoengineering — basically engineering the planet — is one option that encompasses climate engineering, which could, in theory, reverse the effects of global warming.

Dr. Bryan Weare, a professor for the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis whose research interests include global climate change, weighed in on the option of geoengineering.

“The proposed changes that could reverse global warming, like adding reflecting material to the stratosphere, are very questionable and potentially dangerous,” Weare said.

Many scientists and researchers are wary of the geoengineering option for good reason, as there is a high degree of uncertainty. Both Wexler and Weare agree on the potential risks of geoengineering options.

“Mankind has had lifetimes of experience with bridge building, for example. We have learned how to build bridges by physics, engineering and architecture; but we have also learned through trial and error, we learn through our mistakes. We do not have any experience with planet fixing, and if we mess up our planet there will not be a second chance,” Wexler said.

Simpler strategies have been suggested, and have proven to be effective reduction plans. Green belts are, in essence, reserved land for wildlife, never to be developed. Such land use provides a variety of purposes, including the preservation of natural landscape in urban areas, cleaner air quality and the assurance of habitats for plants and animals.

Dr. Bruce Burdick, a UC Davis Medical School graduate and environmental enthusiast, elaborated on what should be done.

“We should implement a green belt around every city with more than two million people. This will make cities more like London, which has such a low per capita greenhouse gas emission and lower water consumption in comparison to Sacramento’s urban sprawl,” Burdick said.

What can we, as students, do to inspire world policy and opinion change? There is nothing wrong with starting small; spreading awareness can begin anywhere to any audience.

One particular solution that applies particularly to our UC Davis campus was suggested by Dr. Wexler.

“Work with campus to draw an aesthetically pleasing blue line on all campus buildings. This line will represent where the water level could be when the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt,” Wexler said.

In the past, such melting of the Antarctic ice sheets added 65 feet of water to sea level. Davis, at 52 feet above sea level, would be covered in approximately 13 feet of water.

Global warming is present in our lives today, and we must change the way we live to ensure both the future integrity of our own lives and the lives of future generations. Researchers, legislators and citizens of the world all need to work together to help the earth. There is no “right” way to go about fixing global warming, but whatever the plan is, it needs to be implemented and supported worldwide. Whether it is by decreasing carbon emissions, geoengineering or simply spreading awareness, everyone has their place in this fight.

 

One Comment

  • rwayford
    February 27, 2014

    Whoa, Buzz!
    This article’s ASSumptions
    blow right past the peculiar notion
    “the science is settled”
    and “on, to Infinity!”

    What class in Statistics did you teach?
    Which ignored the very basics:
    “Correlation does NOT imply Causality”?

    Where’s your math
    –complete with your steps in calculating your answer–
    proving “Mann-made” CO2 drives CO2 rise.
    (THEN, connect it with GW, which HAS “PAUSED”,
    even the UN-IPCC Political Creature has paid it that nod ;-)
    By my calculations,since 1998:
    GLOBAL Pop. +18%, CO2 +8%;
    “RUNAWAY!” Temp. CHANGE Anomaly, AWOL.

    ME? Cherry-pick?

    Again, from USCensusBur., Keeling’s Curve and
    AIP’s own –updated 2/2013– website
    which included the chart with all three
    (NOAA/NASA/HadCRUT) “independent” SATELLITE sources
    still showing, when we expand out to
    ENGULF the mutually-adopted era (1961-1990) Anomaly references:

    Globally, since 1958,
    when ACTUAL CO2 readings began at Keeling’s Curve:
    GLOBAL Pop. +145%, CO2 +27%;
    “CATASTROPHIC!” Warming, still AWOL.
    Ergo, “Mann-made” CO2 ≠ CAGWarming;
    plain to anyone willing to research
    non-Fox channels of information
    and “do the Math.”

    Otherwise, Keeling’s Curve would read 760 ppm
    not the paltry 397.35 ppm it did on Tues.
    Surely you’re not teaching College Freshmen
    “LACK of Correlation does somehow imply Causality”!

    OF COURSE, “Global Warming is happening,
    and its ramifications affect everything from increased natural disaster probabilities
    to food decline and shortage.”
    GW’s a well-known phenomenon to Geologists,
    called an “Interglacial (melting) Era”.
    It seems we’re in ANOTHER one
    –called the Holocene Era–
    but it is ACTUALLY straddled by
    a (paleo-)current Ice Age of 2-3 million years!
    This 11,400-year-old “melting” Era
    describes what’s kept the Ice Age at bay and
    Global Temperatures from AVERAGING -18°C.!

    So, it would be FAR MORE REMARKABLE
    since Nature has thrown this delightful,
    11,400 year (so far) gala
    INTER-(get it?)-GLACIAL (melting) Era,
    if the Poles did NOT thaw!

    OF COURSE, the melting ice releases its trapped CO2
    and oceans become “less base”, automatically.

    OF COURSE, in the latest 15 year Pause,
    we saw some of the hottest years ever (“recorded” ;-)
    We’ve been waiting 11,400 years for this party to “Warm up!”
    It’s simply, (sadly AWOL), Common Sense.

    Ice Ages are bad for babies,
    plants and other LIVING things.
    Kinda’ ruins the whole effect…
    unless one’s agenda
    PREFERS frostbitten babies… Prof?

    As for “increased natural disaster probabilities”
    last I heard, “probabilities” had their very roots in “realities”.
    Surely that hasn’t changed recently, has it?

    The facts ARE in.
    All charted HISTORY;
    all HARD EVIDENCE from NOAA, EPA and USGS
    (no FoxFacts allowed or IPCC prophesies required):

    ***Hurricanes have NOT increased (in America, at least)
    in frequency or damage since 1900.
    (@ NOAA, top 7 of 36 deadliest, pre-1950)

    ***Tornadoes have NOT increased since 1970.
    (@NOAA, 20 of the top 25 deadliest, pre-1950;
    only one was in the 21st Century.)

    ***Floods have NOT increased since 1950.
    (most destructive river flood in the US, EVER,
    Great 1927 Mississippi Flood; 7 of Top 10 deadliest, pre-1950)

    ***Drought is no more/less prevalent in the 115 year HISTORY recorded
    at Palmer’s (smoothed) Drought Severity Index (from @ EPA & NOAA websites.)
    The drought eras of ’74, ’84 & ’95 were no worse than that of 1907;
    the wettest periods were in ’34, ’54 and 2001 came third.

    At NOAA’s chart of Frisco’s (First, oldest and
    READING ACTUAL data, not Climactic Astrology?)
    ***Sea Level station, records a slow, steady rise
    from 1864 to (end of dataset) 2006
    of just 8 INCHES total.
    The FASTEST RATE shown was in the EIGHTEEN-SIXTIES
    after an initial DROP coinciding with the end of the Little Ice Age!

    As for “food decline and shortage”
    it takes a selective amnesia
    (especially of C4-plant agriculture)
    to prophesy this will happen in a
    Warming atmosphere in which
    CO2 rise typically LAGS GW!
    H2O and CO2 are the Top Two GHG’s
    (If Earth were a CLOSED system, ergo, GH Theory were a Law)
    and BOTH cater to Botanical Entities THRIVING.
    Remember? This, too, is BASIC Botanical knowledge.

    Again, with that pesky history stuff:

    Wheat Crop Seen Third-Biggest by Australia on Western Supply
    “Bloomberg”/Phoebe Sedgman/Feb 10, 2014

    “Australia, the world’s fourth-largest wheat exporter, raised its production forecast as rain boosted output in parts of Western Australia, increasing the national harvest to the third-biggest on record.”

    I could go on, but it seems the science IS decided here.
    As Schopenhauer would say,
    “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.
    In the first, it is ridiculed;
    in the second, it is opposed;
    in the third, it is regarded as self-evident.”

    Yet The Press seems to prefer to cover
    Political Science wearing the mask of Climate Science,
    catering to an eager cries of the congregation at the Holy Church of
    Our Sorrowful Lady of Perpetual Guilt and Self-Loathing.

    And all other TRUE Science is trumped here;
    shouted down –not rebutted–
    as being the Anti-Science of Deniers and Flat-Earthers…
    and touting their farcical 96% Consensus View,
    which doesn’t EVER seem to realize:
    They’re just waiting to be toppled
    …AGAIN!

    The same type of AGW Consensus View “scientists”
    also managed to run that game
    on our entire society for 200+ years
    by defending another mistaken ASSUMPTION:
    The (Luminiferous) Æther.
    Proven WRONG by a mere clerk
    from the Swiss patent office.
    A cheeky amateur called Einstein.

    Of course, there was that whole
    “Pahrumph! The Continents? Drift?
    Preposterous! That German Meteorologist,
    Wegener, should stick to his field and
    leave these matters to we EGGSPURTS!”
    …details any child with a Globe of Earth
    might have NOTICED!

    Then, there was that “Religious Cuckoo”,
    the little monk, Mendel,
    and his Laws of Inheritance…
    to name three Holy Consensus Views
    UTTERLY DESTROYED FROM WITHOUT
    in just the latest 100 years.

    In the words of Ernest Callenbach…
    “New ideas don’t triumph because they’re right:”

    –That would be far too SCIENTIFIC!–

    “They triumph because the people who championed the old ideas
    DIE.”

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