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Climate change pace gathering steam

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 14:16:14 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

A Nobel prize winning scientist says models of global climate change have so far under-predicted actual changes.

"You know we can reduce emissions a great deal. But, we have to, of course, desire to."

And speaking at Illinois State University, Donald Wuebbles says Illinois may see frequent hundred degree heat waves, a month of 90 degree days every summer, and more extreme weather events such as floods and droughts by the end of the century. There has been little political appetite for change because the most serious effects of the rise in temperatures such as a one to four foot rise in sea levels are decades away. But, Wuebbles says now is the time to work on the issue.

"A number of economic analyses have shown the benefits of strong early action on climate change far outweigh the costs."

He says it is still possible to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, but not easily.

"It does assume that we get much more efficient vehicles and maybe move more towards electrical vehicles and things like that that would tend to reduce the overall energy use in the country."

Wuebbles says the city of Chicago has started planning for a hotter climate and mid sized cities can benefit from example.

"Some of the things like Chicago is doing like planting more trees downtown not only makes the downtown more attractive, but actually causes a cooling effect that is useful and helps keep the urban heat island effect, helps minimize it."

Wuebbles says roof gardens can also reduce energy use. Wuebbles says the U.S and Russia are doing very little to alter the scenarios. He says China and India are rapidly increasing carbon emissions, though at least China has begun planning to convert coal fired power plants to renewable energy.


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