Dr. Robert Davies with the Utah Climate Center discusses the science of global climate change in his compelling 30 minute presentation, “Earth’s Changing Climate”. The presentation focuses on the physical phenomenon, our understanding based on observation and measurement. Here are a few highlights:
While Earth’s climate does change naturally, the changes we’re seeing today are unique in Earth’s climate history. The Earth is warming and not as part of a natural cycle. Why?
Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide are increasing in the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels at an ever accelerating rate. As a result, energy is trapped, raising the Earth’s temperature.
Specifically in Utah, temperatures have been rising at about twice the global average over the past 40 years.
The rise in temperatures significantly impacts natural systems, which directly affect human systems. What lies ahead? Catastrophic climate disruption is probable.
The answer, however, is yet to be determined and lies in the choices we make.
Watch the full presentation here. If you want to skip ahead to Utah-specific information, start watching at 14 minutes 30 seconds.
The Salt Lake City Green team was honored to meet with Katharine Hayhoe, renowned climate scientist, communicator and educator, to kick off her week in Utah. We had a fascinating discussion about Salt Lake City, Utah and climate change, and explored the unique opportunities in our community to move forward on climate action.
Dr. Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) will be in Utah much of the week speaking about faith, science and climate action.
Monday, March 23:
Tuesday, March 24:
- Logan LDS Tabernacle (50 N Main Street) — 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 26:
Blog by SLCgreen’s Johanna Stangland
The Science and Economic impact of Climate Change premiered last week as part of the Clark Planetarium and Citizen’s Climate Lobby 2015 series, Utah and Climate Change.
Utah State University physicist, Rob Davies began the program with an informative presentation. He explained warming trends in Utah and showed a particularly sobering graphic simulation forecasting snow pack to the year 2100. Here is what spring snow pack in Utah could look like in the year 2075 if emissions continue at a high rate. Click here to see the entire simulation from recorded data since 1850 and projected data to 2100.
Additionally he explained that Utah is warming at a higher rate than the global average. Here is a graph from his presentation showing that Salt Lake City is warming at two times the global average! Zion, Hanksville, and Bluff are warming at an even higher rate, 2.7x, 3.4x, and 3.8x the global average, respectively.
Other speakers included Laura Briefer, Water Resource Manager for Salt Lake City; Maura Olivos, Sustainability Coordinator for Alta; and Gabriel Lozada, Economist from University of Utah. They primarily discussed the economic side of climate change in Utah, with Laura focusing on water and the economy, Maura presenting about skiing and the economy, and Gabriel giving an overview of how a carbon tax would work. Following the presentations, the panel answered questions from the audience.
The second free panel presentation and discussion in the series on Utah Media Coverage of Climate Change will take place February 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Clark Planetarium.
Last week Sara Rose Tannenbaum with SLCGreen headed up to the Intermountain Sustainability Summit. Here is her first-hand account of her experience there:
At the Intermountain Sustainability Summit there were four session tracks to sample from or follow throughout the day. The one geared towards students engaged with the emerging Fossil Free Campus Divestment campaigns and explored how to pursue sustainability as a profession.
The other three session themes highlighted current issues and innovation within water, energy and recycling sustainability.
The Intermountain Sustainability Summit theme of recycling began even before setting foot into Weber State University’s Shepherd Union Building. Lining the pedestrian entrance to the conference was a veritable display of recyclables: not bins of beer cans or a cluttered collection of office papers, but huge blocks— bigger than 90 gallon recycle bins—of compressed cardboard, deflated plastic and squashed metal.This nonverbal presentation made transparent the usually unnoticed side of recycling. Just like we break down our cardboard, it’s important to dissect and try on the many dimensions and disciplines of sustainability.
Keynote speaker L. Hunter Lovins (pictured above) made the case for innovation and sustainability from a business perspective. Lisa Skumatz, an economist, used statistical analysis to highlight efficiency of cost-effective approaches to recycling. It was the variety of perspectives present at the Intermountain Sustainability Summit that made it a valuable learning and networking experience. We’re lucky to have so many exciting initiatives, businesses and leaders fighting on the green front.
Check out some great photos from last week’s event.
Over the last five years, Salt Lake City’s pursuit of success in sustainability, social justice, and neighborhood
and downtown vitality has helped shape the collective vision for how we live, work, recreate and
grow in Salt Lake City.
The Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 reflects a broad and ambitious agenda to protect our resources, enhance our assets, and establish a path toward greater resiliency and vitality for every aspect of our community.
The plan is an extension of Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker’s visionary Livability Agenda. The agenda was crafted to guide policies during Mayor Becker’s second term.
Learn more about how sustainability is an important part of the future of Salt Lake City.
Explore the Sustainable Salt Lake — Plan 2015.
Let us know what you think about Salt Lake City’s plans to increase the long term sustainability of our community.