Climate Change and what can and should be done about it. That was the focus of a round-table discussion hosted by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa last week. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
Higher global temperatures, melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels, are causing more hurricanes and more episodes of drought and high surf. That, according to Associate Dean of the U-H School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Chip Fletcher. He says the current international effort to reduce carbon emissions is too slow.
“If we can cut our carbon footprint 50 percent every decade, then by 2050, we stand a good chance of stopping warming at 2 degrees C. And this carbon law is scalable. As an individual, cut your carbon footprint 50 percent per decade and scales up to families, corporations, communities, states, nations.”
Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i executive director, Ulalia Woodside, says climate change requires an emergency response and solutions must go beyond individuals and communities.
“When we won’t make decisions about the wastewater treatment plant that is along the shoreline or the airport or the electrical plants that are along the shoreline that we envision as being critical to our lives, other things like all of the native species that are found no place else in the world become a luxury for us to think about.”
U-H Department of Oceanography Associate Professor, Niklas Schneider, says the research and the science of global warming must continue.
“ The climate issue is often questions are being raised whether we can believe it, whether it’s really true. I would argue very strongly that, overall, the urgency of the problem is vaguely understood. However, the problem is not solved. I mean there are many different things that we do not understand yet.”
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who hosted the roundtable discussion, says it’s time to exercise individual responsibility and take action now.
“We studied climate change; we all know climate change is an issue and a problem but many of us do not go further than that. But what we need to do, is how do you look at you do in everyday life and how can that then go to quote, ‘reduction’ of our individual carbon footprint. And who knows? That might catch on.”
For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.