|Expert Field offers climate-change solutions during lecture at Los Altos Library|
|Written by Margaret Suozzo - Special to the Town Crier|
|Wednesday, 14 May 2008|
Climate-change expert Chris Field, Stanford University biology professor and founder of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, said that scientific “fingerprints” suggest a human cause for climate change over the past 50 years.
Field, a Los Altos resident, spoke on “Science and Solutions for Global Warming” April 23 before a crowd of 75 at the Los Altos main library. The event was co-sponsored by Cool Los Altos, the League of Women Voters and the Los Altos Library.
The evidence in favor of man-caused climate change came from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For the most recent IPCC report, Field served as coordinating lead author for the chapter that focused on the implications of global warming for North America.
California won’t be the region hardest hit by climate change, according to Field, but the impacts in our own backyard will include more stress on the water supply as the Sierra snowpack, which stores water for use in the hot summer months, declines. Californians can also anticipate more frequent and severe heat waves as well as larger wildfires.
Rising temperatures are anticipated to hurt the California wine business (a $4 billion industry), with growers in Sonoma and Napa particularly negatively impacted, he said.
Field touted local action as a step in the right direction, noting his own efforts to reduce his carbon footprint – solar panels on his roof and the use of his bicycle for his daily commute.
He said the Western world has created the global-warming problem and consequently bears a greater responsibility to foster solutions for rapidly growing economies, such as China and India. Historically, the growth of economies as measured by per capita gross domestic product has been inexorably linked with growth in fossil-fuel use and subsequent carbon emissions. The real challenge now, Field said, is to grow the world’s developing economies without increasing fossil-fuel use.
Following the talk, Cool Los Altos launched the Community Low Carbon Challenge, which urges residents to shed 2,000 pounds of household carbon emissions.
“We designed the Low Carbon Challenge to be fairly easy and accessible for the average family,” said Kacey Fitzpatrick, Cool Los Altos team leader. “We hope that once people start taking new actions to reduce their carbon footprint, they will influence others by their example. That’s how change happens – one person at a time.”
Cool Los Altos’ goal is to encourage 500 households to participate in the Community Low Carbon Challenge for a total community reduction of 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide.
For more information, visit www.CoolLosAltos.org.
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