Thursday, March 19, 2009

Climate Change: Nature and Action

Several weeks ago, the Penn Program on Regulation sponsored a presentation at Wharton Business School entitled “Climate Change: Nature and Action” that I want to recommend everyone take a close look at to get a more sophisticated understanding of the serious ecological and biological disasters we face as a planet due to ongoing climate change - impacts that, if not mitigated immediately, will have devastating consequences for our and future generations.

The presentation was made by Thomas Lovejoy, an influential biologist who is currently President of The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment in Washington, DC. Lovejoy presented evidence that the current climate change challenge is best understood in terms of the normal and historical functioning of the Earth system. Human activity has caused and is increasingly causing a major distortion in that system, with major consequences for the living planet and human well-being. Change is ubiquitous in the living fabric of the planet, signaling the need for dramatic and immediate action. There is a need to transform the energy base for society as well as to engage the living planet in removing some of the excess carbon in the atmosphere. The "energy approach" (reducing emissions of greenhouse gases) and the "ecosystem approach" (restoring degraded lands to increase CO2 uptake) are both important and complementary, and we must urge the Obama Administration and the Congress to take specific actions to further both strategy's immediately.

The powerpoint slides from the presentation, as well as a video of the presentation itself, are available here. I highly recommend taking a closer look at this research if you are interested in a highly scientific and detailed analysis of what climate change is already doing and will continue doing to harm our planet.

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