Mar 012007
Authors: Joanna Thomas

In an effort to educate people about global warming Robert Jackson, a professor at the department of biology and Nicolas School of the Environment at Duke University, spoke to a densely filled room in Clark A-101 Thursday.

The presentation, Global Warming: Some Science and Solutions, was a part of the 2007 Distinguished Ecological Series put on by the graduate degree program in ecology. Jackson, who was a member of the Duke Climate Change Policy Partnership, a policy aimed to reduce the greenhouse gas emission, has also been honored by the Clinton administration for his knowledge on global warming.

He said his purpose to come was to have a general talk about global warming.

“This is a subject that many of you know a lot about,” Jackson said.

He also said he wanted to reach those in the audience less familiar with the topic.

Ryan Wakeley, a junior forestry major, came to the presentation for that very reason. He said the topic of global warming has become more of an issue, and heavily discussed by the media and was coming to get more educated for himself.

“It was suggested by my teacher,” he said. “I wanted to hear about global warming, but not in the news.”

Jackson used a graph of the greenhouse gases and the Earth’s temperature to show a link for the audience. With every spike and dip in the graph of greenhouse gases came a spike and dip in the Earth’s temperature graph, showing a clear link.

“This gives a pretty good confidence that as goes greenhouse gases, so goes the temperature,” Jackson said.

While Jackson said scientists do not point to specific, short term weather patterns to determine global warming, he disucussed several environmental changes that have occurred over a long span of time that can be atttributed to global warming. It’s possible in 100 years the summers will have no ice which would change or eliminate the existance of artic animals like polar bears, walruses and sea otters as well as bring up concerns of international commerce and security.

He said the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, American Meterological Society and American Geophysical Union all were quoted in Jackson’s presentation and have considerable research on the topic.

“This doesn’t mean everyone agress but they don’t put out these articles when it’s (the opinion) 70-30 or 80-20,” Jackson said.

Jackson finished his presentation with a joke and a message of encouragement. He said particularly in the environment community people have a pessimistic view and do not see a way out.

“There is a way out that will cost us money on one hand and save us money on the other,” Jackson said. “If we fix it now it will cost us a lot less in the long run.”

Joanna Thomas is on staff at College Avenue. She can be reached at

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