Nov 302009
 
Authors: Sara Michael

Tonight, CSU professors will offer their insights as to the outcome of the much-anticipated United Nations’ December conference that will reveal the future of climate change and global warming policies.

The symposium seeks to educate attendees as to the importance of slowing global warming and climate change.

“People think because they can’t stick a weenie out their front door and roast it that global warming isn’t happening. But it is,” said Michael Manfredo, head of the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. “People don’t like to believe in what they can’t see.”

Sponsored by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, the event will feature a panel of speakers who have attended former international climate conferences or will attend the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen. The speakers — each boast differing expertise in the realm of climate change — will offer their insight as to the outcome of the U.N. conference next month.

World leaders will meet in Copenhagen for the U.N. Climate Change Conference to establish a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The treaty will replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the first treaty developed to fight global warming, when it expires in 2012.

As of October 2009, the Kyoto Protocol, signed in Kyoto, Japan, has united 184 states under the goal of reducing four greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluouride and the two groups of gases produced by them-hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons.

Students are encouraged to attend today’s presentation in the Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and ask questions or offer possible solutions to solving the climate change dilemma.

“I feel like (global warming) is over-exaggerated,” said Eric Shockley, a sophomore natural resources major. “Yeah, it’s important, but it’s been proven that climate change has happened over the course of the Earth. It’s happened before, it’s happening again.”

Fellow sophomore Matthew Petersen, a sociology major, agreed.

“Global warming is a big issue, but there isn’t really anything I can do differently that will make a difference,” he said, adding, “It gives me some warmer weather.”

Jill Baron, a Natural Resources ecology lab researcher, has some information that she think could change people’s perception on the issue.

In December, she will speak on the topic of the Global Nitrogen Cycle.

“Nitrogen is essential for life on earth,” she said. “But we have too much of a good thing.

Humans have increased the amount of usable nitrogen on Earth by 100 percent. This has resulted in the creation of the Dead Zone — bodies of water with reduced amounts of oxygen —in the Gulf of Mexico and in many of the world’s other estuaries.

“It’s a frightening time to be a human on this planet, given all we are doing to disrupt its natural cycles,” Baron said, adding, “It’s a very exciting time to be a scientist.”

Staff writer Sara Michael can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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