Feb 052009
Authors: Natasha Pepperl

Scott Denning explained to almost 300 CSU and Fort Collins community members Thursday night that simple physics demonstrates global warming is undoubtedly occurring and said a new industrial revolution is a solution to the current climate problem.

Denning’s speech — which was the finale out of more than a dozen speeches throughout the two-day “What We Can Do About Climate Change” event/– focused on solving the current global challenges.

“It’s up to all of us to figure out how to solve this,” Denning said of the climate problem, which he attributed to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere created by burning fossil fuels.

Denning, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science, said he believes the solution to the climate change ultimately lies in a “new industrial revolution” and that the nation cannot continue on the path it’s on.

He explained that a change comparable to the industrialization of America in the 19th century must take place in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Among his suggestions were increasing fuel efficiency, changing coal facilities to natural gas electric plants and an increased dependency on nuclear and wind electricity and solar power.

In particular, Denning said the action that will spur the revolution lies in the taxation of fossil fuels.

By making fossil fuel extremely costly, Denning believes capitalism would force companies to lower fossil fuel consumption and utilize alternative energy sources.

“If high carbon footprint goods and services cost more than greener ones, people will buy them,” Denning said, explaining that the price of goods manufactured using fossil fuels would exceed the price of “green” products.

“Enormous fortunes are going to be made and lost,” Denning said, noting that this is what occurred during the Industrial Revolution.

Students and Fort Collins community members, who are working to solve the local climate problem, agreed that Denning’s proposals were feasible.

“It’s going to take a green revolution,” said Fort Collins resident Michael McDonald. /He believes cutting carbon dioxide emissions will lead to a “whole new planet.”

Sophomore biomedical science student Kymberlee Hanna said, “I really like how (Denning) framed the problem.”

“I believe the science behind it and I see the effects,” she said of the climate problem, “I do my best to consume less.”

John Calderazzo, one of the founders of Changing Climates and a CSU English professor, said this year’s event was concentrated on what individuals can do about the climate problem and included seminars on how to follow a carbon-free diet and create “green” art.

Throughout the events on Wednesday and Thursday, speakers with different areas of expertise, including art, philosophy, economics, and chemistry, revealed their knowledge and interpretations of the issue.

“Everyone knows climate change is real,” Calderazzo said.

Changing Climates was started “because (the founders) felt that climate change, an enormous problem, wasn’t being discussed with the thoroughness it deserved,” Calderazzo said.

In the end, Denning said much like how religious wars, feudalism and colonialism dominated past history, “Climate change, CO2 and energy will probably dominate human affairs for centuries.”

“This is a big problem,” Denning said, “It’s going to dominate our history.”

Staff writer Natasha Pepperl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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