At USF chair of international climate science group warns there's not much time left to cut emissions

04/24/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: IPCC, USF, climate chage, University of South Florida, Patel Center for Global Sustainability

photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF News

The clock is ticking for responding to global climate disruption before it will be too late to take meaningful action. That’s the warning from the chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Rajendra Pachauri spoke to 150 students and community members Thursday at the University of South Florida’s Patel Center for Global Sustainability in Tampa.

In addition to zero-emission energy sources like solar and wind, some of the options Pachauri suggests are controversial.

Pachauri admits carbon capture and storage is not an immediate option. The theory behind CCS is to gather the carbon dioxide gas emitted from burning things like natural gas or biomass and storing it long-term -- for example under the ground. But many environmentalists consider that risky.

All this effort to control climate change is because of the devastating effects that are happening and are expected to get worse in the future. Including in Florida. One audience member, Karen Garren drove from Gainesville to learn more.

Pachauri agrees that the science his team has reviewed makes it clear that ocean levels are rising.

Pachauri accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 on behalf of the IPCC, an award shared that year with former Vice President Al Gore. It recently released the latest scientific consensus on climate change.

The changes outlined in that report could result in massive storms and deadly heatwaves.

Pachauri says the cost to control climate change is reasonable, especially as a percent of the global gross domestic product.

But Pachauri warns that it will become more expensive the longer we wait. That may be why many young people are joining the climate fight. One student in the audience, Kirsti Martinez, is president-elect of the Student Environmental Association at USF.

Next year the United Nations will meet in Paris to try again to hammer out a climate agreement. Despite repeated failures in the past, Pachauri is optimistic.

Pachauri is also addressing a global business forum in Tampa this week that coincides with the International Indian Film Academy awards.

comments powered by Disqus