I’m Bill Bradbury and today we’re going to talk about climate change and it’s specific impacts on the Northwest. From this distant vantage point the Earth might not seem of any particular interest but for us it’s different. Considering in that dot, that’s here, that’s home, that’s us. I’ve become increasingly concerned about climate change ever since I traveled to Nashville, Tenesseee in 2006 to be trained by former Vice President Al Gore in presenting his slideshow called “An Incovenient Truth” and since that time I’ve worked to localize the climate change slideshow and bring it specifically to Oregon and understand Northwest impacts. I currently serve as one of two Oregon council members on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and that council’s made up of four states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
And we work to develop a 20 year plan to make sure there’s electricity for the region and we also work to enhance fish and wildlife that have been affected by the construction of dams in the Columbia River and all the while we try to make sure that the public is involved in all of our efforts. Our biggest challenge right now is that we have almost fully developed the Columbia River for hydro and that means that we get almost 40% of our electricity from burning coal and other fossil fuels. Obviuosly burning coal increases carbon pollution and all that carbon is having quite an impact on the world as we know it. Now somewhere there may in fact be an Earth where things are not getting hotter but that’s certainly not true at the women’s open in Wisconsin this last July and it wasn’t true in Boston in 2011 and it certainly wasn’t true in Los Angeles in 2010 when in September it hit an incredible 121 degrees fahrenheit. Now there may be an Earth somewhere where deeper and longer droughts are not killing crops and animals and people but that certainly wasn’t true in Senegal, Africa last May and that certainly wasn’t true in France where the Loire River just dried up in May of 2011 and it certainly wasn’t true in China in March of 2010 and it certainly wasn’t true in Argentina in January of 2009 and it certainly wasn’t true in India in May of 2006.
Now, there still may be an Earth somewhere where rainstorms are not getting any bigger but that certainly wasn’t the case in the Philippines where they had record rainfall last August and it certainly wasn’t the case in Seoul, South Korea, two years ago where they had phenomenal rain storms and mud slides. It certainly wasn’t true in China in May of 2010 and it certainly wasn’t true in Northwest Pakistan where they had flood after flood in 2010. Now there may be an Earth where bigger floods aren’t wreaking havoc but that certainly was not the case in North Korea last July and that certainly wasn’t the case in Australia in 2011 and that certainly wasn’t the case in China in 2010 and it certainly wasn’t the case in the Philippines in September of 2009 or in India in 2008 or in Slovenia in Central Europe in 2007. The reality is we are seeing significant impacts from our changing climate all over the world. Most scientists and actually a whole lot of insurance companies now say, that “The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change.
” That’s a direct quote from the second largest reinsurance company in the world, Munich Re. Dr. Richard Somerville has a very clear view of the situation and he represents the scientific community very well about the reality of climate change. So let’s understand what’s going on with climate change. As carbon dioxide increases in the atmoshpeere, guess what heat gets trapped on the planet so the temperatures have been rising. You can see in these two charts, the blue line is the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and then the other chart is the red line of temperatures since 0 A.D. and carbon dioxide just ran along for many, many, many centuries at about 275 parts per million and then all of a sudden starting in the 1940s it just spikes to where it’s almost 400 parts per million in the atmosphere today and you can see very clearly very directly related to that in the chart next to it the red line that is temperature and temperature really starts to go up when carbon dioxide goes up. Now where does that carbon dioxide come from? Well it comes from all of our cars and trucks all over the world.
It comes from all of our factories all over the world. It comes from mining activities all over the world and it comes from industrialized agriculture, which is increasing, dramatically increasing the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Now this is a chart that shows the increase in carbon dioxide since 19-, about 1957 and it’s called the Keeling curve, after Professor Keeling who first started to collect this information in the middle of the Pacific Ocean as far away from any other source of pollution he could, he started collecting how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere and you can see very clearly from this chart that carbon dioxide just keeps going up and is now almost 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So you’ve seen a steady troubling increase in CO2 and as CO2 and other greenhouse gases go up, guess what? So does temperature. This is a chart that shows the change in annual global temperature from about 1880 to 2010 and you can see that very clearly starting in about the mid 40s temperature just starts to go up, up, up and that’s what we’re seeing happen in the world.
And we need to understand that as temperature increases, water evaporates from the ocean and is in the air and that has an impact on all of us because we have had an increase in heavy precipitation days and this is a chart that shows the increase in precipitation days from 1950 to 2000 and you can see very clearly that is on an upward motion. We have been having incredible storms, the best example of this, the most recent example of this is Hurricane Sandy that came onto the East Coast last fall. Hurricane Sandy was a massive and deadly storm and it extended more than 1000 miles. We’ve had hurricanes before, we’ve had lots of hurricanes before but we have never had the level of intensity that came ashore with Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Sandy just battered the entire East Coast and tragically at least 160 people lost their lives in total because of Hurricane Sandy and sadly science tells us that this type of event will become much more common as our climate continues to change and Governor Cuomo of New York had a very clear view of what was happening.
Climate change is a reality he said, extreme weather is a reality, and it is a reality that we are vulnerable and that is what we are seeing because of this changing climate. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. I’m Toby Dittrich physics professor at Portland Community College. Climate change is a story about people, billions of people. Over the past two centuries billions of people around the world have created this problem inadvertently through the natural daily activities. Greenhouse gases now are threatening our planet with drastic climate change. Hurricane Sandy was one example of this there was billions of dollars worth of damage, lives lost and all kinds of misery caused by this hurricane and cataclysmic weather event. However there was something good that did come out of it, that climate is a new normal. In other words people began to believe that climate change exists and we hopefully will be able to move on towards solutions to climate change instead of discussions about questions relating to climate change. Today I’m going to be featuring a few of the many thousands of scientists that have studied this issue contributing significantly to the body of knowledge about climate change and answering hopefully four basic questions about climate change that the public may have which has in the past stopped us from achieving solutions.
The first question today is the fact that the Earth has experienced many ice ages in the past and huge temperature changes over it’s history so what’s different now? To answer this question we need to take a look at the early history of the planet going back some 600 million years. At that time the continents were all clumped together into one land mass as you see in this video prepared by a geologist depicting the history of the Earth and the movements of the land masses due to continental drift. 500 million years ago during the Cambrian era, chunks of land began breaking off of this large singular mass and moving with continental drift into locations yet to be determined. This movement while it seems rather rapid here in this video now at 400 millions years ago in the Devonian Era, is actually movement that is at a velocity of approximately equivalent to the speed at which your fingernails come out of your fingers.
extremely slow so obviously now as we enter the Permian era this movement has been magnified billions and billions of times to seem like it’s a visualization of movement yet even 200 million years ago while ice ages are coming and going the continents barely take shape. Now finally about 100 million years in the past during the Cretaceous Era the continents of South America, Africa and North America begin to seem normal and more normal and at 50 million years ago during the Eocene period we, the picture of the Earth seems relatively constant. Throughout this 400 million year history and ice ages coming and going the patterns of ocean current flow and air current flow were drastically different than today and so we cannot compare what happened in the past, the ice ages of the past to the present situation simply because the surface of the Earth was drastically different.
That is one reason why the climate change effects today are different than throughout the past. However there are other reasons as well. Here you see of the list of the 6 major ice ages that occured during that film we just saw. The squiggly line on the right is temperature changes on the planet in geologic measurements. They weren’t direct temperature measurements obviously because there were no thermometers 300 million years ago however as those lines go up that means hot temperatures, as the lines go down that means cold temperatures and so you see this big squiggly line over the last 500 million years, going up and down from ice age to ice age through out the 6 ice ages in that period. I would like you to concentrate on the very center of that squiggly line which occured 300 million years ago. You’ll see where the temperature of the planet increased drastically rising up steeply on this graph over the course of 50 million years.
So while it looks like a rapid change in temperature this was an, as the continental drift was observed this rise in temperature was extremely slow, going up and back down as much as 20 degrees globally over 50 million years. In order to look at temperature changes on the Earth more closely, in more present time we look to the ice cores taken from Antartica, in particular the Vostok Ice Core Project above Lake Vostok in Antartica where a drill hole has been placed 2.2 miles down through the ice and ice cores containing trapped bubbles have been recovered that do direct measurements of atmospheric conditions going back as far as 800,000 years. So this squiggly line represents 400,000 years, not millions of years but only 400,000 years from present. Present is on the left side of this graph and you can see that in the last period of time the temperature and CO2 concentration rather has gone up drastically. I’d like you to focus on the period of high CO2 concentrations 100,000 years ago and that period of high CO2 concentration is called the last interglacial warming period.
We’ll be taking a close look at the Earth’s conditions during that last interglacial warming period between 100,000 and 125,000 years ago, rather recent compared to the millions of years for ancient ice ages. Dr. Bette Otto-Bleisner Senior Climate Modeler for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado has studied this area extensively with the largest computer in the world modeling the climate during that last interglacial warming period and during that period you can see that the temperatures also rose exactly in conjunction with carbon dioxide levels. Now present is on the right and 300,000 years ago was on the left and so if you follow the depression on the right and it’s the first rise 100,000 years ago you see that the red line and the blue line for temperature, red and blue, carbon dioxide concentrations are very closely related.
She studied this with computers and climate models and has deduced that this last interglacial warming period was caused exclusively by a confluence of natural solar conditions that just so happened to come together all at once creating unusual warming in the Northern Hemisphere also at that time recently there’s been drilling projects done on Greenland. The camp century labeled C, the GRIP drill rig labeled G, the Renland R and the Dye 3, D. These produced more squiggly lines which are hard to interpret for the average person but scientists look carefully at these ice core records looking back 100,000 years to the last interglacial warming period and the conclusion was that the ice coverage on Greenland was down to 1/3 of it’s normal present day ice content. That picture on the left of Greenland showing that the entire coastline of Greenland around it was uncovered with ice and it was much, much, warmer, 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the norhern hemisphere.
As a result of this massive melting 100,000 years ago sea level rose 15 feet as you can see from this photograph taken in Bermuda by Harold Wanless. Other geologic records all around the world indicated by the red dots on the lower left say the same thing that during that last interglacial warming period sea level rose 15 feet. So in conclusion in regarding the last interglacial warm period, CO2 levels were at 280 parts per million during that period, 30% less than now. Global temperatures were up to 8 and 10 degrees higher than present, Greenland ice was reduced by 2/3s and sea level rose 15 feet, all caused by natural solar influences. The question is what would the world look like now if these influences came again when we have twice the CO2 levels during that 100,000 year ago period.
Here it is a CO2 emissions graph for the last 400 years and you’ll see what I mean when I say that CO2 emissions have drastically increased over the past 200 yaers particularly shooting up over the past 50 years consider the rate at which this change is occuring we are doubling our CO2 over 50 years, or 100 years and this compared to the rate at which the increase in temperature occured during the last interglacial period was spread out over 25,000 years and during the period between the Kuhru ice age and the Kuatanary cool period depicted even earlier in this discussion, that change in temperature of 20 degrees fahrenheit was spread out over 50 million years. Consider the difference in rate, millions of time difference So the real reason we cannot compare the current climate change situation to ancient very intense changes in climate is simply the rate at which they occur the second question I’d like to discuss today is the question is the Earth warming and of course the answer is absolutely. How do we know this is absolutely.
How do we know this without the slightest doubt. To do this we have to turn to another individual, a very famous professor from Berkeley, California, Professor Richard Muller. He was asked because he was a climate denier, he was asked by some conservative financiers to do a temperature study over the last 200 years for the planet. He took their job and did this study later because the Berkeley Temperature Study. He intensely studied all temperature records in the planet for the last 200 years as an independent independent from NCAR, NOAA, other government related agencies. He had an open mind he worked hard to find the results of this temperature study. the Youtube video of the results of this temperature study starting in 1800 and notice that the blue area around the planet is where thermometers are measuring temperature and there’s only in 1830 20% of the planet covered with thermometers.
The little red dot below is with thermometers. The little red dot below is marching along the temperature record which is the results of his study. As you can see this little red dot is dancing like a little jig going along up and down but the general trend for that red dot is upward, now we’ve achieved a time period 1870 and it made a lot of the planet covered with thermometers now, about 60%. Blue means cool, yellow means moderate temperatures and red means hot. The dot is now approaching break neck period beginning in 1900 where temperatures are starting to drastically increase as CO2 levels begin to gear up and increase more rapidly. Now in 1920 with 83% of the land covered by thermometers we have reached the average temperature throughout the entire 200 year period. But that little red dot is continuing to move to the right and is approaching the point where it’s going to begin drastically increasing. This is when now the CO2 production in the world has drastically increased after WorldWar II, economic activity is going wild, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are being pumped into the atmosphere but fortunately the oceans are cooling the planet and as the first 20 meters of the surface of the ocean and as the first 20 meters of the surface of the ocean warm the temperature remained constant until now it’s shooting up red, red, red the ocean’s our no longer our refrigerator and the Earth has drastically warmed in the last 50 years.
This is the result of Berkeley Temperature Study. There is no doubt what so ever that temperature is rising and now Professor Muller is an advocate for climate change Another question about climate change which you may have asked is, have humans influenced climate. And again the answer is absolutely without the slightest doubt. How do we know that this is true, that humans have influenced climate? In order to answer that question we have to look to another scientist, Dr. Ben Santer from Lawrence Livermore Labs at the University of California. Dr. Santer has spent a lifetime monitoring climate models and studying climate change His job is to monitor the effect of humans on climate and to evaluate all of the climate change models, 28 of them now, around the world for their effectiveness.
At the Lawrence Livermore Labs this is a constant task. He’s also been a lead author in every single IPCC report written. He had the task in 2001 to write chapter 8 which was the chapter in the IPCC report on human influence on climate. There was considerable debate in 2001 about the wording for his statement but finally they decided on the statement that “there is a discernable effect of humans on climate” As a result of him making this statement he became a target for climate deniers. His email box was full, his phone number rang, he became part of harassment to the ultimate to where even people were arrested by the FBI threatening him. But he was courageous and he continued on with his work and in 2007 in the IPC report then he wrote from their research that “There is a greater than 90% probability that humans have influenced climate.” In order to understand the fact that the work has continued since 2007 they have done mathematical studies to quantify the effect of humans on climate.
You will se him speaking in a short video relating to his present work which will be coming out in the IPCC report next year. What all of this shown has done is answered mathematical the question of whether humans have influenced climate. the question of whether humans have influenced climate. What you see here is a curve, a bell shaped curve called a normal distribution and in order to understand the results of his work in a sense of, to understand for the average person I’ve put the question of have humans influenced climate on this bell shaped curve and so in other words if we did a study like Ben Santer did and the answer was right in the center of that curve the answer would be 100% yes. However if you go to the right and left there is some doubt as to whether humans have not influenced climate so the answer on the right would be no they have not influenced climate.
The mathematical is measured in terms of something called a standard deviation and as you see on this graph that if you’re going one standard deviation away from the center which is 100% surety you are done to about 66 percent surety and as you go further to the right and left you get more certainty that humans have influenced climate in other words less certainty that they have not. His calculations show that for the lower the temperature increases observed in the lower away from the center which corresponds to a probability of about equivalent to the probability of the discovery of the Higgs by physicists which is about a 1 in 300 million chance that humans have not influenced climate in the troposphere that the human influence on the upper portion of the is 18-20 sigma away from the center that is an unbelievably small chance that humans have not influenced climate.
In other words Ben Santer’s work has definitely and unequivocally answered that question with a yes. humans have influenced climate. The final question today is what is the driving factor behind global climate change and the answer to that question is world energy demand and the exponential growth in world energy demand and here enters another famous scientist a physicist Dr. Albert Bartlett from the physics department at the University of Colorado in Boulder He has been since 1973 preaching about the effects of the exponential function and exponential growth on the world. His famous quote is “That the great short coming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” When we lok at world energy consumption over the last 200 years we see exponential growth. The units on the y-axis here are the __ per year and an exojoule is a billion billion joules and a joule is about the energy you expend when you lift a candy so nevermind the units of energy it’s a huge amount of energy that the world is using today but as you see between 1800 and 1900 there was a very flat growth. As the world became mechanized in the Industrial Revolution particularly after World War II and around 1950 you see the this amount of consumption drastically increased to today’s where we’re using more than 550 exojoules of energy per year.
You also see the break down of the sources for that energy. However if we look at this world energy use graph between 1900 and 2000, you can see that it is critically important the growth rate is critically important as we enter the new century between 2000 and 2020. If the growth was as normal, the growth rate is 3.6%. We hoped it would go down through conservation and other measure to 3 or 2% but that hasn’t not occured. Whether you look at the IEA National Energy statistics or the US Department of Energy statistics, growth has continued at around 3% to 3.2% as we entered the first few years of the new millenium This causes drastic problems because if you look at the amount of energy we’ll use in the next 20 year period, between 2000 and 2020 the shaded area with horizontal lines compared to the amount of energy we used in all of previous time before that you will find that the problem with continued exponential growth is the area in that one 20 year doubling period is greater than the area under all of the curved for all previous time and that is Bartlett’s forgotten fundamental of the energy crisis. The fact is that the amount of energy that the world is on track to use between 2000 and 2020 is greater than the amount of energy the world has used in all of time prior to this 20 year period.
That is an incredible fact. And the fact is that 80% of that energy in the world comes from fossil fuels, burning fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases and other pollution. We’ve got to change to a sustainable energy future. That is the only ansewr and your individual actions matter together make a difference. We need an energy sustainable future and in this final graph you can see that over this last next 100 year period we need to curtail this exponential growth and transform the world into a sustainable energy use, particularly using green energy sources. This can be done and we all need to gather together and find the politically action accomplish this. I hope that the answers to these 4 questions will lead you to educate othes and help find the solution that is so direly needed. We’re very lucky in the North West to have had a number of scientists work on identifying specific climate impacts in the North West so I want to go through some of those specific impacts and let’s start with a place that everybody knows pretty well, which is Mt. Hood.
This is a picture of Mt. Hood, the white river glacier in 1902 and this is a picture of the same white river glacier, same time of the year, in 2001. That’s what Mt. Hood white river glacier looked like in 1902 and that’s what the white river same time of the year looked like in 2001. The white river glaceir has shrunk 61% in the last hundred years. Other glaciers on Mt. Hood have shrunk not as much as the White River Glacier, other glaciers by 60% or 19% or 37%, but the point is all the glaciers on Mt. Hood have shrunk. This is a scientist form Oregon State University, her name is Dr. Anne Nolan and she’s been studying how much water comes from the glaciers and the snow pack on Mt. Hood and what’s the impact of shrinking glaciers and she’s found that almost 75% of the water in the middle fork of the Hood River comes from melting glacier and that water provides irrigation in the Hood River Valley water supported 14,000 acres of fruits and berries worth many many millions of dollars but Dr. Nola says that receding glaciers don’t just threaten water supply for agriculture as Dr.
Nolan says, shrinking glaciers enable large debris flows look at this picture of Mt. Hood you can see the red areas around each glacier is the area where the glacier has shrunk and when a glacier shrinks it exposes what’s underneath the glacier which is a whole bunch of rocks called unconsolidated debris and this is what Mt. Hood looked like in November 2006. A whole lot of unconsolidated debris came down the mountain when it rain rained at 11,000 feet, instead of snowing at 11,000 feet and it washed all that debris down the mountain. This is a picture of the white river drainage right underneath the White River Glacier and you can see that something has just scoured out that drainage and what it was was all that unconsolidated debris moving down the mountain and you can see at the top of the picture Oregon Highway 35 crossing the White River and this is the White River Bridge and it was covered with unconsolidated debris and in fact scientists said that debris 30 feet deep upstream of the White River amazing amount of movement of stuff coming down from the mountain closed the highway but it did a lot more than that.
18 inches of rain in 36 hours, not snow, but rain in 36 hours just wiped out the highway and there’s a railroad that goes around Mt. Hood, it’s called the Hood River Railroad and it’s run for 100 years without interruption until November of 2006. You can see the White River in this picture just lapping at the railroa bridge for the Hood River Railroad and this is a little bit upstream. You can see that the White River is just totally erroded out the bank and the railroad tracks are wouldn’t want to be running a train loaded with fruit on those tracks because there’s no support for it. It took them about 2 years to fix it because they finally did in fact fix it and this is a picture of where the Hood River meets the Columbia River and the Columbia River’s going by left to right, Hood River is flowing into the Columbia River and there’s a new delta forming for the Hood River because of all the debris coming down from Mt.
Hood. We’re lucky to have a collaborative study of the effects of climate change that have been done on some very specific areas in Oregon. I’m going to talk about the Rogue Basin, I’m going to talk about the Klamath Basin and I’m going to talk about the Wilamette Valley and all of these studies were done by the climate leadership initiative at the University of Oregon US Forest Services and the NorthWest Research Labs and when they talked about the Rogue the study they did predicts that summer temperatures will increase by 15 degrees before 2080 and as a result there’ll be far less snowfall than in previous years and the extended dry season means that snow will begin melting much earlier than in past years and this means that more precipitation will fall as rain rather than snow over the next centyury and the transition from snow to rain and the fast earlier snow melt will combine to create flashier spring and winter floods, posing a major flood hazard. to the Rogue Basin but at the same time decrease snowfall and increase temperatures, meaning that in spite of flashier spring floods Rogue Basin streams are likely to be much drier during the extended Summer months and dry streams mean several things, they mean increased forest fire but they also man dead fish.
Dry streams will in turn increase the threat posed by bacteria and disease from the water gonna reduce the number of fish that are able to live in those streams. Scientists also that there’s a dramatic incrase in the risk of wild fires in the Rogue Basin and we’ve already seen some of those effects in fires like the Silver Fire that took place fairly recently So let’s turn our attention to the Klamath River Basin in Southern Oregon and Northern California. In the Southern Oregon portion of the Klamath River Basin it’s mostly irrigated agriculture it’s very significant wildlife refuges with lakes and the local treaty tribe is the Klamath tribe. Scientists say that the snow pack in the Klamath Basin will decrase 73-90% by 2075 and that means that there’ll be a dramatic reduction in water supply and I can still remember and I imagine that many of you can still remember the crisis we had in the Klamath Basin in 2002 between farmer and fish and making sure there wasn’t enough water for everybody and so there was this real fight over who got the water. There really was not enough water to meet the needs of fish and farms but what’s so frightening is that the estimated 2075 Summer water temperature is expected to increase by about 12 degrees so you’re goign to have much hotter water coming to the Klamath Basin and we all know that kills fish about 75,000 salmon in 2002 and scientists say there is likely trouble ahead from water shortage and an increase in the temperature of that water so it’s something that will impact crops, it will impact water life it will impact fish and it will impact people.
Everybody’s going to be impacted by climate change in the Klamath Basin. So let’s turn our attention to Wilamette Valley. Models agree that annual average temperatures in the Wilamette Vallye will rise 6-8 degress Fahrenheit by 2080, 6-8 degress fahrenheit. and intense weather events such as like what we’ve had in the Wilamette such as floodign will put developed properties at risk and if no one action is taken to prepare for the likely climate change impact damages could amount to millions of dollars including road air and rail transportation human health with a degraded air quality, potentially raising the rates of asthma and other respitory problems and one of the things the report recommends is the establishment of cooling centers to reduce health consequences during high heat, during extreme heat events particularly for those most vulnerable including the elderly and the infirmed. Now scientists also say there will be, there should be significant changes in growing conditions.
In this picture of Oregon’s pinot noir grape and it really provides a grape that is some of the best wine in the wine, Oregon pinot noir and scientists say there’s going to be a real shift in crops, pinot noir and scientists say there’s going to be a real shift in crops, orchards and vineyards because of climate change and one of the adaptations we can see in Oregon is the switch from growing pinot noir to a less delicate grape like a ___ and ___ makes a nice wine but nothing as great as the pinot and I personally really love pinot noir. You know obscurity, in all this vastness there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. These problems in Oregon can be solved and problems all over the world can be solved so let’s talk a little bit about what we can do. What we can do is based on individual actions everyone needs to take that as an individual responsibility to conserve energy and to recycle and to drive less, use fuel efficient cars and use mass transit, bicycle, everything you can do really will make a difference.
And there’s some huge impacts that the Northwest Power Council has identified. One of the biggest ways you waste energy folks is to watch big tvs that aren’t energy efficient and I’m not trying to put in a plug for one company but the fact is Vizio makes a very large tv that’s very energy efficient and nobody else do it in this country and that’s a US manufacturer that’s helping save energy. There are other things we need to like wrapping our water heaters and making sure that our attics are really don’t waste energy we conserve energy. There are all these things we can do that we must do, to quit putting so much greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere However I think that the important thing to concentrate on as well is the very large sources of greenhouse gases things that we can do politically and as a nation, as a local community nation and worldwide to attack the large large amounts of carbon dioxide that’s being emitted in other greenhouse gases. For example here you see the world carbon dioxide emissions by country and the United States in this diagram was the number one emitter but just recently within the past year China has overtaken the United States and that’s a result of their very rapid economic development.
Right, and it’s really interesting with China because on one hand they have really dirty coal that they’re being a new plant once a week to meet the huge energy demand in China and on the other hand they are the world leader in wind production, so they’re both going really and their government has really recognized that climate change is happening and they need to do something about it. They obviously have a huge priority for their economy, but they also have a real recognition that climate change is a reality and they and other people need to address it. So hopefully we will see China slowly transition from all this dirty coal to all the renewable sources that they are actively developing. The United States is an example of a tremendous success story. We are the largest reduction in carbon emissions in the world and we’ve done it predominately by transferring burning coal into natural gas in hundreds of power plants around the country.
Right and it’s pretty amazing, I have a slide that shows all the proposed coal plants, 2002 to 2008 and then the same slide shows the number of those coal plants that were cancelled all over the country. And look at the Northwest, the boardman coal plant is closing, the Centralia coal plant is closing in two phases, half of it in 2020 and half of it in 2025. The Northwest will be coal plant free by 2025. Don’t feel too good about yourselves because the fact is a lot of energy that’s imported into this state comes from coal plants in Montana and Wyoming So we’re still producing, we’re still using a lot of coal but we don’t have the coal plants right here. The challenge is to The challenge is to replace that coal generation with renewable carbon free generation and that is a real challenge but with everyone’s political emphasis and local action we can do that. You know, yes it’s so clear that we can do that and there are a lot of companies that have been formed in Oregon and Washington and the Northwest in general to really develop renewable energy and it’s just so clear to me that this is a real source climate solution says we’ll get 62,000 new jobs in the next 15 years from renewable energy development and all those other efforts at conservation so it’s a real source of economic development if we want it to be.
If we commit to it. Yes if we look at world CO2 by source, you can see that some of the major pie pieces there is in the energy production region and in transportation and industry. Industry’s rather large but there’s a natural reason to save energy and convert to renewables with industry through the it’s cheaper and cleaner, it’s better. Right they have a huge incentive to conserve power because they adds obviously saves them money and there are significant efforts underway in this country with industrial companies saying we need to find to not have that constantly draining our bottom line. So they’ve really started to commit to energy conservation and it’s really, to me, a very positive development. I think the transportation sector is taking some real huge boosts when the federal government made a regulation to limit the mileage required requirements on cars in the next 15 years.
A drastic change in miles per gallon requirements and that is going to have a huge effect… Huge impact on transportation sector. You can have a… And, and, you know I’m going to interrupt you for a second to say, that’s going to have a huge impact and you know what People aren’t going to really be that affected by it because everybody’s still going to be able to get around just like they do today, in their cars, but they’re going to have much more efficient cars to get around in. Yes and my comment that down in Los Angeles there’s a hydrogen fuel station and in San Francisco there’s a hydrogen fuel station for cars we need one here in Portland in my opinion. I agree and you know it’s sort of like, how does it get developed as quickly as it can How does it get developed. Yes and there’s even though residential and commercial buildings is a small piece, 8% that 8% is critical and there is a huge amount of savings that can be done through standard conservation, insulation, programs for residential and commercial and so we can encourage everyone to invest in that and utilize I’m sure the many governmental incentives and programs to help accomplish that.
So if we attack each one of those sectors, piece by piece, we can reduce carbon dioxide worldwide. A lot of carbon dioxide comes from fossil fuels, particularly petroleum Is from petroleum and so that is a major, major effort we’re going to need to take to reduce the amount of petroleum effort we’re going to need to take to reduce the amount of petroleum that we use in our transportation sector. The other thing I want to comment on is that yes natural gas is a whole lot better than coal but the reality is, natural gas is a fossil fuel and the reality is we get greenhouse gases pollution from natural gas. So we really need to not think of natural gas as a clean fuel like the companies want us to, we really need to think of natural gas as better than coal but still a problem and we’ve got to do better, we’ve got to move to more renewables zero greenhouse gas kinds of developments.
So as we use more electric cars it’s important to keep in mind that if we use natural gas and other non-carbon producing ways to produce electricity that’s a very good thing. However if we use petroleum and coal to generate electricity it’s not as attractive. No it’s a real problem Yes and so we’ve seen that world energy use and world energy demand growth is the heart of the climate change problem. and we must over a period of time in the future in order to move towards a sustainable planet, we must have a sustainable energy use system. No one says that better than Dr. Carl Sagan. He was the ultimate science educator and his video piece is the best way that we can approach the moral imperity that we all have to address climate change and change the world into a sustainable planet. Didn’t Al Gore initiate this concept of moral imperity? Al Gore initiate this concept of moral imperity? Yeah, he’s really and really talking about it as not just an environmental issue but really a moral issue that we all need to confront and deal with.
So let’s listen to Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot in closing, there’s no one better who can state the moral imperative we have to protect the Earth. ♪ ♪ ♪ From this distance vantage point the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. but for us it’s different. Considering in that dot, that’s here that’s home, that’s us. everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out there lives. The aggregate joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines. Every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant every young couple in love, every mother and father hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived here.
On the mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary leaders of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatred. Our posturings, our imagined self importance, the delusion that we have some priviledged position in the universe are challenged this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness. there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else at least in the near future to which our species could migrate. Visit? Yes.
Settle Not yet. Like it or not for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this image of our tiny world, to me it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish. the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known. ♪ ♪ ♪ I’d like to say on behalf of Bill Bradbury, all of the members of the green team here Portland Community College, this is Toby Dietrich saying thank you with a clean atmosphere we can get away from the troubles of climate change. .