Sizing up climate change

There is hope in global action to fight climate change, in the slow adoption of wind and solar power, in moves by the U.S. government to cut emissions from vehicles and power plants, in the lead taken by some businesses to clean up operations and draw attention to the problem.But it’s too late to avoid several more degrees of warming by the turn of the next century, too late to completely stave off dramatic melting, and too late to avoid the slow swamping of Pacific island nations, whose thousands of years of history and culture seem certain to be swallowed by rising seas.A panel of experts in science, politics, business, economics, and history shared their views of the massive challenges presented by climate change Monday in a talk at Sanders Theatre that was by turns hopeful and gloomy.Worries about political intransigence, massive energy-system inertia, and an active campaign to sow doubt that the problem even exists sparred for 90 minutes with heartened references to clean-energy innovation, an increasing acceptance that adaptation and mitigation are wise, and, perhaps most importantly, the passion exhibited by tomorrow’s leaders, who today fill classrooms at Harvard and other colleges and universities.Getting the message across to the public presents a communication challenge to scientists who are used to being able to make their cases by presenting facts, said History of Science Professor Naomi Oreskes (second from right). Among the seven panelist were Rebecca Henderson (from left), John Holdren, Richard Newell, Oreskes, and Daniel Schrag. Panelists not pictured include Joseph Aldy and Christopher Field. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“The challenge of climate change is profound. The risks it poses are dire. Confronting those dangers is among the paramount tasks of our time,” Harvard President Drew Faust said in introducing the discussion. “We owe it to one another and to future generations to meet the challenge with the intensity, the creativity, and the cooperative effort that the situation demands. … Universities have a crucial role to play: We act through our research, our educational programs, our embrace of sustainability on our campus, our engagement with the wider world.”The Presidential Panel on Climate Change, moderated by journalist Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS, consisted of Assistant Professor of Public Policy Joseph Aldy; Christopher Field, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II and a Harvard overseer; John and Natty McArthur University Professor Rebecca Henderson; John Holdren, a former Harvard professor and the White House’s current assistant to the president for science and technology; Richard Newell, a Duke University professor and director of the Duke Energy Initiative; History of Science Professor Naomi Oreskes; and Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology Daniel Schrag, director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment.The Obama administration has worked through congressional gridlock to take several meaningful steps to address the problem, Holdren said. U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, he said, have decreased 10 percent since 2005. The recent agreement with China on greenhouse-gas reductions, seen as a landmark because it included commitments from the world’s two largest emitters, would see emissions fall further, to between 26 and 28 percent by 2025.Panelists acknowledged that greenhouse gases already emitted and expected to be released, even under optimistic scenarios of a clean-energy transition, are enough to affect climate. Their effects, Schrag said, will be felt for thousands of years. He said we are perilously close to the threshold for irreversible melting of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets. Their collapse, occurring over centuries, would irreversibly raise sea level, inundating coastal cities and swamping low-lying Pacific islands.“The challenge of climate change is profound. The risks it poses are dire. Confronting those dangers is among the paramount tasks of our time,” said President Drew Faust in introducing the discussion. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“I don’t think people understand the momentum in this system,” Schrag said. “We are deeply addicted to fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy and moving too slow.”Aldy said that political inaction may be due to politicians being asked to make potentially painful moves without a clear return in sight. That problem is exacerbated, he said, by the fact that action on climate change provides a global rather than a local benefit, which gives nations a reason to wait to see what others are doing before acting themselves.Though some business leaders have embraced the challenge, many remain unconvinced by the threat of warming, Henderson said. For that community, she said, it would be helpful to move away from the all-too-often-used tactic of framing the issue as a “religious war,” and instead present it as a way of managing risk. Were more businesses to see the problem as presenting a level of risk to operations, they would be likelier to take steps against it.Getting the message across to the public presents a communication challenge to scientists who are used to being able to make their cases by presenting facts, Oreskes said. Because of efforts to create doubt that the problem exists ― financed by fossil-fuel interests — and a philosophical concern that the issue is being used to grow government, a different kind of conversation is needed, she said.Presidential panel on climate change Oreskes challenged Harvard to embrace the movement to divest itself of fossil-fuel stocks. She said not only are the fuels at the root of climate change, but by funding an active campaign to deny the science of climate change, fossil-fuel interests are undermining work by Harvard faculty members.Co-panelists responded by saying they didn’t think that vilifying fossil fuel companies, on whose products we still depend every day, would make a difference. Newell questioned the effectiveness of divestment as a strategy, saying it polarizes the issue at a time when what’s needed is to bring people to the middle. Perhaps more helpful, Aldy said, would be for students to work for action in their home states, particularly those whose governors have said they’ll fight the Obama administration’s proposed reduction of emissions from power plants.The panel is just the latest Harvard action on climate change. In a March speech at China’s Tsinghua University, Faust addressed the roles universities play in the search for climate solutions, both in faculty members’ research and in training the next generation of scientists, policymakers, and business leaders. The president’s office also recently announced the first grants from the Climate Change Solutions Fund.The panel came after a series of Harvard events around Climate Week, including discussions among climate scientists, lectures by experts in various fields, and social and literary events.In summing up the problem, Holdren said people can expect a complex web of effects, including floods, storms, and drought, whose harm will be felt for centuries to come. Though it is too late to avoid at least some warming, strong action today could have a tremendous influence on the magnitude of the effects, he said.“This is not just a problem for future generations. Climate change is causing harm now.” read more

On-loan Barcelona midfielder tests positive for COVID-19

first_img Loading… That’s according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim that the 21 year old was one of the La Liga players who was found to be carrying the virus, and has been isolated away from his teammates.Oscar Plano, another Valladolid player, is also said to have the illness.It’s the latest bit of bad news for Matheus, who signed for Barcelona in January and was immediately loaned to their fellow La Liga side to starting picking up some minutes.However his late January arrival plus the timing of the coronavirus crisis has meant he’s not had the chance to play yet. He will likely stay on loan for another year while the Catalan club study how to free up another non-EU player slot.Read Also: Messi donates €500k towards the fight against COVID-19It’s been a tough few months for him following his dream move to the European leagues, but it will all hopefully get easier from here.For now, we wish him a speedy recovery from his illness.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Matheus Fernandes, the recently signed Barcelona midfielder on loan at Valladolid, has tested positive for coronavirus.Advertisementcenter_img Promoted ContentIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A Tattoo5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks8 Addictive And Fun Coffee FactsWhat Happens To Your Brain When You Play Too Much Video Games?7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show YouTop 10 Most Romantic Nations In The World7 Reasons It’s Better To Be A Vegan10 Actors Who Are Happy With The Type Of Roles They Got Hired ForThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The Worldlast_img read more

Agony for English

first_imgIreland’s Mark English just missed out on a place in the men’s 800 metres semi-finals at the World Championships in Moscow. Press Association “I’m gutted today, but there are positives to take away too,” he said. “What’s done is done here but I am going to move on. “I am ambitious and I’m going to target the 800m at the European Championships next summer where I think I can medal if I can keep improving. “The track was hot here and fast. It’s been a good experience for me.” In the women’s 400m, Jennifer Carey finished well to place sixth in heat five with her second fastest time of 52.62 secs. It was a disappointing day for Maria McCambridge, who was forced to withdraw from the women’s marathon through injury after about 7km. center_img Having seen compatriot Paul Robinson finish sixth in his heat, the Donegal man had to settle for fourth place in one minute 47.08 seconds. English was close to taking third place and securing an automatic semi-final spot, but was pipped to the line and missed out on a fastest loser berth by just one spot. last_img read more