When: Wednesday, October 20th @ 12pm
Where: In Person at MidWest One Bank (across from the Pentacrest, University of Iowa)
Jerald Schnoor is the Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Co-director of the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research. Schnoor’s research interests include phytoremediation, groundwater, and water sustainability with special fields of knowledge in water quality modeling, aquatic chemistry, and climate change. Dr. Schnoor is a registered Professional Engineer and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
A new report, the sixth in a series since 1990, Climate Change 2021:The Physical Science Basis was released this fall by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called the report a “code red for humanity.” Among its many findings, “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.” Widespread and rapid changes have occurred in the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere and glaciers. Furthermore, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are the highest concentration in at least 2 million years; methane and nitrous oxide are the most in more than 800,000 years; and our average temperature on earth is the warmest in at least 2,000 years.
Iowans face more frequent and severe storms, greater runoff and soil erosion, warmer nights, and more humidity, pollen and mold spores. In California and the western US, climate change manifests as drought and wildfires; in the Northeast as flooding, and in Miami as blue-sky flooding. If you live in coastal Louisiana, it means more intense hurricanes, power outages and floods. Last year, thirty named storms set a US record, and 13 of those hurricanes made landfall, also a record.
A turning point could be the upcoming United Nations Glasgow Climate Conference, November 1-12, also known as COP26. There, the world will try to agree on greater cuts in nationally-determined greenhouse gas emissions, more funding for the most vulnerable nations (The Green Climate Fund), ending oil exploration and production, constraints on international financial transactions, and limits on international travel. Cuts in emissions of 50% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 are deemed necessary to avoid catastrophic warming and dangerous interference with the climate system.
Global response to transitioning out of the fossil fuel age to renewable energy, electric vehicles, battery storage of wind and solar power, a smart grid, a rebuilt infrastructure, and a circular economy promises high quality jobs, resilience to climate change, and an engine for economic development in the 21st century. In short, climate action promises healthier ecosystems and people, cleaner air, stable climate, a dynamic economy, and a sustainable future for our children.