About 85 attended a panel Thursday night to learn about the “Threats and Opportunities of Climate Change in Western Nevada.”
The discussion, hosted at Western Nevada College by Citizens’ Climate Education, GreenACT NV and Sierra Nevada Forums, was well attended at the college’s Reynolds Center for Technology, where an overflow room accommodated a number of interested participants who came to listen.
Speakers included Dr. Charles Goldman, distinguished professor of limnology from the University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Dr. Sudeep Chandra, director of the Global Water Center at the University of Nevada, Reno and WNC President Dr. Vincent Solis.
A video narrated by Dr. Robert Davies, an associate professor at Utah State University who has worked for Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, provided context for the evening as he described how Earth has warmed about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, creating “catastrophic climate disruption” including impacts on the planet’s fossil fuel reserves, weather patterns and topography.
Goldman, who has a glacier named after himself, shared his experiences in Antarctica and focused his insights on how greenhouse gases are melting the tundras. Goldman said dramatic atmospheric changes are occurring, including the increased frequency of tornadoes that make even Superstorm Sandy appear mild.
Chandra, originally from a warmer climate in Oklahoma, has studied the impact of water availability on agriculture and rural areas, and he said while he loves heat, he’s observed this year’s unusual “blowout year” of precipitation and where the runoff water is being stored.
He said overall, it’s made predicting water management for the future more complicated than it has been in the past.
Chas Macquarie, also of Citizens’ Climate Education, discussed improving upon renewable energy in the state rather than relying upon natural gas as much in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
Solis also included opportunities to train up future workers and develop the skills to carry the renewable energy field forward.
“People are people,” Solis said, “and we need to make sure they understand what’s in it for them as it applies. Teenagers are suing governments because they’re saying, ‘You’re taking our future.’”
Ron Bastien, a group leader of the Carson City chapter of Citizens’ Climate Education, which helped to organize Thursday’s event, said the group usually hosts one or two panels per year to generate interest. He said he was pleased by the outcome.
“We had some people sign up to join our local chapter and a few of them were writing to members of Congress,” he said. “It was a great program.”
Bastien said the goal is to help disseminate information about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (HR763), a bill introduced in the House of Representatives that imposes a fee on carbon content of fuels, but Bastien said this fee is different from a tax in that the fee is rebated back to the public.
“The idea is that it will reduce the use of carbon pollution of fossil fuels and our air quality and health will be better and there will be more jobs related to the energy industry and eventually we’ll eliminate fossil fuels,” he said.
Bastien said he’d spent a few days in the Nevada Legislature this session in support of HR763 and other green bills and said many of them were passed.
To watch Thursday’s session online, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR4G-RWNmoE.