Experts discuss climate change solutions
greater emphasis, as Hayhoe pointed out the state ranks third in the world for natural gas production, and fourth in the world for oil production and refining gasoline.
“Texas has grown and flourished because of its natural resources,” she said.
Hayhoe went on to explain why climate change is going to be uniquely bad for Texas.
Texas has had more naturally occurring weather and climate disasters than any other state, she said, and since 1980 there have been more than 105 disasters in Texas that caused more than $100 billion in damages. It is also the state that produces the most carbon emissions, she said.
“We are most vulnerable and we are contributing most to the problem,” she but instead turning to alternative energy sources.
“We can get it from high tech ways, like solar panels, and from the tides like they’re doing in South Korea. We can get it from amazing new nuclear technology, and geothermal like in Iceland,” she said.
Hayhoe said among its high production of conventional energy resources, Texas is also first in states for installed wind capacity, and likely first in carbon storage, a process that puts carbon dioxide in the ground rather than the atmosphere. Fort Hood used wind and and how do we avoid the impacts of a changing climate?” she said, seguing into the panel portion of the night.
The panel focused on using each of its member’s unique backgrounds and points of view to tackle the issue at hand.
Bob Inglis largely discussed the policy and political aspects of climate change. When asked what the greatest challenge in solving the problem was, he described a figurative food fight happening in the US. He said everyone is divided into warring camps that are focused on fighting each other rather some grace from the right, to be able to talk to my own tribe, and say to them, how do you keep shrinking to this science of denial.”
Joey Hall spoke from his perspective as a leader in a large oil and gas company, an industry which is commonly seen as the enemy in these discussions. He said he gathered people from both sides of the argument, and facilitated dialogue to come to a solution together.
“Without conversation, no progress is made,” he said.
“I’ve always had the perspective that to the extent that I can educate those who might not agree with what my industry does, no matter what they do with that information, I’m better off for it. We frequently engage with NGOS who oppose the oil and gas industry, and we have conversations with them.”
Finally, Michael Webber focused on aspects of renewable energy, but also acknowledged the importance of bringing energy to more people worldwide. The problem, he said, becomes not only how to reduce effects of climate change, but extending energy availability to those who lack it.
“That’s the dual conundrum, how do we ramp up there, while ramping down the impact from here,” he said.
“We need solar or better alternatives for other regions. And that makes it a problem of architecture, but it’s something we should celebrate because that’s exploring in technology and quality of life.”
The conclusion of the night was a hopeful one, with all the panelists mentioning ways individuals can start to help reduce the impacts of climate change.
Open-mindedness, conversation and transparency were all brought up as ways to move toward positive change.
As Hayhoe closed, she emphasized the importance of talking about the future.
“The most important thing you can do when you leave tonight is creating an opportunity to talk about this,” she said.
“Consider having a conversation, consider putting aside stereotypes and talking across the aisle. Consider investing in hope for the future.”