Experts discuss climate change, Texas part of the solution - FOX34 Lubbock

Experts discuss climate change, Texas part of the solution

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A panel of experts at Texas Tech discuss climate change and ways to help avert the crisis.

The polarizing issue has created much debate. Kathrine Hayhoe, Director of Tech's Climate Science Center believes hurricanes, like Harvey and Florence are amplified by a changing climate and how doing our part in Texas could be a future benefit. 

"So, the reason why we hear about a changing climate is because it's taking our natural pattern of feast or famine and it's stretching it even further," she said. "It's taking all the natural risk that we already face like drought and heat waves and heavy rain events and it's making many of them longer or stronger than they would've been otherwise."

Hayhoe compares the looming disaster to someone who smokes saying it's never too late to quit and become healthy.

"It's as if we've been smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for years, even decades. There is some damage that we can't avoid and much of that is already here today but long term there are a lot more impacts that we can avoid with swift action today."

While Hayhoe said hurricanes are naturally occurring, these storms are causing more damage and will only intensify if no action is taken.

"There's always uncertainty when we look to the future, but the biggest source of uncertainty today are the choices that we make," she said.

Michael Webber, Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, said for decades Texas emits more carbon dioxide than any other state in the U.S. He believes the state has the most to gain from creating change.

"We not only reduce our vulnerabilities, but we have the most money to make because we have a lot of the low carbon solutions the world wants. We have the natural gas, wind, solar, carbon capture technologies, carbon sequestration locations and other capabilities that will help the world reduce it's carbon emissions," he said.

Bob Inglis runs the RepublicEn organization. He said climate conversation is largely conducted by the progressive left. He believes the message of scarcity may lead to the skepticism of the right. 

"When conservatives start hearing as an opportunity language, and a message of abundance, then they can engage in that conversation," he said.

Hayhoe said what we could see in the next century largely depends on the choices we make today. She said the abundance of clean energy resources in Texas can help make the transition. 

"So, the reason why we care is the same reason that we've already seen in the last 10, 30, and 50 years. Because we live at the edge of not having quite enough water. And as we go into the future we know that we need that water in order to continue to thrive."

The United Nations conducts studies to educate others and impact change.

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