TUCSON, Ariz. - We have just 12 years to slow global warming and head off catastrophic climate change. That's the conclusion of an international study released this week.
A University of Arizona professor is one of the authors of that study. She says there's hope we can avert climate disaster and Arizona's knowledge can help.
Longer, dryer, droughts, more frequent floods and more powerful hurricanes could all be inevitable if global warming continues.
A United Nations report says without drastic change, in twelve years, world temperatures will be high enough to kill natural ecosystems like coral reefs and cause a human toll in disease, flooded lands and economic damage.
UA Professor Diana Liverman was one of the authors of that study. She says we can prevent that bleak future but we have to act quickly, and dramatically.
“It would be reducing the use of fossil fuels in favor of renewables, which could include nuclear. It includes making sure that we protect the forests. And we also need to do some technology innovation, such as some of the work that we're trying to University of Arizona to come up with alternative fuels or ways of taking carbon dioxide out of the air.”
She says Arizona can be a leader in finding good solutions because we've already worked to adapt to a hot environment.
“We've got enormous solar potential. We already have quite a lot of our electricity generated by non carbon dioxide sources, nuclear and solar. And we also have universities that are at the forefront of innovative solutions to things like climate change. So we're developing airline fuels made from algae were coming up with water re-use technologies that will allow us to save water."
Doctor Liverman thinks skepticism about global warming is declining because people see the evidence around them but she feels there's still skepticism about what the best solutions will be.