The U.N. climate change report and CSUMB

By Yollette Merritt
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Dr. Natalie Mahowald, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University, released “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius,”on Oct. 8 . The 728-page report states how the earth’s ecosystems, weather and overall health would benefit if future human-caused warming could be reduced to 0.9 degrees F instead of the previously globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F. Mahowald has made it clear that theory is no longer the framework for assessing the impact of unchecked global warming, “Current trends suggest that if we keep warming at the same rate, that we will pass 1.5C around 2040.”

Sounds of alarm rippled around the world and voices of concern could be heard far and wide including within the sand dunes of the CSUMB community. Although the university has been a leader in addressing environmental and sustainability issues since it founding in 1994, the report upped the need for more proactive initiatives, especially as 2040 was given as the projected date of no return.

The upcoming School of Business Hackathon – as announced in the “Hackathon Times” and posted around campus – has climatic, ecological and environmental issues as a theme. Participants in the Nov. 2-4 event are encouraged to propose creative solutions to the challenges at hand, or to just come, listen and learn from the experience. Although the focus is not restricted to environmental issues – according to Professor Brad Barbeau, the recent U.N. Report is likely to encourage some creative proposals designed to address some of the more pertinent issues.

Protecting the environment is a very important issue at CSUMB, as we are very close to the ocean and a lot of the students and community members feel deeply connected to it.

Another CSUMB indirectly-related climate change event was the Oct. 25 Ocean Candidates Forum. The panelists were Congressman Jimmy Panetta, California State Controller Betty Yee, California State Assemblymember Mark Stone and Independent Party Candidate for U.S House California District 20, Mr. Ronald Kabat. The central California coast has taken a lead in the state and nation in coastal and ocean management and policy, and CSUMB students are at the epicenter of many of those actions.

“This forum and the ongoing conversations about our care of the ocean is important,” stated fourth-year Marine Science major and student ambassador, Kameron Strickland. “Often there is a disconnect between science and policy, and so it is important to have students and faculty connect their research and their ideas with policy makers. Protecting the environment is a very important issue at CSUMB, as we are very close to the ocean and a lot of the students and community members feel deeply connected to it.”

“While much more action needs to be undertaken,” stated Mahowald in recent correspondence, “the good news is there is the beginning of momentum in many of these areas to make these ambitious changes happen and save us from the worst impacts from climate change.”

For more information on the Startup Hackathon, visit Startup Monterey Bay.

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