More than 6,000 participants attended “Heating Up: The Energy Debate,” Gustavus Adolphus College’s Nobel Conference on climate change, Oct. 2-3, in St. Peter, Minn.
Speakers at the Gustavus event argued for individual and collective action to address the “carbon footprint”—energy consumption’s impact on the global climate. The consensus seemed to be that if humans don’t deal with climate change now, they’ll deal with it later.
Hope amid change
“Signs of climate change are evident,” said Steven Chu, 1997 Nobel laureate in physics. “But alternatives in energy sources give us options.” Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is a professor of physics and cellular and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley .
Chu is optimistic: “We don’t need 100 percent certainty. Most scientists are 95 percent certain CO2 (carbon dioxide) is impacting climate change, and we already know sea levels are rising, water shortages are increasing and other factors indicate the direction we’re going. If there were even a 50 percent chance your house would burn down in five years if you didn’t take some reasonable action, wouldn’t you take the action?”
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