Climate conversation slated for Middlebury College on Wednesday
MIDDLEBURY — With about 10 days before what’s expected to be the largest climate march in human history, a panel of local experts on global warming will provide Vermonters with an update on the status of climate change this Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Church in Middlebury. Admission is free.
“Middlebury College students were asking for a round-up of the latest climate news and politics,” said Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College. “We decided we wanted to try and involve the whole community since so many local questions, like the gas pipeline, involve the evolving science of climate.”
McKibben will be joined by Middlebury College professors Jon Isham and Rich Wolfson, who will be discussing recent information on the economics and the science of climate, and by two college students, Marjeela Basij-Rasikh and Fernando Sandoval Jimenez, who will bring updates from their home countries of Afghanistan and Mexico. Maeve McBride of 350VT will also be on hand, to help with logistics for residents hoping to attend the New York City climate demonstration on Sept. 21.
That rally — expected to draw 100,000 people, by far the largest crowd in the history of the global climate movement — comes days before world leaders arrive at the United Nations to discuss global warming.
“More than 750 different groups have endorsed the march,” McKibben said. “It’s far more diverse than environmental efforts in the past, which is a good thing since the science of climate is growing steadily darker.”
Recent developments include news that the West Antarctic ice sheet may have entered a phase of “irrevocable” melt, and the epic drought in the Western United States, which, last week, was declared to be the deepest since at least 1950.
But there’s good news too, McKibben said. In Germany, for instance, there were days this summer when 75 percent of the nation’s energy came from solar panels, and days last winter when an equal percentage was generated by wind turbines.
In this country, says Isham, interest continues to grow in carbon taxes — particularly in a fee-and-dividend scheme that would send a check to each American, divvying up the carbon taxes paid by major fossil fuel companies. The leading proponent of such a plan, Californian Peter Barnes, will visit Middlebury College in October for a major lecture on the idea, Isham said.
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