Climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann was in Utah Wednesday calling attention to the recently released U.S. National Climate Assessment, that predicts dire consequences for Utah if action isn’t taken soon.
Dr. Mann is most well known and also most criticized for his research that led to the creation of the so-called “hockey stick” graph. It illustrates a sharp increase in global temperatures that occurred after industrialization. He is in Utah to help the environmental organization HEAL Utah. But he also shared this message of warning with the public.
“What the models tell us is we can still prevent the worst impacts from happening," he says. "We can still prevent what might be reasonable described as catastrophic climate change, but there isn’t a whole lot of time. If we continue with business as usual fossil fuel burning we’re committing to a fundamentally different planet. It won’t be the planet that we grew up on.”
But Mann’s message wasn’t all doom and gloom. He says there’s still time to make critical adjustments, and that leaders need to begin to have a serious discussion about what those should be.
“We’re past the point where we can continue to engage in this fake debate, that frankly, we still have in our politics about whether or not the problem exists," he says. "We have to get on to the worthy debate about what to do about it and there is a worthy debate to be had. And there’s room for Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and progressives at the table.”
Salt Lake City’s sustainability program director and water resources manager joined Mann in support of working towards lowering carbon emissions. They highlighted several programs that the city is doing to help achieve that goal.