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Aspen Environment Forum

Posted Apr 22,2009

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The scientists are scared
Climate change is a real threat; with some scientists saying we've already passed the threshold for how much carbon dioxide (CO2) we can pour into the atmosphere without irreversible damage to human and ecological health. “Maybe that’s the narrative [and how to get people interested in climate and energy issues]: The expert is scared,” Robert Socolow, from Princeton University’s Carbon Mitigation Initiative, said during a panel on "How Much Time Do We Have to Act on Climate Change?" at last month's Aspen Environment Forum.
Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (3)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment, Science
Posted Mar 30,2009

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We are getting closer to the point where we may have to employ emergency engineering solutions to cool the planet, according to panelists at a geoengineering session during last week's Aspen Environment Forum.

Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (4)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment, Science
Posted Mar 30,2009

Chevy Volt

The economic climate is right for redefining the automobile industry, Elizabeth Lowery, vice president for environment, energy, and safety policy at General Motors said last week at the Aspen Environment Forum.

Electric cars are the short-term solution to wean the world off of gas and oil and in return reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are driving climate change, according to a panel at the Forum on the future of transportation.

Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (2)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment, Science
Posted Mar 28,2009

Just six days into the job, Jane Lubchenco, the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tells National Geographic "there is a great urgency in addressing [ocean] acidification by reducing CO2 emissions."

"The decisions that individuals make every day add up to affect our global climate," Lubchenco added. "The changes we are seeing now are influenced by our energy choices and uses over the last couple hundred years."

Oceans serve as a carbon sink, absorbing about a third of human-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The additional CO2 changes the chemical composition and lowers the pH of the seas. Acidic waters can prevent some marine life from producing calcium carbonate needed for shells and exoskeletons.

Lubchenco, a marine biologist and former Oregon State University professor, was at the Aspen Environment Forum in Colorado yesterday to talk about climate change politics and science.

Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment, Science
Posted Mar 27,2009

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On a Rocky Mountain day that saw cloudy skies and several inches of powder, solar energy experts gathered at the Aspen Environment Forum encouraged conference participants to turn sunlight, normally abundant in Colorado, into profit. 

Solar power is expected to be a growth market, in both developed and developing countries.

While captured sunlight will never account for the bulk of energy on a global or regional scale, it could provide up to 25 percent of U.S. energy needs and play an important role in delivering energy to poorer countries, said Neville Williams, founder of several solar companies and the author of Chasing the Sun.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2007, solar energy accounted for less than one percent of total American energy use.

Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (10)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment
Posted Mar 26,2009

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson outlines her priorities and tells National Geographic that the EPA is back, ready to protect human health and the environment, despite the bumpy road ahead.

Lisa_jackson

Jackson told a crowd of more than two hundred Aspen Environment Forum participants last night that EPA's top strategy for tackling climate change is to work with Congress on legislation, instead of focusing on amendments to the Clean Air Act that would allow regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.

Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (1)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment, Science
Posted Mar 25,2009

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The 2009 Aspen Environment Forum—focused on sustainable energy—kicks off today in Colorado.

Wal-Mart executives, green building experts, climate scientists, Economist and Washington Post reporters, and government officials from Mozambique, Panama, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among many others, will mingle among the mountains as they discuss climate change, energy extraction and use, innovation and technology, efficiency, and conservation.

Posted by Tasha Eichenseher | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum, Energy, Environment, Science
Posted Mar 29,2008

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Canadian Inuit activist and Nobel Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier says those at the top of the world acutely feel the effects of global warming. See her interview.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (3)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
Posted Mar 29,2008

Konrad_steffen_450

Climatologist Konrad Steffen talks about the surprising speed of ice loss in Greenland. Steffen, a professor at the University of Colorado, has spent each summer for 27 years measuring changes to the Greenland ice sheet. Watch his interview.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (3)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
Posted Mar 29,2008

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Josh Dorfman, author of The Lazy Environmentalist, explains that fighting climate change doesn't require busy, stressed-out people to change their nature. He provides tips on finding environmentally friendly goods and services. Watch his interview.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (7)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
Posted Mar 28,2008

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Photographer James Balog talks about the Extreme Ice Survey, which employs dozens of cameras shooting photos every hour during daylight to record melting glaciers in the northern hemisphere. See his interview and photos.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
Posted Mar 28,2008

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National Geographic Emerging Explorer Alexandra Cousteau discusses climate change and the oceans, and how individuals can make a difference. See her interview.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (2)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
Posted Mar 27,2008

E.O. Wilson

Naturalist E. O. Wilson warns that climate change will lead to greater loss of habitat and increased species loss if action isn't taken. See the interview.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (5)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
Posted Mar 24,2008

Dozens of researchers, activists, and explorers gather this week at the Aspen Environment Forum to discuss global climate change. The speakers and panelists are talking about current signs, what the future might look like, and what might be done to lessen the impact.

"The effect [of global warming] on biological diversity could be catastrophic, and it would be a form of habitat loss that rivals that caused by deforestation," says naturalist E. O. Wilson. "We're headed for a brick wall ... and we want to hit it at a survivable speed."

Despite his concern, Wilson maintains a sense of optimism shared by others at the conference. You can see our interviews with individual speakers here—and you can watch sessions from the conference at the Aspen Institute's site.

Our site's visitors have also contributed to our coverage. In this video edited by producer John Kondis, you can see photos from the natural world submitted by Your Shot photographers. The represent just a small sample of what's at risk as we see accelerating climate change, and what's worth protecting.

Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (2)
Filed Under: Aspen Environment Forum
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