Dr. William Moomaw shares climate change research with a packed audience of nearly 200.
Climate change is irreversible. That's the bad news delivered by international climate change expert and Nobel peace prize recipient Dr. William Moomaw to a group of 200 elected officials and local leaders. The good news is that acting now will make a huge difference and collaborative efforts on the part of individuals, private industry and all levels of government can drastically reduce the rate of climate change.
Members of the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation and the Metro Policy Advisory Committee gathered at the Oregon Convention Center on Friday, April 2, to kick off a renewed regional effort to address the issue of climate change, and specifically greenhouse gas emissions. Following directly on the release of a regional greenhouse gas inventory commissioned by Metro, the region is embarking on a state-mandated project to develop land use and transportation models that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
To get a reality check on climate change as well as some practical ideas on what can be done to make a difference, Metro invited international climate change expert Moomaw to address what was intended primarily as a workshop for the 40 members of the two Metro advisory committees. By the start of the retreat, however, the attendee list had grown to nearly 200 as other local leaders and residents expressed interest in the issue of climate change.
Acknowledging the seemingly gloomy outlook on the future climate of our planet, Dr. Moomaw also expressed confidence in human ability to come up with creative solutions. Looking at the astounding differences in technology and lifestyle from 1905 to 1955 to 2005, Moomaw suggested that there is no reason we can't create a very different future for 2055 if we look differently at what that future could be. "We need to integrate the issue of climate change into everything that we do, not address it as a separate problem." (L-R) Neil McFarland, TriMet capital projects; Dean Lookingbill, Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council; Bob Austin, Clackamas County Commission; and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty discuss climate change.
As an example of the ability of local entities to create change, Moomaw pointed to the 1975 action of the U.S. Congress banning chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use in spray cans which led to a 1985 international treaty adoption to protect the ozone. All of this started because of action taken by two states - Oregon and Vermont - in 1974 to ban CFCs. Today, the country has achieved a 95 percent reduction in CFCs. Moomaw stressed that similar outcomes are possible through the collective actions of individuals and local governments.
With a nod to the region's international reputation for transportation planning and the "trailblazing nature" of the region, Moomaw predicted that "if you can create success here and demonstrate what is possible, it does not end with the boundaries of this region."
A video of Dr. Moomaw's presentation will be available on the Metro website next week. Visit www.oregonmetro.gov/climatechange.