Local Scientist Defends Climate Change

Published 10/08 2013 06:11PM

Updated 10/08 2013 06:36PM

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, director of TTU's Climate Science Center, says you can see the proof of climate change right here in Lubbock.

"Trees are flowering earlier in the year than they used to, here in Lubbock and across the entire northern hemisphere," according to Hayhoe. "Lubbock's climate for plants feel just like Austin's did 20 years ago. That's how fast things are changing and we can see them all around us."

Her research supports that humans are the primary cause of rising global temperatures. A recent report from the United Nations agrees. A week ago, a the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change released their most recent study saying they are as certain as ever that humans are responsible for at least half of the increase in global average surface temperature since the 1950s.

"It's remarkable to find a group of scientists so much in agreement on such an important issue," Hayhoe says. "Usually if you had a roomfull of scientists you couldn't even get them to agree the sky was blue, let alone that humans are causing climate change."

But, another recent study says that more than half of Texans don't believe global warming is a man-made problem.

"The issue for us is that climate change has become not a scientific issue, but a political issue," Hayhoe says "The problem is, these thermometers that are measuring climate change, they're not Democrat or Republican, they're not red or blue. It's just facts."

Despite the occasional opposition from political conservatives, Hayhoe says trying to offset climate change can actually have economic benefits.

"You can look at small towns that had no jobs, and no future. Wind farm moves in, it provides a whole bunch of new jobs and an inflow of economic revenue to the community," Hayhoe says. "So, for us in West Texas, our natural resources, including wind and solar energy, are a huge benefit to local economies."

Hayhoe also says that climate change causes unpredictable and irregular rainfall, which can detrimentally impact farmers in the area.

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