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December 7, 2102.
On NPR’s Morning Edition today, former Dartmouth college president and now World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim announced the recent of the publication of a new study on climate change, entitled, Turn Down the Heat: Why a Four Degree C Warmer World Must be Avoided. Executive summary & Full report
Replying to Renee Montagne, who notes that the report states its intent to shock the world into action, President Kim replied, “Well, one of the things that we stress is that there is overwhelming convergence around the science of man-made climate change. This wasn’t always true, but now some 97 percent of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is a reality.
I’m a scientist. I’m trained in medicine. They are very few things in all of science around which 97 percent of scientists agree. And then if you take that reality and project out to what a four degree Celsius or over seven degree Fahrenheit world would look like, the images that we now are hearing about, the way the world is going to look, is very frightening. One estimate suggests that if we don’t meet our emission targets, a 7.2 degree Fahrenheit world could happen as early as 2060. That means that when my three-year-old is my age, he’ll be living in this world where the coral reefs would have all been gone. The extreme heat wave that we saw in Russia in 2010 that killed 55,000 people would happen every summer.”
The report, conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics in Berlin for the World Bank, concludes:
A 4°C world will pose unprecedented challenges to humanity. It is clear that large regional as well as global scale damages and risks are very likely to occur well before this level of warming is reached. This report has attempted to identify the scope of these challenges driven by responses of the Earth system and various human and natural systems. Although no quantification of the full scale of human damage is yet possible, the picture that emerges challenges an often-implicit assumption that climate change will not significantly undermine economic growth. It seems clear that climate change in a 4°C world could seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions. This is supported by past observations of the negative effects of climate change on economic growth in developing countries. While developed countries have been and are projected to be adversely affected by impacts resultingfrom climate change, adaptive capacities in developing regions are weaker. The burden of climate change in the future will very likely be borne differentially by those in regions already highly vulnerable to climate change and variability. Given that it remains uncertain whether adaptation and further progress toward development goals will be possible at this level of climate change, the projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.
It is here, and has been here for a long time: wood.
The Northern Forest Center’s pilot project called “the Model Neighborhood” is inspiring of example of how wood is beneficial. The purpose of the project is to “move away from dependence on imported oil toward a local energy source that will create jobs and strengthen the forest economy [in the Northern Forest Region].”
The project is normalizing wood-pellet heating systems and illustrating some of the benefits of wood heating such as: lower-costs, reduced output of greenhouse gases, job creation, and the sustainable use of forests.
Check out the model project here.
Heating with wood is far more sustainable than oil, and is cheaper. Stacking wood and wood heat has long been apart of the cultural fabric in Vermont.
We have a few books in the Environmental Collection specifically related to heating with wood:
Renewable energy from forest resources in the United States
How Globalization is Changing the US Forest Sector
Forested Landscapes in Perspective: Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America’s Nonfederal Forests
What do you think, should VLS heat with wood? Does it fit our culture? Could it complement the curriculum?