Archive for August 24, 2015

Mark Dixon Breaks Down the Climate Challenge Numbers for COP21


Mark Dixon is an award-winning filmmaker, activist, and public speaker exploring the frontiers of social change on a finite planet.

Mark represented Mayor Bill Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh at an official COP21 precursor event: the World Summit Climate & Territories [in Lyon, France on July 1 & 2].

Recently Mark gave a presentation to the Mayor and the Sustainability Team with some galvanizing statistics, summarized in this graphic*:

In December 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will convene representatives of its 195 members at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris.

The goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference is to “achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, the the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.”

However, as Mark discovered, climate scientist James Hansen warns that global warming over 1°C may trigger feedback loops that could raise planetary temperatures to 3 to 4°C above pre-Industrial temperatures, a severe departure from Holocene climate that would result in major disruption. We are currently experiencing an elevated global temperature of 0.85°C, with corresponding unprecedented storms, wildfires and oceanic acidification.

UNFCCC Parties are submitting Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) ahead of COP21 to indicate what degree of carbon mitigation they will commit to, but these cumulative INDCs come in at the low end of the Business As Usual scenario which could take the planet to over 3°C of global warming.

Thus, Mark concludes:”We need to stop emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as soon as humanly possible and then update our global agricultural and forestry practices to remove CO2 from the atmosphere ASAP.”** 

Read a more thorough explanation from Mark here at his blog:

* Mark’s caveat: the information is approximate and under constant review and revision as helpful scientists and experts emerge to correct assessments.

**Mark is also compiling a spreadsheet of carbon sequestration options, and notes that this field is currently receiving a great deal of attention which can lead to exciting new developments.

Register Now for Duquesne University’s Presidential Conference on Climate Change

Integrity of Creation Web Banner FINAL 2015

Wednesday September 20 – Friday October 2, 2015

Presidential Conference on the Integrity of Creation: Climate Change
This interdisciplinary, academic conference will occur each year to provide a scholarly forum for exploring a topic related to the general theme of the Integrity of Creation. The topic of this year’s inaugural conference is climate change.

About the Conference

The conference, commissioned by Duquesne President Dr. Charles J. Dougherty, is an endowed academic event that celebrates the Spiritan mission of Duquesne University. The conference is interdisciplinary in the sense that presenters and participants from different disciplines are invited to engage each other in civil discourse on the conference topic.
The interdisciplinary committee of University faculty that plans the conference has chosen climate change as the inaugural topic. Climate change will be discussed as a substantive and worrying change of patterns in the weather and related phenomena over recent decades which negatively impact the entire planet. This academic conference explores the implications of climate change from a variety of scholarly perspectives to consider ways to improve our planet’s future – safeguarding the Integrity of Creation around us.
The conference has three goals:

  1. To provide a scholarly opportunity to engage established and emerging research on the conference topic
  2. To foster interdisciplinary discourse on each topic, such as among science, health, philosophy, religion and policy
  3. To enlighten public awareness and discussion of the conference topic.

Attendance is free, but registration is required:—climate-change/register

!! Business leaders/managers: Dr. Robert Sroufe is sponsoring a table each day of the conference so you can participate and join the discussion. Please register (it is free)