Arts & Culture

Dr. James Porter

It’s 2012. And while some people prepare for the kind of apocalyptic disaster depicted in that John Cusack blockbuster, other Athens residents are taking action against a real catastrophe: global climate change.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Georgia Initiative for Climate and Society will host a talk by Dr. James W. Porter, “The Effects of Climate Change on Georgia: Past Trends and Future Scenarios.” Renowned on campus for his energetic and engaging lectures, Dr. Porter, the Meigs Professor of Ecology, has done extensive research on coral reefs and has presented his findings on major news networks and before Congress.

The lecture will focus on the effects of greenhouse gasses on climate change. “While the certainty of global warming (and its cause by burning fossil fuels) is no longer debated in scientific circles,†Porter explains, “the rapidity and extent of climate change is.â€

The lecture will use examples from Georgia to “advance the thesis that because of the catastrophic nature of coming changes, we must begin now to discuss highly likely climate change scenarios for which standard statistical confidence limits cannot be computed.†Porter will also discuss the political implications of climate change and the need for policy makers to “take seriously the consequences of inaction.â€

Several groups of community members, as well as university students and faculty, have been taking the effects of climate change very seriously. In addition to the Georgia Climate and Society Initiative, the Georgia Climate Change Coalition and UGA Beyond Coal have been active in the movement against climate change (see the Jan. 11 Flagpole article, “Coalitions Against Coalâ€).

If the past few months are any indication, this event will be an exciting launch to what is sure to be a robust year for community and campus organizations against climate change.

“James Porter is on fire,†says Rich Rusk, organizer for the Georgia Climate Change Coalition. “He blends science with real passion, which is rare… The whole nation needs to hear him speak.â€