Climate change and extreme weather

Two catastrophic hurricanes within a week of one another, wildfires in the Western US and 100-degree temperatures in California have many asking about possible connections to climate change. Steven Businger, professor and chair of the SOEST Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Camilo Mora, associate professor of Geography in the UHM College of Social Sciences join Hawaii Public Radio’s The Conversation to talk about how increasing ocean temperatures intensify hurricanes.

Steven Businger shared this list of actions citizens can take now to reduce their carbon footprint.

  1. Become a vegetarian, or better yet a vegan. The share of greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture is variously estimated between 18 and 51% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  2. Eat organic when you can. Organic food is good for us because we’re not putting pesticides in our bodies, but organic food is also grown without synthetic fertilizers, most of which begin as byproducts of oil refining.
  3. Buy local when you can.Products and food sourced and made locally minimize transportation costs reducing GHG emissions.
  4. Live in the climate.The biggest residential demand on our dirty energy system is climate control. We don’t need to have the temperature at 70˚F all the time. Use climate control only for the extremes.
  5. Line dry your clothes. Line drying is easier on clothes, so they last longer, and it reduces on of the largest contributors to our electric bill and GHG impact.
  6. Vote with your feet.Transportation departments keep meticulous track of road usage and transit trips. Walk, ride a bike, or use rapid transit, and infrastructure will respond to support your lower GHG choice.
  7. Reduce and reuse before recycle. Reducing and reusing are the cleanest option, then recycling.
  8. Offset your carbon emissions. The United Nations has made offsetting easy, cheap, and reliable, and you decide where the money goes—mine went to solar water heaters in India, inhibiting the spread of conventional water heaters there. There are also many efforts in State, such as reforestation locally. Calculate and offset your emissions at climateneutralnow.org.

Listen to the full interview on Hawaii Public Radio.