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Ecological scholars address global warming in upcoming lectures

Loyola press release - October 15, 2009

Is global warming real? What are the future ecological implications for global warming and what can we do to help? Scientists and internationally recognized ecologists from Stanford University will answer these questions and more in a series of lectures held at Loyola University New Orleans.

Terry L. Root, Ph.D., professor of biology and Woods Institute senior fellow at Stanford University, will present the 2009 Walter Moore Lecture in Ecology, “Biodiversity and Global Warming: Is Triage Needed,” on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 12:30 p.m., in Monroe Hall Room 157.

Later that evening, Stephen Schneider, Ph.D., professor of biology at Stanford University, will present “Global Warming: Is the Science Settled Enough for Policy,” at 7:30 p.m., in Nunemaker Auditorium, located in Loyola’s Monroe Hall.

A wine and cheese reception to welcome Root and Schneider will be held at 4 p.m., on Oct. 22, in the Diboll Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor of the Monroe Library.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, both Root and Schneider will present “Are Global Warming Impacts more Significant for Ecological or Economic Systems” at 11 a.m., in Miller Hall Room 114, as part of the Southeastern Louisiana Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Group. This group comprises of more than 50 faculty and researchers plus their students primarily from Loyola, Tulane University, University of New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana University.

“The most recent report from the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change states that if the average global temperature rises two degrees Celsius, 20 percent of the known species on the planet will face extinction,” said Root. “Currently, the globe has warmed 0.74 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century.”

“The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC states that global warming is ‘unequivocal’ and it is ‘very likely’ that human activities are responsible for most of the warming of recent decades,” said Schneider. “The same report indicates that global warming leading to the year 2100 is likely to be 1.1 - 6.4 degrees Celsius.”

According to these experts, an increasing number of people in the world are demanding higher standards of living, using cheap, readily available technologies, such as burning coal and driving large gas-consuming automobiles, that will likely double or triple the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere by 2100.

“The distribution of these impacts is uneven, with most severe effects being experienced in poorer, warmer places, high mountains, polar regions, or in hurricane alley,” said Schneider. “Local, regional and international actions are already beginning but much more could be done if the political will to substantially reduce the magnitude of these risks was in place. “

For more information, contact Dr. David White, Ph.D., professor of biology at Loyola, at dawhite@loyno.edu or 504-865-2288.

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