5th Annual Climate Change Forum

ClimateChangeflyer2016

Photos are here

The LWV-PA Natural Resources Committee and nine co-sponsoring groups presented an informative meeting on Climate Change, Saturday, March 19, at Neighborhood Church in Pasadena. Three speakers gave a lively program and discussion about how climate change is effecting our lives, and what we might do about it. This presentation featured three speakers, John Odell, Josh Fisher, and Jason Low. About 110 people attended and 5 co-sponsors had information tables outside.

Video of John Odell’s presentation, and the slide information is here
Video of Josh Fisher’s presentation, and the slide information is here
Video of Jason Low’s presentation, and the slide information is here

John Odell, USC Professor Emeritus of International Relations, attended the Paris Climate Change Talks and reported on their outcome and meaning. The talks succeeded as the US and 194 other nations agreed to voluntary, non-binding, self-imposed limits on their greenhouse gas emissions for 2020-2030 and the developed nations agreed to subsidize developing nations’ emission control efforts. The Paris emission goals (if achieved) will limit temperature change to about 3.5 deg. C (6.5-deg. F). More ambitious future emission cuts will be required to meet the 2-deg C upper limit goal. Countries will reassess their goals every five years. Thirty-eight countries (and California) have established prices on emission trading.Major investors like CalPERS and the University of California now track the carbon footprint of their investments and advocate improvements by their companies. And major companies like Walmart, ALCOA, GM, Apple and UPS have pledged to cut their emissions.

Josh Fisher, JPL climate change scientist who specializes in climate effects of the Amazon rain forest, discussed the way forest trees affect the carbon cycle and predicted serious risks to the Amazon forest from both climate change (drought) and human removal of trees. He said that his California speeches are like speaking to the choir, but speeches in red states have required a strong effort to understand conservatives and to communicate in ways that they can accept.

Jason Low, Manager, Atmospheric Measurements, South Coast Air Quality Management District described current air quality issues in the LA basin, including the Porter ranch gas leak. He discussed new efforts to add monitoring stations and identified a connection between air quality and climate change.


—George Null

Consensus Meeting – Public Higher Ed

MarchLD

Photos are here

The California Master Plan for Higher Education (1960) laid the groundwork for an education system that defined a commitment to higher education access for students in California who graduated from high school. The Plan described a system to provide broad access to public higher education through three coordinated public higher education segments, each with its own set of responsibilities. Those segments include: California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California. Unfortunately, a change in demographics, education costs, student preparedness, and accessibility to the three education segments has resulted in an outdated and ineffective California Master Plan.

The consensus study for Public Higher Education was initiated by the League of Women Voters California Education Fund (LWVCEF) and distributed to local leagues for discussion and review. The consensus report by the LWV-PA will be forwarded to the State League in April 2016.

After a great panel discussion in February and discussions at the Unit Meetings, the March League Day was dedicated to coming to consensus on the thirty-five questions on Public Higher Education the State Study committee devised for us. After brief introductions to the topics by committee members, discussions of the questions were held at each table and then individual votes were cast. Technology came to our aid in the form of “plicker” cards that allowed us to “vote” and have our answers tabulated immediately.

With two exceptions, we easily reached agreement on the questions, landing on the Strongly Agree or Agree options. The exceptions were questions numbered 3a, “Should the state assume all the costs of higher education,” on which a majority disagreed but not overwhelmingly; and 6b, “Should community colleges offer 4-year programs culminating in bachelor’s degrees,” on which a majority agreed but not by a substantial number.

The committee met on Monday, March 7 to draw up the final consensus report for the state committee. All the results, including the comments, will be reported so they can be added to those of the rest of the local Leagues in the state.

The Committee would like to thank all those who participated in the Consensus.

—Anita Mackey