The bigger picture
Chico State prof makes waves on a global scale
As a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Jeff Price recently made Chico State history.
Sharing the award with former Vice President Al Gore and about 2,000 other scientists, professors and writers, Price received the prestigious commendation for his involvement with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Those involved with the panel invested years’ worth of research prior to the recent release of a report discussing and analyzing global warming and the potentially devastating effects of increased climate change. Price is one of the lead authors of the report, which has been praised nearly unanimously. Some still remain unconvinced, though, Price said.
“People accuse us of being doomsdayers,” he said. “They aren’t aware that the IPCC is a consensus process.”
Passing through thousands of sets of hands and several stages of governmental review, the IPCC report is not made up of the viewpoints of a few opinionated scientists, but rather is the consensus of many different opinions formed by the majority of those involved.
Specifically contributing to a chapter regarding the effect climate change has had and will continue to have on ecosystems and various species, Price, an assistant professor at Chico State, became the only professor in the California State University system to receive the Nobel Prize for involvement with the IPCC report.
For specific examples of future potential effects of climate change, Price offers some scenarios on the local level. In this part of Califor-nia, a minimum change of 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit will occur within the next 100 years if we continue at our current rate, he said. There is also the potential for an 18-degree maximum change.
“In 100 years, Chico could be faced with summer temperatures that regularly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit,” Price said.
A scenario such as this obviously does not bode well for Chico, or for the rest of North America, for that matter. Yet it pales in comparison to the devastation that would be caused in warmer, less-prepared areas such as the majority of Africa if similar changes were to occur there, Price said.
Price remains hopeful, however, that the climate-change process can still be dealt with. And though he believes the real progress will need to be made with massive governmental changes and policy overhauls, he says there are some really simple things we can all do to help keep from adding fuel to the fire.
“The one thing everyone hears about but not many people do, is use compact fluorescents,” Price said. “They may take a little longer to warm up than a typical bulb, but after a few seconds, they’re just as bright as other bulbs and they save a ton of energy.”
Price also says large amounts of energy are wasted due to idle electronic devices that sit plugged in all day. To remedy this, he recommends using a power strip with an on/off switch. This way, you can simply flip the strip off when you leave your house or when you know you won’t be using your devices for a while.
Following his success with the IPCC and its report, Price aims to continue relaying his message at Chico State by creating a graduate-level program dedicated to climate-control issues, including classes such as “Impacts and Vulnerability” and “Climate Change and Adaptation.”
It’s not too late to try to prevent some of the harsh effects of climate change, but we’re not really in a position to be wasting any time, Price said.
“Every year we delay, the harder it will be,” he said. “The next few years will tell the tale of whether we’re up the creek or whether we can still do something.”