Climate Change and Wal-Mart

Dr. Steven Hamburg of Brown University joins Craig to discuss climate change. As a climate change researcher he can talk in real, understandable language about what the research says and what it means on the ground.

As an ecologist, he has studied forests and how they store carbon and he can apply that experience in a way that engages everyday people.

He has been a section author on reports of the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the main body of scientists researching and reporting on climate change – he’s got the scientific experience to backup what he says but his interest is in making the topic real for people.

Steven was asked to advise Wal-Mart on how to conserve energy and fight global warming. When they told him everything they were doing to conserve energy in their stores, he said: “but what about your customers?” What Wal-Mart does is a drop in the bucket, but what Wal-Mart’s customers do could have a huge impact.

He’s is now working with several other companies to manage their energy consumption and has worked with environmental groups and policymakers to bring attention to climate change and shape a responsible course of action.

He and Craig will discuss how it is possible for most individuals and corporations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a net savings, how there is lot of existing technology on the shelf that can be used to help reduce energy use and C emissions, why and how existing technology can make a large difference in energy use, why we will need new technology to meet aggressive GHG targets in the future and why it will take many approaches to shift away from a C-based economy.

Steve is the Ittleson Associate Professor at Brown University’s Center for Environmental Studies and the Director of the Global Environment Program of the Watson Institute for International Studies. With a PhD in Forest Ecology from Yale University, his research is directed towards understanding the role of human disturbance on the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems. He has served as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and as a consultant to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. He has worked as a consultant to Wal-Mart helping them thinking through how they can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the corporation and their customers. He was awarded the US EPAs Environmental Merit Award for his work on translating climate change for the general public. He has published more than 50 scientific articles including in Nature and Science where his work has focused in part on the long-term impacts of climate change.

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