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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Down to earth about outer space

Regents professor Robert Strom first began studying planetary catastrophes and climate change on Mars, which sparked his interest in the same situations on Earth.

“”And when I collected all the information, it scared the hell out of me,”” Strom said.

“”My generation, we didn’t know that it was happening and now the baby boomers, they know it’s happening but they aren’t doing anything about it. So now, it’s up to you (college students).””

After an initial interest in the subject in the mid-1990s, he began to write a book in 2003 and published it in 2007.

Strom, in his office inside of the Gerard P. Kuiper Space Sciences building, surrounded by atlases of Mars and maps of the moon, talks candidly about our planet.

“”Go to the Republic of Maldives or the Tuvalu Islands and tell them that global warming doesn’t exist,”” he said.

Strom runs a website collective through the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory which collects peer-reviewed science to clear up the “”misinformation, disinformation and just plain lies”” surrounding climate change. He said he hopes the UA can work to educate people on the issues.

He has funneled this passion for education into his planetary sciences 395B class named Special Topics in Planetary Sciences — Global Warming: How Serious Is it? to teach the “”next generation”” the issue’s seriousness.

In a century, the average global temperature will raise another 5 degrees and bring the world closer to a “”Hot House,”” Strom said, a period of consistently warmer temperatures which halt crop production and make conditions closer and closer to unlivable for humans.

Only removing some of the gasses from the atmosphere, combined with lowering emissions can facilitate this change, he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency imposed its first regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions in January. Utilities, refineries and major manufacturers will only be slightly affected with rules editing modifications to existing and newly built plants.

Two international planning meetings on global warming, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Cancun, Mexico, together led to only a handful of non-binding resolutions respectively.

“”If the U.S. doesn’t do anything about it, why should China?”” Strom said. “”Or India? Or the European Union? It starts with us, with the industrialized nations. If we would have addressed this problem 20 years ago, we would have been fine … (but) there’s just too many people in the world consuming too many resources.””

Strom said both the meetings were unsuccessful in doing what they needed to do which was “”doing something now, not ten years from now.””

College students, Strom said, can start with turning off the lights, as “”anything helps,”” but that we need to do more.

“”What you as a college student can do is to march on Congress,”” he said. “”The adults that run the Legislature, they don’t get it, and you need to tell them that it’s your future. It’s your generation that will be paying for our inaction.””

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