By Matthew Miller-Search
The United Nations Glasglow Climate Change Summit held in October and November in the United Kingdom captured the attention of the world, including the Findlay community.
Associate Professor of Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Management at the University of Findlay says Kim Lichtveld, Ph.D. says climate change is an issue that is front and center for a very good reason.
“I think that it is still something that we need to be worried about as a human race because we are still producing things that are diminishing our protective ozone layer,” Lichtveld said.
COP climate summit is the Conference of the Parties. It is the main decision making body of the United Nations on climate change. The first meeting was held in 1995 in Germany and the most recent meeting COP26 was held in Scotland this month. This annual event brings governments together to discuss and review how climate is being managed domestically and internationally. Their goal is to result in agreements between nations on the reduction of greenhouse gases and global temperatures.
The goals of this year’s summit include asking countries to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century among many other goals.
While Lichtveld thinks the United States is definitely a leader in combating climate change, she does believe there is more to be done.
“I think there needs to be a little more push on technology and infrastructure to create better mitigating processes,” Lichtveld said. “Maybe like better catalytic converters or filters that go on our smokestacks and stuff like that.”
Nuclear energy is one alternative to a cleaner energy source but there is always the concern over the nuclear waste it creates and how to deal with it safely.
“Nuclear energy has its ups and downs. Nuclear energy has no real output except for water. But the danger behind that is you have this radioactive waste,” said Lichtveld. “Even though it is less waste than you would have with coal burning, power plants, or even gas burning power plants. You have this radioactive waste and how do you place that safely so that doesn’t hurt you in the long term.”
Tantorrian Campbell is Environment Health Safety and Sustainability major at the University of Findlay.
“I believe that combating climate is important because climate change effects ours living environment and our eco system in a negative way,” Campbell said. “Climate change could be the end of our future and I think it’s important to fix it for our future generations.”
While tackling climate change is a “big ask” Lichtveld says UF students can play their part.
“I think college students should think about how they can work together and support programs whether that is at the political level to make these changes,” Lichtveld said. “Especially in our program in ESOH I think we can be that driving force for companies to make those changes and increase and better the technologies that they have in place to reduce the emissions.”