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Climate Change Summit
Al Gore:
an inconvenient truth
4th Assessment Report
2007 Nobel Peace Prize
4th Assessment Report
Summary for Policy Makers
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is
now evident from observations of increases in global
average air and ocean temperatures, widespread
melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea
“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged
temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely
due to the observed increase in anthropogenic
greenhouse gas concentrations.”
What about skepticism and uncertainty?
Scientific skepticism is alive and well, as scientists continue
to analyze data, refine theories, and improve models
While several of the pieces are not yet in place, we have
confidence that we know what the overall picture is
Local Warming: Georgia
 Sea level rise
 Heat waves
 Droughts & floods
 Hurricanes
 Air quality
 Infectious diseases
 Agriculture
 Forests
 Fisheries/wildlife
IMPACTS: economy, ecosystems,
public health & safety, quality of life
Impacts of drought
Mandatory water use restrictions; running out of water
Lack of reliable water supply will hurt industry, economic
development, property development
Impacts energy generation
(hydropower, power plant cooling)
Stress on forests; wildfires
Stress on agriculture, livestock
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Stress on landscape, tourism,
recreation industries
Stress on river ecosystems
2007 drought has cost
N. Georgia over $1.3B
Human interference
•Adaptation is alteration
of activities to minimise
consequences of climate
Initial Impacts
Net Impacts
Policy responses
•Mitigation is reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions
to prevent dangerous
climate change
IPCC, 2001
Adapting to an Uncertain World:
Georgia’s Water Resource Planning
• Protect public health and environmental quality
• Meet future water need while protecting aquifers, instream uses, downstream users
• Increase water conservation, efficiency, reuse
• Maximize water returns to the basin of origin
• Meet increases for demand through water storage,
aquifer management, and reducing demands
• Protect water quality by reducing pollutants from
discharges and runoff from land
Challenges to regional climate change
assessment, mitigation and adaptation
 Some uncertainty in climate change projections
 Lack of understanding of how to apply this knowledge to
support decision making and risk analyses
 Impacts of regional climate change and local vulnerabilities
have been inadequately studied
 Local/regional mitigation/adaptation strategies are further
complicated by political, cultural, and economic issues
Political will is needed to develop policy
and technology options that are
practically feasible and cost effective
The Challenge: Sustainable Management of an Ever-Changing Planet
Brook Byers Institute
for Sustainable Systems
@ Georgia Tech
Integrating research, education, green campus, and
partnerships and innovative policies
Major themes:
 Sustainable energy systems
 Climate and environmental stewardship
 Sustainable enterprise
 Sustainable urban systems