Tag Archive for Gary Yohe

Yohe Speaks at the ‘Rap Guide to Climate Chaos’

Gary Yohe answered audience questions about climate change during the off-Broadway production, "Rap Guide to Climate Change" on May 29.

Gary Yohe answered audience questions about climate change during the off-Broadway production, “Rap Guide to Climate Change” on May 29.

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, made his off-Broadway debut in the TED-talk segment of “Rap Guide to Climate Change,” written and performed by Baba Brinkman and directed by Darren Lee Cole, at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City on May 29. In this one-man show, running from February through July, Brinkman breaks down the politics, economics, and science of global warming, following its surprising twists from the carbon cycle to the global energy economy.

Yohe was invited to be the climate expert for the TED-talk segment in the middle of the show. He spent 25 minutes on stage with Brinkman taking questions from the audience, which provided material for the closing raps.

Gary Yohe Discusses Impact of Climate Change on Economy

Gary-YoheGary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, appeared on the RT show “Boom Bust” to discuss the impact of climate change on business and the economy. (Yohe’s interview begins at 3:45). He was asked what sectors of the economy are being affected the most by the forces of climate change.

“Agriculture comes to mind. It’s not just hurricanes and extreme precipitation events—although that seems to be happening along the East Coast. Any [real estate or] infrastructure that’s located near the coast line or near a river, for that matter, is in increasing vulnerability. But it’s more than that. It’s […] agriculture, suffering huge losses from drought. Farmers and cattle ranchers in Texas trying to figure out what to do with cows during their drought… People in California who are trying to figure out where the water is going to come from for very water-intensive crops that have sustained that part of the economy for a very, very long period of time. Industries typically have located, historically at least, along waterways and near coastlines because it makes transportation easier and it’s easier to get their products out, but those companies are realizing that over the short term, they have to protect their plants and their businesses. Over the long term, they have to move away from the water. That will be costly, but given enough time, it won’t be as costly as you might think.”

Yohe was also asked which areas of the U.S. are most susceptible to the effects of climate change.

“The whole Southeast coast. Go along the Gulf of Mexico down to Houston, Tx. Those places are increasingly vulnerable. For sure, Florida: it’s very low lying and it’s right in the way of many hurricanes and many very severe storms.” But even in places like Boston, Yohe said, sea level rise has meant that storm surges in two- or three-year storms look more like those once seen in 25-year storms.



Yohe Writes: Climate Change Pact Good for Economy

Gary-YoheThe historic global deal on climate change reached by 190 countries in Paris will help the economy, not hurt it as critics argue, writes Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Gary Yohe in an op-ed in The Hartford Courant.

“The evidence in the peer-reviewed economic literature, as well as real experience around the world and in the United States, shows that climate action not only protects public health by reducing pollution, but also protects the economy from extreme weather shocks and other complications that have and will arise from a changing climate. The sooner we act, the more money we save,” he writes. Moreover, “Doing nothing, as those pushing inaction propose, means having to react more quickly at far greater cost in the future.”

So how to achieve the necessary reduction in carbon emissions? “Economists widely agree that reducing carbon emissions is most efficiently accomplished by placing a price on them. The price should start small, but rise over time to send a steady signal to businesses. It the price of carbon is clear, businesses can plan and make smart decisions to usher in the clean energy economy required to avoid climate calamity,” writes Yohe. “Economists know that exhaustible resources become more valuable over time. In this case, the resource is the atmosphere, and its ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The more we emit, the less the atmosphere can take before triggering changes that are devastating and irreversible.”

Yohe also spoke to WNPR about the climate deal.


Yohe Discusses Drought and Climate Change on WNPR

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, was a guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live” to discuss drought and climate change, particularly in light of the climate talks going on in Paris.

“Droughts have occurred on every continent. They have occurred certainly in North America—Texas has suffered a severe drought, California has suffered a severe drought,” said Yohe. “I’m not sure New England has suffered a severe drought but we are certainly below average in terms of rainfall. One of the things that people in Paris are worried about though, is that not only are drought conditions a source of concern, but the opposite of drought—extreme precipitation—especially when it follows a drought, when the ground is very, very hard and cannot absorb the water, and it creates enormous amounts of flooding.”

Yohe pointed to drought as among the most serious problems resulting from climate change, along with sea level rise and extreme precipitation. Drought can cause “really damaging secondary events” such as wildfires, and has significant economic ramifications for people who, for example, depend on agriculture and winemaking to earn a living.

Yohe Reappointed to NYC Climate Change Panel

Gary Yohe has been reappointed to the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

Gary Yohe has been reappointed to the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, was reappointed by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to the third New York City Panel on Climate Change on June 30.

Yohe and 18 other experts are tasked with ensuring that the best available climate science continues to inform the city’s resiliency planning. The panel will build on reports by previous panels, and will “look at climate risks through the lens of inequality at a neighborhood scale, as well as focus on ways to enhance coordination of mitigation and resiliency across the entire New York metropolitan region,” according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office.

The panel is an independent body that advises the city on climate risks and resiliency using the best available data. The panel’s report, to be released in 2016, will look at topics including regional climate projections focused on extreme events; community-based assessment of adaptation and equity; critical infrastructure systems, with a focus on interdependent transportation and energy systems in the greater New York City region; expanded climate resiliency indicators and monitoring system; and enhanced mapping protocols. The panel’s second report, released in Feb. 2015, can be read here.

Yohe also is professor of economics, professor of environmental studies.

Yohe: Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change ‘Quite Likely a Game-Changer’

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, wrote in The Hartford Courant about Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change–“a very valuable and much needed injection of morality into the scientific and economic discussions on climate change — it is quite likely a game-changer.”

While scientists, economists and other professionals have long made a case for taking action to reduce emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change, Yohe writes, “The pope’s encyclical adds a moral dimension to this case with nearly 200 pages of inspiring text about man’s pollution and the immorality of emissions. He notes that the Bible tells humans, as early as the first chapter of Genesis, that they have a stewardship obligation to the planet. The Bible also commands us to protect the least among us — the poorest who lack the means to provide for themselves. These are the people, the world over, who will be most heavily impacted by climate change — the poor, the very young, the elderly and infirm — especially if they live near a coastline. Working from there, as the leader of a billion Catholics, the pope provides theological justification that we are behaving immorally by continuing to avoid reducing emissions.”

Yohe concludes:

I must admit, at this point, that declaring something a sin is way above my pay grade. What I can say from my scientific and faith perspective is this: Putting human beings, their societies and communities, and aspects of nature unnecessarily at risk by ignoring science on the basis of ideology, business interest, or ill-informed and unyielding denial is morally irresponsible — especially for elected officials.

I believe that the pope’s encyclical confirms this perspective not only for more than 1 billion Catholics around the world and across this country, but also for the billions of others from multiple faiths who take seriously their stewardship obligations to the planet and its inhabitants.

Yohe is also professor and chair of economics, professor of environmental studies.

Yohe Seeks Input from Wesleyan Community on Third National Climate Assessment

Gary Yohe

“Climate Change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” This is the message in the draft version of the Third National Climate Assessment, which was released on Jan. 11.

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, is vice chair of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC), a 60-member committee that includes representatives from academia, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, business and industry, and others, and the committee that issued this draft.

Since this is a “review draft,” Yohe encouraged the Wesleyan community and their friends (along with their enemies) to read the draft report, or any sections of the 1,000 page long document that are of interest. The draft is available online, and anyone can submit review comments at review.globalchange.gov by April 12.

Yohe said the committee is seeking comments from individuals, non-governmental organizations, and those working in government at all levels. He said author teams would respond publically, if not personally, to every comment received. The final draft of the National Climate Assessment is due to be released in 2014; the revision process will occupy most of the summer and fall of next year.

“It is a complicated process,” Yohe said. The draft report is written by 240 different authors, and was based on the best available climate science as of the end of the summer of 2012, gathered from experts around the country in the public and private sectors, from stakeholders in all sectors of the economy, and from federal agencies.

The draft concludes “that the evidence for a changing climate has strengthened considerably since the last National Climate Assessment report, written in 2009.”

According to the draft report, the average temperature in the U.S. has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with more than 80 percent of this warming occurring since 1980. Moreover, this past decade was the hottest on record in the U.S., and 2012 was the warmest year on record by about one degree Fahrenheit. This warming trend is expected to continue, with average temperatures projected to rise between 2 and 4 degrees Fahrenheit in most areas over the next few decades.

An introductory Letter to the American People, signed by Yohe as a co-chair and his colleagues on the committee, states that, “Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rains come in heavier downpours, though in many regions there are longer dry spells in between.” These climatic changes have resulted in more frequent flooding in coastal cities and inland cities near large rivers; more wildfires that last longer, threaten more homes, and burn more acreage; and erosion of sea ice in Alaska, threatening to make relocation a necessity for some communities.

“The draft shows how observed climatic changes are already having wide-ranging impacts in every region of our country and most sectors of our economy. Some of these changes can be beneficial over the near term, but most have already proven to be detrimental,” Yohe remarked.


Yohe, Melillo ’65 to Create National Climate Assessment

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, and a faculty fellow in the College of the Environment, and was named a vice chair of the National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Jerry Melillo ’65 was named chair of the committee. Melillo is a distinguished scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass

As a vice chair, Yohe will lead the advisory committee that will produce the next National Climate Assessment.

The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires a National Climate Assessment at least every four years. The committee will function as an advisory body to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), acting through the Department of Commerce’s NOAA.

The committee will produce a report that builds on previous findings and analyzes the regional and national effects of current and projected climate change upon a range of sectors, including agriculture, energy, water resources, human health and transportation. Opportunities for public review and comment throughout the development of the assessment will be available, including a public comment period on the draft report.

The committee also will suggest ways to improve and standardize the nation’s capacity to assess climate change impacts, including through ongoing engagement around the nation and across diverse economic sectors such as agriculture, energy and transportation.

For more information go to http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110511_climateassessment.html.

Tenure and Faculty Promotions Announced

Wesleyan is pleased to announce that during its most recent review, the Board awarded tenure to four faculty effective July 1, 2011.

Ulrich Plass

Ulrich Plass, associate professor of German studies, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2004 as assistant professor. Plass is a specialist in German literature, literary criticism, and critical theory, with a particular focus on the works of the German philosopher Theodor Adorno. He conducted his undergraduate studies at the University of Hamburg, Germany; his M.A. is from the University of Michigan,

Huffington Family, Foundation Give $5M to COE, Financial Aid

Terry Huffington P'11, P'14, her family, and the Huffington Foundation have given Wesleyan $5 million to support a College of the Environment endowed chair and endowed scholarships.

Wesleyan has received gifts totaling $5 million from Terry Huffington, her family and the Huffington Foundation to fund an endowed faculty chair in the College of the Environment and endowed scholarships.

The Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment, created with a $3 million gift from the Foundation, will benefit the nascent College, devoted to the development of environmental knowledge and the exploration of innovative approaches to environmental problems.

A separate $2 million gift establishes endowed scholarships that will support Wesleyan’s need-blind financial aid program.

“Through these very generous gifts, Terry Huffington, her family and the Huffington Foundation have contributed to our highest priorities—curricular innovation and access to a Wesleyan education,” says Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “Their support helps Wesleyan maintain its leadership position in liberal arts education and secure its future with a stronger endowment. I am deeply grateful.”

Ms. Huffington P’11, P’14, of Houston, Texas, says that access to education has always been a family priority.

“I was brought up with the mantra that the most important thing you could do for people is to give them an opportunity to get an education. We welcome the opportunity to support Wesleyan’s efforts to enroll students regardless of their economic circumstances,” she says.

The first holder of the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair will be Gary Yohe, a Wesleyan professor of economics renowned for his work on global climate issues. He is a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is also a member of the standing Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gary Yohe will hold the first Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment.

“We are delighted that Dr. Yohe is to be named to the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment,” says Ms. Huffington. “It is a privilege to support a researcher and educator of his caliber in an area of study that is of such vital importance to our global community.”

The College of the Environment is an interdisciplinary initiative that draws faculty from 18 departments or programs at Wesleyan. Among its innovative features is a think tank, which brings together faculty, prominent scholars from other institutions, and students to produce scholarly works intended to influence thinking and action on environmental issues.

Ms. Huffington, a former geologist, has a long-standing interest in stewardship of energy supplies and achieving a decreased reliance on hydrocarbon fuels. Her interest led her to develop Elkstone Farm in Steamboat Springs, Colo., which features a permaculture greenhouse designed to grow organic produce year-round in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner.

Faculty Examine Issues Surrounding “Climategate” Report

A presentation titled, “After Climategate: Rethinking Climate Science and Climate Policy” was held March 25 in the Public Affairs Center. Faculty panelists examined a variety of issues surrounding the recent news media accounts known as “Climategate” which impugned some of the findings of the IPPC’s 4th Assessment Report.

A presentation titled, “After Climategate: Rethinking Climate Science and Climate Policy” was held March 25 in the Public Affairs Center. Faculty panelists examined a variety of issues surrounding the recent news media accounts known as “Climategate” which impugned some of the findings of the IPPC’s 4th Assessment Report.