Tom Skilling Sits on Climate Change Panel at Naperville Central

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The Naperville Park District wrapped up their Earth Week programming with an interactive panel at Naperville Central High School, “Climate Science and Tomorrow’s Forecast.”

The panel featured WGN’s Chief Meteorologist, Tom Skilling, Global Environment Director of Accenture, Mike Nicholus, and University of Illinois Professor Don Wuebbles.

Wuebbles is a global leader in climate science, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and a member of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“The bottom line is the science in general is that the climate is changing, and it’s changing now,” said Wuebbles. “People often think it’s changing in the future but it’s changing now. It’s happening extremely rapidly.”

Wuebbles said that greenhouse gas pollution from human activity is causing the climate to change about 10 times faster than it would naturally – nine of the 10 hottest years on record have happened since 2005.

“Misinformation abounds, a lot of it on social media,” said Skilling. “Misinformation was spread on the subject of cigarette smoking years ago claiming there was no medical risk. It’s happening now on the subject of climate change.

Climate change is causing more extreme weather, it threatens global food production, and could submerge coastal homes.

But the panel agreed that it’s a challenge that humanity, and technological innovations can overcome.

“There is a key data point that is not incorporated into our models, that’s you,” said Nicholus, gesturing to the crowd. “We simply don’t know, could the next electrical engineer be in here who will figure out a way to put capacitors in electric busses so they can charge stop-to-stop and not need lithium-ion batteries, let alone internal combustion engines?”

Anyone can help by reducing their carbon footprint, by turning off the lights when you don’t need them, carpooling, and eating less meat.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.