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Speaker: Climate change is everyone’s concern

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Speaker: Climate change is everyone’s concern

Douglas Grandt, who was a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Team, speaks to those in attendance at Friday’s first presentation of Climate Leadership in Your Daily Life held at Prestige Senior Liv...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 17, 2012 1:41 a.m.

Douglas Grant has been on both sides of the petroleum argument.

His first job out of college was working for Exxon-Mobil in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay – calculating return-on-investment for the company’s operations in the oil-rich area – and witnessing first-hand how oil makes its way from one of the most important fields in America to refineries that convert it into gasoline and other fuels.

And just recently he was arrested in Texas for protesting the construction of the controversial Keystone Pipeline project that would transport crude oil and bitumen – essentially asphalt – from Canada down to refineries in places like Illinois and Houston.

So when he gave his presentation Friday afternoon at Prestige Senior Living as a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Team, his credentials couldn’t be challenged.

Invited to speak by Manteca planning commissioner Leonard Smith – and on behalf of Catholic charity organization Pax Christi – Grant outlined a 40-minute slideshow that he believes makes the case for proving that climate change is in fact a reality in the world today and that it poses a much bigger threat than most people actually realize.

Using slides that Gore himself put together as part of his famed “Inconvenient Truth” tour that started with a book and spawned a documentary movie outlining the former Vice President’s scientific platform, Grant talked about how as the ice melts, the temperatures rise more – with less ice at the North Pole and the Antarctic Circle to deflect the sun’s rays, the water then absorbs it, heats up, and melts more of the existing ice.

It’s a big part of the reason that huge sheets of ice – some 800-feet deep – have started to break away and separate.

The issue, Grant says, is that what happens at the poles will eventually begin to impact the rest of the country as well in the way of droughts, crop failures, floods, a rising sea level and extinctions – all things that will only worsen as this cycle is perpetuated.

Mass deforestation, he said, is now responsible for 25 percent of the CO2 in the atmosphere, and if the average temperature rises just half-a-degree centigrade more than it currently sits, the fallout could be startling.

“This is the hope that people are being very innovative and coming up with great ideas,” he said. “The web of life is at stake.”

Smith said that he invited Grant to speak because the Manteca Planning Commission is going to have to start looking the implementation of AB 32 – which established a “cap and trade” program that will lead to companies and manufacturers that emit carbon to purchase and swap credits in an auction like setting to encourage mass polluters to make changes.

“A lot of businesses feel that they’re being asked to put a lot of money into it, but in the long run more money would be needed if we didn’t do something now,” he said. “Our air in the San Joaquin Valley is worse than in the LA Basin. The goal is to make our footprint smaller here at home and then hopefully the rest of the world will follow.”

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