The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 30, 2010

Interest in global warming heats up at Pitt-Johnstown

Forum draws hundreds to discuss situation

JOHNSTOWN — Hundreds of students and faculty turned out at Pitt-Johnstown for a daylong forum on global warming – more than might be expected after record winter snows.

“Wacky weather around here is normal. What you want to look at is the long-term trend,” said UPJ geography professor Mary Lavine. “Not what happens in Johnstown in a given day or year, but the summation of thousands of reports (worldwide).”

And that long-term trend, she said Tuesday outside the conference hall, is surely toward warmer Earth temperatures as the burning of fossil fuels create greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s rays.

Lavine agreed with other speakers that a disconnect exists between the science and an increasingly skeptical public.

But Lavine – who chaired the Climate Change Forum organizing committee – said the media has failed to cut through the noise created by vocal doubters, “a very small percent of the scientific community.”

Chemistry professor Manisha Nigam outlined the pull of forces in India: Responsibility to the planet vs. cheap fossil fuels to spur growth and lift millions out of poverty.

Nigam said India is formulating a national action plan to deal with climate change. It includes recycling, constructing facilities for collecting rainwater and mandating solar power in government buildings and hospitals.

She said the heat is being felt on the subcontinent: Retreating glaciers and the melting snowpack in the Himalayas threaten the water supply, coastal flooding is up as oceans rise, and the threat of drought is increasing.

Geography and history major Dominic Marchionna, 22, of Pittsburgh, seemed convinced.

“There’s so much hype,” he said.

“You have left perspectives. You have right perspectives. But this is a good bipartisan perspective. We need to keep progressing on more eco-friendly measures.”

“A lot of people don’t want to think it is happening,” said Ashley Blough, 20, of Davidsville, a senior majoring in environmental studies and geography.

Ray Wrabley, a professor of political science, discussed December’s global conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, that ended with a simple, three-page document.

It pledged action on fossil fuels yet set no timetables or controls. It kicked the problem down the road.

“Politics can’t be taken out of the political process,” Wrabley said.

“We still have this debate about what’s the best way forward.”

Regardless, Lavine said individuals can make a difference. She suggested better insulation to reduce demands for coal and natural gas, more fuel-efficient cars, supporting wind and solar power and reconsidering nuclear energy.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • bank1 West End bank robbed

    The West End branch of AmeriServ Financial was robbed Tuesday morning, two days before the branch is scheduled to close.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather_2 Old Man Winter returns to area

    Just when you think we’ve finally escaped the cold temperatures, winter swoops back in to remind us it’s not going away just yet.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 15, 2014

  • City seeks support for sewer revamp

    The city is looking for backup from the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority in spreading what they call “true” facts and figures regarding the city’s encompassing sewer revamp.

    April 15, 2014

  • Airport gets lift with $180G grant

    The John Murtha Johnstown–Cambria County Airport needs to replace some basic maintenance equipment: a pickup truck, painting machine, chain saw, weed eater, hand tools and more.
    So, on Tuesday, the airport’s authority agreed to accept Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Aviation grant money that already has been tentatively allocated.

    April 15, 2014

  • Cresson asks court to force ex-chief to sign pact

    An agreement reached more than a month ago between Cresson Borough Council and its former police chief still has not been signed, and the borough is asking a judge to intervene.

    April 15, 2014

  • hamer 16 Mom told to seek help for addiction

    A Johnstown woman charged with tossing her 4-month-old baby and with drug-related offenses pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Cambria County court on Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • District hopes refinancing will save additional $40G

    Refinancing about $4 million in debt will result in savings more than twice as large as initially expected, Windber Area school board members learned Tuesday night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Elder justice events set

    In an effort to combat elder abuse in area communities, an elder justice seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24 at the Johnstown Senior Center, 550 Main St., downtown Johnstown. In addition, a free elder abuse clergy training seminar will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. April 25 at Moxham Lutheran Church, 500 Park Ave., Johnstown.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/16/2014

    April 15, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads