President Obama’s Environmental Summit

Brenden Williams

The United Nations will be convening this month on an issue President Obama seems urgent to address. They will meet in Alaska in mid-Sept. to talk about climate change and the harmful effects of greenhouse gasses on our environment. 

Obama has made climate change a priority issue that he will continue to deal with until his term ends. Before the meeting he called with the United Nations, Obama had reached an agreement with China’s leaders this summer on reducing emissions by 2028. Also in attendance at the meeting were other world leaders, such as Vladimir Putin of Russia, making it known that climate change was important not just for major manufacturing companies, but for all nations of the world.

Obama plans on meeting in Alaska to show how it has affected the region, and seems to want all leaders attending to give ideas as well as share some of his own.

“I think it’s a smart idea, I mean obviously there is scientific proof that there are changes going on,” said Michaela Dervin, a freshman psychology major. “Getting to the problem before it really escalates,” she continued, saying we need to start soon before it’s too late.

“I would’ve suggested not waiting as long as we did, from a scientific standpoint,” said Professor Kellis Bayless, of Washburn’s biology department, saying it might already be too late to stop all problems from happening. “I would also say that as far as the methane goes, any amount of getting a company to reduce methane emission, if they do it in an economic way, it could give them a new revenue source.” He explained that a market exists for the excess gasses some companies have, solving some financial problems that pertain to reducing emissions.

“I think the big push for methane reduction is because of what has been going on in the Bakken Field in North Dakota especially. The fracking that’s been going on for oil, they don’t have any natural gas infrastructure, and so they’re just flaring all the natural gas, just burning it,” continued Bayless, addressing some specific problems oil companies are having with natural gas. “You can see the Bakken Oil Field from space now at night, from NASA, because there’s so much burning.”

“I would say, from a science point of view, that there’s a good amount of science consensus that what the administration is doing is considered a good thing. And [we should] do it quicker rather than later,” Bayless ended with, stating he agrees with what Obama and his administration are trying to do. “It’s better slow than not at all…I think that from the science point of view it makes sense.”