Climate Change Wisconsin explores disturbing scenarios

Capstone Seminar students present work on climate changeGazing into the crystal ball that is the consensus of current scientific research on climate change, it appears that we’re headed south. Which is not necessarily a good thing.

Graduate students from the UW-Green Bay Capstone Seminar in Environmental Science and Policy presented their work to a campus and community audience Tuesday (Dec. 1). The packed lecture hall heard that within the next century the weather for Wisconsin could be more like Arkansas or Missouri. And that would have dramatic effects upon Wisconsin’s economy and culture.

Jeffrey Sanders, Capstone Seminar student presenter

Jeffrey Sanders (above), one of three students who served as presenters, painted a picture of a warmer, wetter winter with the trend toward more frequent ice storms, and snow storms that are less common but more severe. That would certainly harm businesses that depend on winter tourism.

Summers will be warmer and drier and while a longer growing season might boost corn and soybean yields, the growth could be constrained by declining soil moisture and thin acidic soils.

The Capstone team also took a look at the UW-Green Bay’s commitment to reduce its own carbon footprint and identified options and actions that could be pursued to reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

But what if the scientific consensus is wrong?

The Capstone team took a look at that very question and came to the conclusion that the consequences from inaction would be worse than the costs associated with dealing with a problem that proves less severe than expected.

Serving on the Capstone team were: Sanders, Brenton Butterfield, Matthew Christman, Kymberly Draeger, Kevin Enright, Shannon Kuester, Matthew Maccoux, Brent Nelson, Richard Novy, Annette Pelegrin, Heidi Schmitt Marquez and Pao Vue. UW-Green Bay Prof. Michael Kraft and Associate Prof. Kevin Fermanich served as advisors for the Capstone team.

View the Capstone team’s presentation, supporting documents, learn about the Climate Change Wisconsin Facebook group: