L01_04_Sept_2013_Intro - 270.103 Introduc0on to Global...

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270.103’Introduc±on’to’Global’Environmental’Change’ (an’introduc±on’to’Earth’Systems’Science)’
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Course’Prerequisites:’ There’are’no’prerequisites’for’this’class.’You’need’not’have’taken’ university-level’physics,’chemistry,’or’biology’to’succeed.’ It’is’assumed,’however,’that’you’have’some’high’school-level’ knowledge’of’these’subjects.’ We’will’go’over’basics’as’necessary.’
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consider’0mescales’of :’ your’educa0on’/’job’ your’family’ elec0ons’ large’corpora0ons’ poli0cally’stable’na0ons’ spa0al’scales’of :’ home’ neighborhood’ city’ na0on’ world’ we’are’largely’mo0vated’by’ things’relevant’to’the’ immediate’future’(days’to’a’ few’years)’and’to’our’local’ environment’ The’study’of’Earth’system’science’and’sustainability’requires’thinking’on’bigger’and’longer’ 0me-scales’than’normal’
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Ques0ons’for’Policy:’ Where’do’we’want’to’go’(as’a’sustainable’target)?’ What’are’acceptable’targets’and’outcomes’for’future’popula0on’and’lifestyles?’ For’example,’we’probably’do’not’want’to’go’back’to’a’‘hunter-gatherer±’or’ simple’agrarian’lifestyle’with’a’world’popula0on’of’only’5’million’ On’the’other’hand,’we’probably’do’not’want’to’be’‘ Coruscant±’from’Star’Wars:’ Dis0nguishing’Policy’from’Science’
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Ques0ons’for’Science:’ Is’scenario’X’sustainable?’ For’example,’can’the’Earth’sustainably’support’a’popula0on’of’6.9’billion’people?’ A’de±ni0on’of’ sustainable :’a’condi0on’or’scenario’that’can’con0nue’inde±nitely’ ’’’’’’ without’outside’support’or’input’ Policy’ Earth’System’Science’
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Earth’system’science’is’largely’an’ inferen0al ’Feld.’ Experimenta0on’is’usually’not’possible,’in’contrast’to’ many’aspects’of’biology,’chemistry,’and’physics.’ Biology:’what’is’the’e±ect’of’elevated’CO 2 ’on’plant’growth?’ (The’following’slide’shows’the’results’of’growing’C3’plants’(le‘)’and’C4’plants’(right)’under’ di±erent’levels’of’CO2.’The’results’suggest’that’C3’plants’are’sensi0ve’to’CO2,’whereas’C4’ plants’are’not).’ …another’important’thing’to’consider’about’ studies’of’the’Earth’system:’
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Photos’courtesy’of’Joy’Ward,’U.’Kansas’ Plants’grown’under’diFering’levels’of’CO 2’ C3’PLANTS’ C4’PLANTS’
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Earth’System’science’experimental’approach:’ Take’10’Earths,’all’iden±cal.’Give’5’of’them’2x’CO 2 ,’keep’the’rest’as’ ‘normal²’CO 2 ’for’control.’Let’the’experiment’run’for’10,000’years’and’ see’what’happens.’ 2x’CO 2 1x’CO 2
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