Latina Climate Scientist To Watch State Of The Union With Michelle Obama
Nicole Hernandez Hammer CREDIT: Javier Carrion Tonight, President Obama will give his sixth State of the Union address before a televised joint session of Congress. Among the special guests will be one climate scientist, Nicole Hernandez Hammer, whose specialty is sea level rise. I had a chance to speak to her about her research and her work with Moms Clean Air Force to “mobilize the Latino community to understand and address the devastating effects that disproportionately affect the health of Hispanics and their families.” Certainly the state of the climate is not good. And in a year filled with worrisome climate reports, the most alarming news was that the West Antarctic ice sheet and Greenland were far less stable than previously thought, which means we are headed towards the higher level projections for sea level rise — a few feet or more this century — especially if we don’t sharply curtail carbon pollution ASAP. As the New York Times warned, that would mean that many of the world’s coastal cities would eventually have to be abandoned.” I asked Dr. Hammer how she became interested in climate science and specifically sea level rise. In part it was her upbringing. She was born in Guatemala. Her parents instilled in her a love of the natural world. When she was 4, her family immigrated to South Florida, where sea level rise and flooding affects everyone. Then, in 1992, when she was 16, her family lived through the devastating Category 5 Hurricane Andrew, when “our house fell apart around us — literally.” CREDIT: NOAA “I have felt the power of Nature and I know what it can do and how it can transform a community,” she explained. Because she also knows the threat posed by climate change and sea level rise, she felt an obligation to share that knowledge, especially with parents. As a mother, she was drawn to Moms Clean Air Force, whose work Climate Progress has often featured. Dr. Hammer has spent a lot of time mapping the most endangered low-lying areas in southeast Florida and learned that many Latino communities are especially threatened. She takes political leaders, scientists, and the media to visit some of the most at-risk areas during high tide, where people can see them flood even on cloudless days. In 2013, Grist wrote up one …
Obama: ‘If we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods…& greater migration, conflict, & hunger’ Obama’s State of the Union — Remarks As Prepared for Delivery
And no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.
2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.
I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement — the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.…