The cold hard facts of climate change

Ron praised OMSI’s new permafrost exhibit during a recent visit as an outstanding science-based demonstration where Oregonians of all ages can learn the cold, hard facts about climate change.

After touring the exhibit at the venerable Portland science museum, Ron discussed how Oregon has felt firsthand the damage of climate change – including the increased dangers of catastrophic wildfires, changing snowmelt, drought and ocean acidification.

“These climate change facts ripple throughout the state to threaten our fisheries, our farmlands, our way of life,” he said, noting his opposition to troubling climate change-denying actions by the Trump administration such as yanking America out of the Paris agreement and blowing up the Clean Power Plan.

“All these impacts will get worse if we don’t act fast to use the science to cut dangerous carbon pollution,” he said. “Great exhibits like this use science to give everybody the facts about climate change.

“It’s up to all of us to take the science that’s presented here at OMSI and make sure our response is one rooted in the Oregon Way, namely working on what all of us can do to find solutions.”

The senator also spoke about the importance of these types of educational opportunities outside the classroom for children to learn more about science.

The OMSI exhibit is titled “Under the Arctic: Digging into Permafrost,” and taps into what’s been learned about climate change from a research tunnel in Alaska. Permafrost is an important tool to understand climate change because it’s soil that has been frozen for at least two years, trapping large amounts of carbon dioxide. Carbon is released into the atmosphere when permafrost thaws.

Ron toured the Alaska research tunnel in 2012 with Matthew Sturm, a professor at the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute and leader of the Snow-Ice-Permafrost Group.

“This is a fun exhibit, but underneath it there are some really serious issues at stake here,” Sturm said at a news conference with Ron and OMSI President Nancy Stueber. “I have 30 years of working on climate change. It is very much real.”