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VALPARAISO | Hebron High School junior Kasie Sass said Thursday's World Affairs Conference held at Ivy Tech Community College was the first time she had heard both sides of the heated global warming issue.

"It was pretty interesting and I definitely heard a different perspective. I am so used to hearing all the propaganda from the other side," Sass said.

Chesterton High School junior Alyssa Bowker agreed.

"I learned a lot of facts that I'd never been told," she said.

Sass and Bowker were among about 150 area students who took part in the Rotary District 6540 sponsored conference to discuss the Storm Over Climate Change.

The two keynote speakers, Steve Goreham and Jorge Ortiz, gave opposing sides of the issue at a gathering of other students in Manchester University in North Manchester.

Their speeches were web broadcast live to several other sites including Ivy Tech in Valparaiso and Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.

Goreham, a policy adviser to the conservative Chicago-based the Heartland Institute, said those who believe in the claims of looming global warming are all wet.

Even on the heels of what he termed a "good old-fashioned northern winter," some people are still saying the snow is disappearing and will stop unless global warming is stopped, Goreham said.

"The snow is increasing. And the 40-year trend of snow increasing data is out of step with what they are saying," Goreham said.

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Experts on global warming say the years from 2000 to 2009 have been the warmest on record but those records only go back 130 years.

Those records don't include extreme climate changes recorded during the Medieval Warm Period in England ending in the 13th century followed by the Little Ice Age.

"Climate change is natural; not man made," Goreham said.

Ortiz, regional director for U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., spoke on the senator's behalf.

In his speech, Ortiz provided definition of climate change and updates on how it is being handled in this country and throughout the world.

Ortiz said the Environmental Protection Agency defines climate change as temperature changes that have increased by 1.4 degrees.

"More and more agree that the temperature is rising but there is no consensus on why," Ortiz said.

There have been a number of measures taken in the United States and internationally to address climate change.

A world summit is planned in Paris in 2015 since there are some 500 climate laws passed throughout the world.

"At the 2015 conference we hope for a global agreement," Ortiz said.

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