Climate change panel set for Wednesday

LIHUE — Climate change is the subject of a panel discussion tonight geared at educating Kauai residents about warming ocean and shifting wind patterns as well as giving them a springboard to do something about it.

The event is free, open to the public and hosted by Apollo Kauai, a grassroots organization that promotes the use of alternative energy. It is set for 6 to 8 p.m. at Lihue’s Niumalu Canoe Club Hale on the harbor side of Kalapaki Beach.

Among the speakers is Stephen Taylor, who teaches physical science at Kauai Community College. He will speak about the science of climate change.

“There is very solid evidence for global warming and the impacts may be devastating,” Taylor said. “We will review the evidence with the hope participants will be able to understand why scientists are so confident it is caused by humans. Ultimately, Apollo Kauai is inviting participants to decide what they want to do about it so they can organize themselves, map out a plan and start taking action.”

Ruby Pap, a Kauai-based coastal land use agent with the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant program, will be speaking about the impacts of climate change on Kauai’s coastal hazards. Pap worked on a 2014 Sea Grant study about climate change and coastal hazards funded by Kauai County.

Also billed to join the panel discussion are Ben Sullivan, energy coordinator for Kauai County’s Office of Economic Development, and Jan TenBruggencate, chairman of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s Board of Directors.

“This is meant to be a kick-off to get people to take action,” said Laurel Brier of Apollo Kauai. “It’s a drop in the pool but that’s what it’s going to be like everywhere. We all have to join together in this. We really think Kauai could be a model for addressing climate change.”

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