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An Environmental Chemist and Climate Change

Dr. Grady Hanrahan is a Professor of Chemistry and the Associate Provost for Experiential Learning, Research and Faculty Development at California Lutheran University. He received his Ph.D in Environmental Analytical Chemistry from the University of Plymouth in England. He has conducted research in the area of environmental chemistry such as measures of pesticides and associated urinary metabolites, biotransformation pathways, and nutrient/trace metal determinations. He has also developed computational models to help optimize instruments and assess environmental pollutants and their effects in the environment. He is currently teaching Chemistry and the Environment this semester, a class that explores the potential relationship between chemistry and environmental issues such as pollution and climate change. 

                                                                 Photo Courtesy of Dr. Hanrahan​​

This interview was taken the morning of Monday, September 23th, the same time that the UN Climate Action Summit  was taking place. 

Her Campus at Cal Lutheran: The Global Climate Strike is a week long protest where millions of students worldwide took to the streets to bring up envirnmental issues and show their frustrations of the lack of policies that countries are failing to implement. What does the global climate strike mean to you? 

Dr. Grady Hanrahan: The Global Climate Strike makes a statement on the status of the environment, the air we breathe, and the potential effects of increased fossil fuel usage. Fossil fuels produce large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that can lead to possible deleterious effects on the environment. 


HCCLU: What kind of changes have you seen in society in regards to environmental awareness, activism and policies? 

GH: I have seen greater media coverage of environmental issues, especially leading up to the UN meeting. I believe there is also a more collaborative and global approach to environmental activism with many countries stepping up and helping to solve the crisis. 


HCCLU: The UN will meet today with world leaders to discuss policy at the Climate Action Summit, what would you like to see?

GH: I would like to see a strong statement/message stressing the importance to take corrective actions, whether that be laws, mandates, or simply making helpful recommendations.

                                                                Photo Courtesy of Pexels​

The UN Climate Action Summit’s intention is to bring leaders together from countries all over the world to tackle the concern of climate change. It’s purpose is designed so that leaders can collaborate new ways to implement corrective actions. Although young activists and many scientists, like Dr. Hanrahan, believe action is an imperative component in securing a successful future for the life of this planet, this summit was most importantly created so that governments and businesses can implement action. 

Many leaders, coalitions and groups illustrated plans in reducing emissions. The Climate Action Summit press release:  displayed a few examples such as President of Chile announced the Climate Ambition Alliance where the “nations are to upscale action by 2020 and achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.” Another alliance in this press release was The Powering Past Coal Alliance and according to the CAS press release, now includes 30 countries and other groups. This Alliance is “committed to stopping the building of new coal power plants in 2020 and rapidly transitioning to renewable energy.”  Many other groups that were present at this summit represented other plans designed to combat climate change. 

Dr. Hanrahan during his interview mentioned that fossil fuels produce large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants which could lead to possible damaging effects on the environment. During the Climate Action Summit, the want to reduce the same chemical compound CO2 and fossil fuels could be seen in the various countries and alliance’s plans. According to Vox, concrete action from the biggest emitters needs to still follow to match the statement making protests that young activists showed. 

Alexis Rizo

Cal Lutheran '21

I am studying Political Science and gaining an emphasis in Law and Public Policy and minoring in Philosophy. I enjoy traveling and have studied abroad at the Universidad de Granada in Granada, Spain during the spring semester of '19.
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