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Saturday, February 28 • 10:15am - 11:15am
What does a climate scientist think we should do about climate change?

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Human-caused climate change, or global warming, is already occurring.  It is not only a problem for the future.  It is happening here and now.  The warming is just a symptom.  Climate is complex, and warming has many consequences.  Extreme weather events today occur in a changed environment.  For example, Hurricane Sandy, which killed hundreds of people and caused some 75 billion dollars in property damage in 2012, occurred in a climate with higher sea level and more water vapor in the air than only a few decades ago.  These changes increase the potential for damaging floods.  The heat-trapping gases and particles that humanity has emitted into the atmosphere increase the odds of severe weather events, just as steriods taken by a baseball player can increase the odds of home runs.  Today we are seeing climate change on steriods.  To limit global warming to moderate or tolerable amounts, the entire world must act quickly to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles.  These emissions must peak soon and then start to decline rapidly, not in 50 or 100 years, but within the next 5 to 10 years, reaching near zero well within this centure.  As the world's only superpower, the United States needs to reduce its own emissions and must also provide leadership so that other countries will reduce their emissions too.


Dr. Richard Somervillle

Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Saturday February 28, 2015 10:15am - 11:15am PST
60-Griffin Gate

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