For the past 15 years, Kathy Straub has taught an interdisciplinary course at Susquehanna University that addresses the scientific, ethical, political, legal, economic, and technological dimensions of modern climate change. In this talk, she will distill her entire course into one 45-minute presentation!
At its core, climate change is a scientific question, and climate scientists are highly confident that human activities are the primary driver for the observed warming of the climate system. But because of the scale and complexity of the system and the long timescales over which climate change unfolds, there is necessarily some level of uncertainty about future changes. All but the most optimistic climate projections, however, increase Earth’s average temperature above the 2 degree Celsius threshold marked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “dangerous.”
But misinformation and manufactured uncertainty abound, and the public as a whole is not convinced that climate change is worth addressing in any substantive way. And even if we all did agree that climate change was an imminent catastrophe, what is the answer? Who is responsible, for how much, based on what measures? How much should the past matter? What can feasibly be done, by whom, on what timescale, and with whose money? Who decides? Who enforces? Should solutions be legislated? Will legal challenges be upheld? Can innovation and the free market save us? What about technology? Trees? Examples will be offered throughout the presentation that illustrate attempted and ongoing solutions both on the global scale and within the United States.
The goal of this talk is for us to recognize the complexity of the climate change issue beyond simply “the science” or “the politics.” Climate change is a “systems” problem that requires a “systems” solution – all hands on deck. How will we proceed?
MAREA is so pleased to have Dr. Kathy Straub join us for our March meeting. The presentation is Tuesday, March 26 , at 7:00 at TEKPark (9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031, between Kutztown and Allentown).
MAREA meetings are free and open to the public. All are invited! After the meeting, please plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!
Dr. Kathy Straub is Professor and Chair in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Susquehanna University and the Director of Susquehanna's Center for Environmental Education and Research (CEER). Kathy oversees all of Susquehanna's environmental majors and sustainability initiatives as well as the Freshwater Research Initiative (FRI). Her background is in atmospheric science and she teaches courses for majors and non-majors in environmental science and environmental studies, meteorology, and climate change. Kathy received her Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. She began her career at Susquehanna University in 2002, and has held a shared faculty position with her husband Derek since 2003. Kathy has published and presented widely in the field of tropical meteorology, has been awarded over $100,000 in National Science Foundation research funding, and received Susquehanna’s John C. Horn Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Creative Activity in 2014. Kathy and Derek live in Selinsgrove and have two children, ages 15 and 12.