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Penn State professor lectures on climate change reality

Special to The Battalion

Published: Friday, October 5, 2012

Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 00:10


Thursday night Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, visited Texas A&M to give a lecture on human-caused climate change and the disinformation given by the United States government.

Mann is Pennsylvania State University’s director of the Earth System Science Center and has conducted controversial research on humans’ effect on earth’s climate.

Mann said our use of fossil fuels and aerosols has been the culprit in the change in climate.

“Humans are warming the planet, and there will be significant consequences,” Mann said.

Mann published a graph known as the “Hockey Stick Curve”, (because of its similarity in shape to a hockey stick) that notes the changes in climate over the last thousand plus years. The graph shows the Earth has warmed significantly in the last 100 years.

“There is no magic bullet that is going to solve the climate change problem.  We are going to have to make some tough decisions about non-carbon based energy sources, and Texas could obviously be a leader in renewable energy,” Mann said.

During his lecture Mann made it clear that we are on a path towards causing irreparable damage to Earth’s climate.

“I think the imminent effects are already being seen today, extended droughts, extended heat waves, increased severity in tropical systems, we are already seeing slight sea level rise, melting of the ice caps,” said Andrew Parker, graduate student of oceanography. “It goes beyond just the polar bears.”

Mann said in recent years  there has been “a scientization of politics,” which has seen an outbreak of government-backed disinformation about our role in climate change.

“We are seeing money taken away from our research, as the government feels it is less necessary to study climate change because it’s a ‘hoax,’” Parker said.

David Hoffmann, senior geoscience major, said one does not have to look very far for evidence of the changes.

“The big drought in Texas that we have seen in the past year and prices in groceries have gone up due to Earth’s recent warming,” Hoffmann said.

Mann advocated for a push to change our ways in order to preserve our planet for future generations.

“I’d hate to think that decades from now my daughter will take her kids to the zoo and have to tell them how these animals used to exist in the wild,” Mann said.

Mann’s lecture painted a grim picture for the Earth as we continue to use fossil fuels at such a staggering rate.  He ended on a positive note, however, stating that in the not too distant future, people will realize the error and change the way they think about and treat Earth’s climate.

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