Science AMA Series: We are scientists interested in climate change and are here to talk about the Peoples Climate March on April 29th. We are Dr. Michael E. Mann, Dr. Robert Bullard, and Ploy Achakulwisut. Ask us anything about the Peoples Climate March, climate science and why we march!

Abstract

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What is the best ELI5 for climate change that we could use to have a shot at reaching other people?

XBacklash

Mann: Nature took hundreds of millions of years to bury all of the Carbon Dioxide that was in the atmosphere during the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the planet and the Earth was so warm there was no ice anywhere. We are now unburying and burning all of that carbon on a time frame of a century, a million times faster. Neither we nor other living things are equipped to cope with such profoundly rapid changes.


What are your opinions on nuclear power.

In my eyes renewable energy sources are not efficient enough to carry the energy demands of a big country. Especially those that do not benefit from solar or hydroelectric power have to rely on fossil fuels for electricity.

Nuclear power has its known risks but it can cut emissions for a low price. I think opting to combat climate change and opting against nuclear power are a combination that dont go well. I had Germany in mind when typing this. All the negatives of nuclear due to its neighbours, increased electricity prices, and increased reliance on coal. Climate change was used specifically to drive a political agenda.

What are your opinions on this.

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shellenberger_how_fear_of_nuclear_power_is_hurting_the_environment

EarTipVortices

Mann: Most options for large-scale energy production come with some risk. So in the end, it’s about meeting our energy needs in a way that minimizes environmental and societal risk. Is nuclear energy a viable component of the “bridge” to a fossil fuel free future? I don’t honestly know. It obviously comes with risk—environmental risk due to the issue of waste burial, proliferation issues associated with the availability of fissionable materials, etc. At the very least, let’s put nuclear energy on the table of options as we formulate a strategy to wean ourselves off fossil fuel energy. Whether it stays on the table or we take it off is something for responsible policymakers to be discussing. Would if this were the discussion we were having in the U.S. House of Representatives right now rather than “is climate change a hoax?”. Sigh.


What are your opinions on nuclear power.

In my eyes renewable energy sources are not efficient enough to carry the energy demands of a big country. Especially those that do not benefit from solar or hydroelectric power have to rely on fossil fuels for electricity.

Nuclear power has its known risks but it can cut emissions for a low price. I think opting to combat climate change and opting against nuclear power are a combination that dont go well. I had Germany in mind when typing this. All the negatives of nuclear due to its neighbours, increased electricity prices, and increased reliance on coal. Climate change was used specifically to drive a political agenda.

What are your opinions on this.

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shellenberger_how_fear_of_nuclear_power_is_hurting_the_environment

EarTipVortices

Achakulwisut: I agree with Dr. Mann's response that in the end, it’s up to responsible policymakers to decide how to best meet a given country's energy needs in a way that minimizes environmental and societal risk, while achieving decarbonization as quickly as possible.

However, I disagree with your comment that "climate change was used specifically to drive a political agenda" in the case of Germany. As described in the book "Energy Democracy" by Craig Morris and Arne Jungjohann, "the term "Energiewende" was coined in the 1970s, when a conservative rural community protested plans to industrialize the area with the construction of a new nuclear plant and attempts to attract new industry - such as a lead production plant - as buyers of all of the electricity that local families and businesses did not need. The Energiewende thus began as a grassroots movement for greater democracy in the energy sector and against privatizing profits and socializing risks."


Given the current political situation around the world and in general the way politics works, is it more worthwhile to develop ways to absorb CO2 from the air than to just try convincing people to stop producing it.

universemonitor

Achakulwisut: It's worthwhile to do both. Carbon capture and storage technologies are being developed but are still far from being technologically or economically viable at utility scale. In the meantime, clean energy costs have plummeted and currently creates more jobs in the US than the fossil fuel sector. So we should continue to expand clean energy investments and deployment, and reduce fossil fuel infrastructure expansion.


How much of an impact is animal agriculture having on climate change?

guelfbot

Mann: It’s in the range of 10-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Not negligible, but neither is it the dominant factor some have been incorrectly led to believe. The dominant contributor remains the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation.


(Coming from the perspective of a somewhat clueless high school student) 1. What are the immediate negative changes in the environment we are seeing/will see in the next few years because of climate change?

  1. If we aren't able join the march, what are other ways to support the movement?

  2. What is one of the most important things we can change about our everyday lifestyle to prevent or at least mitigate damage from climate change?

kidminor

Mann: All we need to is turn on our televisions, or read the newspaper headlines. The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle, we are seeing them play out daily. Whether it’s inundation from rising seas associated with global sea level rise and more powerful hurricanes, or unprecedented droughts, floods, heat waves, and wildfires, we are seeing the “stacking of the deck” by climate change toward more devastating such weather & climate events.


Is the reduction, elimination, or even reversal of climate change (while the planet's population continues to grow) even feasible? With so much demand for increased production/processing of materials/food/etc. and humanity's need to expand its living space into formerly natural areas, where would we even start?

andillfakeyouout

Achakulwisut: There's no question that meaningfully addressing climate change is a hugely daunting task. But simply put, what's the alternative? Give up and let my generation and future generations deal with the consequences of catastrophic climate change? For me, that's not an option.

Of course, there is no guarantee that we can hold global warming below the 2 degree Celsius danger level agreed to by basically every country on Earth, but even if we don't, and we find ourselves at 2.5 C, that isn't reason for inaction -- it's reason for MORE action. Because unlike most other global problems, climate change will get exponentially worse until we do something about it, ever heightening the need to act.

To your question of whether tackling climate change is "feasible," the answer depends on one's precise definition of "feasible." If you are asking if it's possible, it most certainly is. The scientific literature is pretty much unanimous about that: the solutions already exist for transitioning to a low-carbon economy using only ready/near-ready technologies and policy mechanisms. This is not to say that it will be easy or cost-free. New innovations (such as reducing the cost and increasing capacity of energy storage technologies or making carbon capture and sequestration viable at utility scale) would substantially increase our options.

And that raises a different question: is tackling climate change likely? That is not a purely technical question, and depends on one's interpretation of social and political forces. I think that most experts would say that the odds are against us in taking action quickly enough to stay below 2C, so in that sense, sufficient action against climate change isn't likely on our current trajectory. Again, technological innovations could change this landscape in the future. But in terms of getting going on action, it's political will that's the impediment right now.

My guess is that by "feasible", you meant something in between possible and likely. For example, do historical precedents indicate that the technology expansion rates required are comparable to what's been achieved in the past? This is an area of active research, but the big picture answer is that what's required to address climate change is probably unprecedented in most sectors, but not inconceivable, if citizens, industry, and governments step up their game. And the good news is that the clean energy industry is, indeed, charging ahead at incredible speed, and we're seeing more and more innovations for building a more sustainable or circular economy. Here's a good discussion of some of this literature (though note that it's focused on 100% renewables scenarios, which are not necessarily quite the same as scenarios simply consistent with 2C): http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/4/7/15159034/100-renewable-energy-studies


What data would you show to someone who thinks climate chamge is a hoax?

Danoss318

Mann: So hard to choose one. The global temperature curve for the big picture, but to convey the reality of the impacts, I would show the images of devastating extreme & persistent weather events, along with the relevant curves (heat waves, storm surges, drought, major flooding) showing how these are on the increase. And of course, the Arctic Sea Ice death spiral...


A friend of mine posted something similar to this as a reason to doubt climate change. What is the best way to convince him that climate science has fewer of the issues that we see in other fields of science?

Edit: I guess I messed that up. He believes in climate change, but thinks humans may not be the primary cause.

hotjohnnyjogs

Mann: As I’ve noted in the past, peer-review is a necessary but NOT sufficient condition for the validity of scientific claim or finding (see our early RealClimate post on this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/). It is only through multiply-validated findings, scientific assessments like those of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, etc. that claims/findings become part of the corpus of accepted science. I spoke to this in a recent video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYQ_wUASjKU&app=desktop


What are the largest misconceptions about climate change that need to be publicly debunked and recognized to move along climate change progress? (Huge fans of your works Dr. Mann and Dr. Bullard!!)

ianccornejo

Bullard: Let’s get real. We are up against a powerful well-funded disinformation apparatus whose sole function is to spread doubt, confusion and denial—in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is real and happening right now. But don’t be fooled. We saw the same super-funded campaigns used by the tobacco industry that for decades convinced millions of Americans that smoking cigarettes was safe and that tobacco smoke did not cause cancer. Again, these beliefs were held even in the face of irrefutable and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Yet, we still had denier. Tobacco lobbies, public policy makers and legislation placed tobacco business profits over public health and scientific evidence. Thank goodness the science policy logjam was largely breached with the combined forces of scientists, public health community and anti-smoking advocates around cigarettes causing lung cancer.


What are the largest misconceptions about climate change that need to be publicly debunked and recognized to move along climate change progress? (Huge fans of your works Dr. Mann and Dr. Bullard!!)

ianccornejo

Mann: Thanks so much :-). A great source for the leading climate change myths & denialist talking points, and the actual scientific response to them, is skeptical science: https://skepticalscience.com/, and if you look at their list of “Most-used climate myths”, near the top are the ones we indeed encounter so often (“climate changes naturally”, “models are unreliable”), but the true denialist talking point du jour is the patently false claim that “global warming has stopped” (#9 on the Skeptical Science list). I spent a fair amount of time debunking that claim at the recent House Science Committee Hearing led by climate change denier Lamar Smith (R-TX).


How do you keep this positive, so that you don't turn the current administration against science? They already are proposing huge cuts to the budget of various scientific agencies. If they see scientists as being their enemies, they are likely to be even less supportive of science. But if they see scientists as people that provide an important foundation for economic growth (by new discoveries in technology, medicine, engineering, etc.), then perhaps they'll realize that this investment is an important one for our country. How can we direct the March in a fashion that makes this point?

Scientist34again

Achakulwisut: Just to note, we're talking about the People's Climate March, here, not the March for Science. But your question is an important one and applies to both. The current administration isn't against all fields of science - for example, it's ok for NASA to focus on space exploration, and not climate change on Earth. The scientific fields being attacked, with climate science at the forefront, are those whose results threaten certain political values or corporate interests (libertarians/conservatives and the fossil fuel industry in the case of human-caused climate change). Therefore, I think it's important for us to send a message that these fields of science actually serve and protect the public good. Climate change threatens our economy, national security, and public health and safety. This report has a good summary of the consensus among economic experts that climate change poses major risks to the economy and that significant policy responses will be needed to avoid large economic damages - http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf


How do you keep this positive, so that you don't turn the current administration against science? They already are proposing huge cuts to the budget of various scientific agencies. If they see scientists as being their enemies, they are likely to be even less supportive of science. But if they see scientists as people that provide an important foundation for economic growth (by new discoveries in technology, medicine, engineering, etc.), then perhaps they'll realize that this investment is an important one for our country. How can we direct the March in a fashion that makes this point?

Scientist34again

Bullard: The March for Science and Climate March must address justice and vulnerability—those communities hit hardest by climate change and polluting industries. EPA budget cuts and stripping science and science-based research from policy and decision-making will hit low-income and communities of color especially hard since numerous studies have documented they are already overburdened with health threatening pollution. Pollution prevention and clean energy technology make good economic sense and health sense.


Are you aware of the march for science taking place one week before this march? The messages are very similar, did you consider joining forces with them and combining into one March or did you think that two separate marches, one after the other, could be more effective?

j_obi

Achakulwisut: It was an unfortunate decision by the March for Science (MfS) organizers to pick a date one week before the People's Climate March (PCM), which has been in the works since last summer. I can't answer for why they chose to do so, even though the PCM organizers asked them to consider joining forces. Nonetheless, we're stuck with the decision and I hope to see a strong turnout for both. Here's a good article explaining how they are working together and how you can plug into both - https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/04/06/fights-protect-science-people-and-planet-are-inherently-connected

To me, the goals of the MfS and PCM are complementary. While the MfS calls for evidence-based policymaking, the PCM puts these values into action by demanding climate policies consistent with protecting our rights to clean energy, clean air, clean water, and a livable future.


Are you aware of the march for science taking place one week before this march? The messages are very similar, did you consider joining forces with them and combining into one March or did you think that two separate marches, one after the other, could be more effective?

j_obi

Bullard: It is important and historic that Scientists March and take a stand on April 22. It is more than symbolism that scientists come out of their labs and research centers and express the urgency of us addressing this global threat. On the other hand, the Climate March on April 29 is a mass march that brings all sectors together to express the importance of mass mobilization against climate change and advocate for fair and justice climate policy. And yes, separate weekend marches will get two news cycles—better for getting our message out.


Are we coming out of a little ice age?

How much of the global temperature rise is caused by humans vs naturally?

Ive been told the global average temperature hasnt risen in 12 years. Is this true?

Achilleswar

Mann: The best estimate is that we are responsible for all of the warming of the past century (natural factors were actually pushing us slightly in the other direction). See this piece by my RealClimate colleague Gavin Schmidt: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/ The claim that global warming has stopped is blatantly false and has been debunked so often it’s hard to even keep track. Here’s one https://skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm Obviously, the simple fact that each of the last three years has been the warmest on record puts the lie to this egregious talking point. Here’s a recent article by us in the Nature journal Scientific Reports on the topic: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep19831


Are there any "benefits" to climate change? We have heard a lot of the cons, but what all good would (if any) come out of it, either for humanity, earth, other species, etc...?

AlexanderShunnarah

Mann: We used to think there might be modest benefits for agriculture in mid-latitude regions for modest warming because of longer growing seasons, but we’ve learned in recent years that any such benefits can easily be wiped out by extreme weather (think about the negative impact of recent droughts and heat waves in the U.S. and Europe on agricultural productivity in recent summers), so even that is called into question. The bottom line is that we are heavily adapted as a civilization in terms of our lifestyles, habit, infrastructure, etc. to the rather stable climate of the past 10,000 years during which modern civilization arose. Any dramatic changes in climate away from those conditions will be problematic. It isn’t the absolute warmth itself as much as the dramatic rate of warming and dramatic shift in climate that it is causing—shifts are too rapid for us or other living things to meaningfully adapt to.


Do you honestly belive that a march will make any kind of impact?

Unpopular_reason_2nd

Bullard: As someone who cut his teeth in the modern day civil rights movement in the 1960s, hell yes marches make a difference! The bigger the better. We must continue to use them in our arsenal of tools to fight for justice on all fronts. When the march is over we must go back home and continue to organize, mobilize, educate and convince others to join in the work on the ground. Building a mass mobilization movement is no sprint. It’s a marathon. It’s really a race that doesn’t exist—it’ a marathon relay. If you are serious, you run your 26 miles and pass the baton to the next person to run his or her 26. That’s how movements have changed this country and made it better for all.


Considering the momentum of CO2 production and how difficult it has been to implement any meaningful mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, do you guys thing it's time we seriously started discussing geoengineering methods as a mitigation to climate change? I understand there are risks associated with geoengineering but have the risks of the current state of climate change started to outweigh geoengineering risks?

Halcyon3k

Mann: You can read our chapter on Geoengineering in the Madhouse Effect for free here: https://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/excerpt--mann--madness.pdf

I suppose the title (“Geoengineering, or “What Could Possibly Go Wrong”) pretty much gives the game away...


What do race and social justice have to do with the science of climate? Shouldn't you be distancing such issues from science?

logical

Bullard: Your question goes to the heart of science policy—what we know about climate change, what populations and regions are most impacted, and what are we going to do about it. You may want to check out the National Climate Assessment report that examines climate vulnerability http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report . Clearly, all communities are not impacted equally by climate change. It is important that justice and equity concerns are considered when developing mitigation and adaptation plans (domestically and globally https://wess.un.org/) to address climate change. That’s why we have an environmental justice and climate justice movement. Historically, public policies to address environmental challenges have not been fair, just and equitable. That’s why many of us will be marching for environmental and climate justice on April 22 and April 29.


What do race and social justice have to do with the science of climate? Shouldn't you be distancing such issues from science?

logical

Achakulwisut: Not with the science of climate change, but with its causes and consequences. For me, I'll be marching for many reasons. One, to speak out against political ideologues and fossil fuel interests who have attacked climate science and scientists for decades - and still do. Two, to speak out against the injustice that today, low-income, marginalized, or indigenous communities are the ones disproportionately affected by pollution from the fossil fuel industry. Three, to speak out against the injustice that in the future, climate-related disasters will disproportionately affect people living in poverty and future generations.


Is there a simple bullet-point list of lifestyle changes people can make to lower their personal impact on climate change?

I find that people have very short attention spans and are not interested in spending a lot of time and effort getting the necessary information.

Soktee

Mann: [NOTE: This response also addresses at least one other question posted in the thread] There are many things we can do to lower our personal carbon footprint (drive more fuel efficient vehicle and/or walk/bike when possible—I drive a hybrid), recycle, reuuse, reduce, get your power from renewables (ours comes from wind), etc. And personal responsibility is definitely part of the solution. But it’ not the whole solution. If we are to solve this problem we need market mechanisms that will incentivize a shift away from reliance on planet-damaging fossil fuels to clean energy. Whether that is in the form of subsidies for renewables, a price on carbon, a combination of both—that’s a worthy topic of debate. But we can’t make these things happen ourselves. We need to hold our elected representatives accountable and make sure that they represent our interests rather than those of the fossil fuel interests that in many cases fund their campaigns. In short, we have to vote out the bad apples and vote in the good ones. We’ll have a major opportunity in the mid-term elections less than two years away.


Thank you for doing this! I wanted to understand what impact it may have on your credibility, reputation and work life if you're merging your realm of science with advocacy? I understand it's hard for any scientific work to be 100% objective, and I'm just wondering what impact any advocacy might have on the public perception and acceptance of your objectivity as scientists? I'm a climate activist in the Australian Youth Climate Coalition whilst studying towards a bachelor in Renewable Energy Engineering and Environmental Humanities

onegaishimasune

Mann: Too often we’r’e not careful enough about what we really mean by “advocacy”. Is it wrong, for example, to advocate for an informed and objective policy discourse that is based on the reality of the scientific evidence? A loaded question perhaps. My extended thoughts about the matter in the form of a New York Times op-ed I wrote a few years ago, “If You See Something, Say Something”: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/if-you-see-something-say-something.html


If we continued to ignore everything and keep doing what we're doing what would Earth look like in a hundred years?

Menial_Tasking

Mann: You needn’t ask me. Hollywood has already provided us that vision—in the form of the various dystopian films of the past few decades, starting with Soylent Green (yes—it was premised on human-caused climate change). Societal collapse is a likely consequence of business-as-usual burning of fossil fuels. But that doesn’t have to be our future. An alternative future is still possible. The choice is up to us. That’s part of what makes the upcoming marches so important. We need to raise awareness about just how urgent the challenge is.


I'm 17, am I welcome at the march or is it 18+ only?

cooplooper

Achakulwisut: You're definitely welcomed and will be in good company :) At the 2014 People's Climate March, I volunteered as a security marshal and had the privilege of leading and protecting the youth contingent who were at the front of the march. It's our future we're fighting for. Be sure to also check out the Youth Convergence on the day before the March - https://www.facebook.com/events/767241153438963/


While I fully appreciate what y'all are doing-and believe in it- I feel that your third bullet point spreads your message way past remit. While any climate change activism is admirable, just wondering why you brought racial/ immigrant policy into an AMA when, really, a government's climate policy should be criticised on its own merits, not as part of a broader, hashtag-grabber agenda. Thoughts appreciated.

Revayne

Achakulwisut: The third bullet point, "Immediately stop attacks on immigrants, communities of color, indigenous and tribal people and lands and workers," reflects the intersectionality of climate change. We're here to talk not just about climate science, but why we'll be marching at the People's Climate March. The causes and consequences of climate change don't happen in isolation. For example,

1) Construction of fossil fuel infrastructure often occurs by way of infringement of the rights of Indigenous or low-income, marginalized communities. One prominent example is the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.

2) Climate refugees. It's well recognised in the academic literature that climate impacts (e.g. disruption of food production and water supply, damage to infrastructure and settlements) will lead to displacement of millions of people. The Syrian refugee crisis is a case in point, where evidence suggests that water scarcity was one of many contributing factors to the conflict - http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WCAS-D-13-00059.1

3) Academic freedom. The Muslim ban prevented many scientists and students (including my friends of friends) from entering the US to attend scientific conferences or return to their universities.


Thanks for doing this AMA guys, I will be marching in DC on the 29th!

A.) If we lived in a country where scientific advancement and understanding wasn't stymied by politics and budget cuts, what would be the primary solutions we would be focusing on to stabilise our climate?

B.) Do you see alternative and clean energy as being the key to mitigating anthropogenic climate change? How necessary/realistic is it for average citizens to make drastic lifestyle changes in support if our climate?

DoubleR90

Achakulwisut: Thank you for joining us :) And I'm very glad to hear you'll also be joining us in DC on 4/29!

A) The primary solutions are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, and land use. Policy options include carbon pricing and cutting fossil fuel subsidies. A recent scientific study laid out one possible roadmap to achieve "rapid decarbonization" to stay below 2 degrees C of global warming. It's a daunting task - global CO2 emissions must peak no later than 2020, and reduce by 50% per decade for the next 30 years - http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/3/23/15028480/roadmap-paris-climate-goals

B) Yes, clean energy is vital. As citizens, we can and should do our part to minimize our individual carbon footprints (this article has some great suggestions - https://the-macroscope.org/so-what-can-i-do-bfd03e46974e ), and I think it's equally important to think beyond the individual level and take part in collective actions to push our governments and business leaders to do more.


Thanks for doing this AMA guys, I will be marching in DC on the 29th!

A.) If we lived in a country where scientific advancement and understanding wasn't stymied by politics and budget cuts, what would be the primary solutions we would be focusing on to stabilise our climate?

B.) Do you see alternative and clean energy as being the key to mitigating anthropogenic climate change? How necessary/realistic is it for average citizens to make drastic lifestyle changes in support if our climate?

DoubleR90

Mann: Thanks! If we were to follow science and reason, we’d be weaning ourselves off fossilized energy technology and embracing renewable energy big time. Thomas Edison stated in 1931: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy…I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that” (https://twitter.com/michaelemann/status/586278384809934848). How prescient he was, and how much further along we’d be had we embraced this philosophy decades ago.


What's one little thing you wish everyone on earth did tomorrow?

Stupidaussiewanker

Mann: I wish they would chose to talk to a friend, family member, loved one, classmate, coworker, etc. about climate change. The first step to solving this problem is to get a conversation going.


What's one little thing you wish everyone on earth did tomorrow?

Stupidaussiewanker

Achakulwisut: I'm going to cheat and answer with two. One, sign up to join the People's Climate March (https://peoplesclimate.org/#sign-up) on 4/29 in DC or in your local area, if you haven't already -- and bring at least two friends! Two, consider taking sustained, collective action, such as joining a local climate advocacy group. I believe this is necessary for such an urgent and systemic problem.

Each of us belong to different social constituents that can either support or challenge the status quo. Here are some inspirations:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/climatejourney/19-ways-you-can-work-for-climate-justice-1z3qx

https://grist.org/grist-50/2017/

http://www.ecowatch.com/bill-mckibben-climate-change-2041759425.html


With the earth's never-ending changing do you think that climate change was already happening and we are just giving it a bit of a boost, or are we fully to blame.

azzman0351

Mann: Was addressed further upthread. Natural factors (explosive cooling volcanoes and dip in solar output) were actually working to (slightly) cool the planet over the past century and we warmed in spite of that. The IPCC’s best estimate is that we’re actually responsible for ALL of the warming that has been seen in recent decades.


Simply put, do we have the powers necessary to combat climate change? I'm terrified of this issue and want some optimism in the face of such negative attitudes (especially on Reddit). Thanks!

dellaago0

Bullard: Yes, we have the power to combat climate change. The American people have a lot of power—when energized as a collective. The scientists have provided us with the evidence and facts. However, having the facts alone has never been sufficient to move public policy on big issues like climate change. It take facts and action—science, science policy, mass mobilization, media and mass education campaigns to pressure government officials to act. This is needed now more than ever before.


What do you feel about articles claiming scientific data from NASA has been skewed or modified from the raw data to "show a warming trend"?

Thanks for the AMA.

ldr5

Mann: These claims are little more than smears, intended to fool the public and justify an agenda of denial and inaction.

Here is my extended take on the latest incarnation of this denialist talking point: https://undark.org/article/climate-science-climategate-michael-mann/


Hello scientists, what are your thoughts on "carbon fee and dividend", which has been in the news recently as a "GOP proposal" that is favored by James Hansen?

kuhewa

Achakulwisut: As I'm not an expert in economics or policy, I'm going to direct you to other sources of information that have discussed this issue - the Union of Concerned Scientists has a great write-up here: http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/reduce-emissions/cap-trade-carbon-tax#.WPTzLGQrLLY


My job includes teaching kids, and as we all know they will ask questions about the march. What's a great child-friendly answer to "why are so many people marching in DC?"

Xevvie

Mann: Great question. I have an 11 year old daughter and have had to think about this myself. I would say that this march is to send a message that science is really important—modern society is fully reliant on the best science and technology available to meet all of the challenges that have to live both productively and sustainably on this planet.

Scientists are afraid that some politicians with great influence over governmental policies are no longer supportive of science or of scientists. That is really dangerous, and scientists feel they have a duty to speak out.


Thanks for doing this AMA. What solutions for the climate crisis are rooted in racial justice?

TheyMightBeTrolls

Bullard: Historically, it is clear that the populations in the U.S. and nations around the world that contributed least to climate change will feel the pain first, worst and longest. Globally, this alone makes climate change a justice and human rights issue. In the United States, the geography of climate vulnerability tracks closely with both income and race. This is easily mapped by census tract and zip code. Today, zip code is the best predictor of health and well-being. All zip codes are not created qual. The nation is largely segregated by race and income. Thus, real solutions—mitigation and adaptations plan and plans for building community resilience—to addressing climate change “hot-spots” must address social vulnerabilities created by longstanding institutional barriers, including the legacy of residential segregation, and housing discrimination and discriminatory land use planning.


Hello! I'm a big fan, and thank you for doing this AMA. My question is for all three of you: the House Science Committee has jurisdiction over EPA, NOAA, NASA, NSF—agencies that support climate change research—yet people are often surprised to hear that more than a few House Science members reject mainstream scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change and its serious effects. Rep. Andy Biggs and Rep. Jim Banks even go so far as to reject evidence of climate change altogether. What are specific actions that we as scientists, science-supporters, and voters can do to help swing that committee around to consist of members that debate bipartisan policy instead of the science?

AltHouseScience

Bullard: We have to keep providing the scientific evidence and facts to the general public even if the anti-science members closed their eyes and plug their ears. I am confident in the end, truth will crush a lie.


Since we know the President is going to attack this march like all the others, lets get this question answered right away:

Who is paying for this march? Where did the funds/fundraising come from?

Flam5

Achakulwisut: I'm afraid I don't know the specifics but I believe the funding is from a variety of sources, including foundations, grants, grassroots fundraising, t-shirt sales, and contributions from advocacy groups involved (such as the Sierra Club, NRDC, USCAN, SEIU).


Knowing that our love of meat is a driving contributor to climate change do you feel that veggie friendly imitation meat or lab grown is the best way forward in reducing our emissions?

servonos89

Achakulwisut: It will definitely help to reduce our emissions from agriculture and I hope people will embrace this alternative. I'm excited to try The Good Food Institute's "Impossible Burger"!


Would a carbon tax be an effective policy in the US? Why or why not?

Phynoh

Achakulwisut: As I'm not an expert in economics or policy, I'm going to direct you to other sources of information that have discussed this issue - the Union of Concerned Scientists has a great write-up here: http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/reduce-emissions/cap-trade-carbon-tax#.WPTzLGQrLLY


What advice do you have for a young scientist given the imminent threat of climate change?

jrs1029

Achakulwisut: In the words of my advisor, keep doing your best work as a scientist and your best activism as a citizen.


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