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Human-caused climate change is arguably the greatest threat we face as a civilization. Efforts to attack and deny the scientific evidence have constituted a major impediment to action over the past two decades. At a time when we appear to be moving past outright denial of the problem, another obstacle has emerged on the scene: Doomist framing that exaggerates the threat in such a way as to make catastrophic changes seem unavoidable. Such framing can lead us down the very same path of inaction as outright denial of the problem. It is important to recognize while there is great urgency in acting, there is also agency. There is still time to for us to avert the worst impacts of climate change if we act now and we act boldly. There is importance of emphasizing both urgency AND agency in the climate battle.
Join Perry World House for this conversation with renowned climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, part of the University of Pennsylvania’s annual Climate Week.
Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He has received many honors and awards, including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. Additionally, he contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. More recently, he received the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. In 2019 he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2020 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.