3 of My Favorite Talks on Climate Science

There has been a lot of noise about the Paris Climate Agreement and what it means for the future. I’m not going to comment on the policy, but I would like to focus on the science. Folks on all sides of the political spectrum feel compelled to opine on what the science says. Many are unable to back their assertions up with actual literacy. Some people are genuinely curious about the subject, and a lot of folks just don’t know where to look for good scientific sources.

Unfortunately, good science sources are not always easy to come by. Most mainstream media outlets have pretty bad records on science reporting – not just climate, but any topic. Political media and tabloids are obviously worse.

I wanted to share a few videos that:

1) Are delivered by people with genuine subject expertise.
2) Represent the mainstream of the science.
3) Don’t shy away from the uncertainties and complexity of the subject matter.
4) Are really frigging interesting.

It’s a lot of material, but well worth your time.

1. Kerry Emanuel (atmospheric physicist at MIT): “What We Know About Climate Change”

If you watch no other video on the subject. This is the place to start. I think Kerry Emanuel’s talk is the best bird’s eye view of the subject.


2. Richard Alley (Paleoclimatologist, Penn): 4.6 Billion Years of Earth’s Climate History

One common trope about the earth’s climate is that “the climate has always been changing”.  True though it is, this is not a scientific sentiment. Science is more than just the observation of things that happen. Science seeks to understand those things. A big part of the scientific understanding of man-made climate change is informed by a growing body of knowledge explaining what caused major climatic shifts in times past. This is the best overview on the subject.

3. Stephen Schneider (Climate Physicist, Stanford)
Global Warming: Is the Science Settled Enough for Policy

Stephen Schneider was one of climatology’s great philosopher statesmen. Much of his work focused on the intersection of science and risk management. This talk is the best on the subject of uncertainty and risk.


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