Scientist talks about future hope for climate change

By Hayley Jacobson

Climate change is real and affects us all, but we still have time to reverse it, a noted climate scientist said Wednesday night.

Katharine Hayhoe talks about talking about climate change at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as part of the 76th annual Forum Series. © 2019 Hayley Jacobson

“Global warming is one symptom… global weirding is more accurate” said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist who holds a doctorate degree in atmospheric science.

Hayhoe gave her speech “Forecasting Our Future: A Conversation About Climate Change and Extreme Weather,” Wednesday in Schofield auditorium on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus, during a blizzard.

Two hundred and fifty people came out to the campus to hear Hayhoe speak.

Hayhoe received a Master of Science degree from the University of Illinois in atmospheric science. Originally she received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and astronomy at the University of Toronto, but went on to gain the masters degree after taking a course in climate science out of curiosity her website states.

Hayhoe now lives in Texas where she works at Texas Tech University as the director of the Climate Science Center. She also teaches in the department of political science.

Hayhoe’s current work is focusing on establishing a scientific basis for assessing regional to local scale impact of climate change on human systems and natural environment, according to her website.

While people do tend to remember certain weather events, “We don’t often understand climate” said Hayhoe.

She went on to talk about how one cold day, week or even year does not disprove the vast amount of damage already done by climate change. In fact, it only strengthens the argument that it is, in fact, happening, Hayhoe said.

Some specific solutions Hayhoe talked about were clean energy sources, what other countries are currently doing to reduce their carbon footprints, and how communities can work together to create a working goal they can reasonably achieve.

The greatest thing one could do, Hayhoe said as her overall point, is talk to others about climate change.

After the speech, one audience member had his own ideas on what Hayhoe discussed.

“It was impressive how comprehensive it was” said Orion Allgaier, an environmental health major at UW Eau Claire, about Hayhoe’s presentation.

Allgaier attended the forum both out of interest and respect for Hayhoe, and for extra credit in his environmental science class. The speech inspired him, he said.

“… under the new administration it could be done. Eau Claire county is already hoping to be carbon neutral by 2025,” Allgaier said

Hayhoe ended her presentation by stating what the individual could do to help reverse climate change. She gave examples of different types of recycling, and how to connect to others in the community on a basic level to help them understand as well.

The 76th annual The Forum: We Bring the World to You series concluded immediately following Hayhoe’s speech with a public meet and greet for those who wanted to speak with her. This is the end of the forum year. The Forum series will resume next academic year.

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