Archive for June, 2010

Public Perception and Science of Climate Change

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Robert McGrath

Robert McGrath moved to Charlottesville in 2007 after retiring from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. For almost a decade before retirement he held concurrent positions as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and also Vice President for Brookhaven National Laboratory Affairs. He is Professor of Physics Emeritus. He did accelerator-based nuclear physics research for most of his academic career. In retirement he has adopted climate change as an avocation, and has studied broadly both the modern scientific literature and literature and/or missives affecting how the public perceives the science. He is a member of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.  Mr McGrath spoke at our May 9, 2010 meeting.  The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Sue Liberman.

icon for podpress Standard Podcast [1:16m]  — Watch PowerPoint while listening (click to download 3MB).

Mainstream climate scientists argue humans must make dramatic reductions in the use of fossil fuels to avoid catastrophic changes to the environment. Calls for action have been out there for decades, but only relatively minor changes in energy practices have actually occurred. Polls suggest the majority of Americans are not convinced strong action is needed. Mr. McGrath reviewed the status of discussion about climate change, presented some simple facts about modeling climate, discussed the IPCC predictions about what the world is looking at for the 21st century, lamented some of the hyperbole and silliness surrounding climate change, and pleaded for the serious debate the subject deserves.