7 Minutes on Climate Change Basics Q&As

AMS’s Paul Higgins offers concise seven-minute video tutorial addressing fundamental climate change questions, providing a useful resource for communicators and educators.

One can spend quite some time searching for needles in the haystack of climate change information, particularly to find answers to a few basic questions. Alternatively, consider turning to a concise video in which the American Meteorological Society’s Paul Higgins provides answers to key questions:

* Is climate changing?
* Are people causing climate change?
* How serious are the risks?
* How solid is the science?
* What can we do?

Get the nutshell-version of answers through the seven-minute “Basics of Climate Change” video featuring Higgins, associate director of AMS’s Policy Program. The video was assembled by AMS from a segment of the “24 Hours of Reality” series, an effort of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

With much of his current work focused on explaining climate risks to general audiences, Higgins begins answering the “Is climate changing?” question by saying: “Think of it this way: if you feel heat, smell smoke, hear a fire alarm, and see flames, you can be that much more certain there’s a fire because you have four independent lines of evidence. We have this that climate is changing as well.” He continues on with the “lines of evidence” for climate change.

Are people causing climate change? How serious are the risks? Higgins gives each a roughly 90-second plain-English response. And in about one minute, he answers the fourth question — How solid is the science?

“How clear the science is depends a little bit on which particular aspect of the science you’re talking about,” he says, but the basics “are well established.”

In terms of potential policy responses, Higgins points to a need for both mitigation and adaptation, calling for society to “build our adaptive capacity.”

He doesn’t duck the carbon pricing issue: “The over-arching piece of it is to put a price on our greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a basic economic conclusion that if you want less of something, you almost certainly have to increase the price of those activities that cause it.”

Take seven minutes and see and hear all his answers.

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