Climate Change Expert to Discuss Grim Global Warming Predictions

On the day Americans elect a new president one of the nation’s leading climate change experts will speak at the University of Houston and outline the daunting global warming challenges awaiting the next administration.

Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Co. will discuss evidence of man-made global warming at a colloquium Nov. 4. Dramatic global efforts to reduce carbon emissions are necessary, he will contend, but even then it will take decades to reverse the warming trend.

Trenberth, a lead author of global warming reports issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will be hosted by UH’s physics department.

The lecture begins at 4 p.m. in Room 102 of the Science and Engineering Classroom Building.

“Trenberth knows the climate data better than anyone I’ve heard, and he’ll give a very sober, balanced assessment,” said Larry Pinsky, physics department chair. “He’ll gain the respect of everyone, whether they agree with him or not.”

The global warming debate can be fraught with political agendas, Pinsky said, but Trenberth will present an accessible but scientific and evidence-based lecture that everyone interested in climate change will want to listen to.

Trenberth also will take questions from the audience.

After meeting Trenberth at a conference earlier this year, Pinsky thought he would be the ideal person to stimulate a thoughtful, scientific discussion about global warming.

The evidence is clear that the planet’s temperatures are rising and the culprit is the burning of fossil fuels, Trenberth contends. Warming will continue and because of the long lead time of carbon emission policies, action is needed now to stave off serious devastating consequences in the coming decades.

“Adaptation to the coming changes must occur and the question is how much of the climate change impact will lead to loss of life and strife and how much will be planned and managed?” Trenberth wrote in an abstract for the upcoming lecture. “Our planet is potentially changing into one that will not be recognizable in 50 years and beyond.”

What: Global Warming Colloquium

When: 4 p.m., Tuesday Nov. 4

Where: Science and Engineering Classroom Building, Rm. 102 (link to campus map)

Who: Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at National Center for Atmospheric Research