Global warming: What you need to know, what people actually know, and how to bridge the gap

Colloquium | October 22 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 1215 Berkeley Way West

 David Romps, Physical Sciences and the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center, UC Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

 Graduate School of Education

Abstract. Global warming is the most urgent issue of our time: coal, oil, and gas are being burned at an all-time record rate; as a result, the air that we breathe is filling up with carbon dioxide faster than ever before; in response, the Earth is heating rapidly; and both the carbon-dioxide pollution and the associated heating are permanent on any timescale of human interest. How well have these basic facts been communicated? Judging by the public's understanding of climate science, not well at all. There is a huge gap between what the public needs to know and what they actually know. Closing that gap will require climate scientists, cognitive scientists, educators, and others to collaborate on effective climate-science education.

About the speaker. David M. Romps is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Chair in the Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley and the Director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center. Prof. Romps focuses on the fundamental physics of climate, and on educating students and the public about global warming. He received a B.S. in math and a B.S./M.S. in physics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. Motivated by concerns about climate change, he left the field of string theory to work on climate policy with John Holdren, President Obama's science advisor, and on atmospheric dynamics at Harvard's Center for the Environment. He joined the Department of Earth and Planetary Science in 2011 and holds an appointment as a Faculty Scientist in the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.