On Dec. 9, Dr. Richard Somerville, professor emeritus and research professor for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, visited PLNU’s campus to present at a Perspectives on Science seminar.
Founded in 1998, Perspectives on Science (POS) is a monthly seminar series hosted by PLNU’s biology department to gather local science teachers and scientists to discuss recent developments in various topics of science. Each POS event consists of a formal seminar presentation by a guest scientist, typically focusing on recent developments in his or her area of expertise, followed by a Q&A session, and finally, a sit-down dinner where teachers are able to informally discuss concepts of the seminar and how they can be incorporated into their classrooms.
Beyond his professorship, Dr. Somerville is a climate scientist and author of the popular book, The Forgiving Air: Understanding Environmental Change. Throughout his career, he has trained schoolteachers, testified before the United States Congress, briefed United Nations climate change negotiators, and also advised government agencies—just to name a few. Somerville retired in 2007, but still remains active in research, education, and outreach.
At the POS seminar, Dr. Somerville presented a compelling lecture entitled “What Should You Believe About Climate Change, and Why?” A total of 93 people attended this event to hear Somerville’s perspective on the sensitive topic of climate change.
In his lecture, Somerville covered various supporting arguments to prove that climate change exists and that the increase in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is due to human activity. He also claimed that there is no proven way to economically remove carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere on a large scale.
“To limit damage, we must switch away from fossil fuels and reduce the rate at which we are putting carbon emissions into the atmosphere,” said Somerville.
To reduce the severity of climate change, Somerville stated how important it is to focus our efforts on renewable energy and conservation. He also mentioned that our window of opportunity to change the patterns of climate change will end soon and that the decisions we make now will determine our future.
To learn more about Perspectives on Science and to check out upcoming guest scientists, please click here.