Trump and Paris Accord: Baylor Climate Expert Explains "Catastrophic" Significance of Rising TemperaturesJune 2, 20172 min read
On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would abandon the Paris climate accord. During his speech, Trump cited disputed numbers showing that the accord would result in a minimal change in temperature over time.
Daniel Peppe, Ph.D., associate professor of geosciences in Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences, studies ancient terrestrial ecosystems and how they have been influenced by environmental perturbations, such as long- and short-term climate change events. He works to recreate those ecosystems.
Peppe argues that one goal of the Paris accord -- developing a strategy to keep the average increase in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels -- is integral to warding off future disaster.
"The Paris Agreement represents a really significant moment in history in which the countries of the world agreed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions was fundamentally important to help reduce the most significant effects of climate change around the world. The agreement developed a strategy to keep the average increase in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Crossing that threshold of temperature increase is likely the point where warming will push the Earth to a climate state that last existed millions of years ago -- one that is fundamentally different from today. Reconstructions of climate, the Earth, and its biota from the last time Earth was in a similar climate state indicate that sea level was dramatically higher, which would mean that many major cities around the world would be flooded; and many places on Earth were hotter and drier and the distributions of plants and animals on the landscape were very significantly different, which would have catastrophic effects on modern agriculture, water use and society."
Daniel Peppe, Ph.D. Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director Department of Geosciences
Daniel Peppe's research focuses on understanding how plant and animal communities respond to changes in climate through Earth history.