How Can We Have A Civil Discussion About Climate Change? Start With 'Observation,' Baylor Expert SaysOctober 11, 20172 min read
These days, it doesn’t take much to turn a civil conversation into a full-blown catastrophe. Just mention the words “climate change” and feathers can start to ruffle.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Dan Peppe, Ph.D., climate change expert and associate professor of geosciences at Baylor University. His research focuses on understanding how plant and animal communities have responded to changes in climate throughout Earth’s history.
“Climate change is a fundamentally important issue to our society and is vital for us to have open and honest discussions about it and its potential impacts,” Peppe said.
He said the best place to start such a dialogue is with scientific observation. Have a discussion about increases in temperature, he said. Understand what scientists are saying about those temperature changes and their effects.
The trick to keeping this cordial? Keep politics out.
“All of this conversation is a scientific one based on observation, and as such, shouldn't be a political one,” he said. “Once that baseline is established, we can then begin a conversation of the many possible ways to address those risks.”
Peppe said there is often more than one solution to issues of climate change, but people need to listen to each other.
“Hopefully there can be a respectful and civil conversation around those potential solutions,” he said.
As part of Earth Science Week, Peppe is taking part in the Earth Science Symposium at The Mayborn Museum in Waco, Texas, where he will moderate a panel discussion on climate change. Panelists will discuss the science of climate change, the risks associated with it, and some of the potential solutions.
“We hope that this will be a really productive discussion, and one in which the audience can participate,” Peppe said.
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.