About 100 students attend panel on climate change

To inform students on the specific science behind Earth’s changing climate, William Meddaugh, professor of geoscience, hosted a lecture discussing the topic in Bolin Room 100 on Nov. 9 as a part of the geoscience department’s colloquium.

Each semester, the geoscience department hosts three lectures, all discussing different topics in geology.

Meddaugh said, “It is something we do to provide students, obviously within program and anyone else on campus, an opportunity to hear things from different people to give an idea of what is going on.”

For his lecture, Meddaugh wanted to discuss the science behind climate change without any political factors. He started his talk with a definition of what science is, what affects Earth’s climate, the different climate cycles that have occurred in Earth’s history, how humans have effected the earth’s climate and the implications for how the climate will change within the next 50-100 years.

“Climate change is a subject that is very much in the news, and what is in the news is not necessarily science-based,” Meddaugh said. “My intent was to come at it purely from a science perspective, to leave the politics out and focus solely on the science.”

According to Meddaugh, regardless of where people stand politically, religiously and with their differing ideologies, the science points to human activity being a significant source in Earth’s changing climate.

“If you look at the population as a whole, you can see different groups based on their political ideology, based on their religious associations and so on have very different perspectives,” Meddaugh said. “And within the scientific community, it has been widely debated now for several decades. And given that debate, it comes down to: yes there are things that we are doing that have the potential to change the climate.”

About 100 students attended the event. Nick Lanier, marketing freshman, said it affirmed this prior knowledge about climate changed and gave him more information about the subject.

“I believed in climate change and the talk made me believe in it even more,” Lanier said. “It put it [climate change] more into perspective because it showed how important to society the problem is and how much the climate is changing. He got his point across and informed me and I’m sure he informed others.”

Nick Vossen, finance freshman, said how Meddaugh’s lecture cleared the air on whether climate change is caused by human activity or by Earth’s natural climate cycles.

“I have heard it both ways in which the changing climate could be cyclical, but at the end he proved that a lot of it is because of humans,” Vossen said. “He put it together in the geologic past that is has been cyclical but right now this major spike is mainly just because human activity.”

Vossen also said Meddaugh’s talk has peaked his interest in going to another geoscience lecture.

“Dr. Meddaugh’s talk on climate change was the most interesting to me so I think I would go to something like it again,” Vossen said.