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Free online lectures: Explore a world of ideas

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Climate Change

This ever-growing collection of lectures is curated around the political and public debate regarding climate change and the ideas our scientists and thought leaders have for taking action in response. Options change as we learn more and as political attitudes evolve. Here you will find an archive of ideas from mitigation to reducing emissions; adaptation to damage already caused by global warming and extreme weather events; thoughtful ideas from the Design community and opinions from climate change activists.

Learn more about the Kyoto Protocol, (1997) signed by most countries and aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the latest on The Paris Agreement (2015), including which countries have ratified its principals.

Related Collections from NPR and PBS: NPR Special Series: Global Warming NOVA & FRONTLINE: What’s Up with the Weather?

Image credit: Map “2030 Coastal Flood Depth” courtesy of Boston Harbor Now

  • The major ocean currents strongly influence regional climate stability. Today’s rapidly warming oceans will ultimately alter major currents such as the AMOC, with huge consequences for global climate. In order to predict when and where these climate shifts will occur, oceanographers gather data over a long period of time and compare that data with historical variations in ocean temperature and currents. Hali Kilbourne’s focus on 2000 years of the relationship between oceans and climate provides important data for accurate climate models.
    In this discussion Dr. Kilbourne describes how scientists collect and analyze the data, and what oceanographers can predict regarding sea level changes, stability of major currents and the coming impact on global climate.

    Science for the Public
  • Clouds are an essential component of the climate. In normal circumstances, they stabilize Earth’s temperature, both by preserving the planet’s heat like a blanket and blocking excess solar radiation. But with prolonged accumulation of atmospheric CO2, the planet overheats, leading to dramatic effects, including massive wildfires –which release particles called “biomass aerosols.” Those particles seed clouds that affect the climate. In this program, Dr. Cziczo explains how these clouds form and why the excess of biomass particles concern climate scientists.
    Science for the Public
  • Earth Commission, the prestigious international group of scientists, recently published a study that is receiving a great deal of attention. The study in Nature Journal indicates that we have now breached most of the Earth system boundaries that include climate, biodiversity, fresh water, soil and air. Millions of people have already been displaced, worldwide health is threatened, extinctions are accelerating, ecosystems are being destroyed. The authors emphasize two things: (1) that urgent action is required to save the planet; and (2) action must include justice for the masses who are suffering the results of global destruction.
    Science for the Public
  • “And as the summer unfolded, it became evident that it’s not just smoke, and not just Canada. This has been the summer from climate hell all across the Earth, when it ceased being possible to escape or deny what we have done to our planet and ourselves” says Professor Michael Flannigan, of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, who has been studying the interaction of fire and climate for over 35 years. “Temperatures are rising at the rate we thought they would, but the effects are more severe, more frequent, more critical. It’s crazy and getting crazier.” NYT August 23, ’23

    Following the most bizarre climatic summer on record, Cambridge Forum starts its new season by considering what our uncertain future holds, in a new series: “Living on Borrowed Time”. In this first program, Cambridge Forum talks to Jeff Goodell, NY bestselling author and contributing editor at Rolling Stone; and Dr. Mike Flannigan, Research Chair for Predictive Services, Emergency Management and Fire Science at Thompson Rivers University and the Scientific Director of the Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science.

    Goodell has covered climate change for more than two decades for Rolling Stone. His latest book, “The Heat will Kill You First” presents a searing examination of the impact that rising temperatures will have on our lives and on our planet.

    Dr. Flannigan has been studying fire and weather/climate interactions including the potential impact of climatic change and lightning-ignited forest fires for over 40 years.

    Join this important discussion in our Zoom webinar and don’t forget to tell your friends – your future may depend upon it.
    Cambridge Forum
  • What might optimistic—yet realistic—scenarios for New England’s climate future look like? As our summers get hotter, storms get stronger, sea levels rise and other consequences become more apparent, climate change is top of mind. Hear from a panel of three renowned climate experts on their transformational visions for New England – and reasons for hope.

    Discover the specific impacts that may affect New England the most, and how we can rise to meet these challenges. This inspiring evening will leave you with an understanding of not only the threats but the positive actions that can help our communities, region and nation address climate change.

    Learn what you as an individual can do, how to talk with your children about the climate future and how to discuss climate solutions with your neighbors, relatives and friends – even the skeptical ones– in a productive and empowering way.

    This event was presented with support from Museum of Science.
    GBH Events