Tag Archives: Talk

Mark Seeley and Mark Kulda: Climate Change Costs You Money

A while back I reviewed “Climate Change: What Everyone Needs To Know” by Joe Romm (see my review here). In that book Romm provides useful advice to help people understand the impact of climate change on them, on various aspects of their lives. For example, many people choose to retire to a specific habitat and a specific geographical location. You might want to know if a real estate investment you make now will be negatively affected when the state you move to becomes inundated by the sea or too hot to live in. Sure, you’re near retirement age so you are going to die soon anyway. But, will you die soon enough? What about the fact that you are squandering your family loot on future tepid swampland? Maybe you better think about what you are doing…

For those of you in the Twin Cities, especially in Minneapolis and its western suburbs, come on over to Maple Grove on February 27th at 7:00 PM to meet Dr. Mark Seeley, UMN climatologist and frequent guest commenter on public radio, and Mark Kudla of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.

The presentation is called “Climate Change: Costing You Money.”

This will be at the Main Street Meeting Room of the Maple Grove Library. That’s just north of Maple Grove Dale, just south of Weaver Lake Road. You take Main Street south of Weaver Lake, or from The Dale, north from Elm Creek Blvd by the Buca di Beppo and Wild Bills, and there you’ll find the library tucked demurely behind the community center on the west side of the road.

See you there!

Talk on Climate Change and Religion

April 27th, I’ll be giving a talk hosted by Minnesota Atheists at the Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Dr, Maplewood, Minnesota. Details are here.


You may attend any part of the meeting you wish, here’s the schedule:

1:00-1:15 p.m. – Social Time
1:15-1:45 p.m. – Business Meeting
1:45-2:00 p.m. – Break
2:00-3:30 p.m. – Talk by Greg Laden
4:00-whenever – Dinner at Pizza Ranch (1845 County Road D East, Maplewood MN)

This will be a talk about climate change focusing on current and challenging research questions that everyone needs to know about, as well as the relationship between climate change and religion.

Most of the important events in the Bible are linked to climate change. Genesis describes the creation of a planet with a rapidly changing climate. Noah helped all the animals and his family escape an epic case of sea level rise. We can guess that the seven years of lean following the seven years of abundance associated with the early days of the sons of Israel were a climate effect. The plagues and some of the other major events were a form of “weather whiplash.” Indeed, during the days of Moses, wildfires may have been more common, given the number of burning bushes reported for the time!

After all this you would think that mainstream Abrahamic religion would be on the forefront of climate change. And, since humans were in one way or another responsible for most of those Biblical events, one would expect to see widespread acceptance of Anthropogenic Global Warming in religious communities. The reality, however, is more complex than that.

There is a reason that the National Center for Science Education addresses both evolution and climate change curriculum in public schools. But don’t expect the link to be simple or straightforward. Historically, there has been almost as much denial of climate science from the secular community as from the religious community, a situation that has been changing only in recent years. We’ll look at the links, some overt, some more subtle, between efforts lead by the religious right to damage science education and parallel efforts to deny climate science, as well as efforts by Christian fundamentalists to support climate change science.

This talk will also address the most current thinking–in some cases rapidly changing thinking–about climate change. In particular, how does global warming affect weather extremes? Are the California Drought, recent major floods, and the recent visitation of the Polar Vortex acts of a vengeful god, random events, or the effects of climate change? While climate science is not sure, these are probably the result of one of the last two. And, increasingly, thinking among climate scientists is leaning strongly towards the global warming – weather whiplash link.

Another area of concern, and timely given that summer is (supposedly) on the way, is the problem of sea level rise caused by melting large masses of ice currently trapped in glaciers. Sea level rise is one of the issues many feel has not been adequately addressed by the well known IPCC, partly because of the discordance between the timing of important research and the production cycle of the IPCC reports.

Greg Laden writes about climate change, evolution, science education, and other topics at National Geographic Science Blogs and other venues. He is a trained biological anthropologist and archaeologist who has taught at several colleges and universities. Today he mostly engages in climate-change-related science communication. He has done a number of interviews and talks on these various topics for Minnesota Atheists and other groups in the area.

I’m Giving A Talk On The Global and Local Impacts of Climate Change

Please join us. It will be at the West Metro Critical Thinking Club on Saturday, December 28, 2013, at 10:00 AM at the RidgePointe Senior Apartments on 12600 Marion Ln. W, Minnetonka, MN.

I know these people. This will be a tough audience. This is a well educated and thoughtful group. Also, there are many climate skeptics in the group, and a talk given last September that questioned the strength of the evidence for Global Warming was well received. So, this is going to be interesting and fun!

Here’s the writeup for the talk, and more info can be found HERE:


The Global and Local Impacts of Climate Change

Anthropogenic climate change, also known as “Global Warming,” has emerged as a significant reality affecting societies and economies around the world and at home. In this talk we’ll examine the contentious questions of changes in weather patterns and sea level rise. Both of these effects of warming have already had impacts and these impacts are expected to increase in the future. What does the science say about “weather whiplash,” severe storms, and the rise of seas in the near and longer term future, how certain are we of what may happen, and how severe might these impacts be?

Greg Laden is a science communicator and teacher who has studied the relationship between human evolution and ecology, climate change during the Holocene, and African and North American prehistory. He has addressed, mostly through his writing on National Geographic Scienceblogs, the science of climate change, and has presented several talks and workshops on this issue. He is currently teaching at Century College and is writing two books, one on fieldwork in the Congo and the other, a novel, on life in the upper Midwest and Plains in a post-climate change world. He strongly hopes that the novel remains fiction rather than prediction. Greg lives with his wife and two children in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

I’m purposefully not going to address the following things beyond a brief mention:

  • Atmospheric CO2 has increased and this increase is because of the burning of fossil fuels by humans.
  • <li>This change in the chemistry of the atmosphere has caused the warming of the atmosphere and oceans in accord with expectations from the physical science, and continues apace.</li></ul>

    These are facts so well established by science that I don’t need to drive across town to tell them to people. Within that second fact is the question of the so-called “Hiatus” and I’ll address that briefly but really, it is just a Fox News meme and need not demand the energy and time of this thoughtful group of well educated people.

    Sea level, storms, and weird weather, on the other hand, are a different thing. There are aspects of this feature of climate change that climate scientists argue about among themselves, and the there are differences between what the IPCC officially said in its recently released report and what many groups of mainstream climate scientists say. The differences are not deep or huge … we are not talking about science denialism here. But there is uncertainty and we are approaching new territory. This makes the science interesting, and the potential consequences of climate change make it important.

    See you on December 28th, come hell or high water. As it were.