Climate scientist visits Appalachian to discuss the Challenges and Benefits of Mitigating Climate Change

Dr. Drew T. Shindell, a climate scientist and a co-author of the recent publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which dealt with the issue of the effects of 1.5C warming will be giving two talks at Appalachian State University on Friday, April 12, 2019 open to the campus and community.

The first, which will be general and non-technical, titled “Challenges and Benefits of Mitigating Climate Change” will take place in Rankin Science West, room 293 from 1 - 2 p.m. on Friday, April 12. Shindell will discuss the transitions necessary to achieve climate targets, and in particular how they are not only challenging, but if accomplished, could do much more than mitigate climate change, such as leading to improved public health, increased labor productivity, improved crop yields, increased solar power capacity and many other benefits.

The second, more technical talk, titled “Evaluating Broad Impacts of Emissions with a Focus on Methane” will take place in Garwood Hall, room 150 from 4 - 5 p.m.

Methane emissions contribute to global warming, damage public health and reduce the yield of agricultural and forest ecosystems. Quantifying these damages to the planetary commons by calculating the social cost of methane (SCM) facilitates more comprehensive cost-benefit analyses of methane emissions control measures and is the first step to potentially incorporating them into the marketplace. Incorporating social costs, renewables compare far better against use of natural gas in electricity generation. In the agricultural sector, changes in livestock management practices, promoting healthy diets including reduced beef and dairy consumption and reductions in food waste have been promoted as ways to mitigate emissions, and these are shown to indeed have the potential to provide large societal benefits (~$50-150 billion yr-1). His findings indicate that efforts to reduce methane emissions via policies spanning a wide range of technical, regulatory and behavioural options provide benefits at little or negative net cost.

Shindell is a Professor of Climate Sciences at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Previously he was a scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and taught atmospheric chemistry at Columbia University. His research concerns natural and human drivers of climate change, linkages between air quality and climate change, and the interface between climate change science and policy. He has been an author on more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and received awards from Scientific American, NASA, the EPA and the NSF.

He has testified on climate issues before both houses of the U.S. Congress, the UNFCCC and the World Bank, developed a climate change course with the American Museum of Natural History and made numerous appearances in newspapers, radio and TV as part of his public outreach efforts. He chaired the 2011 Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone produced by the United Nations Environment Programme and World Meteorological Organization, was a Coordinating Lead Author on the 2013 Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and chairs the Scientific Advisory Panel to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition of nations, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.


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Dr. Drew Shinell, Duke University, headshot
Published: Apr 4, 2019 12:00pm