Texas Tech Scientist Available to Discuss Climate Change Concerns Relevant to COP 15 Conference

Katharine Hayhoe is available to discuss consequences of unchecked climate change for the United States and information directly relevant to international climate treaty discussions taking place.

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) continues through Dec. 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark, a prominent climate researcher at Texas Tech University is available to discuss consequences of unchecked climate change for the United States and information directly relevant to international climate treaty discussions taking place. Katharine Hayhoe, a National Academy of Sciences committee member on greenhouse gas stabilization targets and co-author of “A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions,” is a research associate professor in the Department of Geosciences. She can discuss climatic and economic questions related to global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. Also, she can provide answers to common questions, such as “how do we know global warming is even occurring,” and “how do we know humans are causing global warming, not the sun or natural cycles of the Earth?” “Climate change is one of the major issues facing us today,” Hayhoe said. “It is encouraging to see global leaders discussing the ways climate change may affect us and how we can contribute toward a solution.” To avoid the most severe effects of climate change, the world must stabilize the concentration of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere at no more than 450 parts per million by 2050, she said. This 450-parts-per-million limit aims to avoid a temperature increase exceeding 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit in a global average temperature above pre-industrial levels – a temperature-change benchmark which work by Hayhoe and other scientists indicates could wreak increasing havoc on the environment as it is exceeded. “If we wait until 2020 to start emission reductions, we’ll have to cut twice as fast than if we start in 2010 to meet the same target,” she said. Hayhoe has authored a number of studies that examine how climate change will affect the planet, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s 2009 report on climate impacts in the United States. Her work has been featured in more than 200 newspapers and media outlets around the world, including USA Today, the BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. Hayhoe also contributed to the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. CONTACT: Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor, Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 392-1900, or katharine.hayhoe@ttu.edu.