Expanded Description: Classes will rely on handouts of recent media publications and reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, issued just prior to the 26th Convention of Parties, held in Glasgow, Scotland, in the fall of 2021. Use will be made of videos made recently on climate change issues, including the recent one entitled, “Earth Emergency,” produced by PBS. No text is available now that covers tipping points; if one is published before the commencement of this course, it will be added to the materials used. The course will be conducted in seminar format, with focus on unresolved or disputed findings on climate tipping points.
Session 1: Climate change orientation. History of global efforts to obtain governmental and corporate commitments to meet targets agreed to in the 2015 Paris Accords. Principal sources of greenhouse gases.
Session 2: Collapse of Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier; other ice shelves and glaciers on the continent with accelerated movement and danger of collapse; consequences of collapses. (Possible guest speaker: Professor Emeritus Robert Jacobel, St. Olaf)
Session 3: Melting of the ice cover on the Arctic Ocean; effects on adjacent landmasses.
Session 4: Melting of Greenland’s glaciers, focusing on the Jakobshavn glacier, the largest on Greenland’s west coast; retreat of glaciers in the Andes, Alps, Himalayas and Rockies.
Session 5: Reduced periods of snow cover as air temperatures warm over the northern hemisphere. Melting of the permafrost layer, which covers 65 percent of Russia and 60 percent of Canada.
Session 6: Conversion of tropical forests to savannah, croplands and deserts—from net carbon absorbers to net carbon emitters. The increase in desertification due to drought in the Kalahari, Sahel, the Amazon and Malaysia.
Session 7: Rising air temperatures followed by rising sea levels; populations at risk in the Hwang Ho river valley of China, the Mekong delta of Vietnam, Bangladesh, the Gulf of Mexico, and western Siberia. Increased frequency of hurricanes and typhoons.
Session 8: Needed actions to ameliorate the effects of runaway climate change; role of governments, corporations, researchers and individuals to meet the challenge. Possible Zoom visitor from U. S. Congress.