In each of the last three years, Earth’s average annual temperature has shattered records kept since the invention of the thermometer. The culprit: more than one trillion tons of greenhouse gases, released into the atmosphere by human industry and agriculture from the beginning of the industrial revolution to present. In the coming decades, the Earth will be fundamentally transformed, in ways that will make it much less habitable for human beings.
In this course, we will explore the history of climate change over the past two centuries. We will examine how the Earth has warmed, and the different environmental manifestations of warming from region to region. We will study how scientists discovered that Earth was warming, and how influential skeptics quickly mobilized popular and political suspicion of this “inconvenient truth.” Finally, we will investigate the already significant present-day consequences of climate change for vulnerable societies in the Middle East, Africa, the Arctic, and Oceania.