Intro World II: Global Warming – 41332 – HIST 008 – 11/12
Professor: Matthew Johnson
The world is warming, and it is warming fast. The culprit: carbon dioxide, methane, and other “greenhouse gases” added to our atmosphere by human industry and agriculture. Average global temperatures are now around one degree Celsius higher than they were midway through the twentieth century. Around the world, weather is getting “weird.” Tropical cyclones, droughts, torrential rains, and heat waves are all more severe than they used to be. In developed societies, such weather has led to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in lost economic productivity. In impoverished societies, it has worsened existing social inequalities and driven migration in ways that may have provoked or worsened civil wars. Ever more extreme weather in our warmer future could threaten the survival of rich and poor countries alike. This module will take you beyond the science of global warming. We will explore how scientists discovered human-caused climate change, how they communicated the threat to the public, and why they have failed to motivate the kind of political action that will save us from catastrophic “climate breakdown.” We will investigate the causes for global warming denial, analyze the social and political consequences of climate change, and evaluate the case for climate “determinism.” You should emerge with a better understanding of what may be the defining issue of our lives.