INV03 Climate Change and the Coronavirus: Promoting Emerging Leaders Through Crucial Conversations

Global crises and human response:  What can the coronavirus teach society about climate change?

By Earth Day 2020, air pollution in some of the world’s biggest cities dropped precipitously due to the coronavirus; in Punjab, India, residents can see the snowy peaks of the Himalayas for the first time in almost 30 years. Globally (as of April 2020) greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to have decreased by ~6%. Tragically, emissions reductions come at the cost of tens of thousands of lives and untold suffering.

The pandemic reveals vital lessons about the interconnection of not just humans and human health, but the interconnection of people and the functioning of our planet. Just as residents in Punjab now see the mountains, humans clearly see the impact of our actions on the environment. When we all change our behavior there are dramatic and visible improvements in a wide array of environmental indicators, including air pollution, water quality, wildlife and more. Second, we learn massive and rapid behavior change is indeed possible. Finally, gaps in the public’s fundamental understanding and trust in science (e.g. understanding exponential growth) reveal similarities between climate change and global health. The question is how can we use this window of opportunity in behavioral and systemic change to make our new choices more sustainable? What else have we learned?

This session encourages presentations that investigate the following:

• How might systems thinking, or the emerging sense of individual impact in an interconnected world, be the solution to address climate change?

• What are short and long- term impacts of the coronavirus on global carbon emissions, air quality, and human health?

• What determines how people understand and react to scientific data?  What similarities or differences exist between barriers in understanding climate science and global health?

• How can education be used to promote systems thinking and scientific literacy at the K-12 level and beyond?

Innovative session components:
This innovative session combines keynote presentations from world leaders in climate communication, health, and environmental economics with mentorship and inclusion of under-represented groups and emerging leaders in climate science and communication. Invited presenters and participants will host virtual breakout groups with emerging leaders to identify key questions in the following areas: remote sensing, climate and science communication, the path to the next generation of climate education, climate, energy and policy, and climate, social justice and human health.

We promote inclusion of under-represented groups by 1) encouraging participation and presentations from emerging leaders and representatives of youth organizations who diversify the AGU community, but are unable to attend the Fall Meeting due to travel costs and logistical barriers, and 2) featuring speakers and scientists from countries (e.g. Iran and the Middle East) who are unable to attend AGU in person due to travel restrictions and costs. We will use educational techniques developed and refined by the COVID-crisis (e.g. online breakout rooms, zoom polling, chat) to engage participants from around the globe and quickly assess the needs and interests of the participants.

December 2020

From Wednesday, 02 December 2020 12:00 PM

To Wednesday, 02 December 2020 06:00 PM