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How Can Higher Ed Overcome Climate Change Skepticism?

By Sharon Chen
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As more and more of our world re-aligns to meet the climate challenge, higher education has the responsibility of showing future generations, regardless of their personal beliefs about climate change, how to navigate a future ruled by concerns over carbon emissions and clean energy. As noted in the BlackRock Investment Institute’s report on climate change, “You may or may not believe man-made climate change is real or dismiss the science behind it. No matter. Climate change risk has arrived as an investment issue. Governments are setting targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This may pave the way for policy shifts that we could see ripple across industries. The resulting regulatory risks are becoming key drivers of investment returns.” As businesses and governments around the world take note of climate change, your reaction to climate change, more than your belief in it, is what is important. 

By providing practical coursework, interdisciplinary training, and scientific foundations for students, our colleges and universities can do much to prepare future generations for a world in which climate dominates decision-making. When it comes to making a difference in the way we approach climate change, perhaps it is best to focus less on why it is happening – and for some people, whether or not it is happening at all – and focus more on the real world ramifications of our changing climate, and how to prepare future generations for these changes.


A Skeptical Case for Climate Education

Josh Rosenau | The National Center for Science Education | November 18, 2015

There are lots ofgood reasons to teach about climate change, amply covered elsewhere on our blog and website. But in a new report from (of all places) the BlackRock Investment Institute—“The Price of Climate Change: Global Warming’s Impact on Portfolios”—we find perhaps the simplest reason, and the hardest to dismiss. Vox’s Dave Robertshighlighted the pertinent paragraph:

You may or may not believe man-made climate change is real or dismiss the science behind it. No matter. Climate change risk has arrived as an investment issue. Governments are setting targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This may pave the way for policy shifts that we could see ripple across industries. The resulting regulatory risks are becoming key drivers of investment returns.

In other words, even if you personally reject climate change, you live in a nation and a world where climate change is part of every consequential conversation, and part of how consequential decisions get made. If you want to be an informed participant in those conversations, and ensure that the best decisions are made, you need to understand climate change. That includes investment decisions, but also decisions about cars, careers, family life, and even politics. No one can stop you from believing what you want, but if you want to be part of the discussions and decisions that matter, you need to know the science.

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