Cochrane Ideas – February 2020


with Jerry Osborn
Professor Emeritus of Geoscience

7 p.m., Friday, February 14th, 2020
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Jerry Osborn’s two grandchildren, Sinclair and Liam, are approximately 2 years old.  There is a good probability they will live through the end of the 21st century.  Meanwhile, the International Panel on Climate Change and a number of independent researchers have made a series of projections of global mean and regional mean temperatures, and sea level for the end of the 21st century.  The IPCC has also made ancillary projections about economy, health, food supply, and biodiversity. Which of the projections are most likely depends on society’s energy decisions in the next several decades.  This talk will consider the world in which Sinclair and Liam will live in the latter part of the century. In order to get to that point, the speaker will consider the likelihood that current warming is anthropogenic, the degree to which large-numerical-climate-model output should be accepted, the right-wing and left-wing social agendas draping climate change that place climate in the heart of current culture wars, current climate politics, influences on belief systems, and the inertia of social change.  His conclusion is that 2 degrees of warming is probably wishful thinking, and the world will be a very different place for Sinclair and Liam.

Jerry Osborn is Professor Emeritus of Geoscience at the University of Calgary, with a research specialty in Holocene (last 11,000 years) glacier and climate history. He is very interested in relations between science and society. On the side, he likes to photograph and hike in the desert and photograph and play with his grandchildren; in the future he would like to photograph and then eat more pumpkin pie.

Some of those who attended our January Ideas mentioned how much they enjoyed the presentation on the discovery of the wreck of the Nova Zembla, a Scottish whaling ship, off the Baffin Island coast. The presenters, Michael Moloney and Matthew Ayre, from the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary, showed themselves to be real adventurers and excellent scientists. They also demonstrated humor and youthful energy in their talk. We thank them for their efforts in coming to Cochrane and sharing their stories and knowledge.