December 5, 2018

What IF we ignore climate change? A simple question with life-altering answers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — What are the costs of ignoring climate change, one of the world’s most pressing issues? Given the serious repercussions that climate change has on the environment, it might be time to look beyond questioning the legitimacy of the issue. Instead of questioning whether climate change is a myth, perhaps the world should shift its focus to a more urgent question: What if it’s not?

“In recent weeks, climate change reports issued by the United Nations, the American government, and our own center have called out major threats to people and nature, both at home and abroad,” says Jeff Dukes, the director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. “It’s very important that we clearly understand how our actions today affect humanity’s future prosperity and quality of life, as well as the futures of every other species on Earth.”

The Purdue Alumni Association, the Purdue Alumni Club of Washington DC, and the Purdue Climate Change Research Center will host the “What IF we ignore climate change?” panel discussion that will address these questions, along with the social, political, and scientific aspects of climate change, on Dec. 12. This event is a part of Purdue’s Ideas Festival, the centerpiece of Purdue’s Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial Campaign, which is a series of events that connect world-renowned speakers and Purdue expertise in a conversation on the most critical problems facing the world. One of the Ideas Festival’s themes is Toward a Sustainable Economy & Planet: Innovative Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.

This panel will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. Advance registration, which is available online, is required by Dec. 10. Valet parking is available for $20.

The event will be moderated by Dukes, a professor of forestry and natural resources. He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences, and holds the Belcher Chair for Environmental Sustainability in the College of Agriculture.

The event will feature four panelists:

* Dan Chavas, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Chavas’ research focuses on understanding the basic physics of meteorological hazards, including hurricanes, tornadoes and winter weather, and how they are influenced by climate.

* Matthew Huber, a professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Huber’s work aims to improve climate change projections by studying past warm climates, and investigates the implications of climate change for the future habitability of Earth.

* Manjana Milkoreit, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. Milkoreit’s who studies international climate negotiations and the motivations behind global climate change politics and diplomacy.

* Linda Prokopy, a professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. Prokopy’s research studies how farmers and farm advisors in the agricultural Midwest factor climate change and environmental concerns into their daily actions. She will return directly from the international climate change negotiations in Poland to join this panel.  

More information about the panelists and moderator can be found online. The opening remarks of this event will be led by Tomás Diaz de la Rubia, vice president and executive director of Discovery Park

Writer: Jaclyn Lawmaster, 574-301-9049,

Media contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Rose Filley, managing director, Purdue Climate Change Research Center,

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