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Origins Project Great Debate to focus on climate change

January 14, 2013

Climate change is one of the most important, and perhaps thorniest, issues confronting world leaders today. A lot is at stake. Issues in climate variability, loss of living space, extended drought, amplified weather cycles, growing season variability and even national security all link back to climate change. Sea levels are rising and last year was the hottest year on record for the United States. It’s clear that for climate change, the future is now. 

The Origins Project at Arizona State University will hold a panel discussion on climate change, 7 p.m., Feb. 2, that will include some of the world’s leading experts and policy analysts in the field.

Tickets are now on sale for “The Great Debate: Climate Change, Surviving the Future,” which will take place in Gammage Auditorium on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The panel includes scientists and leaders affiliated with NASA, NOAA, the Earth Institute and E3G, and will provide a lively conversation on the future of the nation and the world in our changing climate. The discussion will be moderated by Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project at ASU and a Foundation Professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics.

“Humanity is at a critical juncture in regards to global climate change,” Krauss said. “The effects of climate change are happening now, from melting of major ice sheets, to rising sea levels, changing acidity in the oceans and record global temperatures. Every year that we wait to address these problems makes it exponentially more difficult to do so. We have brought in the top names in climate science and international policy to encourage public conversation on this timely issue, and plan to expand the conversation into feasible policy proposals for world leaders.”

Panelists include:

Wallace Broecker, professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Generally considered the grandfather of climate science, he helped develop the idea of a global conveyor belt linking the circulation of the global oceans and made major contributions to the science of the carbon cycle and use of chemical tracers and isotope dating in oceanography.

James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, has made significant contributions to radiative heat transfer models that have been refined and applied to understand Earth’s atmosphere. Hansen provided key climatology testimony to Congressional committees that helped raise the awareness of global warming.

Susan Solomon, former senior chemistry and process research scientist at NOAA, and currently an atmospheric chemist and a faculty member at MIT, was one of the first scientists to propose that chlorofluorocarbons are the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole.

John Ashton, founding director of E3G, a British nonprofit that works in the public interest to accelerate the global transition to sustainable development. Ashton is an international policy expert on global communities and climate change concerns, and has served as the UK Special Representative for Climate Change.

Sander van der Leeuw, dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Last year, van der Leeuw was among six winners of the 2012 United Nations Champions of the Earth award for his research in human-environmental relations and the scientific study of innovation as a societal process.

Krauss said the Great Debate will be the keystone event to a weekend workshop that will explore the latest research and thinking on climate change (Jan. 31-Feb. 2). In addition, National Public Radio’s Science Friday will broadcast its Feb. 1 show remotely and include some members of the Origins panel on climate change.

Tickets are available online through and at the ASU Gammage Box Office, by calling 480-965-3434. Discounted student tickets are available with a student ID at the Gammage Box Office.

For more information on the Great Debate, go to, or call 480-965-0053.

Lawrence Krauss, (480) 965-6378

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