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  Steve In Action

"Steve-in-Action" features many of Steve Schneider's priceless presentations captured in video with his photographs and the figures that he used to bring his lectures alive for his many different audiences: the media, disciplinary scientists, policy makers, business leaders, the public and his many students - the next generation. Steve hoped that this website would be useful to all interested in the interdisciplinary science of climate change, and we are fortunate to be able to continue to learn from one of the world's preeminent teachers and communicators of complex science who consulted with eight US administrations and numerous national and international agencies.

We are adding more presentations every week, so come back often to see what's new.

Climate Science Consensus

Commonwealth Club: Climate One - November 3, 2009


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On the launch date of his book, Science as a Contact Sport, Steve Schneider talks about the intersection of science, politics and the contact sport of tackling a complex scientific subject like climate change. He discusses such difficult questions as how uncertainty comes with the territory, what risks the changing climate poses to the global economy, and ways to approach solving the problem. Steve says that policymakers should fund more research to invent our way to a cleaner future rather than betting so much on a cap-and-trade regime for carbon pollution and recommends a realistic sequence for enacting climate policy. A lively Q&A with Greg Dalton, Climate One founder, wraps up this session which is full of classic Schneider metaphors that make these subjects come alive with clarity and humor.

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Understanding and Managing the Risks

Bay Area Air Quality Management District, 50th Anniversary Symposium - June 20, 2005


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Steve Schneider acted as a catalyst for San Francisco Bay Area Climate Action. In June 2005, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District celebrated 50 years of public service by hosting a symposium elevating the climate discussion among Bay Area governments, corporate and civic leaders. As only he could do, Steve delivers a fascinating, informative keynote, "The Hazards of Climate Change: A Precautionary Approach" much of which was new to the audience, triggering a new level of commitment by elected officials and business leaders throughout the Bay Area to look at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An organizer described working with Steve as follows: "We found Dr. Schneider to be a brilliant, humble, humorous person. He was gracious and informative as we prepared for the keynote, and he was able to translate highly complex information into mentally digestible pieces.... Dr. Schneider helped spark BAAQMD's passion to leave its own climate legacy."

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Mediarology: How Complex Science is Communicated

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Meeting - February 22, 2010


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Serving as a discussant for the AAAS panel session, "Understanding Climate-Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies," moderated by Riley Dunlap, Steve highlights the preponderance of scientific evidence that supports the overwhelming consensus that the climate is warming due to a combination of natural causes and human action, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. It is "very likely" that human activities are responsible for most of the warming of recent decades. Steve explains that it's the job of experts to credibly explain what can happen, what are the odds and how they know, and the job of citizens to make value judgments about how to take risks, who pays, etc. based on the experts' best assessments. He also talks about the methods climate "deniers" use to manipulate messages for the public. The session ends with a lively Q&A with Steve and fellow panelists: Naomi Oreskes, Max Boykoff, and Bill Freudenburg.

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Policy for the Real World

Augsburg College, 2009 Sverdrup Visiting Scientist - April 14, 2009


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Steve Schneider was invited to Augsburg College as the 2009 Sverdrup Visiting Scientist to give undergraduate students, faculty and the general public throughout the Twin Cities area the opportunity to interact with and learn from a prominent scientist on the cutting edge of their discipline. In the Student Convocation, Steve addresses the short-term problems of overcoming institutional and political commitments to business-as-usual dependence on carbon based fuels, although vigorous research, development and deployment of more efficient systems and low carbon emitting sources is certainly feasible over the next few decades. He discusses adaptation and mitigation strategies, emphasizing the many actions that individuals, groups, businesses, cities, states, and countries can do to reduce global warming, while at the same time providing sustainable jobs and reduced dangers from importing oil from unreliable foreign sources.

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Business Opportunities and Challenges

2010 CTO Forum - February 10, 2010


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Steve spoke about "Understanding the Climate Change Challenges" to CIO leaders, brought together during the 2010 CTO Forum to think out-of-the box and find solutions the industry's most pressing problems through collaboration and the application of advanced, multi-disciplinary technologies. The theme of the meeting was "CIO Opportunities in Carbon Downsizing, Enterprise Greening & Business Renewal." Steve summarizes some of the key findings about the nature and causes of climate change from a recent Intergovernmental report, defines terms, and indicates the principal advances that have been made in our knowledge of the causes of climate change, focusing on an example of a so-called "fingerprint" study, which is a statistical comparison of patterns of climate change in observed data and in model predictions. He talks about why we all have a stake in advancing the science and the importance of private/public partnerships to demonstrate and deploy viable low-carbon solutions.

Click here for PDF transcript of this lecture including extra discussion of tipping points.

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Ethics and Values

Chicago Latin School - January 19, 2010


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Steve was invited to speak at Chicago Latin, as a part of the school's LIFE program-the Latin Initiative for Ethics-launched in 2002-2003. The program is designed to engage students in the ongoing study and debate of contemporary ethical issues. Through a broad range of prominent speakers and small-group discussions, students become more aware of contemporary ethical issues and sensitive to the complexities involved in ethical decision making. The 2009-2010 program, focusing on "Ethics and Science", concentrated primarily on health care reform and climate change. Steve spoke to 400 students grades 9-12 on "Climate Change Policy: More Ethics than Economics?" and later met informally with students in AP science classes and the student leaders of LIFE. Steve is clear and funny as he talks candidly to kids who are the next generation, the people who will have to find solutions to the complex critical global problems left to them by us.

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For the most effective viewing of the videos: Click the "Play" arrow (far left on video navigation bar); then click the 4-arrow symbol (far right on the bar) for full screen video. To play the original version of the video with a black background, click the "Scaling on" button in the upper right-hand corner of the full screen to turn scaling off. To exit either version, click the Esc key.

Copyright 2011, Stephen H. Schneider, Stanford University