September 7, 2011—WASHINGTON—Earth Lab: Degrees of Change, a new exhibit at the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, opens Thursday, Sept. 15. The exhibit's visualizations allow visitors to explore the impacts of climate change and take on the role of decision makers who identify priorities, evaluate tradeoffs, and decide how to respond to climate change.
"Climate change affects more things in our lives than many of us realize," said Richard Alley, Ph.D., Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University and chair of the committee that developed the exhibit. "The Earth Lab presents a visual journey through the best science on climate change. The exhibit opens your mind to the impacts, possibilities, and decisions related to climate. We want people to engage with the best science on the issue and think it through. Then, it’s up to you to decide what to do about it."
A centerpiece of the exhibit is a simulation game where visitors employ strategies to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to a level that will significantly reduce the impact of climate change. Participants decide which actions align with priorities they value and compare their plans with those of other players as they work. By assessing the tradeoffs associated with various climate mitigation strategies, visitors see how their choices may impact climate change and CO2 emissions.
"This game sparks discussion among players," said Alley, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. "People discover that there are many beneficial ways to solve this complex problem."
Members of the media are invited to preview Earth Lab on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. Dr. Alley and other experts involved with the exhibit will be available for one-on-one interviews at the Koshland Science Museum, 525 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Advance registration is requested. Interviews can also be arranged by telephone or Skype. To register, contact the Koshland Science Museum or National Academy of Sciences’ Office of News and Public Information.
Earth Lab is based in part on America’s Climate Choices, a suite of reports from the National Research Council that examines our current scientific understanding of climate change and its impacts, and the actions and strategies the nation can take to respond. The final report in the series was released in May and concludes that "climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems." The report was chaired by Albert Carnesale, chancellor emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. The vice chair of the report was William L. Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, N.C., and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. For more information and to read the reports, visit http://americasclimatechoices.org.
About the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences
The Koshland Science Museum invites teens and adults to interact with the issues in a thought-provoking setting. Whether exploring on their own or with friends, visitors have the opportunity to use science to solve problems and to engage in stimulating conversations. The Koshland Science Museum is located at 525 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.