The Big Question

How Could Climate Change Affect Your Field?
Illustration by Lauren Biagini

Shannon Dill
Extension Agent, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

As agriculture adapts to changing weather patterns, my role will be to assist researchers at the farm level through variety testing, sharing results and educational events. I will provide farmers the best information available to produce healthy and safe crops and livestock.

Paul Goeringer
Senior Faculty Specialist and Extension Legal Specialist, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Looking at the field of agricultural law, climate change and impacts could potentially create challenges and opportunities. With challenges, we will need to reevaluate water allocation systems and how to compensate landowners losing property to sea rise. With opportunities, we will develop new strategies related to GHG exchanges and other developing markets.

Michael Kimbrough
Area Chair and Associate Professor of Accounting and Information Assurance, Robert H. Smith School of Business

The demand grows for companies to report on their environmental performance to enable the development of more effective responses to climate change. Accountants are at the forefront of this effort by applying their expertise in measuring, assuring and communicating information about corporate performance to performance in the area of climate change.

Birthe Kjellerup
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Climate change is disturbing the natural balance in ecosystems. Microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria that take part in cycling of resources in nature and in wastewater treatment systems can become pathogens and thereby cause infections. This affects vulnerable and poor populations more and leads to environmental injustice. We need to understand this effect in order to work with affected communities to solve the issues.

Jing Lin
Harold R.W. Benjamin Professor of International Education, College of Education

More than ever, education has to look at the root causes that lead to the environmental devastation and climate change now threatening the extinction of millions of species and human survival. Education needs to focus on peace-building among people and with nature.

Daniel Lofaro
Maryland Applied Graduate Engineering Lecturer, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Climate change will increase the number of required “3D” jobs (Dull, Dirty, Dangerous), which are where robots are most beneficial.

Stevens Miller
Computer Science Lecturer, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Ironically, it will probably benefit my field of high-speed graphic presentation of complex structures by incentivizing additional investment in parallel and supercomputing systems. Supercomputers are the only machines that can analyze weather effectively. We're going to need more of them before this is over.

Abdirisak Mohamed
Lecturer, College of Information Studies

The energy cost of information needs more public awareness. The carbon footprint of machine learning training for an AI entity can be multiple times greater than the lifetime footprint of a car. The use of information should be managed as a resource with environmental costs, similar to the use of fossil fuels.

Clifford Rossi
Executive-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Climate change is the newest risk in the financial services industry risk taxonomy. In a world of enhanced regulatory and investment scrutiny on climate-related disclosures and activity, financial institutions will need to develop their capabilities to measure this risk. Banks and other financial services companies are used to synthesizing and analyzing large amounts of financial information for lending and investment decisions. These companies face enormous challenges ahead in establishing empirical linkages between climate model outputs that range over decades and existing financial and risk models used today that only go out as far as a year or less.

Oliver Schlake
Clinical Professor of Management and Organization, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Changing the current energy and heating habits of American households is a major business opportunity for small and mid-size entrepreneurs. I can see a lot of business education, specifically entrepreneurship and innovation focus, around solar, wind, geothermal, battery storage and mini grids.

Arnaud Trouvé
Fire Protection Engineering Professor, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Climate change is altering weather and vegetation around the globe, thereby creating conditions that are favorable to high-intensity, uncontrollable wildland fires. These megafires are threatening human life and property in the path of the fire, affecting human health at remote locations through the transport of fire smoke, impacting the health and functions of ecosystems, and accelerating climate change itself through the release of large amounts of chemical compounds into the atmosphere.

Kate Tully
Associate Professor of Agroecology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Climate change is already affecting how we grow food. On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, rising seas are drowning our coastal farms. It is our job to figure out how to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Ronald A. Yaros
Associate Professor, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

As a former science journalist who in 1981 covered the EPA’s first report on the “greenhouse effect,” every aspect of life on Earth will be affected, and journalism must lead the way to educate the public about the complex but critical details of how climate change will affect humanity.


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