One UVA Professor Has High Hopes When it Comes to Climate Change

May 1, 2017

This weekend’s protests again raised questions of when and how this country will combat climate change. At the University of Virginia, one faculty member  sees positive signs on the horizon.

Tom Bateman is a professor at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce – an expert on organizational behavior, leadership and decision-making. He believes this country will keep moving away from fossil fuels, despite Trump administration nods to coal and oil.

“The good news is market forces are operating in our favor as cleaner energies are becoming more effective and less costly.” 

And he says greater extremes in temperature, more floods, blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes have prompted grass roots change to head off disaster.

UVA professor Tom Bateman believes the U.S. will continue to move away from fossil fuels despite efforts by the Trump administration.
Credit UVA McIntire School of Commerce

“Adaptation is a whole different set of strategies – sea walls, changing agricultural practices and things like that. People are doing that on their own. That kind of thing bubbles up from localities and organizations and the private sector as opposed to being top down.”

But Bateman stresses we need to stop adding carbon to the atmosphere, even as we prepare for the worst.

“We need to do both without question. We cannot stop mitigating. The train has left the station as the metaphor goes. We still have to slow it down.”

He hopes the nation will not default to a third course of action – so-called geo-engineering – shooting particles into the atmosphere, for example, to deflect or block sunlight and cool the Earth. With little research on these approaches, Bateman fears unplanned consequences.