Thanks in no small part to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), today few people would be foolish enough to dispute the scientific consensus on the climate crisis.
But as recently as a decade ago that wasn’t the case. The IPCC is a vast scientific enterprise that has transformed public understanding of global warming, but much of its work remains hidden from view.
Can you name any of the thousands of scientists who contribute to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? Do you know what fields they work in, or how they gather their data, or how they know they what they know?
And what is it like to be an expert working on something so incredibly consequential?
Fear & Wonder is a new climate podcast, brought to you by The Conversation. It will take you inside the United Nations’ era-defining climate report via the hearts and minds of the scientists who wrote it.
It is hosted by Joelle Gergis, a climate scientist and lead author for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and her friend Michael Green, an award-winning journalist.
Green says the podcast came about after he visited Gergis on New Year’s Day 2020, right in the middle of Australia’s Black Summer bushfires. She was hard at work on an IPCC report at the time.
“My in-laws’ house had burned down in the fires the day before and it was kinda lucky that they both escaped with their lives,” says Green. “Seeing Joelle at such an intense moment made me realise that I never actually talk to her about the nitty gritty of the science, and that I actually have no idea how we know what we know about global warming. I wanted to find out.”
“It’s terrifying and fascinating to be a climate scientist at this critical moment in history,” says Gergis. “And the science itself – how we know what we know – it’s just so interesting.”
Fear & Wonder will unpack the IPCC Synthesis Report which draws together the findings of the previous IPCC Working Groups and Special Reports. There couldn’t be a better time to learn about how climate scientists do their vital work, and what it feels like to carry that knowledge.
The first episode will be released on March 23. Listen and subscribe by clicking on your favourite podcast app in the graphic above.
Fear and Wonder is sponsored by the Climate Council, an independent, evidence-based organisation working on climate science, impacts and solutions.