By Michael Dover
In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson’s Science Advisory Panel reported to him on the risks posed by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which Johnson included in an address to Congress. Decades later, the U.S. still lacks a comprehensive climate policy and strategy. The country is arguably more polarized than it was during the Vietnam War, and climate action is caught up in that divide. Given this history, anyone could be forgiven for giving up hope. But climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University sees the world differently. Born in 1972 — seven years after Johnson’s speech — and raised as an evangelical Christian, Hayhoe is the epitome of hope. Don’t call it optimism — she’s as realistic as they come when she tells us what’s in store if we don’t act to curb greenhouse gas emissions — but both her faith and her experience in talking to a wide diversity of people give her hope that humanity can meet this challenge.