Northrop Grumman Climate Scientist: ‘Radical Changes’ Are Needed

Glenn J. Higgins

Speaking at a federal sustainability conference, one of Northrop Grumman’s top climate scientists expressed grave concern about society’s resilience to global warming. Glenn J. Higgins, the Atmospheric Sciences and Engineering Department Manager at the military contracting giant’s Information Systems division, spoke at the GreenGov 2011 Symposium about his work analyzing the increased risks of sea level rise related to climate change. He emphasized the need to build resilience to extreme events whose likelihood is rapidly increasing in a changing world.

In the question and answer period, ThinkProgress Green asked Higgins whether he believes our society is sufficiently resilient to give his children and grandchildren the same chance at health and happiness his generation has seen. While expressing confidence in humanity, the scientist said that “radical changes” that include rapid reduction of carbon pollution must happen more quickly:

I think the world’s going to be different than it is today. I have faith that humanity has ways to survive, but I think that the trends suggest that it’s not going to be business as usual. Places that you’re familiar with are going to be different.

I don’t think the the will is there yet anywhere to make rapid changes to put in place mitigation strategies to make a significant dent in the trends that we’re seeing. I have concerns and I don’t see the radical changes that I think are needed are happening fast enough.

In May, Northrop Grumman hosted a climate security conference to discuss the global risks human civilization faces from the destabilization of our atmosphere by billions of tons of fossil fuel pollution.

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