Climate Science: Past, Present, and Future


  • Sadie Quinn University of King's College


February 28th, 2022. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases another report, the “bleakest warning yet” on the impacts of the climate crisis. I go about my day, avoiding news coverage of the IPCC report in an attempt to curb the creeping sense of despair. This global network of climate scientists, first convened by the United Nations in 1988, has come to seem like nothing but the bearer of bad news. Climate science, which has affected my life deeply, often feels to me like a monolithic, all-powerful yet unknowable entity – I ask myself if it must be this way. What I do know is that Earth‘s climate is inseparable from human life, a fact that has profound social and ethical implications. In pre-Civil War America, abolitionists considered climate as one of many factors entwined with the oppression of African Americans, using science to refute climate-related claims about the inferiority of Black people. The social dimensions of climate are a key concern of the newest IPCC report, which connects climate and social justice to an unprecedented extent. The link between scientific research and social justice can seem obscure, but the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University in Newfoundland, led by Max Liboiron, provides an excellent example of scientific methodology designed with the specific goal of dismantling problematic social structures. In the face of such a severe and complex crisis, climate science can and must be a discipline that prioritizes ethical methods and evolves with social justice in mind.




How to Cite

Quinn, S. (2022). Climate Science: Past, Present, and Future. Anti-Colonial Science: A Course Journal, 1. Retrieved from