Mason climate scientist: The time to act on global warming is now

Jim Kinter

George Mason University’s Jim Kinter says the dire consequences if we fail to act immediately to curb global climate change have never been more clear, based on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

“It’s definitely not a surprise to anybody who’s been paying attention,” said Kinter, the director of Mason’s Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) within the College of Science

The report stated in previously unseen high certainty that rising global temperatures, as a result of unchecked human burning of fossil fuels, will lead to more life-threatening weather phenomena, such as the extreme droughts that make conditions ripe for large-scale fires, severe storms, rising sea levels and the eventual extinction of some species. 

Earth’s climate is changing faster than at any time over the past two million years. Without changes, the planet will warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius and possibly as much as 3.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the report stated. 

Kinter, who spoke about the report at a recent climate seminar, remained hopeful that humankind will act while it can. 

“We have to stop emitting carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere,” he said, “and we have to do it within the next 20 years or so. Then we have to find a way to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a big way. These are all things we know how to do—we just need the will to do it.” 

Jim Kinter can be reached at

For more information, contact John Hollis at

About George Mason 

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.