Why Engineering Will Be Vital in a Changing Climate

Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough offers personal insights on the realities of climate change and the best ways for society to adapt

Conversations about climate change usually focus on ways to reduce the human footprint, from cutting carbon emissions to developing cleaner technologies. But in many cases we are already feeling the effects, and we will likely continue to experience climate ripples even as we work to stem the tide.

Finding ways to adapt to climate change is therefore just as crucial as mitigation, says Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough. A civil engineer and former president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Clough has been part of teams tasked with designing solutions for protecting human lives and infrastructure from intensifying natural conditions, such as rising sea levels and stronger hurricanes.

In this special presentation at the Smithsonian Castle, Clough outlines the ways Institution scientists are adding to our knowledge about the effects of climate change as seen from land, sea and space, and he gives his personal insights on the engineering opportunities and challenges we face as society works to adapt to unavoidable change.

In an exclusive video interview, Secretary Clough also gave his perspective on the Smithsonian's first official statement on climate change—hear him explain the valuable role that the Institution can play in research and education around this important issue. 

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