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Web videos offer insight into climate change

Feb 19 2012

Experts from B.C.'s four major universities have created an online initiative that aims to educate people on climate change.

A series of 10 YouTube videos, ranging from four to 12 minutes long, were officially launched online Friday.

The videos are engaging and easy to watch, said Tom Pederson, executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, located online at www.pics.uvic.ca. The institute is based at the University of Victoria in partnership with Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia.

The aim is not to debate aspects of climate change, said Pederson.

"All we're doing is presenting the best available scientific knowledge and it's presented in a non-partisan, apolitical way," he said.

"Our intent is to make good scientific information easily accessible, engaging and at no cost."

The release of the videos follows the launch in August last year of a free animated and interactive online course mapping out climate science basics.

"We've had somewhere in excess of 80,000 people see that course now in more than 100 countries," said Pederson. "It's written in such a way that there's no scientific jargon. Just about anyone who has a Grade 10 or higher education can understand what the basic scientific issues are. There's no spin."

Pederson said he hopes the short and lively videos, accessible on smartphones and other portable devices, will reach an even greater audience.

The aim is to have a better educated public "who will then start asking the correct and hard questions of our politicians," Pederson said.

"The members of the public will be in a better position to know when they're being duped by those who are trying to mislead them on this topic of climate change."

Improving society's knowledge of global warming is a crucial foundation for making informed decisions regarding mitigating and adapting to the challenges of human-caused climate change, Pederson said. smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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