Guest's blog

A U.S. Military View On Climate Change: It's Eroding Our National Security

USS Barry navigates Hurricane Sandy

By David Titley, Pennsylvania State University

In this presidential election year we have heard much about some issues, such as immigration and trade, and less about others. For example, climate change was discussed for an estimated 82 seconds in the first presidential debate, and for just 37 minutes in all presidential and vice presidential debates since the year 2000.

Many observers think climate change deserves more attention. They might be surprised to learn that U.S. military leaders and defense planners agree. The armed forces have been studying climate change for years from a perspective that rarely is mentioned in the news: as a national security threat. And they agree that it poses serious risks.

Welfare Coal: These Three Coal Companies Want to Hide How Much Publicly Owned Coal They Mine

Coal mining in Wyoming.

By Joe Smyth, crossposted with permission from Climate Investigations Center

Earlier this year, I looked at just how much the largest U.S. coal mining companies depend on access to subsidized federal coal, most of it extracted from public lands in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The U.S. Interior Department tracks the amount of publicly owned coal mined by each company, but doesn’t publicly report this information.

As I recently learned, even a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) might not reveal just how much publicly owned coal companies are mining.

Climate Denial Group Global Warming Policy Foundation Books Royal Society Venue for Matt Ridley Lecture

Matt Ridley

This is a guest post from ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from Daily Kos.

Last week we talked about a group in the UK who tried, but ultimately failed, to use a respected institution as the venue for a denial conference in an effort to drum up headlines.

Now the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is looking to try their luck at the same ploy — booking space at the Royal Society for a lecture from Matt “King Coal” Ridley.

In a statement published on New Scientist, the Royal Society defended its decision to rent out space to the GWPF.

Climate Impacts: Melting Glaciers, Shifting Biomes and Dying Trees in US National Parks

By Patrick Gonzalez, National Park Service

Trees are dying across Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks. Glaciers are melting in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Corals are bleaching in Virgin Islands National Park. Published field research conducted in U.S. national parks has detected these changes and shown that human climate change – carbon pollution from our power plants, cars and other human activities – is the cause.

As principal climate change scientist of the U.S. National Park Service, I conduct research on how climate change has already altered the national parks and could further change them in the future. I also analyze how ecosystems in the national parks can naturally reduce climate change by storing carbon. I then help national park staff to use the scientific results to adjust management actions for potential future conditions.

Research in U.S. national parks contributes in important ways to global scientific understanding of climate change.

National parks are unique places where it is easier to tell if human climate change is the main cause of changes that we observe in the field, because many parks have been protected from urbanization, timber harvesting, grazing and other nonclimate factors. The results of this research highlight how urgently we need to reduce carbon pollution to protect the future of the national parks.

Climate Change Cynics: How to Effectively Communicate With a Denier

This is a guest post by Aaron Viles from Care2.

For climate activists, the growing trend of climate change denialism in recent years isn’t just frustrating—it’s alarming. We know that the longer we wait to shift our energy sources and increase the efficiency with which we utilize the energy we produce, the more jarring the shift will be. Despite the powerful message that world leaders have sent by coming together in Paris to agree to limit warming to 2 degrees, currently national and global plans are not enough to make that a reality.

Yet, rather than focusing energy on the how, climate activists in the United States are still stuck trying to explain the why to folks who still doubt there’s a problem at all. It’s an important task: as the second largest emitter in the world, our country needs to implement strong climate action, something that’s impossible without strong political support. So how can those of us who see the looming disaster convince our neighbors to join our side?

Hard to Handle: Trolling Denial vs Legitimate Skepticism

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

In an interesting new paper, two pairs of authors bring their unique viewpoints to bear on a hard to handle subject – how should scientists and the public interact to ensure the accuracy of scientific studies? How can scientists tell the difference between politically motivated trolls (deniers) and genuinely interested non-academics (skeptics)?
Two of the authors are well known in climate circles: Dr. Michael Mann and Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky. They’re joined by Nicholas J. L. Brown and Dr. Harris Friedman, an outsider and an academic who worked together to upend a once-popular study in behavioral psychology. Together, the group provides a unique take on how to distinguish between the honest skepticism embodied by Brown and Friedman and the denialist abuse regularly hurled at Mann and Lewandowsky.


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