General

Thu, 2009-03-12 19:14Mitchell Anderson
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Paris Hilton and the End of the World

Britney Spears is a great artist. Paris Hilton is very talented.

It seems the yawning gulf between perception and reality has never been greater.

Truer still for how the public perceives climate science. A new poll shows that 41% of Americans now believe concerns around global warming are exaggerated -the highest level of skepticism in over a decade. 

This is a shocking figure given the latest scientific findings being reveled, even as we speak, at a gathering of 2,500 of the world’s leading researchers on climate change.

This chasm of opinion between the scientific community and the public shows how criminally irresponsible many in the mainstream media have been about portraying climate science, and how effective the misinformation campaign by the fossil fuel lobby has been in deceiving the average American.

Does public opinion even matter? In a voting (and shopping) society like ours, it is about the hottest commodity going. Right or wrong, any politician goes against it at their peril.

Perhaps Mark Twain said it best: “Its name is public opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.”

Wed, 2009-03-11 19:29Mitchell Anderson
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More Blather From the National Post

The National Post is on a roll. After three stunningly stupid articles on climate change by Lorne Gunter and Peter Foster, they have published a fourth.

This latest dispatch by Foster “reporting” from the climate deniers gathering in New York further undermines the Post as a legitimate media outlet. So one-sided and erroneous is their editorial position on climate science that it is best described as journalistic malpractice.

While the Post felt it important to send Foster to cover the Heartland denier’s conference, they of course neglected to send any reporters to cover the UN climate conference last year in Poland, or the current gathering of 2,000 leading climate scientists in Denmark.

I suppose it is simpler to avoid mixing ideology with any actual information.

Speaking of which, there is plenty of newsworthy material being revealed at the real climate conference in Copenhagen – all of it very topical (and terrifying).

The projected rise in sea level by 2100 has doubled since the latest IPCC assessment only two years ago to one meter “or more”. That would put at risk more than 600 million people currently living in low lying areas around the globe.

“The seas are undergoing much greater changes than those described in the IPCC report…Two or three years ago, those making this type of statement were seen as extremists,” said Eric Rignot of the University of California.

Tue, 2009-03-10 13:29Emily Murgatroyd
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George Monbiot's Top Ten

George Monbiot’s ‘Top Ten Climate Change Deniers’ reads like a keynote speaker wishlist from the Heartland Institute. Enjoy! 

George Monbiot's Top Ten

Emily Murgatroyd's picture

George Monbiot’s ‘Top Ten Climate Change Deniers’ reads like a keynote speaker wish list from the Heartland Institue. Enjoy! Top Ten List.

Location: 
Organizations: 
Tue, 2009-03-10 12:57Mitchell Anderson
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Truth or Consequences

As the masquerade ball of phony scientists talks to itself (and of course the assembled media) in New York this week, a very different conference is happening on the other side of the Atlantic.

Two thousand of the world’s leading climate researchers are gathering at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen to discuss the latest findings about our warming world. Early dispatches are not encouraging regarding how much time we have to get serious about this crisis.

“The sea-level rise may well exceed one metre (3.28 feet) by 2100 if we continue on our path of increasing emissions,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Even for a low emission scenario, the best estimate is about one metre.” (Hear that Bjorn Lomborg?)

That is almost double what the IPCC estimated only two years ago.

“This means that if the emissions of greenhouse gases is not reduced quickly and substantially even the best-case scenario will hit low-lying coastal areas housing one-tenth of humans on the planet hard,” the organizers warned in a statement.

The vast increase in potential sea level rise is partly due to ballooning emissions and partly due to improved understanding of the emerging science – even in the last two years.

Tue, 2009-02-17 09:46Jeremy Jacquot
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The Worse Is Yet to Come

Melting ice caps. Crippling droughts. Acidifying oceans. Even to the untrained eye, the trends are becoming starkly clear: Climate change is upon us, and it’s only getting worse.

That, in essence, was the grim takeaway from a speech given by Christopher Field, the founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University and a co-author of the 2007 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last week.

Fri, 2009-02-06 11:36Mitchell Anderson
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Lindzen's Thermostat Theory Swallowed by Giant Snake

A favorite theory of prominent “skeptic” Dr. Richard Lindzen just had a fatal encounter with a 60 million old snake.

Researchers from the University of Toronto discovered the bones of this massive bus-sized reptile in a coal mine in Columbia and published their findings in the prestigious journal Nature. How big was this monster? About 42 feet long, it weighed as much a small car. It would have had trouble slithering through a standard doorway. Its girth would come up to your belly button. 

The size of this massive snake also shows the tropics were much warmer than previously believed. Snake size depends on temperature - the hotter the bigger. For this beast that snacked on crocodiles to thrive, temperatures in the tropics must have averaged 30 to 34 degrees Celsius – three to four degrees hotter than the present. That throws cold water on the “thermostat” theory championed by Lindzen that in a warming world, the poles will warm much more than the equator, sparing the tropics from the worst of climate change.

Tue, 2009-02-03 12:41Mitchell Anderson
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Killing Nemo

Scientists this week published a paper showing that ocean acidification due to climate change is killing clown fish made famous by the Disney film “Finding Nemo”.

Larvae of this lovely tropical fish will be severely affected by rising ocean acidity from climate change. Clown fish use their nose to navigate to safe habitat and are becoming lost as oceans soak up more CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

“What our study is showing is that animal behavior is affected by the acidification of the oceans,” said lead researcher Dr Philip Munday of the of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. “It’s opening our eyes to another issue of acidification that we need to be aware of.”

Read more: Killing Nemo
Wed, 2009-01-28 17:47Mitchell Anderson
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12 Trillion Reasons to Get Off Oil

Want to save $12 trillion? Get off the oil economy. That was the blunt message from a recent report showing that the worst of climate change could be contained by investing 1% of global GDP into energy efficiency, green power and preventing deforestation by 2030.

The do-nothing alternative is somewhat less of a wise investment. Nicolas Stern, the former Chief Economist for the World Bank found that ignoring climate change would cost the world economy up to 20% of global GDP due to lost productivity, extreme weather and water shortages.

This latest report was conducted by the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company on behalf of a number of disparate groups concerned about climate change including Shell Oil, Honeywell and the World Wildlife Fund.

Tue, 2009-01-27 12:47Ross Gelbspan
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Climate Peace is a Mere Millennium Away!

Many people who worry about global warming hope that once emissions of heat-trapping gases decline, the problems they cause will quickly begin to abate. Now researchers are saying that such hope is ill-founded, at least with regard to carbon dioxide.

Because of the way carbon dioxide persists in the atmosphere and in the oceans, and the way the atmosphere and the oceans interact, patterns that are established at peak levels will produce problems like “inexorable sea level rise” and Dust-Bowl-like droughts for at least a thousand years, the researchers are reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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