Saturday, October 29, 2011

Al-Jazeera segment on Koch brothers' influence

The segment is 24 minutes long, and features Lee Fang of ThinkProgress and Lisa Graves of SourceWatch, plus of course the Koch brothers themselves. Go watch & discuss, here at Climate Progress.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BEST climate study finds yes, earth is warming

Wed Oct 26 (belatedly) - Real Climate covers it from the science side; there are some oddities.
Oct Mon Oct 24 update: Planet3.0 best
sums this story up (and articulates my discomfort):
"...if we were doing science and not politics, [this result] would be of no real consequence. Which means that when we pay attention to it, we are paying attention mostly to politics masquerading as science."
This (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) is a partially-Koch-funded project, initially embraced by global warming delayers, which - now that its results indicate the measured warming is not just an "urban heat island" (UHI) artifact - has [not been well received in some skeptical quarters.]

I haven't been paying much attention, but it's getting a surprising amount of coverage from climate blogs - e.g. here (Class M), here, here, here, Mother Jones here.
From Class M:
"Because the [submitted BEST] papers haven't been peer-reviewed, there's no telling whether their failure to falsify the no-UHI effect will even be added to the literature. The general practice in scientific journals is to not pay too much attention to papers that confirm what we already know. "

Journalism sampler; from NCFocus, Warming101 blog, and SourceWatch

Some of the journalism I've done -

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Machiavelli in The Prince, on resistance to societal change

"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it."
(h/t Revkin, via Planet3.0)

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to assess whether a commentator is credible? One simple way

If the communication is about science, listen and see if it's sprinkled with these misleading terms. And, if you can, ask the commentator: do you feel you'd be better at assessing the evidence than 97% of the experts in the field?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The high cost of inaction. Estimate: Last 7 years' inaction means roughly 3/4 degree F additional warming

Update: to help your well-meaning friends who could contribute effectively, pair this "high cost of delay" info with Steve Easterbrook's The power to change systems, on the need to find & use leverage points for solving systemic problems. To "work smarter not harder" is essential now.

See RealClimate for the story: The high cost of inaction. The post - on an update of an earlier article by Pacala & Socolow in Science - buries the lede, which is:
"[The 2004-2011] seven years of inaction, even if we immediately begin implementing the ["wedges" climate action] strategy now and fully carry it out over the next century, have larger climatic consequences over the next century than one might expect (namely, "an additional ~50 ppm of CO2 would be added to the atmosphere by 2111.)"
- which they estimate would translate to ~0.4 degree C global temperature increase, or .72 degree F.

Inaction today has major repercussions; it's another point unknown to the average citizen.

"Democracy doesn't work if people don't know what is going on."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Brunswick and Sutton Streets

There was a whole lotta honkin' going on during afternoon rush hour at Brunswick & Sutton in Burger Basin, as Occupy Wall Street came to Nevada County today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Email to an intelligent climate doubter

Since this missive is general & could be of use to others, here it is (slightly edited). One Q to ask doubters, gently: "What other sciences do you understand better than 97% of the experts in the field?"

("Pat" was not my correspondent's name)
Hello again Pat ...

If you'd like general perspective from scientists (the "diamond planet" guys) from outside the "climate debate" fray, try Diamond planets, climate change and the scientific method

Here's what I found out when I checked out the "Mars is warming" claim you'd heard (I checked by doing a science-aligned climate info search, at ; there are probably other such website aggregations to search, and definitely better ones, but it's the one I put together); came up with these:

Most concisely, "Mars is not warming globally." (from the Skeptical Science "arguments"(links + 1-liner responses) page)

Or detail, from the climate scientists' blog here:
"Globally, the mean temperature of the Martian atmosphere is particularly sensitive to the strength and duration of hemispheric dust storms ... to the extent it is sensible to speak of a mean temperature for Mars, the evidence is for significant cooling from the 1970′s, when Viking made measurements, compared to current temperatures. However, this is essentially due to large scale dust storms that were common back then, compared to a lower level of storminess now. The mean temperature on Mars, averaged over the Martian year can change by many degrees from year to year, depending on how active large scale dust storms are. ...[R]apid shrinkage of the South Polar Cap... trend ...continued... [but] The shrinkage of the Martian South Polar Cap is almost certainly a regional climate change, and is not any indication of global warming trends in the Martian atmosphere. Colaprete et al in Nature 2005 (subscription required) showed, using the Mars GCM, that the south polar climate is unstable due to the peculiar topography near the pole, and the current configuration is on the instability border; we therefore expect to see rapid changes in ice cover as the regional climate transits between the unstable states."
Pat, you strike me as an intelligent person, someone who wouldn't take kindly to being fooled - so you might consider whether news sources that suggest this "Mars is warming" (& thus that current Earth climate change is due to natural causes) thing, without bothering to check it out first with credible experts, have credibility on matters of science, or if they're just hoping to get their audience to engage in motivated reasoning.

Good talking to you -
(presuming that some variant of "Tikkun olam" is part of [church]'s fundamental philosophy, but I could be mistaken)
...which brings up a question: which religions do teach that we have no responsibility to others, and are free to let the place go to rack&ruin?