The New York Times featured a report March 18, 2014, from the AAAS, the Amercian Association for the Advancement of Science. Reporter Justin Gillis focused on Mario J. Molina, who was among those honored with a Nobel Prize for work detailing the threat to the ozone layer in the previous century.
Molina is now spearheading efforts by the AAAS to sound the alarm on the urgency to act on Climate Change, and they're serious.
“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.”Follow the link to the report, and you'll be greeted by the video below. As the NY Times article by Gillis notes, the news from the AAAS isn't all that new - what they're specifically trying to address is the confusion about Climate Change that is keeping people from mobilizing to do something about it.
More below the Orange Omnilepticon; ironically the coverage by the NY Times itself shows some of the problems in getting the word out.
In This Corner...
The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk.emphasis added
Surveys show that many Americans think climate change is still a topic of significant scientific disagreement.[i] Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is real. Moreover, while the public is becoming aware that climate change is increasing the likelihood of certain local disasters, many people do not yet understand that there is a small, but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world.
The website has numerous links, including videos, and a 28 page pdf report making the case for action. This is a must read for anyone wondering just what Climate Change is all about - and that's the intent of the AAAS. They urgently desire to get the message out in simple, direct language so that people who are not scientists can get an honest accounting of the issue.
As Gillis notes in the NY Times article,
The scientists are essentially trying to use their powers of persuasion to cut through public confusion over this issue.And In This Corner...
Polls show that most Americans are at least somewhat worried about global warming. But people generally do not understand that the problem is urgent — that the fate of future generations (not necessarily that far in the future) is being determined by emission levels now. Moreover, the average citizen tends to think there is more scientific debate about the basics than there really is.
The reasons for that uncertainty, doubt, and confusion are not too far away to be found. Buried almost at the bottom of the NY Times article is this single sentence:
Global warming has been much harder to understand, not least because of a disinformation campaign financed by elements of the fossil-fuel industry.You think?
The article links to a whole page of NY Times Science articles related to Global Warming and Climate Change. Its import is somewhat diminished by a banner ad across the top, and another in the side bar: "Rush's Polar Vortex - Is Global Warming A Hoax? Vote Now!" Clicking on the ad goes to a web page rather transparently designed to snag Limbaugh fans, Climate Change deniers, etc. into giving up email addresses so they (or anyone else who goes ahead with the poll) can be targeted for spam. (Of course, that's what I found - your browser history may get you something else.)
At the risk of giving them more web traffic than they deserve, this is the link for voting. I'm only posting it here for those who want to look at the framing and the poll questions. I strongly advise against attempting to vote and definitely do not give them any information:
While the AAAS report is careful not to name names or spell out precisely why there is so much confusion among the general public about Climate Change, the ad rather gives away one of the chief factors. It's not just the fossil fuel industry that seeks to spread disinformation. Climate Change has been deliberately politicized into a litmus test for ideological purity. The anti-science fervor of conservatism is manifesting in numerous ways, along with its knee-jerk aversion to government intervention in anything, no matter how dire.
Neil deGrasse Tyson's revival of COSMOS is making certain heads explode. (Chris Mooney at Mother Jones)
...Thus far, Cosmos has referred to climate change in each of its two opening episodes, but has not gone into any depth on the matter. Perhaps that's for a later episode. But in the meantime, it seems some conservatives are already bashing Tyson as a global warming proponent. Writing at the Media Research Center's Newsbusters blog, Jeffrey Meyer critiques a recent Tyson appearance on Late Night With Seth Myers. "Meyers and deGrasse Tyson chose to take a cheap shot at religious people and claim they don't believe in science i.e. liberal causes like global warming," writes Meyer.Wyoming is freaking out over new standards for teaching science - because it's difficult to teach about Climate Change without discussing the effects from Wyoming's massive coal industry. (Leah Todd, Star Tribune)
Teeters said teaching global warming as fact would wreck Wyoming's economy, as the state is the nation's largest energy exporter, and cause other unwanted political ramifications.North Carolina has chosen to remain in official ignorance until 2016, regarding what's happening to the state's coastline.(Bruce Siceloff, News Observer)
Micheli, the state board of education chairman, agreed.
"I don't accept, personally, that [climate change] is a fact," Micheli said. "[The standards are] very prejudiced in my opinion against fossil-fuel development."
The 2012 law was championed by Eastern North Carolina Republicans who distrusted the 39-inch forecast. They said they wanted to make sure that state policy is grounded in solid science and common-sense analysis.Figuring The Odds...
“You can believe whatever you want about global warming,” Rep. Pat McElraft, an Emerald Isle real estate agent who helped sponsor the measure, said in 2012. “But when you go to make planning policies here for our residents and protecting their property values and insurance rates … it’s a very serious thing to us on the coast.”
Gorham says he also wants a reliable sea-level prediction rooted in “good science.” And at the outset, he doesn’t buy the arguments for acceleration.
“What I don’t like are hockey-stick projections – where some scientists say that although it has been rising at this level, we think it is going to rise up (faster),” Gorham said. “I don’t like hockey sticks up or hockey sticks down. (But) I’m not saying I’ll disagree with it when we finish the study.”
Dr. Molina's work led to international cooperation to stop the production of the chlorofluorcarbons that were destroying the ozone layer. (Although it appears there is some backsliding, here and here.) The effort succeeded because the science was relatively clear cut, the remedies onerous but not impossible, and the consequences something everyone could imagine suffering. The anti-science ideologues hadn't gotten as firm a grip in those days either.
Now? Climate Change touches upon far more money, far more beliefs, and far more aspects of everyones lives. The stakes are far higher. The AAAS is trying to make a clear, honest appeal to rational thought; their opponents are interested in anything but. To quote Yeats yet again,
The best lack all conviction, while the worstWell, the best are full of conviction now - let's hope it's contagious. Climate Change is going to be a make or break intelligence test for the human species; we can no longer plead ignorance about what is happening. What remains is to muster our passions in the service of our intellects and act while there is still time left to avoid the worst.
Are full of passionate intensity.
Please spread the word about the AAAS website as far and wide as you can.
UPDATE: jamess posted about this as well, here.
Help Us Spread the Word About Climate Change
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After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series. As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."
"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.
A quick look gives the impression it is still pretty 'beta' but the idea of letting people see how they personally can be affected by Climate Change is a start - as is the hope that others will add to the site.