Saturday, October 3, 2009

climate of untruth

Some people still don't believe there's a strong scientific consensus on the climate crisis. There is, rivaling our confidence in gravity. This is not "only a theory."

Yes, there are also dissenting voices to be found, somewhat misleadingly formatted here to imply much more division than the scientific community has in fact expressed. Al Gore's explanation of why there's so much public confusion about this, and how it amounts to nothing less than an assault on reason, is still compelling... and his 2006 TED Talk was sobering, persuasive,and funny. (What a great presidential candidate this guy would've been!)

Here are new Gore slides; here's Elizabeth Kolbert pointing out that many of us who are already persuaded have been less than honest with ourselves, talking more about taking action than acting; and here's what Bill McKibben's been up to:

"350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere." Here are some reputable sources reflecting the present state of unanimity on this issue:

  • Hansen, James, et al. Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim? Submitted April 7, 2008. NASA climate scientist James Hansen's paper about the 350ppm target. Hansen also writes: "The press and television, despite an overwhelming scientific consensus concerning global warming, give equal time to fringe 'contrarians' supported by the fossil fuel industry. Special interest groups mount effective disinformation campaigns to sow doubt about the reality of global warming. The government appears to be strongly influenced by special interests, or otherwise confused and distracted, and it has failed to provide leadership. The public is understandably confused or uninterested."
  • The IPCC 4th Assessment Report – link to the latest report by the Nobel-prize winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, supported by the world's leading climatologists.
  • NASA - scientific reports, interactive maps, resources for kids, and more
  • Climate Safety - a very useful new report about current climate science, policy, and solutions
  1. Pew Center on Climate Change - helpful information about climate science and international policy
If all that doesn't persuade, maybe James Garvey's Ethics of Climate Change will. We read it in Environmental Ethics. The evidence it assembles, and the case it makes for more serious reforms than almost anyone is even talking about, is not easy to ignore... unless you choose to ignore it.

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