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John Hartz

I’ve been toiling in the vineyards of Skeptical Science for about six years. I am currently responsible for populating the SkS Facebook page with links to current news articles about climate science, mitigation and adaption polices, and energy. I maintain a rolling inventory of the articles and post a Roundup of them on the SkS website each Saturday (US). I also continue to generate the SkS Weekly Digest and post it each Sunday.  I also perform moderation duties on the comment threads on both the SkS Facebook page and the SkS website. I have the time to engage in these tasks because I am retired and my wife shares my passion about the need to address manmade climate change.

My environmental philosophy is articulated in the following ancient Native American proverb:

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

The work I do for Skeptical Science is part of my legacy to my children and grandchildren.

My wife and I currently reside in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Recent blog posts


2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 4 July 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 28 through Sat, July 4, 2020

Editor's Choice

'2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary

A timely Australian documentary takes a 'solutions' approach, with the filmmaker inspired by visions of his young daughter as an adult.

Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau did not create “2040” for viewing during the coronavirus pandemic. Although only now being released, online, in the U.S., the documentary premiered in Australia in the spring of 2019.

Nevertheless, the film fits well with this summer 2020 moment. For a nation wondering what post-pandemic life will look like, “2040” provides an optimistic vision of a new normal, one that addresses issues of social justice while meeting challenges posed by climate change.

As such, “2040” is the most upbeat documentary about climate change since climatologist Richard Alley’s PBS series “Earth: An Operator’s Manual.” And it’s often funny, entertaining, and, in a family sitcom sort-of-way, touching.

“2040” begins with the movie-poster scene of Gameau planting a tree with his 4-year-old daughter, Velvet. In a voiceover, Gameau explains that he worries about how climate change will affect his daughter’s future. He knows the science; he briefly explains it using the heating, plumbing, and refrigeration systems of his house as analogies for different parts of the carbon cycles. And he says he often has felt overwhelmed by the doom-and-gloom depictions of climate change in popular media.

He wants to change this: “As a father, I think there’s room for a different story, a story that focuses on solutions.”

To write this new story, Gameau poses a question: “What [would] the world look like in 2040, if we just embraced the best that already exists?” And for “already exists” Gameau adopts a cardinal rule: “Everything I show in this 2040 has to exist today in some form. I can’t make it up.” Having laid down these ground rules, Gameau begins the work of assembling “the best that already exists” into a plausible depiction of his daughter’s life as an adult in 2040.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Yale Climate Connections website.

2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary by Michael Svoboda, Article, Yale Climate Connections, June 29, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #26

Posted on 28 June 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Global Warming Is Melting Our Sense of Time

East Siberia Heat Wave Fires 

Satellite image of smoke from active fires burning near the Eastern Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, Russia, on June 23, 2020. Photo: Handout/NASA Earth Observatory

On June 20, in the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, north of the Arctic Circle, a heat wave baking the region peaked at 38 degrees Celsius — just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the highest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic. In a world without climate change, this anomaly, one Danish meteorologist calculated, would be a 1-in-100,000-year event. Thanks to climate change, that year is now.

If you saw this news, last weekend, it was probably only a glimpse (primetime network news didn’t even cover it). But the overwhelming coverage of perhaps more immediately pressing events — global protests, global pandemic, economic calamity — is only one reason for that climate occlusion. The extreme weather of the last few summers has already inured us to temperature anomalies like these, though we are only just at the beginning of the livable planet’s transformation by climate change — a transformation whose end is not yet visible, if it will ever be, and in which departures from the historical record will grow only more dramatic and more disorienting and more lethal, almost by the year. At just 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming, where the planet is today, we have already evicted ourselves from the “human climate niche,” and brought ourselves outside the range of global temperatures that enclose the entire history of human civilization. That history is roughly 10,000 years long, which means that in a stable climate you would only expect to encounter an anomaly like this one if you ran the full lifespan of all recorded human history ten times over — and even then would only encounter it once.

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the New York Magazine website.

Global Warming Is Melting Our Sense of Time by David Wallace-Wells, Intelligencer, New York Magazine, June 27, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 27 June 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 21 through Sat, June 27, 2020

Editor's Choice

Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers

Earth at Night

Facebook is "aiding and abetting the spread of climate misinformation,” said Robert Brulle, an environmental sociologist at Drexel University. “They have become the vehicle for climate misinformation, and thus should be held partially responsible for a lack of action on climate change.”

Brulle was reacting to Facebook's recent decision, made at the request of climate science deniers, to create a giant loophole in its fact-checking program. Last year, Facebook partnered with an organization, Science Feedback, that would bring in teams of Ph.D. climate scientists to evaluate the accuracy of viral content. It was an important expansion of the company's third-party fact-checking program. 

But now Facebook has reportedly decided to allow its staffers to overrule the climate scientists and make any climate disinformation ineligible for fact-checking by deeming it "opinion." 

The organization that requested the change, the CO2 Coalition, is celebrating, E&E news reported on Monday. The group, which has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, says its views on climate change are increasingly ignored by the mainstream media. Now it plans to use Facebook to aggressively push climate misinformation on the public—without having to worry about fact checks from climate scientists.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Heated website. 

Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers by Emily Atkin, Heated, June 24, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #25

Posted on 21 June 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Bangladesh Coal Plants Threaten World's Largest Mangrove Forest

Important Coastal Barrier at Risk from Increased Pollution

Unloading coal in Bangladesh 

The Bangladesh government threatens to destroy life-saving forests by building coal-fired power plants. Coal fired plants are a major contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. (Sipa via AP Images)

Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful to strike in the Bay of Bengal in 20 years, made landfall on the India-Bangladesh coast last month. Amphan ripped off roofs, washed away homes, and flooded farms. Crucially, Bangladesh was able to mitigate impact and save lives because of its robust emergency response system with early warnings and mass-evacuations.

But coastal communities were also protected by Bangladesh’s natural storm shield: the Sundarbans. A protected World Heritage site, this mangrove forest holds land together with its roots as the tides rise. As climate change increases the intensity of extreme weather events like Amphan, the Sundarbans are at risk when they’re needed most.

But the Bangladesh government threatens to destroy these life-saving forests by building coal-fired power plants that could subject them, and the nearly 2.5 million people who depend on them for their livelihoods, to harmful pollution. And while the mangroves slow climate change by soaking up carbon, coal-fired plants contribute greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.

Of particular concern is the proposed Rampal Thermal Power Plant, just north of the Sundarbans. Scientists and activists have repeatedly voiced concerns that the plant could spell disaster for the world’s largest mangrove forest. But the government has fought calls to cancel or relocate the projectusing tear gas and rubber bullets against protestors and insisting, contrary to scientific evidence, that the plant will do no harm.

Bangladesh Coal Plants Threaten World’s Largest Mangrove Forest by Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch, June 18, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the Human Rights Watch website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #25

Posted on 20 June 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 14 through Sat, June 20, 2020

Editor's Choice

World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert

International Energy Agency chief warns of need to prevent post-lockdown surge in emissions

Coal Fired Power Plant in Dattein, Germany

The cooling tower of a coal-fired power plant in Datteln, Germany. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned.

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

Governments are planning to spend $9tn (£7.2tn) globally in the next few months on rescuing their economies from the coronavirus crisis, the IEA has calculated. The stimulus packages created this year will determine the shape of the global economy for the next three years, according to Birol, and within that time emissions must start to fall sharply and permanently, or climate targets will be out of reach.

“The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,” Birol told the Guardian. “If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages.”

World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert by Fiona Harvey, Environment, Guardian, June 18, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on The Guardian website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

Posted on 14 June 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

'Surprisingly rapid' rebound in carbon emissions post-lockdown

Busier roads to blame, with fears of worse to come as workers shun public transport

 Auto Queue in UK

Huge queues of traffic blocked roads throughout Staines, Middlesex, when the McDonald’s drive-through restaurant reopened on 20 May. Photograph: Maureen McLean/Rex

Carbon dioxide emissions have rebounded around the world as lockdown conditions have eased, raising fears that annual emissions of greenhouse gases could surge to higher than ever levels after the coronavirus pandemic, unless governments take swift action.

Emissions fell by a quarter when the lockdowns were at their peak, and in early April global daily carbon dioxide emissions were still down by 17% compared with the average figure for 2019, research published last month in the journal Nature Climate Change found.

Now daily carbon emissions are still down on 2019 levels, but by only 5% on average globally, according to an updated study.

“Things have happened very fast,” said Corinne Le Quéré, a professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia and the lead author of the studies. “Very few countries still have stringent confinement. We expected emissions to come back, but that they have done so rapidly is the biggest surprise.” 

'Surprisingly rapid' rebound in carbon emissions post-lockdown by Fiona Harvey, Environment, Guardian, June 11, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on The Guardian website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

Posted on 13 June 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 7 through Sat, June 13, 2020

Editor's Choice

Michael Mann Fought Climate Denial. Now He’s Fighting Climate Doom.

The climatologist is taking on both the fossil fuel lobby and those who think the climate fight is futile.

Michael Mann 

ONE AUGUST AFTERNOON IN 2010, Michael Mann was opening mail in his office at Penn State University when a dusting of white powder emerged from an envelope. At first he thought it was his imagination. “I figured maybe it’s just an old dingy envelope or something,” Mann recalled. His next thought: anthrax.

Mann bolted out of his office and shut the door, washed his hands, and called the cops. Soon, the FBI arrived. Agents retrieved the letter for testing while Mann was left to explain to stunned colleagues why there was police tape sealing his door.

Death threats weren’t exactly the kind of thing Mann ’89 had imagined as an undergrad at Cal, when he was first thinking about a life in academia. But his career as a climate scientist had attracted some very powerful and determined enemies. Over the years, he’d gotten used to verbal attacks and idle threats, but this was on a different level. He began to worry about his family’s safety.

In the end, the powder proved to be cornstarch, but police gave Mann a hotline number just in case. He and his wife put it on the refrigerator.  

Michael Mann Fought Climate Denial. Now He’s Fighting Climate Doom. by Bryan Schatz, California Magazine, Summer 2020 Edition

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

Posted on 7 June 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Earth has hottest May on record, with 2020 on track to be one of the top 10 warmest years

Sunset

  • The Earth had its hottest May ever last month, continuing a climate change trend as 2020 is set to be among the hottest 10 years ever, scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service announced on Friday. 
  • 2019 was the second-hottest year ever, capping off the world’s hottest decade in recorded history. And six of the warmest years on record were during the past decade.
  • The continuous upward trend in global temperatures results from greenhouse gas emissions that change the climate.

Earth has hottest May on record, with 2020 on track to be one of the top 10 warmest years by Emma Newburger, Environment, CNBC, June 5, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the CNBC website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

Posted on 6 June 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, May 31 through Sat, June 6, 2020

Editor's Choice

The world must seize this opportunity to meet the climate challenge

As current and former central bankers, we believe the pandemic offers a unique chance to green the global economy

Financial System Reform

‘Over the last year, we have seen record temperatures across Europe, extreme rainfall in the US, and, for the first time ever, wildfires in the Arctic.’ Soaring temperatures in Paris, July 2019. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

we are currently in the midst of the most severe macroeconomic shock since the second world war. The disruption to our daily lives and subsequent impact on our economies has been enormous. We are seeing first-hand that a collective response is needed to defeat a common enemy, as authorities across the world courageously mobilise all available resources to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

This crisis offers us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild our economy in order to withstand the next shock coming our way: climate breakdown. Unless we act now, the climate crisis will be tomorrow’s central scenario and, unlike Covid-19, no one will be able to self-isolate from it.

In the immediate response to the pandemic, governments have taken measures of unprecedented scale to keep economic and financial systems afloat. The IMF estimates that approximately $9tn of fiscal support has been provided across the world. This is necessary to limit acute and permanent damage. But as we consider the next stage of recovery, we must look beyond the immediate crisis and think more strategically about how we do it.

The world must seize this opportunity to meet the climate challenge, Opinion by Andrew Bailey, Mark Carney, François Villeroy de Galhau & Frank Elderson. Comment is Free, Guardian, June 5. 2020

 Andrew Bailey is governor of the Bank of England; François Villeroy de Galhau is governor of Banque de France; Frank Elderson is chair of the Network for Greening the Financial System and executive board member of the Nederlandsche Bank; Mark Carney is UN special envoy for climate action and finance.

Click here to access the entire opinion piece as originally published on The Guardian website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #22

Posted on 31 May 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Climate concerns as Siberia experiences record-breaking heat

Heat wave sparks concerns about devastating wildfire season and melting permafrost.

Satellite image of wildfire in Siberia on May 19, 2020

Satellite imagery of a wildfire in Siberia, Russia above the arctic circle on May 19, 2020. Copernicus Sentinel/Sentinel Hub/Pierre Markuse

One of the coldest regions on Earth has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave in recent weeks amid growing fears about devastating wildfires and melting permafrost.

Khatanga, a town in Siberia’s Arctic Circle, registered highs of over 80 degrees Fahrenheit this week, according to Accuweather, far above the 59 degrees F historical average, as the whole of western Siberia basked in unseasonable warmth.

While locals flocked to popular spots to sunbathe, experts sounded alarms about the possible implications for the region’s wildfire season this summer, with some blazes already breaking out in recent months. 

Climate concerns as Siberia experiences record-breaking heat by Luke Denne and Olivia Sumrie, Climate in Crisis, NBC News, May 29, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

Posted on 30 May 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, May 24 through Sat, May 30, 2020

Editor's Choice

Antarctic Ocean Reveals New Signs of Rapid Melt of Ancient Ice, Clues About Future Sea Level Rise

A study of seafloor ripples suggests that ice shelves can retreat six miles per year, a quantum increase over today’s rates.

g 

A new study in the journal Science found that floating ice shelves can melt much more rapidly than previously thought—at a rate of about six miles per year. Credit: Massimo Rumi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images 

Climate researchers racing to calculate how fast and how high the sea level will rise found new clues on the seafloor around Antarctica. A study released today suggests that some of the continent's floating ice shelves can, during eras of rapid warming, melt back by six miles per year, far faster than any ice retreat observed by satellites.

As global warming speeds up the Antarctic meltdown, the findings "set a new upper limit for what the worst-case might be," said lead author Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

The estimate of ice shelf retreat is based on a pattern of ridges discovered on the seafloor near the Larsen Ice Shelf. The spacing and size of the ridges suggest they were created as the floating ice shelves rose and fell with the tides while rapidly shrinking back from the ocean. In findings published today in Science, the researchers estimate that to corrugate the seafloor in this way, the ice would have retreated by more than 150 feet per day for at least 90 days.

Antarctic Ocean Reveals New Signs of Rapid Melt of Ancient Ice, Clues About Future Sea Level Rise by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, May 28, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the InsideClimate News website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #21

Posted on 24 May 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

What a Week’s Disasters Tell Us About Climate and the Pandemic

Extreme weather presents an even bigger threat when economies are crashing and ordinary people are stretched to their limits.

Locusts in Kenya, Jan 2020

Locusts swarmed crops on a farm in Katitika, a village in Kenya, in January. Credit: Ben Curtis, AP

The hits came this week in rapid succession: A cyclone slammed into the Indian megacity of Kolkata, pounding rains breached two dams in the Midwestern United States, and on Thursday came warning that the Atlantic hurricane season could be severe.

It all served as a reminder that the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 325,000 people so far, is colliding with another global menace: a fast-heating planet that acutely threatens millions of people, especially the world’s poor.

Climate change makes extreme weather events more frequent and more intense. Now, because of the pandemic, they come at a time when national economies are crashing and ordinary people are stretched to their limits.

What a Week’s Disasters Tell Us About Climate and the Pandemic by Somini Sengupta, Climate, New York Times, May 23, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the New York Times website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #21

Posted on 23 May 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, May 17 through Sat, May 23, 2020

Editor's Choice

More than 80 killed in India and Bangladesh as Cyclone Amphan heaps misery on coronavirus-hit areas

 House damaged by Cyclone Amphan in Midnapore, West Bengal

A man salvages items from his house damaged by Cyclone Amphan in Midnapore, West Bengal, on May 21, 2020.

More than 80 people have been killed and thousands more left homeless after Cyclone Amphan slammed into coastal towns and cities in India and Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities are now racing to provide relief efforts in communities already stricken by the coronavirus, hampered in many areas by heavy rains and fallen debris that has made roads impassible.

Large-scale evacuation efforts appear to have saved many lives, but it could take days to realize the full extent of the deaths, injuries and damage from the cyclone.

Amphan — which was the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal before it weakened — ripped apart homes, tore down trees, washed away bridges and left large predominately rural areas without power or communications.

"I have never seen such disaster," Banerjee told reporters. "All areas have faced destruction. Nothing is left."

In neighboring Bangladesh, 10 people have been confirmed dead, according to the governmental Health Emergency Operations Center. Among those killed was a 57-year-old Red Crescent volunteer in Barisal who drowned when attempting to help others to safety, the Red Crescent Society of Bangladesh said.

More than 80 killed in India and Bangladesh as Cyclone Amphan heaps misery on coronavirus-hit areas by Prema Rajaram, Manveena Suri, Esha Mitra, Helen Regan and Vedika Sud, CNN, May 21, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #20

Posted on 17 May 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

The Largest Arctic Science Expedition in History Finds Itself on Increasingly Thin Ice

Covid-19 is just one of many setbacks for hundreds of scientists pursuing critical climate questions in the world’s most remote and inhospitable environment.

MOASiC Follows Nansen's Lead

In March 2019, at a crowded happy hour in Boulder, Colorado, I sat listening to Matt Shupe, an atmospheric scientist, describing his decades-long dream that was about to come true. 

He was sprinting to finish the years of planning and preparations required to freeze an icebreaker into the Arctic Ocean ice as close to the North Pole as it could get. The vessel would drift with the ice for a year as a rotating cast of nearly 600 experts from 20 nations representing dozens of scientific disciplines spread out in research camps around the ship.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

Posted on 16 May 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, May 10 through Sat, May 16, 2020

Editor's Choice

These 6 books explore climate change science and solutions

 6 Books Reviewed by Science News

Recent books about climate change tackle science and offer visions of the future. 

Climate change is increasingly becoming part of everyday conversations. For those who want to join the discussions, there is no shortage of books that give detailed background and context on the subject. The question is, which to read?

Science News staff members have reviewed several books published this year to guide you to which ones you might like. Many of these offerings address perhaps the most press­ing question: With limited time to act, what’s the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avert the most dire impacts of climate change?

These 6 books explore climate change science and solutions by Staff, Science News, May 16, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #19

Posted on 10 May 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Disease-carrying mosquitoes could be common in Europe by 2030

Mosquito Suking Blood 

Climate change could mean mosquitoes that can carry diseases like dengue, zika and yellow fever become established in southern Europe within 10 years.

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are increasing the number of areas Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can live in, potentially spreading diseases to new places.

Modelling from Imperial College London and Tel Aviv University predicts the mosquitoes will accelerate their invasion of parts of China, North America and European countries including Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey in the coming decades. The results are published in Nature Communications.

Dr Kris Murray, from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in the School of Public Health and the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment at Imperial, said: “This work helps reveal the potential long-term costs of failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions right now.

“Our results show that this species of mosquito has very likely already benefitted from recent climate change across much of the world. But this increase in suitability is now also starting to accelerate. We predict that significant emissions cuts can help slow it down.”

Disease-carrying mosquitoes could be common in Europe by 2030 by Hayley Dunning, Science, Imperial College of London, May 6, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the Imperial College London website. 

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

Posted on 9 May 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, May 3 through Sat, May 9, 2020

Editor's Choice

A Pandemic That Cleared Skies and Halted Cities Isn’t Slowing Global Warming

Oil tankers california Oil tankers carrying more than 20 million barrels of oil float off the coast of California.

Oil tankers carrying more than 20 million barrels of oil float off the coast of California. Credit: Petty Officer Third Class Aidan Cooney/US Coast Guard

In some ways, the dire lockdowns undertaken to stop Covid-19 have fast-forwarded us into an unlikely future—one with almost impossibly bold climate action taken all at once, no matter the cost.

Just months ago it would have been thought impossible to close polluting factories virtually overnight and slash emissions from travel by keeping billions at home. Now we know that clear skies and silent streets can come about with shocking speed.

The pandemic is a cataclysmic event so big and disruptive that it can be measured in the planetary metrics of climate change. As many as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, about 8% of the estimated total for the year, will never be emitted into the atmosphere, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency. Pick any world-shaking event from 20th century history—none has produced a bigger decrease in emissions. 

A Pandemic That Cleared Skies and Halted Cities Isn’t Slowing Global Warming by Laura Millan Lombrana & Hayley Warren, Bloomberg Green, May 8, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the Bloomberg News website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #18

Posted on 3 May 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

On a Melting Planet, More Precisely Tracking the Decline of Ice

New laser measurements can help pinpoint how and when the world’s vast stores of ice will vanish.

Sea Ice

A new study helps show from where the water rising sea levels is coming, and exactly which processes are causing it. Credit: Bob Berwyn

From the frozen crags of the Andes and Rockies to country-sized ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, global warming is melting the world's ice at a dizzying rate. In the last five years, mountain glaciers have unexpectedly disintegrated and collapsed, including a pair of deadly ice avalanches in Tibet. In Alaska, a quarter-mile section of the Flat Creek glacier broke away and oozed down the valley, mowing down 400-year-old trees.

This ice loss is worrying for many reasons. Modern humans evolved on a planet where ice has been a crucial regulator, reflecting some of the sun's heat back to space, and storing huge amounts of moisture—about 69 percent of the world's freshwater is stored in glaciers and ice sheets. Slow melting and replenishment were in balance for 10,000 years or so, until human-caused global warming disrupted the cycl

The meltdown is having impacts across the planet. As ice melts off Greenland and Antarctica their gravitational mass decreases, sending the water surging toward the equator, where sea level rising two or three times as fast as the global average is already swamping islands. A study published April 30 in the journal Science helps show from where the water is coming, and exactly which processes are causing it.

The loss of mountain glaciers is disconcerting for cities and farming areas in the Western United States and other areas that rely on slow-melting mountain ice. Alpine towns that have faced giant avalanches of ice, mud, rocks and snow are also anxious and in South America, mountain towns are threatened by sudden floods from collapsing glaciers.

On a Melting Planet, More Precisely Tracking the Decline of Ice by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Apr 30, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the InsideClimate News website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #18

Posted on 2 May 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Apr 26 through Sat, May 2, 2020

Editor's Choice

Only ‘A-list’ of coral reefs found to sustain ecosystems, livelihoods

Coral Reef Solomon Island
  • Most of tropical reefs are no longer able to both sustain coral reef ecosystems and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them, as human pressure and the impacts of climate change increase.
  • That was the finding of a new study that looked at 1,800 coral reef sites spread throughout the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic ocean basins.
  • Only 5% of those sites have plentiful fish stocks, high fish biodiversity and grazing, and well-preserved ecosystem functions — which are key marine ecological metrics.
  • The study authors say location and the expected targets set by authorities implementing reef conservation are key to helping other sites achieve these multiple goals.

Most of the tropical reef sites around the world are no longer able to simultaneously sustain coral reef ecosystems and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them, as human pressure and impacts of climate change increase, a new study shows.

Only 5% of 1,800 tropical reef sites across 41 countries, states and territories on Earth had plentiful fish stocks, high fish biodiversity and grazing, and well-preserved ecosystem functions — which are key marine ecological metrics, according to the authors of the paper published April 17 in Science magazine.

These sites were geographically spread through the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic ocean basins, the study said.

“These are like the Hollywood A-listers of coral reefs,” said lead author Josh Cinner, from James Cook University in Australia. “They have it all, but they’re also rare and live in exclusive areas — remote locations with little human pressure.”

Only ‘A-list’ of coral reefs found to sustain ecosystems, livelihoods by Basten Gokkon, Mongabay, Apr 27, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on Mongabay.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #17

Posted on 26 April 2020 by John Hartz

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Story of the Week...

Why climate activists aren't celebrating historic emissions cuts

They are zeroing in on the battle over once-in-a-generation government spending that will shape climate efforts for decades.

London During COVID-19 Lockdown 

Global carbon emissions are projected to fall this year as cities like London have enacted shelter-in-place orders. | Aaron Chown/PA via AP 

Carbon emissions are set to fall by historic amounts this year, but environmental advocates aren’t celebrating.

Instead, they are zeroing in on a new battle: putting green conditions on the trillions in stimulus funds governments around the world are pumping into their economies to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

They will have to overcome a series of obstacles to achieve that goal, more than 30 officials, activists and analysts said in interviews with POLITICO.

A new Ipsos-Mori poll across 14 countries in the G-20 shows a majority in every country surveyed agrees economic recovery should “prioritize climate change.” Lawmakers, however, must balance that sentiment with requests for bailouts and regulatory relief from sectors that are both hard hit and high polluting, including aviation, automakers and fossil fuels.

It’s still early days in this trench warfare, but thus far government leaders’ lofty green rhetoric hasn't been matched with actions.

Neither the loan packages and debt pauses negotiated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, nor the $8 trillion in domestic stimulus packages in rich countries feature significant green conditions or investments. 

Why climate activists aren't celebrating historic emissions cuts by Ryan Heath, Kalina Oroschakoff, Zack Colman & Maura Forrest, Environment, Politico, Apr 23, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #17

Posted on 25 April 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Apr 19 through Sat, Apr 25, 2020

Editor's Choice

I Am a Mad Scientist

Dr Kate Marvel

I’ve heard it a couple times already, from a journalist, a family friend, a neighbor: You must be happy about all of this. The implication is that because I’m a climate scientist, I must be excited about this time of reduced economic activity and greenhouse emissions. The Earth is healing, they say. Nature is returning. Why wouldn’t I be glad about it?

Friends, I’m definitely not happy. I’m not even sad. What I am, more than anything, is angry.

I’m angry at the very idea that there might be a silver lining in all this. There is not. Carbon dioxide is so long-lived in the atmosphere that a small decrease in emissions will not register against the overwhelming increase since the start of the Industrial Revolution. All this suffering will not make the planet any cooler. If the air quality is better now, if fewer people die from breathing in pollution, this is not a welcome development so much as an indictment of the way things were before.

I Am a Mad Scientist by Kate Marvel, Drilled News, Apr 22, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the Drilled News website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #16

Posted on 19 April 2020 by John Hartz

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Story of the Week...

Q&A: Denis Hayes, Planner of the First Earth Day, Discusses the ‘Virtual’ 50th 

Covid-19 forced the event online, but, Hayes says, “There is simply no substitute for a billion people in the streets—and right now, that is against the law."

Denis Hayes

Co-founder of Earth Day Denis Hayes speaks at the speaks at the lighting of the Earth Ball press conference in Times Square on April 22, 2009 in New York City. Credit: Mark Von Holden/WireImage 

Denis Hayes was a 25-year-old graduate student at Harvard University when he read about a Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, who was planning to organize an environmental teach-in on college campuses.

Hayes hightailed it to Washington, D.C., hoping to convince Nelson to let him organize a teach-in at Harvard, and maybe other colleges in and around Boston. Two days later, Hayes dropped out of the John F. Kennedy School of Government to coordinate a national event, "Earth Day."

The day made history. The rest is environmental history, one that neither Hayes nor Nelson even expected.

On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, climate change, deforestation and chemical-intensive agriculture had yet to become existential crises. The issue was pollution, the day a call to action to protect precious resources—-air, water, land and all living things—-from the encroaching toxins of industrial society. That proved enough to draw a crowd.

Twenty million people—10 percent of the population of the United States at the time—-participated in rallies and events from coast to coast that day. Thousands of colleges and universities joined in with organized protests. School children planted trees, swept streets and picked up trash on beaches. What came after changed the world. By the end of 1970, Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts.

Q&A: Denis Hayes, Planner of the First Earth Day, Discusses the ‘Virtual’ 50th by Evelyn Nieves, InsideClimate News, Apr 17, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

Posted on 18 April 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Apr 12 through Sat, Apr 18, 2020

Editor's Choice

World’s Largest Online Climate Conference Announced to Mark 50th Anniversary of World’s First Earth Day

Earth from Space

Over 100 speakers from five continents will participate in Earth Day Week. The world’s largest online climate conference ever held. Tune in Daily from 20 to 25 April: Leading Voices from Sachs to Robins and Figueres to Thiaw. Partners behind the conference have a total social media reach of over 85 million followers and include key representatives of business; the United Nations; governments; academia and scientific think-tanks; entrepreneurs; social media platforms; artists; campaigners and civil society.

Stockholm/Washington DC, 14 April 2020–Today marks the six-day countdown to what is shaping up to the be the biggest climate conference of 2020. In just six days around 100 of the world’s key experts ‘meet’ to fast forward the creative solutions needed to build a better future and avert the biggest crisis facing humanity.

The event, organized by the social network We Don’t Have Time in collaboration with lead partners Exponential Roadmap and Earth Day Network, will be live streamed as part of the 50 anniversary events marking Earth Day 2020.

Other partners and guests include key representatives of business; the United Nations; the UK government; academia and scientific think-tanks; entrepreneurs; social media platform Twitter; artists; campaigners and civil society.

Worlds largest online climate conference announced to mark the 50th anniversary of world’s first Earth Day, Press Release, Earth Day, Apr 14, 2020

Click here to access the entire press release.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #15

Posted on 12 April 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Fridays for Future News... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Coronavirus puts Arctic climate change research on ice

Coronavirus lockdowns have been touted on social media as helping to fight climate change. But in the Arctic Circle the virus is disrupting climate science. It could leave important gaps in our understanding.

EastGRIP Research Facility Greenland

East GRIP research facility in Greenland

Every year 150 climate scientists fly far into the wilderness and bore deep into Greenland's largest glacier. Their work is complicated and important. The EastGRIP project is trying to understand how ice streams underneath the glacier are pushing vast amounts of ice into the ocean, and how this contributes to rising sea levels. But this year the drills will be silent. The ice streams will go unmeasured. 

The reason is the coronavirus. The fallout from measures to contain the outbreak have made the research impossible. Greenland is closed to foreigners. Its government is worried any outbreak could be particularly dangerous to its indigenous population and rapidly overwhelm its health services. 

Even if the country were open, it just isn't practical to bring an international team of scientists together, 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away from the nearest airport, in case one of them is sick. The transport planes that normally fly in the teams and resupply them have also been grounded. Nobody wants to be responsible for bringing small, isolated communities into contact with the virus.

Coronavirus puts Arctic climate change research on ice by Alex Matthews, Deutsche Welle (DW), Apr 12, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15

Posted on 11 April 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Apr 5 through Sat, Apr 11, 2020

Editor's Choice

Jennifer Nuzzo: “We’re Definitely Not Overreacting” to COVID-19

Johns Hopkins epidemiologist and infectious disease expert Jennifer Nuzzo on why vaccines aren’t the answer, how COVID-19 is unique, and how to stay safe.

Jennifer Nuzzo 

We are living in strange times. The streets and highways that run through busy cities around the world are uncharacteristically empty. Schools are closed. Storefronts are boarded up. Many people are just trying to figure out how to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparation is key, says epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo. But that doesn’t mean stockpiling paper goods and cleaning supplies. Each country needs to be prepared, and it is now clear that many were not.

Nuzzo’s work at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has focused on pandemics and outbreaks. Less than three months before the earliest reported case of humans infected with COVID-19, Nuzzo and her colleagues published a WHO/World Bank-commissioned report about a “high-impact respiratory pathogen” that “would likely have significant public health, economic, social, and political consequences.” What we’re experiencing now, she says, exceeds “some of the grimmest expectations” highlighted in that report.

Still, Nuzzo sees a light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. In our interview, she explained why vaccines aren’t the answer, how the novel coronavirus is unique, and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy. A supporter of social distancing, Nuzzo spoke to me from the protection of her home in Maryland, where she, like many of us, is balancing remote work with homeschooling two young kids. 

Jennifer Nuzzo: “We’re Definitely Not Overreacting” to COVID-19 by Yvonne Bang, JSTOR Daily, Apr 6, 2020

Click here to access the entire article. 

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14

Posted on 5 April 2020 by John Hartz

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Story of the Week...

North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests

Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to negative revision of global climate calculations

Gibraltar Strait

Phytoplankton blooms are visible from space in this 2017 satellite image taken of the Gibraltar strait. Photograph: Suomi/VIIRS and Modis/Nasa

The North Atlantic may be a weaker climate ally than previously believed, according to a study that suggests the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide has been overestimated.

A first-ever winter and spring sampling of plankton in the western North Atlantic showed cell sizes were considerably smaller than scientists assumed, which means the carbon they absorb does not sink as deep or as fast, nor does it stay in the depths for as long.

This discovery is likely to force a negative revision of global climate calculations, say the authors of the Nasa-backed study, though it is unclear by how much.

“We have found a misconception. It will definitely impact the model of carbon flows,” said Oregon State University microbiologist Steve Giovannoni. “It will require more than just a small tweak.” 

Oceans' capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests by Jonathan Watts, Environment, Guardian, Apr 3, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #14

Posted on 4 April 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Mar 29 through Sat, Apr 4, 2020

Editor's Choice

Bill McKibben on Solidarity in the Time of Social Distancing

Bill McKibben 

HEATED is a new 6-episode, limited-run podcast series that shows how COVID-19 and the climate crisis cannot be separated. In a series of up-to-the-minute interviews, HEATED newsletter's Emily Atkin connects the dots on how two of the most pressing issues of our time are really one and the same. First up: Bill McKibben, a leader in the climate movement for more than 20 years as a journalist, author, and co-founder of 350.org. 

Bill McKibben on Solidarity in the Time of Social Distancing by Emily Atkin, HEATED/Drilled News, Apr 1, 2020

Click here to access a transcript of the podcast

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13

Posted on 29 March 2020 by John Hartz

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Story of the Week...

‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial

 Misinformation Kills

Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images 

Scientific warnings are being ignored, misinformation is spreading, and prominent Republicans have said that addressing the problem is either too expensive or too difficult. No, this isn’t climate change: This is the new reality of the novel coronavirus, the deadly pandemic sweeping the planet.

Over the past several weeks, as global cases of COVID-19 have climbed to over 500,000, conspiracy theories and fake news have also been on the rise. On Monday a man died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, an ingredient in an anti-malarial drug that President Trump had heralded as a coronavirus cure.

Meanwhile, the website Snopes has been forced to scale back its fact-checking work in response to the overwhelming number of fake stories around the pandemic. (Some disturbing highlights: claims that the coronavirus was released by world governments to distract from a planet-ending doomsday asteroid, or that breathing hot air from a hair dryer can kill the virus.)

‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial by Shannon Osaka, Grist, Mar 28, 2020 

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13

Posted on 28 March 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020

Editor's Choice

The Nature of Crisis

Save Lives Stay Home

Photograph by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Getty 

Subscribers to The Climate Crisis newsletter received this piece in their in-boxes. Sign up to receive future installments.

An idea beloved of the technorati is that we are actually living not on the earth we seem to inhabit but in a simulation. Elon Musk has said that it’s “most likely” the case, and Neil deGrasse Tyson has set the odds at fifty-fifty. If so, we’ve clearly reached the point where whoever is supervising the action has handed the game over to a bored supervillain who is wildly pressing buttons: Pandemics! Locusts! Firestorms!

The name of this newsletter is The Climate Crisis, but for the moment the emphasis is going to be on the last of those words. We need to understand how crises work, and, since I’ve been thinking about them for many years, I have a few thoughts to offer. This week’s reflection has to do with time, which is a variable we seriously underappreciate. We’re used to political debates that go on forever—when I was a high-school debater, in 1978, our topic for the year was “That the federal government should establish a comprehensive program to regulate the health care system in the United States.” We imagine that, if we don’t solve a political problem now, we’ll get around to it eventually. Meanwhile, we’ll chip away at it—delaying a solution extends suffering along the way, but it doesn’t necessarily make a problem ultimately harder to solve. Certain kinds of problems don’t work that way, however. Physical problems—climate change and the coronavirus being the pertinent examples—are all about time. And what’s striking to me is how similar these two examples are.

The Nature of Crisis by Bill McKibben Annals of a Warming Planet, New Yorker Magazine, Mar 26, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12

Posted on 22 March 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters

The likelihood of extreme events today is being underestimated, new research suggests

Flooding in New Delhi India

A motorcyclist tries to cross a waterlogged stretch amid slow moving traffic near AIIMS, on March 14, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Credit: Biplov Bhuyan Getty Images 

Small levels of global warming can increase the likelihood of extreme events, new research warns. That’s prompting scientists to question how accurately disasters in the recent past can be used to predict extreme events today.

study published Wednesday in Science Advances suggests that some research attributing climate change to individual disasters has underestimated the probability of certain extremes in the last decade. That’s especially true of unprecedented hot and wet events.

That’s because researchers were basing their analyses on a historical study period extending only up to the year 2005, said author Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford University. As it turns out, the warming that’s occurred since then has had a big impact on global extreme events. 

In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, E&E News/Scientific American, Mar 20, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12

Posted on 21 March 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020

Editor's Pick

Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts

 Gardening in Brooklyn per Vogue Magazine

Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed for Vogue’s September 2019 issue at the Eagle Street Rooftop Garden in Brooklyn.Photographed by Tierney Gearon, Vogue, September 2019 

The absentminded Instagram scroll looks a lot different these days. Vacation pics and shameless selfies have been replaced with glimpses of how we’re living through the coronavirus outbreak and its necessary quarantines: Health care officials are sharing their tips and expertise; fitness instructors are posting living-room workouts; chefs are sharing easy home-cooked meals; and others are posting about how we can all help those who are most at risk.

It’s a reminder of how social media keeps us connected and informed no matter where we are in the world, a fact we take for granted with every double tap. But it’s mostly a testament to the power of coming together around a crisis and taking collective action for the greater global good. In theory, practicing social distancingwashing our hands more thoroughly, and working from home can slow down this disease and eventually, hopefully, eliminate it. We’re all doing our small, if sometimes inconvenient, part, and already we’re beginning to see how our individual actions contribute to something much, much bigger than us.

For those involved in climate-change efforts, you might see a few through lines between our response to the coronavirus and our response (or lack thereof) to the effects of climate change. Climate scientists and activists have preached for decades that our individual choices and behaviors matter, whether you’re composting, ditching single-use plastic, buying secondhand clothes, or doing the precise opposite of all of those things—wasting food, relying on plastic water bottles and containers, shopping extravagantly.

Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts by Emily Farra, Vogue Magazine, Mar 17, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #11

Posted on 15 March 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

 Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet? 

 Tree Canopy

From Greta Thunberg to Donald Trump and airlines to oil companies, everyone is suddenly going crazy for trees.

The UK government has pledged to plant millions a year while other countries have schemes running into billions.

But are these grand ambitions achievable? How much carbon dioxide do trees really pull in from the atmosphere? And what happens to a forest, planted amid a fanfare, over the following decades? 

Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet? by David Shukman, BBC News, Mar 14, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11

Posted on 14 March 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 8, 2020 through Sat, Mar 14, 2020

Editor's Pick

'Coronavirus Isn't Stopping Us!': Youth Activists Adapt to Global Pandemic With Digital #ClimateStrikeOnline

"In the face of a crisis we act according to science and fact."

 Screen shot of Climate Strike Online

"In a crisis," said climate activist Greta Thunberg, "we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society." (Image: Fridays4future via Twitter)

Fridays for Future strikers around the world shared their demands for bold climate action online Friday as many youth activists heeded public health experts' recommendations in the face of the coronavirus pandemic by eschewing public protests in favor of digital demonstrations.

The online displays followed the call earlier this week from school strike for climate pioneer Greta Thunberg to #ClimateStrikeOnline.

In a Friday tweet as Thunberg marked her 82nd week of school strikes, she reiterated the basis for her call.

"In a crisis we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society," she wrote.

'Coronavirus Isn't Stopping Us!': Youth Activists Adapt to Global Pandemic With Digital #ClimateStrikeOnline by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, Mar 13, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #10

Posted on 8 March 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Want to Go for Inclusive Climate Action? Then Start with Integrating Gender Equality into Climate Finance

This article is part of special IPS coverage of International Women’s Day on March 8 2020

Women Rally for Action

Credit: We Can International

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 6 2020 (IPS) - Gender equality and women’s rights have progressed immensely since the adoption of the most visionary agenda on women’s empowerment, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 25 years ago.

However, gender equality experts across the world are signaling that we need to identify additional paths for a sustainable world, including in our response to climate change.

This year, we have the opportunity to make a real difference in our climate response and to recognize its critical links to gender equality.

In addition to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration this year, 2020 is also the year when countries are requested to deliver stronger climate action plans to adapt and cut their emissions further and faster under the global Paris Climate Accord.

As UNDP plays a central role in strengthening countries’ capacity to plan and implement their climate targets, the organization has worked with countries on gender-responsive climate action and climate finance.

UNDP’s Strengthening Governance of Climate Change Finance Programme (GCCF), supported by the Government of Sweden, has worked with countries to include gender in climate change policies and budgets in Asia and the Pacific since 2012. 

Want to Go for Inclusive Climate Action? Then Start with Integrating Gender Equality into Climate Finance by Verania Chao & Koh Miyaoi, International Press Service (IPS), March 6, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #10

Posted on 7 March 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 1, 2020 through Sat, Mar7, 2020

Editor's Pick

Women Fighting Climate Change Are Targets For Misogynists

Rude jokes, hate mail and violent threats—for climate experts, it’s all part of the job. That’s especially true for the women.

Climate-Misogyny-Article

(Illustration: Alex Nabaum c/o THEISPOT)

Just months after the Alberta NDP’s surprise 2015 election win, Shannon Phillips, the province’s new environment minister, travelled to Paris for what would turn out to be a historic round of global climate change negotiations. Alberta had long been a climate laggard, but Phillips was an ambitious and relatively young force in the province’s politics—39 years old at the time—and she was part of a wave of fresh faces in leadership. Phillips landed in Paris alongside Alberta’s new premier, Rachel Notley, and Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who were both committed to taking big steps after a decade of foot-dragging under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

It was an exciting time to be a cabinet minister working on climate change—the meeting produced what’s known as the Paris Agreement, the first major international pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions since the Kyoto Protocol nearly 20 years earlier. And right away, Phillips noticed a remarkable detail about the negotiations: the number of women present. At every meeting, the tables were crowded with female ministers, female negotiators, female scientists and activists.

“A massive amount of the heavy lifting around the world on this matter is being done by women,” says Phillips, who still represents her Lethbridge-West riding in the Alberta legislature. “You see more women on panels. You see more women in the negotiating spaces. You see more women in leadership positions on climate.” 

Women Fighting Climate Change Are Targets For Misogynists by Chris Turner, Chatelaine, Mar 5, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #9

Posted on 1 March 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Australia on the frontline: ask an expert about climate change and its effects

Your chance to put questions to climate scientists and academics as well as experts on controlling bushfires

Bushfire in Australia

As Australia feels the brunt of the climate crisis, the ominous orange glow of a bushfire, such as this one near Nowra last December, has become an all-too common sight. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images

From unprecedented bushfires in forests that used to be too wet to burn to warming seas that have killed giant underwater forests, Australia is experiencing the effects of the global climate crisis more rapidly than much of the world.

Over the past three weeks, Guardian Australia has told these stories in a major six-part series that was paid for by readers.

The Frontline: inside Australia’s climate emergency has also looked at what happens when towns run out of water, at the health effects of cities and towns being engulfed in smoke for weeks on end, and at extreme heatwaves that are killing people prematurely. On Monday, we publish the final episode in the series, The Lost Harvest.

On Tuesday 3 March, readers will have the chance to ask experts in these fields questions about the series, what the science tells us and the impacts already being felt, in a Frontline live blog running from 10am-3pm.

Click here for more details about the live blog. 

Australia on the frontline: ask an expert about climate change and its effects by Marni Cordell & Adam Morton, Environment, Guardian, Feb 29, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #9

Posted on 29 February 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 23, 2020 through Sat, Feb 29, 2020

Editor's Pick

Want people to care about climate change? Skip the jargon.

Climate Jargon

 Grist

If you’re confused what the “circular economy” is, or what it means for a company to go “net-zero,” you’re far from alone. There’s a big mismatch between what scientists, journalists, and activists are saying and what the public understands. This is hardly a new problem, but it’s yet another obstacle to getting people to care about climate change: Obscure words in articles about rising sea levels and supercharged weather could discourage people from wanting to learn more about a planetary crisis.

The solution is to put jargon and buzzwords into simple language that anyone can understand. It takes some effort, of course. A good example is “Up Goer Five,” a diagram by Randall Monroe, the cartoonist behind the website xkcd. It explains how a rocket works using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language. Simplifying lingo related to climate change requires a similar process. Take a cold, clinical word like “biodiversity” and turn it into the more evocative “wildlife.” A real head-scratcher like “climate mitigation” becomes “reducing emissions.”

Forget “dumbing down.” Using more common language is “smartening up,” said Susan Joy Hassol, director of the nonprofit science outreach group Climate Communication in North Carolina, who coaches scientists and journalists to write and speak more conversationally. “The only thing that’s dumb,” Hassol said, “is speaking to people in language that they don’t understand.”

Want people to care about climate change? Skip the jargon. by Kate Yoder, Climate, Grist, Feb 26, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #8

Posted on 23 February 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Climate change leads to more violence against women, girls

Rape, domestic violence, forced marriages: A new study shows the effects of climate change are leading to an increase in violence against girls and women in many corners of the world.

Woman waiting for food distribution in Kenya

Woman waiting for food distribution in Kenya

Ntoya Sande was 13 years old when she got married — against her will. "I was sent to be married because of a shortage of food in the house," she said. Her parents used to have a small piece of land, but floods wiped out their harvest. "I tried to negotiate, to tell my parents that I wasn't ready, that I didn't want to get married, but they told me that I had to because that would mean one mouth less at the table."

Sande lives in Malawi's Nsanje province. Her story is one of thousands of cases highlighted in a recent study from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Two years in the making, the report is the largest and most comprehensive study to date on the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on gender-based violence.

"This study shows us that the damage humanity is inflicting on nature can also fuel violence against women around the world — a link that has so far been largely overlooked," said Grethel Aguilar, IUCN's acting director general. "This study adds to the urgency of halting environmental degradation alongside action to stop gender-based violence in all its forms, and demonstrates that the two issues often need to be addressed together." 

Climate change leads to more violence against women, girls by Jeanette Cwienk, Environment, Deutsche Welle (DW), Feb 20. 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #8

Posted on 22 February 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 16, 2020 through Sat, Feb 22, 2020

Editor's Pick

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race

Leaked report for world’s major fossil fuel financier says Earth is on unsustainable trajectory

C02 emissions from coal-fired power plants

The JP Morgan paper said ‘catastrophic outcomes’ could not be ruled out. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

The world’s largest financier of fossil fuels has warned clients that the climate crisis threatens the survival of humanity and that the planet is on an unsustainable trajectory, according to a leaked document.

The JP Morgan report on the economic risks of human-caused global heating said climate policy had to change or else the world faced irreversible consequences.

The study implicitly condemns the US bank’s own investment strategy and highlights growing concerns among major Wall Street institutions about the financial and reputational risks of continued funding of carbon-intensive industries, such as oil and gas. 

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race by Patrick Greenfield and Jonathan Watts, Environment, Guardian, Feb 21, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

Posted on 16 February 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Iceberg twice the size of Washington, D.C., breaks off Pine Island glacier in Antarctica

Pine Island Glacier

 

Story Highlights:

  • The Pine Island glacier "is one the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica."
  • Over the past 8 years, the Pine Island glacier is losing about 58 billion tons of ice per year.
  • This "reveals the dramatic pace at which climate is redefining the face of Antarctica."

Global Warming: Pine Island loses 58 billion tons of ice every year by Doyle Rice, World, USA Today, Feb 13, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

Posted on 15 February 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 9, 2020 through Sat, Feb 15, 2020

Editor's Pick

ANALYSIS-Climate change opens up 'frontier' farmland, but at what cost to the planet?

Climate change could expand farmland globally by almost a third but would also bring significant environmental threats, including a risk of increased emissions from soils

Organic Carrot Harvest in Germany 

Kenya's livestock herders planting chilli peppers, Pakistan's mountain farmers rearing fish and tropical fruits in Sicily - farmers around the world are already shifting what they grow and breed to cope with rising temperatures and erratic weather.

In a few more decades, potatoes from the Russian tundra and corn from once-frigid areas of Canada could be added to the list as vast swathes of land previously unsuited to agriculture open up to farmers on a hotter planet.

Climate change could expand farmland globally by almost a third, a study by international researchers found this week.

They examined which new areas may become suitable for growing 12 key crops including rice, sugar, wheat, oil palm, cassava and soy.

"In a warming world, Canada's North may become our breadbasket of the future," the scientists wrote.

But, they warned, opening up new "agricultural frontiers" would also bring significant environmental threats, including a risk of increased planet-warming emissions from soils. 

Climate change opens up 'frontier' farmland, but at what cost to the planet?, Analysis by Thin Lei Win, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Feb 15, 2020

Click here to access the entire article.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

Posted on 9 February 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Australian smoke plume sets records

The recent wildfires in Australia sent one of the largest plumes of smoke higher into the  stratosphere than satellites have ever before observed.

Australian Bushfire Plumes Worldwide

January 26, 2020. Image via NASA Earth Observatory.

Bushfires have raged in Victoria and New South Wales since November 2019, yielding startling satellite images of smoke plumes streaming from southeastern Australia on a near daily basis. The images got even more eye-popping in January 2020 when unusually hot weather and strong winds supercharged the fires.

Narrow streams of smoke widened into a thick gray and tan pall that filled the skies on January 4, 2020. Several pyrocumulus clouds rose from the smoke, and the towering clouds functioned like elevators, lifting huge quantities of gas and particles well over 6 miles (10 km) above the surface – high enough to put smoke into the stratosphere

Australian smoke plume sets records by NASA Earth Observatory/EarthSky, Feb 6, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

Posted on 8 February 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 2, 2020 through Sat, Feb 8, 2020

Editor's Pick

New Report Details How Fossil Fuel Industry's Climate Destruction Also Exacerbates Human Rights Abuses

"Even in the face of the clearest scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is literally setting the planet on fire, this sector continues to invest in the same old model and often misinforms society about the climate crisis and its causes."

Oil Polluion in Nigeria

Claimant Eric Dooh shows the crude oil that has damaged the banks of the creek through his village of Goi (Ogoniland). Multiple leaks in a Shell pipeline have heavily contaminated the creek over many miles, eliminating fish, and other life from the tidal area. (Photo: Milieudefensie)

In addition to having a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities around the globe which have contributed the least to climate-warming fossil fuel emissions, the climate crisis has exacerbated the human rights violations already perpetrated by the fossil fuel industry, according to a new report.

The grassroots climate action group 350.org examined ten global communities which have suffered from heavy pollution, deforestation, displacement, and other violations as multinational corporations like Chevron and Shell—in addition to smaller fossil fuel entities and corrupt governments—have placed profits over human rights.

"The pollution and contamination often caused by fossil fuel industry activities mainly affect the poorest populations, as well as the climate crisis," said Aaron Packard, manager of the Climate Defenders program at 350.org, in a statement. "Vulnerable communities are being doubly exposed to losses or scarcity of land, fish stocks and water, for example."

New Report Details How Fossil Fuel Industry's Climate Destruction Also Exacerbates Human Rights Abuses by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Feb 7, 2020 

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

Posted on 2 February 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Scientists alarmed to discover warm water at "vital point" beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" Antarctic Ice Thickness Map

Scientists have found warm water beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier," a nickname used because it is one of Antarctica's fastest melting glaciers. While researchers have observed the recession of the Thwaites Glacier for a decade, this marks the first time they detected the presence of warm water – found at a "vital point" beneath the glacier.

A news release on the findings called it an alarming discovery.

"The fact that such warm water was just now recorded by our team along a section of Thwaites grounding zone where we have known the glacier is melting suggests that it may be undergoing an unstoppable retreat that has huge implications for global sea-level rise," David Holland, director of New York University's Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi's Center for Global Sea Level Change, which conducted the research, said in the news release.

Scientists alarmed to discover warm water at "vital point" beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" by Sophie Lewis, CBS News, Feb 1, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

Posted on 1 February 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 26, 2020 through Sat, Feb 1, 2020

Editor's Pick

Social tipping points are the only hope for the climate

A new paper explores how to trigger them.

Egg on Edge 

 

Egg on the edge. Fine balance, tipping point etc. Risk, danger concept or metaphor. by Sarah2, Shutterstock

At this point, the targets enshrined in the Paris climate agreement — holding the rise in global average temperature to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, with efforts to limit to 1.5°C — are beyond the reach of incrementalism. If the world’s large economies had begun a slow, steady reduction in greenhouse gas emissions back in the 1990s, it might have sufficed. But action has been delayed so long now that only rapid, radical change can still do the job.

As I wrote in a somewhat gloomy post earlier this month, the world is not exactly filled with happy signs and portents these days. The chances of sudden, coordinated change in a positive direction seem ... slim.

If there is any hope at all, it lies in the fact that social change is often nonlinear. Just as climate scientists warn of tipping points in biophysical systems, social scientists describe tipping points in social systems. Pressure can build beneath the surface over time, creating hairline fractures, until a precipitating incident triggers cascading changes that lead, often irreversibly, to a new steady state. (Think of the straw that broke the camel’s back.) It is less a matter of simple cause and effect than of emergent network effects that are unpredictable and somewhat mysterious even in retrospect.

Social tipping points are the only hope for the climate by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Jan 29, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Vox website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #4

Posted on 26 January 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Perspective of the Week... Toon of the Week... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Plastics Plants Are Poised to Be the Next Big Carbon Superpolluters

A boom in petrochemical plants driven by cheap natural gas could lock in greenhouse emissions for decades to come

Petroleum Refinery

Credit: Paul Harris, Getty Images

The Sunshine Project, a gargantuan petrochemical complex planned on 2,500 acres along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, La., will be one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in America when it becomes fully operational in 2029.

Earlier this month, Louisiana regulators approved an air quality permit that will allow the facility to pump 13.6 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That’s equivalent to adding 2.6 million cars to the road annually.

No industrial facility in the United States reported emissions of that magnitude between 2011 and 2018, according to an E&E News review of EPA data. In 2018, only 13 coal plants emitted more.

Sunshine is at the forefront of an often-overlooked boom in America’s petrochemical sector, one that climate advocates worry could undo recent greenhouse gas reductions by locking in a new source of planet-warming pollution for decades to come.  

Plastics Plants Are Poised to Be the Next Big Carbon Superpolluters by Benjamin Storrow, E&E News/Scientific American, Jan 24, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the Scientific American website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #4

Posted on 25 January 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 19, 2020 through Sat, Jan 25, 2020

Editor's Pick

The companies that have contributed most to climate change

Thought-provoking readings on those most responsible for the pollution.

Jackpump in Texas

Sometimes, in our struggle to address climate change, we need to see ourselves as facing not an incredibly complex (or “wicked”) problem (and one to which most of us contribute) but a clear-cut adversary. The world’s biggest fossil fuel companies inevitably make good candidates for that role, partly because they have done so much to delay political action, but also because they are literally the biggest source of the problem.

To learn more, an excellent place to begin is with a recent series from The Guardian. Starting on October 9, 2019, that paper published a significant cluster of stories in conjunction with the Climate Accountability Institute. The lead story is “Revealed: The 20 Firms behind a Third of All Carbon Emissions“; here is the first of three pages of links to the complete series (and a few later pieces).

Still, even identifying a clearly responsible party to blame might not make the climate problem look tractable: Getting off fossil fuels is a truly daunting challenge. Chris Turner’s essay “We’re Doomed. Now What?: An Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis” (The Walrus, November 2019) is more about its subtitle than its title. This thoughtful and thought-provoking look at some realistic but encouraging practicalities of converting the energy system makes a stimulating counterpart to the Guardian series. These stories update the 2017 Carbon Majors Report about the 100 most-carbon-polluting companies.

An important element in getting the world off fossil fuels involves how best to address the attendant, and fully understandable, concerns of all those who have been involved in the carbon economy, through employment or investments – including through retirement funds and pensions. A good starting place to learn about “stranded assets” is again in The Guardian.

The companies that have contributed most to climate change by SueEllen Campbell, Yale Climate Connections, Jan 24, 2020

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3

Posted on 19 January 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of Gondwana rainforests burn in bushfires

Guardian Australia analysis reveals the frightening amount of world heritage area burned in Australia’s ongoing fire crisis

Australian Bushfire

The unprecedented bushfires could affect the diversity of eucalypts for which the Blue Mountains is recognised. Photograph: CPOA Brett Kennedy/Commonwealth of Australia/PA

At least 80% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area and more than 50% of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests have burned in Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

The scale of the disaster is such that it could affect the diversity of eucalypts for which the Blue Mountains world heritage area is recognised, said John Merson, the executive director of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute.

The data is based on a Guardian Australia analysis of areas burned in New South Wales and Queensland and was confirmed by the NSW government.

'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of Gondwana rainforests burn in bushfires by Lisa Cox & Nick Evershed, Environment, Guardian, Jan 16, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on The Guardian website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3

Posted on 18 January 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020

Editor's Pick

The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees

Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they may survive humanity.

Bristlecone Pines - Shutterstock

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest - a protected area high in the White Mountains in Inyo County in eastern California. Photo: Felix Lipov - Shutterstock

About forty-five hundred years ago, not long after the completion of the Great Pyramid at Giza, a seed of Pinus longaeva, the Great Basin bristlecone pine, landed on a steep slope in what are now known as the White Mountains, in eastern California. The seed may have travelled there on a gust of wind, its flight aided by a winglike attachment to the nut. Or it could have been planted by a bird known as the Clark’s nutcracker, which likes to hide pine seeds in caches; nutcrackers have phenomenal spatial memory and can recall thousands of such caches. This seed, however, lay undisturbed. On a moist day in fall, or in the wake of melting snows in spring, a seedling appeared above ground—a stubby one-inch stem with a tuft of bright-green shoots. 

...

What is most astonishing about Pinus longaeva is not the age of any single organism but the collective oldness and otherness of its entire community. No two super-elderly trees look alike, to the point where they have acquired the characteristics of individuals. Trees are prone to anthropomorphism; we project our dreams and our anxieties onto them. Bristlecones have been called elders, sentinels, sages. The possibility that climate change will cause their extinction has inspired a spate of alarmed news stories, although tree scientists tend to discount the idea that the bristlecones are in immediate danger. They have survived any number of catastrophes in the past; they may survive humanity.

The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees by Alex Ross, Annals of Nature, The New Yorker Magazine, Jan 13, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on The New Yorker Magazine website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #2

Posted on 12 January 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Study Confirms Climate Models are Getting Future Warming Projections Right

An animation of a GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) climate model simulation made for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, showing five-year averaged surface air temperature anomalies in degrees Celsius from 1880 to 2100. The temperature anomaly is a measure of how much warmer or colder it is at a particular place and time than the long-term mean temperature, defined as the average temperature over the 30-year base period from 1951 to 1980. Blue areas represent cool areas and yellow and red areas represent warmer areas. The number in the upper right corner represents the global mean anomaly. Credit:NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies

There’s an old saying that “the proof is in the pudding,” meaning that you can only truly gauge the quality of something once it’s been put to a test. Such is the case with climate models: mathematical computer simulations of the various factors that interact to affect Earth’s climate, such as our atmosphere, ocean, ice, land surface and the Sun.

For decades, people have legitimately wondered how well climate models perform in predicting future climate conditions. Based on solid physics and the best understanding of the Earth system available, they skillfully reproduce observed data. Nevertheless, they have a wide response to increasing carbon dioxide levels, and many uncertainties remain in the details. The hallmark of good science, however, is the ability to make testable predictions, and climate models have been making predictions since the 1970s. How reliable have they been?

Now a new evaluation of global climate models used to project Earth’s future global average surface temperatures over the past half-century answers that question: most of the models have been quite accurate.

Study Confirms Climate Models are Getting Future Warming Projections Right by Alan Buis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA's Global Climate Change, Jan 9, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as posed on NASA's Global Climate Change website. 

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2

Posted on 11 January 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020

Editor's Pick

Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media

Bushfire in Australia 

As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ravaged a drought-ridden Australia, bots and trolls have begun pushing climate science denial across the internet in the form of conspiracy theories about the fires. Thanks to climate change, exceptionally hot, dry drought conditions have worsened and lengthened Australia's typical fire season.

Two of the main conspiracies about the fires are based on the false ideas that they are caused by a spate of arson and they have been worsened by the Green Party's supposed efforts to stop controlled burns as a fire management and reduction measure.

Dr. Timothy Graham from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) did an analysis  of the online activity and concluded there was a high level of bots involved in spreading these conspiracies. As ZDnet reported, Graham is “at least confident” that that this was some type of disinformation campaign.

Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media by Justin Mikulka, DeSmog, Jan 8, 2020

Click here to access the complete article as posted on the DeSmog website. 

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #1

Posted on 5 January 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

The signal of human-caused climate change has emerged in everyday weather, study finds 

Satellite Image of Weather on 01/02/20

Satellite image showing weather on Jan. 2, 2019. (NOAA)

For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Thursday in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change.

The study’s results also imply that research aimed at assessing the human role in contributing to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods may be underestimating the contribution.

The new study, which was in part motivated by President Trump’s tweets about how a cold day in one particular location disproves global warming, uses statistical techniques and climate model simulations to evaluate how daily temperatures and humidity vary around the world. Scientists compared the spatial patterns of these variables with what physical science shows is expected because of climate change.

The study concludes that the spatial patterns of global temperature and humidity are, in fact, distinguishable from natural variability, and have a human component to them. Going further, the study concludes that the long-term climate trend in global average temperature can be predicted if you know a single day’s weather information worldwide. 

The signal of human-caused climate change has emerged in everyday weather, study finds by Paul Freedman, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, Jan 2, 2020

Click here to access the complete article as published on the Washington Post website.

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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

Posted on 4 January 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 29, 2019 through Sat, Jan 4, 2020

Editor's Pick

There Is No Safe Global Warming

Australia Bushfire - Shutterstock

Australia Bushfire - Shutterstock

Safety is something we all crave. It’s human nature.

And so perhaps it’s not surprising that we’ve spent the past decade or so outlining what a “safe” level of global warming is. Language reflecting the conception of “safe” global heating abounds in scientific literature, climate negotiations, and the press. The Paris Agreement enshrined the idea that 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as pretty safe. Advocacy from small island nations and others has made a compelling case that 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would be safer still, allowing, at least, for their continued existence. At various times, each of these levels of heating have been called a “guardrail,” “defence line,” and “buffer zone.” On one side, dangerous climate change. On the other, something we can figure out and adapt to if we play our cards right.

Recently, the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold appears to have won out as our best bet for safety. And over the next decade, the world will decide its fate of whether it can limit heating to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial temperatures. But we don’t have to wait to find out if that level of heating is safe because the answer is right in front of us. Spoiler: It’s not.

There Is No Safe Global Warming by Brian Kahn, Earther, Gizmodo, Jan 4, 2020

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #52

Posted on 29 December 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

2019 in review: Polarised world entering era of climate impacts

We look back on CHN’s reporting from a year that saw a great collision of political and physical forces

Relief aid after cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in March 2019

Women help unload humanitarian aid from a helicopter after cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in March 2019. (Photo: USAFRICOM/Flickr

As 2019 draws to a close, the rift between the climate vanguard and the laggards has never been so wide. 

Public pressure for faster and deeper emissions cuts has peaked this year and a growing alliance of countries, regions, cities and businesses are pushing for more ambitious climate action.  

Across the world, the reality of climate impacts has grown ever starker. But support to help the most vulnerable cope is lacking. Meanwhile, scientists continue to warn of a narrowing window of time to act. 

Entrenched nationalism continues to threaten the multilateral order which underpins the Paris Agreement and a global commitment to limit warming “well below 2C”. 

Donald Trump has officially started to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement and Jair Bolsonaro is working to open up the Amazon to large agribusiness interests. Other emerging economies such as China and India are seemingly hiding behind the US retreat to delay bolder action. 

Throughout 2019, Climate Home News has continued to report on the science, the people and the big diplomatic players shaping the commitments and disagreements taking the world into the future. Here were the biggest moments. 

2019 in review: Polarised world entering era of climate impacts by Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, Dec 20, 2019

Click here to read the complete article as posted on the Climate Hone News website.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #52

Posted on 28 December 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 22 through Sat, Dec 28, 2019

Editor's Pick

Record hit for most ice to melt in Antarctica in one day, data suggests: "We are in a Climate Emergency"

Antarctic Topographic Map BedMachine 

Newly released Antarctica topography map, BedMachine, and related findings published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Dec 12, 2019  

The record in recent decades for the highest level of ice to melt in Antarctica in one day was reached on Christmas Eve, data suggests.

Around 15 percent of the continent's surface melted on Monday, according to the Global Forecast System (GFS) by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The data comes from the Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR), a model used for meteorological and climatic research.

Xavier Fettweis, a climatologist at the University of Liège in Belgium, who tweeted the data on Friday, said this is the highest melt extent in Antarctica in the modern era, since 1979. He added the production of melt water is a record 230 percent higher than average since November this year. That's despite the melting season not yet being over. 

Record hit for most ice to melt in Antarctica in one day, data suggests: "We are in a Climate Emergency" by Kashmira Gander, Tech & Science, Newsweek, Dec 27, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #51

Posted on 22 December 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Rich Nations, After Driving Climate Disaster, Block All Progress At U.N. Talks

Cop 25 Madrid

Empty chairs of the delegations are pictured during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, on Dec. 13, 2019. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

LAST WEDNESDAY, over 300 demonstrators at COP25 in Madrid — this year’s 14-day U.N. climate talks, the group’s longest ever — watched from the courtyard of a conference center as a metal wall rose up seemingly out of nowhere, locking civil society observers literally out in the cold. Moments earlier, some had had their entry badges snatched off them by U.N. guards in skirmishes outside the main plenary hall before they were cordoned off. Security prevented them from speaking even to the press; all civil society observers had been barred from entering the conference center. With access to the venue now blocked, protesters marched out the back entrance, where they were greeted by Spanish police.

The protest was intended to call out the widespread lack of ambition coming from some of the world’s biggest emitters of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses, calling on countries in the “global north” to provide support for climate mitigation, adaptation, and recovery, plus excise loopholes that would give polluters a way out to keep on with business as usual. Demonstrators’ credentials were restored a few hours later, but the talks had done little to address their concerns. By Saturday afternoon — two days after talks were set to end — there was little agreement as to what would come out of them. “There is no one issue that is completely resolved,” Harjeet Singh, who leads up global climate work for ActionAid, told me. By the end of the closing plenary the next day, most major issues had been punted to future meetings. Even U.N. Secretary General António Guterres expressed his dissatisfaction on Twitter.

“There is no doubt: rich countries have been blocking progress across the board,” Singh said.

Rich Nations, After Driving Climate Disaster, Block All Progress At U.N. Talks by Kate Aronoff, The Intercept, Dec 18, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #51

Posted on 21 December 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 15 through Sat, Dec 21, 2019

Editor's Pick

2019 in Review: The Year the World Began to Wake up to the Climate Emergency

Student

 

“Climate emergency” is the 2019 word of the year, according to the Oxford English dictionary —  and rightfully so.

Over the last year, rising emissions and record-breaking events — from hurricanes in the Atlantic to wildfires in Australia — have been met with rising outrage from millions of young people and activists.

But how did leaders respond to the growing weight of evidence and demands for change? And are we on track to keep the world from reaching dangerous climate tipping points?

I spoke with the UN Foundation’s Vice President for Climate, Energy and Environment, Pete Ogden to unpack the game-changing moments for global climate action in 2019, as well as what we can expect in 2020.

2019 in Review: The Year the World Began to Wake up to the Climate Emergency by Pete Ogden & Chandler Green, United Nations Foundation, Dec 19, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the United Nations Foundation website.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #50

Posted on 15 December 2019 by John Hartz

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Story of the Week...

UN climate talks end with limited progress on emissions targets

Partial agreement at COP25 that countries must be more ambitious to fulfil Paris goals

Activists dump manure outside the COP25 climate talks congress in Madrid on Saturday

Activists dump manure outside the COP25 climate talks congress in Madrid on Saturday. Photograph: Óscar del Pozo/AFP via Getty Images

Climate talks in Madrid have ended with a partial agreement to ask countries to come up with more ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the terms of the 2015 Paris accord.

Few countries came to this year’s talks with updated plans to reach the Paris goals, though the EU finally agreed its long-term target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Experts say more ambitious emissions cuts are needed globally if the Paris pledge to hold global heating to no more than 2C is to be met.

This year’s round of annual UN talks focused on narrow technical issues such as the workings of the global carbon markets, a means by which countries can trade their successes in cutting emissions with other countries that have not cut their own emissions fast enough.

By midday on Sunday, more than 40 hours after the talks deadline, agreement on that was still far off and the issue will have to be resolved next year. 

UN climate talks end with limited progress on emissions targets by Fiona Harvey, Environment, Guardian, Dec 15, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

Posted on 14 December 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 8 through Sat, Dec 14, 2019

Editor's Pick

Push for carbon loopholes sends climate talks into overtime

Australia, US and Brazil threatening ‘spirit’ of the Paris Agreement, says Costa Rican minister, as fractious talks could drag into the weekend

Cop25 in Madrid

The plenary room at Cop25 in Madrid. Diplomats are locked in tense negotiations to try and find a deal (Photo: UNFCCC)

Negotiations at the UN climate talks are going into extra time as diplomats are at loggerheads over commitments to boost ambition and rules to set-up a new global carbon market.

As the second week of negotiations drew to a close, negotiators were set to work through the night on Friday to find landing zones and finalise the last unresolved rules of the Paris Agreement.

“We are reaching the final hours of the Cop and now is time to show the world we are capable of reaching an agreement,” Cop25 president Carolina Schmidt told negotiators.

“The eyes of the world are on us. Our kids, the women of the world, indigenous people, our communities, the youth will not understand that we are not able to get to an agreement that is committed ambition to the world. It is our responsibility to find that agreement,” she said.

But entrenched positions have run into political deadlock, with little progress on the most contentious issues, including creating a new carbon market, known as Article 6.

Push for carbon loopholes sends climate talks into overtime by Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, Dec 13, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

Posted on 7 December 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 1 through Sat, Dec 7, 2019

Editor's Pick

Should Climate Scientists Be Climate Activists? One Tells Us ‘We Can’t Wait Any Longer’ For Action

Climate Scientists Twila Moon, at left, and Maria Caffrey

Twila Moon, at left, and Maria Caffrey at the CPR News studios Friday Nov. 15 2019. The two are climate scientists who discussed the line between activism and science.

For decades, scientists have warned of the dangers of human-caused climate change through what they do best — science. But are papers and global summits enough for those concerned that climate change is an existential threat?

More than 1,500 scientists recently signed a declaration in support of Extinction Rebellion, the climate activist group that uses nonviolent civil disobedience to encourage government action on reducing carbon emissions. Notable XR protests have included gluing themselves to the gates of London’s Buckingham Palace and interrupting a summit at the Colorado Governor’s Mansion.

The scientists’ declaration reads, “The scientific community has already tried all conventional methods to draw attention to the crisis. We believe that continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and nonviolent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law.”

There’s community disagreement over researchers supporting or participating in displays of activism. Colorado Matters spoke with Twila Moon, a climate scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, and Maria Caffrey, who was a partner with the National Park Service, about those differences.

Caffrey was recently catapulted onto the national stage after she filed a whistleblower complaint against the Trump administration. She alleges she lost her job with the park service because she refused to eliminate mentions of human-caused climate change from her research

Moon chose not to sign the letter while Caffery did sign on in support of the actions of Extinction Rebellion.

Should Climate Scientists Be Climate Activists? One Tells Us ‘We Can’t Wait Any Longer’ For Action by Michael Elizabeth Sakas, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) News, Dec 5, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the CPR website.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48

Posted on 30 November 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Nov 24 through Sat, Nov 30, 2019

Editor's Pick

10 ways to accelerate progress against climate change

From pricing carbon to shifting diets, here’s what we need to prioritize now.

Erlangen, Bavaria / Germany - May 24, 2019 

Erlangen, Bavaria / Germany - May 24, 2019: Fridays for future, Global Climate Strike on the European elections - Shutterstock Image

The United Nations reported this week that the world is continuing to drift further off course in limiting climate change, despite growing alarm about the impacts of rising temperatures. With greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase, even more drastic reductions are needed to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

“Any further delay brings the need for larger, more expensive and unlikely cuts,” wrote Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme in the Emissions Gap Report 2019. “We need quick wins, or the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement will slip out of reach.”

And the impacts of climate change are already here. Climate scientists told us late last year in the National Climate Assessment that the United States is already experiencing the severe and costly consequences of a changing climate. In a separate United Nations report released in October, scientists reported that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require a gargantuan global effort to halve emissions — and that we have roughly 12 years to do it. But how?

Let’s make something clear: The emissions we need to focus on now are the ones at the industrial, corporate level.

Climate Tipping Points Are Closer Than We Think, Scientists Warn by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Nov 27, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the Vox website. 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47

Posted on 24 November 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Nov 17 through Sat, Nov 23, 2019

Editor's Pick

The climate science is clear: it's now or never to avert catastrophe

Disastrous global heating will soon become irrevocable – but despite politicians’ inaction millions are taking to the streets to fight the planet’s fever

Greta Thunberg

Illustration: Francisco Navas/Guardian Design

The one thing never to forget about global warming is that it’s a timed test.

It’s ignoble and dangerous to delay progress on any important issue, of course – if, in 2020, America continues to ignore the healthcare needs of many of its citizens, those people will sicken, die, go bankrupt. The damage will be very real. But that damage won’t make it harder, come 2021 or 2025 or 2030, to do the right thing about healthcare.

But the climate crisis doesn’t work like that. If we don’t solve it soon, we will never solve it, because we will pass a series of irrevocable tipping points – and we’re clearly now approaching those deadlines. You can tell because there’s half as much ice in the Arctic, and because forests catch fire with heartbreaking regularity and because we see record deluge. But the deadlines are not just impressionistic – they’re rooted in the latest science.

The climate science is clear: it's now or never to avert catastrophe, Opinion by Bill McKibben, Comment is Free, Guardian, Nov 20, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the Guardian website. 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #46

Posted on 16 November 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Nov 10 through Sat, Nov 16, 2019

Editor's Pick

The Climate Change Health Risks Facing a Child Born Today: A Tale of Two Futures

The latest Countdown report from the medical journal Lancet lays out the risks ahead, from the womb to adulthood.

Climate Change Risks to a Child Born Today

A child born today faces two possible futures. In one, the world continues to burn fossil fuels, making the child more likely to develop asthma from air pollution, at greater risk of vector-borne diseases, and more vulnerable to anxiety as extreme weather events threaten his community.

In the other, those risks are diminished because the world has responded quickly and adequately to climate change, with a large-scale shift away from fossil fuels.

These two, starkly different paths are the focus of a report published Wednesday by the medical journal The Lancet that shows how the future health of a child born today will be intrinsically linked to climate change, from the womb to adulthood.

"Without accelerated intervention, this new era will come to define the health of people at every stage of their lives," the authors write.

The Climate Change Health Risks Facing a Child Born Today: A Tale of Two Futures by Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News, Nov 13, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the InsideClimate News website.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41

Posted on 12 October 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Oct 6 through Sat, Oct 12, 2019

Editor's Pick

The world needs a massive carbon tax in just 10 years to limit climate change, IMF says

The international organization suggests a cost of $75 per ton by 2030.

icebergs near Kulusuk, Greenland, on 08/16/2019

An aerial view of large icebergs floating as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland, on Aug. 16. (Felipe Dana/AP)

A global agreement to make fossil fuel burning more expensive is urgent and the most efficient way of fighting climate change, an International Monetary Fund study found on Thursday.

The group found that a global tax of $75 per ton by the year 2030 could limit the planet’s warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly double what it is now. That would greatly increase the price of fossil-fuel-based energy — especially from the burning of coal — but the economic disruption could be offset by routing the money raised straight back to citizens.

“If you compare the average level of the carbon tax today, which is $2 [a ton], to where we need to be, it’s a quantum leap,” said Paolo Mauro, deputy director of the fiscal affairs department at the IMF. 

The world needs a massive carbon tax in just 10 years to limit climate change, IMF says by Chris Mooney & Andrew Freedman, Climate & Environment, Washington Post, Oct 10, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #40

Posted on 5 October 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Sep 29 through Sat, Oct 5, 2019

Editor's Pick

Greta Thunberg is right: It’s time to haul ass on climate change

Economically and politically, early ambition is better.

Greta Thunberg

New York, NY - August 28, 2019: 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives into New York City after crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat and attend press conference at North Cove Marina - Shutterstock

When Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the elites assembled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, she concluded with a simple message: “I want you to act as if our house is on fire.”

For those elites, it was unfamiliar language. They are accustomed to talking about climate change, but typically such talk amounts to ritual invocations of “urgency” coupled with promises about what might be achieved in 2030 or 2050.

When your house is on fire, though, you don’t promise results in a decade or a year or a week. You grab a bucket and find some water. Immediately.

When it comes to climate policy, Thunberg has it right. We are in a unique historical moment; we understand the danger of climate change and, for now, still have the resources and political space necessary to address it. But every second of delay makes the challenge more expensive, more difficult, and more dangerous.

It’s not just climate activists saying that. The policy community is moving in that direction as well, with similar arguments coming into clearer view from economists and political scientists. The common theme is risk, and what it means to take the mounting risks of the climate crisis seriously. 

Greta Thunberg is right: It’s time to haul ass on climate change by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Oct 4, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

Posted on 28 September 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Sep 22 through Sat, Sep 28, 2019

Editor's Pick

Are we finally at a tipping point on climate action?

Strike 4 Climate, Brisbane AU, 09-20-19

Climate change protesters are seen crossing the Victoria Bridge in Brisbane during the Global Strike 4 Climate rally in Brisbane, Australia on Sept. 20, 2019

It’s climate action week, and I’ve been asked this one question many times: Are we at a tipping point? 

Are we finally at a tipping point on climate action? by Akshat Rathi, Quartz, Sep 26, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on the Quartz website.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38

Posted on 22 September 2019 by John Hartz

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Global Climate in 2015-2019: Climate change accelerates

Record greenhouse gas concentrations mean further warming 

The Global Climate 2015-2019 

The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change – such as sea level rise, ice loss and extreme weather – increased during 2015-2019, which is set to be the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come.

The WMO report on The Global Climate in 2015-2019, released to inform the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, says that the global average temperature has increased by 1.1°C since the pre-industrial period, and by 0.2°C compared to 2011-2015.

The climate statement – which covers until July 2019 - was released as part of a high-level synthesis report from leading scientific institutions United in Science under the umbrella of the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Summit 2019. The report provides a unified assessment of the state of Earth system under the increasing influence of climate change, the response of humanity this far and projected changes of global climate in the future. It highlights the urgency and the potential of ambitious climate action in order to limit potentially irreversible impacts.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

Posted on 21 September 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Sep 15 through Sat, Sep 21, 2019

Editor's Pick

‘Four million’ join students in climate marches, building pressure on leaders

Organisers said record numbers marched in countries around the world, sending a clear message to politicians meeting in New York

Climate Strikers in New York on 09-20-19

Hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets in New York demanding governments do more to tackle the climate crisis (Photo: Chloé Farand)

The global strike was billed as the largest climate protest in history days before  world leaders gather in New York for a three-day climate action summit convened by UN secretary general António Guterres starting Saturday.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young people, some accompanied by parents, gathered in Foley Square in front of the Thurgood Marshall courthouse in downtown Manhattan in September heat, waving colourful hand-painted placards.

“Cooler is cool”, “Remember when the earth was cool” and “The earth should not be hotter than me” read some of the signs, encapsulating a sense that climate action was now utterly mainstream.

The protest marched through the streets of New York to Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan, to hear from Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. The social movement she inspired in such a short amount of time culminated in a powerful message to governments that to remain relevant to young voters, their actions need to change.

Organisers 350.org said protests around the world had mobilised more than four million people in 163 countries. That number could not be independently verified.

Amazing images flooded social media, those are shared below.

‘Four million’ join students in climate marches, building pressure on leaders by Chloé Farand & Jill Russo, Climate Home News, Sep 20, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37

Posted on 15 September 2019 by John Hartz

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'Going to the streets again': what you need to know about Friday's climate strike

Organisers expect a stronger presence from unions, workers and companies as student activists reach out to adults

School Strike for Climate

Australian school students are set to walk out of classrooms again to call for climate action as part of a global strike three days before a UN summit. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP

Thousands of Australian school students are again preparing to walk out of classrooms across the country to demand action on the climate crisis.

The global mass day of action will take place on Friday 20 September, three days before the United Nations climate summit in New York.

It follows strikes in March this year in which 150,000 people marched in Australia and 1.5 million took part worldwide.

Organisers expect next week’s global strikes will be bigger and, this time there will be a much stronger presence from unions, workers and companies that have signed up to strike in solidarity with the young activists.

Here’s a guide to what’s happening.

'Going to the streets again': what you need to know about Friday's climate strike by Lisa Cox, Environment, Guardian, Sep 14, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37

Posted on 14 September 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Sep 8 through Sat, Sep 14, 2019

Editor's Pick

Greta Thunberg To U.S.: 'You Have A Moral Responsibility' On Climate Change

Greta Thunberg in Washington DC on Sep 13, 2019 

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, 16, attends a protest outside the White House on Friday. She launched the Friday school strikes last year, and since then, her notoriety has steadily grown. She is known for speaking in clear and powerful terms about why people — particularly young people — must pay attention to Earth's climate.  Photo: Mhari Shaw/NPR

Greta Thunberg led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn't looking to go inside — "I don't want to meet with people who don't accept the science," she says.

The young Swedish activist joined a large crowd of protesters who had gathered outside, calling for immediate action to help the environment and reverse an alarming warming trend in average global temperatures.

She says her message for President Trump is the same thing she tells other politicians: Listen to science, and take responsibility.

Thunberg, 16, arrived in the U.S. last week after sailing across the Atlantic to avoid the carbon emissions from jet travel. She plans to spend nearly a week in Washington, D.C. — but she doesn't plan to meet with anyone from the Trump administration during that time.

"I haven't been invited to do that yet. And honestly I don't want to do that," Thunberg tells NPR's Ailsa Chang. If people in the White House who reject climate change want to change their minds, she says, they should rely on scientists and professionals to do that. 

Greta Thunberg To U.S.: 'You Have A Moral Responsibility' On Climate Change by Bill Chappell & Ailsa Chang, Environment, NPR, Sep 13, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #36

Posted on 8 September 2019 by John Hartz

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The air above Antarctica is suddenly getting warmer – here’s what it means for Australia

Antarctica via NASA satellite

Antarctic winds have a huge effect on weather in other places. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr CC BY-SA

Record warm temperatures above Antarctica over the coming weeks are likely to bring above-average spring temperatures and below-average rainfall across large parts of New South Wales and southern Queensland.

The warming began in the last week of August, when temperatures in the stratosphere high above the South Pole began rapidly heating in a phenomenon called “sudden stratospheric warming”.

In the coming weeks the warming is forecast to intensify, and its effects will extend downward to Earth’s surface, affecting much of eastern Australia over the coming months.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting the strongest Antarctic warming on record, likely to exceed the previous record of September 2002.

The air above Antarctica is suddenly getting warmer – here’s what it means for Australia by Harry Hendon, Andrew B. Watkins, Eun-Pa Lim & Griffith Young , The Conversation AU, Sep 6, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #36

Posted on 7 September 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Sep 1 through Sat, Sep 7, 2019

Editor's Pick

Hundreds of climate sceptics to mount international campaign to stop net-zero targets being made law

Exclusive: The signatories are part of a network pushing for environmental deregulation after Brexit – and some have links with Boris Johnson’s cabinet

Boris Johnson & Cabinet

Some of the 400 climate deniers have links to the prime minister's top ministers ( Getty ) 

Hundreds of climate change deniers including academics, politicians and lobbyists are to launch a campaign to stop commitments to net zero carbon emissions being enshrined in law, The Independent can reveal.

A letter titled “There is no climate emergency” – which has been signed by 400 people who deem climate change to be a myth – is being sent to leaders of the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) institutions in the coming weeks ahead of key environment talks.

The group will take further steps, which are to be outlined in press conferences in Oslo, Brussels, The Hague and Rome.

The climate deniers are connected to a transatlantic network of think tanks pushing for environmental deregulation after Brexit, which also have a history of climate science denial.

The letter, obtained by investigative non-profit news organisation DeSmog, shows the group has links with members of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

Hundreds of climate sceptics to mount international campaign to stop net-zero targets being made law by Phoebe Weston, Environment, The Independent (UK), Sep 6, 2019

Click here to access the entire article.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #35

Posted on 2 September 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Aug 25 through Sat, Aug 31, 2019

Editor's Pick

Hurricane Dorian is a powerful Category 4 hurricane — pummeling the Bahamas and heading “dangerously close” to Florida

A worst-case scenario is playing out the Bahamas. Florida and the Southeast US may be spared the worst. But uncertainties remain.

Hurricane Dorian over Grand Bahama Island on 09-02-19

Hurricane Dorian on September 2. NOAA/NESDIS/STAR

On Monday, Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas as an incredibly powerful Category 5 hurricane, with howling winds in excess of 185 mph and with gusts up to 220 mph. The storm brought with it a surge — coastal flooding — of 18-to-23 feet above normal tide.

Dorian is estimated to be the second-most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, and ties the record for the most powerful storm to make landfall, according to the National Weather Service. Preliminary reports from the Abacos Islands show extreme devastation.

The storm weakened slightly and was (very slowly) moving through Grand Bahama Island on Monday, with winds gusting over 200 mph and 18 to 23 feet of coastal flooding. Plus, the forward motion of the storm nearly stalled, moving west at just 1 mph. The slower a storm moves, the more time it has to destroy communities in its path. It’s a worst-case scenario for a hurricane.

Hurricane Dorian is a powerful Category 4 hurricane — pummeling the Bahamas and heading "dangerously close" to Florida by Brian Resnick, Energy & Environment, Vox, Sep 2, 2019

Click here to access the entire article as posted on Vox. 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #34

Posted on 25 August 2019 by John Hartz

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Story of the Week...

G7 can’t turn a blind eye to ecocide in the Amazon

Leaders must ask themselves if Jair Bolsonaro’s destructive attitude to the forest and its peoples should be considered a crime

Amazon Fires 

The fires in the world’s largest rainforest have triggered a global outcry and are dominating the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France. Photograph: Victor Moriyama/Getty 

When G7 leaders sit in judgment on Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro this weekend, the question they should ask themselves is whether the rape of the natural world should finally be treated as a crime. The language of sexual violence will be familiar to the former army captain, who publicly admires the sadistic torturers of the dictatorship era and once said to a congresswoman, “I would never rape you because you are not worth it.” Last month, after Pope Francis and European leaders expressed concern about the Amazon, Bolsonaro lashed back by claiming: “Brazil is a virgin that every foreign pervert desires.”

As a nationalist, the president sees the Amazon in terms of ownership and sovereignty. As a chauvinist, he sees the region as a possession to be exploited and opened up, rather than cherished and nurtured.

Since taking power eight months ago, Bolsonaro has, layer by layer, stripped the rainforest of protections. First, he weakened the environment ministry and put it in the hands of a minister convicted of environmental fraud. Second, he undermined the agency responsible for monitoring the forest, Ibama. Third, he alienated Norway and Germany, the main donors to forest-protection causes. Fourth, he tried to hide what was happening by sacking the head of the space agency responsible for satellite data on destruction. Fifth, he accused environmental charities of starting fires and working for foreign interests. And sixth, he verbally attacked Amazon dwellers – the indigenous and Quilombola communities who depend on a healthy forest.

With these defences down, the president has encouraged outsiders from the mining, logging and farming industries to take advantage of economic opportunities. The results have been brutal. Last month, deforestation surged by 278%. This month is almost certain to be a record for August under the current monitoring system. The wounds are impossible to cover up. The Amazon’s fires are now burning on front pages, news broadcasts and social networks across the world.

G7 can’t turn a blind eye to ecocide in the Amazon by Jonathan Watts, Environment, Observer/Guardian, Aug 25, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

Posted on 24 August 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Aug 18 through Sat, Aug 24, 2019

Editor's Pick

How teen Greta Thunberg shifted world's gaze to climate change

“Instead of worrying about how that future might turn out, I’m going to try to change that future while I still can,” the teen told NBC News.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is the driving force behind a movement that has seen more than 2 million teens around the world take part in school strikes against climate change. Eleanor Taylor for NBC News

LAUSANNE, Switzerland ⁠— Staring through a swarm of photographers and television crews, self-described introvert Greta Thunberg took the stage at a Swiss university last week to pointedly reiterate a message that has captured the attention of leaders and like-minded young women around the globe: The world must take drastic action now to avert ecological and civilizational collapse.

“We know that our future is at risk,” the small, soft-spoken 16-year-old Swede tells journalists at the start of a weeklong youth summit at the University of Lausanne. “We would love to go back to school and continue with our everyday lives, but as crucial as this situation is, as serious as this situation is, we feel like we must do something about this now.”

Thunberg — whose central point is that humanity must immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions that have unrelentingly increased since the start of the industrial revolution, resulting in global warming — is the driving force behind a movement that has seen more than 2 million teens around the world take part in Fridays for Future school strikes against climate change.

On Wednesday, she set off from Britain’s shores on a monthslong journey — she is sailing to avoid flying — that will take her to a U.N. summit on climate change in New York in September, and the COP25 conference in Santiago, Chile, in December.

How teen Greta Thunberg shifted world's gaze to climate change by Linda Givetash, World, NBC News. Aug 17, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #33

Posted on 18 August 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Assessing the Global Climate in July 2019

July was the warmest month on record for the globe

Kenya 

The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for July 2019 was the highest for the month of July, making it the warmest month overall in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature for 2019 tied with 2017 as the second warmest January–July on record.

Global Significant Climate Events July 2019This monthly summary, developed by scientists at NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia, and the public to support informed decision-making.

Assessing the Global Climate in July 2019, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Aug 15, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #33

Posted on 17 August 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Aug 11 through Sat, Aug 17, 2019

Editor's Pick

In Iowa, Candidates Are Talking About Farming's Climate Change Connections Like No Previous Election

About half the candidates have policy proposals or statements addressing climate change impacts on agriculture or farming's potential as a climate solution.

Bernie Sanders campaigns in Iowa Aug 2019

The Democrats running for president were all over the Iowa State Fair the past two weeks, and they're talking about agriculture connections to climate change. Credit: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren munched on corn dogs. Pete Buttigieg opted for pork-on-a-stick. Kamala Harris flipped burgers and joked that she could "flip Republicans," too.

As the Democratic candidates for president made their requisite swing through the Iowa State Fair this week, they stumped near hay bales and posted about it on Twitter. They also brought an unprecedented focus on agriculture's connections with climate change—an issue that's getting more traction among rural Midwestern voters and farmers in the wake of massive flooding and heat waves.

Of the two dozen candidates vying to challenge President Donald Trump next year, at least eight have released rural policy platforms. Three—Sens. Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand—rolled out their platforms just before the fair. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, released his this week.

"Climate change is not happening in a hundred years, it's happening right now," Klobuchar told a crowd in a 20-minute stump speech. "We can do a lot with soil and conservation." 

In Iowa, Candidates Are Talking About Farming's Climate Change Connections Like No Previous Election by Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate News, Aug 15, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #32

Posted on 11 August 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Change food production and stop abusing land, major climate report warns

Amazon deforestation due to Illegal mining in activities in the river basin of the Madre de Dios region in southeast Peru, on May 17, 2019

Land degradation, including deforestation, produces almost a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Pictured: An aerial view over a chemically deforested area of the Amazon jungle caused by illegal mining activities in the river basin of the Madre de Dios region in southeast Peru, on May 17, 2019. 

Humans have damaged around a quarter of ice-free land on Earth, United Nations scientists warned in a major report* Thursday, stressing that further degradation must be stopped to prevent catastrophic global warming.

The warning comes almost a year after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)concluded in a landmark report that we only have until 2030 to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and prevent the planet from reaching the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The second IPCC report highlights the vicious cycle of climate change and land degradation.

"We humans affect more than 70% of ice-free land, a quarter of this land is degraded. The way we produce food and what we eat contributes to the loss of natural ecosystems and declining biodiversity," said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of the IPCC. 

Change food production and stop abusing land, major climate report warns by Isabelle Gerretsen, World, CNN, Aug 8, 2019

*Climate Change and Land: An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

Posted on 10 August 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Aug 4 through Sat, Aug 10, 2019

Editor's Pick

This Land Is the Only Land There Is

Here are seven ways of understanding the IPCC’s newest climate warning.

Drought in Australia

Climate change could make water even more scarce in naturally dry areas, the report warns. Australia’s ranchers have struggled under a drought for years. BROOK MITCHELL / GETTY

1. There is no shortage of scary facts in the major new report on climate change and land, a summary of which was released today by a United Nations–led scientific panel. Chief among them: For everyone who lives on land, the planet’s dangerously warmed future is already here. Earth’s land has already warmed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the industrial revolution, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s the same amount of warming that climate activists are hoping to prevent on a global scale.

This spike makes sense, scientifically: Land warms twice as fast as the planet overall. Earth as a whole has warmed by only 0.87 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) during the same period. But this increase makes the stakes of climate change clear: When scientists discuss preventing “1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming,” they are really talking about forestalling 3 degrees Celsius—or 5.1 degrees Fahrenheit—of higher land temperatures.

And land temperatures are what humanity usually cares about. Land, really, is what humanity cares about. That’s the point. 

This Land Is the Only Land There Is by Robinson Meyer, Science, The Atlantic, Aug 8, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #31

Posted on 4 August 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

China’s emissions ‘could peak 10 years earlier than Paris climate pledge’

Coal-fired Power Plant in China

Shutterstock

CO2 emissions in China may peak up to a decade earlier than the nation has pledged under the Paris Agreement, according to a new study.

With its enormous population and heavy reliance on coal, China is by far the world’s biggest polluter, responsible for more emissions than the US and EU combined.

One of the drivers behind Chinese emissions is the intense urbanisation that has taken place across the country in recent years, as millions of people flock from rural areas to rapidly expanding cities.

However, in new analysis published in Nature Sustainability, a team of researchers has shown that as China’s burgeoning cities become wealthier, their per capita emissions begin to drop.

According to their analysis, this trend could in turn trigger an overall dip in CO2 levels across the nation, and mean that despite the current target for emissions peaking by 2030, they may in fact level out at some point between 2021 and 2025.

It is not the first time a study has suggested a premature dip in China’s emissions, but its timing is significant given an imminent UN summit where world leaders will under pressure to step up their Paris targets.

China’s emissions ‘could peak 10 years earlier than Paris climate pledge’ by Josh Gabbatiss, Rest of World Emissions, Carbon Brief, July 29, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

Posted on 3 August 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, July 28 through Sat, Aug 3, 2019

Editor's Pick

Pretend Underdogs: Inside a Climate Denier Conference at Trump Hotel

2019 Heritage Conference

Photo by Joe McCarthy

I entered Trump International Hotel in Washington last Thursday with a three-person team to cover the Heartland Institute’s 13th International Conference on Climate Change. I left with two.

Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change by burning fossil fuels, this free-market think tank, which has received large sums of fossil fuel money, continues to hawk various strains of climate change denial. And they weren’t happy that The Weather Channel had brought along George Mason University researcher John Cook, who tracks disinformation and climate change denialism professionally. About two hours into the conference, interim Heartland President and Director of Communications Jim Lakely pulled us aside. “You have two choices,” the stocky, spikey-haired man told us in a small conference room filled with empty cardboard boxes. “Either John leaves, or you all leave.”

(Cook was not on the press list, but was an official correspondent with The Weather Channel for the occasion. After the Heartland Institute failed to respond to multiple emails, Cook joined our reporting team, assuming there was no problem.)

This gesture — “He’s not welcome on principle,” Lakely said — set the tone for the next several hours, during which former NASA climate communications specialist Laura Faye Tenenbaum, sound recordist Rachel Falcone and I would listen to a cabal of policy wonks, contrarian scientists and communicators sounding a little too certain in their denial to deserve the title, “skeptics.”

(The visit to the conference was part of the reporting for a new investigative podcast series on climate denial and disinformation coming from The Weather Channel this fall.) 

Pretend Underdogs: Inside a Climate Denier Conference at Trump Hotel by Joseph McCarthy, The Weather Channel, Aug 2, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #30

Posted on 28 July 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Global Footprint Network promotes real-world solutions that #MoveTheDate, accelerating the transition to one-planet prosperity

On July 29, humanity will have used nature’s resource budget for the entire year, according to Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability organization that has pioneered the Ecological Footprint. It is Earth Overshoot Day. Its date has moved up two months over the past 20 years to the 29th of July this year, the earliest date ever.

2019 Past Overshoot Days by Global Carbon Footprint 

 

Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29th means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths. Overshoot is possible because we are depleting our natural capital – which compromises humanity’s future resource security. The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events.

“We have only got one Earth – this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can’t use 1.75 without destructive consequences,” said Mathis Wackernagel, co-inventor of Ecological Footprint accounting and founder of Global Footprint Network.

His just released book, Ecological Footprint: Managing Our Biocapacity Budgetdemonstrates that overshoot can only be temporary. Humanity will eventually have to operate within the means of Earth’s ecological resources, whether that balance is restored by disaster or by design. “Companies and countries that understand and manage the reality of operating in a one-planet context are in a far better position to navigate the challenges of the 21st century,” Wackernagel writes. 

Global Footprint Network promotes real-world solutions that #MoveTheDate, accelerating the transition to one-planet prosperity. Press Release, Global Footprint Network, July 23, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

Posted on 27 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, July 21 through Sat, July 27, 2019

Editor's Pick

Europe's record heatwave threatens Greenland ice sheet

The hot air moving up from North Africa has not merely broken European temperature records but surpassed them by 2, 3 or 4 degrees Celsius

Greenland

Shutterstock

The hot air that smashed European weather records this week looks set to move towards Greenland and could cause record melting of the world's second largest ice sheet, the United Nations said on Friday.

Clare Nullis, spokeswoman for the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, said the hot air moving up from North Africa had not merely broken European temperature records on Thursday but surpassed them by 2, 3 or 4 degrees Celsius, which she described as "absolutely incredible".

"According to forecasts, and this is of concern, the atmospheric flow is now going to transport that heat towards Greenland," she told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva.

"This will result in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet," she said. "We don't know yet whether it will beat the 2012 level, but it's close."

Nullis cited data from Denmark's Polar Portal, which measures the daily gains and losses in surface mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

"In July alone, it lost 160 billion tonnes of ice through surface melting. That's roughly the equivalent of 64 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. Just in July. Just surface melt - it's not including ocean melt as well."

Europe's record heatwave threatens Greenland ice sheet by Tom Miles, Reuters, July 26, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

Posted on 21 July 2019 by John Hartz

Article of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review...Poster of the Week...

Article of the Week...

June 2019: Earth's Hottest June on Record

Hindu priests in tubs 

In this picture taken on June 6, 2019, Hindu priests sit inside large vessels filled with water as they perform the 'Parjanya Japa' and offer prayers to appease the rain god for timely monsoons at the Huligamma Devi Temple in Koppal District, some 300 km from Bangalore, India. A 33-year-old man died after a fight over water in southern India, police said on June 7, as huge parts of the country gasped from drought and a brutal summer heatwave. The heat wave was blamed for 210 deaths in June, making it Earth’s deadliest weather-related disaster of the month. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.

June 2019 was the planet's warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Tuesday. NASA also rated June 2019 as the warmest June on record, well of ahead of the previous record set in 2015.

The global heat in June is especially impressive and significant given that only a weak (and weakening) El Niño event was in place. As human-produced greenhouse gases continue to heat up our planet, most global heat records are set during El Niño periods, because the warm waters that spread upward and eastward across the surface of the tropical Pacific during El Niño transfer heat from the ocean to the atmosphere.

Global ocean temperatures during June 2019 were tied with 2016 for warmest on record, according to NOAA, and global land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in June 2019 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the warmest or second warmest in the 41-year record, according to RSS and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively.

As of July 15, July 2019 was on track to be the warmest month in Earth’s history (in absolute terms, not in terms of temperature departure from average)--just ahead of the record set in July 2017. 

June 2019: Earth's Hottest June on Record by Jeff Masters, Category 6, Weather Underground, June 18, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

Posted on 20 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, July 14 through Sat, July 20, 2019

Editor's Pick

A Climate Action for Every Type of Activist

No matter your age, gender, race, or political ideology, there are ways to fight climate change that fit your life and values.

It's a Match! 

YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee 

Most of us have heard about U.N. researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods, and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

But another option is good for you and the planet.

Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster, says getting involved with a group can help lift your climate-related anxiety and depression in three ways. Working with like-minded folks can validate your concerns, give you needed social support, and help you move from feeling helpless to empowered.

And it can make a difference. “Groups are more effective than individuals,” Clayton says. “You can see real impact.”

So join forces with like-minded citizens and push for change.

The U.S. Climate Action Network lists more than 175 member organizations, which are activist groups working through energy policy to fight climate change. And that doesn’t include all of the environmental groups out there. So you have lots of options for getting involved.

Full disclosure: I found my activism comfort zone with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. I love its bipartisan, non-confrontational style, and it suits me. What’s your climate action style?

I’ve done some matchmaking for you. Here are nine activism styles that might fit, along with some groups that align with them. Pick one, and you can start making change. 

A Climate Action for Every Type of Activist by Emily Brown, YES! Magazine, July 16, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #28

Posted on 14 July 2019 by John Hartz

Debunk of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Debunk of the Week...

Non-peer-reviewed manuscript falsely claims natural cloud changes can explain global warming

CLAIM: "Man-made Climate Change Doesn't Exist In Practice... During the last hundred years the temperature is increased [sic] about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C."

Some news outlets are publishing articles stating that this claim is based on a new study. In reality, there is no new published study. The claim comes from a six-page document uploaded to arXiv, a website traditionally used by scientists to make manuscripts available before publication. This means that this article has not been peer-reviewed, so there is no guarantee to its credibility.

If the blogs that covered this as a new study had contacted independent scientists for insight, instead of accepting this short document as revolutionary science, they would have found that it does not have any scientific credibility.

As the scientists who examined this claim explained, the document relies on circular reasoning to claim that cloud cover and relative humidity have caused the change in global temperature, and ignores many additional factors affecting global temperature—including aerosol pollution, volcanic eruptions, and natural ocean oscillations. The published, peer-reviewed scientific research on this topic clearly shows that human activities are responsible for climate change.

Non-peer-reviewed manuscript falsely claims natural cloud changes can explain global warming, Claims Review Edited by Scott Johnson, Climate Feedback, July 12, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

Posted on 13 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, July 7 through Sat, July 13, 2019

Editor's Pick

Climate Change Fills Storms With More Rain, Analysis Shows

New Orleans Flooding 

A flooded street in New Orleans on Wednesday. Credit Ryan Pasternak

When a tropical storm is approaching, its intensity or wind speed often gets the bulk of the attention. But as Tropical Storm Barry bears down on the Gulf Coast in the coming days, it’s the water that the storm will bring with it that has weather watchers worried.

The National Weather Service is calling for roughly 10 to 20 inches of rain to fall from late Thursday night through Saturday. The average rainfall for July in New Orleans, which is in the path of the storm, is just under six inches.

And Tropical Storm Barry, which may become a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall, will drop rain on already saturated land. On Wednesday, the region was hit by severe thunderstorms, which dropped as much as seven inches of rain according to preliminary National Weather Service data.

“Climate change is in general increasing the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall storms,” said Andreas Prein, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 

Climate Change Fills Storms With More Rain, Analysis Shows by Kendra Pierre-Louis, Climate, New York Times, July 11, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 6 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 30 through Sat, July 6, 2019

Editor's Pick

German environment minister proposes carbon tax

Svenja Schulze has said such a plan is important for sinking carbon emissions, yet other measures are needed. She claims the plan would not unduly burden the poor, but reward those who use less fuel.

 Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) Environment Minister Svenja Schulze  

Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) Environment Minister Svenja Schulze presented three independent studies on possible carbon tax schemes in Berlin on Friday. Insisting such a tax would not unduly burden the poor, she said, "those who decide to live a more climate-friendly life could actually get money back."

The plans Schulze presented suggested an initial €35 ($39.50) tax on each metric ton of CO2, to be increased to €180 by 2030. The idea being that the more expensive petrol, natural gas, and heating oil become, the less people will use.

Schulze told reporters that those who consume less, including children, will be given a so-called climate bonus of up to €100 per person, per year, which she claims would offset a person's outlay for the tax, "The less you drive, the less oil you burn, the more you will get back."

The minister underscored the importance of not burdening low and middle-class families: "It's really important to me to avoid unfairly burdening those with low and medium incomes, and especially affected groups like commuters and tenants." 

German environment minister proposes carbon tax, Deutsche Welle (DW), July 5, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 29 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 23 through Sat, June 29, 2019

Editor's Pick

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg. Photograph: Stephen Voss, Anna Schori/The Guardian

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.

Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history. 

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious' by Emma Brockes, Environment, Guardian, June 29, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #25

Posted on 22 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 16 through Sat, June 22, 2019

Editor's Pick

A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter

Sunset over ocean NASA

Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech

Part 1 of a Two-Part Series

If you could ask a sea turtle why small increases in global average temperature matter, you’d be likely to get a mouthful. Of sea grass, that is.

Of course, sea turtles can’t talk, except in certain animated movies. And while on-screen they’re portrayed as happy-go-lucky creatures, in reality it’s pretty tough to be a sea turtle, dude (consider the facts), and in a warming world, it’s getting tougher.

Sea Turtles

Since the temperature of the beach sand that female sea turtles nest in influences the gender of their offspring during incubation, our warming climate may be driving sea turtles into extinction by creating a shortage of males, according to several studies.1

A few degrees make a huge difference. At sand temperatures of 31.1 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit), only female green sea turtles hatch, while at 27.8 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) and below, only males hatch.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

Posted on 15 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 9 through Sat, June 15, 2019

Editor's Pick 

Costa Rica Doubled Its Forest Cover In Just 30 Years!

Cosata Rico 

Costa Rica has a long-standing commitment to the environment. The country is now one of the leading nations of sustainability, biodiversity, and other protections. The country’s first lady, urban planner Claudia Dobles, said in an interview with The New York Times that they plan to be completely fossil fuel free by 2050 and that achieving that goal would combat a “sense of negativity and chaos” in the face of global warming. “We need to start providing answers,” she said.

Which is exactly what they’ve been doing. One of their most incredible feats so far is managing to generate all the country’s power from solely renewable sources for three years consecutively! Then there’s also what they plan to do, which is absolutely incredible – they are set to be carbon-free and plastic-free by 2021. In addition, they’ve tackled the dilemma of deforestation remarkably – resulting in a doubling of tree coverage across the country in the last 30 years.

After decades of deforestation, Costa Rica has reforested to the point that half of the country’s land surface is covered with trees again. That forest cover is able to absorb a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, combating climate change for us all.

Costa Rica Doubled Its Forest Cover In Just 30 Years! by Andrea D. Steffen, Environment, Intelligent Living, June 4, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

Posted on 8 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 2 through Sat, June 8, 2019

Editor's Pick 

White House Tried to Stop Climate Science Testimony, Documents Show

Rod  Schoonover 

Rod Schoonover at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday. Credit: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

The White House tried to stop a State Department senior intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in congressional testimony this week, internal emails and documents show.

The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research declined to make changes to the proposed testimony and the analyst, Rod Schoonover, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, was ultimately allowed to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday.

But in a highly unusual move, the White House refused to approve Dr. Schoonover’s written testimony for entry into the permanent Congressional Record. The reasoning, according to a June 4 email seen by The New York Times, was that the science did not match the Trump administration’s views. 

White House Tried to Stop Climate Science Testimony, Documents Show by Lisa Friedman, Climate, New York Times, June 8, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

Posted on 1 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, May 26 through Sat, June 1, 2019

Editor's Pick 

12 books on how climate change is transforming businesses and the global economy

For some businesses and entrepreneurs, climate change isn't just a threat. It's an opportunity.

New York Stock Exchange 

The significant transformations required to meet the challenges posed by climate change are, from another perspective, fabulous opportunities. Inventors, entrepreneurs, and business strategists recognized this fact many years ago. Their activities have since been chronicled and analyzed by reporters, researchers, and, in some cases, the entrepreneurs themselves.

For this month’s bookshelf on climate change and business, Yale Climate Connections has assembled two different lists. This first list covers books published in the last five years. The second list covers recent free reports on the same subject from international organizations, government agencies, and D.C.-based think tanks.

12 books on how climate change is transforming businesses and the global economy by Michael Svoboda, Yale Climate Connections, May 31, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #21

Posted on 25 May 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, May 19 through Sat, May 25, 2019

Editor's Pick 

Why school strikers are guest editing Climate Home News 

School Strike for Climate

(Photo: Pixabay)

Over the coming weeks (or months – let’s see how it goes) Climate Home News will host reporting, personal reflections and commentary written by a group of young people who have inspired the world.

It’s normal for us to host commentary from activists. But this is something different. Something we would never normally do. It’s an open offer to a group to use our site as a platform to express their ideas.

We aren’t doing it because we endorse everything the school strikes or Fridays for Future movement says, does or calls for. We are doing it because it’s our job to bring you the full picture.

Climate change is the archetypal issue of intergenerational justice. As the population ages in many countries around the world, the balance of power between young and old is becoming increasingly skewed. Given the complexion of the media, it is fair to question whether their voices and interests are being represented here.

These young people have shown they are masters of disruptive forms of social media and protest. In March, just a few months after forming, they held a global strike that surpassed every organised climate rally held before it. They achieved this with no pre-existing organisational apparatus, real funding or control of traditional media platforms. They are worth listening to. 

Why school strikers are guest editing Climate Home News by Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home News, May 23, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

Posted on 18 May 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, May 12 through Sat, May 18, 2019

Editor's Pick 

12 excuses for climate inaction and how to refute them

Using moral clarity to counter defeatism around the climate crisis.

Globe Candle

Shutterstock

There’s a reason why the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has successfully goaded powerful politicians into long-overdue climate action in just six months.

Thunberg, who is on the autism spectrum, has become a moral authority. Again and again, she’s clearly articulated how adults have shamefully abdicated their basic duties to protect today’s children and future generations from compounding climate catastrophe. “This ongoing irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind,” she told the British Parliament.

“You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children,” she declared at the United Nations.

Her ability to sway politicians and the public, in speeches and through the school strike movement, is now evident: European leaders have called for aggressive new carbon emissions reductions, citing her movement.

Fortunately, Thunberg is just one of many great minds helping us summon moral clarity to address the tricky problem of framing the climate crisis. That includes the writers David Wallace-Wells, George Monbiot, and Anand Giridharadas; the historian Jill Lepore; and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), among many others.

As we dump more carbon into the atmosphere and the planet cooks, their arguments about what we’re up against — and why we must act now — are essential to cutting through the ties that keep us quiescent.

These thinkers have inspired us to overcome our own psychological roadblocks in facing the climate crisis. The words of writer James Baldwin are helpful here too: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

 Drawing from these and other wells of wisdom, we’ve put together 12 short answers to some of the most stymying questions to help you work through climate despair, cynicism, defeatism, and paralysis. We can’t delay any more; it’s past time for productive panic.

12 excuses for climate inaction and how to refute them by Eliza Barclay & Jag Bhalla, Energy & Environment, Vox, May 17, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

Posted on 11 May 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, May 5 through Sat, May 11, 2019

Editor's Pick 

Proposal to spend 25% of EU budget on climate change

Student Protest 
Schoolchildren have been protesting climate change inaction in recent months across Europe REUTERS

Eight European countries have called for an ambitious strategy to tackle climate change – and to spend a quarter of the entire EU budget on fighting it.

The joint statement says the EU should have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 "at the latest".

It was signed by France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

The group says their plan can "go hand in hand with prosperity" and "set an example for other countries to follow."

The position paper comes ahead of a major summit of European leaders in the Romanian city of Sibiu, beginning on Thursday, which will discuss the future of Europe and the EU's strategy for the next five years.

But not everyone is on board - there are 28 countries in the EU, and several of those absent from the joint position statement are significant players - including Germany.

Proposal to spend 25% of EU budget on climate change, BBC News, May 8, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #18

Posted on 5 May 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Interview of the Week... Toon of the Week... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn

‘We are in trouble if we don’t act,’ say experts, with up to 1m species at risk of annihilation

Student Protestors Adelaide

Students protest in Adelaide. UN experts warned people alive today are at risk unless urgent action is taken. Photograph: Kelly Barnes/EPA

The world’s leading scientists will warn the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity when they release the results of the most comprehensive study of life on Earth ever undertaken.

Up to 1m species are at risk of annihilation, many within decades, according to a leaked draft of the global assessment report, which has been compiled over three years by the UN’s leading research body on nature.

The 1,800-page study will show people living today, as well as wildlife and future generations, are at risk unless urgent action is taken to reverse the loss of plants, insects and other creatures on which humanity depends for foodpollination, clean water and a stable climate.

The final wording of the summary for policymakers is being finalised in Paris by a gathering of experts and government representatives before the launch on Monday, but the overall message is already clear, according to Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 

Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn by Jonathan Watts, Environment, Guardian, May 3, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #18

Posted on 4 May 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Apr 28 through Sat, May 4, 2019

Editor's Pick 

Remembering Wallace Broecker, the Prophet of Climate Change

Wallace Broecker 

Dr. Wallace Broecker—lovingly called “Wally” by his coworkers, friends, and family—never wanted to be known as the prophet of climate change. He was the prank-playing, puzzle-loving, New Balance-wearing, colorblind, dented-Toyota-owning, dyslexic, opinionated rock of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Broecker saw the big picture.

Broecker was a nationally renowned climate scientist who won the most prestigious awards in his field. He passed away on February 18 at 87 years old. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and other major news sources covered Broecker’s academic achievements, including the fact that he popularized the term “global warming,” but they missed a crucial part of him: the immense influence he had on the lives of others.

Every so often, he would put climate puzzles out in Lamont cafeteria, posing questions like, “Where did all that carbon dioxide go during the ice ages?” He often offered cash rewards to those who could answer them. In his most personalized puzzle, he offered money to whoever could dig up an earlier citation of the term global warming. One of his students succeeded. 

Remembering Wallace Broecker, the Prophet of Climate Change by Katie Santamaria, Columbia Daily Spectator, May 2, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #17

Posted on 28 April 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Report of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Reckoning With Personal Responsibility In The Age Of Climate Change

As someone who loves traveling and going outdoors, I struggle with balancing my hopefulness and my despair — and my culpability — regarding an imperiled earth.

Gentoo Penguins on Iceberg in Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula

Gentoo penguins taking a rest from fishing on an iceberg passing by in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula. Sophie Lanfear / Netflix

A couple weeks ago, I made the mistake of watching Netflix’s new documentary series Our Planet after hitting a friend’s weed pen. Even though I knew that famed naturalist David Attenborough’s latest project aimed to explicitly address the effects of climate change, I was still expecting to (mostly) enjoy a big, splashy nature doc, letting myself become fully immersed in the overwhelming beauty and vastness of life on Earth — especially since, someday all too soon, many of these glorious scenes will be lost to us.

What I didn’t expect were the horrors awaiting me at the (now-infamous) end of Episode 2. A huge group of walruses congregate on a tiny stretch of land because they can’t gather on swaths of Arctic sea ice that no longer exist. Forced to find space from the crowd, some of the poorly sighted animals climb up steep cliffs — then, sensing other walruses below, fling their bodies off the edge. Somehow I’d missed all the coverage of Netflix’s warnings to animal lovers about this particular moment. Even if I had, I don’t think anything could have prepared me to see these gentle, gigantic animals tumble to their deaths. I started to weep; I think being stoned could only partially account for my spiral.

Reckoning With Personal Responsibility In The Age Of Climate Change by Shannon Keating, BuzzFeed, Apr 27, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #17

Posted on 27 April 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Apr 21 through Sat, Apr 27, 2019

Editor's Pick

It’s Easy to be Tricked by a Climate Denier

Here’s what to watch out for…"

Climate Denier Tricks

My father has an MBA from Harvard, an engineering degree from Cornell, and has been CEO of half a dozen companies. He’s smart, accomplished, and well-read. He’s also an open-minded man willing to adjust his own opinions in light of new information he encounters. Prior to reading this book, he believed that climate change was real, man-made, and required urgent attention. He and I even started a solar company together, both of us motivated by the desire to help address climate change.

My initial response to my father’s assertions about the book was surprise that he would question the truth about climate change. But then, as I thought about it, I became excited that maybe it could be true, and the world is, in fact, not heading toward climate disaster. I have a lot of fears about what we are doing to our world, and I hoped that Wrightstone was actually right. Maybe he had written the most important expose in modern times. Wouldn’t that be wonderful for us all? So, I read the book.

It’s Easy to be Tricked by a Climate Denier by Willard MacDonald, Environment, Medium, Apr 20, 2019

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