Anyone who thinks otherwise has never met a real live academic. We can barely conspire about where to eat lunch.
Among the host of conspiracy theories out there, a perennial one depicts climate science as a global hoax perpetuated by scientists. There are thousands of climate scientists around the world, which is an awful lot of people for a secret conspiracy. But even if there were only forty or fifty, a successful conspiracy of any …CONTINUE READING
Climate change’s long term effects on the planet will be profound.
Most climate change projections end at the end of this century. When the IPCC issued its first report, however, 2100 was 110 years in the future. Looking that far ahead right now would bring us closer to 2150 than to 2100. We’re only beginning to get a sense of the impacts of climate change that …CONTINUE READING
An update on the serious and the silly
Solar geoengineering has been prominent in the news lately. It looks like the long-predicted spike of attention to these potential climate responses may finally be starting – with many attendant opportunities for controversy and confusion. For background on solar geoengineering, why it’s important to research, and what the debates over it are, check out various …CONTINUE READING
Some important people in the climate arena are Black. But there are far too few of them.
Since this is Black History Month, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about some of the prominent contributions by Blacks to understanding and addressing climate change. Blacks are badly underrepresented in STEM fields such as atmospheric science and in environmental groups, but there are some important exceptions.(STEM stands for ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, and …CONTINUE READING
Part 1: Science and weird facts
Methane is getting a lot of attention in climate debates. There was even a “Methane Day” last Tuesday at the climate conference in Glasgow. Several new regulations controlling methane emissions have been adopted recently, including two new rules for the US oil and gas sector announced last week. There’s a new informal international agreement to …CONTINUE READING
The latest science confirms the need for urgent action.
The IPCC issued the massive first volume of its new report on climate change on Monday. This volume focuses on climate science: how much will the world warm, and what will the impacts be? The bottom line is that the evidence is becoming ever firmer that (a) humans are causing an unprecedented rate of climate …CONTINUE READING
Decades ago, industry scientists fought to get their bosses to pay attention to climate change.
Decades ago, their own scientists told car companies and oil companies about climate change, information the companies chose to ignore. The scientists were voices crying out in the corporate wilderness. Sadly, they were ignored at the time, but companies are starting to pay the price for that in lawsuits. Those scientists advocated for the truth, …CONTINUE READING
Identifying a realistic worst case scenario is complicated.
How hot will the world be in 2100? The answer partly depends on how much carbon we dump in the atmosphere between now and then. It also depends on how sensitive the climate system is to those emissions. Scientists have used 4.5 °C as the high end of the likely possibilities. That estimate derives from …CONTINUE READING
State and Local Governments’ Common Law-Based Lawsuits Against the Energy Industry Are Steadily Gaining Traction
The latest chapter in American climate change litigation has been launched by local governments–and one state–across the U.S. against domestic and international fossil fuel companies. These lawsuits have been brought under one of the oldest and most venerable legal doctrines–state common law. They seek compensation from the energy industry for the myriad, adverse effects of …CONTINUE READING
Surprise, surprise, EPA has tried to stonewall an investigation.
EPA’s Acting Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan took the extraordinary step last week of notifying Congress that EPA was stonewalling his investigation of potential misconduct involving EPA’s Chief of Staff. This was a gutsy move for Sheehan, especially given the extra vulnerability created by his Acting status. Sheehan, it is worth noting, is a career …CONTINUE READING