Viewing entries tagged
Climate Change

Environmental Issues to Engage Climate Change Skeptics

…For instance, in a recent survey, even though just 36% of Republican or Republican-Leaning Millennials endorsed “Earth is warming mostly due to human activity”, 83-87% of the same group supported expansion of renewables and 60% wanted the government to do more to protect animals and habitat (Pew Research 2019). So here are some environmental causes the skeptics might be interested in: …

Making Science Real: A Guide

The rest of us rely on mental shortcuts to arrive at our opinions on climate change - mostly to do with trust and perceived plausibility. In other words, how we feel/think about climate change depends in large part on whom we trust or don’t trust, as well as what information, explanations, and opinions fit with our understanding of how the world works. This is not an irrational way for non-scientists to approach a subject as complex as climate change. 

But we could do better. We could live the words “science is real”…

How Would a Doctor Treat Climate Change?

Some in the medical community take a “wait and see” approach to the disease of climate change. They’re aware of computer models predicting a dangerous worsening of the patient’s condition but note that other models are not nearly so gloomy. These doctors point out that most treatments carry their own risks, so it’s best just to monitor the patient closely for the time being…However, most in the medical community acknowledge the patient will probably get worse without some sort of intervention. But many physicians aren’t convinced the prognosis is dire without aggressive treatment and so opt for a conservative approach to managing the patient’s condition. …Yet other doctors are convinced that without aggressive measures this climate change disease will inevitably progress to painful debilitation and possible death.

How Can We Save Coral Reefs? A Primer

Overfishing, destructive fishing practices, coral harvesting and mining, sewage, sedimentation, pollution, elevated sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification are all stressors. Less stress and greater resilience to stress increase the likelihood of coral reefs living beyond the Anthropocene.

Ideology and Green New Deal, Part II: Signs and Portents

In the debate, supporters of the Green New Deal came back with:

  1. Other ideas are just cover for capitalist yearnings

  2. Nothing significant is being done to combat climate change

  3. There is no serious alternative to the Green New Deal

  4. The Green New Deal is our only hope to avert catastrophe

Ideology and Green New Deal, Part I: Introduction

…where once the Big Solution was seen as a means to fixing problems, it eventually becomes an end in itself - one that requires Big Problems to justify.  That’s because Big Solutions tend to involve painful sacrifice (the darkness before the dawn). And that pain had better be worth it!

The "Green New Deal": A Counterproductive Approach to Energy Efficiency

What constitutes “state-of-the-art” technology changes from year to year.  If the new technology isn’t cheap, households, businesses, utilities, and governments investing in the new technology will not invest again as they wait for the initial investment to pay off. This is called a “lock-in” effect, “where choices made at critical junctures lock in future choices and development” (Johnson, 2001)

Behind The Headlines: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Part III: How Plausible Are Its Worst-Case Scenarios?

Per Climate Action Tracker (CAT), current US emission trends are actually within “striking distance” of the initial Paris Agreement targets for 2020 and 2025, despite Trump’s rhetoric and the US not even being a signatory to the Agreement. This unexpected progress is thanks to “subnational” and nongovernmental actors, such as states, cities, businesses, nonprofits and others. Yes, it would be great if the federal government were on board. And, yes, we need to do a lot more…

Behind The Headlines: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Part II: On The Strategic Use of Worst-Case Scenarios

Another theme in this report is that mitigation and adaptation efforts often yield near-term benefits unrelated to their value in reducing risks associated with climate change. Drought-resistant crops help poor farmers now. Increased energy efficiency makes business sense now. Coastal marsh restoration protects against flooding now. Even climate change skeptics could appreciate these co-benefits.