Viewing entries tagged
Climate Change

GM Crops, Climate Change and Protecting the Environment: The Latest Research

According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with land use account for somewhere between 21-37% of all anthropogenic emissions. Agriculture is the main culprit, both as a cause of deforestation and as a major emitter of GHGs, especially carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. Agriculture is also destroying biodiversity and pushing all sorts to species to the brink of extinction.

Astrology, Political Attitudes and Party Affiliation

…twice as many Democrats as Republicans consider astrology “very” scientific and Republicans are more likely than Democrats to consider astrology “not at all” scientific. What’s going on here? Is there a solid scientific case for believing in astrology?

Truth-Telling and Persuasive Intent in Conversations about the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Part III: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Verheggen et al gets the final word:

“Different surveys are not directly comparable, due to different groups of people being asked different questions…. Different surveys typically use slightly different criteria to determine their survey sample and to define the consensus position, hampering a direct comparison. It is possible that our definition of “agreement” sets a higher standard than, for example, survey question[s] about whether human activity is ‘a significant contributing factor’.”

Truth-Telling and Persuasive Intent in Conversations about Climate Change, Part IIa: How was the Consensus Established?

The above graphic conveys two things: first, getting skeptics to accept the scientific consensus on climate change is essential to convincing them of the need for urgent action. Second, in order for skeptics to accept the consensus, you have to convince them that the consensus is overwhelming - not just most scientists, but the vast majority of scientists. So is that what the studies in this graphic show? Let’s find out.

Truth-Telling and Persuasive Intent in Conversations about Climate Change, Part I: What is the Scientific Consensus?

Rule # 1: If you’re going to have an honest conversation about climate change, don’t misrepresent what the scientific consensus actually is.

Rule # 2: If you’re going to have an honest conversation about climate change, be prepared to discuss the evidence for a scientific consensus.

Rule # 3: If you want to have an honest conversation about climate change, remember that conversation is a two-way street. That means it’s just as much about listening as speaking.

Rule # 4: If your goal is to persuade someone to agree with you, then your goal is not to have an honest conversation.

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)