Some Cool Developments

I have really been enjoying the recent developments over at Skeptical Science, a dynamic site that is possibly the best example of climate science communication I have encountered, and to which I am proud to be a new contributing author!

It looks like John Cook, the creator of Skeptical Science, has been building a database of climate change links, everything from blog posts to newspaper articles to peer-reviewed papers, by everyone from Anthony Watts to Joe Romm to James Hansen. He’s also been keeping track of which common misconceptions appear the most and from which sources. Now you can subscribe to daily emails that include a dozen or so links from the database, organized and colour-coded according to source and bias. I’ve only been getting these emails for a few days, and they have already pointed me towards some fascinating articles I wouldn’t have had the time to seek out otherwise. (However, I can’t seem to stop Windows Live from putting them in my junk folder – any ideas?)

Skeptical Science has a great business relationship with Shine Technologies, the IT company that created Skeptical Science smartphone apps for free – simply because they care about the state of our climate. Now they’ve created a Firefox add-on that allows users to submit links to the database. If the page you’re on is already in the database, you can view, with one click of a mouse, which (if any) common misconceptions are in the article, complete with links to the ever-growing Skeptical Science rebuttal list. I haven’t tried this add-on yet, because I am a fan of Chrome, but it certainly looks very cool.

Skeptical Science has done a lot for my understanding of climate change. Early on, it was my first stop whenever I encountered a skeptic argument I was unfamiliar with, because I knew I could trust its citations and accountability. Now, I read the list of arguments and rebuttals just for fun, and to brush up my understanding. I love the new dynamic direction the site is taking, and I hope all of these projects continue and flourish.

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2 thoughts on “Some Cool Developments

  1. Skeptical Science is a great place for climate scientists to hang out, but as Monbiot pointed out, a million Nobel Prize winning scientists are not going to change the mind of those who could make a difference.

    Most climate change denial has nothing to do with science. It is based on the observation that there are two kinds of people in the world, the haves and the have nots, and the have nots outnumber the haves by about 10 to 1 or so. Mitigating climate change (global warming) will require an 85-90% reduction in fossil fuel consumption and a similar shrinking of world economies. Shrinking world economies by that much will make have nots out of the haves, and that would not be good at all. In democratic societies where presumably everyone has an equal vote, informed populaces would quickly demand government action to get started before it’s too late. But the haves have successfully Smogged Climate Science to the point that the average Joe doesn’t know the difference between science and hyperbole.

    Guys over there at Skeptical Science, if maintaining your God-given way of life was more import than a few melting glaciers, what would you do? Of all the people on this earth, climate scientists are the most concerned about climate change, so doesn’t it make sense that they should be putting their collective heads together to figure out ways to lift their work above the smog? If they don’t, then they will, in time, find themselves treading water along with the haves and have nots.

  2. > Mitigating climate change (global warming) will require an 85-90% reduction in
    > fossil fuel consumption and a similar shrinking of world economies.

    Roger, I think you’re wrong there. Yes, fossil fuel consumption will have to go, but there is no one-to-one link with the size (GDP?) of world economies.

    If you read the WG3 report of the IPCC, you’ll see that the subject has been studied. Look, e.g., at the SPM:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-spm.pdf

    See Table SMP.4 page 12. The costs of fairly aggressive mitigation by year 2030 lie below 3% of GDP. Then look at Table SMP.6 page 18. Even by 2050 the costs are still below 5%.

    I seem to remember that the Stern report gave similar numbers. So, we’re talking about the kind of dollars and cents that countries of the world already routinely spend on their military version of “security” — often based on much more questionable or speculative — or plain wrong — arguments than mitigation spending would be. 5% is also the typical GDP growth of a national economy over as little as two, three years. So, we will still be getting richer all the time, only a couple years later than we thought.

    Roger, by making the statements you make you’re actually feeding into the “alarmism” that acting effectively against global warming would drive us bust, or back to the stone age. Quite to the contrary: we’re gonna need all the high-tech we can lay our hands on, and then some. Power-saving lamps and hybrid car engines are just the beginning. It will cost, but it’s eminently doable.

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