#@&%#$*$!!!

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CNN aired 23.5 minutes of American Petroleum Institute ads over two weeks, compared to just five minutes of coverage about climate change or the temperature

ECOWATCH.COM

Check out the story that goes with the above headline here: http://ecowatch.com/2016/04/26/cnn-fossil-fuel-ads/

 

The fact that time devoted to oil-industry ads dwarfs time spent on climate change is not a coincidence. Advertisers avoid sponsoring environmental stories on news programs, based in part on the supposition that an informed public would demand big changes, and those changes would be bad for business. So the media report environmental stories in inverse proportion to their importance, and the public assumes that environmental degradation isn’t worth worrying about because the media rarely cover it. And the media rarely cover environmental stories because polls show that the public doesn’t realize the importance of such stories, and because advertisers don’t want to foot the bill for environmental stories that could have a negative impact on their bottom lines. 

So, in my little way, I try to inform people about what’s happening. The big media organizations have the budgets and the talent to do a much better job than I will ever do, but they seem to be more interested in fulfilling their responsibility to their stockholders than fulfilling their responsibility to the public.  I, on the other hand, have only to answer to my conscience.

And my conscience tells me that I have a responsibility to talk about what I know.  I’ve been studying environmental issues for over 30 years, and I know that things are bad and they’re getting worse at an accelerating rate. We’re rushing headlong into a chaotic world of our own making — a world of cascading social, economic, medical, and ecological catastrophies. Our children and grandchildren will blame us. They will say, “You knew or should have known that your wasteful activities would create environmental havoc down the road. Why didn’t you do something while there was still time?”

Are Pleasant Winters Adding to Public Apathy?

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In many parts of the U.S., including Kansas where I live, winter never arrived this year. It was replaced by an extended autumn, which blended by mid-February into an early spring.

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When friends commented on the delightful weather in January or February, my typical response was, “We’re going to get stuck with a myriad of bad consequences due to climate change, so we might as well enjoy the good ones — few though they may be.” I wondered, however, if the pleasant wintertime weather would add to people’s apathy.

Recently, a pair of professors wondered the same thing. In search of an answer they looked at the relationship between the weather throughout the U.S. and the population distribution. They found that “[f]or a vast majority of Americans, the weather is simply becoming more pleasant.” They concluded:

To those of us who believe climate change is the most profound challenge of our age, our discovery is both illuminating and disheartening. In previous work, we’ve shown that Americans make sense of climate change in part through their personal experience of the weather. Our new findings suggest that the weather changes caused by global warming cannot be relied on to spur the public to demand policies that address the problem. By the time the weather changes for the worse later in this century, it may be too late…. [So] when we do discuss temperatures, we should acknowledge the temporarily pleasant side effects of global warming. But then we should stress that these agreeable conditions will one day vanish — like ice on a warm winter day.

If you’d like to take a look at the entire article, “Global Warming Feels Quite Pleasant,” by Patrick J. Egan and Megan Mullin, you can find it here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/opinion/sunday/global-warming-feels-quite-pleasant.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

 

The Poll Climate Deniers Point To and Why It’s a Crock

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There are still a surprisingly large number of people who think that scientists haven’t reached a consensus on climate change. In making their case, some of those contrarians point to an online petition, signed by over 31,000 “scientists,” which states:

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.[1]

So wow, huh? A petition with the signatures of more than 31,000 scientists seems quite impressive. I mean, if 31,000 scientists say climate change is a bunch of hooey, who am I to argue? But as Glenn Kessler wrote in his “Fact Checker” column for The Washington Post, “Only 9,000 of the [31,000+] signers actually have PhDs, and the list of signers’ qualifications shows only a relatively small percentage with expertise on climate research. One study estimated that under the petition’s rather expansive definition of a ‘scientist,’ more than 10 million Americans would be qualified to sign it.”[2] That same study found that only 39 individual climatologists—that is, people who actually study climate for a living—signed the petition. The remainder of the 31,000 signers came from the following fields:[3]

  • Computers and Math
  • Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Environment
  • Physics and Aerospace
  • Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Biology, and Agriculture
  • General Science

Meanwhile, a peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that “97-98% of the [nearly 1,400] climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC [anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”[4]  Similarly, scientists who analyzed nearly 12,000 climate studies that appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals, between 1991 and 2011, concluded: “Among papers expressing a position on AGW [anthropogenic global warming], an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”[5]

So, on the one hand, you have between 97 and 98 percent of 12,000 published climate scientists agreeing that humans are causing climate change, and, on the other, you have 39 climatologists (not 39 percent of 31,000, mind you, just 39 individuals) signing an online petition that says there’s no “convincing scientific evidence” that humans are causing climate change. Now, which of those two positions do you think is more likely to be correct?

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I mention the petition and the peer-reviewed studies because I’m convinced that it’s crucial we recognize that climate change is real and that we’re causing it. If we face the truth, we’re more likely to do whatever is necessary to change our course and avert disaster.

Need more evidence that climate change is an existential threat? Check out this article from today’s Washington Post:

“How Earth Itself Has Dramatically Upped the Stakes for the Paris Climate Accord,” by Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/20/as-nations-gather-to-sign-climate-accord-planet-reaches-new-warming-heights/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Need more arguments to use on climate deniers? Check out: “Yes, You Should Listen to Bill Nye Instead of Sarah Palin on Climate Change.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/18/yes-you-should-listen-to-bill-nye-instead-of-sarah-palin-on-climate-change/?postshare=7331461186250316&tid=ss_tw-bottom

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NOTES:

[1] Global Warming Petition Project. “31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs.” http://www.petitionproject.org/index.php

[2] Kessler, Glenn. “Rick Perry’s Made-Up ‘Facts’ About Climate Change.” Washington Post, August 18, 2011. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/rick-perrys-made-up-facts-about-climate-change/2011/08/17/gIQApVF5LJ_blog.html

[3] Angliss. “Guest Post: Scrutinizing the 31,000 Scientissts in the OISM Petition Project. March 11, 2010. http://www.skepticalscience.com/scrutinising-31000-scientists-in-the-OISM-P

[4] Anderegg, William R. L., James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider. “Expert Credibility in Climate Change.” PNAS. June 21, 2010. http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.abstract

[5] Cook, John, Dana Nuccitelli, Sarah A. Green, et al. 2013. “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature.” Environmental Research Letters. Vol. 8, p. 6.

 

A BIT OF GOOD NEWS ON A LOVELY SPRING DAY

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Spring began a good month early in Kansas City. Crocuses were blooming by mid-February; daffodils were up before the end of the month.

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By now, magnolias, forsythias,  and crabapples, are done. Redbuds and azaleas are on their way out . . .

. . . but wild violets and lilacs are at their peak.

And, of course, their are plenty of dandelions.

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Clearly, we’re not lacking for blossoms. But something is missing? What is it? Bees.

Almost every afternoon, I walk for an hour or so, and during flower season, I listen for buzzing and look for bees hovering around blooms.  Although a variety of plants have been blossoming for a couple of months now, I’ve yet to see a single bee.

But guess what. I’m happy to report a bit of good news (for a change). Garden-care giant Ortho announced today (April 12, 2016) that by 2021 it will discontinue the production of pesticides containing neonicotinoids, a class of chemicals that are particularly harmful to bees.

You can read all about it here:

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-04-12/apnewsbreak-ortho-to-drop-chemicals-linked-to-bee-declines