New Hampshire has the nation’s shortest coastline, at less than 20 miles, but don’t let that statistic fool you: when scientists count its bays, tidal rivers, and salt marshes, they tally more than 230 miles of so-called inland tidal shoreline. These areas are vitally important for New Hampshire’s economy, especially when it comes to tourism and shipping. They’re also vulnerable to coastal flooding, which is why the state is using the best available science to plan for the future, including rising seas. Read More
July 16th, 2015
July 14th, 2015
John H. Richardson has published a despairing profile of climate researchers in Esquire, where he examines the existential dread they sometimes feel as they study the effects of industrial carbon burning. In particular, he focuses on Jason Box, a climate researcher whose blunt Twitter message went viral last year: Read More
July 9th, 2015
The Union of Concerned Scientists broke the news yesterday that Exxon employees were considering how climate change should factor into decisions about new fossil fuel extraction as early as 1981. The reactions, especially from ExxonMobil, have been as interesting as the original revelation. Read More
June 18th, 2015
Pope Francis released his much-anticipated encyclical on humans’ stewardship of our planet earlier today. While my colleagues and I spend most of our time talking about science and policy, the pope’s message has given us an opportunity to reflect on our own moral reasoning around climate and energy issues as well as the intersection of faith and science.
Update, June 23: My colleague Mike Jacobs, a senior energy analyst, added his thoughts in a separate post about Pope Francis’s plug for electric co-cops and other clean energy issues in the encyclical. Read More
May 21st, 2015
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) described the certainty of scientific knowledge on climate change as “convoluted” yesterday. Specifically, he said that it’s unclear “what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural.”
He also claimed that people who say the science is “decided on” are “arrogant.” Read More
May 6th, 2015
It’s been exactly a year since CNN hosted a misleading debate about established climate science. I hope it was the last one for the network and that CNN and other news outlets can move on to debates about how society is responding to climate risks. Read More
April 7th, 2015
Scientists and climate policy wonks usually say global warming is caused by “human activities.” This shorthand obscures an important point: while we humans are certainly responsible for climate change on some level, just a few of us – particularly in industry and government – are a lot more responsible than the rest of us.
After all, I like humans. I like activities, too. And it’s industry practices and government policies that largely determine how much heat-trapping emissions our human activities produce. Read More
March 11th, 2015
A few years ago, my colleagues and I worked with Andrew Hoffman, the director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, to host a forum on increasing public understanding of climate change. The event sticks with me because the participants came from so many different backgrounds: environmental justice, Creation care, energy production, social science, media, climate science, and service in Congress.
Hoffman has condensed the myriad approaches to climate communication we discussed that day — and much more — into an indispensable guide. At a slim 100 pages, Hoffman’s book offers a fine distillation of the growing body of social science that explains our curious and conflicting approaches to climate issues. In addition to identifying the problematic ways we often approach climate change, he also suggests several potential ways forward that can restore the climate debate to what he calls a “more civilized plane.” Read More
March 6th, 2015
When former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) ran for president in 2011, he flatly rejected climate science and even claimed that scientists had manipulated climate data. But last week, in response to a question about climate and energy issues at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he touted his environmental record, instead. Read More
Willie Soon’s Failure to Disclose Industry Funding for Contrarian Climate Research is Another Reason to Support Transparency
February 24th, 2015
My first job in science communication was as an “Explainer” in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The program helps visitors – particularly students – understand the forces of flight. Our uniforms included red polo shirts that said “The Explainer Program” on the front and had the name of the company that sponsored the program – Cessna Aircraft – on the sleeve.
I recall this old uniform because the Smithsonian is under scrutiny for an entirely different type of sponsorship that was hidden from public view. Read More