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Gretchen Goldman

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About the author: Gretchen Goldman is an analyst in the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS. Her current work looks at political and corporate interference in science policy. She holds a PhD and MS in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in atmospheric science from Cornell University. See Gretchen's full bio.

A Celebration of Carl Sagan: The Man, the Legacy, and the Unanswered Question

Yesterday, I was fortunate to attend “A Celebration of Carl Sagan” at the Library of Congress. Hosted by Emmy award-winner and science-supporter Seth MacFarlane, the event welcomed The Seth MacFarlane Collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive to the library and included 13 esteemed speakers all of whom had personal connections to the man being honored. Each speaker had different stories to tell, but many concluded their talk with the same unanswered question. Read More

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Colorado Towns Pass Fracking Moratoria, Bans Despite Big Spending by the Oil and Gas Industry

Does money in politics matter? Many (including UCS) would say yes. It can sway elections, influence what should be fact-based decision making, and determine who can run for office in the first place. But yesterday when it came to questions of whether or not three Colorado communities wanted to allow hydraulic fracturing within their borders, money did not win the day. Read More

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Clearing the Air on Fracking: Reflections from our Recent Webinar

When citizens have questions about hydraulic fracturing, where do they turn? In our recent webinar, Fracking: Advancing a Science-Informed Debate, myself and my colleague Andrew Rosenberg, the director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, did our best to convey as much information as possible from our recent report, Toward an Evidence-based Fracking Debate. Read More

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Convenient Science for Hire: the American Council on Science and Health Puts the Cart before the Horse

In business and politics, it is a good thing to have science on your side. Scientific study informs and enlightens our decision making on everything from food to energy to health. But what happens when the science is inconvenient to your business model? Read More

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Satellites, Storm Surge, and Sandy: The Need for Science to Inform Our Coastal Planning

The following is an accurate description of Sandy, the superstorm that tore through the northeastern United States almost one year ago:

Sandy slammed into the New Jersey Coast Monday night, bringing very heavy rain and damaging winds to the region. Read More

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Fracking and My Community’s Air Quality: Is There Something in the Air?

with Daniel Tormey, Ph.D., P.G.; Technical Director, Cardno ENTRIX

Los Angeles, California

If you’ve been following the discussion of pollution risks around the unconventional oil and gas development that has been enabled by hydraulic fracturing and other technologies, then you’ve probably heard a lot about water contamination risks. These risks are certainly worth discussing, but discussion of air pollution risks also deserves some attention. We want to take the time to talk about air quality concerns—not just because this is where Gretchen’s past interests lie—but also because current research suggests there may be real risks from air pollution near oil and gas activities. Read More

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Companies, Climate, and Trade Groups: The Saga Continues with New Data Released

Some companies just don’t like sharing.

At least that’s my first takeaway from viewing the newly released reports from CDP (formerly, the Carbon Disclosure Project) that we’ve been waiting for. The international not-for-profit organization officially released this year’s data last night at the New York Stock Exchange. Every year, CDP collects climate reporting data it obtains by annually surveying companies worldwide, but this year, the organization asked companies something new. And the results (and lack thereof) are quite revealing. Read More

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Is Fracking Safe? What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Risk

Citizens around the country are concerned—with good reasons—about how unconventional oil and gas development (commonly the entire development process is referred to as “fracking”) will affect them and their families. As we learned at the recent UCS Center for Science and Democracy’s Branscomb forum, Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking, people want to know the facts. What are the benefits of development? What are the risks? How will my community change? But for many, the concerns ultimately boil down to the most pressing of the questions:

Is fracking safe? Read More

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EPA’s Remarkable New Air Pollution Monitors (I’m like a Kid in a Candy Store)

To a scientist, having new data to study is like a child having a new candy store to explore. With the EPA’s release of new air pollution rules, I’ve just learned of the Willy Wonka Factory of data in my field of study. The rules require new air quality monitors near major roadways in US cities. The new data will ultimately help us better protect from harmful air pollutants the millions of Americans who live, work, and play close to major roads.

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Al Gore, Climate Science, and the Responsibility for Careful Communication

UPDATE (Aug. 28, 11:45 a.m.): Ezra Klein has confirmed that there was likely a transcript error. Read more.

UPDATE (Aug. 23, 1:35 p.m.): According to Joe Romm at Climate Progress, the full transcript of Vice President Gore’s remarks was incorrectly transcribed by the Post. Read more.

When I was in fourth grade, I wrote Vice President Al Gore a letter about my passion for saving the planet and I was ecstatic when he wrote back. I believed then, as I do now, that he is a strong voice for issues with an environmental component such as climate change. And, importantly, he has become, to many people, the public face of climate science.

He deserves great praise for these Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning efforts. But unfortunately he recently got it wrong about the science of climate change. Read More

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