This morning, Rep. Raul Grijalva sent letters to seven universities seeking documents related to academics who have testified before Congress on climate change. The requests come in the wake of revelations over the weekend that the Smithsonian Institution agreed not to disclose payments from the Southern Company, a major utility, to fund and review the work of Smithsonian aerospace engineer Willie Soon. As all of the researchers in question have been critical of mainstream climate science, some are wondering if Rep. Grijalva’s requests can be considered a witch hunt. So is it? Read More
February 24th, 2015
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
February 10th, 2015
February 10th, 2015
The president’s science advisor John P. Holdren has often observed that humanity has three basic options for dealing with climate change: Mitigation (reducing heat-trapping emissions), adaptation (coping with unavoidable impacts of climate change), and suffering. The more swiftly we both mitigate and adapt, the less suffering we endure and impose on future generations.
Suppose, however, that we falter and temperatures continue to rise to dangerous levels. In a climate emergency, facing high risks of major and otherwise unavoidable impacts, should the U.S. or other governments consider forced cooling of Earth by injecting reflecting aerosol particles into the stratosphere? Read More
Carling Hay, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard University & Rutgers University
February 6th, 2015
When you pick up the newspaper or turn on the television, you are likely to find a story about climate change and rising sea levels. Most of these stories focus on making predictions for the next century and beyond. After all, don’t we already have a complete understanding of the past? The answer to that question isn’t quite so simple. Read More
February 2nd, 2015
Yeah, I get it. The president’s budget doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a vehicle to lay out his vision for the country, right? Congress is controlled by Republicans, and most of the president’s fiscal priorities likely won’t be reflected in the budget he finds on his desk several months from now. But here’s one fiscal priority both parties should be able to support: pre-disaster mitigation, or …disaster preparedness. Read More
January 30th, 2015
Something big is brewing in Oregon. No, it’s not a new IPA from Portland-based Bridgeport Brewery—though that sounds delightful. It’s the next phase of Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program, a forward-thinking regulation that requires transportation fuel to get steadily cleaner on average, ultimately achieving a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions per unit of fuel in 10 years. Extending this rule is a big deal because approximately one-third of Oregon’s greenhouse gases come from transportation, and Oregon has the in-state resource potential to produce significant amounts of clean fuels. Read More
January 27th, 2015
Today we’re releasing an important report on what the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases could do to reduce the global warming pollution released by their land sectors—that is, their agriculture and forests. It’s called Halfway There? What the Land Sector Can Contribute to Closing the Emissions Gap.
January 23rd, 2015
When I was growing up in New Delhi, the annual Republic Day celebrations were always cause for great national pride. They commemorate the day this large, vibrant democracy’s constitution came into force, after India secured its independence from British colonial rule. This year President Obama will be a special guest for the Republic Day parade, a spectacular display of India’s rich cultural heritage and military might. What I am keenly interested to hear are the ways in which Prime Minister Modi and President Obama plan to cooperate to address one of the biggest challenges facing the world today: climate change. Read More
January 22nd, 2015
Big changes to Michigan’s energy policy could be on the table in 2015. Governor Snyder gave a short peek into his energy agenda Tuesday night in his State of the State address where he stressed the need to transition away from coal as a main energy source in Michigan and announced plans to create a new Energy Agency. Read More