Notes_from_a_Cluttered_Mind : Dog_Sold_Separately

Conspiracy of silence: The irresponsible politics of climate change →


Must read of the week. Why are politicians not addressing climate change? Because you don’t ask.


  • Climate change does not register as a high-priority issue for most Americans, and the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns are both exacerbating the situation by ignoring the issue.
  • The consequence of this inattention will be an irreversible commitment to a much higher level of global warming than either Obama or Romney care to admit.
  • If Americans are to have any hope of addressing climate change, a grassroots social movement must challenge the irresponsibility of both candidates.

This is the dilemma we face: in order to counter nonsense, we are doomed to be ever seen as dismissive critics of people’s beliefs. In this view, to me it is not a coincidence that people have this conception of us. Because there is orders of magnitude more pseudoscience than science out there, we are always too busy shooting down the junk to do much else. It is imperative that we continue to do this, but if we want people to understand the full range of skepticism we have to also stress the affirmatives. We need to live up to the charge of promoting science and critical thinking. In my observations, this is accomplished primarily within the skeptical community, and any outside exposure that we choose to endorse or create is mainly “debunking.” Don’t misunderstand me, debunking is a worthy cause and someone has to do it, but I want this movement to be positive. We need to be actually thought of as positive by the public, no matter what we may tell ourselves. This is my call to the skeptical community: we need to get into the habit of promoting good science, critical thinking skills, and good causes in equal amounts with debunking (or at least more than we do now).

— Kyle Hill explains how as a skeptic he’s faced with the “Debunker’s Dilemma”: seen that there’s a lot more misinformation and pseudoscience than science, it could appear that skeptic positions are always negative. He says that because of this “to the public a skeptic equals a cynic”. He urges skeptics to do The Opposite of Debunking. Skeptics need to show their passion about science and rationality and to promote scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills. (via scipsy)

Obama Administration Strengthens Environmental Justice Efforts →


“Federal agencies today (February) released environmental justice strategies, implementation plans and progress reports, outlining steps they will take to protect communities facing serious health and environmental risks, particularly low-income, minority and tribal populations.

Led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency heads say these strategies will integrate environmental justice into federal decision making and transportation, labor, health services and housing programs.

“Working together we have been able to make environmental justice a focus not just for EPA, but for agencies across the administration,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Each of our federal partners plays a unique role in serving the American people, and each has a unique opportunity to ensure that our communities get the health and environmental protections they deserve.”…

Federal agencies have reviewed their portfolios to assess how their programs, policies, and activities may have disproportionately adverse health and environmental effects.

Through this review, they have identified strategies, programs and initiatives, to reduce environmental or health hazards, ensure access to beneficial programs, and increase community participation in agency decision-making.

    • The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration is finalizing an environmental justice circular to help grantees determine whether there are any minority or low-income populations that may be adversely affected by a transit project or decision. The Federal Highway Administration is working with the National Highway Institute to revamp their course on environmental justice and Title VI.
    • The U.S. Department of Labor is translating educational materials and hazard alerts into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese to ensure that minority workers have access to information they need to avoid environmental hazards on the job.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pueblo Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, provides four tribal governments the opportunity to run pollution monitoring programs and provide technical input on National Nuclear Security Administration decisions.
    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to provide green jobs and workforce development opportunities for veterans in minority and low-income communities.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities to use Health Impact Assessments, to help proactively address the potential impacts a policy or project might have on minority and low income populations. For example, in Baltimore, Maryland work is under way to evaluate the human health impact of a vacant property redevelopment program.

Read the rest at Environmental News Service

Climate Change Pushes Europe's Alpine Plants Toward Extinction →


As the climate warms, plant species that prefer a colder environment are disappearing from the mountain ranges of Southern Europe. Since many of these species have small distribution areas, they are now threatened with extinction, according to two new studies from European researchers.

“These species have migrated upwards, but sooner or later the mountain reaches its summit,” said researcher and biologist Ulf Molau at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. “Many alpine plant species are disappearing from mountain ranges in Southern Europe, and for some of them - those that are only found in a single mountain range - the outlook is extremely bleak.”

Over a period of 10 years, researchers around Europe have gathered samples from 13 different mountain regions.

Using digital technology and intensive on-site field work, they have been able to study a grid pattern of square meters, selected on different high mountain summits, from the treeline up to the highest peaks.

The digital photographs provide a detailed picture of which species have disappeared between 2001 and the present day.

“Every research square is digitally photographed so that we can find our way back to the exact same position after 10 years or more, with centimeter precision,” said Professor Molau. “By rolling out an analysis network, small 10 x 10 cm squares can be re-mapped.”

Today, the researchers are able to observe that species are migrating upwards and that the variety of species in Southern European mountain regions has declined during the 10 years in which samples have been taken.

“This finding confirms the hypothesis that a rise in temperatures drives Alpine flora to migrate upwards. As a result, rival species are threatened by competitors, which are migrating to higher altitudes. These changes pose a threat to high-mountain ecosystems in the long and medium term,” the authors state.


Follow Climate Adaptation.

PBS introduces its new Coping With Climate Change Webpage →


We’re also eager to hear stories from different communities on how folks are dealing with climate change - whether it be early blooms in your garden or, for farmers, how crops are being affected. If you’ve got a climate change story, send them our way!


This looks promising!

Coping With Climate Change, introduced by PBS, features videos, reports, blog posts, and slide shows on how American communities are dealing with climate change. The page has kicked off by highlighting communities in Texas that have been dealing with record high temperatures, wildfires, and severe droughts, which have depleted groundwater supplies and lakes. In dealing with these issues, some Texas residents are beginning to adapt to the changing climate by exploring alternative approaches.

Visit the Coping With Climate Change webpage to find out more about the climate challenges these Texas communities face and how they are addressing their issues.

173 Climate Skepticisms Rebutted




I knew a lot of this and I’m sure most of you did as well, but it’s pretty nice to have such a comprehensive list with links.

It’s amazing this is even still a controversy when the science has been so consistent for so long.

This site is very good and should be on you list of favorites.

Will always reblog the great work of John Cook at Skeptical Science.

Climate Change Throws Nature's Timing Out of Whack →


“Evidence going back decades and sometimes even longer shows the timing of some biological events is shifting around the world. Studies document the progressively earlier arrival of spring, by about 2.3 to 5.2 days per decade in the last 30 years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. That report lists studies showing changes in seasonal timing, or phenology, of the first and last leaves on gingko trees in Japan, butterfly emergence in the United Kingdom, bird migrations in Australia, the first leaves and flowers of lilacs in North America, among many others.

But not everything is changing together, leading to complex results.

During his years in the Colorado mountains, Inouye has seen the winter snow melt earlier, the result of warmer springs, less snowfall during the winter and more dust carried in by storms, which accelerates melting. The last frost, however, continues to happen at about the same time.”

via Live Science