This short video from science teacher Greg Craven explains how it all ends. It’s all about risk management. You buy insurance even if you don’t think your house will burn down, because the consequences are so serious.
In response to a request from Congress, the National Academy of Sciences is publishing a series of reports on “America’s Climate Choices.” Watch the video below and read more at America’s Climate Choices.
The Los Angeles Times, in an editorial titled “You can’t explain away climate change: Some hold that global warming stopped in 1998, but scientists know better,” writes:
You probably won’t hear it from columnist George F. Will, Fox News commentators or the plethora of conservative blogs that have claimed global warming essentially stopped in 1998, but recent figures released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that global land and ocean surface temperatures in June were the highest since record-keeping began in 1880. What’s more, the first half of 2010 was the hottest such period ever recorded, and Arctic sea ice melted at a record-setting pace in June.
The heat can probably be attributed at least in part to periodic and entirely natural changes in ocean temperatures and surface air pressure — the El Niño/La Niña phenomena most likely played a role. But the fact that peak years are getting hotter while even relatively “cool” years now tend to remain above historical averages (the 10 warmest years on record all occurred within the last 15 years, according to the NOAA) shows that something else is at work. A consensus of climate scientists worldwide, including not only the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but the national scientific academies of the United States and the rest of the developed world, have identified that “something else” as anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gases, which reflect the sun’s heat back onto the Earth rather than letting it escape into space.
There’s been a lot of climate change news recently. Every item below deserves its own post, but I’m just going to summarize, and you can click on the links and read what’s there as your homework.
- The Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Climate change, water, and risk concludes that one-third of all counties in the contiguous U.S. (lower 48) “will face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming. More than 400 of these counties will face extremely high risks of water shortages.” More detailed report: Evaluating Sustainability of Projected Water Demands in 2050
- A new study from the National Academy of Sciences, Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia, says, “Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth and future generations into a range of impacts, some of which could become very severe. Emissions reductions decisions made today matter in determining impacts experienced not just over the next few decades, but in the coming centuries and millennia.” (Press release)
- Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) has a wealth of case studies, reports, directories, forums for anyone working in this area.
- Our Beaker Is Starting to Boil, concludes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof after comparing photos of Himalayan glaciers from decades ago with ones taken recently.
- “Climategate” didn’t prove anything except that scientists are human. Numerous investigations have vindicated the science. News reports: Climategate bites the dust (Legal Planet), “Five investigations into the ‘Climategate’ scandal have now cleared a group of scientists accused of twisting data in an effort to prove the world is getting warmer” (San Francisco Chronicle).
The librarians of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have updated their Core List for an Environmental Reference Collection. It’s a great starting point for libraries, whether the environment is their sole focus or just part of what they collect.
Bay Delta Blog has a nice round-up, giving some details about the Water Resources Center Archives’ move to Southern California, including links to the winning proposal, so you can see what UC Riverside and CSU San Bernardino are planning. I agree with what BDB sees as the downsides:
That said, this is not a completely ideal result. It would have been preferable not to fracture the collection, even between only two facilities on two campuses that are relatively near to each other. Moreover, while digitizing the archives will greatly enhance access to the WRCA collection, charging a remote fee would diminish the impact, so I do hope that a suitable balance can be struck.
Also, from the Contra Costa Times: UC water archive to leave Berkeley campus, go to two campuses in south state.
Water Resources Center Archives director Linda Vida has a statement:
Dear friends, colleagues, and supporters of WRCA,
Last Friday, July 16th, 2010, the UCOP Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) announced its decision regarding WRCA’s future home. After a thorough review of the three proposals that were submitted from UC Berkeley, Davis and Riverside to house WRCA, UC Riverside has been selected as the new academic home.
The Riverside campus will be partnering with CSU San Bernardino to provide continued access and development of this important collection.