Climate Change: Ready for Prime Time

I don’t usually post videos that are more than a few minutes long. And truth be told, if you know much about climate science—and if you follow my blog you do—then this video won’t teach you anything new.

But this fourteen minute video from the CBS show “Face the Nation” reveals some important information. Most importantly, it shows that mainstream media are now realizing that global warming and climate change aren’t just simple buzz words, but rather are big news affecting our planet.

The best part about this interview is that all of the panelists are believers in the science behind global warming and simply speak to the facts. The “controversy” behind global warming doesn’t even get mentioned.

Which is as it should be: if 98 percent of climatologists agree with that science, then we don’t need to hear from the naysayers in the news as if it’s a 50:50 split.

I look forward to the day when segments like this are the rule rather than the exception.

Bill McKibben's Hard Work Makes a Difference

“…it means that the work so many are doing around the world to fight climate change is not going unnoticed. This award will help fund more of that organizing all over the planet.”
-Bill McKibben, winner of the 2013 Sophie Prize
Most people don’t do good things in order to win awards, but it’s always nice when one is given because it demonstrates that someone’s hard work has been appreciated.
Case in point: American environmentalist Bill McKibben. It has just been announced that he has won the $100,000 Sophie Prize for being a “mobilizing force in the fight against global warming.” The award committee specifically commended McKibben for “building a global, social movement, fighting to preserve a sustainable planet.”

This is only the latest in a long line of awards McKibben has received over the years including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lyndhurst Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction writing in 2000, and the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. In 2010, Utne Reader magazine listed McKibben as one of the “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” He also has honourary degrees from Marlboro College, Colgate University, the State University of New York, Sterling College, Green Mountain College, Unity College, and Lebanon Valley College. Continue reading

"Global Warming Has Stopped, and We Have the Proof!"

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”
—Mark Twain

No doubt about it. April was a cold month. And not just for a few days, or even a few weeks; the whole freakin’ month seemed to be the Big Chill!

South of the border in this part of North America, it was much the same. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported that for the lower 48 contiguous states, the average temperature was a full 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit below the 20th century average. It turns out this was the coolest April in the U.S. since 1997, something that skeptics and deniers might like to hear since they so often claim that global warming stopped in 1998.

So how do those of us who are convinced that science supports global warming is indeed still ongoing respond to findings like this? Continue reading

Two Words for the 2013 Hurricane Season: Be Prepared!

“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes.”
—Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

Hurricane season for the northern Atlantic Ocean starts June 1st and lasts a full six months. If winds reach 39 miles per hour (mph) or greater, it’s considered a Tropical Storm and gets a name. Once winds reach 79 mph, it’s upgraded to a hurricane; the stronger the winds, the higher the category of hurricane. For example, a Category 3 hurricane requires winds of 97 mph or higher, and Category 5 requires a whopping 140 mph.

For the upcoming season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting another bad year for hurricanes in the north Atlantic. Here’s their forecast:

  • 70 percent chance of between 13 and 20 named storms
  • between 7 and 11 could become hurricanes
  • between 3 and 6 could become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher)
This is much higher than the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. The NOAA offers three reasons why they are predicting such a bad year: Continue reading

China's First Step to Capping Emissions—Will the U.S. Follow Suit?

Next month some history will be made. China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet is going to begin a carbon-trading pilot program in the southern city of Shenzhen. Europe has had a trading scheme in place for some time (although it’s not without its flaws), but it’s still more than what we’re doing here in North America.

The Shenzhen trading scheme will include 638 companies, what amounts to almost 40 percent of the city’s emissions. Although it’s starting small, China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced that the program will eventually extend to transportation, manufacturing and construction companies as well. Shenzhen is one of seven such regions in China that have been designated for such programs, one of them being Beijing. All of them will be in place by next year, but Shenzhen will be the first.

This is good news indeed, because China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the nations in the world combined. Continue reading