Communication and Politics

Category archives for Communication and Politics

Give it time?

More than a few writers have gotten a lot of mileage out of comparing the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries’ propaganda efforts to counter rapidly rising mountains of science that counter their “it’s all good” message. Al Gore featured it in his slide show. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway wrote an entire book, Merchants of Doubt.…

Change is the one constant

Fill in the blanks: It is customary in the popular media and in many journal articles to cite a projected _________ figure as if it were a given, a figure so certain that it could virtually be used for long-range planning purposes. But we must carefully examine the assumptions behind such projections. And forecasts that…

A letter in Climatic Change looking at the life-cycle greenhouse warming potential of natural gas raised a lot of hackles a little while back. If, as the authors posit, replacing coal and oil combustion with gas-fired turbines could actually accelerate global warming rather than slow it down, then we have a serious problem, given the…

Celebrity worship

Number of hits returned when Googling news sources for “James Hansen” (head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and perhaps the world’s best-known climatologist, who was arrested in front of the White House this week as part of a coordinated climate change campaign) and “Keystone” (XL, the expansion of a continental oil pipeline that…

Debating the merits and dangers of fracking shale gas has become a major obession of those who worry about energy and the climate. Yale’s e360’s latest contribution comes in the form a forum that includes a wide variety of perspectives pro and con. For me, the wisest observation, and the one that really trumps all…

The stick sets the beat

The title of this post won’t mean much until you read this contribution to The Conversation, a new and laudable attempt by climatologists to get out the message that time’s a wastin,’ folks. Here’s a taste: We’re only a few decades away from a major tipping point, plus or minus only about a decade. The…

OK. Taking on logical flaws in Wall Street Journal op-ed items is about as difficult as shooting fish in a barrel, but I can’t let Matt Ridley’s latest affront to common sense pass without firing off a few rounds for practice if nothing else.

Good news and bad

David Appell at Quark Soup draws our attention (via Stoat) to a graph in the recent America’s Climate Choices report from the NAS/NRC. If the forecasts on which the authors rely come to pass, it’s going to take almost a couple of decades for U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to return to post-recession levels. Sounds like…

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I was a 21-year-old journalism student spending a couple of weeks as an intern at Science Dimension, a government-funded magazine (there weren’t any private science magazines in the country). I was assigned two short features while there: one on canola bioengineering and another on Canada’s…