Neuron Culture

My interest in global warming grows apace, both because it stands to impose some very grim effects and because it makes an interesting (if dismaying) study in culture’s attitude toward science (see my post on “Climate change as a teset of empiricism and secular democracy“) and how vested interests can affect same.


Florida at present (left) and what it will look like if seas rise 20 feet. from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth

The puzzle at this point is why so many people, including intelligent people with decent scientific literacy, still doubt humans are causing the earth to warm dangerously. More people these days believe this, it seems, as they feel the summers get hotter and the weather more chaotic; seeing is believing. And Al Gore’s movie and book — the source of the image below — seem to be convincing a lot of people. Yet many otherwise literate folks still harbor doubts.

Doubters (or those who wish to sway them) might be interested in any of several good talking-point type summaries of the evidence that lately appeared:

George Mauser’s post at the SciAm blog discusses this doubt and summarizes the reasons to dispense with it; it includes links to past discussions of the same topic.

A Real Climate post on “Runway tipping points of no return” starts by noting the media, by attending the prospect that the climate has passed a tipping point, seems to have reached a tipping point of its own; along the way, the post summarizes some of the key evidence.

The juiciest recent summaries I’ve seen, however, are on subscription-only sites. They are

Jim Hansen’s great piece in the New York Review of Books lays out the evidence and need for immediate action with wonderful concision. It’s one of the best, most readably concentrated summaries and appeals I’ve seen.

The New York Times runs a long summary that’s also well done, though it’s unfortunately behind the magazine’s “TimesSelect” premium service. It’d be nice if the Times put material that’s so publicly vital a bit more up front.

All highly recommended for bringing concision to either your own or your skeptical friends’ thinking on climate change.


  1. #1 ghollingshead
    February 15, 2007

    how come Gore says the water will go up 20 feet and the ipcc says 1, Nasa says maybe 4 inches.

    Where is the consensus?