Since I’ve been on the road so much lately, I haven’t really had a chance to follow up on some of the more interesting links forwarded to me lately. Each probably deserves its own post… but I’m going to dump them all into this post anyway. Besides, there seems to be a common thread running through all of them.
First up is an interview with climate scientist Ben Santer in Environmental Science & Technology. Santer was a lead author on the president’s recent Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and has been a target of anti-environmental groups since he was a lead author on a 1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. He discusses all of this and how recent findings have clarified a seeming disconnect between satallite data of the Earth’s temperature and actual temperature readings, and how this resolution supports what we already know about global warming:
I’m not sure why there’s controversy. We know there’s a natural greenhouse effect, which makes life on our planet possible. We’ve enhanced this effect by burning fossil fuels, and our activities have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere. This is immutable fact, not idle speculation.
Our best current estimates of how much the earth will warm up from a doubling of pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2 are not significantly different from the estimates Arrhenius made over a century ago.
It’s an informative and interesting interview, and it’s definitely worth a look.
Next up is an online resource on hurricanes and global warming recently launched by Environmental Defense:
The site includes: local maps created by Environmental Defense which project coastal impacts for FL (Miami), NC (Wilmington) and SC (Charleston) over the coming decades; recent studies and fact sheets by leading experts, all detailing how climate change adds to the ferocity of hurricanes; a hurricane image library; a list of experts and how to reach them.
The connection between global warming and increasing hurricane activity is one area of climate change research that is still fairly controversial, but the site is well-documented, and it should be a useful resource.
OK, we’re going to change gears a little bit here, but there’s still a connection….
Tom Huffman emailed me a link to a post from David Byrne’s (of the Talking Heads) Journal that is surprisingly relevant (enough so that Pharyngula and Stranger Fruit have already mentioned it). The post concerns the documentary Jesus Camp about camps where young children are indoctrinated against evolution and abortion (no surprises there), but also… global warming? Huh?
Saw a screening of a documentary called Jesus Camp. It focuses on a woman preacher (Becky Fischer) who indoctrinates children in a summer camp in North Dakota. Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears. Tears of release and joy, they would claim — the children are not physically abused. The kids are around 9 or 10 years old, recruited from various churches, and are pliant willing receptacles. They are instructed that evolution is being forced upon us by evil Godless secular humanists, that abortion must be stopped at all costs, that we must form an “army” to defeat the Godless influences, that we must band together to insure that the right judges and politicians get into the courts and office and that global warming is a lie. (This last one is a puzzle — how did accepting the evidence for climate change and global warming become anti-Jesus? Did someone simply conflate all corporate agendas with Jesus and God and these folks accept that? Would Jesus drive an SUV? Is every conclusion responsible scientists make now suspect?)
And, speaking of creationism… I also received an email about a relatively new site called Comments on ID and Creationism where readers can comment on some of the crap coming out of the creationist/intelligent design sites. I don’t ever visit those sites, but apparently they have pretty restrictive commenting policies, so the new site serves as a place where censored commenters can speak their mind. Surely information and knowledge are on our side in this battle, so it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me.