In The Inquisition of Climate Science, former Reed College president and National Science Board member James Powell elucidates the landscape of climate denial; diagrams, analyzes, and debunks the most frequently used denier arguments; and advances a progressive vision for what science communication could become in the 21st century. Prepublication reviewers summed up the book: “A devastating, crushing blow against the deniers. I would not want to meet Powell in a dark alley.”
At once a quick read and an informational reference guide, The Inquisition of Climate Science is a must for climate science advocates as well as casual readers. Powell’s meticulous research makes the book a useful all-in-one guide to the science, politics, messages, and media coverage of climate change. At the same time, his engaging narrative style grabs the reader and makes the pages seem to fly by.
From the very first chapter, The Inquisition makes crystal clear the distinction between science and pseudoscience, and arms the reader with the tools to dispel common misconceptions.
Green jobs at clean-tech or alternative-energy companies are flourishing in California, with nearly a quarter of them based in Los Angeles, a study has found.
Employers offering jobs in fields such as solar power generation, electric vehicle development, environmental consultation and more added 5,000 jobs in 2008. About 174,000 Californians were working in eco-friendly fields by early 2009, compared with 111,000 in 1995, said nonprofit research group Next 10.
President Barack Obama’s pledge to forestall mass extinction from global warming is a laughing matter to NPR. Today, Morning Edition Steve Inskeep broke into guffaws of laughter as PolitiFact editor Bill Adair mocked Obama’s plan “to devote billions of dollars annually” to help “ensure that fish and wildlife survive the impacts of climate change.” Adair said he thought that meant supplying “air conditioners for bears,” considering the promise on par with the one Obama made about college football rankings:
INSKEEP: What are some of the more obscure promises on the campaign trail they said they were going to work on?
ADAIR: One we really enjoyed was the Obama promise to help species adapt to climate change. We decided that meant air conditioners for bears, which are probably not get funded now that Republicans are controlling the house.
INSKEEP: Did he misspeak? “Help species adapt”? Not not deal with climate change, but help species adapt to climate change.
ADAIR: Well, that’s what the promise said. He got very detailed in his policy statements on the campaign. It’s clear he was trying to appeal to very precise constituencies. And so we saw a lot of promises like that. My personal favorite was his promise was to push for a playoff system for college football.
Despite Adair’s mockery, PolitiFact’s website fairly described the efforts by the Democratic congress to fulfill the president’s pledge. The House of Representatives passed language in the Waxman-Markey climate bill that reserved significant funding to assist species adaptation, and Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced legislation to create a Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Fund. The polluter-paid mechanism to fund this effort, a cap-and-trade market that limited carbon pollution, died in the Senate after vociferous opposition from Republicans. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) now plans to introduce legislation to prevent any arm of the federal government taking action to protect species against accelerating climate change from fossil fuel pollution.
“We are more dependent on imported energy. We are no cleaner in energy substantially than we were a generation ago because clean is not a percentage, clean is an absolute term. Our geography has more coal being burned than it did a generation ago. It has more natural gas being burned than it did a generation ago. So even though we’ve increased a few renewables, the absolute consumption of carbon fuel is up not down and more of it is imported.”
That’s Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), from an E&E Dailyinterview (subs. req’d), in one of the most disingenuous statements ever uttered by a politician on energy. The story’s headline, “Issa calls DOE a ‘failed agency’,” utterly misses the point.
Issa, the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, isn’t condemning the DOE. Issa is condemning his fellow Republicans, who have for three decades strongly opposed policies that would address each and every one of those problems — most of which are actually the primary responsibility of agencies other than DOE.
The push to develop cleaner energy technologies–a widely embraced strategy for nurturing innovative new industries–is increasingly threatened by a shortage of investment, according to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and renewable energy experts.
ABU DHABI — It has been two years since the government of oil-rich Abu Dhabi began constructing what aspires to be the world’s first carbon neutral city.
The city is called Masdar. Since construction began in 2008, Masdar has been an exciting prospect for many of us who are attached to the ideal of sustainable development. Other, equally dedicated advocates of sustainability, however, have criticized Masdar.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:38 am
Interior department needs a more careful site selection process
We’re headed into what promises to be another busy year for solar development in the desert Southwest. Ramping up the nation’s supply of clean energy and cutting carbon pollution are profoundly important goals. But the Obama administration should not repeat the same mistakes made by its predecessor during its headlong and heedless rush to develop oil and gas resources on public lands. To do so would erode public support for the critically needed transformation of our energy generation and transmission systems. The administration needs to guide these projects to appropriate areas where their environmental disruption is minimized.
CAP’s Tom Kenworthy explains the way forward in this cross-post.
At the beginning of this month when about 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fell from the sky in one night in Arkansas, biologists were called on to put a damper on public speculation about pesticides and secret military tests by reminding everyone how many birds there are and how many die. They often do so as a result of human activity, but in far more mundane and dispiriting ways than conspiracy buffs might imagine.
“Five billion birds die in the U.S. every year,” said Melanie Driscoll, a biologist and director of bird conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway for the National Audubon Society.
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.