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First of many, I’m afraid. Telling the stories of climate migrants. http://bit.ly/1ftaGMF

Congrats to friend Eric Hanan of  BeeBoldApiaries for his great beekeeping advice in the New York Times http://t.co/y2duN6es88

Must-read. American Association for Advancement of Science on climate report. VERY clear language. http://whatweknow.aaas.org/get-the-facts/

Evocative: Zadie Smith’s climate elegy in the New York Review of Books http://t.co/jrng4R22yv

Great NJ court decision: Gov. Christie’s RGGI removal ruled illegal. NJDEP has 60 days to respond. http://t.co/YJ4E0tsyLU

Highly rec’d: Readable share for catching up on “stranded assets” carbon bubble idea http://t.co/VmDKAQgE9G

Pleased to guest lecture at a friend’s Intro to Sustainability Science class this Monday. http://bit.ly/1g7IRZX

Cheers to Anna at 5 Gyres for an inspiring conversation about clean healthy water for all.

Whoa. Important read. Contrarians bully journal into retracting a climate psychology paper http://t.co/PXkslqI7iU

Agenda 21 Watch: Texas town votes to remove “sustainable” from Earth Day Proclamation http://t.co/rJOY0H6OlN

Acknowledging a problem is the first step to fixing it: Exxon Mobil will report on its  climate carbon bubble risks http://t.co/URaxsngFzL

INTRIGUING thoughts on metrics, complexity & systems thinking: http://t.co/t03uy6qqyv

Here’s how a simple, effective Letter to the Editor works: debunk Agenda 21 fears & focusing on real policy issues http://t.co/WMdAsbDKA6

Great headline: “Climate Scientists declare, ‘We are the 97%'” http://t.co/mvkHjqh2qP

Med, small & tiny companies inspiration! 92 Businesses Honored as ‘Best for the World’ http://t.co/0OupaXTWZs

Well-researched Feb. 27 take on the CVS Effect: http://t.co/icfCYmBRWC

Sneak peek from Business Alliance for the Future Inclusion Manifesto draft. http://t.co/TehWmMAPt6

My Amazon review of Andrew Winston’s The Big Pivot: Little-better isn’t going to cut it. Nor will less-than-last-year.  http://t.co/i7gzH2FV2W

Water waste in Las Vegas: painful example of “less bad” does not equal good. http://t.co/wMw4FlVgzv

+1 for “Sharper, Clearer and more Accessible” climate communications: Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate http://t.co/Be9AUcQUS5

The CVS Effect: States urge big retailers, supermarkets to stop selling tobacco http://t.co/nPXG8NL47d

The CVS Effect: More than 2/3 of U.S. state’s attorneys general urge retailers to dump tobacco http://t.co/UovQ2G8u0m

Check out this new two-page fact sheet on NJ and climate change: Understanding New Jersey’s Vulnerability to Climate Change.

It puts all the most important scientific facts in one easy-to-read piece about the three biggest climate change threats facing our state.

This useful tool was developed by the Rutgers Climate Institute and the Georgetown Climate Center. You can share it with your local town council, environmental commission, and school science teams. Use it to write letters to your local papers, or to back up a discussion with a friend.

It’s important to remember that Global Climate change doesn’t cause any single, specific weather event like a hurricane or heat wave. But it does make weather events more likely to happen and more likely to be extreme when they do.

A simple way to think about it is that climate is your personality—who you are a person. And weather is your mood—how you feel on any particular day. If your personality changes, so do your moods.

In the case of our planet, the greenhouse gases that we’re dumping into the atmosphere are raising the earth’s temperature. In other words, we’re changing the earth’s personality. These changes from the generally consistent climate patterns we had for billions of years affect where, when and how weather happens. Those are the earth’s moods.

So here’s the deal: Climate change is making NJ stormier, floodier, and hotter.

1. Threats from Extreme Storms

“Power interruptions due to extreme weather, such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, and ice storms, are 10 times worse in New Jersey today than 20 years ago.”

“Heavy precipitation events in the Northeast have increased dramatically in the past two decades, occurring more than twice as often in recent year than during the past century.”

2. Threats from Rising Seas

“Scientists consider New Jersey a hotspot for sea-level rise, as waters along New Jersey’s coast are rising faster than the global average. Best estimates for sea-level rise along New Jersey’s coast show an increase of 10 inches by 2030 and by 1.5 feet by 2050.”

“Scientists are highly confident that future storms will have greater impacts because of rising sea levels. Storm surge combined with higher water levels will make severe coastal flooding more frequent in the future.”

3. Threats from Extreme Heat

“By mid-century, about 70 percent of summers in New Jersey will be warmer than the state’s warmest summer on record.”

“This extremely hot weather will increase health risks for the elderly and young children, stress rail lines and major roadways, and pose threats to agriculture.”

So now that we know—what are we going to do about it? That’s exactly what lots of people around the state are working on.

This accessible guide gives citizens, planners and policy makers another tool to make better decisions about how our state should spend money and resources.

We don’t have time to waste debating about whether climate science is 100% for-sure or merely 97% sure. It’s time to take action on the family, local, county and state levels.

Remember when your math teacher said, “Show me the work?”

That’s what the people who maintain  Skeptical Science do with climate science denial. They collect and debunk articles and arguments that claim climate change isn’t happening, isn’t caused by humans, and isn’t a grave threat to humanity.

(They are.)

I can’t even imagine the amount of work it takes. Hat’s off to them.

Showing your work–what we call transparency in accounting, business and government–means other people can trace the steps and have confidence in your result.

It’s a fundamental concept for good business, good science, and good policy.

So in the spirit of showing my work, here are my thoughts on a climate change denial article that is about, of all things, climate change denial.

This Fox News op-ed piece is in response to a Guardian article that reported that “Conservative media outlets [are] found guilty of biased global warming coverage.”

Balance is not bias — Fox News critics mislead public on climate change

What amazes is that Abraham and Nuccitelli still pin their hopes on the cult of consensus. Forging an inter-governmental consensus has been the IPCC’s mission for 25 years, unavoidably politicizing climate science in the process. It has long since begun to backfire. People get suspicious when government-appointed experts define “the science” for the purpose of advancing an agenda that just happens to increase government control of energy markets.

Abraham and Nuccitelli have learned nothing if they think that demanding even greater fealty to groupthink will do anything except energize skeptics and increase their popularity.

The good news is that conservative media are not going to take their advice, because doing so would allow one faction of experts to monopolize the discussion. Scores of government agencies, hundreds of mainstream media outlets, and thousands of Web sites serve up daily diets of climate alarm. Presenting contrarian analysis and commentary is balance, not bias.

Nope. That’s not right.

Fox News made it look like there are two equally valid sides to climate change discussions.

But there’s not. The science is compelling, convincing and terrifying.

And the Guardian reporters are right to call them on it.

Anyway, here’s my work on the response.

* * *

Lewis starts by saying that the 97% consensus among scientists worldwide, that humans are causing climate change and it’s a very big problem, is bunk*

Then he says:

That most scientists agree climate change is happening, but that it’s not all man-made.

But even if climate change is happening and is man-made, that there’s no evidence that it’s really a problem.

Furthermore, even if climate change is a problem, the solutions being proposed aren’t any good.

And finally, if you keep on telling the truth, it’s only going to encourage the denialists, so you might as well give up.

* * *

This line of anti-science reasoning comes straight from the Big Tobacco playbook. Sow uncertainty and spread confusion.

I really hate gotcha stories that cherry pick facts and demand absolute certainty. It’s not how we live in the real world. The real world is messy, complicated, and full of daily compromises.

Consensus is pretty much how humans get things done. See also: sharing, caring and cooperation.

Continuing to needle and pick and focus on the edges in an effort to sow doubt is (click the link for the curseword version,) being a not-nice person.

Every minute we spend dithering around about “how truely true is climate change?” is a minute lost to solving our energy needs, helping people out of poverty, preparing for weather extremes, and leaving a habitable planet for our children.

With gratitude to the world’s climate science community, I’m going to focus on covering and sharing news about solutions.

* * *

* I found an error in the first step, where Mr. Lewis makes a misleading assumption.

He says, “University of Delaware Prof. David Legates and three colleagues examined the Cook team’s database, and found that less than 1% of the 11,944 abstracts explicitly endorse the so-called consensus.”

Here’s the error.

The majority of these abstracts don’t explicitly state that “humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change” because, as the Cook report goes on to detail, human-caused global warming is a known fact to scientists qualified to write about it in peer-reviewed journals.

Scientists arrive at consensus, and they stop having to talk about it. Because they are talking about bigger things.

A shorthand example of this would be: “Most peer-reviewed marine biology papers don’t explicitly state that the oceans are salty.”

In everyday life, there are known facts that we assume others know about too. That’s how we are able to go on about our lives.

Here’s the Cook report.

 

**Gratuitous hat tip to me for spotting the typo. Change site to cite.

 

***And one for the editor for a really confusing headline. Most readers I bet are going to miss the word “critic” and read it the opposite of how intended.

I’m all for storytelling.

But when communications go wrong, it can really mess things up.

There’s a time and a place for jokes. And for satire.

A provocative approach can jar readers into thinking about things in a new way.

But when you are talking to an international audience across many languages, keep it simple.

Have you ever noticed how diplomats talk to audiences? They use simple words and talk in simple sentences. The clearer they speak, the better they will be understood.

(I like to think that the world’s political translators appreciate this approach.)

Anyway, something really weird happened this morning in the climate change communications world.

Here’s what happened.

Poland is hosting the world’s UN climate talks next month in Warsaw. It’s an important meeting about a gravely serious topic. It’s a huge honor and responsibility to host this kind of worldwide event.

But for some reason, someone decided to try something a little different.

The official Polish website for the meeting published a blog post. It started off just fine with the famous Northwest Passage. Fair topic. The fact that the Northwest Passage is open to sea traffic for the first time in recorded history due to melting sea ice is stunning physical evidence of climate change.

But then the copy swerves. The next sentences describe Poland’s plans to plunder natural resources previously locked under the ice.

Oh, and pirates. And terrorists.

What? (Click the image to see bigger.)

Warsaw COP19 blog

Via theguardian.com:

Arctic melt means more pirate chases, say Polish climate hosts

Melting ice could open the Arctic to new drilling and the opportunity to “chase pirates, terrorists and ecologists”, according to the organisers of this year’s UN climate talks in Poland, in comments that have been branded outrageous by campaigners.

The blogpost, published this week on the Polish site for November’s Warsaw meeting, said that not only would melting ice allow ships to cut their journey times by taking the north-west passage, but “we may also build new drilling platforms and retrieve natural resources hidden below the sea bed”.

It added that there was also the possibility of, “Chasing the pirates, terrorists and ecologists that will come to hang around …”

This blew up on Twitter this morning with the hashtag #COP19. Shortly thereafter, the blog was updated with an apology.

Via cop19.gov.pl:

Dear Readers,

For the time being we decided to take some time away from our blog. Our idea was to focus attention on important issues that need good solutions and spark discussions on those.  We did not foresee that some readers would take thepresented texts literally as the official Polish position. Notwithstanding we would like to express regret as some of you found the text to be inappropriate. We acknowledge these criticisms. It was certainly not our aim to offend anybody.

We will take due care  that all new articles and posts on this website are written in a clear and sensitive manner so as to avoid misunderstandings. Stay tuned for more ideas.

What the heck happened?

Is this a case of “Lost in Translation?”

One person on Twitter even asked if it could be a hacker prank by The Yes Men.

My communications spidey-sense says no. I’m betting on “Bold Idea Gone Bad.”

RTCC also has a great round-up of this morning’s tweets and a broader look at some of the issues.

In any event, it’s an embarrassment for the UNFCCC, and for the Poland team who is responsible for the event.

Somebody might get fired over this mistake. Bigger picture, this could cost Poland their hosting role for this meeting.

Lesson learned. Know your audience. Keep it simple.

 Update from the Minister of the Environment of Poland:

 

What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?

How about if a whole room of doctors said it?

You’d take care of it.

Via the European Commission:

What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?

”The issue is not whether to believe in climate change or not.

The issue is whether to follow science or not.

The day when all scientists with 100% certainty warn you against climate change, it will be too late.

If your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure. Why should we take bigger risks when it’s the health of our planet at stake?

The new IPCC report says that climate change is occurring and that is at least 95% certainty that human activities are the principal cause.

OK, got it.

Let’s dig into that 95% number. Seems like there’s some wiggle room there.

But not really. When a scientist says this, he or she is being as precise as possible.

Via AP:

What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists

But in science, 95 percent certainty is often considered the gold standard for certainty.

Let’s put it into some context. Say, the sun.

 “Will the sun come up in the morning?” Scientists know the answer is yes, but they can’t really say so with 100 percent certainty because there are so many factors out there that are not quite understood or under control.

And why is this OK? Because we don’t demand absolute proof on other things before taking steps to mitigate risk. Like car insurance.

George Gray, director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at George Washington University, said that demanding absolute proof on things such as climate doesn’t make sense.

“There’s a group of people who seem to think that when scientists say they are uncertain, we shouldn’t do anything,” said Gray, who was chief scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the George W. Bush administration. “That’s crazy. We’re uncertain and we buy insurance.”

Give it to me in a more-and-less:

The Associated Press asked scientists who specialize in climate, physics, epidemiology, public health, statistics and risk just what in science is more certain than human-caused climate change, what is about the same, and what is less.

Gravity?

They said gravity is a good example of something more certain than climate change. Climate change “is not as sure as if you drop a stone it will hit the Earth,” Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer said. “It’s not certain, but it’s close.”

The age of the universe?

Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss said the 95 percent quoted for climate change is equivalent to the current certainty among physicists that the universe is 13.8 billion years old.

That cigarettes are bad for you?

The president of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone, and more than a dozen other scientists contacted by the AP said the 95 percent certainty regarding climate change is most similar to the confidence scientists have in the decades’ worth of evidence that cigarettes are deadly.

The 95% is solid. Continuing to nitpick is just wasting time.

 

A picture’s worth a thousand words.

Here’s a lovely use of an infographic to tell the CO2 story.

It covers the what, how much, by when and so what questions compellingly and with imagination.

Via the beautiful minds at informationisbeautiful.net:

How many gigatons of CO2?….

1276_gigatons_CO2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double click for bigger.