3 for Thursday: 3 Fascinating Stories on Climate Change

RSS Feed IconNews about science can easily fill your Feedly reader with the insurmountable task of reading them all. Solution? Click “Mark all as read,” then grab a beer to celebrate. Mission accomplished.

The only problem is that you never know when that really interesting scientific discovery or technological advance or global bad news may have been reported. This week’s “Three for Thursday” takes a brief look at three interesting stories on climate change. If you missed these reports of our inevitable doom, don’t worry (well, worry a little), I’ve got your back.

1) The 400 ppm milestone, or as I prefer to call it, “So this is how we die.”
“There is no such thing as global warming. Wait, there is, but humans are not the cause of it. Wait, there is global warming, humans do play a role, but everything is just a cycle and will get better.” Or so goes my conversations with denialists over the years. That tune may change again in the near future.

The Mauna Loa Observatory, which has gathered data on carbon dioxide since 1958, recently reported that there has been an increase by 24 percent since they started recording. The news gets worse. We’ve passed the 400 ppm mark, which some have said is the point of no return. NASA has tracked down some scientists to get their perspective, and you can find their comments here. What do they say? Hint: No one thinks this is a good thing.

2) So we’re agreed, we did start the fire…
For every field of study there is going to be a minority who think the majority are out to lunch. And those who desperately want the majority to be wrong will engage in that handy tool called confirmation bias to make their cases. Climate science is one of those fields that gets this the most. I would be surprised if climate scientists and evolutionary biologists don’t get together to form support groups for handling a life of dealing with denialists.

A recent report may change this trend. While it is no real secret that the majority of climatologists are in agreement on the cause of global warming, a recent study by John Cook, Dana Nuccitelli, and Sarah A. Green, et al, tackled the subject through a massive peer-review study of publications on the subject. From their research, they discovered that 97.1 percent of scientists appear to agree that climate change is mainly man made. According to the Telegraph, “The survey, published in Environmental Research Letters, examined 11,944 scientific abstracts published between 1991 to 2011.”

So good news: there is agreement on the bad news.

3) A view of climate change that could warm the heart of Kirk Cameron
A study from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Colorado, Boulder discovered “strong” evidence suggesting that a Christian perspective on the “Second Coming” is damaging our ability to advance good policy on climate change.

Many might remember Rep. John Shimkus who said in 2010 that, “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” as his rebuttal to climate policy. Growing up in a dispensationalist world, I remember hearing this perspective often. When you can literally chart the entire history of the world from beginning to end—it’s easier when you think the world is only 6,000 years old—then reaching that 400 ppm mark is really no big deal.

Want to know more about climate change and whether it’s real, check out my review of What We Know About Climate Change by Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science at MIT. He’s a Reagan Republican conservative and he sees the evidence for climate change. See. There is reason to hope after all.

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