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Gore links

Over on Salon, Katharine Mieszkowski takes a look at the science in An Inconvenient Truth, chats with some climate scientists, and concludes that Gore more or less got everything right. ThinkProgress dismantles the right-wing canard -- most recently passed along by George Will -- that there's wide scientific disagreement over humans' role in global warming. 'Winger Debra Saunders struggles mightily to revive the familiar media narrative of Al Gore as narcissist and serial exaggerator. Anonymous Liberal debunks some of the more egregious factual errors and ruminates on the narrative that seemingly won't die. Once the media has settled on a narrative, it is very hard to change it. Al Gore's recent re-emergence into the national spotlight has resulted in some uncharacteristically favorable press coverage. But Gore's conservative detractors, like Saunders and the National Review's Jonah Goldberg are trying very hard to reassert the old Gore narratives. And mainstream journalists (and even liberal commentators like Frank Rich) have demonstrated recently that the old Gore narratives still shape their views of the man. But I'm cautiously optimistic that this phenomenon can be more effectively combatted and contained in the future. The reason for my optimism is the emergence of the blogosphere as a factor in American politics. Let's hope. As AL points out, Daily Howler is the place to go for tireless debunking of these tired narratives.

Kolbert does opinion

Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert (Grist interview here; Field Notes from a Catastrophe review here) is, I'm happy to see, indulging in full-on polemic. From her piece in the L.A. Times: Meanwhile, it's crucial to understand -- although the Bush administration would apparently prefer not to -- that uncertainty cuts both ways. As the administration likes to point out, the U.S. spends about $2 billion a year on climate-change research. It's possible that as scientists learn more about how the climate works, they will discover that the threshold of dangerous change lies further away than is estimated, and Washington's do-nothing policy will come to seem justified. But the reverse is just as likely. In fact, nearly everything that has been discovered about the climate system recently has tended to suggest that the threshold is closer than suspected.

Biofuels are bad news for biodiversity

Biofuel policy will give 'negligible' carbon cuts Someone in Europe is finally starting to realize the potential of biofuels to destroy carbon sinks and the biodiversity inside them: For transport, improving energy efficiency of vehicles should be the first priority. If biofuels are to be part of the energy solution, the EU must ensure that those produced by clearing rainforests and protected habitats [carbon sinks along with associated biodiversity] will never be sold in Europe. Their rather predictable solution is to put in place a system of "sustainability safeguards." In other words, extend their already moribund bureaucracy in an attempt to insure that all biofuel entering all ports in all of Europe is grown sustainably [without destroying carbon sinks and biodiversity]. It won't work. The reasons it won't work are unending.

Energize America at YearlyKos

I'm still kicking myself for not going to YearlyKos, but I won't burden y'all with my self-recrimination. Instead, check out Jerome's report on the Energize America (yes, apparently you do have to italicize the first word) panel presentation. Here's part one, about the plan itself, and part two, about the process whereby Kossacks put the plan together.

Ah, Summer in Rwanda

African nations try to bring in eco-tourists African nations are hoping to boost their economies by attracting the ecologically curious, following the example of nations …

Safe in Sound

Puget Sound orcas gain more protection; Florida manatees downlisted to threatened Ninety endangered orcas in the Northwest may soon swim easier, as the National Marine …

Americans and Climate Change: Leveraging the social sciences III

"Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action" (PDF) is a report synthesizing the insights of 110 leading thinkers on how to educate and motivate the American public on the subject of global warming. Background on the report here. I'll be posting a series of excerpts (citations have been removed; see original report). If you'd like to be involved in implementing the report's recommendations, or learn more, visit the Yale Project on Climate Change website. Today, two more social-science analyses: dynamic responses (the conflicts between multiple media messages) and issue cycles (the waxing and waning of public attention to an issue). Good stuff. And with this, we conclude Part I!

A piece of truthiness is born

The story of how a quote from my interview with Gore became a right-wing zombie meme, on Blogcritics.org.

Americans and Climate Change: Leveraging the social sciences II

"Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action" (PDF) is a report synthesizing the insights of 110 leading thinkers on how to educate and motivate the American public on the subject of global warming. Background on the report here. I'll be posting a series of excerpts (citations have been removed; see original report). If you'd like to be involved in implementing the report's recommendations, or learn more, visit the Yale Project on Climate Change website. Today we take a look at two social-science questions: first, the efficacy of threat-based vs. solution-based appeals (something we've discussed at length here), and second, the "loss-aversion effect." The latter in particular was fascinating to me -- it changed the way I look at a number of environmental messages.