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Climate Change

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A violent climate is the new normal, say scientists

"Extreme weather" may soon just be called "weather." Thanks to climate change, floods and storms and droughts and Snowpocalypses and the like will soon be standard office procedure, according to scientists and civic planners brought together by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nobody was willing to say that any specific recent instances of severe weather were caused by climate change, probably because people tend to freak out when you say things like that. (Also, it's really hard to prove.) But everyone seemed to be in agreement that similar stuff will happen with increasing frequency in the future. Now is a …

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Is climate sanity the kiss of death for Republican presidential candidates?

Beware the kiss of death.Even after backing away from his previous support for cap-and-trade programs, Jon Huntsman is getting slammed by the right wing. His treasonous crime? Daring to suggest that climate scientists might be right. Not that they are right, mind you, and not that we should do anything in response to their warnings, but just that there are enough climate scientists saying the same thing that it might be worth listening. And even that sentiment, expressed in an interview with Time, was understated: This [climate change] is an issue that ought to be answered by the scientific community; …

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Prof. Socolow’s bizarre climate comments and the pessimism of Serious People

The blogosphere is all abuzz about recent comments from Princeton professor Robert Socolow, who along with fellow scholar Stephen Pacala developed the famous "wedges" approach to tackling climate change. (A wedge of nuclear, a wedge of solar, a wedge of efficiency, etc., and slowly you get that emissions curve down. That's the basic idea anyway.) Socolow told National Geographic that he now regrets the wedges theory because "the world decided that dealing with global warming wasn't impossible, so it must be easy." No really. That's what he said: The problem is that the world now thinks dealing with climate change …

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Could climate disruptions lead to an increase in GIANT SNAKES?

Here's another reason to combat climate change: Severe weather events can flush out terrifying giant snakes. This photo -- which gives me ALL THE WILLIES. ALL OF THEM -- was taken in Louisiana near the Morganza spillway, a flood control structure that was just employed to relieve pressure on the levee system after recent floods. So basically, this snake is relocating due to flooding, like everyone else in the affected area. Man, as if the sharks in Brisbane weren't bad enough. I dearly want this photo to be fake -- snakes are creepy enough when they're not a hundred feet …

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Say Earthalujah! Reverend Billy preaches the green gospel

The Reverend wants you to believe the Earth can be saved! Amen.Photo: Brennan CavanaughThe Reverend preaches: "It's not easy for Americans to slow down their consumption. No, it ain't! We've got to help each other out. Give each other the power. Yes we do! To back away from the product. To turn. To escape the big box. The hypnosis of corporate greed! Amen, hallelujah." And the choir sings: "Eartha-lu, Eartha-lu, Eartha-lu-jah! Eartha-lu, Eartha-lu, Eartha-lu-jah!" "This force is inside each of us," the Reverend continues. "It's in the air. It's coming through the floorboards. Earthalujah. Yeah, yes, amen. Give us the …

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United Kingdom adopts ambitious climate change target

Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Jennifer Morgan, director of WRI's Climate and Energy Program. Today, the government of the United Kingdom took a significant step to shift to a low-carbon economy, providing clear signals to investors that the U.K. wants to host large-scale clean energy projects moving forward. The agreement announced today takes the form of a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2025, as part of the country's fourth carbon budget. The agreement of the country's Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties extends current targets and continues …

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USA Today: Climate science deniers are now like birthers

USA Today huffed and it puffed and it blew the house down.Photo: Peter J RobertsIn a must-read editorial, USA Today compared climate science deniers to "the 'birthers' who continue to challenge President Obama's American citizenship -- a vocal minority that refuses to accept overwhelming evidence." Snap! Or whatever sound is made when a house of cards collapses. In making the comparison, the newspaper cited both the National Academy's "Climate Choices" study and their own devastating dismantling of statistician Edward Wegman's work, which has been a cornerstone corner card of the climate science denial cult: Late last week, the nation's pre-eminent …

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Anti-climate change study is copied off someone else’s crummy paper

Note to climate change deniers: If you're going to lean heavily on a particular paper, make sure it's not copied out of Wikipedia. The journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis has retracted a 2008 report by statistician Edward Wegman, which claimed the climate change consensus is an artifact of overly-intimate collaboration between scientists -- essentially, peer pressure. Denialists love this, needless to say; it's a federally funded report published in a peer-reviewed journal that doesn't just oppose the scientific consensus about climate change, but criticizes the whole idea of scientific consensus. Only problem: It's plagiarized. Oh, and it sucked to begin …

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Why Germany had to phase out nuclear to build its renewables

Lots of American journalists (including this one!) have gone on and on about renewables and nuclear power in Germany without having a first-hand appreciation of the situation, or even any German language ability. This has led us all to misapprehend some pretty basic facts about why the Germans decided to phase out their existing nuclear power plants, even if it means they’re burning more fossil fuels in the short term. (Granted, a big part of it was Fukushima.) Luckily a German popped over to Climate Progress to explain it all in the comments: ...It turned out that [the Merkel government’s …

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Are climate campaigners doing it wrong? I review a book that answers ‘yes’

What if the problem with international climate negotiations is not this or that recalcitrant country but the very foundation the whole enterprise is built on? What if climate campaigners are fixated on a set of frames and strategies that are doomed to failure? Wouldn't that suck? Yes. Yes it would suck. Nonetheless, that's the situation we're in, according to scholar David Victor's new book, Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Saving the Planet. It's a painstaking, soup-to-nuts critique of the strategies at the heart of the international climate movement, along with a fairly elaborate sketch of what a …