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How a conservative think tank’s foray into climate policy stirred up a media hornet’s nest

A conservative think tank attempted to engage the debate over climate policy recently, only to see that attempt explode in its face. The tangled episode, with its combustible mix of sensationalist journalism, public outrage, and the threatened intervention of the federal government, is rich with lessons about the current state of climate politics -- lessons none of the participants seem inclined to learn. The brouhaha began on Feb. 2, when the U.K. newspaper The Guardian published an article by Ian Sample claiming that the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute was paying scientists $10,000 a piece to "undermine" the just-released report from …

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More buzz about the Live Earth concerts

Buzz about the global-warming-focused concert series expected to "dwarf" Live Aid is continuing to, well, buzz. Speculation about who will perform has begun -- with U2, Coldplay, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue topping the list. (There are even rumors of a Spice Girls reunion.) Though most sources are calling the series "Live Earth," one whisper site reports that the concerts will go by the name Save Our Selves (SOS) and be hosted by MSN. Save Our Selves (SOS) aims to connect people around the world with seven concerts on seven continents on 7/7/07, to create a global community with a single …

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See, We’ll Be Fine

Research shows carbon dioxide sinks deeper into oceans than estimated Researchers have long known that the world's oceans absorb some of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It's a boon and a bane, helping to stem the tide of climate change while causing acidification that hurts Nemo and friends. But new research shows that carbon is going deeper than previously thought, making the situation both boonier and banier. According to Douglas Wallace of Germany's University of Kiel, scientists had estimated that human-made CO2 wasn't found at depths below 2,500 meters, or about 8,200 feet, in the North Atlantic. But …

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Oceanus is for more than just middle-schoolers

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has an online magazine, Oceanus. Over the past few years, they've published many stories (at the middle school level and up) on numerous aspects of the ocean/climate system. There's some great material there (e.g., this article on solar effects on climate or this one on the oceanic sink for carbon dioxide). Check it out here.

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A guest essay from Environmental Defense

The following is a guest essay from Bill Chameides, the Chief Scientist at Environmental Defense. He maintains a blog on global warming at climate411.org. ----- Some folks think global warming is best fought through a federally-imposed tax on greenhouse gas emissions -- often called a carbon tax. The government would use the additional tax dollars to subsidize the development of selected low-carbon technologies. Charles Komanoff urged a carbon tax on Gristmill just last Wednesday, and last Tuesday Ann Applebaum did the same in an op-ed for the Washington Post. A carbon tax is a bad idea. First, most pundits see …

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Just as misleading as the old round

Because of the enormous credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reports, and because they suggest that human-induced climate change is a very real risk, opponents of action on climate change must attack the IPCC or completely cede the scientific high ground in the debate. With the release of the latest IPCC report, a whole new crop of specious skeptical arguments has arisen. Here's a good example, which appeared in this week's Weekly Standard: One possible reason for the timing is that there appear to be some significant retreats from the 2001 IPCC report. The IPCC has actually lowered …

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Op-ed on the IPCC and climate change

An op-ed I wrote with my colleague Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech appeared last Sunday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The editorial can be found here. Update [2007-3-16 11:55:39 by Andrew Dessler]: The link no longer appears to work. The text of the op-ed is reproduced below:Global warming: Stop arguing and start planning By KATHARINE HAYHOE and ANDREW DESSLER Special to the Star-Telegram Science has spoken. The Earth is warming, and most of that warming is very likely due to human activities. On Feb. 2, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fourth assessment report on the science …

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Pro Bowl will go carbon neutral

Not to be outdone by the Super Bowl, tomorrow's Pro Bowl in Honolulu is also going carbon neutral. (Note: This statement is not to be construed as "tree planting = true carbon neutrality rah rah rah!") Apparently it takes a village to carbon-neutralize a Pro Bowl; the NFL is partnering with the U.S. EPA, nonprofit Friends of Hawaii's Urban Forest, the U.S. Forest Service, the Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program, local arborists, and local schools. Bowl organizers are also organizing can and bottle recycling and donations of leftover food and supplies. We now return you to your regularly scheduled …

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Business leaders honed in on climate, carbon, and concrete at Davos

The snow at Davos didn't melt away worries about climate change. Photo: Benjamin Zurbriggen/World Economic Forum There was something different in the air at this year's Davos gathering of global movers and shakers -- and not just an increase in CO2 concentration. Instead of the irrational exuberance of the 1990s or the celebrity-studded glitz of recent years, we found upbeat but serious discussion of big issues -- climate change in particular. A few days before the World Economic Forum opened its doors on Jan. 24, people were fretting that for the first time in living memory the snows might not …

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Bush administration put on the defensive over climate change

After six years of dodging the climate issue, the Bush administration is finally having to face it head on. They aren't changing policy -- don't be silly! -- but they are changing rhetoric. Bush is changing his climate talk, but not his walk. Photo: Whitehouse.gov Over the past month, climate change has become impossible for the White House to ignore: more than 2,500 of the world's top climate experts confirmed with at least 90 percent certainty that humans are to blame for rising global temperatures; the new Democratic leadership in Congress has made global warming a priority and swiftly launched …