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Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Global warming is real and human-caused. It is leading to large-scale climate change. Under the guise of climate "skepticism", the public is bombarded with misinformation that casts doubt on the reality of human-caused global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming "skepticism".

Our mission is simple: debunk climate misinformation by presenting peer-reviewed science and explaining the techniques of science denial.


2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12

Posted on 25 March 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Mar 19, 2023 thru Sat, Mar 25, 2023.

Story of the Week

Q&A: IPCC wraps up its most in-depth assessment of climate change

The final part of the world’s most comprehensive assessment of climate change – which details the “unequivocal” role of humans, its impacts on “every region” of the world and what must be done to solve it – has now been published in full by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The synthesis report is the last in the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle, which has involved 700 scientists in 91 countries. Overall, the full cycle of reports has taken eight years to complete.

The report sets out in the clearest and most evidenced detail yet how humans are responsible for the 1.1C of temperature rise seen since the start of the industrial era.

It also shows how the impacts of this level of warming are already deadly and disproportionately heaped upon the world’s most vulnerable people.

The report notes that policies in place by the end of 2021 – the cut-off date for evidence cited in the assessment – would likely see temperatures exceed 1.5C this century and reach around 3.2C by 2100.

In many parts of the world, humans and ecosystems will be unable to adapt to this amount of warming, it says. And the losses and damages will “escalate with every increment” of global temperature rise.

But it also lays out how governments can still take action to avoid the worst of climate change, with the rest of this decade being crucial for deciding impacts for the rest of the century. The report says:

“There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all…The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years.”

The report shows that many options for tackling climate change – from wind and solar power to tackling food waste and greening cities – are already cost effective, enjoy public support and would come with co-benefits for human health and nature.

At a press briefing, leading climate scientist and IPCC author Prof Friederike Otto said the report highlights “not only the urgency of the problem and the gravity of it, but also lots of reasons for hope – because we still have the time to act and we have everything we need”.

Carbon Brief’s team of journalists has delved through each page of the IPCC’s AR6 full synthesis report to produce a digestible summary of the key findings and graphics.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Carbon Brief website

Q&A: IPCC wraps up its most in-depth assessment of climate change by Multiple Authors, IPCC, Carbon Brief, Mar 23, 2023;



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12 2023

Posted on 23 March 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables 

The United States experienced some historical low temperature records during the just-concluded winter. It's a reminder that climate and weather are quite noisy; with regard to our warming climate,, as with a road ascending a mountain range we may steadily change our conditions but with lots of variation on our path. Despite what we've just seen, the probability of new low temperature records being set in North America is steadily shrinking. Zhenyuan Cui & Chao He quantify one such measure in their paper Decadal trend of synoptic temperature variability over the Northern Hemisphere in winter. Rapid cooling events or "RCEs" are becoming rarer and of smaller magnitude: "The synoptic-scale standard deviation of temperature decreases significantly with a trend of − 0.15 K/decade (− 0.09 to − 0.21 K/decade among reanalysis datasets) over continental regions in mid-high latitudes. Correspondingly, the rapid cooling events (RCEs), defined based on the day-to-day temperature decrease exceeding 6 K, also show a general decreasing trend in terms of their frequency and intensity."

Meanwhile, the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is accruing energy at a prodigious rate. Zhankun Wang et al. publishing in the AMS Journal of Climate report energy being stuffed into this patch of ocean at a rate of "approximately 1.38 ± 0.41 TW for the entire water column of the GOM between 1970 and 2020. The rate has not been continuous; more lately energy input to the GOM is about 1.76 ± 1.36 TW. The team's entire careful analysis can be read in their article Upper-Oceanic Warming in the Gulf of Mexico between 1950 and 2020.

Simulated carbon cycle and Earth system response to atmospheric CO2 removal by Cao, Jin and Jiang reports on an improvedd, more holistic exploration of CO2 removal at large scale:  "We expanded previous studies by using an Earth system model to examine the response of land and ocean carbon cycle, as well as a set of climate variables to idealized scenarios of atmospheric CO2 removal with different removal rates." The authors thereby identify a range of effects probably obvious for experts but not so much to the rest of us. They conclude: Our study demonstrates that to offset previous positive CO2 emissions by atmospheric CO2 removal does not mean to offset climate consequence of positive CO2 emissions. Rapid and deep reduction in CO2 emissions is key to prevent and limit increasing risks from further warming. 

Looking ahead to more peaceful future in Ukraine and how to deal with the aftermath of Russia's invasion and its accompanying destruction of the built environment on a massive scale, in their perspective piece for PLOSClimate Kateryna Utkina, Ilona Otto & Galina Churkina point out that Ukraine is rich in biomass raw materials. This leads to an opportunity: "Since the construction industry is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and the lifespan of buildings and infrastructure extends beyond 50 years, it is essential to include net-zero climate targets in the post-war reconstruction. One possible step that can be taken to meet the climate policy goals is to use construction materials, where the manufacturing and use have a balancing effect the GHG emissions. These construction materials store carbon, and their manufacturing is associated with low GHG emissions." The authors suggest key steps for making low-impact reconstruction possible, in Rebuild better for a sustainable future

From this week's government/NGO section, "ahem" delivered in An Economist’s Case for Restrictive Supply Side Policies. Ten Policies to Manage the Fossil Fuel Transition: "The authors explain the economic rationale—and climate necessity—of deploying restrictive supply-side policies to actively wind down fossil fuel extraction. Levers like bans, restrictions, or phaseouts are not new; in fact, history shows that products can go quickly from commonplace to banned. In the last four decades, the United States has outlawed lead paint, phased out asbestos, and curtailed tobacco marketing and sales. Similar policies can be used for fossil fuels; indeed, comparable policies are in place in other countries and at the state level."

105 articles in 47 journals by 657 contributing authors citing 6,026+ prior works

Physical science of climate change, effects

An upper bound for extreme temperatures over midlatitude land
Zhang & Boos Boos Boos, ESS Open Archive, Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10510935.1

Circus Tents, Convective Thresholds, and the Non-Linear Climate Response to Tropical SSTs
Williams et al., Geophysical Research Letters, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022gl101499

Rectified Ocean Heat Uptake from Oscillatory Surface Forcing
Pudig et al., Journal of Climate, 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0267.1

Observations of climate change, effects

A pitchfork-like relationship between reduced Barents-Kara sea ice and Ural atmospheric circulation
Li et al., Climate Dynamics, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-023-06743-5

Attribution of tropical sea surface temperature change on extreme precipitation over the Yangtze River Valley in 2020
Wang et al., Climate Dynamics, 10.1007/s00382-023-06752-4



The Surprising Power of Floating Wind Turbines

Posted on 22 March 2023 by Guest Author

Floating offshore wind turbines offer incredible opportunities to capture powerful winds far out at sea. By unlocking this wind energy potential, they could be a key weapon in our arsenal in the fight against climate change. But how developed are these climate fighting clean energy giants? And why do I love them so damn much?! Here's everything you need to know about floating wind turbines' role in the energy transition.

Support ClimateAdam on patreon:



At a glance - What evidence is there for the hockey stick?

Posted on 21 March 2023 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "What evidence is there for the hockey stick?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

At a glance

The Hockey Stick is a historic graph dating back to a paper published in 1999. It showed Northern Hemisphere temperature variations over the near-thousand year period from 1000-1998: the 'blade' of the stick represented the rapid warming of the late 20th Century. It has an iconic status, both in climate science and in the murky world of science-misinformation, where, naturally, it is despised by all and sundry.

Objections to the Hockey Stick are varied but mostly focussed on the stick's long handle and the data that represents. Obviously, during the centuries going back to 1000, reliable temperature measurements are not available. Fortunately for science, things that lived through that long time, such as certain very old trees, record in the rings of their wood an indication of temperatures, year on year. Gardeners and farmers talk about good and bad growing years and it’s the same for natural systems. For example, cold dry periods make for narrow and densely-packed tree-rings whereas warmer, wetter times lead to more widely-spaced ones.

Importantly, today there are a great many such past climate indicators, known as proxies because they act in place of thermometers. Because there's a range of indicators, the results from each one can be cross-checked against one another: if a new proxy is any good, its data should agree with that from the other, established ones

Proxy datasets contain more uncertainty than directly measured temperatures. Everyone knows that. That does not mean they are useless, far from it, because that aforementioned cross-checking means poor data can be readily identified and investigated. Finally, in the 24 years since the Hockey Stick graph was published, work on developing and refining the best proxies has been relentless: better, longer temperature reconstructions have become possible. And of course, global temperatures have continued to climb: in any of the observation-based datasets of surface temperature, all of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2015.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "at a glance" section. Read a more technical version via the link below!

Click for Further details



Gas stoves pose health risks. Are gas furnaces and other appliances safe to use?

Posted on 20 March 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Sarah Wesseler

Poor air quality is a long-standing problem in Los Angeles, where the first major outbreak of smog during World War II was so intense that some residents thought the city had been attacked by chemical weapons. Cars were eventually discovered to be a leading cause of smog, but they weren’t the only ones. In 1978, the regional air quality authority created regulations aimed at reducing pollution from a surprising source: gas-powered water heaters found in homes throughout the city.

Gas stoves have become an unlikely front line in the culture wars thanks to growing awareness of their contribution to health problems like childhood asthma, not to mention their links to climate change. But the other gas-fueled appliances found in many American homes — water heaters, furnaces, and clothes dryers, to name a few — have received far less attention, although they also pose risks to public health and the environment.

“I’m not here to scare folks,” said Brittany Meyers, the national director of healthy indoor air policy at the American Lung Association. “But that said, we do know that there are impacts to both indoor and outdoor air quality that come from the burning of fuel inside the home that is vented outside, which is the appliances you’re talking about.”

Gas appliances can give off toxic carbon monoxide and other air pollutants

Approximately half of American households rely on gas appliances for heat and hot water. According to the Census Bureau, piped natural gas powered around 61 million water heaters, 58 million furnaces, and 20 million clothes dryers in 2021. Other common gas-powered appliances include fireplaces (approximately 7 million), air conditioners (around 2 million), and space heaters.

Health risks associated with gas appliances center on the chemical composition of the fuel they burn. Natural gas consists primarily of methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas that’s partly responsible for climate change, which the World Health Organization has called “the single biggest health threat facing humanity.” But it also contains other substances that, when released into the air through leaks or incomplete combustion, can more directly harm human health. The best known of these, carbon monoxide, causes at least 420 accidental poisoning deaths each year in the United States.

Drew Michanowicz, a scientist at research institute PSE Healthy Energy, has carried out several studies to understand exactly what’s in the natural gas that enters American homes, taking samples from more than 200 residences in California and Massachusetts. “They pretty much all contain a small suite of hazardous air pollutants that clearly we would not want to be exposed to,” he said. Among them: nitrogen dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, particulate matter, and additional substances linked to asthma, cancer, heart disease, and other health problems.



2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11

Posted on 18 March 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Mar 12, 2023 thru Sat, Mar 18, 2023.

Story of the Week

Guest post: What 13,500 citations reveal about the IPCC’s climate science report


IPCC WG1 AR6 SPM Report Cover - Changing by Alisa Singer. Credit: Alisa Singer / IPCC.

In August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published their long-anticipated report on the “physical science basis” for climate change. 

The report concluded that climate change is “unequivocally” caused by humans and already affecting every region on our planet. These findings were reported around the world, drawing international attention.

The mammoth 2,500-page document brings together an enormous volume of peer-reviewed literature to provide the most up-to-date summary of climate science yet published. Every statement in the report is backed up by authoritative sources.

Altogether, the report boasts a staggering 13,500 citations.

Our analysis explores which citations were included in the report and reveals a surprisingly broad and diverse range of topics.

However, it also shows that citations in the report are heavily dominated by the global north and commonly sit behind a paywall.

We found that 99.95% of the cited references were written in English and three-quarters of all literature cited in the report featured at least one author based in either the US or the UK.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Carbon Brief website.

Guest post: What 13,500 citations reveal about the IPCC’s climate science report by Dr Sarah Connors & Félix Chavelli, Carbon Brief, Mar 16, 2023



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11 2023

Posted on 16 March 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Jeongmin Yun et al. tag increasing acidifcation as a root cause of changes in behavior of CO2 fluxes below the equator, in Enhanced seasonal amplitude of atmospheric CO2 by the changing Southern Ocean carbon sink. "The enhanced seasonal amplitude of atmospheric CO2 has been viewed so far primarily as a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon. Yet, analyses of atmospheric CO2 records from 49 stations between 1980 and 2018 reveal substantial trends and variations in this amplitude globally. While no significant trends can be discerned before 2000 in most places, strong positive trends emerge after 2000 in the southern high latitudes."

Pleasant findings on conscientious behavior are found in a paper by Del Ponte, Masili?nas & Lim, in Information about historical emissions drives the division of climate change mitigation costs. Knowing something of our history influences our willingness to take on and pay for responsibility. "Here we show that when the second generation knows that the previous generation created the current wealth and mitigation costs, participants whose predecessor generated more carbon emissions offered to pay more, whereas the successors of low-carbon emitters offered to pay less."

Human-induced changes in the global meridional overturning circulation are emerging from the Southern Ocean finds changes happening for a variety of reasons but substantially including "us." Concerningly, Antarctic meltwater seems to be playing a large role: "These changes are driven by the increasing Southern Hemisphere (SH) Ferrel cell and associated increases in the westerlies and the surface buoyancy loss over its sinking branch, and the increasing Antarctic meltwater discharge, in response to ozone depletion in the SH stratosphere and increasing atmospheric CO2. A large-scale readjustment of the GMOC seems to be underway in the South Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans since the mid-2000s in response to the Southern Ocean changes."

Given Skeptical Science's beat, this perspective piece in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  and authored by Christian Better and Felix Schulz is pleasingly provocative, with reasoning we'd all surely like to believe. Why focusing on “climate change denial” is counterproductive. The authors argue that overemphasis on categorizing beliefs leads to further division and makes cooperation more difficult. 

J.S. Nanditha et al. take a close look at last year's horrific inundation of a large country with a vulnerable population in The Pakistan Flood of August 2022: Causes and Implications. This is a preprint but its conclusions are commensurate with other work, notably including that this flood was entirely congruent with predictions of climate models. Worse is likely yet to come, as detailed. The authors highlight this grim reality against Pakistan's relative inability to cope with such extreme conditions on a sustained basis. 

In their opinion piece published in WIREs Climate Change Usability of climate information: Toward a new scientific framework, Julie Jebeile & Joe Roussos reinforce conclusions shared by many science and communications practitioners concerned with matters of climate: "We generate five recommendations for adapting the practice of climate science, to produce more usable information and thereby respond more directly to the social challenge of climate change. These are: (1) integrated cross-disciplinarity, (2) wider involvement of stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of a climate study, (3) a new framing of the role of values in climate science, (4) new approaches to uncertainty management, and (5) new approaches to uncertainty communication."


One purpose of New Research is to help readers understand the differences between popular literature and academic research publications. One key dfferentiation between "pop" writing and what's found in academic journals is provision of supporting citations of prior research for all less-than-completely-obvious claims and assertions providing support for novel findings reported in new reports. To make this more apparent we're adding a new statistic to our summary top line: the total number of cited references supporting each week's collection. Due to publisher reporting gaps this number represents an undercount. 

185 articles in 66 journals by 1,153 contributing authors citing 11,646+ prior works

Physical science of climate change, effects

Can Polar Stratospheric Clouds Explain Arctic Amplification?
Dutta et al., Journal of Climate, 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0497.1

Diverging Trends in Rain-On-Snow Over High Mountain Asia
Maina & Kumar, Earth's Future, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022ef003009

Factors affecting climate variability of basin-wide western North Pacific tropical cyclone intensity
Zhu et al., International Journal of Climatology, 10.1002/joc.7925



The Big Picture

Posted on 15 March 2023 by John Mason, BaerbelW, dana1981

As part of our Rebuttal Update Project, this version of The Big Picture article has been updated with more current data in February 2023. You can access the previous version here.

Note: clicking on the images will open a larger version in a separate tab.

It's easy to get bogged down discussing one of the many pieces of evidence behind human-caused global warming, to the extent that we can't see the forest for the trees. Here, we take a step back and see how all of those trees comprise the forest as a whole. Skeptical Science provides extensive resources that examine each individual piece of climate misinformation and rebuts them with hard evidence, so let's make use of these individual pieces to see how they form the big picture.

The Earth is Warming

We know the planet is warming from surface temperature stations and satellites measuring the temperature of the Earth's surface and lower atmosphere. We also have various tools which have measured the warming of the Earth's oceans. Satellites have measured an energy imbalance at the top of the Earth's atmosphere. Glaciers, sea ice, and ice sheets are all receding. Sea levels are rising. Spring is arriving sooner each year.  There's simply no doubt - the planet is warming. Everything to do with temperatures is going up. Everything to do with snow and ice is decreasing. Species are migrating polewards and to higher altitudes (Figure 1).

warming world

Figure 1: Indicators of a warming world (click for larger image)

Global Warming Continues

And yes, the warming is continuing. The 2000s were hotter than the 1990s, which were hotter than the 1980s, which were hotter than the 1970s. 2016 was the hottest year on record and others are somewhere in the pipeline (Figure2). Temperature datasets are in excellent agreement on this matter. Sea levels are still rising, ice is still receding, spring is still coming earlier and that planetary energy imbalance continues apace.



At a glance - What do the 'Climategate' hacked CRU emails tell us?

Posted on 14 March 2023 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "What do the 'Climategate' hacked CRU emails tell us?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

At a glance

What do you do if you cannot overturn well-established scientific theories by fair means? In the case of climate science deniers, you cheat. You play foul.

This is exactly what happened in November 2009. Sometime earlier, the email server at the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia, was hacked (an illegal act in itself). A huge number of emails were stolen, sifted through and a selection was made available for download on a Russian server. The timing of the release was unsurprising, for early the following month the COP15 Climate Summit was due to be held in Copenhagen.

Selectively quoting parts of an email message removes all context. One of the most widely-quoted sentences, that will do nicely as an example, was as follows:

"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

Those fanatically promoting this conspiracy theory encouraged people to take such sentences at face value. The implication that was intended to be the take-home in this case was that climate scientists were covering up declining temperatures. However – and serial misinformers have a long track-record in this kind of thing - it means nothing of the sort. The people in that email were not talking about measured temperatures. Let's take a look at the context to find out what it really meant.

"Mike's Nature trick" referred to a technique described in a 1998 Nature paper, presenting a 600 year-long global temperature reconstruction by Michael Mann and colleagues. Michael is a palaeoclimate specialist who has for many years used tree-ring growth patterns in ancient wood to reconstruct conditions at the time those rings formed. The basic idea is that in cold, dry years, trees grow more slowly so their rings are relatively narrow and densely-spaced. In warm wet years, it's the opposite.

The "trick" is the technique of plotting recent instrumental data (i.e. weather observations) alongside the reconstructed tree-ring data for the time they overlap. It's a good way of checking if the reconstructed tree-ring data are representative and meaningful. They're no good for anything if they are not.

So, what does the “decline” refer to? It's also known as the 'divergence problem', a point on the timeline beyond which the reconstructed tree-ring data stop being representative and meaningful. This is a well-known issue in certain tree-ring datasets from specific places. What happens is that when plotted against instrumental temperature data, the reconstructed tree-ring data fall away – decline - below the instrumental data. This is a recent phenomenon that only showed up after about 1960. Prior to that, it hadn't been a problem.

Climate scientists started discussing the decline in the literature as long ago as 1995 – by which time they had many years of data showing that, where present, it stood out like a sore thumb. It seems to have been caused by an apparent loss in temperature-sensitivity with respect to certain species of trees growing in certain areas. Something had changed, making affected datasets unrepresentative of actual conditions.

All that ado about nothing. Just how much taxpayer's money was wasted on all the public inquiries that followed is anyone's guess. None were necessary. All you need to remember is that when it comes to climate science deniers, the difference between fair means and foul is at best blurred and more usually non-existent.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "at a glance" section. Read a more technical version via the link below!

Click for Further details



How heat pumps of the 1800s are becoming the technology of the future

Posted on 13 March 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Chris Baraniuk

It was an engineering problem that had bugged Zhibin Yu for years — but now he had the perfect chance to fix it. Stuck at home during the first UK lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, the thermal engineer suddenly had all the time he needed to refine the efficiency of heat pumps: electrical devices that, as their name implies, move heat from the outdoors into people’s homes.

The pumps are much more efficient than gas heaters, but standard models that absorb heat from the air are prone to icing up, which greatly reduces their effectiveness.

Yu, who works at the University of Glasgow, UK, pondered the problem for weeks. He read paper after paper. And then he had an idea. Most heat pumps waste some of the heat that they generate — and if he could capture that waste heat and divert it, he realized, that could solve the defrosting issue and boost the pumps’ overall performance. “I suddenly found a solution to recover the heat,” he recalls. “That was really an amazing moment.”

Yu’s idea is one of several recent innovations that aim to make 200-year-old heat pump technology even more efficient than it already is, potentially opening the door for much greater adoption of heat pumps worldwide. To date, only about 10% of space heating requirements around the world are met by heat pumps, according to the International Energy Agency, or IEA. But due to the current energy crisis and growing pressure to reduce fossil fuel consumption in order to combat climate change, these devices are arguably more crucial than ever.



2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #10

Posted on 11 March 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Mar 5, 2023 thru Sat, Mar 11, 2023.

Story of the Week

The Paris Agreement Will Fail Without Slashing Methane Emissions From Dairy and Meat, Researchers Say

A new study projects the Earth will warm by nearly 1 degree Celsius by 2100 from agricultural emissions alone, even if fossil fuel use is drastically reduced.

Dairy Cows

Photo by Mark Stebnicki:

If humanity continues producing and consuming food as it does today, those food systems alone will drive Earth’s average temperature up by nearly 1 degree Celsius by the end of the century, scientists warned in a new study. It’s the latest research to suggest that slashing methane emissions from the agriculture sector—particularly from meat and dairy production—remains one of the most impactful ways to slow climate change.

Climate experts have long said tackling agricultural emissions, estimated to make up roughly 15 percent of Earth’s total production of greenhouse gases, is necessary to avoid catastrophic warming in the coming decades. But the new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, specifically highlights the outsized role methane plays among food-related emissions. 

The potent greenhouse gas—capable of warming the planet roughly 80 times more effectively than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period—is also emitted by fossil fuels and other industrial operations, as well as through natural processes like the decay of vegetation.

In fact, methane has accounted for roughly 30 percent of global warming since pre-industrial times and is proliferating faster than at any other time since record keeping began in the 1980s, according to the United Nations. The odorless gas, which is the main ingredient in the natural gas that heats buildings and powers electrical grids, is also the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas that causes 1 million premature deaths every year.

Because of those factors, as well as the fact that methane breaks down in the atmosphere far faster than carbon dioxide, scientists say that tackling methane emissions isn’t only necessary to keep global climate efforts on track, but it would be the fastest way to curb rising temperatures in the immediate future.

But according to Monday’s study, if the emissions released by the world’s food systems continue at current levels, they’ll cause at least 0.7 degree Celsius of additional warming by 2100, pushing the planet past the 1.5 degree threshold set by the Paris Agreement, even if fossil fuel use is drastically reduced. Methane emissions will account for a whopping 73 percent of that projected warming by mid-century, the study says.

“I think the biggest takeaway that I would want (policymakers) to have is the fact that methane emissions are really dominating the future warming associated with the food sector,” Catherine Ivanovich, a climate scientist at Columbia University and the study’s lead author, told the Associated Press.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Inside Climate News website.

The Paris Agreement Will Fail Without Slashing Methane Emissions From Dairy and Meat, Researchers Say by Kristoffer Tigue, Today's Climate, Inside Climate News, Mar 7, 2023



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #10 2023

Posted on 9 March 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

What if the natural gas now flowing through natural gas distribution system and burned for heating purposes was replaced by hydrogen derived from renewalble energy sources, avoiding a wholesale change to heat pumps? Pretty much what we'd expect from the overall comparative thermodynamics of the two heating methods; the result would be a massive net increase in electricity requirements in order to produce the required hydrogen according to Impact of Green Hydrogen Production on the Availability of Clean Electricity for the Grida report authored by M. Roetter and G. Richardson for Gas Transition Allies and included in this week's government/NGO section. 

Dealing with climate change on a systems level affords us an opportunity for a fresh start in paying attention to marginalized population groups. Much research is being dedicated to ensuring that climate mitigation and adaptation plans include the needs of all people,  staritng with identifiying population clusters easily overlooked in urgent and titanic policy matters. In their opinion piece in PLOS Climate Nothing about us without us: The urgent need for disability-inclusive climate research by Jodoin et al. the authors point out that even while people with disabilities are increasingly being affected by climate change disproportionate their numbers, there are serious gaps in assessment of this harm. As well, there is important information to be gatthered from people with direct knowledge of living with disabilities, an opportuntity for co-generation. 

"Disruptive policy packages that fundamentally change the current unsustainable passenger transport structures and enable low-carbon mobility transformation are inevitable." That's the premise of Pushing low-carbon mobility: a survey experiment on the public acceptance of disruptive policy packages of Annina Thaller and coauthors, who seek to identify key friction points in public acceptance of necessary changes of behavior we need to make in order to deal with our climate mess with sufficient alacrity. Broadly speaking, results suggest it may be the case that a collection of nudges could be more effective at overcoming current policy paralysis, especially when policy proposals include interventions directly affecting wallets. 

Future warming from global food consumption: employing significantly improved methods of assessment, authors Catherine Ivanovich et al. report  that we'll break our fading 1 .5C° warming limit by food production in BAU-mode alone. Mitigation methods and outcomes are modeled.  We have some means of controlling this, leaving aside cultural difficulties. 

How does a shifting energy security landscape affect public beliefs about the connection between climate change and natural gas? Evenson et al. look into this via their report Growing importance of climate change beliefs for attitudes towards gas, concluding "Our research suggests that, despite major geopolitical shifts over the last few years (for example, responses to the pandemic, effects of the Ukraine war), the link between climate change and gas has strengthened; climate change beliefs increasingly predict opposition to gas."

The response of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) to anthropogenic climate change is a matter of strong interest not least becaue of potentially profound impacts on European climate. With improved techniques to eliminate natural variability from the signal of interest (human effects on the AMOC), Chenyu Zhu et al. reporting via Nature Communications add another brick to a growing stack of evidence suggesting that we're having some effect on this important natural phenomenon, in Likely accelerated weakening of Atlantic overturning circulation emerges in optimal salinity fingerprint.

152 articles in 59 journals by 1,026 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Competing effects of vegetation on summer temperature in North Korea
Oh & Lee Lee, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Open Access 10.1007/s00704-023-04413-4

Large Contribution of Ozone-Depleting Substances to Global and Arctic Warming in the Late 20th Century
Sigmond et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl100563

Observations of climate change, effects

A Storyline Approach to the June 2021 Northwestern North American Heatwave
Terray, [journal not provided], Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10512596.1

Heat Storage in the Upper Indian Ocean: The Role of Wind-Driven Redistribution
Duan et al., Journal of Climate, Open Access pdf 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0534.1

Likely accelerated weakening of Atlantic overturning circulation emerges in optimal salinity fingerprint
Zhu et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-023-36288-4

Maximum Northern Hemisphere warming rates before and after 1880 during the Common Era
Seip & Wang, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00704-023-04398-0

Precipitation and drought trends (1952–2021) in a key hydrological recharge area of the eastern Iberian Peninsula
Miró et al., Atmospheric Research, 10.1016/j.atmosres.2023.106695



“It’s almost like a cult.” Activists shout down rural renewable energy projects

Posted on 8 March 2023 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

In small Michigan townships, local planning meetings have recently turned into shouting matches over wind and solar projects. Town supervisors report being harassed on Facebook and spit on in public. Often, the opposition comes from a small number of people who attend meetings in communities that are considering a renewable energy project — even if they don’t live there. And it’s not just happening in Michigan.

“If you look at the things that are being presented in our community, you’ll see the same exact tactics whether it’s in Ohio or Indiana or wherever you’re talking about,” said Ashlyn Newell, a teacher in Maple Valley Township, Michigan.

The anti-renewable opposition is seeing success. A report from Columbia University found that restrictions on renewable energy projects have popped up in 31 states. NPR reported recently on a proposed solar project that was shut down in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. And in 2022, activists in Montcalm County, Michigan, halted a 375-megawatt wind project.

Some of these protests appear to have ties to fossil fuel interests. A major player in the renewable energy opposition in rural Michigan is Kevon Martis, who works for E&E Legal, a D.C.-based lobbying firm that gets funding from the fossil fuel industry.

Learn more about this growing battle in this two-part video series.



At a glance - Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?

Posted on 7 March 2023 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

At a glance

Who discovered the great, South Pole-straddling continent of Antarctica? According to the National Geographic, Captain Cook came within an estimated 80 miles of it in the late 1700s, but the three first 'official' discoveries all took place in 1820 by Russian, British and American teams of seafarers respectively.

Since that initial discovery, Antarctica has attracted and inspired researchers and explorers alike. It's a challenging place, fringed by sea-ice that, unlike the Arctic, has not steadily declined but whose extent fluctuates on a seasonal basis: it's currently (February 2023) at a very low coverage, but it can and does recover from such dips. Antarctic sea-ice is no great problem, with the exception of albedo-loss in low extent years: if it all melted, it would have no effect on global sea-levels. It's the stuff on land we need to focus upon.

The land of Antarctica is a continent in two parts, divided by the 2,000 m high Transantarctic Mountains. The two parts differ in so many respects that they need to be considered separately. East Antarctica, that includes the South Pole, has the far greater landmass out of the two, some 4,000 by 2,500 kilometres in size. Although its massive ice-sheet, mostly grounded above sea level, would cause 52 metres of sea level rise if it completely melted, so far it has remained relatively stable. Snow accumulation seems to be keeping in step with any peripheral melting.

In contrast, in the absence of ice, West Antarctica would consist of islands of various sizes plus the West Antarctic Peninsula, a long mountainous arm pointing northwards towards the tip of South America. The ice sheet overlying this mixed topography is therefore grounded below sea level in many places and that's what makes it far more prone to melting as the oceans warm up. Currently, the ice-sheet is buttressed by the huge ice-shelves that surround it, extending out to sea. These slow down the glaciers that drain the ice-sheet seawards.

The risk in West Antarctica is that these shelves will break up and then there will be nothing to hold back those glaciers. This has already happened along the West Antarctic Peninsula: in 1998-2002 much of the Larsen B ice-shelf collapsed. On Western Antarctica's west coast, the ice-sheet buttressing the Thwaites Glacier – a huge body of ice with a similar surface area to the UK - is a major cause for concern. The glacier, grounded 1,000 metres below sea level, is retreating quickly. If it all melted, that would raise global sea levels by 65 centimetres.

Such processes are happening right now and may not be stoppable - they certainly will not be if our CO2 emissions continue apace. But there’s another number to consider: 615 ppm. That is the CO2 level beneath which East Antarctica’s main ice sheet behaves in a mostly stable fashion. Go above that figure and the opposite occurs - major instability. And through our emissions, we’ve gone more than a third of the way there (320 to 420 ppm) since 1965. If we don’t curb those emissions, we’ll cross that line in well under a century.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "at a glance" section. Read a more technical version via the link below!

Click for Further details



The little-known physical and mental health benefits of urban trees

Posted on 6 March 2023 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

A2020 Pew poll found that 90% of Americans support planting trees as a method to curb climate change. The climate benefits of trees are simple to understand: About half of a tree’s dry weight is composed of carbon, which trees extract from the atmosphere as they grow.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, forests in the United States remove about 800 million tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. That includes close to 45 million tons specifically from “urban forests” — a term that encompasses a wide variety of configurations of trees ranging from individual street trees to large parks and nature preserves.

Urban forests alone offset the climate pollution from nearly 10 million cars. And according to research led by scientists at the Nature Conservancy, planting more trees in suitable urban areas could remove another 70 million tons of carbon pollution per year, enough to offset the carbon pollution from 15 million more cars.

But you may not know that urban forests also benefit people’s health.

recent study of a 30-year tree-planting effort in Portland, Oregon, found that one premature death was avoided for every 100 trees planted. And researchers have identified a plethora of physical and mental health benefits that come along with planting more trees in urban areas.

For example, the cooling provided by urban forests can increase resilience to worsening heat waves. Access to trees can also help reduce individuals’ stress, improve mental health, strengthen immune systems, reduce crime, and improve student academic performance, among other benefits.

But as with many social issues, access to urban trees is highly inequitable in the United States, with wealthier and whiter communities enjoying substantially more tree canopy cover than poorer neighborhoods and Black and Brown communities.

What research shows about the benefits of urban forests

A 2020 paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reviewed 201 studies on the various physical and mental health impacts of urban trees. These included a variety of scientific approaches, including different types of experimental, observational, and modeling studies.

The research also considered a wide variety of different health effects that the 2020 study authors grouped into three categories — reducing harm (such as by curbing air pollution, heat exposure, or crime), restoring peoples’ capacities (such as by reducing stress, restoring mental cognition and attention, or improving mental health), and building peoples’ capacities (such as by strengthening immune systems or motivating active living). For most of the potential benefits evaluated in these 201 papers, the majority of studies identified positive effects from an increase in urban trees.



2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #9

Posted on 4 March 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Feb 26, 2023 thru Sat, Mar 4, 2023.

Story of the Week

10 of the best climate change documentaries to see in 2023

These films screened at the recent Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

What happens when you watch 20 or so documentaries that grapple with climate change and its many impacts — all in a row? I set out to find out at the 21st annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival, held in February in Nevada County, California.

I braced myself for a heavy affair. After all, the climate crisis is exactly that: a crisis. Doom and gloom can be hard to avoid. But as a fest vet, I also knew I could count on the morale boost that comes with seeing great people, doing great things, everywhere, every day.

This year was especially galvanizing as the festival came to life in person again for the first time since COVID, with filmmakers, activists, and people who just like nature converging to watch a bunch of films about the environment and climate change.

“CommUnity” was the festival theme this year, a concept that came roaring to life throughout the nine film venues scattered across downtown Nevada City and Grass Valley, sister towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The film selections included a wide range of films focused on people with different backgrounds, and ASL interpreters stood alongside presenters on stage at several screenings.

The sense that we’re in this together reached far beyond the theater walls, infusing activist workshops, environmental vendor booths, and even shops and restaurants where people seemed ready, eager even, to talk about the films they’d seen.

One evening at a popular pizzeria and brewery in downtown Nevada City, I sat with a friend to scarf down a broccoli lemon pizza and an Emerald Pool IPA, named for the local river’s sublimely green waters. The festival was all the talk at our communal table; the couple to my left were retirees who had volunteered as ticket takers at a previous session. They ended up taking our advice on what to watch with their passes that night. And the group to my right included a staff member at SYRCL, the organization behind the festival (making her an obvious VIP in our midst), and a trio of her friends who’d traveled from other parts of the state expressly for the occasion.

Through conversations like those, a few key themes began to take shape. The following are the major takeaways from my time at this year’s festival — with film recommendations to back it all up.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Yale Climate Connections webiste.

10 of the best climate change documentaries to see in 2023 by Daisy Simmons, Yale Climate Connections, Mar 2, 2023



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #9 2023

Posted on 2 March 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open Access Notables

From this week's government/NGO section, a welcome report from the United Nations: One Atmosphere: An independent expert review on Solar Radiation Modification research and deployment. For many of us— given the report's provenance— the foreword alone may be enough to form policy conclusions. For those who'd like to know more this is a comprehensive synthesis built on 126 key academic papers on the topic. Has SRM's time arrived? Hardly— the open question book is vast:  "The review finds that there is little information on the risks of SRM and limited literature on the environmental and social impacts of these technologies. Even as a temporary response option, large-scale SRM deployment is fraught with scientific uncertainties and ethical issues. The evidence base is simply not there to make informed decisions."

Continuing with solar geoengineering but more in the nature of a matter of historical interest, Soviet and Russian perspectives on geoengineering and climate management starts with a brief recap of where the world stands with regard to our ambiguous relationship geoengineering especially with concern to solar radiation modfication, then leads us through a fascinating history of the Soviet Union's and latterly the Russian Federation's arc of scientific work in this arena.  Mikhail Budyko and his work feature as what might be termed an intellectual axis of the entire enterprise.

Not a research paper but rather a news item from PNAS richly supported by citations, How to expand solar power without using precious land summarizes research on what's in the title, starting with a sunny lede: "Solar power can be a land-hungry competitor to farming. But deployed in the right way, solar installations can boost crop yields, save water, and protect biodiversity."

What's the cost on international climate mitigation of cargon leakage possibly caused by parochial climate legislation? That's what Eskander & Fankhauser investigate in  The Impact of Climate Legislation on Trade-Related Carbon Emissions 1996–2018. They don't consider their findings to be the last word but do offer this encouraging conclusion:  "We find that the passage of new climate laws has had no significant impact on trade-related carbon emissions and a negative long-term effect on international production emissions."

Practically speaking, public preferences predicate public policy. Here's a trifecta of papers of special use to poilcymakers guiding citizens through what needs to be a rapid process of modernization— at risk of retardation by various factors of human nature— with useful information on public thinking on these topics:

Often heard of in the abstract, loss and damage resolves into specific case histories. Nand, Bardsley & Suh lead us through such a story, in Addressing unavoidable climate change loss and damage: A case study from Fiji’s sugar industry. "Despite implementing climate change adaptation measures, Fiji’s sugar industry has faced devastating L&D from frequent and severe cyclones. Much of the climate change L&D to crops, property, and income was irreversible and unavoidable. Non-economic loss and damage (NELD) was found insurmountable in both field sites, including the loss of homes and places of worship, cascading and flow-on effects as well as the heightening of uncertainty, fear, and trauma."

109 articles in 51 journals by 682 contributing authors

Observations of climate change, effects

A spatiotemporal analysis of precipitation anomalies using rainfall Gini index between 1980 and 2022
Sahbeni et al., Atmospheric Science Letters, Open Access 10.1002/asl.1161

Global evaluation of the “dry gets drier, and wet gets wetter” paradigm from a terrestrial water storage change perspective
Xiong et al., Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Open Access pdf 10.5194/hess-26-6457-2022

Has There Been a Recent Shallowing of Tropical Cyclones?
Lai & Toumi Toumi, Geophysical Research Letters, Open Access 10.1029/2022gl102184



At a glance - What has global warming done since 1998?

Posted on 28 February 2023 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "What has global warming done since 1998?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

At a glance

This date-specific talking-point is now something of a historical curiosity, but we'll leave it in the database for now because it's such a good illustration of the simplistic yet reckless mindset of the serial climate change misinformer. And indeed, we could (out of sheer mischief) revise this myth by replacing "1998" with "2016" - and in a few years time, by "2023" or "2024". In fact, that's what we are now starting to see in the climate change misinformation stream, © the Usual Suspects. 

Anyway, as first predicted over a century ago, Earth's surface, oceans and atmosphere are all heating up due to our increasing greenhouse gas emissions, but over the years the warming has occurred at varying rates. This should in no way come as a surprise, since other physical phenomena periodically act either to offset or enhance warming. A prime example is the effects of La Nina and El Nino, an irregular but often powerful cyclic variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. This cycle can influence temperature and rainfall patterns right around the world. In a La Nina year, temperatures are suppressed, whereas an El Nino year sees them enhanced. This is noise on the long-term upward trend, something that explains why climatologists work with decades, not just a few years in isolation, in order to get a grasp on what is going on.

The year 1998 featured an enormous El Nino and consequent high temperature spike that was a huge outlier, standing out well above the slower but steady upward trend caused by our emissions. That spike and the subsequent return to a more 'normal' warming pattern lead to numerous media claims by misinformation-practitioners that global warming had “paused” or had even stopped.

You only need to remember one thing here. Those who create and spread misinformation about climate change don't care about reality. Public confusion is their aim. In this instance, the misinformation exercise involved deliberately selecting a limited block of years starting with the massive El Nino of 1998 and using that very warm starting-point to insist that global warming had stopped. They knew this would likely work for a few years and that the public would quickly forget why that was the case. Mother Nature had handed them a gift. It was an irresistible bunch of low-hanging fruit to exploit: little wonder the tactic is known as 'cherry-picking'. More recently, given that 2016 was the hottest on record, a similar opportunity has been spotted by some misinformers, although it’s not really caught on yet.

Talking about reality, what actually happened? Well, as of 2023, a couple of decades down the line, the top ten warmest years have all been since 2000, whatever observation-based dataset you choose, with eight of them being in the 2015-2022 period. 1998 is nowhere to be seen any more. By modern standards, it simply wasn't warm enough.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "at a glance" section. Read a more technical version via the link below!

Click for Further details



Which state is winning at renewable energy production?

Posted on 27 February 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk

Electricity is changing. As states like Minnesota commit to 100% carbon-free electric power, Montana is opting to double down on coal. Some of these developments make headlines, while others go unnoticed – though they’re no less important. Case in point: Can you guess which state generates the largest fraction of its electricity from renewable sources?

The answer: South Dakota. That state produced 83% of its in-state electricity from renewable sources in 2021, the result of its impressive implementation of wind energy. Between 2019 and 2021, South Dakota more than tripled wind energy production.

Bonus data points

  • The other leading states on this measure — Vermont, Washington, and Idaho — all derive the majority of their renewable energy from hydropower.
  • Texas produces the most renewable energy of any state, but it also generates an outsized amount of electricity from fossil fuels. So renewables only account for 26% of the state’s total electricity production. In 2021, 44% of Texas’s electricity came from fossil gas, also known as natural gas.
  • Important note: The map shows electricity production within each state’s borders. Many states and utility companies exchange electricity with other states. So this data may not reflect the energy that is actually consumed — as opposed to generated — within each state.

Data for electricity generation in all 50 states over the past 20 years is available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electricity Data Browser.



2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #8

Posted on 25 February 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Feb 19, 2023 thru Sat, Feb 25, 2023.

Story of the Week

Podcast: Goodbye to blue skies? The trouble with engineered solutions

  • Humanity has created a lot of ecological problems, and many of the proposed solutions come with giant price tags — or the things lost can even be priceless, like the sight of a blue sky — with no guarantee of solving the situation in the long term.
  • Many such solutions — like Australia’s deliberate introduction of the toxic cane toad, which has wreaked havoc on the country’s wildlife — create new problems.
  • Solar geoengineering to slow climate change would have the most visible effect to all, likely making the sky appear white: No more blue skies—but how would this affect the global plant community’s ability to photosynthesize, would it harm agriculture?
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert joins the Mongabay Newscast to talk about her latest book, “Under a White Sky,” which examines these interventions, the problems they come with and humanity’s seeming inability to stop turning to them. 

From pumping aerosols into the atmosphere to combat climate change to gene-editing invasive species, human beings continue to conjure up technological or “miracle” fixes to ecological ills, many of which stem from previous things society has done. Whether it’s electrifying rivers to prevent Asian carp from entering the U.S. Great Lakes or $14.5 billion levees to keep the city of New Orleans from sinking, temporarily, humanity continually creates mega solutions that often fail, while harming biodiversity.

“We seem incapable of stopping ourselves,” argues journalist Elizabeth Kolbert. Her latest book, “Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future,” explores many of these projects, chapter by chapter, in what she describes as “sort of a dark comedy.”

She joins the Mongabay Newscast this week to talk about what she found while writing the book and why she urges readers to be skeptical of these machinations.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Mongabay website.

Podcast: Goodbye to blue skies? The trouble with engineered solutions by Mike DiGirolamo, Mongabay, Feb 21, 2023

Also see:

Exclusive: Inside a Controversial Startup's Risky Attempt to Control Our Climate by Alejandro de la Garza, Climate Adaptation, Time Magazine, Feb 21, 2023

Why Billionaires are Obsessed With Blocking Out the Sun by Alejandro de la Garza, Climate Adaptation, Time Magazine, Feb 24, 2023



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