Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, a staunch Trump supporter who recently called the Biden administration’s attempts to limit fossil fuel emissions “maybe the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” represents an Ohio district whose bizarre shape has earned it the nickname “the duck.” Just north of the duck’s bill lies the district of Democrat Marcy Kaptur, a long, slender stretch of land along Lake Erie: “the snake on the lake,” as it’s often referred to.

Both districts appear frequently in lists of the nation’s most egregious examples of gerrymandering, a practice Ohioans voted to rein in in 2018. But the reforms put in place for the 2021 redistricting process haven’t worked quite as planned. Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, on November 20 signed into law a new congressional map that confers significant advantage to his party, according to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which gave the map a grade of F. Groups like the League of Women Voters of Ohio and National Redistricting Action Fund have filed lawsuits claiming that the redistricting commission violated the state Constitution.

Another organization suing the redistricting commission is the Ohio Environmental Council, a Columbus-based advocacy group. According to staff attorney Chris Tavenor, recent history has shown that the new maps will play a key role in shaping climate action in the state.

“Over the past 10 years we’ve had a supermajority legislature in Ohio pass bill after bill that short-circuits Ohio’s ability to fight climate change,” he said. ??These veto-proof Republican majorities are a direct result of harmful redistricting that has given the party a 64-35 majority in the Ohio House and a 25-8 majority in the Senate, although it averaged only 54% of votes in state elections over the past decade.



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #48, 2021

Posted on 2 December 2021 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

117 articles in 88 journals by 779 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Relative humidity gradients as a key constraint on terrestrial water and energy fluxes
Kim et al. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Open Access pdf 10.31223/x59880

Improving Ground Heat Flux Estimation: Considering the Effect of Freeze/thaw Process on the Seasonally Frozen Ground
Wang et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021jd035445

Observations of climate change, effects

Multi-decadal increase of forest burned area in Australia is linked to climate change
Canadell et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-021-27225-4

Observed increases in extreme fire weather driven by atmospheric humidity and temperature
Jain et al. Nature Climate Change

Precipitation climatology and spatiotemporal trends over the Arabian Peninsula
Alsaaran & Alghamdi Theoretical and Applied Climatology

Changes in the groundwater levels and regimes in the taiga zone of Western Siberia as a result of global warming
Savichev et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology



FLOATER: A Tool-Kit for evaluating Claims

Posted on 1 December 2021 by Guest Author

TiP-LogoThis is a re-post from the Thinking is Power website maintained by Melanie Trecek-King where she regularly writes about many aspects of critical thinking in an effort to provide accessible and engaging critical thinking information to the general public. Please see this overview to find links to other reposts from Thinking is Power.


A Life Preserver for Staying Afloat in a Sea of Misinformation

As a science educator, my primary goals are to teach students the essential skills of science literacy and critical thinking. Helping them understand the process of science and how to draw reasonable conclusions from the available evidence can empower them to make better decisions and protect them from being fooled or harmed.

Yet while nearly all educators would agree that these skills are important, the stubborn persistence of pseudoscientific and irrational beliefs demonstrates that we have plenty of room for improvement. To help address this problem, I developed a general-education science course which, instead of teaching science as a collection of facts to memorize, teaches students how to evaluate the evidence for claims to determine how we know something and to recognize the characteristics of good science by evaluating bad science, pseudoscience, and science denial.

In my experience, science literacy and critical thinking skills are difficult to master. Therefore, it helps to provide students with a structured toolkit to systematically evaluate claims and allow for ample opportunities to practice. In previous semesters I’ve had excellent results with A Field Guide to Critical Thinking (Lett 1990), in which he summarized the scientific method with the acronym FiLCHeRS (Falsifiability, Logic, Comprehensiveness of evidence, Honesty, Replicability, and Sufficiency of evidence).

While FiLCHeRS has served my students well, I’ve found myself adding rules and updating examples to help my students navigate today’s misinformation landscape. The result is this guide to evaluating claims, summarized by the (hopefully memorable) acronym FLOATER, which stands for Falsifiability, Logic, Objectivity, Alternative explanations, Tentative, Evidence, and Replicability.


Think of FLOATER as a life-saving device. By using the seven rules in the toolkit we can protect ourselves from drowning in a sea of bad claims. 

The foundation of FLOATER is skepticism. While skepticism has taken on a variety of connotations, from cynicism to denialism, scientific skepticism is simply insisting on evidence before accepting a claim, and proportioning the strength of our belief to the strength and quality of the evidence.  



Climate-conscious conservatives try to make their voices heard

Posted on 30 November 2021 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Peter Sinclair

“The Republican party was with me, Ronald Reagan was with me,” said former Republican congresswoman Claudine Schneider in a recent phone interview. In 1988 Schneider, then representing Rhode Island in the U.S. House of Representatives, introduced a bill to fight climate change. But since those days of congressional bipartisanship and conviviality, the Republican party has shifted to a steadfast rejection of the issue, in part at least in response to pressures and financing from fossil fuel interests.

This month’s Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video by independent videographer Peter Sinclair addresses how some conservatives’ views on climate are changing.

Polling reveals that the vast majority of Americans believe in climate change and young conservatives are trying to shift their party’s narrative coming from national politicians. But it’s difficult to change the mind of a base that has consumed false narratives for decades.

According to Stuart Stevens, a long-time Republican campaigner affiliated with the Lincoln Project and a frequent cable television pundit, “It is a short walk from climate denial, to ‘Why should we wear masks?’ to anti-vaccine …. You have an information infrastructure that presents this alternate reality.”

Gale Sinatra, who studies the psychology of climate change beliefs at the University of Southern California, says that rather than admitting mistakes, many conservative voices are trying to move on without explaining why their past positions on climate change have shifted. “No one likes to admit a mistake,” she said.

What change there is among conservatives is happening quietly and incrementally, in some cases under pressure from youthful conservative Republicans. Conservative investment funds are divesting from fossil fuels and some Republican politicians, particularly at the local level, more and more are speaking in favor of climate action.

“We have no time to mess around,” says former Congresswoman Schneider “There’s still so much more to do.”



Can genetically engineered seeds prevent a climate-driven food crisis?

Posted on 29 November 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Samantha Harrington

Cartoon of two farmers looking at corn growing with umbrellas

When John Boelts sows acres of cotton seed on his farm in Yuma, Arizona, he does so knowing that the fields will be free of an invasive pest called pink bollworm. For nearly a century, the small pink striped caterpillars terrorized cotton fields in the U.S.

The adult bollworm, a gray moth, laid its eggs on cotton bolls, and the pink-striped caterpillars that emerged from those eggs began munching on the bolls, fibers, and seeds. Even with pesticides, Arizona farmers lost up to a third of their crop every year.

“When I was a much younger man with hardly any gray hair, we were planting cotton varieties, and we would spray them nine to 13 times in a season just for pink bollworm,” Boelts said. “I haven’t sprayed for pink bollworm in over a decade.” 

That’s because Boelts now grows cotton genetically engineered to repel pests. The technology has helped not just his farm but the entire U.S. to eradicate the pink bollworm. It has also reduced pesticide use. 

Now, large seed corporations are touting genetic engineering not just for fighting pests but as a way of addressing climate-change-related stressors on agriculture. But researchers are skeptical that the technology can match the pace and scale of climate change.

“It’s this silver-bullet solution that is very appealing to investors and even farmers,” said Philip Howard, a professor in the College of Agriculture at Michigan State University. “But when you actually look at what’s going on, it’s a much more brittle, and less resilient system, even if these traits are able to do what the company claims.”

A man holds a corn tassel.Maize (corn) is becoming increasingly suitable in uphill areas previously too cold for the crop in the Mount Kenya region. (Photo credit: CIAT / CC BY-SA 2.0)



2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48

Posted on 28 November 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, November 21, 2021 through Sat, November 27, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: To Breed or Not to Breed?, The Vaccine for Fake News, Ten ways to confront the climate crisis without losing hope, It's Time to Fear the Fungi, Germany hits renewable accelerator, targets coal exit by 2030, and Gas exporters cry 'cancel culture' in a farcical climate change low.

Articles Linked to on Facebook



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #47, 2021

Posted on 25 November 2021 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

104 articles by 574 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Delayed impacts of Arctic sea-ice loss on Eurasian severe cold winters
Jang et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Observations of climate change, effects

Divergent responses of terrestrial carbon use efficiency to climate variation from 2000 to 2018
Gang et al. Global and Planetary Change

(provisional link) Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada

Global increase in wildfire risk due to climate driven declines in fuel moisture
Ellis et al. Global Change Biology

Weather Whiplash: Trends in rapid temperature changes in a warming climate
Lee International Journal of Climatology

The Role of Intensifying Precipitation on Coastal River Flooding and Compound River-Storm Surge Events, Northeast Gulf of Mexico
Dykstra & Dzwonkowski Water Resources Research

Wildfire response to changing daily temperature extremes in California’s Sierra Nevada
Gutierrez et al. Science Advances
Open Access pdf 10.1126/sciadv.abe6417

Changes in snow cover occurrence and the atmospheric circulation impact in Pozna? (Poland)
Szyga-Pluta Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00704-021-03875-8



Thanksgiving advice, 2021: How to deal with climate change-denying Uncle Pete

Posted on 24 November 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Richard Somerville

“Birds of a feather flock together,” so I am sure that nearly all of those reading this article accept the main findings of climate science. Yet many people don’t. Instead, they believe a variety of climate myths.

These include claims that the world isn’t warming; or if warming is occurring, it is natural and not human-caused; or that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than we humans do. I know none of you believes these myths, but it seems that almost everybody has an unpleasant relative—call him Uncle Pete—who does, and who comes to dinner. Pete spoils the family mood by making these false claims, which he found on talk radio or the Internet.

I don't believe in global warming Graffiti in London, possibly the work of noted street artist Banksy. Image courtesy of Matt Brown/Pixabay

I’ll tell you in a moment why some of the most frequently repeated claims are just plain wrong. I won’t have time to cover all of them, and I recommend the website for the whole story. It’s a collection of the most commonly heard climate myths, and why they are all dead wrong. is your key to refuting your own Uncle Pete.

Start with the myth that the warming we have observed in recent decades is natural and not human-caused. First off, let’s be clear: The climate has indeed changed naturally in the past, with ice ages being an obvious example. But natural causes simply cannot explain the recent warming. How do we know that? It’s very like the story of wildfires, which can be caused naturally, by lightning. But they can also be caused by people, either by carelessness or by arson. And wildfire experts can investigate after a wildfire and determine what caused it. They know how to do the detective work.



Global CO2 emissions have been flat for a decade, new data reveals

Posted on 23 November 2021 by Zeke Hausfather

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and cement have rebounded by 4.9% this year, new estimates suggest, following a Covid-related dip of 5.4% in 2020.

The Global Carbon Project (GCP) projects that fossil emissions in 2021 will reach 36.4bn tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2), only 0.8% below their pre-pandemic high of 36.7GtCO2 in 2019.

The researchers say they “were expecting some sort of rebound in 2021” as the global economy bounced back from Covid-19, but that it was “bigger than expected”.

While fossil emissions are expected to return to near-record levels, the study also reassesses historical emissions from land-use change, revealing that global CO2 output overall may have been effectively flat over the past decade.

The 2021 GCP almost halves the estimate of net emissions from land-use change over the past two years – and by an average of 25% over the past decade.

These changes come from an update to underlying land-use datasets that lower estimates of cropland expansion, particularly in tropical regions. Emissions from land-use change in the new GCP dataset have been decreasing by around 4% per year over the past decade, compared to an increase of 1.8% per year in the prior version. 

However, the GCP authors caution that uncertainties in land-use change emissions remain large and “this trend remains to be confirmed”.

The GCP study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, is the 16th annual “global carbon budget”. The budget also reveals:

  • China and India both surpassed their 2019 emission peaks in 2021. Chinese emissions grew by 5.5% between 2019 and 2021, while Indian emissions grew by 4.4%. 
  • Chinese coal use was a particularly large driver of the global rebound in emissions, with the power and industry sectors in China the main contributors. 
  • Coal, oil and gas all fell during the pandemic, but both coal and gas emissions have already surpassed their pre-pandemic levels, with a 2% increase in gas emissions and a 1% increase in coal emissions between 2019 and 2021. 
  • Oil emissions remain around 6% below 2019 levels and this persistent reduction is one of the main reasons 2021 emissions did not set a new record.

The new updates to global CO2 emissions in the GCP substantially revise scientists’ understanding of global emissions trajectories over the past decade. The new data shows that global CO2 emissions have been flat – if not slightly declining – over the past 10 years. 

However, falling land-use emissions have counterbalanced rising fossil CO2 emissions, and there is no guarantee these trends will continue in the future.   



How will carbon pricing impact inflation?

Posted on 22 November 2021 by dana1981

This is a re-post from the Citizens' Climate Lobby blog

Inflation — the decline of purchasing power as prices rise — is currently at its highest level in 30 years. This has led to concern among the public and policymakers about the rising costs of many important products like food, shelter, gasoline, electricity, and cars. Senator Joe Manchin has said he will not “support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation.” As a result, CCL has received many inquiries from congressional offices, volunteers, and other stakeholders regarding the potential impact a carbon price would have on inflation.

The short answer is that well-designed carbon pricing legislation — like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA) and those currently under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee — includes a dividend returned to most or all American households precisely to address the resulting rise in energy costs. Inflation creates a problem when prices rise and household incomes don’t increase commensurately, but a dividend program can overcome that problem by sending carbon cashback to households.

Moreover, a recent review of carbon pricing systems in Canada and Europe found that contrary to economic modeling predictions that carbon fees will cause inflation, carbon fees have actually had the opposite effect in the real world.

What do economic models say about carbon pricing and inflation?

The answer to this question depends on the level of the carbon price and the rate at which it rises. According to modeling by the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), the EICDA would add approximately 2.4 points to inflation over 10 years, or 0.24% per year. For comparison, the Federal Reserve aims for a 2% annual inflation rate. Moreover, the carbon pricing structures currently under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee will likely rise significantly more slowly than the EICDA, and thus have even less impact on inflation.

A carbon price included in the budget reconciliation process would also likely exempt retail gasoline (which would have a relatively small effect on the resulting carbon emissions cuts), and thus would not impact gasoline prices. According to modeling analyses by Resources for the Future and CGEP, a carbon price of $20 per ton would raise average U.S. electricity prices by about 0.5–1 cent per kilowatt-hour, and average household electricity bills by only about $4–8 per month. As the carbon price rises, so would average electricity bills, but the dividend would increase as well to offset those costs.



2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47

Posted on 21 November 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, November 14, 2021 through Sat, November 20, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheeple? A.I. Maps 20 Years of Climate Conspiracies, COP Negotiators Demand Nations do More to Curb Climate Change, but Required Emissions Cuts Remain Elusive, Five things you need to know about the Glasgow Climate Pact, COP26: The truth behind the new climate change denial, How Exxon duped "The Daily", and How to talk about climate change: Ask questions.

Articles Linked to on Facebook



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #46, 2021

Posted on 18 November 2021 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Housekeeping: New content

New Research is primarily focused on reports published in "the academic literature." Thanks to a diversity of publishers, journals, editors, reviewers, researchers and institutional affiliations, such publications are statistically highly successful at approximating and reflecting our best dispassionate understanding of research topics. Any given personal agenda not primarily connected to expanding our horizon of understanding is more or less necessarily diluted in the baroque review/publication process.

While acknowledging the intentional effects of the academic publication system, it does not follow that what is printed elsewhere cannot also enhance our current understanding of climate change. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) publish reports and reviews relevant to particular organizational missions and it's not axiomatic that these connections mean such material is so colored by their agenda and stated mission so as to be unworthy of our attention. Meanwhile, government agencies are frequently charged with producing assessment and analysis reports for lawmakers, other researchers and the general public, frequently compiled to a very high standard As with NGO work these publications often serve as highly valuable big picture snapshots, synthesizing a lot of sources into a coherent narrative and exposition. Meanwhile, some civilian and military agencies produce formal primary research essentially lacking only a DOI in distinction against academic publications. These alternate sources often benefit from reasonably rigorous peer-review processes that while not identical to those in the academic world do still serve to form a baseline of reliability.

So, we’re leaving a bit of dessert on the table by ignoring a lot of good work. Now that Marc Kodack has signed on to New Research we have some freeboard to deal with the problem.Marc is accustomed to swimming in the ocean of material we've been missing and— quite frankly— brings the time and energy needed to contemplate taking on more publications. Taking all of this into account New Research will feature a new topic section composed of climate-related publications from the NGO/government wellsprings.

As with other New Research sections, edition-to-edition our new feature will grow, shrink or even vanish as suitable material is or is not available. What appears in this new section will be publications of NGO/government provenance leaning hard in the direction of straight information, with minimal mission-specific coloration; we'll of course strive to identify reports with solid value. Links to these publications will be a bit different than for academic publications given that NGO/governmental publication are not part of the DOI system. As we become accustomed to this new input we may adjust our methods.

In order to clearly delineate between academic research and that with a more objective purpose in mind, listings of NGO/government reports appear in their own section, after our "traditional" fare. 

112 articles by 654 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Drawdown of Atmospheric pCO2 via Variable Particle Flux Stoichiometry in the Ocean Twilight Zone
Tanioka et al. Geophysical Research Letters
Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10507405.2

(provisional link) On the Controlling Factors for Globally Extreme Humid Heat

A review of interactions between ocean heat transport and Arctic sea ice
Docquier & Königk Environmental Research Letters
Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac30be



Climate challenges mount for California agriculture

Posted on 17 November 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jan Ellen Spiegel

California agriculture has experienced just about every form of climate change-induced calamity: Heat, drought, fire, floods. None bodes well for the future of farming in this state that is the U.S. king of agriculture.

But there are a couple of less headline-worthy factors that may determine what crops will survive if climate change trends don’t at least slow down. One is the state’s winters – yes, winters – and the other is its management of groundwater.

Challenges ahead for sure. In the end, however, there for some is optimism that the California agriculture communities’ ability to continue adapting gives reasons for hope.

The importance of ‘chill hours’ for key crops

“Wintertime lows have gotten warmer,” says Dan Sumner, the Frank H. Buck, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis and a California farming region native. “We all talk about it in the middle of the summertime because it’s hot outside, but the real news is the wintertime lows.”

The reason? Perennial crops, comprising the bulk of California’s top farm commodities, need off-season dormancy to regenerate, so temperatures must remain below a certain threshold for at least a minimum amount of time. That concept is called “chill hours.” It’s crop-specific, and the fruits and nuts that are among the bedrocks of California agriculture are the ones most needing the right number of chill hours. Otherwise fewer buds, smaller fruits, lower yields.

According to the most recent census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, California still provides more agricultural product than any other state, accounting for 11% of the national total.  That output includes more than two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts and more than one-third of the nation’s vegetables.

California’s top 10 agricultural commodities among its more than 400 in order are: dairy products, almonds, grapes, pistachios, cattle, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes (largely for processing), floriculture, and walnuts.

Those are largely perennials needing their chill hours to make them as productive as they need to be, and therefore worth growing. Crops such as nut trees and grapes are large investments, so low yields may make them money losers.



Sea level rise: Uncertain Climate Future [with DrGilbz]

Posted on 16 November 2021 by Guest Author

What will the Sea Level Rise of tomorrow look like? The truth is there's still a big range of possibilities, and scientists are struggling to pin down the processes that come into play. But one thing is clear: to stay safe, we need to stop emitting as soon as possible.

Check out Ella's channel here:

Support ClimateAdam on patreon:



Do COP26 promises keep global warming below 2C?

Posted on 15 November 2021 by Zeke Hausfather, Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief

Depending on whom you ask, the COP26 climate summit may seem like the best of times or the worst of times. 

On the one hand, reports proclaim boldly that limiting global warming to below 2C might finally be in reach. On the other, critics complain that modest improvements on country commitments amount to little more than “blah blah blah”.

The reality is more nuanced. There has been progress made in flattening the curve of future emissions through both climate policies and falling clean energy costs. At the same time, the world is still far from on track to meet Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 1.5C or “well below” 2C. 

COP26 negotiations have seen a flurry of new reports on what existing and new promises and pledges mean for the climate.

Here, Carbon Brief breaks down these numbers, looking at what they refer to, where different groups agree and disagree on likely outcomes, and the potential impact of new long-term net-zero promises.

The analysis reveals widespread agreement between four different groups assessing the climate outcomes of COP26. They suggest that current policies will lead to a best-estimate of around 2.6C to 2.7C warming by 2100 (with an uncertainty range of 2C to 3.6C). 

If countries meet both conditional and unconditional nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for the near-term target of 2030, projected warming by 2100 falls to 2.4C (1.8C to 3.3C).

Finally, if countries meet their long-term net-zero promises, global warming would be reduced to around 1.8C (1.4C to 2.6C) by 2100, though temperatures would likely peak around 1.9C in the middle of the century before declining.

In addition to the revised NDCs, there have been a series of announcements at COP26 – including the Global Methane Pledge and an accelerated coal phaseout, as well as business pledges as part of the Race to Zero campaign. Carbon Brief’s analysis finds that these new announcements – combined with recent updates to NDCs – have likely shaved an additional 0.1C warming off what was implied under commitments out to 2030. 

Similarly, India’s new net-zero pledge has reduced projected global temperature rise by around 0.2C – if all countries meet their long-term net-zero promises.

The extent to which the many new and revised targets will be met will depend on whether they are translated into meaningful near-term commitments. So far the lack of stronger commitments for emissions cuts by 2030 creates a “very big credibility gap” for net-zero promises, according to the Climate Action Tracker.

Being unable to bend the emission curve downwards this decade puts huge pressure on the remaining carbon budget for “keeping 1.5C alive”. Taking this pathway implies a heavy reliance on CO2 removal beyond 2030 – with its many feasibility, technological, governance and sustainability risks.



2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #46

Posted on 14 November 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, November 7, 2021 through Sat, November 13, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: The Keeling Curve: What path will we take, Extreme Makeover: Human Activities Are Making Some Extreme Events More Frequent or Intense, The Keeling Curve: Monitoring our progress to Net-0, Explainer: What's the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C of global warming?, Oklahoma Proposes Letting Gas Utility Charge A $1,400 ‘Exit Fee’ To Go Electric, and Scientists extend and straighten iconic climate “hockey stick”.

Articles Linked to on Facebook



Honest Government Ad | Net Zero by 2050 (feat. Greta Thunberg)

Posted on 12 November 2021 by Guest Author

The Government™ has made an ad about Net Zero by 2050 and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.

Become a Patron:



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #45, 2021

Posted on 11 November 2021 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

If the forecast says "rain," bring an umbrella

One of the more thought-provoking articles in this week's collection is Natural hazards and climate change are not drivers of disasters, by Alik Ismail-Zadeh of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. A provocative title, but it's hard to argue with the article's premise, let alone deny our deep and rich history of unsatisfactory outcomes thanks to not paying attention and money where both are mandatory. Dr. Ismail-Zadeh points out that when we're fully informed of risks and hazards, disasters mostly happen only when we ignore that information and fail to take it into account in our systems of communicating and living. In a manner of speaking, our behavior is disastrously oblivious. The author examines some case histories of hazards and risks inadequately folded into plans and actions, and points out specific means to redress the situation. Open access, free to read. 

More able hands on deck 

It's very pleasing to  mention that recently joined Skeptical Science volunteer Dr. Marc Kodack is providing a significant boost to compilation of New Research. We're very fortunate; Marc  is arguably "overqualified" for this particular work, given  his deep experience in the intersection of climate change and US national security. Marc is currently also (mainly?!)  a Senior Fellow at the The Center for Climate and Security.  We're delighted to welcome Marc aboard. 

82 articles by 445 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

An Analytical Model for Spatially Varying Clear-Sky CO2 Forcing
Jeevanjee et al. Journal of Climate

Temperature-dependence of the clear-sky feedback in radiative-convective equilibrium
Kluft et al. Geophysical Research Letters



Supreme Court to weigh EPA authority to regulate greenhouse pollutants

Posted on 10 November 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Lexi Smith

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, West Virginia v. EPA, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants.

The case presents an opportunity for the Court to overturn key climate precedents and potentially change the relationship between federal agencies and Congress. The decision could have far-reaching consequences for federal climate policy and perhaps even for federal agencies more broadly.

How did we get here, how far might the Court go, and what consequences might the case have for climate change regulation and executive branch authority?

EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases: Massachusetts v. EPA

In a groundbreaking decision in 2007, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. During the Bush administration, environmentalists petitioned the agency to issue a rule on the regulation of greenhouse gases. The Bush EPA denied the petition, and environmental groups, states, and local governments challenged that decision in court. The Supreme Court’s decision turned on whether greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide fall under the definition of “air pollutants,” which the Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to regulate.

The Court concluded that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act’s definition, and also noted that the EPA cannot refuse to regulate greenhouse gases for policy reasons outside the Clean Air Act itself, as the Bush administration had done. The Court ordered EPA to either issue a finding that greenhouse gases are dangerous to the public health and welfare, the first step toward regulation, or to give a reasoned explanation for why greenhouse gases do not meet the threshold of endangerment outlined in the Clean Air Act. The agency ultimately found that greenhouse gases are dangerous to the public health and welfare, which formed the foundation for EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.

That Supreme Court’s ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA was a 5-4 decision, and environmental advocates leading up to it were not at all certain that they would win the case. In fact, the case was controversial at the time because many environmentalists worried that it would result in a harmful adverse ruling. The four liberals on the Court in 2007, Justices Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens, were joined by Justice Kennedy to form a majority. But Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Alito dissented.

Chief Justice Roberts’s dissent (joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) argued that the states, local governments, and environmental groups challenging the EPA should not have been allowed to sue in the first place because they lacked standing: One requirement of standing is a “concrete and particularized” injury. Chief Justice Roberts argued that harms from climate change affect everyone, so the injury in question was not sufficiently individualized and personal to support a lawsuit.

Justice Scalia’s dissent (joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito) focused on the Clean Air Act and argued that the Act is meant to address conventional air pollutants that harm human health directly through exposure, such as inhalation. He maintained that the Act was not meant to address the broader issue of climate change, and that greenhouse gases therefore did not fall under the definition of “air pollutants.”

Of course, the Supreme Court’s composition has changed significantly since 2007. With a 6-3 conservative-liberal divide, the conservative dissenters’ objections to Massachusetts v. EPA may now represent the majority view.