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BaerbelW

Bärbel Winkler lives and works in Germany. She has always had a lot of interest in environmental issues and has been active as a volunteer at the local zoo and a conservation group for many years. Over time and while learning more and more about it, Bärbel became increasingly aware and concerned about climate change and what it will mean for generations to come. As a means to turn her concerns regarding climate change into something productive, Bärbel joined the Skeptical Science team in 2010 and started translating selected content into German. Since 2013 she has been coordinating the translation efforts for all languages and also contributes a blog-post every once in a while

Follow Bärbel on Twitter: @BaerbelW

Publications

Skuce, A. G., Cook, J., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Rice, K., Green, S. A., ... & Nuccitelli, D. (2017). Does It Matter if the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Is 97% or 99.99%? Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 0270467617702781.

Cook, J., Winkler, B., Finn, C., & Dodgen, T. (2017, January). Challenges and learning opportunities in a controversial MOOC forum on climate science denial. In 10th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (Iceri2017)(pp. 3460-3468). IATED Academy.

Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., Carlton, J. S., Lewandowsky, S., Skuce, A. G., Green, S. A., ... & Nuccitelli, D. (2016). Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 048002.

Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., Way, R., Jacobs, P., & Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 024024+

Jacobs, P. H., Jokimäki, A., Rice, K., Green, S. A., & Winkler, B. (2016). Polluted Discourse: Communication and Myths in a Climate of Denial. In Communicating Climate-Change and Natural Hazard Risk and Cultivating Resilience (pp. 37-54). Springer International Publishing. Link to abstract

 

Recent blog posts


Shining a spotlight on translations and our translator teams

Posted on 23 June 2020 by BaerbelW

Even though Skeptical Science's "lingua franca" is English we do have a lot of content translated into more than 20 languages and anybody can get involved with translations as I explained in a blog post in 2014. A lot of the translation work tends to fly under the radar and in order to change this, I'll use this blog post to highlight currently active translator teams as well as some recent translation projects we've been tackling.

TranslatorsCurrently active translators for Portuguese (PT), German (DE), Russian (RU), Hebrew (HE) and Indonesian (ID)

Our most consistently active translator team, which has been working together for many years, is located in Brazil and tackles translations into Portuguese. If you look closely at the flags in the header banner you'll see that we use the Brazilian flag for those translations as at least a small kudo to our dedicated and growing team there.

Starting in 2019 many rebuttal translations into Hebrew have been created by a team from Israel including students from an introduction to climate course. If you check the overview page for these translations carefully, you'll see that the columns for "fact" and "myth" in the table have been (recently) reversed as Hebrew is a language read from right to left, so it made sense to adapt this page accordingly.

Read more...

1 comments


FLICC-Poster - a successful collaboration between klimafakten and SkS

Posted on 12 May 2020 by BaerbelW

We already have the FLICC-taxonomy and its history, but now we also have the FLICC-Poster!

FLICC-Poster-EN

This poster is the result of a successful collaboration between us and our German language partnersite klimafakten.de. Our partnership goes back to 2011 when Klimafakten started out with German translations of several of our rebuttals and this short announcement tells the story: Klimafakten.de - Leveraging Skeptical Science content. Since then, Klimafakten has added many more fact checks to their site and we have leveraged this by simply cross-linking from many of our translated rebuttal "stubs" to their German versions.

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0 comments


EGU2020 - Sharing Geoscience Online - Live-streamed and Recorded Sessions

Posted on 11 May 2020 by BaerbelW

By far the most sessions throughout Sharing Geoscience Online 2020 were held as live chats, like the one on Monday featuring many citizens science projects I already wrote about. But, the organizers also added some live-streamed and pre-recorded sessions to the schedule and this post features the ones I watched and liked.

Welcome to Sharing Geoscience Online

Monday

The Great Debate GDB3 titled Cutting carbon in the geosciences: conference participation versus online streaming and fieldwork versus remote observations had been planned well in advance of the Corona pandemic but now couldn't have been more topical!

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EGU2020 - Sharing Geoscience Online - Epilog

Posted on 10 May 2020 by BaerbelW

When it started on Monday May 4, 2020 I didn't really have much of a clue how this year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union would work out as Sharing Geoscience Online was one big experiment. Now that it's over, the impressive numbers speak for themselves (I think):

SummaryStats

It's really amazing that the event's organizers were able to change course mid-March after the program for the in person event in Vienna had already been finalized. They then only had about 6 weeks to re-shuffle everything, find and set up a typed chat-system, rework the presentation format to allow a display of almost any format to be uploaded with each accepted abstract, make commenting available for the displays, figure out which short courses could be delivered as pre-recorded webinars via YouTube (and actually produce them!), which other sessions could be live-streamed on Zoom and I don't know how many other things! In addition to all that, they also had to put together and share "how-to" instructions of how this completely new and "cobbled together" conference system would work for organizers, conveners and attandees. My prolog post from mid-April provides some details about these preparations.

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0 comments


The Conspiracy Theory Handbook: Downloads and translations

Posted on 7 May 2020 by BaerbelW

CTHB-EN-ThumbConspiracy theories attempt to explain events as the secretive plots of powerful people. While conspiracy theories are not typically supported by evidence, this doesn’t stop them from blossoming. Conspiracy theories damage society in a number of ways. To help minimise these harmful effects, The Conspiracy Theory Handbook, by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, explains why conspiracy theories are so popular, how to identify the traits of conspiratorial thinking, and what are effective response strategies.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on dealing with conspiracy theories. It also introduces the abbreviation CONSPIR which serves as a mnemonic to more easily remember these seven traits of conspiratorial thinking:

  • Contradictory
  • Overriding suspicion
  • Nefarious intent
  • Something must be wrong
  • Persecuted Victim
  • Immune to Evidence
  • Re-interpreting Randomness

tcthb_button

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15 comments


EGU2020 - Sharing Geoscience Online - Citizens Science Session

Posted on 5 May 2020 by BaerbelW

Due to the Corona pandemic and subsequent efforts to slow its spread, this year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) with around 16,000 participants obviously couldn't take place in Vienna, Austria. As already explained in the initial blog post published a few weeks ago, the organizers decided to still have the conference but to move it almost comletely online - not a simple task to do within just a few weeks and with around 700 sessions and 18,000 submitted abstracts in the program! On Monday morning, May 4 2020 Sharing Geoscience Online (#ShareEGU20) kicked off with its first sessions, now all held as typed chats.

#shareEGU20

Like me, you are possibly wondering how chat-sessions could work for scientific sessions, especially as the tool was only selected and put together a few weeks ago! So, EGU provided a lot of information for conveners, authors and attendees of these chat sessions to hopefully answer most of their questions. This even included a short recorded chat-demo on Youtube!

Read more...

1 comments


Skeptical Science Housekeeping - April 2020

Posted on 21 April 2020 by BaerbelW

In the early years of Skeptical Science - namely until 2010 - John Cook published housekeeping articles every once in a while to alert readers of newly available functionality. A lot has happened since then and I won't bore you with a long list of what all has changed in all those years. But, there are some items we'd like to make you aware of in case you missed them thus far. So, here goes!

A new URL for the Heat Widget

heatwidgetSomething or other went wrong but unfortunately went unnoticed with renewing the domain for 4hiroshimas.com last year. Things looked fine from our end as the widget kept working properly and the domain information looked correct on whois.com. But, it turned out that all was not well when we wanted to renew the domain a couple of weeks ago, only to find out that it "may be for sale". Apparently there had been some hiccups with the domain-transfer last year from one registrar to another and it was in limbo for too long. This allowed somebody else to "snatch" it. As we don't know if we'll be able to get the domain back, we went for plan B and registered 4hiroshimas.info. The short URL https://sks.to/heat shown on the widget now redirects there and will find the correct background information for the app.

How you can help: If you published articles pointing to 4hiroshimas.com and have a means to update them, please switch the URL to https://sks.to/heat. Thanks!

Website and server updates

Regular readers of Skeptical Science may have noticed this "down for maintenance" notice a couple of times over the last couple of weeks:

Maintenance

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1 comments


EGU2020 - Sharing Geoscience Online - Prolog

Posted on 16 April 2020 by BaerbelW

Like many others, I was looking forward to travelling to Vienna in the first week of May to participate in this year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union, something I had done and enjoyed in both 2018 and 2019. But, due to the Corona epidemic the in-person event had to be cancelled like so many other gatherings where people would otherwise meet in the hundreds or - like in Vienna - thousands. Something which obviously now couldn't happen. Instead of completely foregoing this year's general assembly, the organisiers decided to do something unprecedented instead and EGU 2020: Sharing Geoscience Online was born!

EGU2020

Here is how this will work according to the website:

EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online (#shareEGU20) brings part of the activities of the EGU General Assembly 2020 online. We hope that authors and conveners will join us in sharing their research and discussing with colleagues. From 4 to 8 May 2020 (CEST) everyone can join us online for their favourite sessions.

Participation in EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online does not require a separate registration or the payment of a registration fee. For uploads of presentation materials and commenting, authors and participants only need to have a Copernicus user account. Viewing presentation materials and participating in chats does not require registration or login. To organize your participation, please consider preparing your personal programme.

This means, that all the presentation material will be open access and participating in the chat sessions or commenting on the presentations will be free of charge and open to everybody interested! There's a lot of information on the EGU-website of how they plan to pull this off (e.g. the FAQs) - not an easy feat considering that about 18,000 abstracts have been submitted to 700 sessions!

One of these many presentations will be one I submitted together with John Cook for session ITS1.8/SSS1.1 - Bridging between scientific disciplines: Participatory Citizen Science and Open Science as a way to go. Initially we were given a poster for our abstract titled "The story of Skeptical Science: How citizen science helped to turn a website into a go-to resource for climate science" but now - just like everybody else - we were given the opportunity to upload a "display". This could be anything like a graphic, an animation, a video or a presentation as long as its size stayed below 50MB.

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0 comments


Fallacy Taxonomy and Icons available via Wikimedia

Posted on 16 March 2020 by BaerbelW

Many of you will already be familiar with the FLICC graphic which shows the 5 main characterstics of (climate) science denial, namely fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking and conspiracy theories. It was first introduced when our MOOC "Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial" launched in April 2015.

FLICC

In the five (!) years since, John Cook and colleagues have been busy refining and enlarging this fallacy taxonomy as explained in a series of three new videos for Denial101x. Here is the first of them:

Part 2

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How I try to break climate silence

Posted on 6 March 2020 by BaerbelW

When it comes to climate change many people are still hesitant to talk about it even though many experts have stated that it's important to break "climate silence" whenever an opportunity presents itself. For example, here is how John Cook put it in the article 16 Sustainability Leaders Weigh In: How YOU Can Help To Reverse Global Warming:

"The most effective thing we can do as individuals to fight global warming is break the climate silence. Talk to our friends, family, and most importantly, our elected officials – letting them know we care about the issue of climate change and want to hand over a safe world to our children. It’s only by building social and political momentum that we will make the needed transition to clean, renewable society.

From Jill Kubit:

"From my perspective, talking about climate change is the single most effective thing that you can do.

By this, I don’t mean having an argument with someone in your family who disagrees. I mean thinking deeply about why you care about climate change – why this matters to you – and then sharing this perspective with your own friends and family and with your community. This action – talking about climate in an authentic, personal way – helps normalize the idea that climate change is an important, urgent issue and breaks the invisibility or climate silence that currently exists within our culture. [...]"

From Katharine Hayhoe:

"The single most important thing we can do about climate change is, talk about it!

Studies have shown that not even 25 percent of people in the U.S. hear somebody else talk about climate change more than once or twice a year. The biggest challenge we face isn’t science denial. It’s complacency: nobody thinks climate change is going to affect them personally, and why would they if we never talk about it? [...]"

By now, I guess that you get the gist! There's even a cartoon for this in John's new book "Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change":

ClimateSilence

Anybody who knows me, will be aware that I'm all for "breaking climate silence" and will do just that given half a chance! So, the rest of this blog post will list some of the things I do or at least try in order to break climate silence. Please use the comments to share how you try to do it and what - if any feedback - you received.

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10 comments


Next self-paced run of Denial101x starts on February 4

Posted on 31 January 2020 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on February 4 and it will be the 13th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 40,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one. The next run will be our longest self-paced run thus far and will stay open until December 16 2020, giving you ample time to work through the material at your own pace.

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0 comments


2019 in Review: another busy year for the Skeptical Science team

Posted on 31 December 2019 by BaerbelW

As we wrap up 2019 and prepare for 2020, here is our annual review of what our team was up to during the year. As in previous recaps, this one is divided into several sections:

Scholary publications, projects and books

Other publications and activities

Recorded talks and podcasts

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences

Website activities

Cranky Uncle fundraising campaign
Collage2019

Scholarly publications, projects and books

Several members of the SkS-team were lead- or co-authors of peer-reviewed papers published during 2019. Here is a list of some of them:

Is emphasising consensus in climate science helpful for policymaking? 
John Cook
In Hulme, M. (Ed.), Contemporary Climate Change Debates (in press)

Testing Logic-based and Humor-based Corrections for Science, Health, and Political Misinformation on Social Media
Emily Vraga, Sojung Claire Kim, John Cook
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 63(3), 393-414

Understanding and countering misinformation about climate change
John Cook
In Samoilenko, S., & Chiluwa, I. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online(pp. 281-306). Hershey, PA: IGI-Global

Turning climate misinformation into an educational opportunity
John Cook
In J. C. Fessmann (Ed.), Strategic Climate Change Communications: Effective Approaches to Fighting Climate Denial (pp. 27-44). Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press.

Science by Social Media: Attitudes Towards Climate Change are Mediated by Perceived Social Consensus
Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Nicolas Fay & Gilles Gignac
Memory & Cognition

America Misled: How the fossil fuel industry deliberately misled Americans about climate change
John Cook, Geoffrey Supran, Stephan Lewandowsky, Naomi Oreskes & Ed Maibach Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

A Limited Role for Unforced Internal Variability in Twentieth-Century Warming 
Karsten Haustein, Friederike E. L. Otto, Victor Venema, Peter Jacobs, Kevin Cowtan, Zeke Hausfather, Robert G. Way, Bethan White, Aneesh Subramanian, and Andrew P. Schurer
Journal of Climate, 32(16), 4893-4917

Comment on “The Impact of Recent Forcing and Ocean Heat Uptake Data on Estimates of Climate Sensitivity”
Kevin Cowtan and Peter Jacobs
Journal of Climate, 33(1), 391-396.

Our 2013 study Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature hit one million downloads on July 17! This makes it the #1 most downloaded paper at the journal Environmental Research Letters. In fact, it's the most downloaded paper in the 80+ journals published by the Institute of Physics. One million+ downloads are usually reserved for viral videos involving piano-playing cats. Not a bad effort for a peer-reviewed scientific paper!

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Top 10 most viewed rebuttals in September and October 2019

Posted on 11 November 2019 by BaerbelW

We recently posted about the Top 5 most viewed rebuttals during the month of October on social media and were surprised that the Facebook post garnered quite some reactions and managed to reach many people. So, here is a more detailed blog post also looking at September data which - most likely due to the "Greta effect" saw some interesting spikes and activities.

Let's start with the ten most popular Skeptical Science rebuttals during October 2019:

Top10-October

Note: this is based on views across rebutal versions where there can be up to three. You can access the rebuttals via these links consensus, impacts, past, meatco2, sun, model, greenhouse, antarctica, and 1970s

What does this tell us?

Although Skeptical Science runs a semi-daily blog on matters of the science of anthropogenic climate change with a particular eye to impediments to climate progress, the site was invented and exists for the primary purpose of combating misinformation and disinformation about anthropogenic climate change.

Given our mission, Skeptical Science's main stock in trade consists of a few hundred articles written and maintained by Skeptical Science volunteers, examining various misconceptions about anthropogenic climate change and derived from peer-reviewed scientific research. These are usually presented in several levels of detail and complexity, allowing readers to get a quick synopsis and then seek deeper understanding if desired. Reflecting the site's reason for being, these standing items are viewed far more frequently than our blog posts.

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12 comments


Talking about climate science at SAP TechEd in Barcelona

Posted on 23 October 2019 by BaerbelW

I work in the IT-department of a German manufacturing company where I help maintain the company's installation of the SAP business software. SAP is a global IT-company headquartered in Walldorf, Germany. Each fall, SAP organizes a large technical conference - the TechEd - in Las Vegas, Barcelona and Bangalore. These events are comparable to scientific conferences, offering keynote speeches, lectures, hands-on sessions and vendor exhibitions all happening at the same time in different tracks. Several thousand participants come together each year at each of the three locations for three days to learn about many aspects of the SAP system we deal with on a day to day basis, or stuff we need to know for things to come.

TechEd-Hall8

In addition to working as a developer, I've also been active in the online SAP Community for several years, asking and answering questions and writing blog posts every once in a while. Therefore I was happy to be able to join SAP TechEd in Barcelona this year, which I could combine with a two weeks vacation at Spain's Costa del Sol. And while my husband and I flew to and from Malaga for our vacation (not having realized that it would have been possible - if timeconsuming - to get there by train), I decided to take the train from Malaga to Barcelona and back to at least not add another flight to my itinerary.

By now, I'm sure you are wondering why I'm writing about attending this conference as it doesn't really have anything to do with climate, right? Well, there are a couple of reasons to write about it. For one, SAP is trying to make the conference as sustainable as possible, by offsetting its CO2-emissions, including those incurred by the participants' travels (we were asked to fill out a questionnaire for that). For another, in Barcelona, they handed out reusable water-bottles which we could then refill everywhere at the venue and by doing so, contribute to the "Fill-it-forward" project. I also heard, that SAP decided to not have some of the large convention area laid out with carpet as that would have been thrown away after the 3-day event, causing a massive amount of waste which now was avoided.

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2 comments


Using fallacy cartoons in a quiz

Posted on 25 September 2019 by BaerbelW

Did you do any of the fallacy quizzes John Cook posted recently? If not, you can still access them via his tweet. Starting with quiz4, John used some of his cartoons in the quizzes asking which fallacies they represented. Here is the first example:

Example-Fallacy-CartoonDo you know which - if any  - fallacy the cartoon depicts?

John also shared some of these fallacy cartoons and questions on social media and they - just like his quizzes overall - proved to be very popular.

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8 comments


The Consensus Handbook: download and translations

Posted on 20 September 2019 by BaerbelW

CHB-EN-ThumbPublished in March 2018, The Consensus Handbook summarizes research into how opponents of climate action have cast doubt on consensus, why that matters, and how we (including journalists) can respond. It provides answers to questions like these:

  • Why has manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus been such a priority for opponents of climate action?
  • What kind of strategies have they employed?
  • Most importantly, how should science-based climate communicators respond?

To answer these questions, Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) researchers John Cook and Ed Maibach in collaboration with Sander van der Linden from Cambridge and Stephan Lewandowsky from Bristol University developed The Consensus Handbook. This concise, practical booklet examines how opponents of climate action have been attempting to misinform the public and policy makers about the consensus for decades, and it explains why. Drawing on numerous scientific studies, the handbook also recommends how to respond to this misinformation campaign by effectively communicating the extent of the scientific consensus, and it provides guidance to climate scientists who are invited to "debate" about climate change.

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3 comments


Skeptical Science to join the Global Climate Strike on September 20!

Posted on 18 September 2019 by BaerbelW

By now, many of you will already be aware that a big week of climate action kicks off on Friday, September 20 with a Global Climate Strike. Skeptical Science will join the digital version of the strike which is why we added a special - and closable - footer pointing to more information to our homepage.

ClimateStrikePoster

Come September 20, the footer will be replaced by a full screen overlay. However, as we expect many attacks from the usual suspects to coincide with the week of action, we‘ll not switch off Skeptical Science completely and the overlay can be closed to keep all our content readily available should any debunkings become necessary. Frankly, we‘d be quite surprised if this were not needed!

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4 comments


A lecture program about climate change for people with learning disabilities

Posted on 30 August 2019 by BaerbelW

Earlier this year I was asked if I could support a lecture program about climate change for people with learning disabilities. The program was organised by Christa Rommel who works at the Remstal Werkstätten which are part of the Diakonie Stetten in southern Germany. They regularly offer such lecture programs for the people working there in order to have them learn about and get involved with general societal topics. One of the biggest challenges of such programs is that the information has to be presented in easy to understand language. This write-up is a short summary of the program with the emphasis on the part I was actively involved with. A report about the full program was put together by Christa Rommel and you can download it (in German) here.

The program was divided into three parts, happening within one week in February 2019:

  • Day 1 featured an inhouse lecture about the basics of human-caused climate change held by Jürgen Lutz
  • On day 2 I met the group in the Wilhelma, the zoological and botanical garden in Stuttgart for a climate-themed tour which also included information presented by Benedikt Mathes, one of the participants
  • Day 3 was used to summarise what the group learned during the program and how they already try to lessen their own carbon footprint

Here are some impressions from the Wilhelma-tour with translations of easy to understand wording used in the report.

DiakonieStetten-01

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0 comments


Introducing a new citizens initiative for carbon pricing in Europe

Posted on 22 May 2019 by BaerbelW

A new European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) called “The fast, fair and effective solution to climate changewas launched on May 6. The proposal asks that the European Commission introduce a carbon-pricing policy known as Carbon Fee and Dividend at the European Union level. The European Commission registered the proposal earlier this month.

Organizers behind the initiative now have one year until May 6, 2020 to gather the 1 million signatures needed for the European Commission to consider the proposal.

Scientists and economists agree: Putting an increasing price on pollution and giving the returns to households works. A steadily increasing price on fossil fuels will reduce pollution by leading companies and consumers to choose cleaner, cheaper options. All money collected would be returned fairly and for example every month to citizens as a dividend. Most low- and middle-income families will be better off by this policy.

ECI-Logo

The European Citizens' Initiative is a democratic instrument that enables every European citizen to shape policy by submitting a legislative proposal. If at least one million signatures are collected for a citizens' initiative, the Commission has to examine the proposal and indicate the steps it will take.

"We're at a turning point in history," says Brigitte Van Gerven, spokesperson for the Initiative. "After years of apathy for the climate problem, people have awakened, thanks to the actions of Greta Thunberg and the climate strikers. The challenge now is to convert this energy into a strong and ambitious climate policy."

As a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Carbon Fee and Dividend was implemented earlier this year in Canada, where citizens have already received their “Climate Action Incentive” checks. In the United States, carbon-fee-and-dividend legislation has been introduced by members of both parties as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

The policy is a concrete, realistic and financially feasible policy that is budget neutral for the government. Moreover, it is socially just, since it is not a tax increase, but a green tax shift - a redistribution from those who pollute a lot to those who pollute less.

Read more...

17 comments


Getting involved with Climate Science via crowdfunding and crowdsourcing

Posted on 17 April 2019 by BaerbelW

This article was orginially published in December 2016 and was updated on December 22, 2019 to include David Borlace's "Have a Think" Patreon project.

At a guess, many of you reading this post are already making good personal choices to help mitigate climate change. Some of you would perhaps like to do more. So, here are some suggestions where you can get actively involved either via crowdfunding, where you make a monetary donation or via crowdsourcing, where you donate your or your computer's time to sift through different sets of data.

This post is divided into three sections:

Ongoing crowdfunding - sites and groups listed here are continously looking for donations

Shortterm crowdfunding - these are projects with a target amount and a set deadline

Crowdsourcing - projects looking for your (or your computer's) time


Ongoing crowdfunding

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF)

Logo-CSLDF The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was established to make sure that legal actions are not viewed as an attack against one scientist or institution, but as attacks against the scientific endeavor as a whole. As well. the CSLDF protects individual scientists facing unfair legal attacks by organized groups. Given the current climate - pun most definitely intended - in the U.S. the CSLDF's work is unfortunately becoming ever more important. Link to donation page

Dark Snow Project

Jason Box's and Peter Sinclair's The Dark Snow Project gathers ‘hard numbers’ from the Arctic to quantify the distant snow/ice melting impact of industrial and wildfire black carbon soot; mineral dust; and microbes, each melt factor having some human driven enhancement. Link to donation page LogoDarkSnow

The Australian Climate Council

LogoClimateCouncil After thousands of Australians chipped in to Australia's biggest crowd-funding campaign, the abolished Climate Commission has relaunched as the new, independent Climate Council. We exist to provide independent, authoritative climate change information to the Australian public. Why? Because our response to climate change should be based on the best science available. Link to donation page

Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE)

Your donation to Citizens’ Climate Education will train ordinary citizens to promote fair, effective, and non-partisan climate change solutions. Citizens’ Climate Education’s volunteers understand that we owe it to tomorrow’s generations to face our climate challenges today. These informed, respectful citizens work to build a clean and prosperous future, leading elected officials towards solutions that reduce carbon pollution, create jobs, and strengthen the American economy. Link to donation page Logo-CCE

Real Skeptic Blog

Logo-RS The goal of Real Skeptic is to look at claims about science and investigate what the scientific literature has to say about it. Since the official start of Real Sceptic a wide array of articles about skepticism were written for this website. There’s a heavy emphasis on the accuracy of the articles published and the usage of high quality sources. Link to Patreon page

Inside Climate News

InsideClimate News is an essential, global voice that exposes the truth about the climate crisis. We connect the dots to those responsible, so that you can hold them accountable. As we enter our 10th year, we’re launching The InsideClimate Circle to ensure that our award-winning nonprofit news organization remains fiercely independent and courageously persistent. Link to membership page ICN-Log

ClimateAdam

Logo-ClimateAdam Adam Levy is a doctor in atmospheric physics from the University of Oxford. During his research he saw the huge gap between what we know about climate change and how we talk about it. So he created the ClimateAdam channel dedicated to explaining climate change in playful and engaging ways: everything from the crucial science to the actions we can all take. In order to grow his channel, he set up a Patreon project.

Just have aThink

Dave Borlace has been conscious of environmental issues since studying for a BSc in Technology with the Open University back in the late 1990s. In early 2017 Dave set off on a quest to create climate communication videos that aim to decode the sometimes overwhelmingly complicated and confusing scientific information around climate change and explain the concepts in the sort of plain English that he, and hopefully you, can understand. As well as looking at the causes and consequences of climate change, Dave also presents news of the technological breakthroughs that may help us avoid, or at least mitigate, the worst of those consequences. To support this work Dave has now set up a Patreon page. ICN-Log

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2019 - Friday

Posted on 11 April 2019 by BaerbelW

As the main post was getting too large and unwieldy quickly, I decided to break it up into one post per day. As each day becomes available, the previous post will link to it at the end.

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2019 - Thursday

Posted on 11 April 2019 by BaerbelW

As the main post was getting too large and unwieldy quickly, I decided to break it up into one post per day. As each day becomes available, the previous post will link to it at the end.

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2019 - Wednesday

Posted on 11 April 2019 by BaerbelW

As the main post was getting too large and unwieldy quickly, I decided to break it up into one post per day. As each day becomes available, the previous post will link to it at the end.

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2019 - Tuesday

Posted on 11 April 2019 by BaerbelW

As the main post was getting too large and unwieldy quickly, I decided to break it up into one post per day. As each day becomes available, the previous post will link to it at the end.

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2019 - Monday

Posted on 11 April 2019 by BaerbelW

As the main post was getting too large and unwieldy quickly, I decided to break it up into one post per day. As each day becomes available, the previous post will link to it at the end.

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2019 - blogging from day to day

Posted on 8 April 2019 by BaerbelW

Just like last year, I travelled to Vienna to participate in the General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union (EGU) held from April 8 to 12. Different to 2018, I'll (try to) add to this blog on a daily basis, recounting what happened during each day as time allows. So please, remember to check back every once in a while to see any updates! I'll use the comment thread to highlight updates.

WelcomeEGU2019

As this recap will get a bit lengthy, there'll be one post per day and you can jump directly to the different days via this list as pages get published:


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Next self-paced run of Denial101x starts on March 5

Posted on 4 March 2019 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on March 5 and it will be the 12th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 40,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one. The next run will be our longest self-paced run thus far and will stay open until December 17 2019, giving you ample time to work through the material at your own pace.

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59 comments


Skeptical Science takes the Pro-Truth-Pledge

Posted on 7 January 2019 by BaerbelW

Skeptical Science has been fighting misinformation about human-caused climate change since the website was launched in 2007. But with the rise in prevalence of fake news over the last few years, protecting truth and facts has become more important than ever. To help with that task, some additional means by which to distinguish between truth-tellers and those who spread misinformation would be useful to have. This is where the Pro-Truth-Pledge comes in.

ProTruthPledge

The Pro-Truth-Pledge (website: www.ProTruthPledge.org) has been established in order to reclaim the fuzzy concept of "truth," which different people may interpret differently.  It gives a much stricter definition, outlined by the following twelve clearly-observable behaviors that research in behavioral science shows correlate with truthfulness:

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Portuguese Translation of The Debunking Handbook

Posted on 2 January 2019 by BaerbelW

dbh-portugueseThe Debunking Handbook is now available in Portuguese. Many thanks to our translator team in Brazil - Claudia Groposo, Luciano Marquetto and Sabrina Leitzke - who created this 12th(!) translation of the handbook.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Debunking Handbook into another language, please contact us (select "Enquiry about translations" from the drop-down list) to ensure nobody else is already working on your language. Then download this Word document which has all the English text in one column and a blank column in which to place the translated text. Once complete, send us back the document and we'll insert the translated text into the existing design. The already available translations can be found on this page.

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2018 in Review: a recap of the Skeptical Science year

Posted on 1 January 2019 by BaerbelW

It's time for another year-in-review post, so here is an account of what the SkS-team was up to during 2018. As in previous recaps, this one is divided into several sections:

Involvement with the IPCC 1.5°C report

Scholary publications

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Other educational activities

Conferences and presentations

Website activities and social media

What will 2019 bring?
Collage-2018

Involvement with the IPCC 1.5°C report

SkS members' involvement in the IPCC Special Report was a key achievement of 2018.

Mark Richardson was a contributing author on chapter 1 ("Framing and Context") of IPCC SR1.5  And, in a major development, Cowtan & Way (v2) was included as a fourth surface temperature dataset, given equal weight along with the traditional NASA, NOAA and HadCRUT series. Cowtan & Way was the main temperature series underpinning the regional warming analysis, while the Cowtan et al. (2015) model-observation comparison was also highlighted.

Thus, the following four papers figure quite prominently in this chapter (SkS authors in bold):

IPCC-1.5°C Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends
Kevin Cowtan and Robert G. Way, 2014
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 140(683), 1935-1944

Robust comparison of climate models with observations using blended land air and ocean sea surface temperatures
Kevin Cowtan, Zeke Hausfather, Ed Hawkins,Peter Jacobs,Michael E. Mann, Sonia K. Miller et al., 2015
Geophysical Research Letters, 42(15), 6526-6534

Global temperature definition affects achievement of long-term climate goals
Mark Richardson, Kevin Cowtan, RJ Millar, 2018
Environmental Research Letters 13 (5), 054004

Reconciled climate response estimates from climate models and the energy budget of Earth
Mark Richardson, Kevin Cowtan, Ed Hawkins, and Martin B. Stolpe, 2016
Nature Climate Change, 6, 931-935


Scholary publications

Apart from having these papers featured in the IPCC 1.5°C report, several members of the SkS-team were lead- or co-authors of peer-reviewed papers published during 2018. Here is a list of some of them:

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Discussing climate change on the net

Posted on 26 November 2018 by BaerbelW

Today, many discussions about climate change happen on the internet. People interested in the topic share information and have lively discussions about the latest studies and findings. But, you'll also find many contributors voicing not just minor doubts about human-caused climate change but also those who outright deny it. In this blog post, I suggest some options which exist to deal with these dissenting voices. The suggestions are based on a presentation I prepared for the K3-conference in Salzburg in September 2017 and which I was invited to write about for the Promet journal published by the German Weatherservice (DWD).

Consensus among scientists - lack of consensus on the internet

At a guess, you'll have noticed the following more than just once: As soon as an article about climate change gets published on the internet, it usually doesn't take long for comments voicing doubt or outright denying that it's human-caused to appear. Even though there's an overwhelming consensus of well over 90 percent in scientific publications and among climate scientists that the current climate change is human-caused, you can easily get quite a different impression from what gets posted on the net.

CoC

Obvously - and as we keep pointing out - the consensus isn't proof of human-caused climate change. Instead, the consensus has emerged from the evidence collected and analysed for over 150 years by thousands of climate scientists around the globe. The evidence and results fit together like many pieces of a large puzzle coming together and falling in place to create a coherent picture. You'll however often be hard pressed to find this conensus on the internet. This is when knowing the five characteristics of science denial comes in handy to better understand and evaluate comments posted with an obvious dismissive slant. They can be summarised by the acronym FLICC:

  • Fake experts
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Impossible expectations
  • Cherry Picking
  • Conspiracy theories

How best to react to dismissive comments?

One option is to respond directly and to debunk misleading statements with links to relevant and reliabe sources. This, however, can become very time consuming and leaves readers with the feeling that there are still more questions than answers.

RespondDismissiveCartoon: John Cook

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Next self-paced run of Denial101x starts on October 16

Posted on 9 October 2018 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on October 16 and it will be the 11th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 35,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one. The next run won't close until February 26 2019, giving you ample time to work through the material at your own pace.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

Posted on 21 August 2018 by BaerbelW

Checking our Twitter stream on July 26, we were pleasantly surprised to notice that Jonathan Dean Coey had nominated Skeptical Science for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Sunshind-blogger-award

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The award is driven entirely by the community, passed from blogger to blogger in recognition of their inspiring, creative and motivational blogs. Each nominee passes it on to 11 of their favourite bloggers, and round and round it goes. This is a great way to give recognition to bloggers who may otherwise fly under the radar of many people.

For accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post and/or on your blog.

So a big thank-you to Jonathan Dean Coey for nominating us for this award! As Skeptical Science is a global team effort, several of us have contributed answers to the questions we received from him. It’s therefore perhaps a bit different compared to other posts in this series where one blog often equals one author!


Jonathan's Questions and Our Answers

1. What will your blog be like in 5 years?

[Baerbel] Hopefully, Skeptical Science (SkS) will no longer need to fight misinformation regarding climate science in 5 years’ time and can actually report on successfully implemented mitigation policies in order to keep global warming to a manageable level (one can dream, right?!?) .

[Dana] We expect that in five years, climate science denial will no longer exist, and Skeptical Science (SkS) will be a nonstop party, celebrating humanity’s evolution to a wiser, more enlightened state that includes finding solutions to the existential threats we face. Of course, that’s also what we thought five years ago!

[David K] I have high confidence that SKS’s list of rebuttals will still be needed five years from now. There are many science deniers who have an amazing ability to avoid reality. And in today’s world of “fake news” their efforts to delay action on climate change will only continue to grow over the next five years.

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Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

Posted on 1 August 2018 by BaerbelW

Over five years ago, our team published "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature" (Cook et al. 2013) which caused quite a stir - and that, even though it wasn't the first peer-reviewed paper to find a 97% consensus on human-caused global warming. In 2014 we learned, that our study had been voted ERL's best article of 2013 and as of right now it has been downloaded a whopping 829,000+ times.

Last Week Tonight: Climate Change Debate

One of the best and arguably funniest treatments our study received, was a sketch put together in 2014 for John Oliver's HBO show "Last Week Tonight". In the segment, John Oliver illustrated to great comic effect what a statistically representative climate change debate would look like. You can view it below (warning: the video includes some profane language).

From sketch to study

As of this writing, the video has been viewed 7.8+ million times. With this many views, it's not too surprising that some researchers got curious and wanted to find out if a comedy sketch like this could have an impact on how people think about human-caused climate change. And this is exactly what Paul R. Brewer from the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware and Jessica McKnight of the School of Communication at Ohio State University set out to do at the end of 2014. Their study "A Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate: Satirical Television News, Scientific Consensus, and Public Perceptions of Global Warming" was published in the Atlantic Journal of Communication on June 30, 2017.

Here is the study's abstract:

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10th run of Denial101x starts on July 10!

Posted on 5 July 2018 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on July 10 and it will be the 10th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 35,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one.

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4 comments


Climate Science blogs around the world

Posted on 6 June 2018 by BaerbelW

After recently publishing an article about Climate Science websites around the world, some suggestions came in via comments or emails to add more sites to the post. But, these were mostly for blogs instead of full-fledged websites so they didn't quite fit the focus of that earlier post. So, here is the companion article introducing non-English blogs focused on climate science around the world.

Dutch - The Netherlands

Klimaatverandering

KlimaatveranderingThe Dutch blog "Klimaatverandering" (climate change) was started in 2008 by Bart Verheggen as the Dutch counterpart to his English blog “Our Changing Climate”. When confronted with certain myths he started to search the web for information, only to find that misinformation was often crowding out scientifically credible voices. This, combined with the large gap between public and scientific understanding of the issue, led him to start his own blog. His aim is to inject a scientifically grounded voice to the public debate about climate change.

Since 2012 Jos Hagelaars, Hans Custers en Bob Brand have joined his Dutch blog. Together they try to maintain a high quality blog by critiquing each other’s writings before publication, as an internal review procedure as it were (similar to what’s done at SkS). Some of their pieces have been featured at SkS as well, including e.g. the graph that Jos Hagelaars made about global average temperatures from the Last Glacial Maximum all the way to the projections for 2100. This figure has made its way to many different publications, sometimes in a slightly adapted form.

Bart Verheggen's student Max von Geuns recently published the aptly named article "Blogging as an Allergic Reaction to Climate Bullshit" in which Bart's motivation to blog gets explained in more detail.

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Climate Science websites around the world

Posted on 24 May 2018 by BaerbelW

Skeptical Science is not alone when it comes to sharing reliable information about climate science. There are many websites around the world which regularly write about the latest studies or set the record straight when misinformation gets spread. Our website is however somewhat unique as the backbone of SkS is our database cataloging and debunking more than 220 false claims made about the science of human-caused global warming.

In this article we highlight some international resources which share information about climate change and possibly even throw in some debunking for good measure in other languages than English. To get the ball rolling, here is what we have and are aware of thus far:

Brazil - Portuguese

Ciência e Clima

Ciencia-e-clima

Five years ago Raphael Romanizia decided to start a site about climate change during his master studies. Around that time, Brazil had been introducing several regulations and initiatives related to climate change, and he believed that the site would fit in with the momentum. A reliable reference exclusively specialized on climate science and climate change had been missing.

The site's main focus is to increase public awareness about human-caused climate change and the strategy is to make scientific information easily accessible. It presents scientific content in several different formats, including articles about climate science research, videos, or charts and graphics (or here) with important pieces of information (commented or explained by the site).

It is also a personal project, developed without financing or any kind of support - yet.

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2018 - a personal diary

Posted on 19 April 2018 by BaerbelW

As mentioned in an earlier post, SkS was involved with some sessions at the European Geoscience Union's General Assembly in Vienna held from April 8 to 13. This blog post is my personal recap of some of the sessions I visited and of the two I actively participated in. As I do all my climate-related activities in my spare time the week in Vienna was vacation for me from my actual job in IT. This had the big advantage that I could basically pick and choose which sessions to go to as I didn't have to be anywhere specific apart from the two sessions I presented in. And yes, this may not be everybody's idea of how to spend a vacation, but I consider it time well spent!

As this is a fairly long post, you can jump to the individual days via these direct links:

AustriaCenter

Monday, April 9

As this was my first time at the EGU General Assembly, I figured it would be a good idea to start off with a short course offered specifically for newbie-attendees like myself: How to navigate the EGU: tips and tricks. It made for an early start but was well worth it with giving us all the lay of the land both for EGU  in general and the General Assembly in particular. We learned how the EGU is organised, that it's a non-profit bottom-up organisation with currently about 15,000 members. They had almost 18,000 abstracts submitted for EGU 2018.

To get some more details, I then went to the EGU Planeray session scheduled over lunch, which meant that attendees got treated to some free lunchtime snacks. I wonder if the room would have been quite as packed without those goodies!

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New resource: The Fact-Myth-Fallacy slide-deck

Posted on 9 April 2018 by BaerbelW

Many of you will already be familiar with the Fact-Myth-Fallacy structure of a successful debunking. For a refresher, John Cook's post about "Inoculation theory: Using misinformation to fight misinformation" is a good primer on the topic.

FMF-structure

As examples for how to make use of this structure, we have short debunkings of many of the myths covered in our MOOC Denial101x readily available on an overview page, which also includes the relevant video lecture for each of them. The list is also available as a PDF-file:

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Skeptical Science at EGU 2018

Posted on 4 April 2018 by BaerbelW

Next week, about 14,000 scientists will meet in Vienna, Austria for the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018. Skeptical Science will make an appearance in a few of the thousands of sessions held from April 9 to 13.

EGU2018

Here are the sessions with SkS involvement:

Stephan Lewandowsky, Kevin Cowtan and Ari Jokimäki are co-authors for an oral presentation given by Stefan Rahmstorf on Monday:

CL2.03
Detecting and attributing climate change: trends, extreme events, and impacts
Convener: Pardeep Pall
Co-Conveners: Alexis Hannart , Seung-Ki Min , Aurélien Ribes

EGU2018-CL2.03

Bärbel Winkler will be one of the panelists in a short course about fighting misinformation convened by Bárbara Ferreira offered on Monday afternoon:

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2 comments


Students from KMIDS college in Bangkok posting comments

Posted on 27 March 2018 by BaerbelW

You may have noticed comments in several threads which seem to have come a bit out of the blue. We were wondering the same and found out that the comments are related to a climate change related class activitiy originating from King Mongkut's International Demonstration School (KMIDS) in Bangkok, Thailand. If you read the students' comments, please be aware that English is not their native language.

Here is what Michael Brunt who teaches the class sent us about this activity:

Skepticism is healthy and necessary in science. As a matter of fact, the first step in the scientific method, and in the general process of learning, is to ask a question. So, when it comes to climate change, it is understandable that people have questions. However, there exists so much misleading information that people are often confused thereby often forming misconceptions. 

At King Mongkut’s International Demonstration School (KMIDS) in Bangkok, Thailand, Mr. Michael Brunt’s 10th grade environmental science students have been discussing and analyzing climate change and the cryosphere, and addressing misconceptions. After viewing the documentary Chasing Ice, students have been given the task to get actively involved. As part of this task, each student has been required to select three articles of interest from the website Skeptical Science, read and research the articles, and post their comments. Part of their assessment will be the value that the students’ comments, thoughts, ideas, and opinions contribute to the article’s discussion.

Here is a picture of who the comments are coming from:

KMIDS-EnvScienceClass

Let's make this a memorable learning experience for the students!

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2017 in Review: looking back at 10 years of SkS and more

Posted on 3 January 2018 by BaerbelW

A lot of things happened at Skeptical Science in 2017.  Many will leave good memories, like celebrating our 10th birthday in August or the publication of several impactful papers, but there's also a sad memory to include: losing our dear friend Andy Skuce in September. Andy was a valued colleague to all of us for many years. A geologist's geologist, Andy was a calm, rational and erudite voice, a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and a wonderful sounding board. As his illness progressed Andy didn't talk much about it, remaining focused on the task at hand. In the end his passing came suddenly to all of us. Andy was a friend, a mate, a buddy, a 'good egg'. We miss him.

Vale Andy Skuce.

Andy


Below, you'll find an overview of our activities during 2017:

John Cook moves to Virginia

Scholary publications and books

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences and presentations

Website activities and translations


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1 comments


Welcome to Skeptical Science

Posted on 25 August 2017 by John Cook

Welcome!

TeamCollage

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88 comments


It's Skeptical Science's 10th Birthday!

Posted on 22 August 2017 by BaerbelW

Ten years ago, when Skeptical Science (SkS) first went live, John Cook had no inkling of what he had set in motion with the push of the proverbial button. Sifting through the material we have on SkS while putting this post together, I'm quite amazed at what our global team of volunteers has tackled and accomplished over the years. In this article, we'll take a look back and recount some of the pivotal moments in the history of SkS as it evolved from a personal database to a website reaching thousands of people around the globe each day.

SkS-Birthday

As this turned into a fairly long post, you can jump to individual years via these links or the respective buttons:

2007 - SkS goes live
2007

2008 - The calm before the storm
2008

2009 - Going social and international2009 2010 - From one blogger to a big team2010
 2011 - Peak in blogs and an award2011 2012 - Getting hacked and striking back2012
2013 - The year of the 97%2013  2014 - More publications and projects2014
2015 - Countering Denial with a MOOC2015 2016 - Making lemonade from lemons2016

2017 - Onwards and upwards
2017


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SkS Resources - Easy to remember Short URLs

Posted on 9 August 2017 by BaerbelW

Many of you will - hopefully! - be aware of the short URLs included on the Fixed-number list which lead to our rebuttals. They all have the format of "http://sks.to/" + [key word]. So, if you know that the key word for the rebuttal to "It's the sun" is "sun", you can build the link quickly by combining our short link and the key word to http://sks.to/sun. These short URLs come in handy on social media but also in comments sections and the full list is also available in a handy chart:

MythBingo

Myth-Rebuttal Chart - aka "Myth Bingo" - created by jg

What you may not yet know is that we also have short URLs for many other targets, be it for some of our own blog posts, some graphics or papers. This article will be used to list some of those URLs we keep using ourselves frequently. Please feel free to use them as well!

List of short URLs

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A look back - SkS in 2017

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2017

Onwards and upwards

There'll be a "full-length" year in review article towards the end of 2017, so this final post in our "birthday series" will focus on our global team of volunteers. If you read through the published profiles on our team page, you'll notice that we come from (almost) all over the world and many different walks of life.

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A look back - SkS in 2016

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2016

Making lemonade from lemons

As a reaction to continued attacks on our paper – and especially a published comment by Richard Tol in which he manages to misrepresent several other consensus studies – we collaborated with the authors of these studies and published "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming" in April (Cook et al. 2016). The two key conclusions from the paper are:

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A look back - SkS in 2015

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2015

Fighting Denial with a MOOC


Dana NDanaClimatologyBookCoveruccitelli's book Climatology versus Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics was published in February. It covers a wide range of climate-related topics, starting with a history of some key discoveries in the field of climate science beginning nearly 200 years ago. Along the way it debunks some common climate myths, progressing forward in time to the 1970s, when scientists’ ability to model the global climate began to advance rapidly. It examines the accuracy of a variety of global warming projections, starting with J.S. Sawyer in 1972, through the recent IPCC reports, as well as some predictions by contrarians like Richard Lindzen.

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A look back - SkS in 2014

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2014

More publications and projects

The year got off to a good start with Kevin Cowtan's and Robert Way's paper "Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends" published online in February. Kevin had published an accompanying blog post about the paper in January while it was still "in press". 

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A look back - SkS in 2013

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2013

The year of the 97%

The year started innocently enough with announcing the SkS Glossary in February, a neat piece of code making use of the IPCC glossary published with AR4 and programmed by Bob Lacatena. Hinting at more exciting news to come, Dana Nuccitelli and John Abraham launched their Guardian Blog "Climate Consensus - The 97%" in April. 

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0 comments


A look back - SkS in 2012

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2012

Getting hacked and striking back

In January, Ari Jokimäki started publishing his New research from last week, a new feature very well received by the readers of Skeptical Science. 

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0 comments


A look back - SkS in 2011

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2011

Peak in published posts and an award

DenialBookCover

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A look back - SkS in 2010

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2010

From 1 blogger to a big team

In February, a Skeptical Science page was started on Facebook and the rebuttals became readily available as an iPhone app created pro bono by Shine Technologies: Skeptical Science now an iPhone app. A couple of months later, the app became available for Android.

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A look back - SkS in 2009

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2009

Going social and international

As Skeptical Science's reach increased, so did comments on the rebuttals and blog posts. To keep comments and commenters focused on the science, John added a comments policy to SkS and announced this in a housekeeping post on November 9.

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0 comments


A look back - SkS in 2008

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2008

The calm before the storm

As John put it, "2008 was a pretty boring year", so this is the shortest post in this looking back series. Here is how the homepage looked like in the middle of the year:

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A look back - SkS in 2007

Posted on 18 July 2017 by BaerbelW

2007

SkS goes live

Sometime in early 2007 John Cook decided to create a database for himself as a resource to more easily counter the arguments from family members regarding AGW. Here is how he described this in a Guardian article a couple of years ago:

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The Trump Effect - Making Lemonade from Lemons

Posted on 13 June 2017 by BaerbelW

It may just be me but I get the distinct impression that - "thanks" to Donald Trump's ill-advised and shortsighted decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement - people have been hearing a lot more about climate change since June 1.

As one datapoint, the topic got a lot of coverage on German TV on June 2 with for example about 8 out of 15 minutes dedicated to it in the main news at 8pm or 10 minutes out of 30 at 10pm. There has also been a lot of coverage in the international press as shown in this very helpful CarbonBrief analysis which lets you select articles by various attributes: Global reaction: Trump pulls US out of Paris Agreement on climate change

We can also tell that there seems to be more interest in the topic by looking at the statistics for visits to Skeptical Science. We for example had 48,000+ and 57,000+ unique visitors on June 1 and 2 respectively which is more than twice as many as we have on average and between 3 and 4 times more than on those days a year ago.

One area where we've been keeping very close tabs are the daily views for our rebuttals and by now, we have collected more than 49,000 datapoints for them since the beginning of 2017. The "Trump effect" is clearly visible when looking at the number of rebuttal views from mid-May to early June:

JumpInRebuttalViewsFigure 1: Number of views for each rebuttal across the different levels available (basic, intermediate and advanced). Shown are only rebuttals with at least 500 views on a given day. The big outlier is the rebuttal for "there's no consensus".

Here are some other highlights captured in early June (so the data goes up to June 2). You can see the larger version of the graphics by clicking on them. The top-most viewed rebuttals are calculated by adding up the views of all three available levels basic, intermediate and advanced for each month:

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3 comments


Citizens’ Climate Lobby - Pushing for a price on carbon globally

Posted on 12 May 2017 by BaerbelW

This blog post provides an update to Dana Nuccitelli’s article from June 2013 about Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) as a lot has happened in the almost four years since it was published.The basics about CCL as explained in Dana’s post haven’t changed and because of that won’t be repeated here.

In 2013, CCL had been active mostly in the U.S. and Canada and the rest of the world didn’t yet play much of a role as shown in this snippet from Dana’s article:

“CCL is also exploring the possibility of launching some UK chapters. Although the UK is part of the European carbon cap and trade system, that system is experiencing difficulties, and CCL aims to maintain UK support for carbon pricing.”

Worldwide presence and impressive number

But, as this current map illustrates, CCL has by now gone global and has chapters on all continents except Antarctica:

CCL-Chapters

Blue pins designate active chapters and yellow pins show chapters in development. Link to live map

The following video is a snippet from last year’s CCL conference in Washington D.C. and gives a glimpse of why people from around the world are joining this effort to get a meaningful price on carbon:

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26 comments


SkS Team - Marching for Science around the globe

Posted on 1 May 2017 by BaerbelW

Many articles have already been written about the recent March for Science - Dana's Guardian post "March against madness" being a case in point. So, this one will not have a lot of words and will let the collages put together from the marches where members from our Skeptical Science team participated in speak for themselves. Where available, you'll also find links to the respective march's homepage. Enjoy!

Sou marched in Melbourne (and has a blog post on HotWhopper about it):

SkS-M4S-Sou

Baerbel joined the rally in Stuttgart (organiser's Flickr album) and the march in Tübingen (video from the event) in southern Germany:

SkS-M4S-Baerbel

Ian joined the march in London (more of Ian's pictures in his album on Facebook):

SkS-M4S-Ian

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Paced version of Denial101x starting on March 21!

Posted on 16 March 2017 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on March 21 and will run for 8 weeks as a paced course.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland and takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation. With all the misinformation and outright lies coming out of Washington regarding climate science - not to mention many other topics - our MOOC will give you the knowledge to spot and the tools to effectively counter them.

The course first launched in April 2015. Since then, over 30,000 students from over 160 countries have enrolled in the course. Last year, we were honoured to be named one of the finalists for the first-ever edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning (the prize went to TU Delft's Arno Smets). We've received some wonderful feedback from students who've taken the course, particularly teachers who are using our course videos in their classes. Here is a video compilation of some feedback from the students:

You can sign up for free via the edX website.

Hope to see you there!

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3 comments


To tweet or not to tweet at Donald Trump? That was the question!

Posted on 8 March 2017 by BaerbelW

Knowing Twitter to be the prefered means of communication for the current POTUS and that he “may” have a thing or two to learn about climate science, John Mason recently set out to explain the carbon cycle in a series of 49 tweets in a language we hoped Donald Trump would be able to grasp.

As John explained: “I often wonder if a lot of climate change communication follows formats that may be unattractive to some people. Lengthy posts complete with explanatory graphics are appreciated by many, but others simply may not have the time to work through them for all sorts of reasons. Yet, this should not exclude them from accessing information. So regardless of whether Trump read the tweets or not, I wanted to proceed with this as an experiment in making climate communication available to a wider demographic. The simpler the framing of information, the more quickly it may be scanned and absorbed. I picked a fairly complex aspect of planetary science - Earth’s Carbon Cycle - and set out to simplify it whilst keeping it consistent with what the science says.

So, on February 28, the tweets started to go out on Twitter in a little tweet storm:

Tweet-Storm-01

A good two hours later the final tweets were sent:

Tweet-storm-03

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20 comments


Why claiming that climate scientists are in it for the money is absurd

Posted on 14 February 2017 by BaerbelW

If you are reading the comments on basically any climate change related article, it won't take long to get to one (or more!) commenters boldly claiming that "climate scientists are only in it for the money". This will often be accompanied by outrageously high $ amounts to really get anybody's hackles up but without any real evidence for their statement.

This article is intended to be a repository listing resources you can use to counter this unsubstantiated claim whenever it crops up somewhere. Some are blog posts, some are videos while others come from social media postings.

Videos

One of the best explanations of why the claim is just absurd comes from Richard Alley in this interview snippet:

Many of the scientists interviewed for Denial101x also explain why they do what they do and it doesn't have anything to do with money (big surprise!). All those expert interviews are available in the Wakelet-collection Denial101x Expert Interviews

Blog Posts

John Timmer in ArsTechnica (May 2012) - Accusations that climate science is money-driven reveal ignorance of how science is done

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9 comments


2016 in Review: a recap of what happened at Skeptical Science

Posted on 31 December 2016 by BaerbelW

Considering what all our team of volunteers managed to get done in 2015 we didn't really go into 2016 with the expectation to "beat" it as far as productivity goes. But, as it turned out, this review article for 2016 is about the same length as last year's so we at least haven't taken a sabbatical! As this post is quite long, you can jump to the different sections via the following links:

Scholarly Publications and books

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences and presentations

Social Media and some homepage stats

Recognition


Scholarly Publications and books

thesisOn August 3 SkS founder John Cook received notification that his PhD thesis had been accepted without revision, so he's now Dr. John Cook (but I have a hunch that he still prefers to be called John, at least by his friends and colleagues!). You can download his thesis, aptly titled "Closing the “consensus gap” by communicating the scientific consensus on climate change and countering misinformation” from SkS. It consists of 9 papers published in peer reviewed journals and other publications, the different chapters woven together into a single document by introductory comments. It makes for quite an interesting read! Congratulations to John for this accomplishment!

John co-authored the paper "The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism" with Stephan Lewandowsky and Elisabeth Loyd. The three authors look at both rhetorical and scientific arguments put out by deniers and list examples of where these various arguments contradict each other as outlined in Graham Readfearn's explainer.

In October, John's in-depth article "Countering Climate Science Denial and Communicating Scientific Consensus" was published online in the Climate Science Oxford Research Enyclopedias from where it can also be downloaded as a PDF document.

Mark Richardson, Kevin Cowtan and Martin Stolpe from the SkS-team  published "Reconciled climate response estimates from climate models and the energy budget of Earth" in Nature Climate Change with Ed Hawkins as another co-author. You can read more about this paper on Kevin's University of York webpage, where he published a background article.

Robert Way published "Underestimated warming of northern Canada in the Berkeley Earth temperature product" in the International Journal of Climatology with co-authors Frank Oliva and Andre Viau from the University of Ottawa.

ExaminingFactsTogether with Daniel Bedford, John published the textbook "Climate Change: Examining the Facts". From the description:

"Climate change is one of the most controversial and misunderstood issues of the 21st century. This book provides a clear understanding of the issue by presenting scientific facts to refute falsehoods and misinformation―and to confirm the validity of other assertions.

Is public understanding of global warming suffering from politically biased news coverage? Is it true that the global scientific community has not reached a consensus on whether humans are causing climate change? This important book addresses these questions and many more about global warming, identifying common claims about climate change and using quantifiable, evidence-based information to examine their veracity." 

2016 saw continued interest in our consensus study (Cook et al. 2013) with the paper surpassing half a million downloads on ERL's website in early summer. As of this writing, the paper still gets downloaded about 2,000 times per week and currently stands at 570,000+ downloads from ERL, making it the most viewed paper in all of the journals published by the Institute of Physics (IOP). It also gets "talked about" on the net a lot as indicated by Altimetric.

In December, Cook et al. (2013) was included as one of the influential papers in ERL's special collection to celebrate its 10th anniversary publishing peer-reviewed scientific papers. ERL celebrated its anniversary with a reception at this year's AGU:

AGU-ERL

As a reaction to continued attacks on our paper - and especially a published comment by Richard Tol - we collaborated with the authors of 6 other consensus studies and published "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming" in April (Cook et al. 2016). Both of our consensus papers have been consistently listed among the top 3 of ERL's most viewed papers since then and "Consensus on consensus" just passed 100,000 downloads sometime during the last week of 2016.

CoC

Several more publications are currently in the works and we’ll let you know about them once they’ve been published.

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3 comments


Skeptical Science at AGU 2016 - a recap

Posted on 26 December 2016 by BaerbelW

This year's Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has come and gone and quite a lot happened during the week from Dec. 12 to 16. As mentioned in our earlier post, several SkS teammembers were actively involved with giving talks and/or presenting posters while others were there to take it all in as was the case for me with attending AGU for the very first time.

This post is a (long) recap divided into the following sections:

SkS presentations

Denial101x featured in a poster session

Rally to stand up for Science

ERL's 10th anniversary reception

NCSE Friend of the Planet awards

Interviewing Stephan Lewandowsky

Further Reading

AGU-2016-collage

Some impressions from AGU 2016 (photos: Baerbel Winkler)

SkS presentations

John Cook presented a talk A Brief History of Consensus (PPT 6.8Mb), outlining the misinformation campaign against consensus, the studies quantifying the level of scientific agreement and how to neutralise misinformation.

Dana Nuccitelli presented a talk on climate model accuracy – comparing past global temperature projections to observations, and effectively debunking associated myths.  The model-data comparisons can be seen in the video below.

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Dear Mr President-elect: a message from across the Pond

Posted on 29 November 2016 by John Mason

Dear Mr President-elect,

On 6 Nov 2012, at 11:15 am, you tweeted:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

We'd like to take you on a quick tour back through the ages, because the early understanding of Earth's climate - and the role that carbon has to play in it - came from the West, not the East. Let's run through it quickly.

In 1800, British astronomer William Herschel first measured the heat that occurs in the warm – now known as infra-red (IR) – part of the spectrum. In 1824, French engineer Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier calculated that Earth should be colder than it is, at its orbital distance from the Sun. Today, it is common knowledge that outgoing IR radiation is emitted by the Earth's surface in response to heating by the Sun. But Fourier was the first to figure out that the IR was being slowed down during its journey back out to space. The air, he said, must act as a form of insulating blanket, keeping the planet warm. Smart guy.

This was just two years before Samuel Morey patented the first internal combustion engine.

In 1861, Anglo-Irish physicist John Tyndall observed that some atmospheric gases were transparent to IR radiation. But he found that others, like water vapor and carbon dioxide, were powerful IR absorbers. He was the first to propose that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could influence the Earth's climate. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius took it further. He made the first detailed calculations to see what a doubling of carbon dioxide levels might do to temperatures. His answer was a 5-6°C increase in the average global temperature. His ‘hot-house theory’ was set out for the first time in 1908 in his popular book ‘Worlds in the Making’.

In 1909, American astronomer Andrew Douglass developed the techniques of studying tree-rings and was the first to find the connection between tree ring widths and climate. In 1931, American physicist E.O Hulburt ran calculations to determine the effect of doubling carbon dioxide with the added burden of water vapor. His figure? 4°C of warming. In 1938, English engineer Guy Callendar discovered evidence of a warming temperature trend in the early twentieth century. He also found that CO2 levels were increasing and he warned that over the coming centuries there could be a climate shift to a permanently warmer state.

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Join the self-paced version of Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial!

Posted on 20 October 2016 by BaerbelW

The next run of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, started on Oct. 18 and will be open until March 7, 2017 as a self-paced course. This means that there are no deadlines apart from the final day of the MOOC and that you can work through all of the material as your time allows. If you participated in one of the earlier iterations but missed some deadlines, this is the opportunity to see it through.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland, that takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation.

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0 comments


Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

Posted on 3 May 2016 by BaerbelW

Chances are high that you will have come across somebody somewhere on the internet who still doesn't accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. That somebody may well have used a veritable firehose of falsehoods - usually referred to as a gish-gallop - where a big list of myths is fired off in quick succession. Creating such a gish-gallop is quick & easy and the urge to try and debunk all the misinformation it contains is often quite strong, but it's also a very time-consuming task to undertake. One time-saving option to tackle it, is to just concentrate on the most egregious instances of misinformation as examples of how the writer tries to mislead his readers and to ignore the rest. But, this has the disadvantage that others might accuse you of cherry-picking what you chose to debunk.

So, what other options do you have to fairly quickly dispense with such a firehose of falsehoods?

Option #1 - The Fact-Myth-Fallacy overview

Our MOOC Denial101x debunked around 50 of the most often heard myths related to climate science using the recipe to start out with the fact, followed by a short mention of the myth (with a warning!) and finishing off with explaining the fallacy employed. A condensed version of these debunkings is available as a four-page-PDF which you can download from here:

Fact-Myth-FallacyThe fallacies are based on the five techniques used by science deniers to distort facts: fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking evidence, and conspiracy theories. The acronym FLICC is an easy way to remember these techniques.

FLICC: Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, Conspiracy theories. John Cook

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The Uncertainty Handbook: Download and Translations

Posted on 23 February 2016 by BaerbelW

UHB-EN-ThumbHave you ever struggled with the communication of climate change uncertainties? Are you frustrated by climate sceptics using uncertainty - inherent in any area of complex science - as a justification for delaying policy responses? Then the new ‘Uncertainty Handbook’ - a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Climate Outreach (former COIN) - is for you.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on communicating uncertainty into a few pages of practical, easy-to-apply techniques, providing scientists, policymakers and campaigners with the tools they need to communicate more effectively around climate change. Download the report here, and check out our 12 principles for more effectively communicating climate change uncertainty here.

tuh_button

The Authors:

The Uncertainty Handbook was authored by Dr. Adam Corner (Climate Outreach), Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol), Dr Mary Phillips (University of Bristol) and Olga Roberts (Climate Outreach). All are experts in their fields and have expertise relating to the role of uncertainty in climate change or how best to communicate it.

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7 comments


2015 in Review: another productive year for the Skeptical Science team

Posted on 29 December 2015 by BaerbelW

2015 has been yet another very productive year for the all volunteer Skeptical Science team. From publishing scientific papers to co-producing a MOOC we were kept rather busy throughout the year. This post is a wrap-up of what all we’ve been up to and includes these sections:

Scholarly Publications and books

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences

Social Media


Scholarly Publications and books

As in previous years, members of the SkS-team contributed to ongoing scientific research and (co)authored several important papers, published books and a book chapter.

Kevin Cowtan published a paper (Cowtan et al. 2015) which showed that global climate models are even more accurate than previously thought. Several members of the SkS-team were among the co-authors: Zeke Hausfather, Peter Jacobs, Martin Stolpe and Robert Way.

diagram

A depiction of how global temperatures calculated from models use air temperatures above the ocean surface (right frame), while observations are based on the water temperature in the top few metres (left frame). Created by Kevin Cowtan.

Dana Nuccitelli and John Cook were co-authors on Benestad et al. (2015) which found common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus.

John Cook published Misinformation and How to Correct It (Cook et al. 2015) a multi-discplinary review of misinformation research. He was asked to anticipate where future research into misinformation might head - which is a tough ask. He approached it creatively by answering the question what he would like to research in the future.

John also is a co-author on Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial (Lewandowsky et al. 2015) which examined the comments on climate science-denying blogs and found strong evidence of widespread conspiratorial thinking. The study looks at the comments made in response to a previous paper linking science denial and conspiracy theories.

In "Misdiagnosis of earth climate sensitivity based on energy balance model results" Mark Richardson - together with  Zeke Hausfather, Dana Nuccitelli, Ken Rice and John P. Abraham  - explained the many shortcomings in Monckton et al. (2015). They found that differences could be explained because Monckton et al. relied a lot on a narrative approach (aka storytelling) while most other studies use physics and real-world measurements where possible.

Dana NDanaClimatologyBookCoveruccitelli wrote and published the book Climatology versus Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics which covers a wide range of climate-related topics, starting with a history of some key discoveries in the field of climate science beginning nearly 200 years ago. Along the way it debunks some common climate myths, progressing forward in time to the 1970s, when scientists’ ability to model the global climate began to advance rapidly. It examines the accuracy of a variety of global warming projections, starting with J.S. Sawyer in 1972, through the recent IPCC reports, as well as some predictions by contrarians like Richard Lindzen.

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4 comments


Leveraging the Skeptical Science Glossary for references

Posted on 28 October 2015 by BaerbelW

If you are a long-time reader of Skeptical Science you'll be aware of the glossary functionality which automatically displays definitions of scientific terms when you have the cursor hover above an underlined term. This neat functionality was created and announced by Bob Lacatena and went live in February 2013.

The Skeptical Science team has had on and off discussions about the need for a kind of bibliography for all the scientific papers we regularly reference in our blog posts and rebuttals. During one of these discussions Phil mentioned that it would be nice to have the relevant reference immediately displayed in a pop-up-box. And so, the penny dropped and we realised that we already had this functionality available at Skeptical Science: the glossary!

I went ahead and did a quick test to see if the idea could work out and added an entry for Cook et al. (2013) to the glossary. Once the entry had been added and a page found where the spelling of the "term" - i.e. the reference - fitted the glossary entry, this immediately worked as intended and the citation was displayed in the right-hand margin of the page as soon as the cursor hovered above the reference:

SkS-Glossary-References-01

You should be able to test this yourself with the above reference to our consensus study. Hover the cursor above it and see what happens! If it doesn't work, check your glossary settings via the "Look up a Term" panel shown at the bottom of this page:

lookupaterm

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Skeptical Science reader survey - thanks for your feedback!

Posted on 6 October 2015 by BaerbelW

Thanks a lot to all of you who participated in our reader survey, providing lots of feedback for us to sift through and mull over! We'll share some snapshots of the results in this post and include some of your written comments, selected from those responses where you've given us your consent to share them.

Some statistics

We received 314 filled out surveys over the course of a week with most of them coming in the first 3 days after we posted the link. About 30 different countries show up in the results, with the US, Australia, the UK and Canada listed the most often which also makes English the most often mentioned first language.

Some results

Blog posts

SurveyResultsBlog

SurveyResultsResearchSelected comments about blog posts:

"It is the first resource I look for comments and discussions about new research."

"i became aware of your site a few years ago, it's a great resource, helped me understand the science."

"it is in the comments where this blog shines. you are doing it right and the community you have nurtured works well and is something i read often"

"The only reason I did not rate blog posts as extremely valuable, is many are available on other blogs I visit regularly. If SKS was my sole source, I would have rated all as extremely valuable. I do have high confidence in what I read at SKS."

"It's tough not to give you folks top marks - Your articles are straight forward and gear towards the intelligent layperson. The links you offer to back up everything described is most excellent. Keep up the good work."

"I find the site very rewarding. Climate change has been a long time interest and to find the wide ranging content is engaging my interest in an ongoing way."

Rebuttals

SurveyResultsRebuttalsSelected comments about rebuttals:

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4 comments


Skeptical Science reader survey - your chance to give us your feedback!

Posted on 15 September 2015 by BaerbelW

Update: Our survey was closed on Sept. 22 - thanks to all of you who participated!

Since its inception in 2007 Skeptical Science has changed quite a lot and many resources have been added over the years. Our "Welcome to Skeptical Science" post gives a rough overview of which resources have been made available by John Cook and the dedicated team of volunteers from across the globe.

Many of the resources and features have been added because we hoped that they would be useful for you - our readers - and many of the comments you share - or the emails you write - are an indication that this is in fact the case. But, we'd like to dig deeper and get a better handle on which features are the most valuable for you or where we can improve Skeptical Science's content. This is why we put together the Skeptical Science Reader Survey (as of Sept. 22 the survey has been closed):

SkS Reader Survey

The survey shouldn't take longer than 5 to 10 minutes to complete. You'll find questions about which sections of Skeptical Science you regularly visit and how valuable you find them.

Blog post gradingMost questions ask for feedback via a scale from 0 to 5 like the ones for blog posts shown on the left.

But, we also included free text questions where you can provide additional feedback about the resources or Skeptical Science in general.

So, thanks for taking our survey and helping us to make Skeptical Science better!

Here is the link to the survey: Skeptical Science Reader Survey

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2 comments


Denial101x MOOC - Full list of videos and references at your fingertips

Posted on 3 September 2015 by LarryM

The "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is now available as a self-paced course that anyone can take at any time.  The course was produced by the all-volunteer Skeptical Science team and the University of Queensland, and hosted on the edX-platform.  The lectures and expert interviews provide a unique resource for countering climate myths, learning effective myth-debunking techniques, and learning the basics of climate science in easily digestible bites.  These resources are now available in an organized and easily searched format.  Use them often!

MOOC videos.  The collection of Denial101x videos listed below is organized by week and by topic.  There are 81 lectures on focused topics, each about 5-7 minutes in length, plus 40 full interviews with experts in climate science and climate communication.  The video playlist is also available on the Denial101x YouTube channel.

MOOC references.  Each Denial101x lecture is supported by peer-reviewed research.  A comprehensive list of references is available, with links to the corresponding papers.

MOOC-related blog posts:

Other SkS resources:


Index of videos by week

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20 comments


References for the Denial101x MOOC

Posted on 29 August 2015 by LarryM

The EdX MOOC "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" is fully supported by peer-reviewed research.  This page presents the comprehensive list of references with links to the corresponding papers.  The index below is organized by week and by lecture topic, and there is a corresponding list of MOOC lecture videos and expert interviews.

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0 comments


References for the Denial101x MOOC

Posted on 29 August 2015 by LarryM

The EdX MOOC "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" is fully supported by peer-reviewed research.  This page presents the comprehensive list of references with links to the corresponding papers.  The index below is organized by week and by lecture topic, and there is a corresponding list of MOOC lecture videos and expert interviews.

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0 comments


References for the Denial101x MOOC

Posted on 29 August 2015 by LarryM

The EdX MOOC "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" is fully supported by peer-reviewed research.  This page presents the comprehensive list of references with links to the corresponding papers.  The index below is organized by week and by lecture topic, and there is a corresponding list of MOOC lecture videos and expert interviews.

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0 comments


Indonesian translation of The Debunking Handbook

Posted on 1 August 2015 by BaerbelW

The Debunking Handbook is now available in Indonesian. Many thanks to Herendraswari Kusumawardani who did this 10th(!) translation of the handbook.

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As the Denial101x course ends, a new one begins

Posted on 1 July 2015 by BaerbelW

On June 16, the first iteration of Denial101x came to a close and here is a collection of feedback from students, lecturers and course staff to hopefully whet your appetite to enroll in the self-paced version of our MOOC due to launch on July 1!

Student perspective

Thousands of students from around the world participated in Denial101x and many of them put a pin on a map:

Denial101x-Map

We received videos from students across the world sharing their experience with and perspective about Denial101. Here is a compilation of them:

Lecturer perspective

Dr. Keah Schuenemann - one of our MOOC's lecturers - published a blog-post about her experience. It starts with the students' video feedback followed by this :

It really makes me feel like all of the hard work was worth it!  I spent most weekends this semester working on this course.  Plus, I made a lot of new friends that I hope to continue to work with in the future.  Thanks to John Cook for inviting me to participate!

Keah also created a playlist containing all her lectures: Heat Waves, Wavy Jet Stream, Sea Level Rise, Extreme Weather, Weather vs Climate models, Water Vapor Amplifies Warming, and IPCC Underestimates:

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3 comments


97 Hours - the Turkish edition

Posted on 2 December 2014 by BaerbelW

Shortly after 97 Hours of Consensus had been successfully completed, we received an email from the Turkey-based blog Out for Beyond enquiring if they could create translated versions for the quotes. Obviously, we were quite happy with this chance to increase the project’s reach even further!

The Out for Beyond team quickly started to translate the quotes while we prepared the Skeptical Science website in order to eventually host the “dubbed” cartoons. Once they became available, the translations were proofread by a colleague of mine in Germany and given a big thumbs-up for their quality.

The first finished quote was the one for Michael Mann (who knew that he is fluent in Turkish?):

97Hours_Michael_Mann_TR

97Hours_49_James_HansenIn an effort to raise awareness in Turkey about climate change, Out for Beyond is publishing the quotes on their blog while COP20 in Lima is happening. The plan is to publish one quote per hour from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm each day, making this campaign stretch out for almost the complete duration of COP20. Please visit Out for Beyond to follow their project!

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1 comments


From Pole to Pole - a climate-themed tour through a zoo

Posted on 20 October 2014 by BaerbelW

The Wilhelma is Stuttgart’s zoological and botanical garden and is one of the many participants in the Pole to Pole campaign organised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) which represents and links 345 institutions and organisations in 41 countries. The European zoos count millions of visitors each year and EAZA aims to educate as many of them as possible about environmental and conservation issues in countries around the world. Previous campaigns highlighted the plights of tigers, rhinosapes or European carnivores to name just a few examples. Participation of the zoos and what they offer in support of a campaign is voluntary and it usually hinges on whether or not a zoo keeps any of the flagship-species highlighted in a campaign.

EAZA-Logo WilhelmaLogoP2P-small

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5 comments


Seal of approval - How marine mammals provide important climate data

Posted on 22 July 2014 by BaerbelW

Understanding what is happening in the oceans is crucial since 90% of global warming is going there and attempts to measure temperatures at various depths go back to the 1960s. But, what does this Weddell seal have to do with this and what is it wearing on its head?

Weddell_Seal_DanCosta
Weddell Seal West Antarctic Peninsula (photo: Dan Costa - NMFS 87-1851-03)

To answer these questions we have to backtrack a bit and look at the recent history of data collection used to find out what is happening in the oceans.

How has the data for charts like the ocean heat content been collected?

OHC
Figure 1: Land, atmosphere, and ice heating (red), 0-700 meter OHC increase (light blue), 700-2,000 meter OHC increase (dark blue). From Nuccitelli et al. (2012)

The underlying data about the temperature at different depths has been collected since the 1960s via expendable bathythermographs (XBT) and mechanical bathythermographs (MBT) deployed from ships travelling across the high seas. These measurements have been rather confined to the shipping lanes most travelled and therefore leave out a lot of the actual ocean surface, including much of the polar regions as these are not (yet!) on any regular shipping lines.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a network of autonomous Argo-floats started to be deployed all across the ocean and there are currently 3,600 floats providing around 100,000 measurements per year.

Current ARGO-statusFigure 2:  Positions of the floats that have delivered data within the last 30 days (Updated daily) From the Argo website

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13 comments


Mitigation Mosaic: How small steps can make a difference

Posted on 14 January 2014 by BaerbelW

I live in Fellbach (pop. 44,200 in 2011) in southern Germany’s Baden-Württemberg. The town covers an area of 2,770 hectares (ha) of which 1,296 ha are used for agriculture, 163 ha for vineyards, 316 ha are forested and the rest is used for housing, light industry, streets and other purposes. The town lies at an altitude of 288m (center) and its highest point is the Kappelberg at 469m. Fellbach is located close to Stuttgart which is the capital city of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Germany

Fellbach

Introduction

Even though this region hasn’t yet seen pronounced negative effects of climate change – and perhaps may not even be hit as hard as others in the future – the town and its local energy provider (Stadtwerke Fellbach) have been pro-active in establishing mitigating strategies since the second half of the 1990s.  Fellbach has the advantage that it owns the majority of the local energy provider “Stadtwerke Fellbach” and can therefore set the general direction of how energy is sourced. A major decision was already taken back in the second half of the 1990s when Fellbach decided to make its administration CO2-neutral by the year 2012 (a goal already reached in 2010).  And, in 2007 the town council unanimously voted to work towards further decreasing CO2 emissions across town by another 10% over the next 10 years by encouraging mitigation activities on privately owned premises. In order to support this, €10m will be made available from the town’s budget.

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Your chance to make a difference: Join the SkS-Translator team!

Posted on 1 January 2014 by BaerbelW

Are you a bi-, tri- or even multilingual Skeptical Science reader and would you like to help increase our website’s global reach? If your answer is ‘Yes’, then here is your chance to make a difference!

What this is all about

We already have translations in 20 different languages as indicated by the flag-icons on Skeptical Science’s homepage:

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But the number of translations published for each language varies greatly. Just click on some of the flags in the banner to see for yourself! For 2014 we have the goal to make more content available in more languages and in order to do this we need your help.

Translating texts can be a time consuming effort, but please don’t let this stop you from raising your virtual hand or stepping forward as we have different translation tasks waiting to be tackled. At least some of them shouldn’t be too much of a timehog (or so we hope)!

Translation tasks waiting for You to be tackled

Here are some items on the to-be-translated-list and what’s already out there:

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Swedish translation of The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism

Posted on 7 December 2013 by BaerbelW

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism has been translated into 18 languages. The latest translation is Swedish. Many thanks to Katarina Kaudern for her work translating the guide and to Emma Andersson and Ole Martin Christensen for proofreading it.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Guide into another language, there are two documents to help you: a two-column Word document with all the English text in one column and a blank column to place the translated text, plus a PDF Overview of the Guide to clearly mark each section.

Please download the Word document and email the document back to us with the translated text. We'll then insert that into the existing design. But best first to contact me by selecting "Enquiry about translations" from the contact form's dropdown menu to ensure no one else is already working on your language. Note: the following languages have already been translated:

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Croatian translation of The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism

Posted on 21 November 2013 by BaerbelW

Since launching in December 2010, the Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism has been used by teacher associations, museums, websites, student groups and other organisations. The Guide has also been translated into 17 languages. The latest translation is Croatian. Many thanks to Ivan Guettler and others from the Croatian meteorological society for doing the translation.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Guide into another language, there are two documents to help you: a two-column Word document with all the English text in one column and a blank column to place the translated text, plus a PDF Overview of the Guide to clearly mark each section.

Please download the Word document and email the document back to us with the translated text. We'll then insert that into the existing design. But best first to contact me by selecting "Enquiry about translations" from the contact form's dropdown menu to ensure no one else is already working on your language.. Note: the following languages have already been translated:

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Where SkS-Material gets used - Coursera's Climate Literacy Course

Posted on 2 August 2013 by BaerbelW

On May 17, 2013 'Climate Literacy' - a MOOC (massive open online course) offered from the University of British Columbia (UBC) via the Coursera platform - kicked off with a first email from the instructors Dr. Sara Harris and Dr. Sarah Burch:

"Welcome to Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations. You are among thousands of students from around the world currently registered for this course. Climate Literacy offers an unparalleled opportunity to have a meaningful, informed conversation about climate change. Despite the shifting winds of public opinion and intricate political machinations, it’s hard to miss the ongoing conversation surrounding climate change. Stories are emerging from around the globe: rising sea levels and eroding coral islands in the Maldives; increasing hurricane activity affecting the U.S. eastern seaboard and Gulf coast; drought in central Africa; declining amphibian populations in the Amazon. …."

What followed has been an excellent example of how these types of online courses should be done:

  • Professionally produced videos with the instructors addressing us - the students - directly
  • Presented by two engaging instructors who clearly put a lot of effort into this first iteration of the course
  • Accompanying materials like video-transcripts and slides made available for download
  • Clearly structured overall course layout with outlines for each weekly module made available on Fridays
  • Reasonable deadlines to turn in course work

Over the course of 10 weeks, we tackled the various aspects of climate change in modules called 'The Conversation', 'Climate System', 'Energy', 'Carbon', 'Models', 'Future Climate', 'Impacts', 'Mitigation', 'Adaptation' and 'Taking Action'. The first 6 modules were presented by Dr. Sara Harris who teaches global climate change, environmental science, and oceanography in the department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She has a PhD in Oceanography from Oregon State University and a research background in paleoceanography and paleoclimate.  With module 7, Dr. Sarah Burch took over. She is Assistant Professor of Climate and Society at the University of Waterloo, but co-created the course during her time as a Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UBC.  She has a PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from UBC and focuses on climate change and sustainability governance.

SaraHarrisSarahBurch

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How SkS-Material gets used - Slovenian translation of the Scientific Guide

Posted on 17 June 2013 by gvert

In the last two decades a changing climate has started to show devastating consequences – ranging from some extreme weather events to sea level rise and rapid Arctic ice melt. At the same time peer-reviewed studies showing the effects of human activities on the climate system have grown into a vast body of evidence for anthropogenic climate change. On the other hand, those in denial have grown in number and gained a great deal of attention in politics, media and public debates. Fortunately, some internet sites try to bridge the chasm between accurate, but rather dry scientific reports and the knowledge of an average layperson about climate change. Undoubtedly, Skeptical Science fits this category by providing a vivid and accurate picture of climate change for the general public.

LogoSlovMetSocThe Slovenian Meteorological Society, a team of a little more than one hundred people interested in meteorology, was very pleased to see the Skeptical Science internet site for the first time some years ago. We immediately decided to translate well-written scientific answers on skeptics’ arguments. It took us a few months to translate 60 articles in Slovene language. Our activities about climate change later focused on a presentation of climate change science to the broader public. A paper titled Stališče Slovenskega meteorološkega društva o podnebnih spremembah  (Statement of Slovenian Meteorological Society on Climate Change) was issued in our journal Vetrnica.

In spite of these described activities, something more was needed to counteract the growing denial movement in Slovenia. The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism became available at that time and we decided to create a translation for it. In September 2011 the Slovenian version was published on Skeptical Science. Due to lack of financial resources, we were unable to print and distribute the guide to the broader public at the time. After a year and a half, in early spring this year, we had gathered sufficient funds for printing 1000 copies.

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Video 16 more years of Global Warming available with German voice-over

Posted on 3 February 2013 by BaerbelW

A version of the 16-Years-video with German voice-over has been created and uploaded to the SkS-Youtube channel. Creating this version involved five steps and virtual collaboration across four countries and two continents:

  1. Translating the video-script and cutting the wording down to roughly fit the English original time-wise was started in Germany by Bärbel with proofreading and corrections provided from Switzerland (Oliver) and Norway (Gunnar).
  2. Once we had the script, Oliver recorded the voice-over in Switzerland and sent the audio-file to Kevin C. in the U.K.
  3. Kevin then merged the voice-over with his video to create the German version which required some "stretching" of the video to fit our slightly longer audio (2:18 compared to 2:02).
  4. As a last step, John (in Australia) uploaded the final video to the SkS-channel where it is now waiting to be watched
  5. To coincide with the video's release we also prepared and published a German version of the 16-year rebuttal.

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Review of new iBook: Going to Extremes

Posted on 24 June 2012 by BaerbelW

James Powell's iBook Going to Extremes is an informative read about the recent weather extremes around the globe, with an emphasis on the U.S. which experienced 14 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011, the most in history. My short review will mostly be about the advantages of this - relatively - new type of book and not so much about the content which will be very familiar to regular readers of Skeptical Science.

The iBook-format is ideal for a topic like weather extremes and their relationship with climate change as it makes it easy to include not just pictures but also videos and interactive graphics. You'll come across videos from floodings as well as footage captured by satellite of events like the inundation of Cairo Beach:

These multi-media additions make reading this as an iBook a lot more interesting than reading it the "traditional way" as a printed book. I was especially impressed by several "before-and-after" satellite images depicting towns like Joplin before and after the tornado hit on May 22, 2011.

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Klimafakten.de - Leveraging Skeptical Science content

Posted on 29 November 2011 by BaerbelW

To coincide with the Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa (COP17) a new website has been launched in Germany on November 28: klimafakten.de.

LogoKlimafakten

Some content of the new website is based on Skeptical Science and the translation and editing was made possible through a grant from the European Climate Foundation (ECF) . The website's quality is ensured with the help of a scientific advisory board which includes climate scientists from Germany and Switzerland like Prof. Dr. Peter Lemke, Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar- and  Marine Research, Bremerhaven and Prof. Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to name just two. The complete list of board members has been posted on the website.

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German Energy Priorities

Posted on 4 July 2011 by dana1981

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Germany has decided to phase-out its nuclear power plants by 2022.  Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would need to replace a substantial amount of this phased-out energy with coal and natural gas power plants.

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So, you think that learning about climate change needs to be tedious?

Posted on 9 February 2011 by BaerbelW

Actually, that isn’t necessarily so if the information is gift-wrapped or disguised as a fun but not trivial climate-quiz! In the course of working as a voluntary zoo-docent, I have helped to put together several quizzes to pique visitors’ interest about specific topics like tigers, rhinos, the rainforests or right now apes. All of these quizzes contain general questions about the animals and areas but don’t shirk away from the hard themes like the dire straits these species and regions are in. Questions which come with striking visuals or comparisons work best to get people thinking. We’ve been using the quizzes as one element of various materials – some of it “hands-on” – on our touch-tables. If the visitors are interested to learn more, some of the questions and answers can then be explained in more detail.

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