2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #9B

Climate change deniers lose their cool

What the heck, climate change deniers? I mean seriously, what the actual heck?

For some reason, the past week has seen some climate change deniers totally lose their [expletive deleted]. I keep up with this stuff, so I’m used to seeing forehead-slappy moments, denial so abrupt and profound it’s hard to imagine the promulgator lives on the same planet the rest of us do. I mean, c'mon, the bar has already been set by comparing a climate scientist to a child molester and saying more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is just fine because plants love it.

But this week has seen the dumbosity go up a solid notch. If I went into details this post would eat up half the available electrons on the Net, so let me give you just a taste of outrage permeating the anti-science realm with a brief commentary.

Climate Change Deniers Lose Their Cool by Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy, Slate, Feb 25, 2014

Denying climate science in multiple dimensions

There are multiple dimensions along which denialists either get it wrong (because they are not paying attention or don’t understand the data) or making it wrong (because they have an interest in misdirection and misleading others). One is pretending that the weather outside their window is the climate. The other is pretending that climate change only started after Al Gore said it did, or after some other recent date, ignoring the fact that we have been releasing the Carbon Kraken since the early or mid 19th century, when industrialists figured out they could make more money using coal, rather than water, to run their ever expanding acreage of dark satanic mills.

Denying Climate Science in Multiple Dimensions, Greg Laden's Blog, ScienceBlogs, Feb 27, 2014 

Domestic climate laws on the rise, a boost for pending UN action

An explosion in the number of laws passed around the world aimed at confronting climate change in the last 20 years was hailed on Thursday as a step toward building support for a United Nations climate treaty to be negotiated in 2015.

Countries that together account for most global greenhouse gas emissions have passed nearly 500 laws since the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty was signed in 1992, with emerging economies leading many of the recent efforts, according to a report released by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE) and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.

Prior to the treaty, fewer than 40 laws addressing climate were on the books.

Domestic climate laws on the rise, a boost for pending UN action by Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, Feb 27, 2014

Drought-hit Malaysian state rations water

Authorities began rationing water to thousands of households in Malaysia's most populous state Tuesday, as a dry spell depletes reservoirs across a country normally known for its steady tropical downpours.

Much of Malaysia has been under bone-dry conditions for a month and high temperatures have left some reservoirs at "critical" levels, sparking an increase in bushfires and leading to protests in at least one hard-hit community near the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia does tend to experience dry weather early in the year, but the current dry spell has been unusually long. 

Drought-hit Malaysian state rations water, AFP/Space Daily, Feb 25, 2014

Get a first look at Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously

Years of Living Dangerously, which is executive-produced by film veterans James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, climate change leader Daniel Abbasi and 60 Minutes' Joel Bach and David Gelber, premieres April 13at 10/9c on Showtime.

Exclusive: Get a First Look at Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously by Robyn Ross, TV Guide, Feb 27, 2014

Global warming action: good or bad for the poor?

Authors of an opinion piece claiming climate action is bad for the poor disagree with common logic and with themselves.

Global warming action: good or bad for the poor? by John Abraham, Climate Consensus-the 97%, The Guardian, Feb 28, 2014

How scientists, media and the public see the surface warming ‘pause’

A prestigious journal has released a special issue on what's become something of a preoccupation in the crossover between science and mainstream media recently - an apparent slowdown in surface warming over the last decade or so.

Nature Climate Change dedicates a  whole issue to the so called 'pause' - looking at how scientists, the public and the media have been talking about it.

The issue talks a lot about lessons for scientists in engaging with the media, but is it worth so much soul-searching when evidence suggests the 'pause' has barely made a ripple in the public consciousness?

Special reflection: How scientists, media and the public see the surface warming ‘pause’ by Roz Pidcock, Blog, the Carbon Brief, Feb 26, 2014

Is the BBC becoming the UK version of Fox News on global warming?

The BBC has decided to follow the Fox News model of "fair and balanced" reporting on global warming and climate change.

Is the BBC becoming the UK version of Fox News on global warming? by Dana Nuccitelli, Climate Consensus-the 97%, The Guardian, Feb 27, 2014

'Social cost' of carbon emissions rising but still underestimated

Climate change impacts - from more extreme droughts and floods to effects like crop losses and sea-level rise - are costing Americans $37 per tonne of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, according to an updated estimate by the U.S. government.

The costs come in the form of higher food prices, rising insurance bills, greater spending on healthcare and more taxpayer dollars spent on things like federal emergency relief, economists say.

But the “social cost” of climate-changing emissions, updated from $21 a tonne back in 2010, probably still substantially underestimates the true costs associated with climate change, argues Laurie Johnson, chief economist with the Natural Resources Defense Fund, a New York-based environmental advocacy group.

'Social cost' of carbon emissions rising but still underestimated, experts warn by Laura Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Feb 27, 2014

Thanks to climate change, West Nile virus could be your new neighbor

Invasive species aren’t just species—they can also be pathogens. Such is the  case with the West Nile  virus. A mosquito-borne virus identified in the West Nile subregion in Uganda in 1937—hence the name—West  Nile wasn’t much of a concern to people elsewhere until it broke out of Africa  in 1999. The first U.S. cases were confirmed in New York City in 1999, and  it has now spread throughout much of the world. Though 80% of infections are  subclinical—meaning they yield no symptoms—those who do get sick can get very  sick.The virus can led to encephalitis—inflammation of the brain and nervous  system—and even death, with 286 people dying from West Nile in the U.S. in 2012.  There were more than 5,500 cases reported that year, and the scary thing is that  as the climate warms, West Nile will continue to spread.

Thanks to Climate Change, West Nile Virus Could Be Your New Neighbor by Bran Walsh, Ecocentric, Time, Feb 28, 2014

Through the climate portal: humanity's tragic flaw

We find ourselves in a similar situation in 2014. The scientists are telling us that every second our planet is accruing excess heat equivalent to the heat generated by four Hiroshima atomic bombs. The physics is elementary and beyond dispute: The heat-trapping greenhouse blanket in our atmosphere is thickening primarily due to fossil fuels. The solution is, though hugely challenging, equally elementary: Stop thickening the blanket!

At the rate we are going, one thing is certain: A day will come when we will be stunned. Perhaps temperatures will cross a threshold beyond which our staple crops cannot grow. Perhaps the glaciers that provide water for hundreds of millions will shrink beneath a critical level. Perhaps storms of warming and rising oceans will make life in our many coastal megalopolises untenable. There are many candidates: We are moving ourselves out of our climate "Goldilocks Zone."

Through the Climate Portal: Humanity's Tragic Flaw by David Goldstein, The Huffington Post, Feb 27, 2014

Where would you like your new glacier?

The idea sounds like harebrained science-fiction, but the accelerated retreat of glaciers due to global warming and the effects of mining is leading scientists to seek to restore or recreate these valuable reservoirs of fresh water.

“There are a number of technologies for saving and creating new glaciers,” Chilean glaciologist Cedomir Marangunic told Tierramérica.

This sounds like a sweet promise for Chile, a mining country with at least 3,100 glaciers, most of which are clearly retreating, according to official data.

Where Would You Like Your New Glacier? by Marianela Jarroud, Tierramérica/Inter Press Service (IPS), Feb 24, 2014

Posted by John Hartz on Saturday, 1 March, 2014

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