2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. Articles of signifigance as determined by the editor are highlighted in the Editor's Picks' section.

Editor's Picks

An Indian court says glaciers and rivers are 'living entities.' Could the same approach work in the US?

Ganges River Kolkata India Chaiti Chhath Festival 

A Hindu devotee performs a ritual as she offers prayers to the Sun god in the waters of the Ganges River during the Chaiti Chhath Festival in Kolkata, India. The Gangotri glacier feeds the Ganges. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Just weeks after a high court in the Indian state of Uttarakhand granted legal personhood to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, the same court recently extended that same standing to the Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers that feed them. 

The finding follows New Zealand’s mid-March passage of a law recognizing the Whanganui River – a feature that the Maori people consider an ancestor – as a living entity. And the Indian court’s effort to protect the vanishing glaciers also carries religious overtones, since both the rivers and glaciers are considered sacred sites to many Hindus.

“The past generations have handed over the ‘Mother Earth’ to us in its pristine glory and we are morally bound to hand over the same Mother Earth to the next generation,” the two ruling justices wrote, according to India’s Hindustan Times. 

An Indian court says glaciers and rivers are 'living entities.' Could the same approach work in the US? by David Iaconangelo, Christian Science Monitor, Apr 7, 2017

Déjà vu all over again: Heartland Institute Peddling Misinformation to Teachers about Climate Change

Heartland Why-scientists-disagree-cover Not Science UCS

I have had the thrill of sharing the latest discoveries in the classroom with students who asked probing questions, when I was a faculty member of a University.  That journey of discovery is one that parents and family members delight in hearing about when students come home and share what they have found particularly intriguing.

What if the information the student shared was not based on the best available evidence?  Misinformation would begin to spread more widely.  If corrected, the student might distrust the teacher who may have not known the source material was compromised.

This scenario is not fiction.  It has happened and may still be occurring in some U.S. schools.  Anyone concerned about this can learn more with an update forthcoming from those who keep track – the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

Déjà vu all over again: Heartland Institute Peddling Misinformation to Teachers about Climate Change by Brenda Ekwurzel, Union of Concerned Scientists, Apr 7, 2017

China's Xi Outshines Trump as the World's Future Energy Leader

US Pres Donald Trump (L) & Chinese Pres Xi Jinping (R)

US President Donald Trump (L) sits with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) during a bilateral meeting at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 6, 2017. Credit: Jim Watson Getty Images

Much of Pres. Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Fla., sits less than two meters above the Atlantic Ocean, meaning big parts of the resort could rest beneath the waves by the end of this century as seas rise in response to global warming. Already nearby communities like Miami Beach are flooded even when the sun shines, as higher seas push water up and out of the porous limestone underneath the ground in southern Florida.

China is no better off, with cities from Hong Kong to Shanghai at increasing risk of inundation. Other threats such as extreme weather, farms turned to desert and choking smog are all exacerbated by climate change that results from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air. Even China’s efforts to combat those rising concentrations—in part by switching from burning coal to capturing the power latent in rivers like the Yangtze—falter in the face of global warming, as a result of less water in those rivers due to drought and the dwindling glaciers of the Tibetan Plateau.

But all that seems to exist in an alternate universe where facts matter, because Trump and China’s Pres. Xi Jinping apparently ignored climate change at their inaugural meeting last week. Although the two leaders apparently found time to discuss everything from North Korea’s nuclear capability to a potential reset of trade relations, climate change was never mentioned, even though Trump might have wanted to take the opportunity to directly fact check his Tweet from last year that China invented climate change to cripple U.S. manufacturing.

The silence was not a surprise, however, even if the focus 

China's Xi Outshines Trump as the World's Future Energy Leader by David Biello, Scientific American, Apr 11, 2017

Sun Apr 9

Mon Apr 10

Tue Apr 11

Wed Apr 12

Thu Apr 13

Fri Apr 14

Sat Apr 15

Posted by John Hartz on Saturday, 15 April, 2017

Creative Commons License The Skeptical Science website by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.