2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #52

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

The Resistance: In the President’s Relentless War on Climate Science, They Fought Back

The scientists' efforts were often unseen and sometimes unsuccessful. But over four years, they mounted a guerilla defense that kept pressure on the Trump Administration.


Every time the word “climate” was deleted from the name of his program at the Environmental Protection Agency, Dan Costa stuck it back in.

Chris Frey fought back in the unlikely setting of a hotel conference room, where he and 20 other members of an EPA science review panel dismissed by the Trump administration met to do their job anyway, later publishing their views in a prestigious medical journal.

And as Jeff Alson was walking out the door of the EPA in frustration after a 40-year career at the agency, he gave pep talks to the younger engineers about why they had to stay on.

“I told them what I’m going to do for you is go out and tell the truth, so that the public knows that this rollback is not being done by EPA staff, it is being done by other people in the government,” Alson said. 

These are snapshots of the resistance. Although their names are little known and their efforts often went unseen, they defied the relentless campaign President Donald Trump and his administration waged against mainstream science during the four years of his presidency—particularly the scientific consensus on climate change.

The outcome of this war is yet to be written. Trump has rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations, loosening restrictions on fossil fuel development when the science points ever more urgently to the need to stop the reliance on energy sources that produce greenhouse gas emissions. In California earlier this year, the president summarized his administration’s attitude toward scientific expertise: “I don’t think the science knows,” he said, as the state’s worst wildfire season on record raged all around him.

But the Trump administration’s drive to dismiss and deny climate science has made only partial headway. In what may be a sign of the robustness of both the science and the U.S. institutions that support it, scientists inside and outside the federal agencies fought back.

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

The Resistance: In the President’s Relentless War on Climate Science, They Fought Back by Marianne Lavelle, Science, InsideClimate News, Dec 27, 2020

Editorial of the Week...

Climate crisis: I used to mull when to have children. Now I ask if I should I have them.

Reliable COVID vaccines spark optimism about 2021 and beyond. There is no vaccine for the climate crisis, but we must create a similar promising future.

Dr. Tummala Neelima 

Dr. Neelu Tummala on Nov 22, 2019, Washington, DC Olivia Anderson

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about whether public health agencies should advise women to postpone pregnancy because of potential virus-related risks. Not surprisingly, there are multiple ethical considerations to such recommendations, with reproduction ultimately being a very personal and private decision. One important factor is the control many women (although admittedly not all) are able to exercise in choosing their risk exposure to the coronavirus. That is a stark contrast to the risks associated with the climate crisis, where the very air women breathe and the heat waves they are exposed to increase pregnancy-related complications.

A recent study reveals that roughly 25% of childless adults consider climate change in their decision not to have children. Over the past 20 years of my own life, my thoughts toward starting a family have always revolved around timing. When is the right time for me? It wasn’t the carefree years of college, the studious years of medical school or the overworked years of residency. Now, as I continue to look forward, the question of when is accompanied by a previously unthinkable thought: Should I?

Climate crisis: I used to mull when to have children. Now I ask if I should I have them., Opinion by Dr. Neelu Tummala, USA Today, Dec 22, 2020

Toon of the Week...

2020 Toon 52 

Hat tip to the Stop Climate Science Denial Facebook page.

Graphic of the Week...

Climate Action Tracker Thermometer as of Dec 2020

Climate Action Tracker thermometer, as of December 2020. Temperatures shown are the average (50%) outcome and uncertainty range. Source: CAT Global Update December 2020

UNEP: Net-zero pledges provide an ‘opening’ to close growing emissions ‘gap’ by Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief, Dec 9, 2020

Coming Soon on SkS...

Climate Feedback Claim Review...

Video advertising “Powersave” device is misleading and makes impossible home power savings claims

CLAIM:  A young whizkid [...] invented a device that cuts 50% off an average home’s power bill

VERDICT: Inaccurate

SOURCE: HOVERH, 16 Dec. 2020  

KEY TAKE AWAY: This video misrepresents the people shown, falsely claiming to show the inventor of the device being advertised. That device is incapable of reducing electric bills by 50%, as claimed—or indeed by any amount. 

Video advertising “Powersave” device is misleading and makes impossible home power savings claims, Edited by Scott Johnson, Claim Review, Climate Feedback, Dec 27, 2020

SkS Week in Review... 

Poster of the Week...

 2020 Poster 52

Posted by John Hartz on Sunday, 27 December, 2020

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