The Cutting Edge

If you are in the DC area tomorrow, the AAAS is hosting an interesting event that piggybacks off the Voyage of Discovery art installation by Jessica Beels, Ellyn Weiss, and our own Michele Banks called Cutting Edge: Art & Science of Climate Change:

Join AAAS for an evocative exchange as artists and scientists come together to interpret the effects of climate change on the poles…This live event features talks by two leading Arctic researchers, followed by a panel discussion on communicating climate change to the public.

“Cutting Edge: Art and Science of Climate Change” coincides with the art installation, “Voyage of Discovery,” currently in the lobby of AAAS headquarters. This remarkable exhibition, featuring works by Michele Banks, Jessica Beels, and Ellyn Weiss, explores a “hypothetical journey” to the poles where climate change has caused the ice to recede, reawakening life that has been frozen for millennia.

Cutting Edge will be held on Thursday, May 1 at 6:30PM at the AAAS Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Insurance Industry: 4 on Dubiosity Scale

Contrary to political posturing, there are more than two positions on the climate change issue. There are political conservatives who accept anthropogenic climate change, but prefer using market forces to address the problem. These individuals rate a 4 on my Dubiosity Scale (1 is the most dubious).

According to an article in the NY Times by Eduardo Porter, the US insurance industry may also rate a 4. It accepts the scientific consensus position, but is reluctant to engage in political squabbles, because the threat of punitive regulation is a bigger risk than increased payouts due to worsening weather:

Yet when I asked Mr. Nutter what the American insurance industry was doing to combat global warming, his answer was surprising: nothing much…Instead, the focus of insurers’ advocacy efforts is zoning rules and disaster mitigation. – Eduardo Porter

Porter summarizes the position of a 4 on the Dubiosity Scale in his last sentence:

And that’s the best hope for those concerned about climate change: that global warming isn’t just devastating for society, but also bad for business. –Eduardo Porter

But, what happens when the issue is so politicized that the market forces are responding to the politics and not the market?

Former climate skeptic finally catches up to current science

LA Times: Koch-funded climate change skeptic reverses course

WASHINGTON – The verdict is in: Global warming is occurring and emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activity are the main cause.

This, according to Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at UC Berkeley, MacArthur Fellow and co-founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Never mind that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and hundreds of other climatologists around the world came to such conclusions years ago. The difference now is the source: Muller is a long-standing, colorful critic of prevailing climate science, and the Berkeley project was heavily funded by the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation, which, along with its libertarian petrochemical billionaire founder Charles G. Koch, has a considerable history of backing groups that deny climate change.

Continue reading “Former climate skeptic finally catches up to current science”

RealClimate schools WSJ on how to compare models to data

On how to decide whether your model is falsified:

The WSJ authors’ main point is that if the data doesn’t conform to predictions, the theory is “falsified”. They claim to show that global mean temperature data hasn’t conformed to climate model predictions, and so the models are falsified.
But let’s look at the graph… Continue reading “RealClimate schools WSJ on how to compare models to data”

Behind the climate change skepticism curtain

Document leakage in the battle over public opinion on climate change isn’t limited to hacked email accounts of climate scientists. The Heartland Institute, a deep-pocketed promoter of climate change skepticism inadvertently sent confidential fundraising materials to someone just posing as a deep-pocketed climate change skeptic, and Desmog Blog has done the document dump.

Apparently some of the documents are fake, but most have been confirmed as genuine. Ezra Klein gives a run-down of what’s there. His main conclusions: Continue reading “Behind the climate change skepticism curtain”