Common Climate Misconceptions

BRRRRRR … A Cold January in Many Places And a New Round of Cooling Redux

It’s no surprise that as much of the U.S. hit was with an unusual January cold spell, hyperbolic warnings of an impending ice age would be close behind.

The British tabloid The Daily Mail recently misrepresented the work of a prominent German climate scientist, Mojib Latif, to suggest that “The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years.”

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Making Sense of Sea Level Rise: Numerous Factors, But Rising Temperatures Key

Will Outer Banks’ existing dunes withstand future sea level rise?

The concept of sea level rise for much of the public may suggest an image of the world’s oceans as something like a bathtub, with melting glaciers as the faucet.

“The media have this idea in mind that sea level due to climate change is a uniform, global thing,” says Glenn Milne, a geophysicist at the University of Ottawa and lead author for a recent review in the journal Nature Geoscience on the causes of sea level change.

“That’s the Waterworld kind of misconception, ” he says, “and in reality it’s going to be very different than that.”

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When a Tree Falls

Why the Decline and Rebirth of Environmental Journalism Matters


In Camille Feanny’s neighborhood workers busily repair homes and patch or reinstall roofs and windows after drenching storms last fall nailed the Southeast.

As she stares out her window, she’s dismayed: No rush to install new insulation, or solar panels, or double-paned windows.

“There are tax credits for installing and rebuilding your home in an energy-efficient way. The government is pouring billions into this,” Feanny said. “None of my neighbors knows anything about it.”

It’s a bitter irony for Feanny. She lives in Atlanta, home of CNN, where for nearly a decade she had worked on the network’s science and environment unit. That news unit was trimmed back for years and then unceremoniously dumped a little over a year ago, in what is the most prominent example of a science and environmental reporting team getting tossed aside as the traditional news industry sails stormy seas.

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But How, How Much, Where Still TBD

Andy Revkin, Cory Dean Seen Contributing In Some Ways to Ongoing Times Coverage

Less than a year after launching its newly reorganized reporting team designed to enhance the paper’s focus on environment and climate change, The New York Times finds itself without the two long-time science desk reporters – Andrew C. Revkin and Cornelia Dean – who for years provided the heart of just that coverage.

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Duke’s Jay Hamilton: From Buying a Hybrid To Covering Climate … A New Way Forward?

DURHAM, N.C. – When Jay Hamilton was in the market for a new hybrid car last summer, Google knew it.

As he scoured the Internet for the best deal, Google’s algorithms connected him to advertisements for hybrids. Now Hamilton, a professor of economics and public policy at Duke University, argues that similar targeted advertisements could provide a new funding model for public affairs journalism – including coverage of climate change.

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A Photo Essay

A Look-Back at the Climate Talks; COP-15 in Copenhagen

View Braasch’s Copenhagen Photos

COPENHAGEN, Sunday 20 December 2009 (7 am local time) — The 11th-hour “Copenhagen Accord” agreed to by the U.S., China, and three other major greenhouse gas emitting countries capped 14 days of frustrating negotiation, contention, oration, and demonstrations. The final agreement, while disappointing in so many ways, nonetheless came as an upbeat and unexpected outcome – an alternative to no agreement at all – and one that just might open the way for breakthroughs down the road.

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The CRU E-mails: What is Really There?

No climate-related stories over the past few years have attracted the level of mainstream coverage as those involving personal e-mails of prominent climate scientists that were hacked from a mail server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom (see Yale Forum article).

These e-mails provide plenty to criticize, but the most widely-publicized quotes often are taken out of context to falsely imply a conspiracy of sorts to hide declining temperatures and a lack of recent warming. A close reading of the e-mails in question reveals a more nuanced picture, with scientists struggling with how to explain uncertainties in complex systems in a world of 60-second sound-bytes and the certainty of blistering condemnations by those ideologically opposed to accepting scientific evidence of anthropogenic warming.

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