The complexity of climate change — difficult science, short-term action versus long-term implications, a confusing public debate — is neither difficult nor complex in the hands of a farmer. It is as simple as dirt, seeds, water, and sun.
At least that’s how it appears at Ben Burkett’s farm just north of the Louisiana border in Petal, Mississippi, nearly 300 acres of farm and timber that his family has owned and cultivated for five generations.
Understanding the carbon cycle is a key part of understanding the broader climate change issue. But a number of misconceptions floating around the blogosphere confuse basic concepts to argue that climate change is irrelevant because of the short residence time of carbon molecules in the atmosphere and the large overall carbon stock in the environment.
It turns out that while much of the “pulse” of extra CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere would be absorbed over the next century if emissions miraculously were to end today, about 20 percent of that CO2 would remain for at least tens of thousands of years.
Pew Climate Change Senior Scientist Jay Gulledge has mixed science and communicating since earning his Ph.D. in biological sciences 15 years ago.
On the research side, the biogeochemist has studied carbon cycling and the cycling fluxes of methane between ecosystems and the atmosphere, and he continues to work with colleagues in China on issues involving the country’s methane budget.
Lessons from The Atlantic Magazine
Major wars shape the way a nation sees the world. From World War II, Americans gained the vocabulary and metrics for a “good war” fought with steely determination against clearly defined enemies.
The legacy of that war, which the U.S. officially entered 69 years ago, on the date of this posting, can be seen even in today’s national debate over climate change, in the charges and countercharges of “climate change appeasers,” “climate change deniers,” and “climate change fascists.” More useful, but for some equally polarizing, is the aspirational “World War II-scale effort.”
What should the journalistic community expect of a joint venture formed to cover a topic as complex as climate change? Of a joint venture begun during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression? Of one that must operate in the context of changing rules and failing business models? What, in short, should the journalistic community expect of Climate Desk, now that it has passed the half-year mark?
Bags under the Eyes Named Schmidt … and Gavin
|Skeptical Science’s John Cook of Queensland.
Australian and native Queenslander John Cook has a day job. And it’s not in the climate science field.
You’d never know it based on what the 38-year-old Cook has accomplished while moonlighting. In fact, what he’s accomplished just since launching his popular Skeptical Science website about three years ago.
Translated into 18 languages and with monthly readership now reaching 400,000, much of it from across U.S., Cook’s Skeptical Science site recently has adopted a “Basic” format to accompany the “Intermediate” and “Advanced” explanations of established climate evidence, often in the form of debunking climate myths spread by climate science doubters or “skeptics.”
Science communications expert and advocate Nancy Baron knows of what she speaks.
A science writer, zoologist, and communications trainer for COMPASS and the Leopold Leadership Program, Baron has had years of first-hand training experience with the science community, helping them wend their way through the public communications morass increasingly recognized as a key to sound science generally.