What do you get when you put a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters and scientists around a table and get them talking?
Better movies, and better science in those movies – or at least that’s the plan for a new partnership between the film industry’s creative community and the nation’s scientific establishment.
Tackling Tropical Deforestation
Tropical deforestation, mainly in Brazil and Indonesia, releases massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, but political, social, and scientific concerns kept the issue off the table during negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol.
As the world prepares for a Kyoto successor, the climate has changed, so to speak, both because reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD) may be essential to achieving short-term emissions goals, and because potential financial and other benefits for developing countries are coming into focus. As a result, REDD has emerged as a major issue in the climate change negotiations, and a topic of interest for anyone who wants to understand these proceedings or explain them to others.
America's Arid Southwest
The Anasazi culture of the southwestern United States reached its zenith between 1050 and 1125 A.D. before experiencing a dramatic collapse. Despite their advanced industrial society known for their cliff dwellings and ornate baskets, no authoritative written record adequately explains this phenomenon. Archeologists aren’t even sure what the Anasazi, Navajo for “Ancient Ones,” called themselves.
Advice from Auto Beat Experts
Covering the auto industry has gotten a lot more interesting … and a whole lot more challenging too.
Reporting on climate change, energy, and auto issues continues to pose daunting challenges to popular media reporters, especially as their own institutions undergo unprecedented economic challenges and restructuring.
Challenges and hurdles aside, this is an exciting time to cover the industry, as domestic automakers struggle to stay afloat while responding to government pressures to reduce their emissions and at the same time develop a viable business model.
So what’s a general assignment reporter – or even a non-auto beat specialist – to do?
Several public opinion polls of Americans’ attitudes suggest that much of the science of climate change is getting lost in the fury surrounding its politics.
A recent Pew survey, for instance, reports that the percentage of Americans who believe “solid evidence” of global warming exists dropped to 71% in 2008, down 8% from 2006 (mostly because more Republicans dispute the evidence). Even fewer – about 18% of Americans – say the issue warrants a “great deal of concern,” the lowest level among industrialized countries, and comparable only to China among countries surveyed.
Common Climate Misconceptions
Human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the primary factor contributing to the warming of the Earth’s surface over the past half-century.
However, for the past few years global temperatures have been stagnant or slightly decreasing even as atmospheric CO2 concentrations have been increasing faster than ever. This situation has led some voices in the media and blogging world to challenge the relationship between the CO2 concentrations and warming. These critiques are flawed, however, as short-term changes in global temperature are driven by numerous factors going beyond CO2, and the recent disconnect between the two is not particularly unusual in light of their past relationship.
Four Experts Pass Judgment
Journalist Eric Pooley’s January 2009 Shorenstein Center critique and analysis of press coverage of climate change policy issues has generated substantial attention and on-going “buzz” in climate journalism circles.
After publishing freelance writer John Wihbey’s February 17 article and analysis of Pooley’s “discussion paper,” The Yale Forum asked four respected university-affiliated environmental and science writers their views on Pooley’s analysis: Their comments and Eric Pooley’s own reaction to those comments follow.