Absolute Certainty ... Elusive

That Storm, That Cold Day, That Drought … How Scientists Try to Evaluate Links to Warming

These days it seems as if a single hot or cold day is all it takes to inspire a reporter or politician to blame the mercury’s position on global warming, or, alternatively, claim it as proof that global warming doesn’t exist. More extreme events such as hurricanes or floods inspire even more headlines and comments … and political punditry.


What Humans Might Learn from Marmots and Picas

Berkeley Professor Barnosky’s Harrowing ‘Heatstroke’: Changing Concepts of Nature in a Warmer Atmosphere

In the summer of 1988, as Yellowstone National Park burned and congressional hearings on global warming were being held in a sweltering Washington D.C., Tony Barnosky was digging into the floor of a Colorado cave.

Traveling back in time, as he wrote in his new book, Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming, Barnosky was uncovering ecosystems long gone – each shaped by changes in Earth’s climate.


Was an ‘Historic’ EPA Ruling on GHGs Reflected by Historically Good Coverage?

A recent Environmental Protection Agency finding that greenhouse gases “threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations” prompted references to an “historic” action in many headlines and news stories.

But whether the coverage surrounding that April decision was historic in terms of its quality, depth, and thoroughness … that is another question.


Q&A with UCS President Kevin Knobloch On Climate Science, Policy, Communications

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UCS President
Kevin Knobloch

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. – After eight years of battling the Bush administration to preserve the integrity of science and inform public policy on environmental and nuclear issues, Union of Concerned Scientists President Kevin Knobloch is not taking a rest. Instead, he’s amplifying efforts to communicate about climate change action, especially in the upcoming legislative effort.

Lisa Palmer caught up with Knobloch at UCS headquarters recently for The Yale Forum to talk about climate, the economy, and getting scientists to understand the media.


EPA Ann Arbor Vehicle Emissions Lab Offers Reporters Fertile Ground for Stories

ANN ARBOR, MI. – A room full of sparkling new silver diesel engines, a car running automatically on its own treadmill, a mammoth truck with its insides displaying a new kind of fuel efficient technology.

These are just a few of the items you’ll find in an unassuming, sprawling government building. With the cumbersome title National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, this building in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is part of the Environmental Protection Agency, and like many government buildings, it appears at first glance to be dull and unexceptional. But under its roof, you can discover some of the nation’s most important measures – and treasures – in the effort to address climate change.


Notable … and Quotable

Encounter a catchy or “keeper” quotation about climate change and climate change communications over the preceding few weeks? Let us know, and we’ll include it in this new feature we call ‘Notable … and Quotable.’

The quotes have to be on-point, concise, meaty, self-standing … and not so overtly partisan that they would demand clarification, elaboration, or further context. Here are a few examples that we think meet these standards. Do you know the source of the individual quotations, and can you link the quotations with those responsible for the specific quotation?


Keeping Tabs on Obama’s Climate Push As House Moves Forward with Legislation


With President Obama and key congressional leaders seeking passage this year of global warming legislation, journalists have a great opportunity to explain the complexities of the issue to their readers.

But reporters must be careful too, as climate policy doesn’t fit neatly into a simple storyline of he said/she said. My editor likes to say that the climate debate is just as contentious as the issues facing the Middle East. Indeed, this is a debate filled with nuance, with more than two sides vying for coverage.


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