74% Geek


I found the included video from a lecture by Naomi Oreskes on Deltoid. You'll remember Oreskes from her Science article a while back in which she showed that there is strong scientific consensus in the belief that global warming is human-induced. In this lecture, she presents a very brief history of the science of global warming, doing an excellent job of going back to the very roots, and making the important point that scientists have predicted global warming for at least 50 years. A related point is that as time has marched on, the predictions have gotten more detailed, and they've shown to be true so far. I especially think back to the 1988 Hansen paper, which showed projections of climate change from numerical simulations, which has now shown to be a conservative estimate of the warming. In the second half of her lecture, Oreskes discusses the "denial of global warming." This goes back to that now familiar, but surprisingly recent, poll that most Americans still think there is scientific debate about whether global warming is human-induced (versus a "natural cycle" or such). Oreskes asks why this is, when scientists, as she has just shown, really reached consensus about global warming in the 70s/80s and about the cause of the warming in the mid to late 1980s. She traces the origins to the Marshall Institute, and a tactic she calls the "tobacco strategy." She traces the history of the Marshall Institute to its roots as a PR campaign to defend Reagan's star wars program: ultimately a conservative, anti-communist group. She follows the progression, and discusses Fred Singer and others, who have through the past two decades argued against scientific issues essentially to stop government regulation (and thus "creeping communism"). It's a very interesting presentation, clear and objective, and I think shows very well how the "tobacco strategy" has effectively misguided the American public through deliberate manipulation of mass media outlets.


Environmental Research Letters - Best of 2007

An e-mail I received today:

Environmental Research Letters (ERL) has just released the Best of 2007, a mixture of Perspectives and Letters that best represent the high quality and breadth of the contributions that were published last year in ERL, as chosen by the Editorial Board, guest editors and publishing team.

This special collection includes contributions to invited focus issues on Environmental Health and Justice, Northern Hemisphere High Latitude Climate Change, Tropical Deforestation, and Global Impacts of Particulate Matter Air Pollution, as well as an editorial from ERL's Editor-in-Chief, Professor Daniel M Kammen.

To read the ERL Best of 2007, visit http://herald.iop.org/ERL_Bestof2007/m261/crk//link/1319 where you can access the online table of contents or download the full pdf version of this very special collection.