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   The New York Times featured a report March 18, 2014, from the AAAS, the Amercian Association for the Advancement of Science. Reporter Justin Gillis focused on Mario J. Molina, who was among those honored with a Nobel Prize for work detailing the threat to the ozone layer in the previous century.

       Molina is now spearheading efforts by the AAAS to sound the alarm on the urgency to act on Climate Change, and they're serious.

“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.”
     Follow the link to the report, and you'll be greeted by the video below. As the NY Times article by Gillis notes, the news from the AAAS isn't all that new - what they're specifically trying to address is the confusion about Climate Change that is keeping people from mobilizing to do something about it.

        More below the Orange Omnilepticon; ironically the coverage by the NY Times itself shows some of the problems in getting the word out.

In This Corner...

             The AAAS has set up a web page, What We Know. The message is the debate among scientists is over; the challenge now is to get the public to understand what we know:

The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk.

Surveys show that many Americans think climate change is still a topic of significant scientific disagreement.[i] Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is real. Moreover, while the public is becoming aware that climate change is increasing the likelihood of certain local disasters, many people do not yet understand that there is a small, but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world.

emphasis added

        The website has numerous links, including videos, and a 28 page pdf report making the case for action. This is a must read for anyone wondering just what Climate Change is all about - and that's the intent of the AAAS. They urgently desire to get the message out in simple, direct language so that people who are not scientists can get an honest accounting of the issue.

       As Gillis notes in the NY Times article,

The scientists are essentially trying to use their powers of persuasion to cut through public confusion over this issue.

Polls show that most Americans are at least somewhat worried about global warming. But people generally do not understand that the problem is urgent — that the fate of future generations (not necessarily that far in the future) is being determined by emission levels now. Moreover, the average citizen tends to think there is more scientific debate about the basics than there really is.

And In This Corner...

        The reasons for that uncertainty, doubt, and confusion are not too far away to be found. Buried almost at the bottom of the NY Times article is this single sentence:

Global warming has been much harder to understand, not least because of a disinformation campaign financed by elements of the fossil-fuel industry.
      You think?

       The article links to a whole page of NY Times Science articles related to Global Warming and Climate Change. Its import is somewhat diminished by a banner ad across the top, and another in the side bar: "Rush's Polar Vortex - Is Global Warming A Hoax? Vote Now!"  Clicking on the ad goes to a web page rather transparently designed to snag Limbaugh fans, Climate Change deniers, etc. into giving up email addresses so they (or anyone else who goes ahead with the poll) can be targeted for spam. (Of course, that's what I found - your browser history may get you something else.)

      At the risk of giving them more web traffic than they deserve, this is the link for voting. I'm only posting it here for those who want to look at the framing and the poll questions. I strongly advise against attempting to vote and definitely do not give them any information:

       While the AAAS report is careful not to name names or spell out precisely why there is so much confusion among the general public about Climate Change, the ad rather gives away one of the chief factors. It's not just the fossil fuel industry that seeks to spread disinformation. Climate Change has been deliberately politicized into a litmus test for ideological purity. The anti-science fervor of conservatism is manifesting in numerous ways, along with its knee-jerk aversion to government intervention in anything, no matter how dire.

        Neil deGrasse Tyson's revival of COSMOS is making certain heads explode. (Chris Mooney at Mother Jones)

...Thus far, Cosmos has referred to climate change in each of its two opening episodes, but has not gone into any depth on the matter. Perhaps that's for a later episode. But in the meantime, it seems some conservatives are already bashing Tyson as a global warming proponent. Writing at the Media Research Center's Newsbusters blog, Jeffrey Meyer critiques a recent Tyson appearance on Late Night With Seth Myers. "Meyers and deGrasse Tyson chose to take a cheap shot at religious people and claim they don't believe in science i.e. liberal causes like global warming," writes Meyer.
Wyoming is freaking out over new standards for teaching science - because it's difficult to teach about Climate Change without discussing the effects from Wyoming's massive coal industry. (Leah Todd, Star Tribune)
Teeters said teaching global warming as fact would wreck Wyoming's economy, as the state is the nation's largest energy exporter, and cause other unwanted political ramifications.

Micheli, the state board of education chairman, agreed.

"I don't accept, personally, that [climate change] is a fact," Micheli said. "[The standards are] very prejudiced in my opinion against fossil-fuel development."

        North Carolina has chosen to remain in official ignorance until 2016, regarding what's happening to the state's coastline.(Bruce Siceloff, News Observer)
The 2012 law was championed by Eastern North Carolina Republicans who distrusted the 39-inch forecast. They said they wanted to make sure that state policy is grounded in solid science and common-sense analysis.

“You can believe whatever you want about global warming,” Rep. Pat McElraft, an Emerald Isle real estate agent who helped sponsor the measure, said in 2012. “But when you go to make planning policies here for our residents and protecting their property values and insurance rates … it’s a very serious thing to us on the coast.”

Gorham says he also wants a reliable sea-level prediction rooted in “good science.” And at the outset, he doesn’t buy the arguments for acceleration.

“What I don’t like are hockey-stick projections – where some scientists say that although it has been rising at this level, we think it is going to rise up (faster),” Gorham said. “I don’t like hockey sticks up or hockey sticks down. (But) I’m not saying I’ll disagree with it when we finish the study.”

Figuring The Odds...

        Dr. Molina's work led to international cooperation to stop the production of the chlorofluorcarbons that were destroying the ozone layer. (Although it appears there is some backsliding, here and here.) The effort succeeded because the science was relatively clear cut, the remedies onerous but not impossible, and the consequences something everyone could imagine suffering. The anti-science ideologues hadn't gotten as firm a grip in those days either.

       Now? Climate Change touches upon far more money, far more beliefs, and far more aspects of everyones lives. The stakes are far higher. The AAAS is trying to make a clear, honest appeal to rational thought; their opponents are interested in anything but. To quote Yeats yet again,

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
   Well, the best are full of conviction now - let's hope it's contagious. Climate Change is going to be a make or break intelligence test for the human species; we can no longer plead ignorance about what is happening. What remains is to muster our passions in the service of our intellects and act while there is still time left to avoid the worst.

Please spread the word about the AAAS website as far and wide as you can.

UPDATE:  jamess posted about this as well, here.

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Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 6:05 AM PT: UPDATE The NY Times reports the White House is setting up it's own website to get the message out about Climate Change.

A quick look gives the impression it is still pretty 'beta' but the idea of letting people see how they personally can be affected by Climate Change is a start - as is the hope that others will add to the site.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and DKOMA.


The AAAS effort to end the public's confusion on Climate Change:

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| 34 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (37+ / 0-)

    The AAAS puts me in mind of that knife - gun fight metaphor. The major problem with appeals to reason is that it is a vanishingly scarce commodity these days.

    Only today, I was hearing Sean Hannity state quite clearly that the answer to Russian aggression in the Ukraine was to build the Keystone pipeline, dig more coal, and get Europe fracking for natural gas.

    It's a knee-jerk reflex with these people, devoted as they are to weaponized stupid.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:07:45 PM PDT

  •  Bull Crap, They're Not Even Remotely Serious. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, northsylvania, Don midwest
    While the AAAS report is careful not to name names or spell out precisely why there is so much confusion
    Then their references to "confusion" constitute completely unsupported claims. Even the fundamentalists provide some documentation for their claims.

    This is no different from being "careful" not to spell out precisely why mid 20th century Europe was in such "confusion."

    --Except that the Godwin issue only took out few score million people.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:50:49 PM PDT

    •  It's that objectivity thing (9+ / 0-)

      The problem with trying to speak as a scientist is that as soon as you address anything with any political implications - even if that's where the facts lead you - you are immediately tarred as  being political and no longer 'objective'. Therefore, you are a bad scientist.  Naming names is personalizing issues, and science is supposed to be impersonal.

      I suspect the AAAS is (forlornly) hoping that if they are careful enough to avoid anything that can be seized on in the least way as being political, they can avoid being pigeonholed as just another bunch of liberal climate change conspirators.

      Well, let them try. They won't succeed in opening minds so firmly closed, but they may be able to reach others. And if it calls for partisan heavy-lifting, that's our job.

      One of the idiots quoted in an article said "You can believe what you want about…" and that's the fallacy they try to slip past us. In fact you can't believe what you want and call it science; you can only believe what you have evidence for and can prove.

      Any time someone tries to use that phrase to discredit something, they should, in NFL parlance, be rhetorically clotheslined.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:03:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  AAAS is about reason (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, xaxnar

    It's the way they work and what they do.

    It never hurts to argue reason; I hope they will reach young millennials who, in many cases, are better educated and more open than their parents, because, that is the real base that has to make change happen, us not-so-oldster need to help as much as we can, but a large segment of the population is more concerned with the "future" in terms of retirement (if/how) than continued human existence.

    Recent polling suggest they have fundamentally higher awareness and need to be motivated to act.

    If you want to reach some other people, a baseball bat may be more persuasive than reason. When they say "show me" that flashed through my mind sometimes.

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:30:52 PM PDT

  •  Well done. Again. n/t (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, tarkangi, xaxnar, jbob, Don midwest

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:22:01 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      The AAAS, the British Royal Society, The U.S. National Academy of the Sciences, the U.N., the Pentagon - so many are recognizing the seriousness of Climate Change and the need to act.

      The timidity of Democrats and the media in addressing this is a real measure of institutional cowardice, while the active hostility of the Republican party is a further demonstration that conservatism is antithetical to rational behavior.

      Or to put it more directly, you don't have to be nuts to be a conservative - but it makes it a lot easier.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:33:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Climate Casino by William Nordhaus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Don midwest

    Nordhaus, as it happens the PhD advisor of Paul Krugman, has written a series of outstanding books on modeling and economics related to ACC.

    I find it utterly compelling in the way it lays out the science and the economics of the problems and the solutions.

    I may be biased by the fact that I have read the ones that came before, so that the intellectual heavy lifting has already been done, but I would offer it up as a Rossetta Stone for understanding the paths forward.

    Everything is in place, conceptually, and all we have to do is push the button: but that is the issue, because the button is 100% politics.

    Milloy and the Koch Brothers and the Heartland Institute all understand this, and are possessed of both low animal cunning and all those billions of dollars to work with.  We need our best game.

    To me, the core message of Climate Casino is that a $25 per carbon price (about nine cents added to a gallon of gas) properly administered - a crucially, crucially important point - on the push side with the institution of a smart science investment regime will allow us to get effective results in reasonable time at acceptable cost.

    I am astounded that the carbon price turns out to be so modest.  We need to get this out, to neutralize the scare tactics.

    So I think that we can make this work by coupling this core message to everyone's individual enthusiasm (solar, wind, electric car, high speed, there is room for everyone to contribute) and pound the point home that saving the planet does not mean we have to eat spirulina gruel and live in mud huts.

    In fact, this would mean that folks who want them can still have their gas guzzlers - they just have to pay for the carbon used, and that funds the good green life the rest of us will be enjoying.

    Planet saved.

    o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

    by tarkangi on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:02:34 AM PDT

    •  Regressive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, tarkangi
      Folks who want them can still have their gas guzzlers - they just have to pay for the carbon used.
      Unfortunately, commuting to jobs by long distances and (increasingly) on toll roads is for a huge number of people the only way to have a job, gas guzzler or no. An increased gas tax is, to put it simply, an attack on the middle class and more so on the poor.

      Unintended consequences suck.

      •  Saw that in Mexico City (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JG in MD, tarkangi, Don midwest

        According to a BBC article (sorry, no link) when Mexico City attempted to reduce air pollution by banning cars on a rotating basis (license plate # ?), a lot of people got a second car just for those days - usually a cheap old one that was even dirtier.

        A lot of people would hate a gas tax, but a single oil industry accident, war, etc would send gas prices shooting up even more than the tax - and people would just grumble. And make other choices. This is why mass transit ridership is up, and people are looking hard at mileage again when they look at buying a car. Rebates and tax credits can help with that - and probably should along with more mass transit funding.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:20:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent example (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxnar, Don midwest

          There will be a role for regulations in all this.  Carbon price is not a magic snake oil.  As you illustrate, it is important to design the regulatory systems carefully, paying attention to hidden costs and unintended consequences.

          Nordhaus has many examples of such analyses, some of which are most counter-intuitive.  At every step we will have to be careful, because it is really easy to be mistaken.

          o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

          by tarkangi on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:02:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And thus the work begins (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, JG in MD

        I am a scientist, accustomed to writing precisely for an audience largely knows what I am talking about.

        Which means I am not at all accustomed to writing for general audiences, in such a way that they will get my point.

        Which  is the whole point of this exercise for me, and the AAAS campaign, and Nordhaus's and everything.

        So let me try again, in the hope of doing better.

        This has nothing to do with gas taxes.  It's a carbon price: through direct carbon taxes, or cap and trade, or some other equivalent mechanism, the price of fossil fuels can be raised in a way that increases the cost of using fossil fuels - directly as a power source, or as an indirect input.

        So uses that put more CO2 into the air will become more expensive than other options that put out less.  Biking then gets promoted over driving, for the purpose of getting around town.

        The nine cents a gallon of gas figure was not intended to suggest a gas tax but to put the best current estimate of the size of the carbon price into perspective: the realistic cost of saving the planet is smaller than the typical changes you see in the price of gas over the course of a month: meaning that it is the size of price changes that most people don't even notice.

        And now I have learned to be more careful about using this example because I know it is easy for people to get the wrong point.  I already knew about the point in the abstract because I have seen how Nordhaus learned to be very careful in his use of language as well, but it hurts the first time you are smacked in the face with a herring.

        So this has absolutely nothing to do with unintended consequences; all of these matters are very well understood, which was intended to be The Major Point of my comment, but evidently I did not get that point across at all.

        The regressive aspects of the carbon price are also well understood, as are the fixes to the problem.  The typical American household would pay about $1000 in a year, so an obvious fix would be to write a check for $1000 to every household - which would have the benefit of a mild progressive tilt to the program as a whole.  Their may be even better ways to do it - I will look into it.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:53:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good points (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tarkangi, Don midwest

          What I have written about elsewhere is the critical need to address social safety net issues in dealing with climate change, both in proposals and in language. Whatever actions we take will go over better if people think of them as empowering, something they can feel invested in, and fair. We need this to counteract the deliberate politics of resentment.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:11:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No herring no herring (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I know how hard it is to express things clearly, and today's complexity is at the heart of our problem as we fight the battle. I'm grateful to all who help us understand.

          ::Jill gently wipes herring juice from tarkangi::

          •  I like clever people (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            You did me a favor: my ultimate goal is to have a document that I can carry into the lions' den when I set out to coax our enemies into becoming our friends.

            I intended something with this little essay, and it was understood as intending something that made my eyes pop; so clearly I need to rewrite that part.

            Had I simply waltzed into the den and offered up the naive version, the Goopers would have used the pages to kindle a lovely fire for roasting my liver.

            And I like herring, used to fish for them in the Baltic Sea.

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 08:17:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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