The art of communicating climate change

This post was contributed by Piper Corp, ESA Science Policy Analyst   London-based writer and philosopher Alain de Botton recently shared his thoughts on the environment. In a UN Chronicle essay, de Botton says that climate change is different from threats we’ve faced in the past—whether natural disasters or nuclear warfare—in that it is neither outside our control nor a result of deliberate action. The product of the day-to-day...

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Ups and downs: climate change in January 2010

This post was contributed by Piper Corp, ESA Science Policy Analyst, and Katie Kline A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks when it comes to climate change: 2009 was tied for the second warmest year on record, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and China joined several other rapidly industrializing nations in agreeing to submit plans...

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Three Elephants in the Living Room at Copenhagen

This post was contributed by Meg Lowman, ESA Vice President for Education and Human Resources, who just recently returned from the Copenhagen climate summit.  With good intentions, delegates arrived from 192 nations in Copenhagen, Denmark last week for the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention). Their goal was to meet, talk, draft, edit and finalize a document to limit carbon dioxide emissions into our...

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Oceans can’t keep up with human emissions

A study out in Nature today puts some long-term figures on a trend that climate scientists and ecologists have seen coming for some time: Oceans are no longer absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere like they used to. Growing ocean acidity is slowing their ability to keep up as humans pump more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The study, conducted by Samar Khatiwala of the Georgia Institute of Technology and...

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Fish migrate to escape climate change

A study out today in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series shows that global warming could have a major effect on the fishing industry by forcing large fish populations from their original habitats. About half of the fish stocks studied in the Atlantic ocean, many of them commercially valuable species, have shifted northward over the last 40 years. The study finds that the fish are moving to escape continually warming waters that...

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Climate change will further endanger monkeys

A critically endangered northern muriqui in Brazil. Photo by Carla B. Possamai, provided by K.B. Strier A study out today in Biology Letters shows that global warming will likely drive several species of primates closer to extinction by increasing the severity and frequency of El Niño and La Niña events (the El Niño Southern Oscillation, ENSO). Eric Post and graduate student Ruscena Wiederholt of Penn State examined population data on...

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The Senate, climate change, and the public opinion

On Wednesday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sent a letter, signed by 18 scientific organizations including ESA, to each member of the Senate. The letter states the consensus views of the scientific community: that climate change is real, that it is mostly anthropogenic in source and that, if unchecked, it will create major threats to our society. The letter is an exceptionally concise and to-the-point...

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Pollutants melting out of glaciers, into lakes

A mountain lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. Organic pollutants have been on the decline in most natural areas in recent years, due to stricter regulations and improvements to products including the contaminants, such as certain pesticides. But a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that these pollutants are showing a spike in some natural lakes, regardless of their tighter restrictions in the...

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