Should we “frame” climate change?

If we want to convince people to take action against global warming, maybe we need to take advice from advertising. A report by the nonprofit EcoAmerica, as reported by The New York Times in early May, suggests that terms like “greenhouse gas” and “carbon dioxide” turn people off.  Instead, they say, climate activists should change their rhetoric, emphasizing a “move away from dirty fuels of the...

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Shading Earth won’t stop ocean acidification

Geoengineering is the idea that humans can slow, stop or reverse the effects of climate change by altering the composition of Earth’s atmosphere and biosphere.  While controversial, these methods, including reducing sun exposure by injecting aerosols into the atmosphere or using giant mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays, were identified as a high-priority area for research by the G8-5 nations. Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie...

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NOAA adminstrator Lubchenco on Living on Earth

Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of NOAA (who, by the by, is a former president of ESA), gave a great interview on this week’s Living on Earth series.  If you don’t listen to Living on Earth, it’s an excellent weekly radio show by Public Radio International that focuses on environmental issues. Lubchenco told the Living on Earth folks that she wants to start a National Climate Service, which would be akin to the...

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EPA biofuels rule: calculating the payback

The EPA released a report yesterday that proposes to change the rules of the biofuels game.  The report, titled “Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program,” examines the lifecycle of corn-for-ethanol practices and sets the “payback” period of carbon emissions for corn-for-ethanol fuel as 33 years. The payback period means that at first, corn-for-ethanol practices will be...

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Climate change, heat stress, and animal evolution

Climate change has the potential to not only increase average temperatures around the world, but also to increase the likelihood and severity of now-rare temperature events, like heat waves.  The fate of many animal populations, therefore, can hinge on their ability to tolerate (relative) extreme heat. In the April issue of Functional Ecology, scientists explore the possible responses of animal populations to a changing climate. Mike...

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Forests might flip from carbon sink to source

Ecologists point to forests as important sinks for atmospheric carbon. But a new report suggests that climate change could induce environmental stresses that would chnge the role of forests into a net carbon source. The report, titled “Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment,” was coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Collaborative...

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First proposal for federal climate regulations

Members of the House of Representatives have introduced the first federal bill that would attempt to regulate climate change by placing limits on carbon release, ensuring that 25 percent of the nation’s energy comes from renewable sources and reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. While the Obama administration is weighing whether to use the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions, House...

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Seabirds: ‘Climate change is here’

To convince naysayers that climate change is real, maybe all we need to tell them is to look up in the sky – or down into the ocean.  Two recent studies show that seabirds can be important sentinels of a changing climate. Says Dee Boersma, University of Washington ecologist and one of the world’s penguin experts, in a NY Times article today: “The big thing is that penguins are showing us that climate change has...

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