Archives for January 2017

February 1

News

Proposed Budget Cuts

“At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Assignment

Same reading as last class. We are going to discuss the risks from climate change as outlined in the IPCC report.

Resources

IPCC Graphics Topics 2&3 Edited

January 30

News

The end of climate regs: Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

Climate Deregulation Tracker

In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’ https://nyti.ms/2jHpu3Y

Assignment

Carry over readings from last class. Read pp. 56-73.

Resources

Carbon Cycle and Ocean Acidification

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Enhanced Graphics for Discussion (from last class)

January 25

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

This is the core source for climate information. We are going to look at its basics so we understand where the climate science we will discuss comes from.

IPCC Home

Assignment

What is the IPCC? – read

History of the IPCC – read

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Fifth Assessment Report – Read pp. 35-56

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Enhanced Graphics for Discussion

Resources

Why is there an atmosphere around our earth and not around other planets?

How did the earth’s atmosphere form?

What causes the seasons?

Milankovitch cycles

Solar Variability

What is the temperature on the Moon?

What is Ocean Acidification?

What are the main greenhouse gases?

 Water as a GHG

January 23

Climate Change Law in the News (check back for breaking news)

The New White House Page on Climate Change

An America First Energy Plan

We will discuss this in class.

Reading assignment

Kahan, Dan M., Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem (June 25, 2014). Advances in Pol. Psych., 36, 1-43 (2015). (SSRN-id2459057: Edited for presentation)

We are going to start our discussion of climate change by looking at the cultural cognition problem – what shapes people’s beliefs about scientific issues? Do the people you disagree with just not know the facts?

Read this article through page 37. This research explores the critical distinction between what a person knows and what a person believes, or put another way, what a person knows as opposed to who the person is. This has important implications for communicating information about controversial subjects such as climate change. It is also fundamental to trial practice: you have to persuade jurors to believe your story, not just know your story.

The article is well written, but can be heavy going. Pay attention to the graphs. Look carefully at the section that discusses why telling people that 97%  of scientists believe something is not a good way to get them to change their mind.

There is a section on climate change beliefs in south Florida starting on page 33. I disagree with the author here on using this as an example of a community that has accepted climate change despite their political divisions. My question: are you really accepting climate change/sea level rise if the actions that you take in your plan cannot work if sea level rises? This has direct application to Louisiana.

January 18

Class Information

All the assignments will be posted to this blog. Check before class for breaking news updates. I reserve the right to use class participation points.

Seating – this is a small class in a big room. Please sit toward the center on the first few rows.

Climate in the News

Earth on the edge: Record breaking 2016 was close to 1.5°C warming

President Obama’s Last Piece on Climate Change

The Extremes of the Climate Debate

We are all going to die – soon

From Season 3, Episode 3 of Newsroom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM0uZ9mfOUI

Is this so crazy? See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/climate-desk-fact-checks-aaron-sorkins-climate-science-newsroom

It is just a liberal plot:

http://climatechangedispatch.com/

It might be getting warmer, but who knows why?

http://www.drroyspencer.com/my-global-warming-skepticism-for-dummies/

A thoughtful skeptic:

https://judithcurry.com/

Evaluating science in the media

The Canadian House Hippo

The Impact of Global Warming on Louisiana

Sea level rise is the major global warming threat to coastal Louisiana and New Orleans. We are going to have a representative from NOAA in class to talk about the effects of relative sea level rise on coastal Louisiana.

Tim Osborne: The Realities of the Coast and It’s Populations

Please review these articles before class:

Scientists say Louisiana’s latest projections for coastal flooding are grim, but realistic

With gloomier estimates, should coastal plan look further than 50 years?

As we will discuss later in the course, even these articles overstate the possibility of coastal restoration. For example, the best evidence is that river diversions will not build land at all:

Pictorial Account and Landscape Evolution of the Crevasses near Fort St. Philip, Louisiana