January 25

Climate News

Germany set to abandon 2020 climate target: reports

Three 2016 extremes ‘not … possible’ without human warming

Extreme Temperature Workout: The Gyrations of January 2018


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 skeptics to change their minds.

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? Read this piece from Rolling Stone about what Miami is doing as background:

Miami: How Rising Sea Levels Endanger South Florida

Do not worry about the details of sea level rise, just think about this in the context of whether Miami is really facing the risk in a realistic manner. We will look deeply into sea level rise, since it is already destroying South Louisiana because of the high rate of subsidence of the Mississippi.

January 23


NOAA: Earth Had Its Third Warmest Year on Record in 2017

Upper and Lower Bounds on Global Warming – an attempt to reduce uncertainty

This a new research paper that has been posted for public access and comment.


Work on the materials from last Thursday, which are now assigned for the 25th. This is complicated reading, so put some time into it.

We will have our speaker, Tim Osborne, from NOAA today, weather and government shutdown willing.

January 18

Class is cancelled



January 16

Breaking News

Given that this is a climate class, I am watching the weather. I have cancelled our speaker, he will come another day because he is coming in from Lafayette. I am not cancelling class, but I am not passing the roll sheet since I know some of you are going to have difficulty getting in. If you do get in, we will likely end early, with an eye on the weather so we can all get home safely.

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.

We meet in 202.

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

Climate in the News

CHANGING THE DIGITAL CLIMATE: How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration (2018)

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

The Extremes of the Climate Debate

We are all going to die – soon – from Season 3, Episode 3 of Newsroom:


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:


It might be getting warmer, but who knows why?


A thoughtful skeptic:


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.

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