The last quarter-century of climate talks explained, in comics form


Nick Sousanis, who delivered his doctoral dissertation in comic book form, has a new comic in the current Nature magazine, explaining the last 25 years' worth of climate talks, as a primer in advance of the Paris climate talks next week. Read the rest

Kim Stanley Robinson's "Aurora": space is bigger than you think

Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora is the best book I read in 2015, and by "best" I mean, "most poetic" and "most thought provoking" and "most scientific," a triple-crown in science fiction that's practically unheard of. I wouldn't have believed it possible, even from Robinson, had I not read it for myself.

IMF: Cheap oil will bankrupt the Saudis in five years

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If oil stays below $50 a barrel for five years, the Saudis' cash reserve will be exhausted, and with it will also go the social stability that lavish spending for the Saudi elites brings. Read the rest

Climate change science fiction contest: win $1000 and publication


Joey from Arizona State University writes, "ASU’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative is holding its first-ever Climate Fiction Short Story Contest. First prize is $1,000, and three more winners will receive book bundles signed by Paolo Bacigalupi, who was our annual Climate Futures lecturer last month. The best submissions will be published in an online anthology, and will also be considered for publication in the journal Issues in Science and Technology. The contest will be judged by Kim Stanley Robinson, along with a panel of experts from the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative." Read the rest

The 21st Century's most unlikely plot device: heroic billionaires vs evil climate scientists


From Scott Westerfeld, (currently touring for his new, brilliant book "Zeroes"): "Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies." Read the rest

Podcast: the only way to get evidence-based policy is to embrace ambiguity in science


In the 2015 Sense About Science lecture (MP3), Tracey Brown discusses the worst casualty of politicization of science, from fluoride to climate change -- the truth. Read the rest

Nuanced profile of the Oklahoma County where "no one believes in climate change"


Oklahoma native John Sutter visited Woodward County, Oklahoma. At first, he could find no one who'd admit to believing in anthropogenic climate change, not even the headmaster of the local academy, who paid out of his own money to erect a statue of a little girl on a stegosaurus' back with a plaque that read, “A dinosaur like this roamed the Earth 5,000 years ago.” Read the rest

AP will use "climate doubters" instead of "climate skeptics"


The new agency's new stylebook entry advises against using "deniers" as well, but at least it acknowledges that the true skeptics are adherents to the scientific method. Read the rest

Distinguished scientists call for RICO prosecution of climate deniers


The scientists point out that RICO threats were critical to ending big tobacco's program of denying the link between cancer and smoking. Read the rest

GOP Vice Chair of House Energy committee is a climate denier and creationist


Marsha Blackburn has represented Tennessee's 7th district for more than a decade, on behalf of the Republican party, whose caucus has elevated her to the vice-chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Read the rest

VW con produced as much extra air pollution as all UK power generation, industry, ag & vehicles


Volkswagen's intentional fraud resulted in an extra 1,000,000 metric tons of air pollution being spewed into the skies over America; if they'd extended the con to Europe (where there are far more diesels), it would have been orders of magnitude worse. Read the rest

Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, Donald Sutherland and Ellen Page's vision for a better Canada

The Leap Manifesto calls for a Canada remade as "a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the opportunities of this transition are designed to eliminate racial and gender inequality." Read the rest

Australian PM Tony Abbot ousted in own-party coup

Australia's Liberal Party voted out its own leader, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest

Disney World after humanity's demise

Eledoremassis02's "manipulated photo" series Life After Disney is a series of gorgeously decayed visions for what Walt Disney World will look like long after humans have disappeared from the scene. Read the rest

The "mini-ice age coming in 15 years" isn't coming


Global warming deniers are posting olde timey photos of the Thames River Frost Fair of 1814 and claiming that a new scientific model reveals we are going to enter a mini-ice age in 2030. But they are skating on thin ice.

Here is the real story:

University of Northumbria mathematics professor Valentina Zharkova recently presented non-peer-reviewed results of new model of the Sun’s interior dynamo to the UK's Royal Astronomical Society’s national meeting. The model predicts that sunspots are going to decrease in coming years, matching sunspot levels seen in the 17th century. Astronomy Now reports thatthe model "shows that solar activity will fall by 60 percent during the 2030s, to conditions last seen during the Maunder Minimum of 1645-1715." However, Zharkova said nothing about the effect this will or will not have on the Earth's climate. This didn't stop right-leaning media from gleefully reporting that the Earth will enter a new mini-ice age as a result.

In fact, other studies have shown that a new grand minimum will have little or no effect on global warming. Here's what a 2010 article from Geophysical Research Letters said:

The Maunder minimum is connected to the Little Ice Age, a time of markedly lower temperatures, in particular in the Northern hemisphere. Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st‐century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3°C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades.

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What's in the Pope's barn-storming environmental message?

There's a lot to love in the Pope's new encyclical on climate, poverty and the environment, and even the terrible stuff is de-emphasized. Read the rest

House Republicans hold hearing on politics in science, don't invite any scientists

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