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State of the Blog

By Keith Kloor
Jan 17, 2012 6:58 PMNov 19, 2019 8:21 PM


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I know everyone has been waiting on pins and needles about the future of this blog. The suspense has been killing me, too. Well, I have good news and bad news. Let's start with the latter. Your combined generosity has enabled me to buy some new socks, take my kids to a matinee movie and fill up the family car's gas tank. The upshot: unless some amazing ad revenue model materializes, or George Soros and the Koch brothers team up to throw money at me, this is a dead blog walking. Oh, quit your bawling. We've had a good run. You'll be fine. Maybe some old friends will even start talking to me again. The good news is I won't totally go away. In fact, I still write a once a week thingamajob at the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, which appears every Tuesday or wed. You can check Colide-a-Scape on those days for the blurb and link. Also, it's not like I'm going to stop reading, reporting and writing about the subjects that have been a mainstay of this blog. So when my work appears elsewhere, I'll flog it here. Lastly, while I explore a few life support options for this blog, I'm going to post a round-up once or twice a week of links that catch my eye. That starts today, just below. ******* Climate Change Global warming "has joined abortion and gay marriage as a culture war controversy," writes conservative WaPo columnist Michael Gerson, as if this were a fresh insight. There's enough fodder in his piece to piss off all sides and reinforce the theme of Gerson's column. On a similar note, Judith Curry finds that "the extreme polarization of the public debate on climate change seems very difficult to change." Hmm, ya think? Curry says she is trying to build a "community for floaters, and diminish the basis for inflexibles and liars." What is a floater? Someone who floats away from being inflexible and deceitful or between those two types? In any case, she seems to have realized that her blog, Climate Etc., "is fighting an uphill battle." The National Center for Science Education announces the launch of a new initiative "aimed at defending the teaching of climate change." This one will be interesting to watch. The Center made a name for itself by defending the teaching of evolution. See this LA Times story for more background. Meanwhile, in the Guardian, University of Colorado media scholar Max Boycoff says that, beyond all this culture war stuff,

the "climate problem" suffers from a more powerful and enduring force: economic stagnation.

On the wonky front, a scholar considers the pros and cons of climate change being taken up the UN security council. Anthropologist John Hawks tweeted that he was

Trying to figure out why climate change brings the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight than the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A new study in Science offers a short-term solution that would address global warming while also improving public health and food security. The ever provocative John Tierney, in the NYT, writes:

This proposal comes from an international team of researchers "” in climate modeling, atmospheric chemistry, economics, agriculture and public health "” who started off with a question that borders on heresy in some green circles: Could something be done about global warming besides forcing everyone around the world to use less fossil fuel?

As for what is being proposed, Tierney summarizes:

researchers determined the 14 most effective measures for reducing climate change, like encouraging a switch to cleaner diesel engines and cookstoves, building more efficient kilns and coke ovens, capturing methane at landfills and oil wells, and reducing methane emissions from rice paddies by draining them more often.

Barrie Pittock at The Conservation explains why a better framework for the climate debate would be risk-based:

Policy is value-laden, while science can only tease out the possibilities and probabilities. Some have now agreed we need to avoid a global average warming of more than 2°C. But this "limit" is uncertain and value-laden. What is "dangerous" to someone living near the coast in Vanuatu may be quite different from what someone in Russia or inland Australia might consider dangerous. Many of us think a 2°C limit may not be strict enough to avoid a dangerous degree of climate change. But that is a value judegment made under uncertainty. Only time will tell what is an acceptable risk and to whom.

At the local level in Florida, comprehensive planning for climate change is underway. Michael Lemonick at Yale Environment 360 has the details. Shocker alert: Republicans and Democrats in the Sunshine state are working together on these regional climate initiatives. Energy The oil & gas industry must have perceived some tipping point over fracking, since a new law (in Texas, of all places) is about go into effect, forcing drillers to "disclose many of the chemicals that they inject into the Earth," writes Steve leVine over at Foreign Policy. CNN's Fareed Zakaria looks at some "striking numbers" that convince him why oil prices will remain high for the foreseeable future. India has a worsening energy crisis, resulting from years of "policy gridlock," according to The Times of India, which reports:

Archaeology A NYT story discusses recent discoveries that potentially upend the "conventional understanding of the world's largest tropical rain forest."

A shortage of coal and gas and uncertainty over supply have thrown the business plans of the [power] generators into disarray and made lenders reluctant to lend, delaying projects.

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