December 02, 2011 | 1:12 PM
"Debunking" deniers: Practical tips[caption id="attachment_5441" align="alignright" width="202" caption="Source: U.S. Government"][/caption]Have you heard about The Debunking Handbook? It's a must-read for anyone interested in dispelling the misinformation put out by climate change deniers. The Handbook's tips are taken not from the latest climate science, as you might expect, but from psychological research. As its authors, John Cook (creator of the Skeptical Science website) and Stephan Lewandowsky (a professor of psychology at the University of Western Australia) explain, debunking a myth requires more than just "packing more information into people's heads." Our brains don't work like hard drives -- they're much more complex. Rooted in this science of how people think, the Handbook lays out the following advice for effective debunking:
- Focus on the truth, not the myth. You want to increase your audience's familiarity with the right facts, not the misinformation. Don't give the myth more attention than it deserves, or your efforts might "backfire." It even helps, before you mention a myth, to add an explicit disclaimer: "The information to follow is FALSE!"
- Less can be more. Although it might be tempting to list every piece of evidence that disproves a denier's argument, research shows this is "overkill." It's best to keep your argument simple. People are most likely to believe information that's easy to understand.
December 02, 2011 | 10:38 AM
Thinking creatively about the climate crisisEarlier today, our Chairman, former-Vice President Al Gore, along with Alex Bogusky, PSFK and some of the top innovators in the gaming community met in New York to talk about the resulting concepts and dive into the findings of the Future of Gaming report.
November 30, 2011 | 10:07 AM
From the globe to your (hopefully not flooded) backyard[caption id="attachment_5340" align="alignright" width="240" caption="© 2006 Flickr/kl801 cc by 2.0"][/caption]The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) challenges us to think beyond changes in global average temperature and consider the impacts of climate change in our own backyards. Take for example, the backyards of people in New York State, which according to a report sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is already seeing the impacts of climate change. The state has warmed more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970, and heavy downpours are happening more often. The sea level has also risen up to one foot since 1900 in some locations. These trends are likely to continue as carbon pollution builds up in the atmosphere.
November 29, 2011 | 12:56 PM
Roz Savage: Around the world with her own two handsThis year, Roz Savage, environmental campaigner and our own Climate Presenter, became the first woman to row solo across "the big three" (the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans). A holder of multiple world records, Roz's ultimate goal is to help people learn about environmental issues and inspire change through rowing.
November 29, 2011 | 12:36 PM
93 countries, 1083 cities and one goal
November 29, 2011 | 9:45 AM
Thankful for CAFEWe have many things to be thankful for this holiday season, but add this one to your list. These new fuel standards will keep money in our pockets, help us kick our oil addiction, and protect the environment.
November 28, 2011 | 2:42 PM
Climate emails and extreme weather[caption id="attachment_5287" align="alignright" width="240" caption="© 2007 Flickr/mikael altemark cc by 2.0"][/caption]Here in the U.S., the long weekend is over and we are back at work. Right before we left for Thanksgiving, a batch of emails from climate scientists were released, seemingly in an attempt to embarrass the authors of the emails. Others have already addressed the content of the emails and judging by the lack of media coverage over the weekend, no one has found anything particularly newsworthy. I am not surprised by the lack of media coverage, given that these emails appear to be from the same batch released in 2009 right before the international climate talks in Copenhagen. In short: been there, done that. And before I get to my next point, it is worth mentioning that the scientists accused of wrongdoing as a result of the stolen emails from two years ago were all exonerated by nine independent investigations. Many others will dissect what was in the batch released last week, but I am more interested in why they were released at all. A connection made in a lot of stories I read was that they were released right before the upcoming international climate talks in Durban, South Africa. But I am beginning to wonder if they were released to try and steer the public conversation away from the extreme weather we've seen around the world.
November 28, 2011 | 9:57 AM
Prevention is better than the cure (and cheaper, and easier)[caption id="attachment_5262" align="alignright" width="180" caption="(c) 2010 Flickr/theivorytower cc by ND 2.0"][/caption]Like many of you, I've been guilty of ignoring my dentist when he recommended I do something minor and pain-free like using prescription fluoride toothpaste, only to find myself grappling at a later stage with a painful and frustrating cavity. And I'm sure we all know people who've procrastinated beyond that point, and then suddenly been confronted with an even more expensive, completely avoidable situation - like root canal surgery. Ouch! The lesson here? Prevention and early management can often seem bothersome, but that's the only way to prevent some problems from causing irreparable damage. In the case of global climate change, the longer we wait, the more difficult and costly the solution gets. That's what the International Energy Agency (IEA) tried to remind us when it released the 2011 edition of its World Energy Outlook. The report tells us what we can expect to happen from 2009 to 2035 in three scenarios:
- The world sticks with energy and climate policies already under implementation by mid-2011, and doesn't do anything additional through 2035;
- Between now and 2035, the world implements additional energy and climate policies that have not yet been implemented, but merely announced as commitments at this point; and
- The world stands by its commitment to constrain global warming from rising beyond 2°C (beyond which, there could be terrible, life-altering consequences), and ensures that global warming pollution through 2035 will be low enough to meet the 2°C target.