Chris Mooney in the Washington Post:

“Change the world!” is probably Nye’s trademark line — it was written in a 1992 “rules of the road” memo, he says, that he delivered to all incoming staff on the set of the 1990s PBS show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” telling them modestly what their goals were.

With that TV series, Nye captivated kids with scientific showmanship and humor. In the last few years, though, he has not only recaptured that now-grown-up audience but won an even larger one, with something quite different.

He’s still a jokester — but he’s also become someone who acts a bit like a science gladiator, willing to debate anyone who expressed skepticism about the science of evolution and climate change. He’ll do it on TV — or even at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where he famously debated creationist leader Ken Ham.

In the process, he’s become one of the nation’s leading spokespeople on the climate change issue. “It wasn’t conscious,” Nye say. “I was just playing the hand I was dealt. I take the complicated ideas and make them accessible to everybody.”

There is, admittedly, sometimes a tension involved in Nye’s newer and more politically charged role. His friend and fellow science celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson declines to debate those who challenge science — sticking more with the role of an educator.

Nye feels different. “Bring it on,” he says.

burnethIn anticipation of the upcoming Papal encyclical (declaration) on climate change, the anti-science “think” tank Heartland Institute will be sending a delegation to the Vatican, they claim, to “educate” Pope Francis about climate change. Perhaps the famously pro-tobacco activists will educate him about the safety of tobacco products as well.


A US activist group that has received funding from energy companies and the foundation controlled by conservative activist Charles Koch is trying to persuade the Vatican that “there is no global warming crisis” ahead of an environmental statement by Pope Francis this summer that is expected to call for strong action to combat climate change.

Scripps Institute of Oceanography:

Scripps climate and atmospheric scientist V. Ramanathan meets with Pope Francis on May 6 (2014). Ramanathan, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since 2004, co-convened a historic workshop of that academy and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, on society’s responsibility to preserve nature. Ramanathan said he used the opportunity to draw the Pope’s attention to the fact that the 3 billion of the world’s poorest people who do not use fossil fuels to meet their energy needs will nonetheless suffer the worst consequences of climate change. The encounter took place on the final day of the May 2-6 workshop.

popescientistHeadvise alert below.

Heartland Institute: (no I won’t give them a link):

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Roman Catholic Church is holding a workshop on global warming on April 28, 2015 at the Vatican. This website provides articles and links about global warming and the workshop, so you can tell Pope Francis: Global warming is not a crisis!

Faith in Action

Many people of faith who are familiar with the science and economics of climate change are worried this event will become a platform for alarmism over a controversial scientific issue. Scientists are unsure how large the human impact on climate is and whether there is anything mankind can do to affect climate. There is no scientific “consensus” on whether there is any need to reduce mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But alarmists claim the “science is settled” and denounce anyone who disagrees as “deniers.” They call for drastic reductions in fossil fuel consumption, or even no consumption at all.

Most people agree that safeguarding creation – and being a good steward of the environment – is a high moral obligation. If human activity posed a genuine threat to the world’s climate, then some action would be appropriate. But global warming alarmists wave off any evidence that the threat is small or even nonexistent, and they call for policies that would shut down virtually all economic activity around the world. These unnecessary policies would cause the suffering and even death of billions of people. All people of faith should rise up in opposition to such policies.


Certain persons currently scheduled to speak at the workshop, including UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, are outspoken advocates of the man-made global warming hypothesis. They and other climate alarmists have misrepresented the facts, concocted false data, and tried to shut down a reasonable, scientific debate on the issue of climate change. This conduct violates the Eighth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Dallas Morning News:

A little more than a year ago a $7 billion expansion of Texas’ power grid was completed to accommodate the flurry of new wind farms under construction.

But as wind power continues to boom across the plains of West Texas and the Panhandle, the system — named CREZ, or Competitive Renewable Energy Zones — could soon be nearing capacity again.

The state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is studying the transmission system in the Texas Panhandle, where at least 2,200 megawatts’ worth of new wind farms — enough to power more than 400,000 homes — are expected to begin operation before 2017.

Right now the region has about half that much wind capacity. And with an additional 3,600 megawatts planned, it might not be too long before the CREZ lines reach their limit, said ERCOT’s director of system planning, Warren Lasher.

“A lot has changed since the CREZ project was first established in 2006,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in the Panhandle. And if additional wind farms [commit to construction], above a certain point we will need new transmission.”

After peeling my jaw off the floor from watching this series of stunning time lapses, first thing that came to mind.

Large volcanic eruptions can eject a enough aerosol particulates, sulfates especially, high into the atmosphere, to reflect significant amounts of sunlight, and cool the climate for a period of months, or longer.

After consulting with several experts, one early take is that it’s not the right time of year in the southern hemisphere for the particles to get entrained high enough to make a difference. More study needed.

UPDATE: Carbon Brief has a piece on this question:

Not all volcano eruptions are the same. Volcanic eruptions are rated from zero to eight on a scale of  explosivity, measured by the amount of ash and debris they produce.

Before Calbuco, the most recent significant volcano eruption was Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991. This was rated as a six, while the first of the Calbuco eruptions has been rated as a four or five,  according to a minister of the Chilean Government.

The characteristics of the ash cloud largely determine whether an volcanic eruption influences the climate or not.

One important factor is how high it reaches in the atmosphere, Prof Richard Allan, professor of climate science at the University of Reading, tells Carbon Brief:

“If a volcanic eruption is large enough to reach the stratosphere – above 8km in polar regions and above 15km in tropical regions – the absence of weather at these altitudes means that the injected aerosol particles can stick around for a number of years, reflecting sunlight back to space and cooling the planet.”

The Pinatubo ash cloud extended 35 kilometers into the atmosphere, cooling parts of the world by up to 0.4C for two years after the eruption.

Read the rest of this entry »

One of the frustrations for climate communicators over the years has been the unwillingness of TV weathercasters to come to grips with climate change.  That’s a big deal, because for a large majority of citizens, the weather guy or gal is the closest thing they ever see to an actual atmospheric scientist.
Most of them are not meteorologists, but rather communication specialists with (maybe) some met 101 courses in their transcript. Many are employed by extremely conservative media organizations, and are loathe to be seen as promoting a “liberal agenda” (science!).

For several years, there have been ongoing efforts by a number of top flight scientists and communicators to reach out and answer questions for this group.  It may be that these efforts, and the accelerated pounding by Mother Nature, are having an effect.

A new survey offers a glimmer of hope.

Below, Pippa the Weather Girl goes Rogue! Read the rest of this entry »


Sounds fair to me.

The Hill:

The director of “The Avengers” took to Twitter on Wednesday to deride lawmakers who are skeptical of climate change, saying they shouldn’t be able to partake in scientific breakthroughs.
“Policy makers who deny basic scientific truth should also be denied penicillin, horseless carriages, air time on the magic box of shadows,” Joss Whedon tweeted on Earth Day.
Whedon is the man behind 2012’s titular Marvel Comics superhero film franchise. Its sequel, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens May 1 nationwide.
“The climate is changing — if we can’t, that makes us dumber than weather,” Whedon also tweeted, with the hash tag #ClimateChangeIsReal.
Newest Avengers Trailer Below:

Read the rest of this entry »

More from Michael Mann’s interview at our historic AGU Sessions from December 2014.

Mann’s interview, and dozens of others, are part of the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), from Skeptical Science, described elsewhere on this page.


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