Pope Francis’ visit to the US catalyzed the growing sense across the country, and across the globe, that climate change is, above all, a moral issue.

More and more scientists have realized that speaking to this moral dimension is far more persuasive than speaking the language of science and fact, as compelling as those are.  Most people simply respond better to an issue that is framed in moral terms.

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The emerging story of what Exxon knew, and when they knew it, shows that the differences have never really been about the science questions – even the major oil companies knew the basic science truths 4 decades ago.  They simply made a moral decision that the lives of the next ten thousand generations of human beings were not as important as their own profits, and we are now witnessing the early impacts of that decision.

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In Reykjavik last month, I had the chance to interview Mike Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf at length. Both are former IPCC authors, Mann is Professor of Geosciences at Penn State U, where he is Director of the Earth System Science Center,  and is well known for his paleo-temperature reconstruction, the famous “Hockey Stick” graph.

Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf is an Oceanographer at Potsdam University in Germany. Both men are founders of the “RealClimate” blog.

I was able to include a lot of footage shot with the help of Phil Coates, an actual professional with a camera, meaning – good lighting, and good sound.  The difference in quality is shocking, in a good way.  Special thanks is also due to Gudni Elisson, organizer of the Earth 101 event which brought us all together in Iceland.

Also, this is the first of what I hope will be many videos produced with support from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

For anyone that wants a quick, credible intro to what’s in the new report – this should get them started.

The new report Summary for Policy Makers is here.

After watching several videos of the breakup of Beaufort sea Ice during the dead of winter, I decided to contact a leading ice expert, Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, for analysis and perspective. I mixed his comments in with the increasingly-on-the-same-page warnings from his fellow scientists around the country.

I’ll post our full conversation later in the week.

Here’s the Nature podcast interview with Jasper Kirkby, author of the new study that has denialists all atwitter (again) over cosmic rays.

Briefly, the theory is that cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, and when colliding with gas molecules create tiny cloud seeding particles, (“cloud condensation nuclei”) and thus, so the theory goes, could increase cloud cover.

Low clouds, in particular, reflect sunlight, and exert a cooling influence.

Therefore, so the theory goes, when the sun is in an active state, solar magnetic fields are strong, shielding the earth from cosmic rays, not as many clouds form, making it warmer – even warmer than it would be from the more active sun.

In periods such as the Maunder Minimum, a period of very few sunspots from 1645 to 1715, solar activity would have been low, thus, – ->lower magnetic fields –> letting in more cosmic rays —> producing more clouds
—> cooling the planet.

Voila. The Little Ice Age.

Recently, experiments were undertaken by Dr. Kirkby (interviewed above) at the European Atom smasher facility, – CERN – to learn more about the particle interactions that might validate this theory. The publication of his recent paper on the results has been bouncing around in the denialosphere as yet another “final nail in the coffin of man-caused global warming”.

Dr. Kirkby’s take, as you hear in the interview — not so much.

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We’re going to have to have a contest to decide who looks craziest, – Monckton in this video, or Michelle Bachman on the cover of Newsweek.

An intrepid Kiwi reporter interviews Monckton on the dangerous topics of scientific fact, peer review, and, worst of all, brings up the hated John Abraham, whose mercilessly clinical dissection of Monckton finally revealed the full depth of the deception that is “Lord” Christopher Monckton.  (hear spittle-flecked rant here)

From the Description:

“One of the world’s most prominent, and controversial, climate change skeptics, has been in New Zealand this week. Lord Christopher Monckton, the 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, is here as part of a world lecture tour promoting climate change denial. Reporter Benedict Collins met Christopher Monckton in Auckland, and while the Viscount might not believe in global warming, it didn’t take long for the interview to heat up…”

For anyone that still hasn’t seen it, check out Monckton’s cure for AIDS – below…

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Sea level rise. It’s been the subject of myth, legend and pop culture for millenia. It is going to be one of the major destructive effects of global climate change. So naturally, its something that makes deniers do and say crazy things.

Here’s the updated, remixed video on a misunderstood topic.