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A Quick, Awesome Must-Read on Climate Change


Offbeat  (tags: climate-change, climatechange, CO2emissions, globalwarming, globalwarming, greenhousegases, pollution, politics, world, weather, government, arts, culture, environment, ethics, society, safety, protection )

JL
- 611 days ago - motherjones.com
Penned by Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric sciences professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this latest edition of What We Know About Climate Change is the most comprehensive, readable, BS-free rundown on the topic that you're likely to find



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JL A. (275)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:03 pm


Mother Jones
A Quick, Awesome Must-Read on Climate Change
Take a break from that Dan Brown novel, and read this instead.

By Tim McDonnell | Wed Jan. 23, 2013 3:01 AM PST

At this point, climate change is so politicized that it's difficult for the general public to sort out what scientists really know—and don't know—about it. Penned by Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric sciences professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this latest edition of What We Know About Climate Change [1] is the most comprehensive, readable, BS-free rundown on the topic that you're likely to find. It's short enough to read in a day, apolitical enough to appeal to both your Fox-obsessed wingnut uncle and your dreadlocked freegan older sister in Brooklyn, and just detailed enough to provide a reload of fresh intellectual ammunition to help you engage others on the topic.

Climate change can be hard to debate intelligently because it's so inextricably bound up in highly complex and technical science—which is why it is so often glossed over by the media and ignored altogther by politicians. And then we end up with a picture as murky as weather predictions made months in advance. That's why I strongly recommend that you take a (short!) break from whatever you're reading and check this out instead.

The over-arching metaphor is the story of Phaeton, son of the Greek sun god Helios, who is entrusted to pilot the sun chariot across the sky but crashes spectacularly, killing himself, scorching the planet, and making Africa really hot forever after. It's a story of hubris and squandered responsibility, but Emanuel uses it as a not-so-subtle reminder of our hand in wrecking the atmosphere.
emauel book
Courtesy MIT Press

Here are a few things you'll learn:

What kind of long-term variation do we expect in the climate, and how is that different from what we're experiencing now? (Heat and cold come and go, but never as rapidly as the last half-century; moreover, the warming of the last 30 years can be explained only by accounting for human greenhouse gas emissions.)
How exactly do molecules like carbon dioxide and methane make the planet heat up? (Key fact: The planet is warmed twice as much by its own atmosphere than it is by the sun.)
How do climate computer models work, and how accurately can they predict the future? (There's a good amount of guesswork involved, but they set reasonable parameters for what we can expect.)
Why is the GOP's intransigence on climate action so maddeningly illogical? (In Emanuel's view, the most grievous offense to America's free-market economy isn't subsidies for renewables, but the fossil fuel industry's stranglehold on policymakers.)

In addition to his renown as a hurricane expert, Emanuel has made a bit of a name for himself as an outspoken Republican who believes in climate change [2]—a position that has garnered him death threats [3] from a slew of kooky right-wingers. While the majority of the book steers clear of politics, Emanuel does take a few pages to vent frustration at his party, in particular the "scientific illiterate" Senator James Inhofe [4](R-OK), who earns the dubious distinction of being the only politician mentioned by name in the book.

Journalists and environmentalists also take some totally deserved heat for muddying public understanding of climate science. Still, Emanuel's principle focus is on guiding us gently through the world of climatology, which he does with a surety that would make Helios proud.
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/01/what-we-know-about-climate-change-kerry-emanuel

Links:
[1] http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/what-we-know-about-climate-change-2
[2] http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/01/gop-climate-hawks-new-hampshire-primary
[3] http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/01/mit-climate-scientists-wife-threatened-frenzy-hate
[4] http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/09/inhofe-climate-skeptic-roadshow
 

Terry V. (30)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:06 pm
Polution and Global Warming

AFTERMATH

4 Degrees Warmer
 

Angelika R. (143)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:33 pm
I hope those people will read it who need to!! To all of us "non-deniers" there should be nothing new , not much anyway..
Interesting about this ""scientific illiterate" Senator , I think I have never heard of him before, he must be a real hard nut if he is specifically mentioned. Thx JL.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:40 pm
Thanks for posting the links to the short on-topic videos Terry. If anyone hasn't watched them yet, I encourage you to take this opportunity.
Angelika--there have been other articles on Inofe here:
http://www.care2.com/news/member/830372471/3380200
http://www.care2.com/news/member/366440609/240093
If the bill, committee hearing comes with an anti-science slant, there's a good chance he sponsored or co-sponsored or called the hearing. He represents OK, which is one of the major oil industry states.
You are welcome Angelika.
Unfortunately I'm clean out of stars for both of you.
 

Angelika R. (143)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:46 pm
no wonder then, I read he's from OK, but didn't know that state was so big in dirty energy industries.
Again, what a good life and functioning democracy could you guys and the rest of the world hae, were there no corruption!
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:57 pm
OK borders TX to the east and north. I sure agree with you about corruption Angelika!
 

Mitchell D. (131)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:03 pm
Angelika, I gather, from your most recent post, that you are not from the U.S.A. Sen. Inhofe might (and I say "might" because I may be attributing a quote to him that someone else worked hard to frame, and I would not want to take credit away from whomever that may be), might be the one who said. on the record, in Congress, about Global Warming, that "It can not happen, because God would not allow it."
Yes, we could have "a good life and functioning democracy" if there were no corruption...nor dunderheads in congress.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:18 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:20 pm

First, how did he know I was reading Dan Brown's new book? Next, looks like I have a new book on my list.

Oklahoma, big? Not really, mostly an agricultural state with a whole lot of drilling for Oil and Gas. There is not one blue county in the state. They are rather proud of being stupid, ultra-right wing, evangelic crazy Christians.
 

Angelika R. (143)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:22 pm
I see, thx Mitchell (I avoid the shorter "Mitch", you can guess why), no further explanation on that individual needed! Obviously there are enough "dunderheads" outside Congress as well- otherwise your congress would look different !
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:25 pm
Psychic? You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week. Big on oil and gas, not geographically I do believe.
 

John B. (215)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:54 pm
Thanks J.L. for the post and the link to the article. At only 93 pages it really will be a quick read. "What We Know About Climate Change" is on my list when I hit the library tomorrow. Read and noted.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 8:39 pm
You're welcome John. I'm glad this post was timed well for your library trip.You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.
 

Pogle S. (88)
Monday January 28, 2013, 12:04 am
Looks like a great book for beginners
 

Robert O. (12)
Monday January 28, 2013, 12:16 am
Thanks.
 

Natalie S. (9)
Monday January 28, 2013, 12:56 am
Every article I read about climate change sends a chill down my spine as I realise that so many countries are wasting precious time by ignoring the problem, or even by not giving it the priority it deserves despite the body of evidence pointing to the effects of climate change.
 

Giana Peranio-Paz (388)
Monday January 28, 2013, 2:06 am
The right people, those who make the decisions, those who were elected to do so, should read this.
 

Kip Mapes (28)
Monday January 28, 2013, 2:12 am
TY
 

Siti R. (12)
Monday January 28, 2013, 4:00 am
if we all do our bit for the planet, Truly practice what we preach- the environment or otherwise; we could nip the trouble of climate change. reality sucks but continuing preaching the words does not help. those who don't have a conscience regarding the changes at a global scale are the ones profiting from deluding the system of checks and balances.
 

Tanya W. (52)
Monday January 28, 2013, 4:08 am
Noted, thank you - trying to do my bit every day by producing my own power. It's just a small offering but one that I am very proud of!!!
 

JL A. (275)
Monday January 28, 2013, 6:49 am
You are welcome Robert, Kip and Tanya.
You cannot currently send a star to Pogle because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Giana because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Tanya because you have done so within the last week.
 

Ro H. (0)
Monday January 28, 2013, 7:44 am
ty
 

JL A. (275)
Monday January 28, 2013, 8:34 am
You're welcome Ro
 

Michael Kirkby (85)
Monday January 28, 2013, 9:49 am
Tweeted
 

JL A. (275)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:13 am
Thanks for spreading the word Michael.
 
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