Scientists are also unnerved by the summer's implications for the future...proof that human activities are propelling a slide toward climate calamity...humans may have tipped the balance...a particularly harsh jolt to polar bears.
The responsibility of the scientist or journalist is to convey the context. If you're talking about the Arctic Sea ice, you have to embrace the reality that there's a huge number of other things that influence that on a year-to-year basis.
There are still people who essentially live in intellectual silos and either read Mother Jones or watch Fox News, based on their worldview. And they pick information out that reinforces it rather than keeping an open mind.
...probably the single-most concrete and substantive thing an American, young American, could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the lights or driving a Prius, it's having fewer kids...we'll soon see a market in baby-avoidance carbon credits similar to efforts to sell CO2 credits for avoiding deforestation...
I'm trying mostly to ask questions. And not just trying to stake out a position on something, but also trying to define the stuff we agree on. I'm having battles with comment posters trying to insert a little sense of order so it's not just a long pissing match between the edges, which is what I think a lot of the blogosphere is tending to do.
Every time someone reads a story about the politics poisoning the global warming stuff it makes it feel like a political story, meaning it's Us and Them, instead of what it is: this profound challenge we face given our energy norms right now, the fuels of convenience toward something new. No matter what the politics are, it's still an enormous transformation that has to take place.
The things that happen are an earthquake, another bomb in Iraq, some big jolt on Wall Street in oil prices, and then you have some new study on drought patterns from climate change. Or another little incremental improvement in photovoltaics. Where do those fit in to the daily stream? They don't.
The survey of more than 100 waterways downstream from treatment plants and animal feedlots in 30 states found minute amounts of dozens of antibiotics, hormones, pain relievers, cough suppressants, disinfectants and other products. It is not known whether they are harmful to plants, animals or people. The findings were released yesterday on the Web site of the United States Geological Survey, which conducted the research, and in an online journal, Environmental Science and Technology.
Additional federal studies are under way to see if any contamination reaches taps or ground water used for drinking, but the program under which they are conducted, the toxic substances hydrology program of the geological survey, is slated to be eliminated under budget cuts proposed by the Bush administration, government officials said... estrogens and similar compounds are increasingly the focus of research by the Environmental Protection Agency and many scientists because of hints that they alter sexual characteristics in fish and other aquatic species.
When I wrote a long story about the retreat of sea ice, I made clear it could go the other way for a while, and that doesn't mean we don't know that a warmer world will have less sea ice. It just means there's a lot of variability and people can pay too much attention to the big swings in one direction or the other.