The slow and lingering death of “traditional” news media has prompted some of the nations premier scientific institutions to create their own science wire service.
…35 top research universities—including Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley—have created their own “wire service” of sorts, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The service, called Futurity, is drafting and distributing articles about the universities’ discoveries to sites like Google News and Yahoo News. They are also leveraging new media, like YouTube, to get the word out. And the stories are also being posted on the consortium’s own site, Futurity.org.
“Our preference would be to have the level of coverage of science and research that we enjoyed for decades,” Lisa Lapin, a Stanford spokesman told the Merc. “But the major news organizations haven’t had the resources to provide that independent, objective look at what we are doing. It’s been declining.”
The Merc notes that newspapers across the country have been whittling down their science reporting staffs. Both the Merc and the San Francisco Chronicle closed their Science sections several years ago.
Well done, and it has to be an improvement over the coverage provided by general news reporters or even science reporters.
Global warming deniers leaped on a new study which indicates current predictive models may be wrong. Well, sort of.
In a commentary published with the study, David Beerling, a paleobiologist at the University of Sheffield in England, writes: “The upshot of the study. is that forecasts of future warming could be severely underestimating the extent of the problem that lies in store for humanity as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere.”
According to Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), carbon dioxide-induced warming can lead to changes that exacerbate the problem. For example, increasing CO2 concentrations:
– melt tundra, which then releases methane and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere;
– warm the air, which then can hold more water vapor, another heat-trapping gas; and
– melt white ice, which exposes the ocean and land, which, because they are darker in color, absorb more heat from the sun and reflect less of it back into space.
Scientists are still trying to precisely quantify the effect of such “positive feedback cycles” that took place millions of years ago as well as the ones that are happening today, Fitzpatrick said. The scientific literature, including the new Nature Geoscience study, indicates that positive feedbacks greatly outweigh negative ones and that current climate models are likely underestimating potential temperature increases from overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
I would add that the study’s authors themselves note in the conclusion:
Possible causes of the excess warming include increased production and levels of trace greenhouse gases as a consequence of the climatic warming (such as CH4).
Given that some of the fastest warming on the planet is occurring right where the most methane is stored (see here), the methane feedback remains the biggest worry in the entire carbon cycle.
Tell me this is a joke....
This bill is a joke; largely written by lobbyists, it will do essentially nothing to reduce coal burning…and, it removes the EPA’s recently won authority to regulate CO2 emissions. We’d be better off with nothing. link
Specifically, the Waxman-Markey bill prohibits any greenhouse gas, including CO2, from being listed as a “criteria pollutant”2 or a “hazardous air pollutant”3 on the basis of its effect on climate change. The bill does not permit greenhouse gases to trigger New Source Review,4 nor affect the granting of a permit to operate under Title V5 of the Clean Air Act.
The EPA is further prohibited from regulating greenhouse gas emissions as international air pollutants6 or setting technology-based standards for any capped sources7. What all of this language means is that if the Waxman-Markey bill passes, the EPA’s hands will be tied and it will not effectively be able to use the Clean Air Act to reduce global warming pollution.
Consequences of Elimination of EPA Authority
This policy choice to strip the EPA of authority to reduce greenhouse gas pollution has a number of negative implications; foremost among them is that, as currently constituted, the Waxman-Markey bill is likely to undermine investment in technology development. First, it undermines the certainty of regulation associated with the Clean Air Act, which has been a significant technology driver in the past. Second, it allows use of offsets until approximately 2030, putting off any need for immediate investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The dozen students in “plugVIEW” ultimately hope to create a sophisticated system to monitor electricity, all the way down to individual dorm rooms. The group would then take that data and give it back to students through devices like the light switch. The approach would provide detailed information that is also straightforward, visual and immediate — to encourage students to conserve.
“It’s great being able to make little circuits or machines,” said outgoing freshman Kevin Mori. “But you’re always looking for a bigger picture. Why does this thing matter?”
Mori, Ben Kallman and Matt Crowley began work on the endeavor last fall, for a final project in a freshmen seminar.
“When we left that class, I was thinking that I wanted to do something to make this happen in real life,” Kallman said.
They recruited more students, located Stanford grant funding and began developing a system to monitor usage in Stanford dorms.
This sort of device is available for home use.