Top Story: November 9, 2010

Fight the Power

NASA

Yesterday, science news outlets and blogs were all-a-buzz about three new tactics scientists and policy makers are taking to fight climate change and its deniers.

Some see it as a response to the Republican turnabout in Congress. In fact, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, 50% of the 100 newly-elected Republican Congress members are climate change skeptics (from the LA Times). Many have promised to put a moratorium on the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

New Scientist reported yesterday that:

When the U.S. Republican party took control of the House of Representatives last week, President Barack Obama conceded that his plans to establish a market to curb carbon emissions had no chance of being passed.

But John Abraham, of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who is organizing one of the new tactics to battle climate change deniers, told ScienceInsider that the Republicans have nothing to do with it.

We have assembled a group of world-class climate scientists who are able to field questions on virtually any topic of climate change. Our goal is not to be a partisan group, our goal is to focus on communicating the science.

His “climate rapid response team” will confront skeptics in their own environments, such as conservative radio and TV talk shows, according to the LA Times.

The still-evolving efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media.

The American Geophysical Union also launched their own climate change battle yesterday, announcing the involvement of 700 researchers to “provide accurate scientific answers to questions from journalists about climate science” on their new site, Climate Q&A Service.

Finally, the New York Times reported on the annual meeting for the Montreal Protocol in Bangkok yesterday. The agreement, signed by every nation in 1987, has met with incredible success.

The Montreal Protocol has phased out nearly 97 percent of 100 ozone-depleting chemicals, some of which are also potent climate-altering gases. The net effect has been the elimination of the equivalent of more than 200 billion metric tons of global-warming gases, five years’ worth of total global emissions, far more than has been accomplished by the Kyoto process.

Negotiators are considering an expansion to the agreement to include greenhouse gases. And this may steer clear of the current powers-that-be in Congress.

All the signatories to the Montreal Protocol would have to agree to the expansion, but no further approval from Congress would be needed.

The battle wages on!

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