July 2011

Mass Extinction July 2, 2011 : 6:36 PM

We have already done huge amount of damaging to our oceans with huge implications for all of us.

“The threats of over-fishing and to the world's fragile coral reefs have long been well documented, but now a panel of scientists say the threats to marine life are far worse than previously imagined.”

“The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) convened a self-described "first inter-disciplinary international meeting of marine scientists of its kind" recently, and they have released a report claiming,"multiple ocean stresses threaten globally significant marine extinction."

“Dr. Alex Rogers, scientific director of IPSO, said in a press release: "The findings are shocking. As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the ocean the implications became far worse than we had individually realized."

Source: CBS News


Scientist Are Sure July 3, 2011 : 5:21 PM

NPR ran a fascinating story about how the public is unaware of the scientific consensus around the climate crisis:

“The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than everthat climate change is real and caused largely by human activities.”

“Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change.

Anthony Leiserowitz, who directs the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication, delved into this in a recent poll. He not only asked citizens what they thought of climate change, he also asked them to estimate how climate scientists feel about global warming.”

"Only13 percent of Americans got the correct answer, which is that in fact about 97 percent of American scientists say that climate change is happening, and about a third of Americans just simply say they don't know," he said.

“Most Americans are unaware that the National Academy of Sciences, known for its cautious and even-handed reviews of the state of science, is firmly on board with climate change. It has been for years.”

Source: NPR


Scientists Speak Out July 7, 2011 : 3:10 PM

The American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement condemning attacks on climate scientists that have become all to commonplace:

"We are deeply concerned by the extent and nature of personal attacks on climate scientists. Reports of harassment, death threats, and legal challenges havecreated a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientificfindings and ideas and makes it difficult for factual information and scientific analyses to reach policymakers and the public."

Read the full statement


Meet The Climate Reality Project July 12, 2011 : 7:18 AM

The climate crisis is a reality, and we are seeing its impacts in extreme weather all around the world. Using the same deceitful playbook as big tobacco used years before to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking, oil and coal companies and their allies are now deceiving the public about climate change. They have nearly unlimited resources to sow doubt, but we have one critical advantage: Reality is on our side.

That’s why today I’m launching a new, global campaign to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. This campaign is called The Climate Reality Project. We will invite people to discover for themselves the truth about climate change, and reject the mistruths they hear every day.

Climate Reality will start with a global event on September 14-15 called 24 Hours of Reality. Over 24 hours, in multiple languages and in 24 time zones, we willbring the world together to reveal the full truth, scope and impact of the climate crisis.

Watch my video about Climate Reality and this exciting new project here:



Australia Introduces Carbon Tax July 14, 2011 : 5:48 PM

A step forward -- though we need a global agreement to truly have an impact on the climate crisis:

“This Sunday, Australia announced its carbon tax plan in an effort to help fight climate change. AFP reports that the plan is to tax carbon pollution at $24.74 (USD) per ton, in a move similar to Europe's emissions trading scheme.”

“Prime Minister Julia Gillard said at a news conference that there would be a fixed price on carbon pollution until a full trading scheme is introduced in 2015. She said, "As a nation, we need to put a price on carbon and create a clean energy future... This has been a difficult debate that has brought us to this moment. But we are here now and now is the time to get this done."

Source: Huffington Post


Faster than we thought July 16, 2011 : 1:59 PM

Warming oceans could be melting ice faster than originally estimated:

“Warming air from climate change isn't the only thing that will speed ice melting near the poles - so will the warming water beneath the ice, a new study points out.”

“Increased melting of ice in Greenland and parts of Antarctica has been reported as a consequence of global warming, potentially raising sea levels. But little attention has been paid to the impact of warmer water beneath the ice.”

Source: AP


Want a green job? July 17, 2011 : 2:42 PM

A new website allows you to search for green job openings in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC:

“A group of state workforce agencies launched a new job search site Tuesday for "green" occupations in the region, saying that Maryland, Washington and Virginia have more than 230,000 workers involved in some aspect of environmental protection or natural resource conservation.”

“The job listings site, marcgreenworks.com, has openings ranging from geologist to software engineer.”

Source: Baltimore Sun


Current TV and Keith Olbermann Provide LIVE Coverage and Analysis of Murdoch Testimony Before the UK Parliament July 18, 2011 : 7:14 PM

According to the Current TV press release:

"Current TV will present live coverage of Rupert and James Murdoch’s testimony before the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee from London on Tuesday morning, July 19 when it airs “Countdown Special Report: Murdoch Testifies,” for US viewers. Keith Olbermann will host the special morning segment, which will begin at 9:15 a.m. ET through 12 p.m. ET and will feature his exclusive commentary and analysis as well as views from “Countdown” contributors and Murdoch-watchers. Additionally, at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, Current will air a two-hour highlight edition of the morning’s proceedings. In addition, the “Countdown” team will provide a live blog of the Murdoch testimony on current.com/countdown and via Twitter (follow @CountdownKO and #KOnewscorp).

And, don't miss "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" which airs each night at 8 p.m. ET."



Responsible Journalism July 20, 2011 : 12:44 PM

The phone hacking scandal engulfing News Corp. is another reminder of the failure of the media to serve the public. I wrote in Rolling Stone recently:

"Unlike access to the 'public square' of early America, access to television requires large amounts of money. Thomas Paine could walk out of his front door in Philadelphia and find a dozen competing, low-cost print shops within blocks of his home. Today, if he traveled to the nearest TV station, or to the headquarters of nearby Comcast — the dominant television provider in America — and tried to deliver his new ideas to the American people, he would be laughed off the premises. The public square that used to be a commons has been refeudalized, and the gatekeepers charge large rents for the privilege of communicating to the American people over the only medium that really affects their thinking. "Citizens" are now referred to more commonly as "consumers" or 'the audience.'"

It is positive development that in addition to ongoing probes in the UK, the FBI has launched an investigation into the conduct of News Corp. employees. These inquiries must allow for a full public airing of the behavior of these irresponsible news outlets. If criminal behavior is found to have occurred, I hope those liable are prosecuted.

However there is also a need for a broader conversation about how the media has fallen down on its responsibilities -- not by tapping the phones of celebrities, politicians and victims of crimes and terrorist attacks – but by failing to insure the public is truly informed about the most pressing issues of the day.


Interview with Joe Romm July 21, 2011 : 4:58 PM

Joe Romm recently interviewed me about the launch of The Climate Reality Project. You can read the interview by clicking here.


The Great Lakes are in Danger July 22, 2011 : 5:10 PM

The effects of the climate crisis are now damaging the Great Lakes:

“Some of the Great Lakes' treasured national parks are showing ill effects of climate change that are likely to worsen in coming decades, from shoreline erosion to decline of certain wildlife and plant species, a former park system administrator said Wednesday.”

“Without changes in public policies and personal habits that pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the parks could lose qualities that attract visitors and support unique ecosystems, Stephen Saunders, former deputy assistant secretary of the Interior Department, said in a report released by two advocacy groups.”

Source: AP


What Do the Debt Ceiling and Climate Crisis Have in Common? July 25, 2011 : 2:59 PM

One of the problems that the Congress is encountering as it tries to raise the debt ceiling is that a significant number of Republican and Tea Party Members of Congress apparently hold the view that there actually would not be consequences for global markets or the US economy if we defaulted. This view is, of course, absurd—but it illustrates a larger problem. Dramatic changes in the way we communicate with one another about issues affecting the common good have diminished the role of reason and fact-based analysis, encouraging ideological extremists to construct their own alternative version of reality and defend it against fact-based reasoning.

The same problem is found in the debate over the climate crisis. Notwithstanding the unanimous opinion of every National Academy of Science in every major country in the world, every professional scientific society in fields related to the study of the climate crisis and 97 percent of climate scientists in the world, many ideologues cling to the view that these facts are wrong, that scientists are perpetrating a hoax, that they are either greedy for more research dollars or secretly promoting the expansion of government, and that authorities such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are more reliable than the global scientific community in analyzing the impact of global warming pollution.

Two months ago, I wrote an article in Rolling Stone, linked here, that dealt with this issue.

“In the same way, because the banks had their way with Congress when it came to gambling on unregulated derivatives and recklesslyendangering credit markets with subprime mortgages, we still have almost double-digit unemployment, historic deficits, Greece and possibly other European countries teetering on the edge of default, and the threat of a double-dip recession. Even the potential default of the United States of America is now being treated by many politicians and too many in the media as yet another phony wrestling match, a political game. Are the potential economic consequences of a U.S. default "real"? Of course they are! Have we gone completely nuts?"

"We haven't gone nuts — but the "conversation of democracy" has become so deeply dysfunctional that our ability to make intelligent collective decisions has been seriously impaired. Throughout American history, we relied on the vibrancy of our public square — and the quality of our democratic discourse — to make better decisions than most nations in the history of the world. But we are now routinely making really bad decisions that completely ignore the best available evidence of what is true and what is false. When the distinction between truth and falsehood is systematically attacked without shame or consequence — when a great nation makes crucially important decisions on the basis of completely false information that is no longer adequately filtered through the fact-checkingfunction of a healthy and honest public discussion — the public interest is severely damaged."

"That is exactly what is happening with U.S. decisions regarding the climate crisis. The best available evidence demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the reckless spewing of global-warming pollution in obscene quantities into the atmospheric commons is having exactly the consequences long predicted by scientists who have analyzed the known factsaccording to the laws of physics.”


Buying Legislation July 26, 2011 : 6:16 PM

Bloomberg had a fascinating article last week about how climate deniers like the Koch brothers and oil companies such as Exxon buy legislation:

“Koch Industries Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) are among companies that would benefit from almost identical energy legislation introduced in state capitals from Oregon to New Mexico to New Hampshire -- and that's by design.”

“The energy companies helped write the legislation at a meeting organized by a group they finance, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based policy institute known as ALEC.”

“The corporations, both ALEC members, took a seat at the legislative drafting table beside elected officials and policy analysts by paying a fee between $3,000 and $10,000, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.”


Jellyfish Soup? July 28, 2011 : 3:45 PM

An impact of the climate crisis on the UK’s coastline:

“Holidaymakers have been warned to be vigilant this Summer as Britain's coastal seas could to be turned into 'jellyfish soup'.”

“Pollution, over-fishing and climate change are among the theories being used to explain the increase in the stinging creatures, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said.”

Source: Daily Mail


Climate Education July 29, 2011 : 7:07 PM

Henry Waxman asks the Department of Energy to launch a climate education campaign:

“The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday urged Energy Secretary Steven Chu to launch a national climate-change-education campaign.”

“Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), in a letter to Chu, said the public’s understanding of climate change is “diminishing” in part because there are ‘powerful vested interests in the oil and coal industries successfully fanning disbelief.’”

“I ask you to investigate the disconnect that appears to be growing between the scientific and the publicunderstanding of climate change,” Waxman said. “I hope you will then decide to lead a national effort to ensure the public is fully and accurately informed about the science of climate change and its implications for human health and welfare.”

Source: The Hill