We need human centered stories

‘Numbers numb, stories sell’

Defenders of science, this is the messaging strategy you’ve been waiting for

Our very own Oxford based Climate Outreach has provided the needed handbook on this: Communications Handbook for IPCC scientists

For minimal readers here is the essence of the advice:

  1. Be a confident communicator
  2. Talk about the real world, not abstract ideas
  3. Connect with what matters to your audience
  4. Tell a human story
  5. Lead with what you know
  6. Use the most effective visual communication

We thought the ozone hole was a thing of the past

Ozone layer not recovering over populated areas

While the hole over Antarctica has been closing, the protective ozone is thinning at the lower latitudes, where the sunlight is stronger and billions of people live.

The message for us on Climate Change is that once we have messed up it can take a long time to clean up the mess and some good news on improvement in one area should not cover up bad news in other areas.

Fracking Bad

NASA just made a stunning discovery about how fracking fuels global warming

A new NASA study is one final nail in the coffin of the myth that natural gas is a climate solution, or a “bridge” from the dirtiest fossil fuels to low-carbon fuels like solar and wind.

NASA found that most of the huge rise in global methane emissions in the past decade is in fact from the fossil fuel industry–and that this rise is “substantially larger” than previously thought. And that means natural gas is, as many earlier studies have found, not a climate solution.

NASA-led Study Solves a Methane Puzzle

Given the reducing costs of solar and wind electricity generation, there is no excuse to start fracking for gas. There should be no new developments, and existing fracking should be decommissioned as soon as possible.

Must try harder

More than a quarter of the planet’s surface could become significantly drier if global temperatures rise 2C above pre-industrial levels, scientists predict.

Keep global warming under 1.5C or ‘quarter of planet could become arid’

This suggests that we have to move to non-CO2 emitting energy sources as soon as possible, and not waste time on any further developments of fossil fuel extraction.

The door of the refrigerator has been left open

Jeremy Mathis: The Arctic has traditionally been the refrigerator to the planet, but the door of the refrigerator has been left open.

Arctic permafrost thawing faster than ever

Jeremy Mathis, head of NOAA’s Arctic research program: 2017 continued to show us we are on this deepening trend where the Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago.

Changes that would in the past have happened over thousands of years now happen over decades. We need solutions to be implemented.

Climate change methodology mistake

But the reassessment is likely to make the state worse than the current bad state we think we are in.

Climate change might be worse than thought after scientists find major mistake in water temperature readings

Here is the research report:

Burial-induced oxygen-isotope re-equilibration of fossil foraminifera explains ocean paleotemperature paradoxes

Trump has not managed to silence the scientists yet:

US report finds climate change 90% manmade

“A lot of what we’ve been learning over the last four year suggests the possibility that things may have been more serious than we think,” said Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, one of the dozens of scientists inside and outside the government who wrote the studies.

The report also documented how different climate change-caused events can interact in a complex way to make life worse such as the California wildfires and Superstorm Sandy five years ago.

Enough wind for everyone

There’s enough wind energy over the oceans to power human civilization

Although, in principle, there is enough ocean wind to power our civilization, in practice –

It’s very unlikely that we would ever build out open ocean turbines on anything like that scale — indeed, doing so could even alter the planet’s climate, the research finds. But the more modest message is that wind energy over the open oceans has large potential — reinforcing the idea that floating wind farms, over very deep waters, could be the next major step for wind energy technology.

Lovely graphs and graphics in the original paper:

Geophysical potential for wind energy over the open oceans

Tropical forests – our saviour (no more) but something is growing

Alarm as study reveals world’s tropical forests are huge carbon emission source

The world’s tropical forests are so degraded they have become a source rather than a sink of carbon emissions, according to a new study that highlights the urgent need to protect and restore the Amazon and similar regions.

Researchers found that forest areas in South America, Africa and Asia – which have until recently played a key role in absorbing greenhouse gases – are now releasing 425 teragrams of carbon annually, which is more than all the traffic in the United States.

So, let’s push the good news. Note the last paragraph below.

Solar power is fastest-growing source of new energy

The Paris-based IEA predicted that solar would dominate future growth, with global capacity in five years’ time expected to be greater than the current combined total power capacity of India and Japan.

Dr Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, said: “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics [PV]. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology up to 2022.”

The authority, which is funded by 28 member governments, admitted it had previously underestimated the speed at which green energy was growing.

Denial Hotspots and the facts

Vast majority of UK accept climate change is real

So most people in the UK do know that we have caused a problem.

But – Old men in the East Midlands are less likely to accept scientists’ evidence than young women in the South-east

But P.S.
How our desires shape our beliefs

Well, you can imagine my dismay when I discovered that all these experiments pointed to the reality that people are not driven by facts. They are not enough to alter beliefs, and they are practically useless for motivating action. Consider climate change: there are mountains of data indicating that humans play a role in warming the globe, yet approximately 50% of the world’s population doesn’t believe it.

The problem with an approach that prioritises information is that it ignores the core of what makes us human: our motives, our fears, our hopes, our desires, our prior beliefs.

“Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?”
We need to work on some tunes. This is why religions do so well, they have deep history, community and good stories. Some sects have wonderful tunes.

How to deal with weather extremes

I know developments in virtual reality are big in the United States, but –

The Trump administration’s solution to climate change: ban the term

In real reality –

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people

The new analysis assesses the impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT). Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.

Largest dead zone ever hits the Gulf of Mexico

While this year’s dead zone is record-shattering, it’s likely that these zones will only increase in size in the future, as climate change drives more intense precipitation and, in turn, more nutrient pollution. A recent study in Science found that increased precipitation from climate change would translate to a 19 percent increase in nitrogen — a nutrient found in both manure and agricultural fertilizer — in Americans rivers by the end of the century.

Are we being too timid in telling people how bad it might be?
The Uninhabitable Earth

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today.

Worth a debate,
Or is it too late?
A Defense of Climate Tragedy, or What the Scientists Got Wrong about “The Uninhabitable Earth”

This is an essay about the furor over David Wallace-Wells’ New York Magazine article “The Uninhabitable Earth,” which conjures a specter of a planet so ruined by global warming in our children’s lifetimes that it no longer sustains, but destroys human life. By his own account, Wallace-Wells (DWW from here on out) wrote “The Uninhabitable Earth” to frighten people out of their complacency and to inspire them to clamor loudly for immediate action to halt climate change in its petrifying tracks.