Geologists' Debate Sparks Debate

The International Geological Congress in Oslo, Norway this month apparently took a break from struggling with science in favor of hosting a reality TV segment on “climate change debate.”

Characterized by RealClimate. org as “a step backwards towards confusion,” and hailed in the denier community as evidence of open-mindedness, the panel included a grab-bag of international “skeptics” including Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Centre (“even though he's not a geologist, and said that he didn't understand what he was doing on the panel”).

The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly On . . . The Amazon Rainforest?

Spain is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. Climate experts warn that the country is suffering badly from the impact of climate change and that the Sahara is slowly creeping north - into the Spanish mainland.

It's the Sun's Fault? Hansen says: No It Isn't

In another section of his recent “trip report ” (see “westling” post below), James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, answers in careful but fairly accessible detail, the question of whether the sun can reasonably be blamed for recent global warming.

His conclusion:

Speculation that we may have entered a solar-driven long-term cooling trend must be dismissed as a pipe-dream.

Oz to Lose Most Beach Nesting Birds This Century

Migratory birds are the “canary in the mine” for the Australia’s coastal zones, Eric Woehler from Birds Australia has told the House of Representatives Climate Change, the Environment and Arts Committee.

“I’ve been involved in coastal research and coastal management in Tasmania now for 30 years, working both on shore birds and sea birds and in the 30 years that I’ve been involved in I’ve seen at a state level average a loss of 50 per cent of the numbers of birds and the mix of birds,” he said.

The Case for NOT Wrestling with Pigs

James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, offers this as a reason for scientists to decline public debates about climate change:

… public discussion of global warming is befogged by contrarians, whose opinions are given a megaphone by special interests that benefit by keeping the public confused. Some of the contrarians were once scientists, but now they behave, at least on the topic of global warming, as lawyers defending a client. Their aim is to present a case as effectively as possible, citing only evidence that supports their client, and making the story appear as favorable as possible to their client. The best, the most articulate, are sought out by special interests, and even by much of the media, because the media likes to have “balance” in its coverage of most topics – and especially this topic because special interests have influence on the media.
The barrage of e-mails that I have received from the public highlights another aspect of the global warming story: it is now very political. The people sending these messages are not generally scientists, even though in many cases they parrot “scientific” statements of contrarians. In their opinion these matters should be discussed in you-tube “debates” between scientists and contrarians. My guess is that scientists may not fare very well in such a format.

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