climate Security Mar '14


Human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels to power our homes and businesses and changes to the land caused by the rise of modern cities and expanded agriculture, undoubtedly affect the global environment. It is the extent of that effect and how it relates to changes in the modern climate which is the subject of current scientific debate.

Wise, effective climate policy flows from a sound scientific foundation and a clear understanding of what science does and does not tell us about human influence and about courses of action to manage risk. Many of the temperature data and computer models used to predict climate change are themselves as uncertain as are our understanding of important interactions in the natural climate.

Are calls about the uncertainty in the state of scientific knowledge a call for no action? Nothing could be further from the truth. The message to policy makers is not to delay actions until uncertainties are reduced. Rather, actions should flow from the state of knowledge, should be related to a long-term strategy and objectives and should be capable of being adjusted- one way or the other- as the understanding of human influences improves. There is a sufficient basis for action because the climate change risk is real. Yet it is equally true that actions must not be predicated on speculative images of an apocalyptic vision of life in the near future.

Latest Climate Change Articles

South Carolina Flooding is NOT a 1 in 1,000 Year Event

There is no question that the flooding in South Carolina is exceptional, even historic. But a once on 1,000 year event? Sorry, but there is no way to determine that…there are simply not enough rainfall statistics over a long enough period of time to establish such a claim. But we do have information on previous […]

Climate Radicalism

Next month, nations of the world will gather in Paris for the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to continue the pursuit of a binding agreement to solve what they term as the climate change threat. Each year, the scenario is the same. There is always great uncertainty about what will be […]

Connecting Climate & National Security

Connecting Climate and National Security

There is little question that climate change has become entrenched as a “national security” issue. The Obama Administration has proclaimed climate change to be a present and future threat to the security of the United States. Two different National Security Strategies articulate the case for environmental forces creating security challenges domestically in the U.S. and […]

Satellite Reveals Biblical Mideast Duststorm

The dust storm currently impacting the Middle East started over northern Syria two days ago, and has spread south and westward. I don’t recall one this extensive in this area during the modern satellite era. The following color imagery from the NASA MODIS instrument reveals the daily progression of the storm, and just how large […]

What We Are Reading

Loess Plateau storage of Northeastern Tibetan Plateau-derived Yellow River sediment

New research revises our understanding of the origin of the Chinese Loess Plateau and provides a potential solution for mismatches between late Cenozoic terrestrial sedimentation and marine geochemistry records, as well as between global CO2 and erosion records.

The 97 Percent Solution

The myth of an almost-unanimous climate-change consensus is pervasive. Last May, the White House tweeted: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” A few days later, Secretary of State John Kerry announced, “Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent.” “Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists” say no such thing.

Paleoclimate Researchers Find Connection between Carbon Cycles, Climate Trends

The Ordovician geologic period included a climate characterized by high atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, warm average temperatures and flourishing life. Near the end of the period, CO2 levels dropped significantly but precisely when and how fast is poorly known.

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