Is global warming/climate change a problem? Get the facts

March 15, 2011

Want solid information on climate change (global warming) and the problems it poses?

Several opportunities present themselves, from the National Academies of Science, America’s premiere science advisory group:

America’s Climate Choices Final Report in Review

The final report of the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies is in the final stages of peer review and will be released this Spring.  An official release date will be announced as soon as possible.  The report is authored by the Committee on America’s Climate Choices, which was responsible for providing overall direction, coordination, and integration of the America’s Climate Choices activities.

Related Activities at The National Academies

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Warming World, a publication from the National Academies of Science

“Warming World: Impacts by Degree” Explains Findings of NRC Report

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch, beginning to be called the Anthropocene, during which human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. That’s one of the main conclusions from Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia (NRC, 2011) an expert consensus report released last July and published this year.  Now a new 36-page booklet based on the report, “Warming World: Impacts by Degree” is available to help policymakers, students, and the general public better understand the report’s important conclusions.

The report concludes that, because carbon dioxide is so long-lived in the atmosphere, increases in this gas can effectively lock the Earth and many future generations in a range of impacts, some of which could be severe. Therefore, emission reduction choices made today matter in determining impacts that will be experienced not just over the next few decades, but also into the coming centuries and millennia.  Policy choices can be informed by recent advances in climate science that show the relationships among increasing carbon dioxide, global warming, related physical changes, and resulting impacts. The report identifies (and quantifies when possible) expected impacts per degree of warming, including those on streamflow, wildfires, crop productivity, the frequency of very hot summers, and sea-level rise and its associated risks and vulnerabilities.

Order free copies of the booklet at http://dels.nas.edu/materials/booklets/warming-world.


Report Sets Research Agenda to Study Earth’s Past Climate

Without a reduction in emissions, by the end of this century atmospheric carbon dioxide could reach levels that Earth has not experienced for more than 30 million years. Critical insights into how Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and ecosystems would function in this high carbon dioxide environment are contained in the records of Earth’s geological past, concludes Understanding Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future, a National Research Council report from the Board on Earth Sciences that was released on March 1, 2011.

“Ancient rocks and sediments hold the only records of major, and at times rapid, transitions across climate states and offer the potential for a much better understanding of the long-term impact of climate change,” said Isabel Montañez, chair of the committee that wrote the report and a professor in the department of geology at the University of California, Davis. The research could also yield information on the tipping points for climate change–the threshold of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere at which abrupt climate change will occur.

The report sets out a research agenda for an improved understanding of Earth system processes during the transition to a warmer world. High-priority research initiatives include gaining a better understanding of the sensitivity of climate to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, the amount of sea-level rise as the ice sheets melt, and the resilience of ecosystems to climate change.


Webinar on Transportation and Climate Change

On Thursday, March 24 from 2:00-3:00 p.m., the National Academies Transportation Research Board will host the first of a 2-part webinar series that looks the threats of climate change to transportation facilities and operations and at resources for adapting. The cost of the webinar is $109 (the webinars are free to employees of TRB sponsors). To sign up and/or to learn more, please visit http://www.trb.org/ElectronicSessions/Blurbs/164935.aspx.

Also, you can always check out the website for the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC), a joint project of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.


Teachers standing up for teachers, unions, and education: EDUSolidarity

March 15, 2011

Teaching is a lonely profession, oddly enough.  All too often teachers get stuck on an island away from other adults, away from socializing with colleagues even just a few feet away in the next room.  Different from most other professions, teachers in most schools are required to function without basic support for much of what they do, or with minimal support.

Consequently, teachers organizing to support teachers is difficult and too rare.

Unions become vital organizations to fight against unhealthy social isolation, to fight for teachers, to fight for education.

On March 22 union teachers in New York will wear red as an expression of solidarity with and support for teachers under attack in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, and dozens of other places that we don’t know much about because, after all, brutal legislative attacks on teachers and teaching are so commonplace these days — “dog bites man” stories.

I was asked to join a group of bloggers who will blog on the importance of teaching, the importance of education, and why we support teacher unions on March 22.

If you teach and blog, will you join us?  If you had a teacher who made a difference in your life, and blog, will you join us?

Here’s an invitation from our group, EDUSolidarity:

edusolidarityIMAGE

Please join us!

 

As we all know, teachers and our unions, along with those of other public sector employees, face unprecedented attacks in the national media and from local and state governments. It is easy for politicians and the media to demonize the “unions” and their public faces; it is far more difficult to demonize the millions of excellent teachers who are proud union members. Those of us who are excellent teachers and who stand in solidarity with our unions are probably no stranger to the question “Well, why are you involved with the union if you’re a good teacher?” It’s time for us to stand up and answer that question loudly and clearly.

On Tuesday, March 22, teachers in NYC will wear red in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are under attack in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and elsewhere. We also stand with teachers in places like Idaho, California, and Texas who are facing massive layoffs. We would like to take this stand on the web as well. We encourage you to publish a piece on March 22 entitled “Why Teachers Like Me Support Unions.” In this piece, please explain your own reasons for being a proud union member and/or supporter. Including personal stories can make this a very powerful piece. It would be great to also explain how being a union member supports and enables you to be the kind of teacher that you are. We want these posts to focus not only on our rights, but also on what it takes to be a great teacher for students, and how unions support that.

After you have published your post, please share it through the form that will go live on March 22 at http://www.edusolidarity.us. Posts should also be shared on Twitter using the tag #edusolidarity.

In Solidarity,
Ken Bernstein – Social Studies, MD – teacherken
Anthony Cody – Science Instructional Coach, CA – Living in Dialogue
Ed Darrell – Social Studies, TX – Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
Nancy Flanagan – Educational Consultant, MI – Teacher in a Strange Land
Jonathan Halabi – Math, NY – JD2718
Jamie Josephson – Social Studies, DC – Dontworryteach
Stephen Lazar – Social Studies/English, NY – Outside the Cave
Deborah Meier – Professor of Education, NY – Deborah Meier’s Blog
Doug Noon – Elementary, AK – Borderland
Kate Nowak – Math, NY – f(t)
Jose Vilson – Math, NY – The Jose Vilson


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