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The Measure of a Fog
Ian Cheney, undark.org
This set of short videos offers a condensed and accessible survey of some of
the complexities for humans seeking to understand and solve climate change.
Segments address "Distance," "Carbon," "Energy," "Geoengineering," "Politics,"
and "Ethics," and a "Finale" offers a condensed version of the whole.
(4-13 minutes, 2016-2017)
The Secrets of the "Climate Paradox"
A short animated summary of key ideas about the difficulty of thinking about
and acting on climate change. These broadly accepted ideas are, in this case,
drawn from Per Espen Stoknes' book "What We Think About When We Try Not To
Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action."
(8 minutes, July 2015)
Climate Change Stories
Sometimes it is best to hear directly from people who are experiencing climate
change in their own lives and thinking about what to do about it. Several
groups have begun collecting such
stories: "Climate Matters Documoments" for Hawaii;
Climate Stories NC
for those states; and (for people living around the U.S., including numerous
Native communities, and some from other countries),
the Climate Listening Project,
Americans on the
Front Lines of Climate Change, the
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit,
Climate Stories Project.
The Weather Channel
A direct and compelling set of very short interviews about climate change with
a wide range of people, many but not all well-known. Topics include security,
economics, science, and effects around the world. Most are under 3 minutes.
Instagram and with a good presence on
Facebook, this collection of donated professional photos documents the
actual effects of climate change on people, wildlife, and landscapes around
the world. You can read a story by Katherine Bagley of InsideClimate News
about this initiative
Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
This series of punchy 90-second radio podcasts looks at how the climate is
changing and how we are responding to these changes. The topics vary widely,
and the website includes additional resources.
CO2 and Climate Calculator with Emission Controls
Model by Scott Denning; video produced by the Fort Collins Sustainability Group
This is an excellent site for anyone who wants to see (in a simple model) how
various dates and rates of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions will affect the
atmospheric concentration of these gases and the ensuing planetary temperature
changes. Easy to use and understand, with help from the embedded video, good
explanations, some real data for those who want to see it, and clear graphics.
The model allows you to set different dates and rates for richer and poorer
countries, as defined by the UN.
Climate Change 2013, IPCC Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis
IPCC Working Group 1
This surprisingly vivid video describes how the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change put together its most recent assessment of the changing
climate, its sources of information, and its main findings and projections.
For another very good (and even shorter, at just
over 3 minutes) video about this IPCC reports, see
Climate Change: The State of the Science (Owen Gaffney and Felix
Pharand-Deschenes, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme & Globaia).
(8 minutes, November 2013)
Climate Change DO THE MATH!
James Byrne, Scientia Productions
A startling look at some key numbers, focusing on the $ costs of staying with
fossil fuels. Based in part on Bill McKibben's Rolling Stone article, Global
Warming's Terrifying New Math.
(10 minutes, 2012)
Coping with Climate Change
High-quality videos, transcripts, articles, photo galleries, and other
resources on a wide range of climate-change topics.
(mostly 8-9 minutes)
Climate Change: Simple, Serious, Solvable
Scott Denning, Colorado State University
This three-part talk by (Changing Climates @ Colorado State) climate scientist
Scott Denning is an excellent, super-accessible, and energizing introduction
to the subject. Videotaped by the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in
November 2017, it is divided here into three sections. First, in
"Simple," Denning lays out
the very basic, long-understood reasons the planet is warming from our use of
carbon-based fuels. Second, in
"Serious," he talks about
some of the ways this warming presents serious problems that demand to be
addressed. And finally, in
"Solvable," he offers good
reasons to think we can indeed address them in ways that will improve our
(14-21 minutes, 2017)
Our Year of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?
Ann Curry, NBC News
An excellent feature story about recent extremes (cold in the East, drought
in the Southwest, wildfires, flash floods, Arctic ice melt, Superstorm Sandy)
and their connections with climate change‒considered on the ground,
through interviews with climate scientists and with people who have
experienced these events first-hand.
(42 minutes; also divided into shorter sections, 2014)
The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change
Robert Henson. American Meteorological Society (distributed by the University of Chicago Press), 2014, 416pp.
Formerly The Rough Guide to Climate Change, of which this is essentially the
4th edition, this book is an excellent, highly readable overview, with major
sections on the basics, the
symptoms, the science, debates and solutions, "what you can do," and
resources. A staff writer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research,
NCAR, Henson is a gifted explainer of complicated subjects. He addresses
common questions and confusions, offers vivid examples relevant to everyday
life, includes many photographs, graphs, and other helpful illustrations,
and makes clear where and why scientists are more or less confident about
their data and predictions.
The Hot Topic: What We Can Do about Global Warming
Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King, Harcourt, 2008, 225pp.
With a cool-headed framework emphasizing the urgency of dealing with carbon
emissions, these two distinguished authors offer very clear, readable, and
down-to-earth explanations of critical information first about the problem and
then about technological and political solutions. Although their main focus is
on large-scale solutions, they are also clear about the importance of a wide
range of individual actions. Though naturally it is occasionally a little out
of date, this book remains an excellent primer.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Elizabeth Kolbert, Bloomsbury, 2006, 192pp.
Perhaps THE best single place to start learning about climate change, this
book (first published as a series of articles for The New Yorker
magazine) offers lucid, compelling stories about the science of and scientists
working on climate change, its current and likely effects on landscapes and
ecosystems, and its impacts on human individuals and cultures. It has justly
been called the Silent Spring for this topic, and for our times.
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
Tim Flannery. Grove Press, 2005, 321 pp plus notes and index.
Australian zoologist, paleontologist, and writer Flannery provides a
well-researched, expansive, lively overview of "the history of climate change,
how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do about it"--with
particular attention to the effects on living creatures, including people.
Paying more attention to the southern hemisphere than American books typically
provide, and taking advantage of his own scientific training as he works
through information from other specializations, this leading public scientist
puts his story-telling skills to good use in this important and engaging book.
Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and
Mike Hulme. Cambridge University Press, 2009, 432pp.
A smart, thorough, and readable examination of the many reasons we don't agree
about climate change, which Hulme understands as equally a physical and a
social phenomenon "best understood as an idea that binds together the physical
world and our cultural imagination." Looking at this idea from "seven
different standpoints" (science, economics, religion, psychology, media,
development, and governance) the book offers a wealth of references, examples,
and powerful thinking tools. Elucidating many of the fascinating but
deeply challenging reasons that this is such a complicated issue, Hulme, a
prominent English climate scientist with a good deal of experience working at
the science-policy boundary, argues that we can make good use of the problem
as a way of thinking anew about our role in the world.
||articles & essays
FOCUS on . . .
For pages on many other topics that could be on this Big Picture page (for
instance, "Oceans, Coasts, and Sea Level" and "Forests and Fires," look here.
Our Climate Future Is Actually Our Climate Present
Jon Mooallem, New York Times Magazine, April 2017
This thoughtful and challenging essay is well worth reading and contemplating.
The subtitle suggests its concerns, which touch on art, imagination, emotion,
sea level rise, social injustice, sliding baselines, and human cognition:
"How do we live with the fact that the world we knew is going and, in some
cases, already gone?" Part of an issue of the NYT Magazine focused on climate
The Planet Can't Stand This Presidency
Bill McKibben, New York Times, 2017
The lead piece here by McKibben is political, as the title suggests, though it
keeps a clear focus on the issue of climate action. Posted here because of the
set of short pieces by scientists and journalists that follow on the same
link. These sketches lay out ramifications for several specifics: Hawaiian
honeycreepers (rare island birds), Costa Rican cloud forests, NASA's Clarrio
Mission to measure incoming and outgoing solar radiation, Joshua Trees (a tall
tree-like desert yucca), horseshoe crabs, the Thwaites Glacier on Antarctica,
and an aquifer under California's Mojave Desert.
Let Them Drown: The Violence of Othering in a Warming World
Naomi Klein, London Review of Books, June 2016
This essay connects the dots between the current climate crisis and the
insights of post-colonial theorist Edward Said about war, poverty, racism, and
"othering," which he influentially defined as "disregarding . . . the humanity
of another culture, people or geographical region." Not a quick read, but
thought- and conversation-provoking, especially for post-high-school
Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change
Justin Gillis, New York Times, November 2015
A short, clear, unflinching piece on the title subject from a journalist who
has been following this story for the Times for a long time now.
Climate Change 2014, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Fifth Assessment Report, Synthesis, November 2014
For a quick summary of this important work on global climate change, in a
user-friendly format, this is the place for the big picture regarding current
and projected changes in climate, effects on humans and other living things,
adaptation possibilities, and the needs for mitigation. Surprisingly readable,
as these reports go, and full of important information, with key graphics
included. To read about how conservative the IPCC tends to be (that is,
underestimating the severity of the problem), see leading climate reporter
Chris Mooney's piece, which focuses on the example of scientific studies
of sea-level rise.
The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate
Al Gore, Rolling Stone, June 2014
Addressing impressive advances in renewable energy (including its
affordability) energy, the size of the climate problem, and developments on
the policy front, Gore offers a compelling case for eyes-open optimism.
Six Things We Learned About Our Changing Climate in 2013
Smithsonian.com, December 2013
A clear and compelling summary of key points everybody needs to know.
China and the Environment: The East Is Grey
The Economist, August 2013
This is an excellent look at China's (globally critical) environmental
situation (including its carbon emissions and green energy investments) and
current actions, with plenty of attention to the complexities.
Tiny Pacific Islands Make Big Plans for Climate Resilience
Lisa Friedman, E&E, ClimateWire, August 2013
Adaptation, economics (aid money), bureaucracy, policy, renewable energy,
sea-level rise: what Tonga has learned about the intersections among these
things might help them and other small island nations prepare for climate
change. One of numerous interesting stories in
E&E's series about climate, energy, islands, and island nations.
Adapting to a Warmer World: No Going Back
Olive Heffernan, Nature, November 2012
An excellent introduction to adaptation efforts now underway around the world
(both large and small scale, top-down and grassroots), as mitigation efforts
flounder and severe weather events become more frequent and damaging.
Justin Gillis, New York Times, 2010-2013
This excellent series looks at "the central arguments in the climate debate"
and the "evidence for global warming and its consequences." Topics range from
paleo clues to sea level futures, melting arctic sea ice to heat waves,
political headwinds to the need for new crop varieties and farming techniques.
National Climate Assessments
November 2017, May 2014
These regular reports are essential documents for Americans who want to stay
updated on what is already happening to our climate, what we might expect to
see happen, how these changes affect things that matter to our daily lives,
and (not least!) what we can do. This very clearly written and user-friendly
website from the 2014 report is highly informative and up-to-date, with
features spanning a range from interactive graphs to footnoted primary
from the 2017 report, while it is slightly technical, is the place to find
The Drawdown Project, 2017
This interesting site accompanies the book of the same name. Representing the
work of many people who set out research the relative benefits of 100 existing
solutions with which we might address climate change, it includes an
intriguing list of
solutions summarized by rank. Would you have guessed that
educating girls and reducing food waste make the top ten along with offshore
wind turbines and solar rooftops and farms?
A new (2017) central hub for all the climate-related stories (and short
videos) Bloomberg publishes on this topic. They are many and varied, and of
course often include a financial angle.
India Climate Dialogue
This is an interesting good collection of stories about what's happening in
India on the climate change front‒both effects being felt and actions
Setting Up the Climate Chessboard
Mark Trexler, GreenBiz, December 2015
An invention of
Web, this is a clever framework for thinking about the push-pull,
up-and-down, left-hand vs. right-hand dynamics of possible climate actions and
the both-sides-at-once positions so many of us inhabit. Lots of good links.
Keep It in the Ground
The Guardian, 2015
In early 2015, this leading newspaper decided to foreground climate change,
partly with a targeted divestment campaign, partly with increased coverage
overall. The results have been rich: varied, illuminating, appalling,
inspiring, lively, and very well worth the time to explore, with this homepage
as a portal.
Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)
This is "a news and analysis website focused on providing the latest updates
and insight into global low carbon developments." A good place to follow UN
talks, but the content reaches well beyond this important topic, with
interesting stories about policy, business, technology, energy, transport,
living, and nature.
Everything You Need to Know about Global Warming
Brad Plumer, Vox.com, May 2014
This is an excellent primer, with brief, clear answers to key questions (22
of them in the original set, with more likely to come) and a wealth of
embedded (and thus easy to use) links to sources. Carefully chosen graphs and
The Climate Desk
You can find many fine articles on a wide range of climate topics at this
site, home to a high-quality "journalistic collaboration dedicated to
exploring the impact‒human, environmental, economic, political‒of
a changing climate." Current partners are The Atlantic, Center for
Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones,
Slate, and Wired; the reporters are excellent, as is the writing.
With the tag line "Academic rigour, journalistic flair," this lucid and
interesting site features "news and views, sourced from the academic and
research community and delivered direct to the public"-written by those who
have "proven expertise" on the subject they are addressing, for readers in the
general public. Started in Australia in 2011, and now (in beta, or start-up,
form) for the UK, the site covers climate change, ocean acidification, and
other climate-linked topics. A toggle at the top of the page allows one to
switch between the Australian and the UK versions, which overlap but are not
One of the best sources around (and a frequent source of stories we post on
this website), this is "An independent organization of leading scientists and
journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and
its impact on the American public."
Climate News Network
Focused mainly on UK-centered stories and perspectives on a good variety of
topics, this site is run by four veteran journalists who (with no outside
funding) emphasize clarity, facts, and implications. To access all the
stories, and to receive their regular emails, you need to sign up (but it's
free); even without signing up, you can read a good many on the website.
Especially useful for journalists.
The Daily Climate
This organization's free daily e-newsletter collects, culls, summarizes, and
links to high-quality journalism about climate change from around the world,
spanning the political spectrum, "from center right to center left." It also
commissions and publishes articles on the subject. A rich, well-organized
website that can save interested readers a lot of time and trouble.
This "non-profit, non-partisan news organization that covers clean energy,
carbon energy, nuclear energy and environmental science‒plus the territory in
between where law, policy and public opinion are shaped" works to "produce
clear, objective stories that give the public and decision-makers the
information they need to navigate the heat and emotion of climate and energy
debates." Topics include tar/oil sands, fracking, climate legislation,
activism, and more; a rich home page offers daily and weekly stories, and you
can sign up for a daily email update.
The Christian Science Monitor: All Global Warming
The Christian Science Monitor is one of the best all-around sources for news
about multiple aspects of climate change, from new scientific data to the
effects on and actions of individuals and communities. Stories cover a wide
range of topics, are highly readable, and generally include good photos. The
paper, which now appears in a large-magazine format every week, is worth
subscribing to (and of course a subscription helps keep good stories coming;
a subscription to the daily e-paper is also available), but the content is
easy to find on the web as well. Content specific to the Christian Science
faith is minimal, but the magazine's commitment to humane thinking is not.
Union of Concerned Scientists‒Global Warming
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a non-profit, science-based organization that works to make good scientific information available, to counteract bad information, and to develop solutions to environmental problems, particularly climate change and related issues like clean energy and safe food. Indeed, they are leaders in the fight against climate change. Their website is a great source of information about climate science, impacts, contrarians, and solutions; they also offer some region-specific information, mostly for the U.S.
ThinkProgress: Climate Change
This very active multi-authored liberal blog is "dedicated to providing the
progressive perspective on climate science, climate solutions, and climate
politics." Run by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for American Progress
United States Global Change Research Program
The United States Global Change Research Program brings together the concerns and research of 13 different agencies: the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Interior, State, Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture, NASA, the NSF, the Smithsonian, USAID, and the EPA. Their website is a goldmine of solid information, including downloadable publications such as Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science and (this is particularly good) Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
A key resource from an important provider of good information, this site is
run by the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, an
"independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization" that works to "advance
strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate
change." With a pragmatic orientation, the website's main sections are on
policy, energy & technology, science & impacts, and business; it also includes
good sections on extreme weather, communication, options for coal, blogs, and
Climate Change in the West: Hot Times
High County News
The mission of the nonprofit magazine (and media organization) High Country
News is to "inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the West's land,
air, water and inhabitants"-a mission that includes fairly frequent (and
award-winning) investigative articles about climate change that focus on this
large geographical region of the U.S. This link will take you to the part of
HCN's website that highlights climates and climate changes past, present, and
future, with attention to science, management, and our human experiences of
and reactions to a changing landscape.
"Bold and innovative ideas for solving the world's integrated ecological,
social, and economic problems"; non-profit, peer-reviewed, and written for
"the lay public." Founders are economist
Robert Costanza, educator David Orr, entrepreneur Paul Hawken, and biologist
John Todd. The journal's
partner list is a useful compendium of other (mostly grassroots)
organizations working on creating "a sustainable and desirable future."
Rocky Mountain Climate Organization
Focusing mostly on the interior American West, this coalition works to reduce climate disruption and its effects on this region by bringing people together to act and spreading the word through a series of reports (on the website) on specific topics and places (including several National Parks, from Maine to California) and through an information-packed monthly
Getting the Picture: Our Changing Climate
Earth Vision Institute
Though it is intended mostly for middle and high school students and teachers
(it is aligned with national standards), this well-done interactive art +
science site has things to offer older learners as well, including good short
videos, strong images, clear explanations, and teaching resource links.
Developed in conjunction with photographer James Balog's Extreme Ice Survey
and Jeff Orlowski's film about it, Chasing Ice.
Assessing "Dangerous Climate Change": Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature
James Hanson et. al., PLOS, December 2013
This is a must-read for anyone who is already invested in thinking about
climate change. A strong argument, based on extensive research, from 18
distinguished scientists with numerous specialties, about the effects of
various total carbon emissions on the climate, sea-level, non-human species,
human health and communities, economies, and more. Though the conclusions are
alarming, the message is positive: if we move fast, we can still maintain a
planet similar to the one we have had for over 10,000 years. Quite readable
for a technical article, even for lay readers (who will want to take their
time). If you're in a hurry, relatively new to the subject, or allergic to
science, see the accessible summaries of this study (and another important new
study) from the
Climate News Network and
Climate Change Science and Policy
Edited by Stephen H. Schneider, Armin Rosencranz, Michael D.
Mastrandrea, and Kristin Kuntz-Duriseti. Island Press, 2010, 544pp.
Thorough, authoritative coverage of many of the scientific and policy aspects
of climate change. The book's 49 chapters (and over 500 pages) address
climate science, species and ecosystems, oceans, fresh water, wildfire,
forests, crops, human health; economic impacts, costs, and options, risk
assessment and behavior; international treaties, inequity, population, ethics;
China, India, Australia, the U.S., corporations, the media, energy
alternatives; and so on. Textbook-style prose, technical and relatively slow
reading; challenging but suitable for upper-division and graduate students;
accessible for non-specialists with sufficient interest and patience.
Excellent and lucid introduction by John Holdren.
Encyclopedia of Earth/CAMEL
High-level compilation of resources (especially articles, but also some
videos) provided by the Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, E-Learning (CAMEL)
project from the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) of the
National Council for Science and the Environment. Organized into causes (past,
present, future), consequences (physical world, life and death, humans),
solutions (economics, adaptation, mitigation, policy), actions (individual,