Icebergs, Ice Hockey, and Other News

It’s been an eventful weekend.  On Saturday, Chile experienced an earthquake that registered 8.8 on the Richter scale and left more than700 people dead, and the country’s second largest city without electricity and water. News of giant chunks of Antarctic ice floating towards Australia was also in the headlines the past few days. And, as the Olympics in Vancouver wrapped up, Canada won gold in the men’s hockey final against the U.S. in a nail-biter of a game – Go Canada!!

Here’s some discussion from the blogosphere on these, and other,  issues of interest:

  • NPR has an interesting discussion about how one’s response to climate change is dependent the world view one holds going into the discussion:

Over the past few months, polls show that fewer Americans say they believe humans are making the planet dangerously warmer, despite a raft of scientific reports that say otherwise.

This puzzles many climate scientists — but not some social scientists, whose research suggests that facts may not be as important as one’s beliefs. 

Click here for more on the NPR discussion, Belief in Climate Change Hinges on Worldview.

  • Senator Al Gore responded to anti-science climate skeptics in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Saturday entitled We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change:

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

Click here to read the entire column.

  • In relation to natural disasters and climate change, the bloggers at Make Wealth have a recent post on this subject that includes two graphs from the insurance company Munich Re which track the pattern of natural disasters around the world for the past 50 years.  As the graph below indicates, the increase in disasters closely tracks the rise in global temperatures, which rose most sharply in the 1990s and continued to rise, but more gradually, in the past decade.

    Great weather catastrophes 1950 – 2009. Munich Re Insurance Company

Click here to read the article Climate Change and Natural Disasters or here to go right to the Munich Re website.

  • In response the icebergs breaking off the Antarctic ice sheet and floating towards Australia, Andy Russell’s weather-related blog examines the general climate situation in the South Pole region, with great pictures and links to peer-reviewed articles.  Check it out the posting, Antarctic Climate Change – The Exception That Proves the Rule? here.
  • And, finally, a picture from yesterday’s gold medal hockey game. Click here to watch the gold medal moment on YouTube.

    Canadian men's hockey teams wins Olympic gold. (MATT SLOCUM / The Associated Press)

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