Category Archives: Climate Change

“The Senator with the Snowball”

Senator Jim Inhofe’s embarrassing speech before congress with his snowball was a low point for Oklahoma politics. So in steps Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) with the perfect rebuttal. It had just the right amount of scientific references and just the right amount humor.

I love this quote, “So, you can believe every major American scientific society, or you can believe the Senator With The Snowball.”

Sen. Inhofe will forever be known as the Senator with the Snowball.

This is not OK- Sen. Jim Inhofe and his Magical Snowball

This is the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. This is sad. But also funny because it’s so sad.

Our illustrious Senator Jim Inhofe tossing a snowball to disprove climate change. Your tax dollars pay his salary. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?

In case you don’t know why snowfall does not disprove climate change read this link.

 

Megadroughts are Megabad

Oklahoma could be ground zero to some one of the worst droughts in a millennium. A new report in the journal Science Advances says the Great Plains and Southwest portion of the U.S. are in line for megadroughts over the next 100 years. Those are droughts that last more than 20 years. Researchers say we could see droughts that last as long as 35 years or more. This part of the world hasn’t seen droughts like that since the 1100s.

You guessed it, the drier conditions are mostly a result of rising greenhouse gases, according to the report.

My grandfather was a wheat farmer in north central Oklahoma all of his life. I remember visiting his farm as a child. The TV was never on except to watch the weather report and then no one could move or say a word. That weather report was his lifeline. You could sense his anguish if he needed rain and it wasn’t coming. I can’t imagine what a megadrought will do to our Oklahoma farmers.

I wonder when our state and national leaders will take this seriously? If reports like this don’t change some minds, I’m not sure what will.

 

 

Climate Change Made Easy to Understand

Here’s one of the better produced videos you’ll see on climate change, not so much because of the flashy b-roll but because the scientist cuts right to the chase. It’s part of a series called Climate Change Elevator Pitch and comes courtesy of Climate Denial Crock of the Week. The host of the series is John Cook. He’s the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia. He’s one of many people behind Skeptical Science, a fantastic resource to learn about climate change. You can spend hours there and barely touch the surface.

Anti-Science Bill Update

We’ve been following an anti-science bill proposed in the state legislature. Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-District 6) is author of the bill. It’s his latest attempt to flush out climate change and evolution among other topics.

Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education does a great job staying on top of these bills. They say the best way to stop it is to contact the committee members where the bill starts. Here’s what OESE has on their website about SB 665:

Senate Bill 665, Oklahoma Science Education Act by Brecheen is the only legislation that directly attacks the teaching of sound science introduced in the legislature this year. Deadline for filing bills was January 22. The bill is virturally identical to a bill filed by Brecheen last year that died in the Senate Education Committee. Analysis of the bill by Rich Brougton is here. A description of the bill and its history is on the NCSE site. Additional information at the Sensuous Curmudgeon and Science is OK. We will let you know if and when it is assigned to a committee. Instructions for tracking bills can be found at Bill tracking in the Oklahoma legislature. There are several bills concerning science standards that we will keep an eye on as well. 
Action Alert: SB 665 has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. Please contact the committee members and let them know you oppose the bill. Here is contact info for that committee: 
John Ford, Chair, 521-5634, fordj@oksenate.gov 
Ron Sharp, Vice Chair, 521-5539, sharp@oksenate.gov
Earl Garrison, 521-5533, whitep@oksenate.gov
Jim Halligan, 521-5572, halligan@oksenate.gov
Clark Jolley, 521-5622,jolley@oksenate.gov 
Susan Paddack, 521-5541, paddack@oksenate.gov
Marty Quinn, 521-5555, quinn@oksenate.gov
Wayne Shaw, 521-5574, shaw@oksenate.gov
Jason Smalley, 521-5547, smalley@oksenate.gov
John Sparks, 521-5553, sparks@oksenate.gov
Gary Stanislawski, 521-5624, stanislawski@oksenate.gov
Roger Thompson, 521-5588, thompson@oksenate.gov

Anti-science Bill Proposed

A bill has been proposed in the Oklahoma senate that is, without a doubt, anti-science. Senate bill 665 was written by Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-District 6). The bill would create what Sen. Brecheen calls the Oklahoma Science Education Act. A bunch of words that say one thing but mean something entirely different.

SB 665 would force school districts and the state to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.” The bill does not mention what those controversies may be but, when you understand Sen. Brecheen’s history, it’s very clear evolution and climate change are two of his targets.

The National Center for Science Education has a good write up on Sen. Brecheen’s attempts to give biology teachers a way out of teaching evolution.

This all follows the roadmap set forth in the Wedge Document. It was a campaign introduced in the late 90’s by the Discovery Institute. The point of the Wedge Document is to show how a wedge can and should be driven between public opinion and policy makers to create a more theistic approach to science education, specifically evolution.

You can contact Senator Brecheen at brecheen@oksenate.gov. Please let him know that Oklahoma needs more science education and less interference from lawmakers.

Climate Talk with Dr. Kevin Kloesel

Dr. Kevin Kloesel is the director of the Oklahoma Climate Survey. He’s trained as an engineer and meteorologist. He studies climate change and its potential impact on Oklahoma.

In this brief video he talks about climate change…what it is and what scientists are looking for when they study it.

White House to Increase Climate Education

The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy has announced a plan to increase climate education.

The administration reports it had more than 150 projects or ideas submitted to it as ways to improve climate education. As a result, the OSTP has a launched a number of new programs aimed at raising awareness about our ever-changing climate. They include more resources for National Park Service employees, training for executive leaders in Federal agencies, and workshops for educators.

Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education is already doing the latter. In September, it hosted a workshop for secondary school teachers to learn about climate change, as well as some of the laws impacting how they teach it. The workshop was the focus of one of my first posts on this blog and included a short video from the workshop.

I’m sure Senator Inhofe will have a problem with this but I’m glad to see the administration taking steps to educate its employees and school kids about the science of climate change.

 

 

Why You Should Join the OESE

I have previously written about Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education but I wanted to post a little more. Click the video below to hear from Dr. Victor Hutchison. He’s a past-president of the OESE and the George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

He talks about OESE’s mission and why it was originally formed. The main goal, he says, is to protect teachers and students from lawmakers and lobbyists who try to suppress scientific knowledge. Dr. Hutchison says, “We hate to see the anti-science movement because it really prevents our students from getting the proper education in today’s competitive world.”

You can join the OESE and help protect science in Oklahoma for as little as $10.

 

 

 

Hottest. Year. Ever.

2014 is about to become the hottest year on record. The World Meteorological Organization says early estimates put this year at the top of this list. It’s just another sign of climate change.

The WMO says 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all been since 2001. They say the average temperature from January to October is up a little more than 1-degree Fahrenheit. So big deal, right? What does a 1-degree increase mean? According to NASA, a temperature change of one or two degrees is a very big deal. They report it only took a one or two degree drop to cause the Little Ice Age and 20,000 years ago our continent was covered in ice after the temperature dropped five degrees. So flip that around and imagine what a one degree rise in temperature would do to the planet.

We’re already seeing some impact with flooding, droughts, even the massive amount of snowfall in Buffalo a few weeks ago as being fallout from the rising temperatures. “Our climate is changing and every year the risks of extreme weather events and impacts on humanity rise”, said Christiana Figures, the executive secretary on climate change for the UN.

It’s getting late in the game to stop it completely but there are things we can do to minimize potential disasters down the road. Maybe the next time Barbra Streisand holds a workshop on how to fool everyone to thinking climate change is real we can get some answers.