Here's what's caught our eye in climate change news this morning, beyond the obvious in the headline: The famine in Somalia (yeah, it's still happening) will likely kill tens of thousands of people by the time it's done, the wife of an MIT climate researcher has been targeted in hate mail (seriously out of hand, this), and, somewhat counterintuitively new research shows cold winters are being caused by warmer summers.
High School Science Teachers Forced to Defend Climate Change Denial?
More fingers in the ears and eyes closed: The LA Times has a summary of states requiring teachers to put climate change denial on equal footing with climate change science. Remember that something like 97% of climate scientists are of the opinion that the planet is warming and human activity is behind it. So while talking about opposing positions is probably warranted, it does need to be put in its proper context. So, those states tinkering with teaching: Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma. Countering this, the National Center for Science Education will begin officially monitoring the situation. Read more at the link above.
The Guardian reports that MIT's Kerry Emanuel, director of the Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate program there, has been receiving a "frenzy of hate" email after he appeared in video interview.
Emails contained "veiled threats against my wife," and other "tangible threats," Emanuel, a highly-regarded atmospheric scientist and director of M.I.T.'s Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate program, said in an interview. "They were vile, these emails. They were the kind of emails nobody would like to receive ... What was a little bit new about it was dragging family members into it and feeling that my family might be under threat, so naturally I didn't feel very good about that at all," Emanuel said. "I thought it was low to drag somebody's spouse into arguments like this."
Just when you think this sort of thing could go no lower.
Somalia Will Need Food Aid Through Next August - Famine Will Kill Tens of Thousands
Remember the famine in Somalia? Remember how, that though we can't specifically peg it entirely on climate change it is representative of the type of things to come in areas of high food insecurity? Well, it's still going on. The UN now says that the region will still need high levels of food aid through next July or August. It will also likely kills "tens of thousands" of people by the time it's all over. More at BBC News.
Warmer Summers & Fall Causing Colder Winters, Really
New research in Environmental Research Letters "suggests that the trend of increasingly cold winters over the past two decades could be explained by warmer temperatures in the autumn having a marked effect on normal weather patterns, causing temperatures to plummet in the following winter." More at Science Daily.
Quebec Adopts Cap-and-Trade Program
Canada as a whole may be getting rightly pilloried for its governmental enthusiasm for tar sands and obstructing the latest international climate talks, but here's a counter point: Montreal Gazette reports that Quebec has just adopted a cap-and-trade system. Environment Minister Pierre Arcand noted (the Gazette paraphrases), "If industrialized countries abandon [the Kyoto Protocol]...it becomes all the more crucial for states and provinces to take legislative action to reduce emissions quickly."
The program comes into full effect in January 2013.