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roundsquare's avatar

What is a good primer on climate change?

Asked by roundsquare (5507 points ) February 28th, 2011

I want to learn more about climate change, both the science and about climate change policy. Do you know any good places to get comprehensive information? Online or otherwise.

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11 Answers

quarkquarkquark's avatar

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/

is great.

But you should always keep in mind that there are those who claim, quite plausibly, that global warming is not caused by man. This is not the same as claiming it does not exist, because people who do that are generally idiots. Competing data will do any search for information quite a bit of good. The New Republic’s “Planet Gore” section is a good compendium of this kind of information, although TNR is quite right-leaning and the section itself is combative and partisan in nature.

SuppRatings's avatar

It’s not exactly a primer, but you could take some basic physics classes at your local university and then you’d have the prereqs to take meteorological courses. That is for the sciences. As far as policy is concerned, you should be able to audit some PolSci courses for free. Most professors wont mind.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

“Anyone interested in climate change should watch this video of Richard Alley’s talk at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. Great perspective of why most scientists are convinced, and he tears into some of the arguments circulating among nonscientists.”
– John Timmer, contributor to Ars Technica (original link)

I watched the whole presentation, “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History” (given in December of 2009). I thought it was quite worthwhile and accessible.

AdamF's avatar

Go straight to the most comprehensive review yet conducted

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_synthesis_report.htm

Click on the SPM pdf link and you’ll get the summary for policy makers. It’s excellent.

Just be aware that this was compiled in 2007, so the information is a little dated. If you’re looking for a primer, the scale of such issues is probably not of concern.

If you want timely discussions of policy issues, read Climate progress. It’s a left leaning blog, but the info is based and linked to the latest science.

http://climateprogress.org/

If you want updates on the latest evidence for say, ice mass loss, check out skeptical science

http://www.skepticalscience.com/

Click on the “big picture” link for an excellent and accurate quick overview. The nice thing about skeptical science is that they provide answers at different levels of scientific depth for you to choose from.

ThaiBigBri's avatar

Depends on what angle you’re interested in; are you after a scientific understanding, or do you want a political viewpoint? An excellent book to start with would be Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear”. True, Crichton’s forte is science fiction, but this book is heavily document-based and very thoroughly researched; the bibliography is several pages long and includes numerous articles from scientific journals. Give it a look.

AdamF's avatar

Crichton used “State of Fear” to get the best of both words.

Sell his fundamentally flawed scientific understanding and bizarre conspiracy theories under the guise of a fictional story, while concurrently using misquotes & selective citations from a bibliography to purposely give the illusion of scientific accuracy.

Review here
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7023/full/433198a.html

Hint: If it says fiction on the binding, that means “Don’t confuse this with reality”.

cazzie's avatar

I’d stay away from Michael Crichton’s books as any source of fact. The guy, as educated as he is, STILL believes that all diseases, including heart attacks, are direct effects of a patient’s state of mind. He later wrote: “We cause our diseases. We are directly responsible for any illness that happens to us.” Eventually he came to believe in auras, spoon bending, and clairvoyance.

AdamF's avatar

He died in 2008

cazzie's avatar

as educated as he ‘was’ then…

ETpro's avatar

As a book, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hartsgaard got rave reviews and is on my list, but not yet read. Useful resource sites include:

Strong advocacy: http://www.greenhearted.org/climate-change-primer.html
Moderate advocacy: http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/primer/
Facts: http://www.noaa.gov/ and http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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