Climate change stories make newsroom editors groan and TV producers think they make viewers turn off, I learned when planning this blog last year. Perhaps, like me, they find the amount of information confusing. Organising an argument between the wide range of passionately-held views on the issue might make good entertainment, but it doesn’t really clear up exactly what’s going on.
That seems crazy to me. This is a subject that affects everyone – of course we need to hear about it. Admittedly I don’t want it shoved in my face 24-7 – life is too short to be permanently depressed and confused. It would just be good to get a simple explanation, updated every once in a while to reflect the latest developments. OK it’s a complex subject, but why not boil it down to a strong take-home message? That way we can all enjoy our lives, and ensure that the world remains habitable for generations to come.
I don’t think that there are many people out there trying to do exactly this right now. That’s why I’ve started this blog. I’m a science journalist but haven’t written much about the environment before. Most of what I’ve heard has been quite successful in convincing me that climate change is a big problem, but I am no expert.
What follows is my attempt at an explanation of the current status of climate change based on what I know from my job, and what I learnt during the environmental science type modules in my chemistry degree. However, over the course of the coming year I will interview campaigners and scientists to see if I can refine the statement.
What is going on with Climate Change on January 4 2010?
There is a great deal of concern that carbon dioxide, CO2, is trapping heat that would escape into space on the planet, raising temperatures. The majority of scientists predict that this will have a major impact on our climate. If we continue to produce CO2 unchecked by burning fossil fuels there is concern that this will have major impacts on the world. These include movements of large numbers of people affected by rising seas and growing deserts, and may be irreversible.
World leaders met in Copenhagen in December 2009 to discuss limiting CO2 output, but failed to reach an agreement that they would all stick to. More negotiations are planned, so perhaps your best bet to make an impact on global warming is to talk to or write to your political representative.
You can see the rest of what I hope to do on my “about” page. Here’s what you can expect in coming weeks:
- An interview with a representative of the charity Oxfam, which has been campaigning for CO2 limits. Prior to heading for Copenhagen as a representative from the region in which I live, she explained some of the key issues that were set to be debated.
- Comments from the University of East Anglia in response to the scandal surrounding the publication of emails from climate change researchers based there.
- Weekly digests of the latest developments in climate change research.
If you stay with me over the next year, I hope you’ll find it an enjoyable read and help prove that this material can be covered to the rest of the media. It may not be as entertaining as say, The Day After Tomorrow or The Planet of The Apes, but hopefully it will play a part in ensuring that we stay well away from the kind of destinies these movies predict.