Search

OnCirculation

Tag

Public Awareness

COP21: The Outcomes

Last week the leaders of almost 200 nations came together in Paris for the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties. On Saturday, 12 December 2015 these leaders reached an agreement that will signal the end of the use of fossil fuels, with the aim of rapidly replacing coal, oil and gas with clean energy sources worldwide.

Continue reading “COP21: The Outcomes”

COP21: Australia’s Position

Climate change is a global problem that requires all nations to come together to be a part of the solution. Australia equates to 5.15% of the world’s landmasses and 1.3% of greenhouse gas emissions, the 13th largest emitter in the world per capita out of 195 nations.

Countries by carbon dioxide emissions in thousands of tonnes per annum, via the burning of fossil fuels.
Countries by carbon dioxide emissions in thousands of tonnes per annum, via the burning of fossil fuels.

Continue reading “COP21: Australia’s Position”

COP21: Understanding Emissions and Targets

The 196 parties of the UNFCCC are coming together next week with the aim of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will likely keep global warming below 2˚C.  Check out my last blog post on COP21 for more information.

Continue reading “COP21: Understanding Emissions and Targets”

COP21: Paris Climate Talks

Next week one of the world’s biggest and most important diplomatic events will take place. But what is the UNFCCC COP21 and why should we care?

Understanding the Acronyms

UNFCCC stands for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, this refers to the selection of leaders from 195 nations and the European Union who have come together with the aim of reducing the impact of human actions upon the Earth’s climate system.

The Conference of Parties (COP) is the leading body of the international convention. COP21 is the 21st annual gathering for the UNFCCC leaders and is to be held in Paris, 30 November – 11 December 2015. Continue reading “COP21: Paris Climate Talks”

Facts and Fallacies

After finally completing my thesis and graduating I thought I’d try something a bit different, something I probably haven’t done in a long while; read a book for fun! However it was during a somewhat starry-eyed cruise through the science section at a local book retailer that I spotted something that instantly ruined the entire endeavour.

“Taxing Air: Facts and Fallacies about Climate Change”

By Bob Carter and John Spooner

Inevitably I purchased the book if only to remove it from the shelf, and to see if it had any legitimate arguments. It didn’t take long belong I stumbled across one premise that was quite troubling.

“…it has never been demonstrated that warming above today’s temperature would be harmful [to humans].”

This claim is really a trick of language, sure, we have scant evidence for the effects of warming on humans, and there is little in the way of precedent. However, we have a large body of evidence for some of the other effects from warming, and, it doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination how these will impact humanity.

We know that warming will raise sea level through the melting of land ice and the expansion of water as it warms. Rising sea level presents a threat to the coastal infrastructure of many nations and threatens many of the smaller island nations existentially. Sea level rise could cause the displacement of millions of people from some of the poorest parts of the globe.
I could continue to cover many similar premises, but they all fall into a similar category of being implied criticisms based on ignored or cherry picked information.

The overarching reason that finding this book annoyed me is because the way arguments like this are constructed to distort people’s understanding. This problem becomes apparent when we view the discrepancy between the debates about climate change in the public and scientific sphere. This book would not be as transparent to someone who hasn’t studied climate change for the good part of their undergraduate degree.

So kudos to the people that communicate their science and the scientific communicators for their efforts in eventually drowning out the claims such as those expressed that book.

Banana Boats

By Kate Holland

I have recently learned of the number one boating rule – bananas are not under any circumstances allowed on boats, not even scientific ones! I guess no one is ever exempt from the law…

Could it be due to their ability to stop the fish from biting once their oils are on your hands? It is their ability to harbour tarantulas, snakes or other tropical nasties? Or is it simply the age old problem of slipping on the banana peel?

No! Just No.
No! Just No.

Bananas are ominous, that’s for sure. If a ship carrying bananas happens to sink, the bananas (amongst other items) will float and leave the tell-tale sign of misfortune. This superstition dates way back to the 1700s, when ships carrying precious banana cargo from the Caribbean would have to speed across the seas to deliver the bananas in time. This was to prevent the bananas, and other fruits bananas influence with their ethylene gas by-products, from spoiling! On these journeys the crew wouldn’t catch any fish, due to their break neck speed through the seas.

Another unlucky down side to the banana is once fermented the methane gas has potential to cause some problems for the crew. And so for all the reasons above, bananas are deemed the most unlucky of all the cargo, and banned on boating vehicles. FYI, other things you probably also shouldn’t do include: killing albatross, whistling, being named Jonah, bring a suitcase, be on a boat on Friday and definitely avoid those sirens (beautiful women).

A handy sticker to tell "landlubbers' the rules.
A handy sticker to tell “landlubbers’ the rules.

The sea can be treacherous, but as long as you abide by the sea rules fish and science are attainable!

Best of 2013: I’m sorry. Does my science offend you? Part two.

ac090817cBy Claire and Nerilie

Last week I posted about some new research carried out by Nerilie Abram, from the Research School of Earth Sciences at ANU. While the research itself is definitely worth a read (if you have access to Nature Geoscience, check it out here), what I personally found most interesting was the response to this paper seen across comments sections in news articles and blog posts on the internet.

It turns out, climate science is personally offensive to some people.

As much as I was enjoying (in a disbelieving kind of way) trying to follow the avalanche of comments from people across the internet, Nerilie was actually dealing with personal communications from a number of people in response to her paper.

I asked her to provide her opinions on the reaction her paper received. This is what she wrote… Continue reading “Best of 2013: I’m sorry. Does my science offend you? Part two.”

Get ’em while they’re young!

By  Aimée

Courtesy: www.ytv.com
Courtesy: http://www.ytv.com

Last weekend I visited a friend who has 6-year old twins. I happened to spend some time watching cartoons with them and I was highly impressed with what I saw. Having no TV myself, and not usually in the company of kids, I’m not quite up to date with the latest shows (let alone cartoons). What took me by surprise was the content in the cartoons – it beats what was showing in my day, by far. I was quite impressed with the amount of educational material that’s out there. There was a lot on building things, helping others out, investigating suspicious activity, but beneath that, were subtle messages – environmental concern, scientific method etc.
Continue reading “Get ’em while they’re young!”

Lindau – An experience of a lifetime

By Adi

63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate MeetingAlfred Nobel’s philanthropic gesture of establishing the Nobel Prizes enabled our society to annually recognise some of those who, in Nobel’s words, conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.

This is the story of how an annual event that celebrates the achievements of the Laureates, continues to spread the spirit of the Nobel Prizes and inspire the next generation. Continue reading “Lindau – An experience of a lifetime”

Earth seeks new management

By Adi

Last Saturday, Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott emphatically declared “Australia is under new management”. Since then, he has been briefed by a multitude of senior bureaucrats in Canberra. Apart from getting acquainted with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, our new PM has met the heads of Treasury and Finance, and the chiefs of the Defence Force and Department of Foreign Affairs. But what about the head of Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education? It seems like the PM-designate hasn’t yet sought* a briefing from this super-department… and that disturbs me. So is there anything we can do about it? Continue reading “Earth seeks new management”

Tell me your idea. You have 3 minutes.

By Adi

What if you had just three minutes to leave your mark on the world? Could you share your contribution to humanity in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee?

In this age of texts, tweets and likes, it is time for young scientists around the world to join, the Three Minute Club. Recently, a multitude of top-rated journals have begun offering researchers the opportunity to summarise their work in a few minutes as video abstracts. See for example, Paper Flicks at the journal Cell or the AudioSlides offered by the journal publisher Elsevier. Continue reading “Tell me your idea. You have 3 minutes.”

Happy Birthday Schrödinger!

S Cat 2By Claire

Today (in the USA, or yesterday in Australia – the 12th August) is Schrödinger’s birthday!

Now, I realise that Schrödinger worked in the field of quantum mechanics, and therefore not earth sciences, but, Schrödinger’s work is a great example of effective science communication.

Schrödinger is best known for his cat, that is, a theoretical cat that he either kills or doesn’t kill (anyone worried about Schrödinger’s cat shouldn’t be – it was a theoretical experiment. No cats were harmed in the making of this science).  Continue reading “Happy Birthday Schrödinger!”

Explaining your science to strangers

By Chops

This post isn’t about how to talk at conferences (even though they contain strangers), nor is it about the ‘elevator pitch’ sort of thing. What I’m on about today is something a bit less defined: how do you talk to random strangers who are interested in your science? Below, I’ll provide some examples and some strategies for people to help, and I’m also looking for people to share their own stories of when they’ve done this or their own strategies they have found successful.
Continue reading “Explaining your science to strangers”

Reminder: “Do The Maths” Tour is coming!

By Claire

In two weeks time, Bill McKibben is coming to Canberra to present his “Do The Maths” tour (he’s also going to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne for those of you not in Canberra).

I have bought tickets to his Canberra seminar on the 5th of June, and I am dragging my husband along to introduce him to science and challenges of climate change (my hubby is a tradie and is slowly being converted into a greenie. mwa ha ha).

I am really excited to hear what Bill McKibben has to say and I hope that you will be able to come along as well! The tickets to the Canberra seminar are only $13.70 each, so I encourage you to use it as an opportunity to indoctrinate your friends!

Bill will be presenting the maths from his now famous Rolling Stones article, which I posted about last year. To try to get you excited for his tour, here is a reminder of that blog post… Continue reading “Reminder: “Do The Maths” Tour is coming!”

Google “Timelapse”: Images of destruction

By Claire

Google (in conjunction with NASA and the USGS) has just released a series of timelapse movies, showing the changes occurring to the surface of our planet since the 1970s.

These videos use images taken by the LandSat satellite over the last 40 years to stitch together the best quality images for key regions around the world, providing a time lapse view of the changes occurring over this time.

Google undertook the mammoth task of sifting through the millions of images taken by Landsat over this time, in order to produce high quality videos, free of clouds and blemishes (wherever possible) allowing a clear view of changes occurring at the surface.

The video below explains the methods used to produce these incredible images, as highlights some of the key regions that have been focussed on.

Continue reading “Google “Timelapse”: Images of destruction”

I’m sorry. Does my science offend you? Part two.

ac090817cBy Claire and Nerilie

Last week I posted about some new research carried out by Nerilie Abram, from the Research School of Earth Sciences at ANU. While the research itself is definitely worth a read (if you have access to Nature Geoscience, check it out here), what I personally found most interesting was the response to this paper seen across comments sections in news articles and blog posts on the internet.

It turns out, climate science is personally offensive to some people.

As much as I was enjoying (in a disbelieving kind of way) trying to follow the avalanche of comments from people across the internet, Nerilie was actually dealing with personal communications from a number of people in response to her paper.

I asked her to provide her opinions on the reaction her paper received. This is what she wrote… Continue reading “I’m sorry. Does my science offend you? Part two.”

I’m sorry. Does my science offend you?

Nerilie cutting up an ice core from James Ross Island, 2008.
Nerilie cutting up an ice core from James Ross Island, 2008.

By Claire

Undoubtedly, the sexiest palaeoclimate proxy are ice cores. Most people have heard of them, most people believe them and they form an important foundation for our understanding of the natural variability of the Earth’s climate in the past.

Last week, a paper (published in Nature Geoscience) was written by our very own super scientist, Nerilie Abram, based on work she did while at the British Antarctic Survey. Nerilie and a team of scientists went to James Ross Island on the Antarctic Peninsula in 2008 to drill a 354 metre long ice core, spanning the last 1000 years.  Continue reading “I’m sorry. Does my science offend you?”

Visual Edutainment: What makes you listen?

30 June 2009 Greenland Ice Sheet: Climbers at the rim of a meltwater channel. James Balog Photography
30 June 2009 Greenland Ice Sheet: Climbers at the rim of a meltwater channel. James Balog Photography

By Ali

“Climate Change Real & Gorgeous” – this title stopped me in my web surfing tracks. Climate change is indeed real, but to think of it as gorgeous seemed a tad disturbing to me.  Of all my readings and involvement in understanding climate change, ‘gorgeous’ certainly did not surface as an adjective. The suspicious article was actually a film review of the documentary, “Chasing Ice”. I had not heard of the film, released in December 2012. However, I now intend to watch it as soon as possible. As should you! Some reviewers describe it as,  “One of the most beautiful films of the year” Huffington Post and, “The smoking gun on climate change”, Robert F Kennedy Jr.

James Balog, a photographer for National Geographic, was shaken out of his climate change skepticism after taking an assignment to photograph the retreat of a glacier in Iceland. Check out some of James’s photography here. After his experience in Iceland, he set out to provide undeniable evidence that might convince other skeptics of the realities of climate change. His evidence took form as the “Extreme Ice SurveyContinue reading “Visual Edutainment: What makes you listen?”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑