Brian Kahn

Brian Kahn

Posts by This Writer

9 years 4 months ago

The Arctic is ground zero for climate change in many ways. Two recent studies put some perspective on the scope of the changes taking place and why they’re happening.

The first study comes researchers based out of Germany and Russia. They used tree ring data to reconstruct summer temperature data over the past 400 years in Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Some of their findings will make skeptics happy. They found that solar radiation played a major role in forcing Arctic temperatures for much of the time series, including a cooling trend between 1958 and 1990.

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9 years 4 months ago

The effects of climate change will hit poor communities in developing countries the hardest. Yet these communities are also major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, the Ford Foundation has just announced a five-year, $85 million commitment to these communities.

The grants will go to non-governmental organizations looking to strengthen these...


9 years 4 months ago

Sandia National Laboratories is at the forefront of energy and economic research in the US. The lab has a stake and understanding of how climate change might affect the US in the coming years. They recently conducted an analysis of the economic risks posed by climate change in contrast to the uncertainties. The findings present a stark reality even in a future with more balanced economic and renewable energy growth.

The study’s relevance is threefold. First, it focuses on the local. The models used have a county-level resolution. Second, the study also focuses on...


9 years 4 months ago

This is part of an ongoing series about the words and concepts of climate change.

Climate change is often thought of as a global problem. However, the effects of climate change are ultimately localized, with each locality being affected differently. While a lot of time and energy has been devoted to covering global developments, it’s worth taking a closer look at what climate change means on smaller scales.

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9 years 5 months ago

How should scientists communicate their research on climate change? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently circulated a document explaining how to do just that. However, the document misses the ball on a number of counts.

What About New(s) Media?

The document completely ignores the role that social media currently plays in how people gather information. Instead, it focuses solely on reporters from traditional news outlets. For better or worse, sources like Twitter have reduced discourse to 140...


9 years 5 months ago

The (non) controversy surrounding hacked emails between prominent climate change scientists should officially be declared dead. The University of East Anglia recently completed an inquiry into whether the controversy, dubbed Climategate, showed gaps in climate science conducted at the Climate Research Unit (CRU). The investigation concluded that while researchers and University staff didn’t always conduct themselves with the highest degree of integrity, their scientific methods were sound.

Skeptics held up the Climategate emails as the smoking gun that...


9 years 5 months ago

The Obama Administration has recently released its budget for FY2011, including climate change expenditures. There are a number of domestic departments and agencies vying for money to do climate change and energy research and development, education, modeling, and adaptation programs.

The main focus of these efforts is mitigation, though there is a growing budget for adaptation. Education seems to be the biggest loser. While mitigation is a worthy goal, putting climate change adaptation and education by the wayside is a disservice to the public.

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9 years 5 months ago

What’s the biggest uncertainty in the magnitude of climate change? A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) asked 14 leading climate researchers. The answer might surprise you though it’s something you might see everyday, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest: clouds.

Of the 14 researchers, each one identified clouds as the single biggest uncertainty in making predictions for future climate change. This isn’t a major surprise to those familiar with research on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel...


9 years 5 months ago

Two interesting studies related to scientific consensus on climate change recently came out. Alone, each has interesting implications. Together, they give some insight into why the causes and effects of climate change are still up for debate in the eyes of the American public.

The first study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from Stanford and the University of Toronto examined a dataset of 1372 published climate researchers, of which 908 were selected for analysis because they had more than 20...


9 years 5 months ago

China is currently the biggest carbon emitter in the world, and thus, one of the biggest causes of climate change.  While there is some debate about how to account for those carbon emissions, there are a number of less controversial ideas about how to reduce them. One of the most popular is improving efficiency. A recent report by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) outlines a path forward for improving efficiency and reducing carbon emissions in China.

The report highlights the “win-win-win” nature of improving efficiency. First, it will...


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