Brian Kahn

Brian Kahn

Posts by This Writer

9 years 9 months ago

The TED Conference closed last week. Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize got a lot of attention (and rightly so), but there were also some interesting presentations that touched on climate change. Bill Gates spoke about the need for clean energy. He emphasized a strategy of developing carbon neutral technologies over the next 20 years and then implementing them over the following 20 years, with the goal of have zero carbon emissions by 2050. You can’t really argue with the merits of this though the reality...


9 years 9 months ago

The mass media is vitally important to the debate on how to deal with climate change.  Television, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other online resources provide key updates on climate science and policy decisions.  However, there have been great discrepancies between the science being done and the quality of reporting.  There are a number of factors that contribute to...


9 years 9 months ago

The big climate change news today was that Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has resigned.  De Boer was head of the UNFCCC for four years and there’s a lot of speculation as to why he resigned.  Whatever, the reason, the international climate negotiation process finds itself at a crossroads.

There are two major ways negotiations will go from here out.  The international process...


9 years 10 months ago

This week, a state I used to live in did something I find unfathomable.  Utah’s House of Representatives passed a resolution 56-17 urging the EPA to “halt its carbon dioxide reduction policies and programs and withdraw its ‘Endangerment Finding’ and related regulations until a full and independent investigation climate data and global warming science can be substantiated.”  Even more sad to me: the guy that represents where I used to live, Kerry Gibson (R-Ogden) sponsored the bill...


9 years 10 months ago

On the eve of the Olympics, Reuters reports that Cypress Mountain, home of the 2010 Olympic snowboarding and freestyle skiing events had to close to the public two weeks earlier than anticipated due to poor snow conditions.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports that organizers of the Vancouver Olympics are using trucks and helicopters to bring snow from stockpiles the resort made at higher elevations for just such a scenario. Are the Vancouver Olympics a casualty of climate change?

While some people may immediately jump to that conclusion, it’s worth taking a minute to search for other...


9 years 10 months ago

A 2009 survey of Earth scientists shows that 90% of the 3146 respondents believe the Earth’s temperature is warming.  Of those surveyed, 82% believe human activity is a significant contributing factor.  The numbers are even more stark for self-identified climatologists.  Of the 79 individuals, 96% believe temperatures are rising and 95% believe humans are the cause.  This indicates a strong scientific consensus on climate change.  Yet public opinion lags far behind these numbers, with only 57% of US citizens saying they believe...


9 years 10 months ago

Many environmentalists saw the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties (COP15) in December as a failure. There was no binding agreement. There were signs of the process collapsing. Somehow, a document emerged at the end of climate conference, though. Known as the Copenhagen Accord, it contained language acknowledging climate change as being a threat and limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. It also let countries who had obligations under the Kyoto Protocol set their own emissions limits for 2020 and allowed countries without...


9 years 10 months ago

What is climate change? The answer to this seemingly straightforward question is shockingly difficult to pin down. As I sit here, trying to write this introductory post, I’m revisiting this question, which has been with me since I first started exploring and trying to understand climate change: how do you define it?

Part of the challenge in defining it is my background. I have worked in the fields of natural and social science as well as the humanities. Each of these offers a unique approach to problem solving, and each has colored my perspective on climate change.

Science is grounded in a specific...


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