Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Skepticism about climate change builds even as science grows more confident about human cause

Over the last five years, Americans have become "less likely to believe in global warming" but "scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities," Richard Harris of National Public Radio reports. But in an illustration of how scientific research is never-ending, a new study disputes a long-held belief that reforestation can help mitigate climate change.

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication asked participants "what they thought of climate change," and "to estimate how climate scientists feel about global warming," Harris reports. The results shocked him. Only 13 percent of participants guessed correctly that "about 97 percent of American scientists say that climate change is happening," and another third said they didn't know.

Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, a science review board, told NPR, "The consensus statement is that climate changes are being observed, are certainly real, they seem to be increasing, and that humans are most likely the cause of all or most of these changes." (Read more)

A recent publication by two Canadian researchers refutes the notion that planting trees is an effective measure against climate change, but supports previous findings that climate change is real and increasing. St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia researcher Alvaro Montenegro and Environment Canada researcher Vivek Arora "found that even if 100 percent of the world's cropland were to be reforested or afforested, the Earth's temperature would drop by less than half of 1 degree Celsius by the end of the century," ClimateWire reports.

While the study reveals dark leaves and needles on trees absorb the sun's radiation at a higher rate than cropland, negating the trees consumption of carbon dioxide, ClimateWire reports, "both researchers emphasized that planting trees did have numerous other positive environmental impacts, including increased habitat for wildlife and protection against erosion." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Article