Monthly Archives: August 2015

What the World Thinks of Climate Change

First posted on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog on July 27, 2015.

We know that climate change can generate great debate in the United States. But what about the rest of the world?

Using data collected by the Gallup World Poll in 2007 and 2008, researchers at Columbia and Yale took an unprecedented look at public opinion in 119 countries, representing 90 percent of the world’s population, to investigate what factors most influence peoples’ awareness of climate change and their perception of its risks. The research was published July 27 in Nature Climate Change.

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A Dire Warning on Rapid Climate Change

First posted on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog on July 24, 2015.

Iceberg off Antarctica. Photo: NOAA

Iceberg off Antarctica. Photo: NOAA

Sea level rise from melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland threatens catastrophe for coastal cities within decades unless strong measures are taken to reduce CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels, argues climate scientist James Hansen.

Hansen’s warnings about the dangers of climate change are not new, but a new paper written by him and 16 other scientists offers some new lines of inquiry on the subject. They studied and modeled climate evidence from the Eemian period—modeling climate changes going on about 120,000 years ago during the last interglacial period, when temperatures were warmer than today. They conclude that the warming going on today risks setting off “feedbacks” in the climate system—changes in ocean circulation and the speed at which ice sheets may collapse—that portend irreversible changes, including rapid sea level rise and more severe storms.

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