What exactly IS climate change? Explore the links to learn more. A lot more.
Greenhouse gasses are a natural part of our planetary system. But humans are dumping 152 million tons of global warming pollution into our atmosphere every year–enough to destabilize climate and planetary systems. The effect is catastrophic and our time to deal with it is running out.
Keep scrolling for a lot of links. Because climate change impacts everything, there is a lot to learn. Start where you are. Learn a little. Learn a little more. Because the more you know…
climate change courses
This one. Climate Change: the Science and Global Impact. It’s free online through Edx.org, but for a small fee you can earn a certificate. It is taught by Michael Mann Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University. It’s a big step in terms of jumping in, so if you are not quite ready keep scrolling for other options. There are also other climate change courses available at Edx.org
Experts on Video
Global Weirding by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. Her blog and youtube channel are absolutely chock full of information, delivered in a digestible way. Among her many videos, this answers a question that comes up a lot, what is the difference between climate and weather? Also, check out her TED talk, Let’s Talk About It.
TedTALKs have for decades now been leading the conversation on the human conversation and especially the human imperatives. They have curated a section on Climate Change, but what may frustrate you is how long we have been having this conversation with so little headway! Climate Reality Project founder Al Gore has offered three TED talks, most recently June 2020. The appear here in order of most current. This final of the three, from 2008, seems already a lifetime ago. The information in the 2008 talk is dated, but still relevant.
Trusted Institutions & Reports
The Big Reports are the IPCC, NA4, COP26, SOCCR2, and, for Oregon, the OCCRI reports. These are the gold standard for statistics and analysis. Especially look to the NA4 and Oregon OCCRI, those are very accessible. Ideally, people and governments use the information gathered into these reports to make informed international commitments to keep our earth habitable, such as the Paris Agreement.
The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a production of global researchers and scientists working with the United Nations. The document is broken into many reports, you can find the list on the reports page.
To highlight just a few of the reports, see this list:
- Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate which include sections on:
- Climate change on Land, which includes a section on:
The NA4, The Fourth National Climate Assessment focuses on the United States. This report was completed in 2018, with the Climate Science Special Report completed in 2017. These comprehensive assessments are also made up of reports. The Climate Science Special Report is very science-y but awesome. If you are up to it, dig in! The 2017 reports are all listed here. The 2018 Climate Assessment reports are also comprehensive but easier to read through. You have to access them using the dropdown menu on the top bar, ‘chapters.’
Find reports including these:
COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference/Summit that brings leaders from around the world together to address climate Change. While this isn’t a report per se, the conference generates a tremendous amount of material. More than you can sift through. Some links:
SOCCR2, the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report, which is produced by an interagency working group incorporating North American experts in the US, Mexico, and Canada. This is again a more science-y document, so prepare when you read through it. To access specific topics, look to the dropdown menu from the Chapters tab on the top menu bar.
Some sample report chapters from this report:
- Observations of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Methane.
- Future of the North American Carbon Cycle, including subsections on:
- Energy Systems.
What is the Carbon Cycle? Check out this video from the World Meteorological Organization. There is a lot more chemistry to learn if you are inclined.
OCCRI, the Fourth Oregon Climate Assessment Report from the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, published in 2019. Most of what is included is the 2018 NA4 report for the Northwest. But there is also a preceding chapter with basic summaries for Oregon. (Here’s the full report PDF.)
The Paris Agreement. From the tremendous energy of governments, policy makers, economists, and scientists world wide has come a agreement of the highest imperative–literally a road map to how to stabilize the climate and give future (and living) generations a chance. The Paris Agreement must be ratified THIS YEAR and is a big push for The Climate Reality Project and many other climate concerned people and organizations. So far 189 out of 197 parties have ratified the agreement. Learn more about the Paris Agreement.
Listen to this TED talk by Tom Rivett-Carnac, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement with Christiana Figueres. They are also co-authors of The Future We Choose, and have a podcast, Global Optimism.
The US became a signatory to the agreement by Executive Order under President Obama. The Trump Administration is now in the process of withdrawing US support.
Former Vice President Al Gore released a statement and tweeted encouragement to those who are committed the Paris Agreement as a vital step toward a livable planet.
Important! Register to vote. Your voice is important in the global efforts agreed to in The Paris Agreement, and more.
news and blog sites
There are a lot of excellent resources out there from media and institutions addressing climate change. These are but a very few:
National Geographic (paywall), The Guardian, New York Times (paywall), NOAA Climate, Union of Concerned Scientists Climate Impacts and Climate Science and a 2019 Oregon Climate Factsheet (pdf), DeSmog, Yale Climate Communications, Oregon Public Broadcasting on climate change, US Forest service on Climate Change, and so many more.