Climate 101

  by  |  March 19th, 2009  |  Published in All, Blog


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Are you interested in learning about climate change but at a loss for where to start? Are you concerned about global warming but confused by conflicting opinions that often seem highly politicized?

A group of government agencies has just released "an easily readable document" consisting of the things you need to know in order to be literate about the science of climate change. It’s a 17-page booklet, not at all dense or hard to read, and can go a long way toward helping people make informed decisions in their lives.

Some will be sure to attack this booklet as political propaganda from the Obama administration. But it is a science document that has been in the works for two and a half years, meaning it started well before President Bush left office. Still, the Bush White House did not play a role in the document either, according to Frank Nielpold, Climate Education Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which spearheaded the project.

In fact, Neipold said the need to improve education and literacy was so great there was not even any room for discussion about how "political" the document might become.

"It was not a conscious decision [to keep politics out of the document]," he said. "This effort will be needed for decades. We will need to work across numerous administrations to improve the nation’s climate literacy."

Neipold says it was simply an idea NOAA had and subsequently brought to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Project 2061, a long-term initiative to advance literacy in science, mathematics, and technology.

From NOAA’s involvement with AAAS, the project grew even more, and the complete list of agencies contributing to this relatively small booklet also includes:

• Department of Agriculture
• Department of Commerce
• Department of Defense
• Department of Energy
• Department of Health and Human Services
• Department of the Interior
• Department of State
• Department of Transportation
• Environmental Protection Agency
• National Aeronautics and Space Administration
• National Science Foundation
• Smithsonian Institution
• U.S. Agency for International Development

The booklet can be downloaded from the NOAA website in either high-resolution or low-resolution.

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