Where do you learn about Climate Science? CAT’s ZCB team share their top 10 Climate Science Blogs

There are a lot of blogs out there – Here are 10 favourites selected by CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research team, plus a video from TED looking at The Science Behind a Climate Headline

realclimate1“As long as you read reliable ones, you can get a much better picture about climate science from blogs than you can from the media…From blogs written by climate scientists you can also get a window onto the social world in which the science is conducted -which is important because a lot of scepticism stems from having the wrong impression about what the science and the people who write it are like”.
Josie Wexler from CAT ZCB team.

Recommended Blogs:

RealClimate: Is a commentary site on climate science ‘by working climate scientists for the public and journalists’.

Stoat: (William Connolley) Is an ex-climate modeller who specialised in Antarctica.

Skeptical Science: ‘Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism’ aims to explain what peer reviewed science has to say, and is now also an iphone app!

James’s Empty Blog: (James Annan) A scientist involved in climate prediction, living in Japan.

Open Mind: (“Tamino”) Is a bit more technical with lots of stats.

More Grumbine Science: (Robert Grumbine) Aims ‘to be inclusive of students…as well as teachers and parents’.

Deltoid: (Tim Lambert) A computer scientist living in Australia, blogs about ‘areas of science with political implications such as global warming’ -amongst other things.

Rabett Run: (Eli Rabett) ‘is a not quite failed professorial techno-bunny…’

Only in it for the Gold: (Michael Tobias) Is a Research Scientist Associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Austin.

Climate Science Watch: Is a ‘not-for-profit public interest education and advocacy project dedicated to holding public officials accountable for the integrity and effectiveness with which they use climate science and related research in government policymaking’.

And a favourite:

Denial Depot: Who ‘are not afraid to be called climate “deniers”’ -this one is a bit different!

Also check out this short video with Atmospheric Chemist Rachel Pike explaining how much work goes into making a climate headline in the media:

If you have any favourite climate science blogs to share – we’d love to see them via our blog comments.

We catch up with Rennie, CAT’s nature expert as he reports last weeks sightings around CAT

cmshrew1By Rennie Telford

1 March

Following on from last Friday’s Naycher Korner, my candidate for Britain’s most ferocious predator is the shrew — more specifically, the common shrew (we have 5 species). These diminutive (3 inches long) but belligerent creatures live in nature’s fast lane and spend most of their short lives (they live for about a year) hunting, eating and fighting. They even have to sleep in short snatches, as if they go without food for more than about 3 hours, they will starve to death. Their diet consists of earthworms, woodlice, caterpillars and just about any insect they can catch during a ceaseless search for food. They are solitary, extremely territorial animals and if two rivals meet, they hurl themselves at each other with unmitigated fury, emitting what they probably consider to be ferocious and bloodcurdling roars, but which sound to us like high pitched squeaks. In fact this sound is usually the only indication of their presence you will get, unless you spend a lot of time skulking around the bushes on your hands and knees  –(I don’t do that any more, since the incident in the park — my case comes up next week).

Oh yes– and their saliva is poisonous – if one bites you it leaves a burning sensation and believe me, they will bite when handled. What I love about shrews is that they don’t seem to realize that they are small and to see one determinedly hauling an earthworm much longer than itself out of the ground or defiantly chewing your thumb are sights to behold. They are one of our commonest mammals so there are bound to be plenty around the Quarry — You have been warned!

2 March

tree-creeper1Another interesting little bird to keep an eye out for around the site is the Treecreeper. This has been spotted by several people although I’m a bit miffed because I haven’t seen it myself yet. This time of year is a good time to catch a glimpse of this unobtrusive bird as it does what its name implies and creeps up the bark of the trees searching for insects which it digs out with its slender bill. It spirals around the trunk always going upwards and then flies off to the base of another tree to repeat the process. I have made a V shaped nest box which I think Biology have put up somewhere to try and encourage it to nest — being almost exclusively insectivorous severe winters take their toll so it needs all the help it can get.

Some of the older bird books will tell you that it can easily be confused with a mouse as it climbs around the tree, but after years of observation I have noticed some subtle differences. Mice tend to have four legs, fur and a long tail, but the Treecreeper on the other hand. You pick up these little aids to identification as you go along.

3 March

messent-rooksYou all probably have your own sight or sound that is a sign that spring is on the way — the first daffodils,  newborn lambs etc. — but for me the real harbinger of  spring is the raucus noise of a flock of rooks beginning their annual repairs and renovations of their rookery nests. I was watching the rooks down by the railway station in town the other night while waiting for the train — they were returning to their roost for the night –and were arguing and jostling each other for the prime positions. They are intensely gregarious birds– I hesitate to use the word sociable as they seem to be constantly bickering with each other. Here at the quarry we get predominantly crows rather than rooks –the old rule of thumb is; if you see a rook on its own it’s a crow and if you see lots of crows together they are rooks — a bit of a generalisation but more or less true. Adult rooks have a bald patch at the base of their bills and also have a more ‘ baggy trousered ” appearance to the feathers at the top of their legs. If you get a chance it is well worth spending a few minutes watching  a flock of rooks –there is something almost human like in their interaction with each other —  squabbling, playing –exercising their dominance but  at heart  enjoying the company of each other. It reminds me of somewhere, I just can’t place it?

5 March

willow-warblerIt’s around time for the annual invasion of the warblers. These unremarkable looking little birds are in fact extremely remarkable   — they are the first of the summer migrants to arrive and thousands of them are at present battling the elements on their, perhaps two thousand mile journey to Britain. The first to arrive is usually the onomatopoeically named Chiff Chaff– In fact some may already have arrived although I haven’t heard one yet myself. This little greeny -brown bird is the Seasick Steve of the bird world — it only knows two notes and it repeats them over and over — but it’s another welcome sign of spring. Listen out for it, especially over by the north drive or in any mature deciduous woodland. In a couple of weeks time the other warblers will start to appear, the most common one being the Willow Warbler (Telor yr Helyg in Welsh). This is practically identical in appearance to the Chiff Chaff but has a beautiful melodious song. Another more uncommon one often found in Wales is the Wood Warbler, again extremely difficult to identify by sight (at least to me) but with a subtly different song.

In fact all the warblers look much the same and can be incredibly difficult to differentiate between. After spending a couple of hours with a rather nerdy friend, who was pointing out at great length the subtle difference between (I think) a Grasshopper Warbler and a Cetti’s Warbler (something about the colour of their legs I seem to recall) I have now given up and just enjoy them as little brown jobs that sing beautifully. I’ll never make a twitcher.

CAT examines Gender and Climate Change on International Women’s Day

iwdblogTo celebrate the 99th anniversary of International Women’s Day CAT looks at why gender is deemed a climate change issue; the stories of women that are inspiring mitigation and adaptation to climate change in their communities; and a brief history of eco-feminism. Follow the links below, and tell us how you spent IWD 2010 in the comments.

Women…In The Shadow of Climate Change – UN Chronicle:

“Climate change is one of the greatest global challenges of the twenty-first century. Its impacts vary among regions, generations, age, classes, income groups, and gender. Based on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is evident that people who are already most vulnerable and marginalized will also experience the greatest impacts…” …continue reading.

Sisters on the Planet – Oxfam:

This is a series of short stories from women around the world who are determined to put a stop to climate change and to inspire others to do the same. You can order a free copy of the full documentary from Oxfam.

The impact of climate change on rural women – UN Radio:

In Copenhagen in December, the Global Gender Coalition Alliance lobbied for all areas of the future climate treaty to reflect the special concerns of women. Follow the link to United Nations Radio and hear why climate change is a gender issue from Angelina Mensah, a member of the coalition and the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana.

Deeds Not Words – Climate Rush:

Climate Rush is a 21st century women’s group inspired by the actions of the Suffragettes 100 years ago, that believes that “government inaction on climate change threatens the future of humanity”. Below is the trailer to their film Deeds Not Words, that follows the groups first direct action in their pursuit of climate justice. Follow this link to watch the full film.

9 inspiring examples of women’s climate activism – Jess Macabe:

Here is a collection of feminist and women’s activism on climate change and environmental issues by The f word.

Tell us how you celebrated International Women’s Day in the blog comments.

Vietnamese farming expert to visit Machynlleth to discuss climate change and rural livelihoods in CAT’s Quarry Cafe

1_village1The Centre for Alternative Technology presents, Earning a Living in a Changing Climate: A Vietnamese Perspective on Climate Change, combined with good food and conversation in a free talk this Thursday at 7.30 in CAT’s Quarry Cafe in Machynlleth.

The guest speaker Nguyen Quang Minh, is Livelihoods Programme Coordinator for Oxfam Great Britain and works with some of the poorest people in Vietnam to help them earn a living.  Minh will talk about the impacts of climate change in Vietnam and some of the practical solutions for communities to adjust to these pressures.

“Though at opposite ends of the world there is actually a lot in common between what Minh does in Vietnam and what the Centre for Alternative Technology does. Machynlleth has an established Oxfam group and so bringing Minh to Mach is a great chance for supporters to hear first hand about the work their support enables.”  Representative from Oxfam Cymru.

Minh will cover issues from food, income, climate change and the gender challenges that Vietnamese communities face through his everyday work and how he is tackling these issues through initiatives such as community based forest management as well as policy and grassroots work to develop long-term livelihoods to help overcome poverty.

Over the next two weeks Minh will be visiting Wales, as part of an ongoing project by Oxfam Cymru to bring the experiences of people working in the developing world to communities in Wales.

Food will be served in the Quarry Cafe from 6.30, in time for the talk at 7.30 followed by a question and answer session. Join us for a stimulating debate over dinner, at the Quarry Café and find out how your support for Oxfam Cymru could help to change the lives of others across the world.

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PHOTOS: construction site tour of the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education

On Friday Phil Horton the project manager of our biggest building project took some of the CAT staff on a tour of the construction site. The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education is the biggest project we’ve ever undertaken. Phil showed us many of the sustainability features of the building including the hemp lime render and rammed earth walls in the lecture theatre.

Here are some of the photos from the tour

Blog of the week: this week we’ve been reading (and talking about) climateethics.org

by Alex Randall

Climate Ethics takes a rather different slant to the numerous other climate change and environment blogs.

climateethics

News and commentary on the latestest climate change events is relativly easy to find in the climate blogoshphere. Climate Ethics has a different aproach. Rather than looking and analysing the science or policy behind the headlines they take a look at the ethics. While other blogs and news outlets might use a science, policy or a particular political outlook to examine climate change, climateethics.org keeps it’s commentary firmly grounded in ethics. We can’t promise you that you’ll agree with everything they write. The nature of ethics is that its open to question and debate. But if you’re looking for a new slant then we highly recommend reading it for a couple of weeks and seeing how you get along.

If you’d like to suggest something for next weeks blog of the week, post a comment.