Ratbag Media ratbagradio at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 17:47:02 MST 2012

Agroup of us, all interested in climate science, put together a list
of the most notable, often, most worrying, climate-related stories of
the year, along with a few links that will allow you to explore the
stories in more detail. We did not try to make this a “top ten” list,
because it is rather silly to fit the news, or the science, or the
stuff the Earth does in a given year into an arbitrary number of
events. (What if we had 12 fingers, and “10” was equal to 6+6? Then
there would always be 12 things, not 10, on everyone’s list. Makes no
sense.) We ended up with 18 items, but note that some of these things
are related to each other in a way that would allow us to lump them or
split them in different ways. See this post by Joe Romm for a more
integrated approach to the year’s events. Also, see what Jeff Masters
did here. We only included one non-climate (but related) item to
illustrate the larger number of social, cultural, and political things
that happened this year. For instance, because of some of the things
on this list, Americans are more likely than they were in previous
years to accept the possibility that science has something to say
about the Earth’s climate and the changes we have experienced or that
may be in the future; journalists are starting to take a new look at
their own misplaced “objective” stance as well. Also, more politicians
are starting to run for office on a pro-science pro-environment
platform than has been the case for quite some time.

A failing of this list is that although non-US based people
contributed, and it is somewhat global in its scope, it is a bit
American based. This is partly because a few of the big stories
happened here this year, but also, because the underlying theme really
is the realisation that climate change is not something of the future,
but rather, something of the present, and key lessons learned in that
important area of study happened in the American West (fires) the
South and Midwest (droughts, crop failures, closing of river ways) and
Northeast (Sandy). But many of the items listed here were indeed
global, such as extreme heat and extreme cold caused by meteorological
changes linked to warming, and of course, drought is widespread.


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