Climate change has been all over the news lately. Climate scientists, concerned that governments globally are either not doing enough to lower fossil fuel emissions and stop the warming trend, or are completely ignoring the urgent message and allowing emissions to continue to climb to dangerous levels, released a stern warning last week that the world needs to either embrace strong measures to lower emissions, or watch the world plunge into regular extreme weather events, rising sea levels and soaring summer temperatures.
Apart from reading headlines or brief articles in news media from all over the world, where can you turn for more in-depth information? Or, if you want to learn more about the human consequences of climate change, where can you turn online to find reliable sources?
Here’s a list of seven popular and informative sites that offer the latest scientific research on climate change:
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) is the main US federal agency responsible for climate research. The Global Climate Change website provides accurate and up-to-date news and information about the Earth’s climate and how it is changing.
Down Side: Given the current US GOP administration’s resistance to the science of climate change, the information can sometimes be toned down.
Up Side: The site provides a lot of visualised date, in the form of charts and graphs, making the science easier to understand. In addition, the NASA team puts together short videos explaining challenges and solutions involved with the complex subject of climate change. The visuals and photos clearly help to show the extend of the problem.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an international group, set up in 1988, by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to offer an impartial platform to assess the science behind climate change, how it will impact the planet now and into the future, and offer options for how countries can adapt to climate change and reduce the effects.
This means that all levels of government have access to information to determine climate-related policies and actions. The IPCC remains neutral; while the panel gives information on future climate effects, risks and possible responses, it does not directly advise governments on how they should act.
IPCC assessments and reports are written, edited and reviewed by hundreds of leading scientific experts who volunteer their time, so there is no possible financial conflict of interest.
The Down Side: Reports are technical and can make for heavy reading.
The Up Side: All the cutting edge science and research is here.
Inside Climate News
Inside Climate News is a non-profit, non-partisan news site dedicated to covering climate change, energy issues and the environment. The site regularly wins major journalism, investigative and environmental awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
The Down Side: None, just great science writing and articles are free to read.
The Up Side: The website is easy to navigate and search for specific topics, writing is standard journalistic style.
Science News Magazine
Science News is another venerable general science magazine, dedicated to widening scientific literacy in the general public. The magazine is produced by the Society for Science & The Public, a non-profit educational foundation whose goal is to further the understanding and appreciation of science in the general population. The Society offers science news on a broad range of topics, as well as a school science magazine for students to promote STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) learning.
Down Side: Articles tend to be shorter, with less depth.
Up Side: You can read their articles for free. If you want to support the cost of producing scientific journalism, Science News is a bargain at $25 per year for a digital subscription.
New Scientist Magazine
New Scientist is the world’s most popular science and technology magazine. Founded in 1956, the magazine is now published weekly and available in a digital version for reading on mobile devices. The editorial staff describes the magazine as being ‘informative, thought-provoking, scrupulously researched … and entertaining pieces of journalism.’
The Down Side: You will only be able to read full articles if you subscribe; otherwise, you’re limited to a synopsis and a few opening paragraphs.
The Up Side: Subscriptions cost $2 per week, and by subscribing, you have access to the magazine’s full range of articles on a wide range of scientific topics.
Comprehending the Climate Crisis
Bradley Dibble, M.D. is a Canadian cardiologist who was appointed to Canada’s Sustainable Development Advisory Council. After receiving training on environmental issues from environmental activist, Al Gore, Dibble now gives talks on the subject of climate change for Climate Reality Canada. He has written an award-winning book with the same title as his popular blog. Both book and blog are easy-to-read and comprehensive, explaining both the science behind, and the range of issues surrounding, climate change. Dibble focuses on practical solutions.
The Up Side: easy to understand language, complex issues clearly explained, a range of solutions discussed.
The Down Side: You really need to buy his book for a solid overview, but you can find online at Better World Books or Abe Books for about $7, including shipping.
Grist is a popular site established back in 1999. The site is an independent news outlet that offers up stories on climate, sustainability and social justice. Their newsroom focuses on stories that don’t get much coverage elsewhere, or in much depth, such as sustainable food, liveable cities, environmental justice and alternate economies. On an upbeat note, the site features the most promising green innovators and sustainability influencers in an annual feature called Grist 50. Grist’s motto is ‘don’t freak out, figure it out.’
Up Side: Grist really humanizes the sometimes-overwhelming news about climate change, with profiles of real people, and makes hard science and data approachable with great stories like, The Fizzy Math of Carbon Capture, A Mushroom Vaccine Could Save the Honey Bees or Who is the We in ‘We are Causing Climate Change’?
Down Side: This is the most fun, informative, optimistic site on the whole list. You may get lost in the broad array of topics they offer and spend a lot of time reading.
So, if you have any questions about climate change, or just want to understand the subject in more depth, these sites are great starting points. All you need is the internet and curiosity.
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