Friday, March 25, 2011, 7 pm
Trekking in Nepal
St. Johnsbury Shambhala Center
17 Eastern Avenue
St. Johnsbury, Vermont
For more information call Caroline DeMaio at (802)748-4240
Suggested donation: $10
All Proceeds to benefit Community Action Nepal,
a charity founded by the British Mountaineer Doug Scott

Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Panel discussion on Censorship of Science
at the
Global Forum on Freedom of Expression
Oslo, Norway

Monday, March 2, 2009, 4-5 PM
Interview on Stand UP! with Pete Dominick
P.O.T.U.S. SIRIUS 110 / XM 130

Saturday, October 4, 2008, 8:00 PM
Censoring Science on Book TV (C-SPAN2)
This show streams on the Web, here.
It was edited from talks given by Mark Bowen and Jim Hansen
in Lexington, Massachusetts on June 1, 2008 in an event sponsored by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition

Friday, July 18, 2008
Panel discussion on Restructuring U.S. Science Policy
at the annual meeting of the progressive blogging community:
Netroots Nation (formerly YearlyKos), Austin, Texas

June 1, 2008
Talks by and discussion with Jim Hansen and Mark Bowen
Sponsored by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition
Cary Hall, Lexington, Massachusetts
(Daily Kos features a wonderful diary about this event by a “Kossack” who attended. It was also covered by New England Cable News, LGWAC has produced a video of the event, and it has been broadcast on C-SPAN’s Book TV.)

May 22, 2008
Interview on Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview (podcast)

April 29, 2008
“Climate Change from the Mountains to the Sea”
Talk in connection with Earth Day
Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania

March 22, 2008
Talk: “Climate Change from the Mountains to the Sea”
American Alpine Club, New England Section, Annual Dinner, Weston, MA

March 21, 2008
Interview with Jim Hansen and Mark Bowen
Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez

March 11, 2008
Book reading: Censoring Science
Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

February 17, 2008
Censoring Science, talk and book signing
Annual meeting of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, Boston, MA

February 15, 2008
Interviewed along with Jim Hansen on Nature magazine’s Climate Podcast

February 2, 2008
Interviewed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Ring of Fire (audio or video)

 January 27, 2008
Interview on The John Batchelor Show, KFI-AM, Los Angeles

 January 26, 2008
Interview on Left Jab, XM Satellite Radio, Channel 167 (Air America)

January 14, 2008
Interview on the Michelangelo Signorile Show
Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 109 (OutQ)

January 13, 2008
Interview on The John Batchelor Show
WABC Radio, New York City

January 10, 2008
Talk: “Responsible Climate Science Reporting”
19th Annual Weather Summit: Understanding & Communicating Climate Change More Effectively
Steamboat Springs, CO

January 8, 2008
Interviewed along with Jim Hansen
Fresh Air with Terry Gross, National Public Radio

Continue reading »

I’ve been meaning for a while to mention how impressed I am with the new climate science reporter at the New York Times, Justin Gillis. Now, I can’t put it off any longer, since he’s just written a profile of Lonnie Thompson, the protagonist in my first book. Justin did an excellent job, considering how difficult it is to fit as rich a life as Lonnie’s into 3,000 words. He hit just the right tones in his brief encapsulations of the various incidents and scientific matters. I was lucky to have more room when I wrote my book. (Some might argue too much!)

I first noticed a sea-change in the climate science reporting at the Times about two years ago in Justin’s first in-depth piece on climate, a story about the connection between the chaotic weather we’ve been experiencing for the past few years and global warming. The story was wonderfully clear, and reflected current scientific knowledge and uncertainty quite accurately, in my opinion. Justin took a rational approach. He went to the best scientists, used his own intelligence to understand the data and the crux of the matter, and reported his findings simply and straightforwardly. The previous reporter on this beat at the Times (I’m afraid that would be Andy Revkin) had approached the subject as if it were a political issue and he was an investigative reporter. He wasn’t particularly interested in getting to the bottom of scientific issues himself. Instead, he would go out of his way to get the “other side” of the story, which meant that he treated people with little scientific expertise, a history of intellectual dishonesty, or some very obvious bias–propagandists basically–as if they were experts on a par with the world’s leading scientists. As a result, as insightful as his articles could sometimes be, they were generally garbled and delivered mixed and misleading messages. I saw this as a sort of intellectual laziness and shirking of responsibility. Not so with Justin. I know how hard he worked on the Lonnie profile, for example, because he talked with me about it, off and on, for about six months.

I recommend all of Justin’s pieces, and especially his profile of Charles David Keeling. You can find most of them here and here.

And, Justin, please keep up the good work. We need it. It’s helpful.

Somehow I can’t seem to leave global warming behind …

Ed Douglas is a fine writer and an avid climber, whom I once met over dinner at a friend’s house in England. We had a memorable conversation, to which he refers in an opinion piece that was published yesterday in the Guardian (UK). I fully agree with Ed’s call for climbers to bear witness to the catastrophic effects of global warming in our beloved mountains. We must also work to debunk the myth being propogated by global warming deniers that anecdotal evidence–i.e., facts that are so obvious that they slap you in the face, such as the present wasting away of the world’s mountain glaciers–is somehow unscientfic and therefore easily ignored.

There is nothing magical about science; it is simply observation of the physical world, coupled with deduction and insight. What is magical thinking is the way some people–both of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for U.S. President, for example–continue to deny the unassailable evidence for human-induced climate change (links here and here).

Climbers are perfectly placed to make accurate observations of the mountain world. Who better to ask about changes in that world than those whose very lives depend on their ability to observe it?

You will find blog posts related to Ed’s opinion piece here, and here. (The latter is a complete draft of the 2001 article that I wrote for Climbing, which was the subject of an absurd controversy that was manufactured by the denial lobby at the beginning of last year.)

I recommend Ed’s biography of Tenzing Norgay, as well as his most well-known book, Chomolungma Sings The Blues.

As the sparseness of this blog indicates, I’ve been watching the climate policy debate from a distance, lately. (There is no debate about the science.) But I was dragged into it over the weekend by a shoddy bit of reporting in the Sunday Telegraph (UK) — which reminds me yet again why it’s probably best to maintain my silence.

Late last week I received an e-mail from a young man named Richard Gray, who was seeking information about an article I wrote for Climbing magazine a long time ago, in 2001. Innocently, I responded. At his request, I sent him a copy of the text and a minor correction that appeared in the subsequent issue of the magazine (see the previous post on this blog) and agreed to an interview by phone.

Mr. Gray is a “science correspondent” for his newspaper. Unfortunately, the article he proceeded to write, “UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article,” indicates that he failed to understand a simple table in a report by this UN panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. One would prefer to believe that he doesn’t understand the science, but it appears to be something more basic than that: he seems to have difficulty with simple reading comprehension — unless, of course, his true purpose was to misrepresent the report. Furthermore, he manufactured a quote for his article that supposedly came from my mouth. I’m afraid that it did not.

And now his article is creating a stir in both the blogosphere and the more traditional news media. Stories are cropping up in India and New Zealand. Rajendra Pachauri, the Chairman of the IPCC, is being asked questions about it. Even I am getting requests for my point of view (“POV” in journalist jargon). One news outlet is proposing to drive for five hours to interview me in front of a camera.

… But wait a minute. There is no actual story here. Mr. Gray made it up. These Johnny-come-latelys are writing a story about his story, and they haven’t bothered to check on its veracity. Now, any comment about his story is simply a POV, and all POVs are equal. (“[A]n effort should be made to broadcast the different points-of-view in any debate/development,” one journalist assures me.) The next round will bring stories about their stories about his story and produce yet more POVs even farther removed from the facts. Does it matter if a POV is based on false reasoning or conscious ideological blindness? Apparently not. And what if the trigger for the entire fantasy was based on the same?

Thus do global warming deniers dupe the media, and this is why they will always have an upper hand in the fictional “global warming debate.” It’s not a debate; it’s a public relations war. Continue reading »

This article appeared in Climbing, No. 208, on December 15, 2001. The magazine did a great job producing it; there were some excellent photos. I recommend getting a hold of a copy if you can … or maybe they’ll post it on their site … ?

I am posting it now because it is playing a role in an odd little tempest in a teapot that was initiated by the Telegraph in England on Sunday. I hope to post another entry about that episode shortly.

I’m still quite happy with the article, even though I wrote it a long time ago. Obviously, the political situation has changed. The science still holds up pretty well, although I do point out a few minor errors below.

Canaries in a Coal Mine

As the Earth warms, its mountain glaciers are disappearing. How will climbers-and life-be affected?

By Mark Bowen

Topher Donahue, 29, has been climbing and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park since his childhood. He remembers that Mills Glacier, at the base of the east face of Longs Peak, used to be covered in soft white snow year-round. Now, it reverts to hard gray ice every August.

Last September, he and some friends walked in to climb the short ice flows that form near the base of the east face. The climbs were in, but the glacier had changed significantly.

“We walked to the base of the wall without stepping on ice once,” he says. “It used to be that you walked for the last quarter-mile on ice.”

Other formerly permanent snowfields, near Jim’s Grove on the trail to Longs, and on the hills above Trail Ridge Road, now disappear completely for a few weeks every summer.

Gerry Roach of Boulder, Colorado, has climbed El Pico de Orizaba, the highest of Mexico’s three big volcanoes, once in each of the last five decades. In the 1950s and 1960s, he recalls, Orizaba’s south side was covered with soft, sun-cupped snow. Now, you can climb to the summit without stepping on snow once. He says the loss of ice is “dramatic” on all three volcanoes, and says he almost cried 10 years ago when he saw how fast it was going on Iztaccíhuatl, the third highest. “I probably won’t go back to that mountain again, it was such a mess. Everything was dripping. I don’t know whether we’ll live to see [the snow’s] complete disappearance, but it will be mostly gone in our lifetime. That’s sad, because volcanoes look prettier with a snowcap on them.”

In 1970, when Roach first climbed Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador, he followed the route Edward Whymper had used in 1880 on the first ascent. By the time he returned in 1981, however, the snowfields below the prominent “red wall” had retreated to reveal what he calls “a very nasty rock slope” of slabs covered with loose rock. Thus, on about the 100th anniversary of Whymper’s ascent, his route fell out of favor, not only because of the rock slope but also the seracs and crevasses that had opened up on the shriveling glacier above. The hut was moved west to give better access to the Direct Route. Since then, even that route has changed: You used to walk straight up the tongue of the Thielmann Glacier, but it, too, has retreated, and its margin has steepened. Climbers are forced along its edge, with the Scylla of rock cliffs on one side and the Charybdis of hanging seracs on the other. The approach has been changed twice in the last year-and-a-half. Both new lines are more dangerous than the original. Continue reading »

Surprisingly,  since the book was originally published in 2005, Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate has selected Thin Ice as one of the more interesting books to have crossed his desk in 2007. Gratifying as well, since it indicates that the book remains relevant to a team of people who truly understand climate science and the global warming issue.

Gavin alludes to the important role that Jim Hansen plays in Thin Ice. In fact, outside of the folks in Lonnie Thompson’s group, Jim is probably the most important scientist in that story: while Lonnie and his gang were going into the high mountains to retrieve some of the most convincing evidence there is that the Earth is getting warmer, Jim was explaining why. This sparked my interest and was part of the reason I approached him in early 2006 to ask if he would like to collaborate on the book that eventually became Censoring Science.

——————

RealClimate.org

21 December 2007

Books ’07

Filed under: Communicating Climate Climate Science- gavin @ 1:33 AM

We have a minor tradition of doing a climate-related book review in the lead up to the holidays and this year shouldn’t be an exception. So here is a round-up of a number of new books that have crossed our desks, some of which might be interesting to readers here. …

“Thin Ice” by Mark Bowen gets a big thumbs up as well. It is more or less a biography of Lonnie Thompson, but as I said in my review in BAMS, it is by no means limited to Thompson’s work. Much of the book focuses on various important figures in the history of the science of climate: Arrhenius, Tyndall, and Keeling among them. And while paleoclimatology takes the main stage, one could read this book alone for a very clear lay-persons understanding of the physics of the greenhouse effect, or for insight into the mind of the brilliant and provocative James Hansen, or the story or Roger Revelle and David Keeling’s measurements of carbon dioxide concentrations. It is notable that Bowen has a PhD from MIT, so is no newcomer to science. …

Happy holidays!

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