A study out this week attempts to probe why attitudes on climate risks by some segments of the public don’t track the science all that well. Along the way, it basically debunks one simplistic assumption: that climate skeptics, for want of a better term, just don’t understand the data — or perhaps even science. “I think this is sort of a weird, exceptional situation,” says decision scientist Dan Kahan of the Yale Law School, who led the new study. “Most science issues aren’t like this.”
But a view is emerging, some scientists argue, that people tend to be unusually judgmental of facts or interpretations in science fields that threaten the status quo — or the prevailing attitudes of their cultural group, however that might be defined. And climate science is a poster child for these fields.
Found in: Behavior, Climate Change, Environment, Psychology and Science & Society
The news on white-nose syndrome just keeps spiraling downward. The fungal infection, which first emerged six years ago, has now been confirmed in a seventh species of North American bats — the largely cave-dwelling grays (Myotis grisecens). The latest victims were struck while hibernating this past winter in two Tennessee counties.
Found in: Ecology, Environment, Science & Society and Zoology
Cultural values are more important than science knowledge in shaping a person’s views on global warming.
Found in: Earth, Environment and Science & Society
There has been a lot of research, recently, showing how global change — especially warming — can alter the habitat and preferred range of marine and terrestrial species. But rising levels of greenhouse gases can also, directly, do a number on agricultural ecosystems, a new study shows. At least for U.S.-grown rice, rising carbon dioxide levels give a preferential reproductive advantage to the weedy natural form — known colloquially as red rice (for the color of its seed coat).
Found in: Agriculture, Biology, Botany, Climate Change, Environment, Food Science, Nutrition and Science & Society
Two new studies flag an underreported factor in global ocean change.
Found in: Earth and Environment
Little kids are meant to get big. Just not too quickly. When overfeeding spurs the girth of young children, youngsters find themselves propelled down the road towards diabetes and heart disease, a new study finds. In just the past decade, for instance, the share of kids with diabetes or pre-diabetes skyrocketed from 9 percent to a whopping 23 percent.
Found in: Biomedicine, Body & Brain, Nutrition and Science & Society
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced May 16 that it would no longer designate any particular blood-lead value in children as representing a “level of concern.” Its justification: There is no threshold below which lead exposures are not a concern.
Found in: Body & Brain, Environment and Science & Society
In some places over the next century, projected warming threatens the survival of more than one in three species.
Found in: Earth, Ecology, Environment and Life
Source of climate-warming gas remains uncertain, but might be microbes. (p. 9)
Found in: Earth and Environment
Even as global temperatures have been climbing throughout much of the past century, atypical warm and cool spells have seesawed regionally around the planet. March 2012 exemplified such exaggerated trends. Although the month set some 15,000 daily warming records in the United States, globally this past March was the coolest since 1999. The National Climatic Data Center reported these trend data April 16.