Since many of the environmental issues of the day are likely to be affected by climate change, this site offers selected resources to help you inform yourself about Earth's current condition. The resources listed below are offered by Dr. Ellen Mosley-Thompson, a climatologist at Ohio State, when she gives presentations to the public.
She wrote: "The following information is provided for those who wish to learn more about this issue [climate change]. These materials are organized from the most basic information to more complex issues. Included are a number of the international and national assessments that represent the general scientific consensus on specific topics. It is important to remember that scientists are naturally skeptical and constantly test and retest their hypotheses as more observations are obtained and as knowledge advances. Climate science, like all the sciences, builds on current knowledge to generate deeper and broader understanding."
Ellen also explains some terms that are frequently used, as a helpful starting point:
"Below are some websites where you can explore the fundamentals of the role of greenhouse gases in maintaining Earth's energy balance, and the role of additional greenhouse gases that result in an enhanced warming." The latter is greater than the natural greenhouse effect (GHE) and is "...called the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is often cited as a mechanism contributing to 'global warming'. Global warming is a catch-all term that really means the globally-averaged surface temperature (GAST) of Earth has warmed. The best estimate is that the GAST has increased about 0.75 degrees C. since 1900."
1) National Academy of Sciences: Understanding and Responding to Climate Change (http://dels.nas.edu/dels/rept_briefs/climate_change_2008_final.pdf)
3) More proactive, but still well positioned within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 (Fourth Assessment Report), is the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which also has a primer on climate change. (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/).
4) Once you understand the basics of the natural and enhanced GHE and some basic climatology, you might review the most authoritative documents on the issue of global climate change that are regularly produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). You might wish to start with the Summary for Policy Makers for each of the 3 Working Groups (WG). WG1 provided "The Physical Science Basis"; WG2 offered an assessment of the "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability"; and WG3 offered their evaluation of the "Mitigation of Climate Change".
5) The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has been combined with the President's Climate Change Science Initiative and is now called the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) (http://www.climatescience.gov/). The U.S. Climate Change Science Initiative also includes the Climate Change Technology Program (http://www.climatetechnology.gov/)
6) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) "State of the Climate: Global Analysis, June 2010"
7) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Climate Change" site
8) NASA's "Global Climate Change: NASA's Eyes on the Earth" has just been updated.
9) Andy Revkin's blog, Dot Earth. He presents the science in understandable terms, and references his points in the text.
10) Global Change Impacts in the United States from the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)
The New Scientist published an article by Michael Le Page entitled: "Climate change: A guide for the perplexed" (May 16, 2007) that reviews 26 of the most common myths and misconceptions about climate change.
An excellent overview of energy ("What you need to know about energy") is available as a free download from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Also available is a Worldwatch Institute document entitled, "American Energy: A renewable path to energy security".
Scientific peer-reviewed resources
Science Magazine now makes papers over one year old publicly available.
Recommended Books (in no particular order)
1) The Discovery of Global Warming, by Spencer Weart
2) The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate, 2nd edition (2010) by Andrew E. Dessler and Edward A. Parson
3) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005) by Jared Diamond
4) With Speed and Violence (2007) by Fred Pearce
5) Global Warming: Understanding the forecast (2008) by David Archer
6) World Without Ice (2009) by Henry Pollack
7) Two Billion Cars: Driving toward sustainability, by Daniel Sperling (UC Davis professor) (2009). (Listen to the story on NPR's "Fresh Air", too.)
8) Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why we need a green revolution-and how it can renew America (2008) by Thomas Friedman