“Greenhouse gases” and “the greenhouse effect” are terms used to describe some of the most basic concepts related to global warming. If students learn anything about climate change, they usually learn about these first. This is good in some ways, because these are the fundamental concepts in scientific explanations of how climate change works and why the earth is warming. But the specific metaphor here, comparing the Earth to a greenhouse with carbon dioxide and water vapor cast in the roles of panes of glass, has been criticized on the grounds that it may engender a misunderstanding of the science.

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“Climate change is a children’s issue!”

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When I was in college—way back when Veruca Salt was wildly popular and you surfed the “World Wide Web” using Netscape—I saw a presentation in my environmental science class on e-books. What were the environmental benefits of e-books? Would they save paper? Be more economical?

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The Sixth Extinction coverA year ago, I had a chance to interview New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert about her book

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