Google Wades Into Global Warming Debate
By John Brandon
Published April 05, 2011
Google is diving headfirst into the climate-change debate with a "21 Club" of hand-picked experts that the search engine giant hopes will drive the conversation -- and guide investments -- in climate change.
But it's a discussion that even the club's members say is meant to be one-sided.
“If Google included people who challenged that debate, they would be wrong to do so,” said Matthew Nisbet, an associate professor for the School of Communication at American University and one of the 21 Google Science Communication Fellows.
“As to whether climate change is happening, humans are a cause and it is a problem -- there is no scientific debate over that," Nisbet told FoxNews.com.
A review of the 21 Club confirms Nisbet's comment. The group includes meteorologists, communication specialists, and even weather forecasters, as well as few scientists who research climate change for a living. None argue that the planet isn't in imminent danger.
Simon Donner, with the University of British Columbia, recently wrote that unless coral reefs learn to adapt, climate change may rapidly bring on their demise. Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University recently concluded that "global warming exacerbates poverty vulnerability in many nations," arguing that the cost of food staples in Bangladesh, Mexico, Indonesia and other countries will jump with the temperature.
"There is consensus amongst scientists that humans are changing the Earth's climate," reads the mission statement on the Helmuth Lab website, headed up by Brian Helmuth of the 21 Club.
From food to rocks to plants to sea life, the 21 Club believes climate change to be a dramatic problem -- one that requires dramatic action.
Eugene Cordero with San Jose University even created the Green Ninja, a climate-action superhero who fights global warming.
“Our goal is to foster an open dialogue and provide the tools,” argued Amy Luers, the senior environment program manager at Google.org, the non-profit funded by Google, speaking to FoxNews.com.
Depending on what the scientists learn, they may develop a system that shows where climate change is occurring on the globe. Or, using technology such as Google Earth, they might map out detailed models showing the effects of climate change.
In other words, some day you might be able to find out that the water near Costa Rica is 1 percentage point warmer since 1980, or that Alaska's glaciers have melted … slightly.
Google's position toward climate change should not come as a surprise; the company has historically shown a penchant for Democratic causes. As FoxNews.com reported last October, Google gives more to Democratic politicians than to Republicans, for example.
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