Saturday, January 20, 2007

''Polar Cities'' in the Year 2121 A.D. - OPED news update September 2012

THIS OPED APPEARED IN THE TAIPEI TIMES on September 4, 2012:

Climate activist Danny Bloom has done it again, penning a hardhitting oped online and in print, but does he get it right, or is it just more hot air from a man who knows not what he is talking about?. Readers can decide for themselves. Do leave your comments below or email bikolang @ gmail DOT com

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2012/09/03/2003541826


Earth has gone past the point of no return

By Danny Bloom , Sept. 3, 2012
 
In two recent commentaries about climate change, Jeffrey Sachs (“Our summer of climate truth,” Aug. 1, page 9) and George Monbiot (“Rich world’s smugness will melt with the ice,” Aug. 31, page 9) emphasized that not only is climate change real and about to turn this planet into a global emergency ward, but if we are not careful, it may be curtains for the human race. Of course, these words, whether written by Sachs, Monbiot or other climate Cassandras, generally fall on deaf ears. Life tomorrow will go on as usual in Taipei, in Washington and in London.
Sachs, who is an adviser to the UN secretary-general on the Millennium Development Goals and professor at Columbia University, pulled no punches in his piece. Monbiot went even further.
However, in my opinion both Sachs and Monbiot are still in denial about the real impact of climate change and global warming on this planet and on the future prospects for humankind.
They talk about “solutions,” as if some magical fix will make everything all right. Sachs speaks as if it is not too late to stop climate change and global warming, and once the world switches to alternative energy sources such as wind, water or solar power, everything will be okay.
It is too late. What we need to do is prepare for any potential climate chaos that might turn Taiwan and the rest of the world toward barbarianism as climate change creates huge migrations to the north of the globe. It will not be a pretty picture. There will be no Taiwan, there will be no lower 48 in the US anymore. All human life will settle in northern regions to endure a punishing, terrible hell on Earth.
Listen, lawmakers, world leaders and policymakers: Nothing will ever be okay again. No more comforting words about how everything will be okay once we find a way out of this mess. What very few people want to acknowledge, even luminaries like Sachs and Monbiot, is that we have already lost the battle.
The human species is at risk of extinction in 30 more generations. Sachs does not want to face this possibility since his well-paid career as an Ivy League economics professor means that he has to keep offering “solutions” and “fixes.”
He cannot understand that while the planet will recover from climate change impacts in the future, the human species has now passed the tipping point and billions will die over the next 500 years as climate chaos engulfs all nations, including Taiwan. Monbiot might understand this, but cannot write such words. It would cost him his job as a columnist for the Guardian.
What humankind is facing is not pretty and very few academics or climate activists want to go there. Their jobs and careers depend on creating hope that we can find solutions to this mess. The sad and tragic fact is that there are no solutions, no fixes, as Monbiot actually hints at but cannot bring himself to say outright. In the near future, perhaps just 100 or 200 years from now, billions of people will head north to Arctic climes, from Russia to Canada to Alaska.
In the southern hemisphere, millions of climate refugees will search for shelter in New Zealand and Tasmania and even Antarctica. Sachs and Monbiot know this but cannot bring themselves to write it out in the public prints because they are in denial. Everyone is in denial.
Planting more trees and recycling chopsticks is not going to do the trick. Humanity is doomed. However, some remnants of civilized people will survive and repopulate the Earth. They will survive in makeshift polar settlements scattered across the northern and extreme southern regions of the planet. What we need is to set up task forces and government commissions worldwide to study and discuss this kind of “adaptation” in a fragile world. Taiwan cannot stick its head in the sand.

Global Warming and "Sustainable Polar Retreats" (SPRs) also called polar cities
SEE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE HERE:
http://pcillu101.blogspot.com/


HOW ON EARTH, new global warming protest song:
http://www.dailymotion.com/songsterhiragana/video/x398cu_global-warming-song-how-on-earth


http://audio.isg.si/audiox/?q=node/13377
HOW ON EARTH: Global Warming Spoken Word Song

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Polar cities are proposed sustainable polar retreats designed to house human beings in the future, in the event that global warming causesthe central and middle regions of the Earth to become uninhabitablefor a long period of time. Although they have not been built yet, some futurists have been giving considerable thought to the concepts involved.High-population-density cities, to be built near the Arctic Rim with sustainable energy and transportation infrastructure, will requiresubstantial nearby agriculture. Boreal soils are largely poor in key nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but nitrogen-fixing plants(such as the various alders) with the proper symbiotic microbes andmycorrhizal fungi can likely remedy such poverty without the need forpetroleum-derived fertilizers. Regional probiotic soil improvementshould perhaps rank high on any polar cities priority list. JamesLovelock's notion of a widely distributed almanac of science knowledge and post-industrial survival skills also appears to have value.


Webposted Worldwide: June 26, 3007 (email the author at danbloom AT gmail DOT com)
The author is an American who resides in Taiwan.

POLAR CITIES WILL NOT LOOK LIKE THIS. BUT TAKE A PEEK:
An old photo and newspaper story from 1959 about Sustainable Polar Retreats :
http://paleo-future.blogspot.com/2007/06/closer-than-we-think-polar-city-1959.html
ENLARGED PHOTO:
http://bp2.blogger.com/_sGYULzoQCgA/Rm3HfGYnwnI/AAAAAAAAAuY/hkc1AHnJjZ4/s1600-h/1959+Jan+25+Chicago+Tribune+CTWT+paleo+future.jpg


[Polar cities should be in active construction within 50 years. These SPR's, sustainable polar retreats, in other words, will function primarily to house potential survivors of catastrophic global warming events in the far distant future, perhaps by the year 2121 or so. ]



You know the story. Climate change is for real. In the future, maybe in 50 years, maybe in 100 years, maybe in 300 years, maybe even not until 1000 more years, but someday, I believe, humankind will need to have sustainable polar retreats --POLAR CITIES -- to house remnants of humankind who might be able to survive the coming big global warming event. Here's a date to think about: 2121 A.D.
I got the idea, of course, from James Lovelock, who has said in several interviews that he believes only a few breeding pairs (of humans) might be able to survive in polar regions. He said that in the Guardian recently. After I read that, I had a eureka moment, as they say, and I envisioned the need to start thinking about, designing, planning and maybe even building, NOW, when we still have time and resources and transportation and fuel, NOW, polar cities and towns in both polar regions.
I realize this is a radical idea. I realize most people won't accept what I am blogging about. That's okay. This is just something to make you think HARD about what we are getting into, with global warming for real and all that. Maybe the radicalness of my idea will be perceived as so far out as to be rejected by most people. However, even if this blog makes people THINK more about what they can do in the global warming fight, then good! For example, we need to get the world population way down, soon, to about one billion people, by 2500. How? We need to stop using cars, ships, coal-burning power plants and airplanes NOW. Well, soon. Who is ready?
So this POLAR CITIES -- Sustainable Polar Retreats -- blog is online for two reasons: one is to actually contribute the idea of real sustainable polar retreats for the future, to house those who might remain, so that someday they can go back to the middle regions and repopulate the Earth. The other reason for this blog is to get people to take global warming seriously and start doing something concrete in their lives about it. Because if a human being in 2007 can even "think" about or ponder the very idea of polar cities to house remnants of humankind, then we are really in deep trouble.
Here are some questions that must be asked: And answered:
1. Who will go to live in these northern and southern Sustainable Polar Retreats?
2. Who will decide who gets to live in them? The UN? Who?
3. Who will design and build these Polar Cities -- Sustainable Polar Retreats -- and where? Sites? Murmansk? Wrangel Island? Resolute? Longyearbyen? Fairbanks? Anchorage? Baffin Island? Greenland?
4. Should they be built now, when we have time and resources and air transport and fuel available, and get them ready for the future when the world MIGHT need them, or should we wait until later, when it might be too late to build things or transport materials?
5. How many people can these polar cities and towns support? 100,000? One million? More?
6. Who will govern and rule these polar cities?
7. Will the rich and powerful people from developed nations be invited in first?
8.Who will plan for food resources, enterainment, TV, radio, newpapers, Internet, money there?




9. How long will the Global Warming Era last? 100 years, 10,000 years, 100,000 years? More?
10. Are we in big trouble, caused mostly by our own hands on the CO2 spigot all these years? What can we do to solve the problem?
11. How to repopulate the temperate and tropical regions of the Earth once an hospitable climate comes BACK to to those areas after the long global warming era, the day after tomorrow, so to speak?
COMMENTS WELCOME. Pro and con!
FIELD NOTES: a researcher tells me: "I have no blog yet, and my own developing opinions on the best response to the climate change crisis are not yet ready for publication. I do think that the crisis will get very serious quicker than many people expect. On much of my home continent of North America, a Dust Bowl period of drought, wildfire, thirst and famine looks probable. Like you, I've read James Lovelock and other sources on the topic. I observe that "polar cities" = which I take to mean high-population-density cities to be built near the Arctic Rim with sustainable (or nuclear) energy and transportation infrastructure = will require substantial nearby agriculture. Boreal soils are largely poor in key nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but nitrogen-fixing plants (like thevarious alders) with the proper symbiotic microbes and mycorrhizal fungi can likely remedy such poverty without the need for petroleum-derived fertilizers. So I suggest that regional probiotic soil improvement should perhaps rank high on the "polar cities"priority list. Lovelock's notion of a widely distributed almanac of science knowledge and post-industrial survival skills also appears to have value."}
THE FIRST BLOG TO MENTION POLAR CITIES EVER:


Thinking About Polar Cities -- Or Trying To

By Kit Stolz
An interesting journalist named Dan Bloom, now based in Taiwan, hasbeen agitating for consideration of one of James Lovelock's morealarming ideas -- polar cities. (Here's his site on the subject.) Idon't have answers for Mr. ...<http://achangeinthewind.typepad.com/achangeinthewind/2007/06/thinking-about-.html>A Change in the Wind<http://achangeinthewind.typepad.com/achangeinthewind/>

========================
A FUTURE PRESS RELEASE:
Year 2121 A.D. -- Media Alert:
The world's media to Svalbard !!!
30 journalists from all over the world will on Wednesday visit the World's First Model Polar City which is under construction on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. 22.08. .... 2121A.D. Construction work on the Svalbard Model Polar City (SMPC) started in April 3007 and the first blastings were performed in May. The facility will be opened on 15 February 2121. The visit to the facility will be lead by Project Manager Magnus Bredeli Tveiten from the Norwegian construction body Statsbygg. Part of the tour will include press briefings by Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoey, the head of the UN's Climate Secretariat Yvo de Boer, Development Minister Erik Solheim, the head of the Polar City Research Institute and the governor of Svalbard. The SMPC is being constructed as a cave excavated into the permafrost just outside Longyearbyen. The SMPC is intended to ensure survival for some 200,000 survivors of global warming in the year 2121, and will have storage capacity for food and supplies.
(Press release) 2208 A.D.
=========PREDICTION:
Polar cities should be in active construction within 50 years. These SPR's, sustainable polar retreats, in other words, will functionprimarily to house potential survivors of catastrophic global warmingevents in the far distant future, perhaps by the year 2121 or so. It'sgood to be prepared, according to the U.N. Homelands Security Officein Oslo, and these polar cities, situated in both polar regions of theplanet, will be capable of handling up to 2 million people -- humanbreeding pairs and their families -- to ensure the continuation of ourspecies. After the Earth's temperatures cool enough to permitresettlement of the planet's temperate and tropiocal regions again,the polar cities will become historical oddities and turned intomusuems, according to the UN office. Learn more online, just google"polar cities" or check the Wikipedia entry for them.

310 Comments:

Blogger dan said...

You are totally wrong, Mr Commons. Crap like yours will never make the light of day, except on your obscure blog which nobody will ever read....get a life!

-- Adrian F, London, UK

3:57 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Chaotic world of climate truth

VIEWPOINT

By Mike Hulme
Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research


As activists organised by the group Stop Climate Chaos gather in London to demand action, one of Britain's top climate scientists says the language of chaos and catastrophe has got out of hand.


Do images of climate-related chaos distort the scientific truth?
Climate change is a reality, and science confirms that human activities are heavily implicated in this change.

But over the last few years a new environmental phenomenon has been constructed in this country - the phenomenon of "catastrophic" climate change.

It seems that mere "climate change" was not going to be bad enough, and so now it must be "catastrophic" to be worthy of attention.

The increasing use of this pejorative term - and its bedfellow qualifiers "chaotic", "irreversible", "rapid" - has altered the public discourse around climate change.

This discourse is now characterised by phrases such as "climate change is worse than we thought", that we are approaching "irreversible tipping in the Earth's climate", and that we are "at the point of no return".

It seems that we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) sceptics


I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric.

It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) sceptics. How the wheel turns.

Boarding the bandwagon

Some recent examples of the catastrophists include Tony Blair, who a few weeks back warned in an open letter to EU head of states: "We have a window of only 10-15 years to take the steps we need to avoid crossing a catastrophic tipping point."

Today, a mass demonstration in Trafalgar Square will protest, aiming to "stop climate chaos" - the name for a coalition of environmental activists and faith-based organisations.

The BBC broadcast in May its Climate Chaos season of programmes. There is even a publicly-funded science research project called Rapid.


Scenarios of climate change are significant enough without invoking catastrophe and chaos as unguided weapons


Why is it not just campaigners, but politicians and scientists too, who are openly confusing the language of fear, terror and disaster with the observable physical reality of climate change, actively ignoring the careful hedging which surrounds science's predictions?

James Lovelock's book The Revenge of Gaia takes this discourse to its logical endpoint - the end of human civilisation itself.

What has pushed the debate between climate change scientists and climate sceptics to now being between climate change scientists and climate alarmists?

I believe there are three factors now at work.

First, the discourse of catastrophe is a campaigning device being mobilised in the context of failing UK and Kyoto Protocol targets to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

The signatories to this UN protocol will not deliver on their obligations. This bursting of the campaigning bubble requires a determined reaction to raise the stakes - the language of climate catastrophe nicely fits the bill.

Hence we now have the militancy of the Stop Climate Chaos activists and the megaphone journalism of the Independent newspaper, with supporting rhetoric from the prime minister and senior government scientists.

Others suggest that the sleeping giants of the Gaian Earth system are being roused from their millennia of slumber to wreck havoc on humanity.




Media 'peddles climate porn'
Second, the discourse of catastrophe is a political and rhetorical device to change the frame of reference for the emerging negotiations around what happens when the Kyoto Protocol runs out after 2012.

The Exeter conference of February 2005 on "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" served the government's purposes of softening-up the G8 Gleneagles summit through a frenzied week of "climate change is worse than we thought" news reporting and group-think.

By stage-managing the new language of catastrophe, the conference itself became a tipping point in the way that climate change is discussed in public.

Third, the discourse of catastrophe allows some space for the retrenchment of science budgets.

It is a short step from claiming these catastrophic risks have physical reality, saliency and are imminent, to implying that one more "big push" of funding will allow science to quantify them objectively.

We need to take a deep breath and pause.

Fear and terror

The language of catastrophe is not the language of science. It will not be visible in next year's global assessment from the world authority of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

To state that climate change will be "catastrophic" hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science.

Is any amount of climate change catastrophic? Catastrophic for whom, for where, and by when? What index is being used to measure the catastrophe?

The language of fear and terror operates as an ever-weakening vehicle for effective communication or inducement for behavioural change.


The language of politicians can be as strong as that of campaigners
This has been seen in other areas of public health risk. Empirical work in relation to climate change communication and public perception shows that it operates here too.

Framing climate change as an issue which evokes fear and personal stress becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By "sexing it up" we exacerbate, through psychological amplifiers, the very risks we are trying to ward off.

The careless (or conspiratorial?) translation of concern about Saddam Hussein's putative military threat into the case for WMD has had major geopolitical repercussions.

We need to make sure the agents and agencies in our society which would seek to amplify climate change risks do not lead us down a similar counter-productive pathway.

The IPCC scenarios of future climate change - warming somewhere between 1.4 and 5.8 Celsius by 2100 - are significant enough without invoking catastrophe and chaos as unguided weapons with which forlornly to threaten society into behavioural change.

I believe climate change is real, must be faced and action taken. But the discourse of catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory.



Mike Hulme is Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

7:26 PM  
Blogger dan said...

A New Middle Stance Emerges in Debate over Climate


By ANDREW C. REVKIN
NYTimes

Published: January -1, 3007

Amid the shouting lately about whether global warming is a human-caused catastrophe or a hoax, some usually staid climate scientists in the usually invisible middle are speaking up.

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The discourse over the issue has been feverish since Hurricane Katrina. Seizing the moment, many environmental campaigners, former Vice President Al Gore and some scientists have portrayed the growing human influence on the climate as an unfolding disaster that is already measurably strengthening hurricanes, spreading diseases and amplifying recent droughts and deluges.

Conservative politicians and a few scientists, many with ties to energy companies, have variously countered that human-driven warming is inconsequential, unproved or a manufactured crisis.

A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge both poles of the debate.

They agree that accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases probably pose a momentous environmental challenge, but say the appropriate response is more akin to buying fire insurance and installing sprinklers and new wiring in an old, irreplaceable house (the home planet) than to fighting a fire already raging.

“Climate change presents a very real risk,” said Carl Wunsch, a climate and oceans expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It seems worth a very large premium to insure ourselves against the most catastrophic scenarios. Denying the risk seems utterly stupid. Claiming we can calculate the probabilities with any degree of skill seems equally stupid.”

Many in this camp seek a policy of reducing vulnerability to all climate extremes while building public support for a sustained shift to nonpolluting energy sources.

They have made their voices heard in Web logs, news media interviews and at least one statement from a large scientific group, the World Meteorological Organization. In early December, that group posted a statement written by a committee consisting of most of the climatologists assessing whether warming seas have affected hurricanes.

While each degree of warming of tropical oceans is likely to intensify such storms a percentage point or two in the future, they said, there is no firm evidence of a heat-triggered strengthening in storms in recent years. The experts added that the recent increase in the impact of storms was because of more people getting in harm’s way, not stronger storms.

There are enough experts holding such views that Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist and blogger at the University of Colorado, Boulder, came up with a name for them (and himself): “nonskeptical heretics.”

“A lot of people have independently come to the same sort of conclusion,” Dr. Pielke said. “We do have a problem, we do need to act, but what actions are practical and pragmatic?”

This approach was most publicly laid out in an opinion article on the BBC Web site in November by Mike Hulme, the director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in Britain.

Dr. Hulme said that shrill voices crying doom could paralyze instead of inspire.

“I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama,” he wrote. “I believe climate change is real, must be faced and action taken. But the discourse of catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory.”

Other experts say there is no time for nuance, given the general lack of public response to the threat posed particularly by carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels and forests that persists for a century or more in the air and is accumulating rapidly in the atmosphere and changing the pH of the oceans.

James E. Hansen, the veteran climate scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who has spoken out about climate dangers since 1988, has recently said that scientists have been too quiet too long.

“If we want to avoid producing a different planet, we need to start acting now,” and not with paltry steps, he said in a recent e-mail exchange with a reporter and other scientists. “It seems almost to be a secret that we cannot put all of the fossil-fuel CO2 into the air without producing a different planet, and yes, dangerous change. There are people who don’t know that!”

Debate among scientists over how to describe the climate threat is particularly intense right now as experts work on the final language in portions of the latest assessment of global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In three previous reports, the last published in 2001, this global network of scientists operating under the auspices of the United Nations has presented an ever-firmer picture of a growing human role in warming.

Studies used to generate the next report (portions are to be issued in February) have shown a likely warming in the 21st century — unless emissions of greenhouse gases abate — at least several times that of the last century’s one-degree rise.

But substantial uncertainty still clouds projections of important impacts, like how high and quickly seas would rise as ice sheets thawed.

Recent drafts of the climate report used a conservative analysis that does not project a rise most people would equate with catastrophe, scientists involved in writing it say. Other experts say this may send too comforting a message.

Dr. Hulme insists that it is best not to gloss over uncertainties.

In fact, he and other experts say that uncertainty is one reason to act — as a hedge against the prospect that problems could be much worse than projected.

His goal, Dr. Hulme said, is to raise public appreciation of the unprecedented scale and nature of the challenge.

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7:26 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Published: January 1, 2007
(Page 2 of 2)



“Climate change is not a problem waiting for a solution (least of all a solution delivered and packaged by science), but a powerful idea that will transform the way we develop,” he said in an e-mail message.

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Dr. Hulme and others avoid sounding alarmist, but offer scant comfort to anyone who doubts that humans are contributing to warming or believes the matter can be deferred.

These experts see a clear need for the public to engage now, but not to panic. They worry that portrayals of the issue like that in “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary focused on the views of Mr. Gore, may push too hard.

Many in this group also see a need to portray clearly that the response would require far more than switching to fluorescent light bulbs and to hybrid cars.

“This is a mega-ethical challenge,” said Jerry D. Mahlman, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who has studied global warming for more than three decades. “In space, it’s the size of a planet, and in time, it has scales far broader than what we go-go Homo sapiens are accustomed to dealing with.”

Dr. Mahlman and others say that the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases cannot be quickly reversed with existing technologies. And even if every engine on earth were shut down today, they add, there would be no measurable impact on the warming rate for many years, given the buildup of heat already banked in the seas.

Because of the scale and time lag, a better strategy, Dr. Mahlman and others say, is to treat human-caused warming more as a risk to be reduced than a problem to be solved.

These experts also say efforts to attribute recent weather extremes to the climate trend, though they may generate headlines in the short run, distract from the real reasons to act, which relate more to the long-term relationship of people and the planet.

“Global warming is real, it’s serious, but it’s just one of many global challenges that we’re facing,” said John M. Wallace, a climatologist at the University of Washington. “I portray it as part of a broader problem of environmental stewardship — preserving a livable planet with abundant resources for future generations.”

Some experts, though, argue that moderation in a message is likely to be misread as satisfaction with the pace of change.

John P. Holdren, an energy and environment expert at Harvard and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, defended the more strident calls for limits on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

“I am one of those who believes that any reasonably comprehensive and up-to-date look at the evidence makes clear that civilization has already generated dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system,” Dr. Holdren said. “What keeps me going is my belief that there is still a chance of avoiding catastrophe.”

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7:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Andrew Revkin's latest
As anyone who circulates anywhere in the climate blogosphere is undoubtedly aware, Andy Revkin wrote a piece in the NYT (non-subscription link!) very recently about a "new middle ground" in the climate debate. The main point being this is a refreshing and new voice of reason between two irrational extremes ("we will all die", versus "warming? what warming?"). Since I am so slow off the mark to bring it up, much of what I might have said has been already. So in brief, with acknowledgments to those who beat me too it, are some thoughts, in no particular order:

Real Climate did a post which is a good starting point and with which I pretty completely concur. The middle ground is the IPCC consensus, very few serious scientific voices have strayed from it.
I am very grateful to all the excellent work Andy Revkin has contributed to the otherwise poor showing from the main stream media on this issue. The NYT in general deserves some acknowledgment as well. The only weakness of this article is probably from the need to make a newsworthy event out of a slow general trend. It is also on shaky grounds because it really the media reporting on itself. The media shapes the debate much more than does the reality of the issues, so how to now report on the debate changing its character?
the phrase "non-skeptic heretic" is unfortunate and definately not climate debate neutral, as I said in comment #3 on Roger Pielke Jr.'s blog.
David Roberts is pretty much right on the money WRT his comments about RP Jr, in my opinion. Coining this phrase was more self-serving and/or self-flattering than anything else. He is however too hard on Revkin who is deeply inside of a fatally flawed system.
Andrew Dessler makes an important point about the distinction between the political debate and the scientific debate. This distinction, or rather the lack of keeping it in mind, muddies much of many of the discussions of this article and its issues.
James Annan makes the tongue-in-cheek point that since everyone else is slightly off to one side or another from him, he is in fact in the middle. The serious point being that dividing a spectrum of opinion and values into boxes, especially just three (too hard, too soft, just right!) is not the Path to Enlightenment.
The whole notion of a two-sided debate (from which this "reasonable" middle ground then emerges) is an artifact of the mainstream media's misguided notion of balance. (h/t to Bob Ward on RC)
There is no moral equivalence between the exagerations of the "alarmists" and the obfuscations and distractions of the denialists, so again the notion of "middle" is inappropriate. David Roberts makes this point in another RC comment.
I did not read these other blog threads, but they are there and surely interesting: Tim Lambert, Matthew Nesbit, Chris Mooney and John Fleck


Labels: opinion

posted by coby @ 1/04/2007 03:08:00 PM

4 Comments:
At January 05, 2007 12:29 AM, Lloyd the Riddle said…

Thank you for taking the time to do what you do. I, as well as many others I'm guessing are quite grateful! Kudos!


At January 05, 2007 9:07 AM, coby said…

Thanks Lloyd!


At January 05, 2007 11:27 AM, Anonymous said…

I notice you have a piece called "How to talk to a skeptic".

Perhaps there is now a need for a piece entitled:

"How to talk to a 'non-skeptic heretic"

I'd rather talk to a skeptic, to tell you the truth. It's more strightforward. From the list of group members on Pielke's website (including Bjorn Lomborg), I'd have to say that "Non-skeptic heretics" are a very confused bunch.

This whole thing has got me wondering:

What's a "skeptic heretic"? Is that someone who does not believe global warming is real but nonetheless thinks we should do something about it?


At January 07, 2007 5:14 PM, Saty said…

very interesting blog. must thank you for keeping it going.
cheers
saty
dioscuri.hyd@gmail.com


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7:29 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Dr. Heidi Cullen is the climate expert at The Weather Channel and has the key responsibility of adding explanation, depth and perspective to climate stories for The Weather Channel network and other platforms.

Dr. Cullen, a scientist of international standing in climate research on the staff of The Weather Channel, is helping to build the company’s climate program through the development of new products and by helping to strengthen relationships within the scientific community. She appears on-the-air in special reports and documentaries such as “Extreme Weather Theories” where she examined global warming and possibilities of significant changes in the world’s climate.

“In recent years as climate science has evolved, The Weather Channel has devoted more and more coverage to climate and its influences and impacts. In fact, hardly a day can go by anymore without a climate story of some sort - anything from El Niño to drought to global warming – in the news and covered by many media outlets,” notes Ray Ban, Executive Vice President of Meteorology Science and Strategy. “Given the growing importance of such topics, a key differentiation for TWC moving forward is to ‘own’ these stories and extend the brand we've established in weather to climate. Dr. Cullen is exceptionally well-qualified to help us do this.”

Dr. Cullen most recently was a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. She has done research in the U.S. Southwest and the Middle East, publishing on domestic and international climate topics. As a post-doc, she received a NOAA Climate & Global Change Fellowship and spent two years working at the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction. She received a B.S. in Engineering/Operations Research from Columbia University in NYC and went on to receive a Ph.D. in climatology and ocean-atmosphere dynamics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Her dissertation focused on trying to understand the impacts and dynamics of the North Atlantic Oscillation, an important climate influence.

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7:31 PM  
Blogger dan said...

hcullen@weather.com Fax: 770-226-2951. Talking Climate on The Weather Channel (P,G,S). Dr. Heidi Cullen is the on-air climate expert at The Weather Channel ...
www.sigmaxi.org/programs/lectureships/0607.shtml - 73k - Cached - Similar pages

UCAR/AMS Curricula 2002 > Indices > Facultyhcullen@weather.com. Cunningham, Philip Assistant Professor Florida State University (Meteorology) cunningham@met.fsu.edu. Cunnold, Derek , Dr. Professor ...
64.55.87.13/amsucar_curricula/curriculaFaculty.cfm?index=C - 29k - Cached - Similar pages

7:38 PM  
Blogger dan said...

'Smoking gun' said to be in climate report next week; global warming here now

Seth Borenstein, Canadian Press
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 Article tools
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Font: * * * * WASHINGTON (AP) - Human-caused global warming is here - visible in the air, water and melting ice - and is destined to get much worse in the future, an authoritative global scientific report will warn next week.

"The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak," said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report. "The evidence ... is compelling."

The first phase of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is being released in Paris next week. This segment, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes "a significantly expanded discussion of observation on the climate," said co-chair Susan Solomon a senior scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She and other scientists held a telephone briefing on the report Monday.

That report will feature an "explosion of new data" on observations of current global warming, Solomon said.

Solomon and others wouldn't go into specifics about what the report says. They said that the 12-page summary for policy-makers will be edited in secret word-by-word by governments officials for several days next week and released to the public on Feb. 2. The rest of that first report from scientists will come out months later.

The full report will be issued in four phases over the year, as was the case with the last IPCC report, issued in 2001.

Global warming is "happening now, it's very obvious," said Mahlman, a former director of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab who lives in Boulder, Colo. "When you look at the temperature of the Earth, it's pretty much a no-brainer."

Look for an "iconic statement" - a simple but strong and unequivocal summary - on how global warming is now occurring, said one of the authors, Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also in Boulder.

The February report will have "much stronger evidence now of human actions on the change in climate that's taken place," Rajendra Pachauri told the AP in November. Pachauri, an Indian climatologist, is the head of the international climate change panel.

An early version of the ever-changing draft report said "observations of coherent warming in the global atmosphere, in the ocean, and in snow and ice now provide stronger joint evidence of warming."

And the early draft adds: "An increasing body of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on other aspects of climate including sea ice, heat waves and other extremes, circulation, storm tracks and precipitation."

The world's global average temperature has risen about 0.66 degrees Celsius from 1901 to 2005. The two warmest years on record for the world were 2005 and 1998. Last year was the hottest year on record for the United States.

7:38 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Human-caused global warming is here - visible in the air, water and melting ice - and is destined to get much worse in the future, an authoritative global scientific report will warn next week.

"The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak," said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report. "The evidence ... is compelling."

7:39 PM  
Blogger dan said...

'Smoking gun' said to be in climate report next week; global ...
Canada.com, Canada - 4 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) - Human-caused global warming is here - visible in the air, water and melting ice - and is destined to get much worse in the future, ...
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7:45 PM  
Blogger dan said...

A reporter who covers this beat writes to me:

"Hey Charles Commons, that is pretty dark stuff, but thanks for sending.
i'm what you might call a 'despairing optimist'."

-- British reporter in London

4:49 AM  
Blogger dan said...

A reader in Japan writes:

"Very close with you on this.
We have to lie in the graves that we have made ourselves. (Good grief!)
"Jigou jitoku" (自業自得) we say in Japanese.

Sometimes I think that our Earth is going to do us out.
If it's so, it's O.K.

We're unexpected guests, voracious and arrogant.
We will be "Beat It!" sooner or later. And the end.

Thanks for the link to Dr. Emanuel's article, which I've missed."

Tokyo blogger

4:54 AM  
Blogger dan said...

the report coming out Feb. 2 will be released in 4 segments over the next year.......watch the fireworks!

7:57 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The Human Hand in Climate Change


Kerry Emanuel (whose influential scientific work we've discussed here
previously) has written a particularly lucid and poignant popular
article on climate change for the literary forum "Boston Review". The
article is entitled Phaeton's Reins: The human hand in climate change.
We thought it worth passing along.

8:04 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The Human Hand in Climate Change
Filed under: Climate Science RC Forum— mike @ 5:13 pm
Kerry Emanuel (whose influential scientific work we've discussed here
previously) has written a particularly lucid and poignant popular
article on climate change for the literary forum "Boston Review". The
article is entitled Phaeton's Reins: The human hand in climate change.
We thought it worth passing along.

1 blog reaction




13 Comments »
A question -- what happened 500 million years ago that led to so much ice?

A correction (I think) -- there are 382 carbon dioxide molecules out
of every million air molecules, which is equivalent to 382 liters
carbon dioxide out of every million -- not tons.

Comment by Karen Street — 23 Jan 2007 @ 5:54 pm

Dr. Emanuel provides a thorough, factual and balanced history of the
past thirty years of scientists and the public struggling to
understand, accept and respond to the human hand in climate change.

Frankly, it would be high on my list of items to be included in a time
capsule. Then, our great grandchildren might understand the extreme
complexity of putting the science pieces together in a time of bitter
political cat fighting and corporate campaigns to confuse and paralyze
our political leaders.

That said, we now have an opportunity to write page two and the
science pieces appear to driving more consensus and now, action.

Comment by John L. McCormick — 23 Jan 2007 @ 6:16 pm

Thanks for the great link.

And speaking of the human hand in climate change, lately I have seen a
lot of climate change denialists citing an article by L. F. Khilyuk
and G. V. Chilingar, entitled "On global forces of nature driving the
Earth's climate. Are humans involved?" in Environmental Geology.

Here's link to it:http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-climate.html.

I would really like to hear what you folks at Real Climate have to say
about it. To me it seems it suffers from several flaws that have to do
with the time scale of changes we are seeing today and the time scales
the processes in this paper operate at.

Unfortunately ,the paper's abstract ends with this little sound bite:
"The writers show that the human-induced climatic changes are
negligible."

Could you either provide a rebutal to this paper here in this comment
thread or in a full post. I'd really like to have an informed critique
to point to regarding this misleading paper.

[Response: The best rebuttal comes from the one 'in press' at the same
journal by W. Aeschbach-Hertig, 2006 which is available:
http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-rebuttal.html .
Also, try reading
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/12/paper_claims_human_co2_emissio.php
- gavin]

Comment by Pete — 23 Jan 2007 @ 6:21 pm

Nice piece, but I wonder if the willingness to address climate change
is further advanced, including in the US, than Kerry Emmanuel suggests
when he warns at the end of his piece of scientific illiteracy among
politicians and groupthink among left leaning academics.

From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Senators John McCain and Ted Stevens,
Republicans are initiating policies that could lead to actual
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Financial Times columnist
Gideon Rachman writes that the hallmark of a successful ideological
revolution is that it swiftly makes party political labels irrelevant,
and that this appears to be happening with climate change. Amanda
Griscom Little Grist.org picks up the same theme in a piece titled
"Tip Tip Hooray!"

Of course, whether the new orthodoxy -- if that is what it proves to
be -- leads to actions sufficient to meet the challenge is another
question.

Comment by Caspar Henderson — 23 Jan 2007 @ 6:58 pm

Thanks for the heads-up. That's one of the most concise explanations
of what we do and don't know in climate science I've ever read. The
history of the politicization of the debate is also quite good, though
not as ringingly clear. One thing Kerry mentions that I've seen
relatively little press on is the tendency for more conservative model
estimates to make it into reports. Is this due to the desire to avoid
having a strong claim with a greater possibility of being wrong
splayed across the papers, or are the probabilities truly lower and
uncertainties higher for less conservative estimates?

Personally, one of the reasons I found the warm spell last month so
disturbing was that unlike previous El Nino years I looked at, there
was a temperature anomaly of around +8C over nearly all of Canada and
the Arctic. To me this ought to at least raise the possibility that
Arctic warming is proceeding along much a LESS consersative timeline
than conservative model estimates incorporated into reports like the
IPCC have suggested. Ceartainly weather != climate, but is there
something to be made of the strong high-latitude temperature anomaly,
which is apparently a new feature in the dataset? Can anyone here
comment on this?

Comment by Eric Ellsworth — 23 Jan 2007 @ 7:02 pm

Re #1: See this recent RC post by Raypierre. There's an even more
recent paper on the transition discussed here; see also this
discussion of a predecessor paper.

Comment by Steve Bloom — 23 Jan 2007 @ 7:17 pm

I take issue with a passage near the end of Emanuel's article. He
writes that "in 1988, James Hansen, the director of NASA�s Goddard
Institute for Space Studies, set off a firestorm of controversy by
testifying before Congress that he was virtually certain that a
global-warming signal had emerged from the background climate
variability."

Of course, Hansen turned out to be correct, and while he may have "set
off a firestorm of controversy", he also helped to "set off" eighteen
years of research into the question. But my real objection comes when
Emanuel then goes on thusly:

At roughly this time, radical environmental groups and a handful of
scientists influenced by them leapt into the fray with rather obvious
ulterior motives. This jump-started the politicization of the issue,
and conservative groups, financed by auto makers and big oil,
responded with counterattacks.

First of all, who are these alleged scientists who were "influenced"
by "radical environmental groups"? And who exactly does Emanuel mean
by "radical environmental groups"? And what are these alleged "rather
obvious ulterior motives"?

This is pretty inflammatory and accusatory language to be using,
without backing it up with specifics, and suprisingly it is exactly
the language that is always used by the AGW deniers funded by the
fossil fuel industry: "These people trying to scare you about global
warming are a bunch of dirty hippie radicals whose real motive is to
destroy capitalism and force you to live in caves, or rogue scientists
who are trying to dupe you into giving them more grant money."

Second, Emanuel's statement that "radical environmental groups" and
scientists "influenced" by them "jump-started" the "politicization" of
the issue, and that the oil and auto industries only "responded" to
this "politicization" is exactly backwards from my recollection of
that period, the late eighties and early nineties. It is my
recollection that the oil and auto industries began propagandizing
against public awareness and acceptance of fossil-fuel driven global
warming from the earliest moments that the issue received any public
attention. They weren't just "responding" to "radical groups" with
"ulterior motives."

[Response:I personally was rather cheesed at the statement toward the
end, "Scientists are most effective when they provide sound, impartial
advice, but their reputation for impartiality is severely compromised
by the shocking lack of political diversity among American academics,
who suffer from the kind of group-think that develops in cloistered
cultures. Until this profound and well documented intellectual
homogeneity changes, scientists will be suspected of constituting a
leftist think tank." My strongest political views are environmental.
There aren't that many anti-environmentalist oceanographers out there,
rather a rare breed. Does Emanual think I should hire some
creationists for my geology department? Let him hire some for his!
David]

Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Jan 2007 @ 7:31 pm

Another bone to pick about this article. Emanuel writes:

... environmentalists have only just begun to rethink their visceral
opposition to nuclear power. Had it not been for green opposition, the
United States today might derive most of its electricity from nuclear
power, as does France; thus the environmentalists must accept a large
measure of responsibility for today�s most critical environmental
problem.

First of all, the opposition to nuclear power is not "visceral". It is
substantive. Proponents of nuclear power like to say that the
opposition is "visceral" or "irrational" so they don't have to deal
with the substantive arguments against nuclear power.

Second of all, environmentalists are indeed "re-thinking" and
"re-re-thinking" the question of nuclear power, and increasingly are
coming to the conclusion that it has little to offer in terms of
mitigating anthropogenic GHG emissions. It is by far the most
expensive and least effective option available. Apart from its dangers
and risks, the toxic pollution it generates in huge amounts, and the
nuclear weapons materials it proliferates, it would take many decades
even in the most aggressive scenarios put forward by the nuclear
industry before nuclear power would even begin to make a dent in the
growth of GHG emissions, by taking the place of new coal power plant
construction, let alone actually contribute to reducing emissions by
replacing existing coal-powered plants. Conservation, distributed
photovoltaics and windpower, combined with a new-generation smart
electric grid redesigned from the ground up to handle distributed
intermittent power generation (see Al Gore's recent proposal for a
DARPAnet-style project to develop an "electricity Internet"), can do
the job faster, cheaper, and much more safely, and in the end will
give us a more sustainable and resilient electrical energy system.

Third, the reason that no nuclear power plants have been built in the
USA in decades is not "green opposition", it is the complete economic
failure of nuclear power -- despite over one hundred billion dollars
in federal subsidies to prop it up.

Emanuel does not remotely demonstrate either (1) that the US has
"failed" to build hundreds and hundreds of nuclear power plants as a
result of "green opposition" or (2) that environmentalists therefore
"must accept a large measure of responsibility" for the USA's soaring
greenhouse gas emissions.

Also, Emanuel writes that not only nuclear power but wind power is
"viewed with deep ambivalence by the left" (equating the environmental
movement with "the left", whatever "the left" may mean to him -- he
doesn't say). The sole example he gives is "Senator Kennedy" who "is
strongly opposed to a project to develop wind energy near his home in
Hyannis". (I wonder if Emanuel is confusing Senator Ted Kennedy with
attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr who has been an outspoken opponent of
the Cape Wind offshore wind turbine project?) In fact, the
environmental and clean energy movement overwhelmingly supports wind
power, and overwhelmingly supports that particular project. Kennedy's
opposition is a unique case and in no way represents a widespread
"ambivalence" about wind power in the environmental / clean energy
community.

Emanuel is a climate scientist, not an expert on energy issues or on
the history of the environmental movement and its campaigns for clean
renewable energy, yet he is writing definitive-sounding pronouncements
on these matters that reflect a great deal of ignorance, in an
apparent attempt to be "fair and balanced" in his criticisms of "both
sides" of the political debate about the problem of global warming and
the solutions to it.

Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Jan 2007 @ 8:01 pm

Hey All;

I want to say that I am not anywhere close to being qualified to
question the works of Dr. Emanuel and under no circumstances do I
intend disrespect. However, I have noted some things that concern me
as to whether or not they are appropriate or I fail to feel
comfortable that a strong data source exists that supports the
conclusions shared there. So please forgive me as I share my ignorance
and if you can assist with sources or the understanding of the reasons
that the data is definitive, my thanks.

I am a little confused, Dr. Emanuel has made the following statement;
"It is a remarkable fact that, averaged over the planet, the surface
receives more radiation from the atmosphere than directly from the
sun!" and I have not seen the source of this comment. The main
information appears to be indicated by a model in a 2003 paper by Dr.
Hansen and appears to have been confirmed by satellite in 2005.
However, there have not been confirming measurements from terrestrial
based devices, to my knowledge on clear night skies. Does anyone have
the reference that confirms this statement?

Later on he talks about two leaves and then continues in the reduction
of the time it takes for the two leaves to increase in distance from
one another. I have done this experiment hundreds for times as a youth
and I can assure you the chance that this assumption is valid appears
to be less then 25%. Repeatedly I have released to identical floating
objects to have them stay together less then 10 feet of flow or 20
seconds for nearly 90% of the time. By the same token I have been able
to release two identical objects in the same stream separated by 1
foot to have them join together 20 feet away locked together by
surface tension and the primary change was the amount of flow in the
stream. Therefore, I don't know if this is an appropriate example.
However, it does act as a vehicle to explain the basis of the reason
there is a belief that the quality of the model to track the actual
phenomenon is close enough for a period of time. Also it appears to
help explain, that if the values of the two data banks were not
tracking close enough they would diverge much quicker

Yet, it appears that the models being employed still have a tendency
to use broad strokes of the brush to define the patterns and their
effects on the long term weather. From what I have seen there has not
been an analysis in the physical processes of what causes change or
oscillations of these broad scale patterns. If the point is that less
clouds in the Western Tropical Pacific were the primary driver of
increased SSTs and the slow down of the Walker circulation then what
happens if you plug those characteristics into the model instead of
the ENSO pattern? If I recall correctly, the runs experience a quicker
divergence in the values then when the large scale pattern is
employed. To me this says we still do not have the drivers correct.
When I look at the Colorado State Lidar of water vapor density and
upper atmospheric temperature estimates I see many processes occurring
that we do not apparently have a clear description for. IE: On the one
hand the folks at CSU demonstrate that aerosol size and color affect
CCN effectiveness in regards to precipitation and at the same time we
have work from UCSC that discounts the requirement of aerosols for CCN
which one is true and under which conditions are both or either true.
This leads to the next question which one is the primary process in
cloud formation? That there appears to be peer reviewed studies in
apparent opposition to each other seems to suggest that both are
correct; however, they are only different sides of the same subject
and we do not have enough understanding of the subject yet.

Finally, when a scientist suggests that a politician needs to
understand scientific processes or suggests the need for a scientific
politician it worries me. Rather than a scientific politician why not
a scientist that suggests that there are questions as to the validity
of the observations of the study and under which conditions they may
be accurate. Rather than suggesting politicians be scientists or
scientists be politicians why not suggest that politicians be
politicians and scientists be scientists and when the subject is
clearly defined by sufficient scientific work that it be described as
such and shared with the politicians.

In the case in which there is a rush to gather additional data and
there exists peer reviewed data that appears to contradict each other
that maybe there remains more science to be done. Are we done with
scientific research now and can redirect climate funding to other
things? I do not believe we are done. I suggest that before a
conclusion is trumpeted from the press that the definitive answer has
been achieved we need to demonstrate the data that exists is
definitive.

Dave Cooke

Comment by L. David Cooke — 23 Jan 2007 @ 8:17 pm

Well, that was one of the clearest things I've ever read on the issue
of anthropogenic climate change, that seemed to touch on all of the
main issues, with one exception: the effects of rapid climate change
on the biosphere. This is not meant as a criticism, because regardless
of how difficult it is to predict the responses of the physical
land-ocean-atmosphere-ice system to changes in atmospheric gases and
aerosols, predicting the biological response is even more difficult.

This is because there is no single equation for a biochemical activity
like photosynthesis or methane formation and oxidation; the organisms
involved are sensitive to a wide variety of variables and may also
change their biochemical behavior in response to environmental
stimuli.

However, there are a number of very disturbing signs: the decline of
coral reefs after the 1997-1998 El Nino spike in tropical sea surface
temperatures; the issue of effects on tropical rainforests in the
Amazon; and the unknown biological and biochemical responses to the
warming of northern permafrost regions, as well as the effects on the
global planktonic ecosystem that underlies all of the world's
fishieries. There is also the related issue of the effects on
calcification as the ocean's acidity increases due to higher amounts
of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans. Predicting the timescales of
these responses seems even more difficult then dealing with the
strictly physical processes such as melting ice sheets and hurricanes.

There seem to be a number of conclusions: biological processes are
sensitive to 'extreme events' in a way that other physical processes
are not; thus an entire crop might be killed off by a one-week heat
wave, even if the change in yearly average temps resulting from the
heat wave are miniscule. Secondly, predicting the reactions of the
biosphere is even more fraught with uncertainty then predicting
physical processes - which seems to mean that it is critical to
monitor the biosphere - and it also seems clear that there is a strong
effect, as measured by already accumulated observations, of global
warming on the biosphere. There are also other influences on the
biosphere (rainforest removal via logging, and industrial pollution of
lakes and the ocean, for example) that may be difficult to separate
from climate-related temperature effects.

Perhaps the most important take-home message is the need for
independent scientific institutions that are not under the control of
political or economical (or religious) power centers.

A similar problem to the one described in this article has arisen in
attempts to calculate the actual 'energy efficiency' and net CO2
emissions involved in ethanol production; the issue is well summarized
at scienceblogs: Bad Math and Ethanol - On one side is the ethanol
lobby; on the other is the fossil fuel lobby, and the actual facts?
Hard to say.

There are many similar examples; I was trying to figure out whether or
not the 'pebble-bed nuclear reactor' was really a safe form of nuclear
power or not; that industry link says yes; this nuclear watchdog group
link says no, and the facts are what?

There is a story that relates to this; when Ernst Rutherford,
discoverer of the nucleus of the atom, was a graduate student, he
brought some nifty invention to his advisor, J.J. Thompson at the
Cavendish laboratory and told him that an investor was interested in
it; Thompson looked at the device and then told Rutherford, "You
cannot serve both God and Mammon"... and the rest is history.

Many public scientific institutions in this country would do well to
heed Thompson's advice; the private sector is where profitable
inventions should be developed (Bell Labs being the classic example -
source of both the solar cell and the transistor).

Comment by Ike Solem — 23 Jan 2007 @ 8:34 pm

Dr. Emanuel did write a very good article, but I cringed a little when
he wrote about the "radical environmental groups". I have seen many
times people who are very quick to dismiss the things that the
skeptics and contrarians say about climate science as nonsense.
However they will accept without question what the skeptics and
contrarians say about environmentalists.

Just as there there are standard skeptic talking points about climate
science, there are standard talking points to bash environmentalists.
Unfortunately Dr. Emanuel touched on some of them, like how radical
they are and the power (ie they stopped nuclear power) they have.

Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 23 Jan 2007 @ 8:37 pm

Governor Schwarzenegger, who is urging strong action to fight global
warming, just asked the US Govt for about a billion dollars to fix
damage to his state's citrus crop due to record cold weather.

I asked before on this blog, and got no answer. In any given year, is
global temperature a zero sum game? If it is colder than normal
somewhere, does it have to be warmer somewhere else?

Comment by joel Hammer — 23 Jan 2007 @ 8:45 pm

Nice piece. Some rapid comments.

KE quote
"The second strand also sees the natural state of the universe as a
stable one but holds that it has become destabilized through human
actions. The great floods are usually portrayed in religious
traditions as attempts by a god or gods to cleanse the earth of human
corruption."
> Interesting metaphor, for political rather than scientific speech. Easy to identify such a "religious-unconscious" basis in some current sermons on humankind's sin.

KE quote :
"Since the early 1980s, improved technology and ever more stringent
regulations have diminished sulfate aerosol pollution in the developed
countries, aided by the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent
reduction of industrial output there. On the other hand, sources of
sulfate aerosols have been steadily increasing in Asia and the
developing countries, so it is unclear how the net global aerosol
content has been changing over the past 25 years."
> It's a pity that the main anthropic forcing except GHG's is so poorly monitored. Because of that, it's quite difficult to contradict the following assertion : 1980s onward warming is at great part due to direct / indirect effects of sulfate aerosols drop. (Remember the warming trend : 0,49 K 1977-2006 ; 0,41 K 1916-45 on Nasa Giss ; "exceptionnal warming' of past three decades is just but 0,08 K / dec. as compared to the prior significative period of GW).

KE quote
"At roughly this time, radical environmental groups and a handful of
scientists influenced by them leapt into the fray with rather obvious
ulterior motives. This jump-started the politicization of the issue,
and conservative groups, financed by auto makers and big oil,
responded with counterattacks."
> So, we must conclude that politicization began from environmentalist exaggeration ?

KE quote
"Ever eager for the drama of competing dogmas, the media largely
ignored mainstream scientists whose hesitations did not make good
copy. As the global-warming signal continues to emerge, this soap
opera is kept alive by a dwindling number of deniers constantly tapped
for interviews by journalists who pretend to look for balance."
> Probably true in the USA, not the same perception from Europe (here, no debate at all).

KE quote
"In the first category are findings that are not in dispute, not even
by les refusards (...) The year 2005 was the warmest in the
instrumental record."
> No, that's second category; HadCrut, WMO, RSS, UAH told us that 2005 was colder than 1998.

Comment by Charles Muller

8:05 PM  
Blogger dan said...

2. ben on huis blog writes

http://tear.org.au/blogs/ben/?p=88

| January 22nd, 2007 at 7:00 am

Man, Charles Commons, that’s bleak. Apart from James Lovelock, though, I’m not aware of anyone who’s prepared to argue on the evidence that it’s already too late. Stern, IPCC reports, and, AFAIK, most climate scientists are talking about a short (maybe a decade or two) period to cut emissions before we are making catastrophic changes to our world. What are your reading, what evidence are you going off, that it’s already too late?

I don’t want to minimise the seriousness of the situation, and I’d agree that currently the pace of social and political change required to reduce the damage is waaay too slow. Still, there are signs that the required change is possible. But we have to work hard to ensure that it comes.

And I won’t even go into our differing theologies at this point.

8:17 PM  
Blogger dan said...

russeel shaw

tim flannery

11:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

read this carefully. agree? disagree? tell me your POV?

Charles

6:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
A Long History of Advocacy


Last night, George W. Bush took the calculated political risk of acknowledging "the serious challenge of global climate change."

This morning, Kevin Mooney reveals the terrifying liberal plot to defund denialist thinktanks.
Climate change skeptics - and journalists who report on them - have become the target of a campaign aimed at stifling legitimate debate....

Leftist activists masquerading as scientists are promoting false notions of "consensus" in an effort to back calls for mandatory caps on CO2 and other "greenhouse gas" emissions....
The problem, it seems, is that "consensus" is being used to cover up "real disputes that exist in the science over the quality of data."

To anyone who's familiar with, say, evolutionary theory, it won't seem peculiar that scientific consensus could coexist with real disputes over the quality of data. But like ID discoverists, climate denialists like to portray this "contradiction" as evidence for their opponents' secret socialist agenda. Thus, Myron Ebell announces the awful truth about the Union of Concerned Scientists:
Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a key target of the UCS report, characterizes the UCS as a "hardcore left-wing activist" organization with a long history of advocacy.
I can't imagine anyone being shocked to learn that people who refer to themselves as "concerned scientists" have concerns about science. But Ebell apparently feels that he's blown the lid off their seedy little racket.

Next, Mooney offers a fair summary of the UCS's accusations against denialists associated with the Independent Institute, including their funding by ExxonMobil. Without a trace of irony, he quotes Fred Singer, who's fast becoming the Denial Industry's answer to Baghdad Bob:
"The facts and the data are pretty convincing now," he said. "Any warming taking place is largely due to natural variability, not human activity. The way we can tell is by comparing the pattern of warming with what greenhouse warming models predict. They don't agree."
The idea of a congressional investigation into Exxon's funding of denialists like Singer strikes Jeff Kueter, of the Exxon-funded George C. Marshall Institute, as deeply unjust:
"It smacks to me of McCarthyism and big-brotherism and is completely antithetical to the scientific process and the American political philosophy of free speech," Kueter said.
The Exxon-funded denialist Ben Lieberman can't help but agree, and suggests that the real problem is sour grapes on the part of anticapitalist one-worlders (who, like many figures in conservatarian mythology, are both all-powerful and totally ineffectual):
"What's really going on here is the skeptical arguments have merit and they are resonating with American people," Lieberman said. As a result, "there's a frustration on the part of alarmists who have not been able to scare the American people."
That'd certainly explain these survey results.

On a positive note, I have to give some credit to Bonner Cohen, who's managed to come up with an argument I've never seen before:
Cohen counters that the so-called "peer review process" is too narrowly focused, because it does not allow for input from geologists who are better positioned to gauge the question of global warming than climatologists.
Just for the record, here's what the Geological Society of America has to say about climate change:
The Geological Society of America (GSA) supports the scientific conclusions that Earth’s climate is changing; the climate changes are due in part to human activities; and the probable consequences of the climate changes will be significant and blind to geopolitical boundaries.
The American Geophysical Union concurs:
Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century.
It all seem very neat and tidy...until you consider the very real possibility that these once-great organizations have been infiltrated by double agents from New Swabia, and are fomenting global warming hysteria in order to usher in the Fourth Reich.

Teach the controversy!

6:13 PM  
Blogger dan said...

World at sharp end of climate change and humankind will end in 3000, warns 'blogger provocateur'

by LMN News Agency,

New York: February 2, 2007


The world is at the sharp end of the devastating impact of climate change and there is nothing that can be done about it, according to an American writer who calls himself a "blogger provocateur", and says humankind will cease to exist by the year 2,500 or the year 3,000 at the latest.

"We have 15-30 more human generations of family life left," writes blogger Charles C. Commons at http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Commons, not well-known in the academic world nor even a published environmentalist author, has nevertheless delivered a dark, bleak message about climate change and global warming. Critics have already called his blog a "dire vision of the future due to global warming," while others have dismissed his blog as the ravings of a lunatic who is out of touch with reality.

Commons says he begs to differ. "I am not the one who is out of touch with reality,' he said in a recent email inteview with this reporter. "Humankind is on its last ropes, give it just 500 more years or so, 1000 at most. We are done for. By our own hand. This has nothing to do with God or theology. We have done this to ourselves."

Commons, a 58 year old philosopher who says that he is basically an optimist and has always lived his life that way, claims that any realistic examination of the climate change issues point in only one direction: "Humankind as a species is doomed," he says.

When asked what is the point of writing such a bleak commentary, Commons said in a wide-ranging inteview: "While the end will definitely come by the year 2500 or 3000, what we must start doing now is planning for this end. There is nothing we can do about climate change, it is already too late. Of course, governments won't admit that, their job is to ensure the safety of their citizens in the short term, but any thinker worth his or her salt will tell you, we are done for as a species and it is now too late to change things around. We will be fried. The Earth will continue, some animal species might live on, some bacteria and micro-organisms, but humans will not be in the picture anymore. We need to start thinking seriously about this. We are at the end of human existence."

On his blog, titled "People Get What They Deserve: Climate Change and the End of Humankind," Commons writes: "The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, and I welcome it. I can't believe I wrote that, but I did. Let me explain."

He adds: "God knows, we've messed things up real bad, here on Planet Earth, and now it's time to pay the piper. Oh, it's not going to end in a nuclear armageddon, no. And it's not going to end because of the so-called "Clash of Civilizations" going on now with our friends the terrorists. No, the end is coming because of climate change, and it's too late to do anything about it now. Way too late.

Our fate has been sealed.

I should be in despair but I am not. I think we are getting what we deserve. We did our best, as a human species, but our best was not very good. We blew it. Climate change, according to the Stern Report, has already pretty much made it impossible -- read that word again: "impossible" -- to tackle global warming. We are done for.

We are about to be fried, frozen, fingered. Put that in your computer file.

As a species, we are done for. Period.

And while I don'tdespair over this, neither am I gloating, no. We are headed for extinction, and you know something, we deserve it. We sealed our own fate by our foolish, greedy, convenience-addicted actions.

Maybe it was in our genes from the very beginning, this coming demise. Maybe all this was meant to be, not some non-existant god or Creator Being, but by the fickle hands of fate itself. [If there really was a God, we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place. Think about it. We did this all by ourselves. There's no use crying over spilled milk. We're done for.]

Oh, it won't happen soon, not in this lifetime, not in my lifetime or your lifetime. Give us 15 or 20 more human generations, 30 at most, and then it's curtains. The Earth will be fried. The die is already cast, it's in the cards. There's no going back.

As human carbon emissions continue to grow and grow, the rate of climate change will accelerate and we will experience it sooner than you can imagine.

You think life is forever. It is not.

Human life is about to be deleted from the surface of Planet Earth. I give it about 500 years. Stretch it to 1000 years if you wish, and that's okay with me. This is not an exact science. But it is science. We are done for.

The simple fact, the truth, is that we are headed for the exit ramp. Our rise as a species on Earth in a long, long history of cosmic time and Darwinian evolution has been capped. And we did it to ourselves. Us. You and me.

Cars. Airplanes. Factories. Coal plants. Massive industrialization. Oil. Technology. Convenience. Greed. We couldn't stop.

Our DNA, our intelligence, did us in. It's over. By the year 2500 -- okay, the year 3000 at the latest --we're history. And you know what? It doesn't matter. Not one bit. The cosmos does not care one iota. We came, we saw, we're leaving.



Let me put it this way: the Earth's experiment with the human species and most of the planet and animal species that evolved even before us is coming to an end. And we humans did it. We pulled the levers, we pushed the buttons, we pulled the triggers.

We burned too much coal, we guzzled too much gasoline, we used too much oil, we made too many factories to make our toys and vehicles, too many motorscooters, too many cars, too many smokestacks, too many people. We just didn't know how to rein things in. And now it's too late.




Greedy, hungry for entertainment and travel and technology, we did it ourselves, to ourselves. The rest, now, will be a long slow decline into annihilation of our species by unstoppable global warming and climate change. You might say this is depressing. I say it's reality, and we need to face reality. And start planning for the end. That is where our enterprise should go now: planning for the end of the human species.



So goodbye Human Civilization, Human Science, Human Evolution, Human Dreaming. No more Magna Carta, no more Beethoven or Mozart or Snoopy Dogg or J-Z, no more cellphones, no more PDAs, no more United Nations, no more blogging, no more cars, no more churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, shrines. Human life is soon to be a lost chapter in the Cosmos. Because of global warming and climate change.

Goodbye Humankind, it all its storied and multicolored and multisplendored variety! Ten billion people will soon be zero people. There will be no one left alive. There will not be one man standing. The Earth will be devoid of all human life, and most animal life and plant life as well. But some bacteria and slime will remain and continue...

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way climate change is taking us. It is taking us to our end as a species.



In a way, it makes sense. We did it to ourselves. We did it ourselves. We dug our own hole, while trying to build a towering temple to the sky.

It's okay. We had our chance. But we couldn't curb our appetites. Born from the swamps, we shall return to the swamps. Evolved from the void, we will return to the void. One might call it poetic justice. Celestial justice. Everlasting justice. Star life.

We came out of nothing, and we will return to nothing. Blame it on our genes, our sharp minds, our penetrating intelligence and human brains.

We are done for.

Even as you read these words, the planet's millions of engines, small and large, household and industrial, are purring, revving, singing their song -- and spewing CO2 emissions into the very atmosphere that sustains us, the very atmosphere that is now hastening our demise. At this very moment -- NOW! -- highways around the world are clogged, smokestacks are belching, gasoline is being guzzled, oil is being burned. Even as you read these words, it is too late. Too late. Too late."

6:33 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Doom-sayers need dispassionate eye

Date Published/Broadcast: November 21, 2006
News Source: The Daily News
Author: Brian Flemming
URL: http://hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?cid=23



Doom-sayers need dispassionate eye

List of calamities we're told to fear is long

By Brian Flemming
The Daily News

Almost daily, it seems, some scientist or group of scientists appear, Jeremiah-like, in the media to warn all us non-scientists of the terrible futures that will be visited upon us if we don't mend our ways. The list of dooms we're told to fear is long. Global warming, a.k.a. climate change, is today's mother of all science-based future threats.

Other grim ghosts of Christmas future include: the disappearance of fish from the oceans in 50 years, punishing pandemics, hospital superbugs, tainted food, violent extremists with dirty bombs and viruses, expanding ozone-layer holes, genetically-modified foods, obesity in children, cities that don't work anymore and diminishing oil production that will make petroleum products scarce and expensive.

It's getting tougher all the time for intelligent laypeople to decide which scientists are wise Cassandras who deserve our attention - and which are crass Chicken Littles who should be scorned.

To help us decide how much trust should be invested in science and scientists, the University of King's College - in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs - is sponsoring a Trust in Science Lecture Series this academic year.

The circle the series is trying to square is this: most polls say people trust scientists much more than they do politicians or journalists. Scientists are seen as unbiased seekers after truth, noble people who only have our best interests in mind when they warn us of dark days ahead.

Dispensers of truth?

But are scientists really dispassionate dispensers of unsullied truth? Or, like the rest of us, are they sometimes purveyors of political pap that more reflects their partisan, non-scientific sides than their white-coated purity?

The science-struggle-of-the-month in November features the deeply flawed Kyoto protocol versus the out-of-step position taken by the Harper government at an international conference in Kenya.

Those lined up against the Harperians believe the world is rolling rapidly downhill toward a catastrophe that will, at best, bring the breakdown in social order -and, at worst, the biological end of humankind. It would be a worldwide re-enactment of the end of Easter Island's civilization so exquisitely described by scientist Jared Diamond in Collapse, his scary enviro-end bestseller.

The latest Jared-iad, out in time to stoke your Christmas depression, is from Canadian scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon, whose The Upside of Down will make you mix one martini too many as you read it beside a Christmas tree that should never have been cruelly cut down.

Homer-Dixon even offers sage thoughts on how we might build a new Jerusalem from the ashes of world-wide social breakdown after an environmental collapse. Good on you, Homer-Dixon.

How did scientists become society's trustworthy tellers of truth, anyway?

Keepers of the flame

The first King's lecturer, Harvard's Steven Shapin, said the ascent of scientists to their current status of keepers of the flame of progress is a recent phenomenon.

Because of that, he said, we, the laity, need to distinguish carefully between the scientists' expertise in the "is" - the inductively provable knowledge part, and the "ought" - the unprovable, ethical part of scientific theory.

It's the difference between having the skill to do something and the wisdom to know what to do with that skill. Society must increasingly concentrate on that dichotomy and grasp that being a great scientist doesn't automatically make that scientist a philosopher-king.

The next lecture, on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the King's New Academic Building, will feature another Harvard academic, David Scadden. He will lift the curtain on how recent controversies within science show the extent to which the scientific community both trusts and distrusts itself - and how that community deals with the trust issue.Other lectures will follow in January and March. See www.ukings.ca for details.

Those who want to go beyond fear-mongering and the paroxysms of partisan peddlers of "scientific truth" who clutter the media with calls to arms should hear the outstanding speakers who've been enlisted to help us in this quest.

Kudos to King's for helping us understand trust in science, one of the most challenging intellectual voyages of our fearful time on Planet Earth.

BFlem8861@aol.com

Brian Flemming is a former Chairman of the Board of Governors at King's.

9:55 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Climate Change and the End of Humankind
on Planet Earth

by Charles C. Commons (c) 2006-3006

The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, and I welcome it. I can't believe I wrote that, but I did. Let me explain.

God knows, we've messed things up real bad, here on Planet Earth, and now it's time to pay the piper. Oh, it's not going to end in a nuclear armageddon, no. And it's not going to end because of the so-called "Clash of Civilizations" going on now with our friends the terrorists. No, the end is coming because of climate change, and it's too late to do anything about it now. Way too late.

Our fate has been sealed.

I should be in despair but I am not. I think we are getting what we deserve. We did our best, as a human species, but our best was not very good. We blew it. Climate change, according to the Stern Report, has already pretty much made it impossible -- read that word again: "impossible" -- to tackle global warming. We are done for.

We are about to be fried, frozen, fingered. Put that in your computer file.

As a species, we are done for. Period.

And while I don'tdespair over this, neither am I gloating, no. We are headed forextinction, and you know something, we deserve it. We sealed our own fate by our foolish, greedy, convenience-addicted actions.

Maybe it was in our genes from the very beginning, this coming demise. Maybe all this was meant to be, not some non-existant god or Creator Being, but by the fickle hands of fate itself. [If there really was a God, we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place. Think about it. We did this all by ourselves. There's no use crying over spilled milk. We're done for.]

Oh, it won't happen soon, not in this lifetime, not in my lifetime or your lifetime. Give us 15 or 20 more human generations, 30 at most, and then it's curtains. The Earth will be fried. The die is already cast, it's in the cards. There's no going back. Sigh.

As human carbon emissions continue to grow and grow, the rate of climate change will accelerate and we will experience it sooner than you can imagine.

You think life is forever. It is not.

Human life is about to be deleted from the surface of Planet Earth. I give it about500 years. Stretch it to 1000 years if you wish, and that's okay with me. This is not an exact science. But it is science. We are done for.

The simple fact, the truth, is that we are headed for the exit ramp. Our rise as a species on Earth in a long, long history of cosmic time and Darwinian evolution has been capped. And we did it to ourselves. Us. You and me.

Cars. Airplanes. Factories. Coal plants. Massive industrialization. Oil. Technology. Convenience. Greed. We couldn't stop.

Our DNA, our intelligence, did us in. It's over. By the year 2500 -- okay, the year 3000 at the latest --we're history. And you know what? It doesn't matter. Not one bit. The cosmos does not care one iota. We came, we saw, we're leaving.

Because when you look at us, our history, our backstory, what did we achieve? Miracles, yes, and then some. But these miracles have done us in. Climate change cannot be unchanged. The course has been set.There's no turning back.

Let me put it this way: the Earth's experiment with the human species and most of the planet and animal species that evolved even before us is coming to an end. And we humans did it. We pulled the levers, we pushed the buttons, we pulled the triggers.

We burned too much coal, we guzzled too much gasoline, we used too much oil, we made too many factories to make our toys and vehicles, too many motorscooters, too many cars, too many smokestacks, too many people. We just didn't know how to rein things in. And now it's too late.

Well, 500 years is a long time to plan for the end. Start planning. I'm glad I lived in the last half of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century. It's been a wonderful life, a wonderful ride, and I learned alot.

But even I, a common man with no PHD or expertise in anything, even I can tell you it's over. You don't have to read the fine print, either.The message is in plain English for anyone to read: increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have sealed our fate. And I mean SEALED.

By 2500 -- okay, 3000, if you want to stretch it -- we will be goners. The Earth will remain, of course, good old Earth, our temporary home amidst the stars. But we, the human species, will soon be gone.

And there is not one single thing anyone can do about it. This is the sad,bare, bald, truth.

Greedy, hungry for entertainment and travel and technology, we did it ourselves, to ourselves. The rest, now, will be a long slow decline into annihilation of our species by unstoppable global warming and climate change. You might say this is depressing. I say it's reality, and we need to face reality. And start planning for the end. That is where our enterprise should go now: planning for the end of the human species.

I think that, when all is said and done, we deserved this. And people usually get what they deserve. Don't you agree?

So goodbye Human Civilization, Human Science, Human Evolution, Human Dreaming. No more Magna Carta, no more Beethoven or Mozart or Snoopy Dogg or J-Z, no more cellphones, no more PDAs, no more United Nations, no more blogging, no more cars, no more churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, shrines. Human life is soon to be a lost chapter in the Cosmos. Because of global warming and climate change.

Goodbye Humankind, it all its storied and multicolored and multisplendored variety! Ten billion people will soon be zero people. There will be no one left alive. There will not be one man standing. The Earth will be devoid of all human life, and most animal life and plant life as well. But some bacteria and slime will remain and continue...

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way climate change is taking us. It is taking us to our end as a species. E-N-D. Period. Full stop.

Of course, I won't be here to witness those last pathetic years, weeks, days. Neither will you.

I had a good life at this time in cosmic time, and it was a very interesting exercise in conciousness, and I loved every minute of my existence. I am grateful for the very miracle of being here at all. Thank you Universe, thank you Evolution, thank you DNA, thank you Genepool!

But I've seen the future: come the year 2,500 (okay, year 3000 if you want to stretch it a bit) it's bleak. Bleaker than bleak. It's become dark at that point. The point of no return is that there is no return. READ THAT SENTENCE AGAIN SLOWLY!

We never adequately learned that lesson. Too late now. Sigh.

How much longer?

15 generations of family life, 30 at the most. And then it's over. Humankind is on its way out.

In a way, it makes sense. We did it to ourselves. We did it ourselves. We dug our own hole, while trying to build a towering temple to the sky.

It's okay. We had our chance. But we couldn't curb our appetites. Born from the swamps, we shall return to the swamps. Evolved from the void, we will return to the void. One might call it poetic justice. Celestial justice. Everlasting justice. Star life.

We came out of nothing, and we will return to nothing. Blame it on our genes, our sharp minds, our penetrating intelligence and human brains.

We are done for.

NOTA BENE: Even as you read these words, the planet's millions of engines, small and large, household and industrial, are purring, revving, singing their song -- and spewing CO2 emissions into the very atmosphere that sustains us, the very atmosphere that is now hastening our demise. At this very moment -- NOW! -- highways around the world are clogged, smokestacks are belching, gasoline is being guzzled, oil is being burned. Even as you read these words, it is too late. Too late. Too late.

Of course, you think 500 years is so far away, who cares? You should care. And you do. But it's too late........

--------------------------------------

LINKS:
INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE:
http://bostonreview.net/BR32.1/emanuel.html

NEWS

World at sharp end of climate change and humankind will end in 3000, warns 'blogger provacateur'

by LMN News Agency, New York

The world is at the sharp end of the devastating impact of climate change and there is nothing that can be done about it, according to an American writer who calls himself a "blogger provocateur", and says humankind will cease to exist by the year 2,500 or the year 3,000 at the latest.

"We have 15-30 more human generations of family life left," writes blogger Charles C. Commons at http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Commons, not well-known in the academic world nor even a published environmentalist author, has nevertheless delivered a dark, bleak message about climate change and global warming. Critics have already called his blog a "dire vision of the future due to global warming," while others have dismissed his blog as the ravings of a lunatic who is out of touch with reality.
Commons says he begs to differ. "I am not the one who is out of touch with reality,' he said in a recent email inteview with this reporter. "Humankind is on its last ropes, give it just 500 more years or so, 1000 at most. We are done for. By our own hand. This has nothing to do with God or theology. We have done this to ourselves."

Commons, a 58 year old philosopher who says that he is basically an optimist and has always lived his life that way, claims that any realistic examination of the climate change issues point in only one direction: "Humankind as a species is doomed," he says.

When asked what is the point of writing such a bleak commentary, Commons said in a wide-ranging inteview: "While the end will definitely come by the year 2500 or 3000, what we must start doing now is planning for this end. There is nothing we can do about climate change, it is already too late. Of course, governments won't admit that, their job is to ensure the safety of their citizens in the short term, but any thinker worth his or her salt will tell you, we are done for as a species and it is now too late to change things around. We will be fried. The Earth will continue, some animal species might live on, some bacteria and micro-organisms, but humans will not be in the picture anymore. We need to start thinking seriously about this. We are at the end of human existence."

On his blog, titled "People Get What They Deserve: Climate Change and the End of Humankind," Commons writes: "The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, and I welcome it. I can't believe I wrote that, but I did. Let me explain."

He adds: "God knows, we've messed things up real bad, here on Planet Earth, and now it's time to pay the piper. Oh, it's not going to end in a nuclear armageddon, no. And it's not going to end because of the so-called "Clash of Civilizations" going on now with our friends the terrorists. No, the end is coming because of climate change, and it's too late to do anything about it now. Way too late.

Our fate has been sealed.

I should be in despair but I am not. I think we are getting what we deserve. We did our best, as a human species, but our best was not very good. We blew it. Climate change, according to the Stern Report, has already pretty much made it impossible -- read that word again: "impossible" -- to tackle global warming. We are done for.

We are about to be fried, frozen, fingered. Put that in your computer file.
As a species, we are done for. Period.
And while I don'tdespair over this, neither am I gloating, no. We are headed for extinction, and you know something, we deserve it. We sealed our own fate by our foolish, greedy, convenience-addicted actions.
Maybe it was in our genes from the very beginning, this coming demise. Maybe all this was meant to be, not some non-existant god or Creator Being, but by the fickle hands of fate itself. [If there really was a God, we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place. Think about it. We did this all by ourselves. There's no use crying over spilled milk. We're done for.]
Oh, it won't happen soon, not in this lifetime, not in my lifetime or your lifetime. Give us 15 or 20 more human generations, 30 at most, and then it's curtains. The Earth will be fried. The die is already cast, it's in the cards. There's no going back.
As human carbon emissions continue to grow and grow, the rate of climate change will accelerate and we will experience it sooner than you can imagine.
You think life is forever. It is not.
Human life is about to be deleted from the surface of Planet Earth. I give it about 500 years. Stretch it to 1000 years if you wish, and that's okay with me. This is not an exact science. But it is science. We are done for.
The simple fact, the truth, is that we are headed for the exit ramp. Our rise as a species on Earth in a long, long history of cosmic time and Darwinian evolution has been capped. And we did it to ourselves. Us. You and me.
Cars. Airplanes. Factories. Coal plants. Massive industrialization. Oil. Technology. Convenience. Greed. We couldn't stop.
Our DNA, our intelligence, did us in. It's over. By the year 2500 -- okay, the year 3000 at the latest --we're history. And you know what? It doesn't matter. Not one bit. The cosmos does not care one iota. We came, we saw, we're leaving.

Let me put it this way: the Earth's experiment with the human species and most of the planet and animal species that evolved even before us is coming to an end. And we humans did it. We pulled the levers, we pushed the buttons, we pulled the triggers.
We burned too much coal, we guzzled too much gasoline, we used too much oil, we made too many factories to make our toys and vehicles, too many motorscooters, too many cars, too many smokestacks, too many people. We just didn't know how to rein things in. And now it's too late.

Greedy, hungry for entertainment and travel and technology, we did it ourselves, to ourselves. The rest, now, will be a long slow decline into annihilation of our species by unstoppable global warming and climate change. You might say this is depressing. I say it's reality, and we need to face reality. And start planning for the end. That is where our enterprise should go now: planning for the end of the human species.

So goodbye Human Civilization, Human Science, Human Evolution, Human Dreaming. No more Magna Carta, no more Beethoven or Mozart or Snoopy Dogg or J-Z, no more cellphones, no more PDAs, no more United Nations, no more blogging, no more cars, no more churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, shrines. Human life is soon to be a lost chapter in the Cosmos. Because of global warming and climate change.
Goodbye Humankind, it all its storied and multicolored and multisplendored variety! Ten billion people will soon be zero people. There will be no one left alive. There will not be one man standing. The Earth will be devoid of all human life, and most animal life and plant life as well. But some bacteria and slime will remain and continue...
You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way climate change is taking us. It is taking us to our end as a species.

In a way, it makes sense. We did it to ourselves. We did it ourselves. We dug our own hole, while trying to build a towering temple to the sky.
It's okay. We had our chance. But we couldn't curb our appetites. Born from the swamps, we shall return to the swamps. Evolved from the void, we will return to the void. One might call it poetic justice. Celestial justice. Everlasting justice. Star life.
We came out of nothing, and we will return to nothing. Blame it on our genes, our sharp minds, our penetrating intelligence and human brains.
We are done for.
Even as you read these words, the planet's millions of engines, small and large, household and industrial, are purring, revving, singing their song -- and spewing CO2 emissions into the very atmosphere that sustains us, the very atmosphere that is now hastening our demise. At this very moment -- NOW! -- highways around the world are clogged, smokestacks are belching, gasoline is being guzzled, oil is being burned. Even as you read these words, it is too late. Too late. Too late."
posted by dan at 9:56 PM 21 comments
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January 2007

10:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

James Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years
Each nation must find the best use of its resources to sustain civilisation for as long as they can
Published: 16 January 2006
Imagine a young policewoman delighted in the fulfilment of her vocation; then imagine her having to tell a family whose child had strayed that he had been found dead, murdered in a nearby wood. Or think of a young physician newly appointed who has to tell you that the biopsy revealed invasion by an aggressive metastasising tumour. Doctors and the police know that many accept the simple awful truth with dignity but others try in vain to deny it.

Whatever the response, the bringers of such bad news rarely become hardened to their task and some dread it. We have relieved judges of the awesome responsibility of passing the death sentence, but at least they had some comfort from its frequent moral justification. Physicians and the police have no escape from their duty.

This article is the most difficult I have written and for the same reasons. My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.

The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.

Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.

Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.

Curiously, aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight back to space. This "global dimming" is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is, leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse. We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.

By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life. A task we would soon find impossible - and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for us.

To understand how impossible it is, think about how you would regulate your own temperature or the composition of your blood. Those with failing kidneys know the never-ending daily difficulty of adjusting water, salt and protein intake. The technological fix of dialysis helps, but is no replacement for living healthy kidneys.

My new book The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts, but you still may ask why science took so long to recognise the true nature of the Earth. I think it is because Darwin's vision was so good and clear that it has taken until now to digest it. In his time, little was known about the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, and there would have been little reason for him to wonder if organisms changed their environment as well as adapting to it.

Had it been known then that life and the environment are closely coupled, Darwin would have seen that evolution involved not just the organisms, but the whole planetary surface. We might then have looked upon the Earth as if it were alive, and known that we cannot pollute the air or use the Earth's skin - its forest and ocean ecosystems - as a mere source of products to feed ourselves and furnish our homes. We would have felt instinctively that those ecosystems must be left untouched because they were part of the living Earth.

So what should we do? First, we have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act; and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can. Civilisation is energy-intensive and we cannot turn it off without crashing, so we need the security of a powered descent. On these British Isles, we are used to thinking of all humanity and not just ourselves; environmental change is global, but we have to deal with the consequences here in the UK.

Unfortunately our nation is now so urbanised as to be like a large city and we have only a small acreage of agriculture and forestry. We are dependent on the trading world for sustenance; climate change will deny us regular supplies of food and fuel from overseas.

We could grow enough to feed ourselves on the diet of the Second World War, but the notion that there is land to spare to grow biofuels, or be the site of wind farms, is ludicrous. We will do our best to survive, but sadly I cannot see the United States or the emerging economies of China and India cutting back in time, and they are the main source of emissions. The worst will happen and survivors will have to adapt to a hell of a climate.

Perhaps the saddest thing is that Gaia will lose as much or more than we do. Not only will wildlife and whole ecosystems go extinct, but in human civilisation the planet has a precious resource. We are not merely a disease; we are, through our intelligence and communication, the nervous system of the planet. Through us, Gaia has seen herself from space, and begins to know her place in the universe.

We should be the heart and mind of the Earth, not its malady. So let us be brave and cease thinking of human needs and rights alone, and see that we have harmed the living Earth and need to make our peace with Gaia. We must do it while we are still strong enough to negotiate, and not a broken rabble led by brutal war lords. Most of all, we should remember that we are a part of it, and it is indeed our home.

The writer is an independent environmental scientist and Fellow of the Royal Society. 'The Revenge of Gaia' is published by Penguin on 2 February

10:01 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.

10:02 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.

10:02 PM  
Blogger dan said...

By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life. A task we would soon find impossible - and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for

10:03 PM  
Blogger dan said...

vvMy new book The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts, but you still may ask why science took so long to recognise the true nature of the Earth. I think it is because Darwin's vision was so good and clear that it has taken until now to digest it. In his time, little was known about the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, and there would have been little reason for him to wonder if organisms changed their environment as well as adapting to it.

Had it been known then that life and the environment are closely coupled, Darwin would have seen that evolution involved not just the organisms, but the whole planetary surface. We might then have looked upon the Earth as if it were alive, and known that we cannot pollute the air or use the Earth's skin - its forest and ocean ecosystems - as a mere source of products to feed ourselves and furnish our homes. We would have felt instinctively that those ecosystems must be left untouched because they were part of the living Earth.

10:03 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Viridian Note 00457: Broken Rabble, Brutal Warlords
Key concepts:

James Lovelock, predictions of imminent climatic doom

Attention Conservation Notice:
James Lovelock is in his mid-80s, so won't live to see any of this utter mayhem he's prophesying.

10:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Source: Independent newspaper, editorial
http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article338879.ece

'James Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years 'Each nation must find the best use of its resources to sustain civilisation for as long as they can Published: 16 January 2006

'Imagine a young policewoman delighted in the fulfilment of her vocation; then imagine her having to tell a family whose child had strayed that he had been found dead, murdered in a nearby wood. Or think of a young physician newly appointed who has to tell you that the biopsy revealed invasion by an aggressive metastasising tumour. Doctors and the police know that many accept the simple awful truth with dignity but others try in vain to deny it.

'Whatever the response, the bringers of such bad news rarely become hardened to their task and some dread it. We have relieved judges of the awesome responsibility of passing the death sentence, but at least they had some comfort from its frequent moral justification. Physicians and the police have no escape from their duty.

'This article is the most difficult I have written and for the same reasons. My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news. (((I'm all for colorful, effective pop science writing, but "Gaia" doesn't "make" any person into any kind of planetary anything, much less a planetary doctor or young female cop.)))

"The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger. (((Okay, this part I'm buying.)))

'Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. (((Animals don't make British scientists into planetary physicians.))) It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics. (((Why don't we just say that "Gaia has made us into a suicide belt and blown herself up?" Wouldn't that be a lot less likely to offend our amour-propre as we're roasting in the lethal rays of Kindly Father Sun?)))

'Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves. (((What happens to that 40 per cent area of fertility when we humans are 90 percent dead?)))

'Curiously, (((interesting word choice there))) aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight back to space. This "global dimming" is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is, leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse. We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable. (((I don't want to cavil here, but if smoke is all that's needed to keep us from dwindling off like endangered polar penguins, what's wrong with a brisk little nuclear exchange? As I recall from 'nuclear winter theory,' those make plenty of nice new fresh smoke.))) 'By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. (((Unlike Gaia, who's sitting there with the Three Fates weaving those feedback loops.))) By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. (((Guantanamo? Wait, I digress.)))

'If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life. A task we would soon find impossible – and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for us. (((If you don't count those occasional ice ages and the annihilating meteor strikes.)))

'To understand how impossible it is, think about how you would regulate your own temperature or the composition of your blood. Those with failing kidneys know the never-ending daily difficulty of adjusting water, salt and protein intake. The technological fix of dialysis helps, but is no replacement for living healthy kidneys. (((Well, okay, but what if Gaia gave me a lousy kidney? I mean, some of us are born that way.)))

'My new book The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts, but you still may ask why science took so long to recognise the true nature of the Earth. I think it is because Darwin's vision was so good and clear that it has taken until now to digest it. (((Maybe Darwin should have written in a rather more metaphorical, anthropomorphic, mystical fashion.))) In his time, little was known about the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, and there would have been little reason for him to wonder if organisms changed their environment as well as adapting to it.

'Had it been known then that life and the environment are closely coupled, Darwin would have seen that evolution involved not just the organisms, but the whole planetary surface. We might then have looked upon the Earth as if it were alive, and known that we cannot pollute the air or use the Earth's skin – its forest and ocean ecosystems – as a mere source of products to feed ourselves and furnish our homes. We would have felt instinctively that those ecosystems must be left untouched because they were part of the living Earth. (((Maybe, but I've noticed that when people lack shelter and food, 'instinctive feelings' are the first things they jettison.)))

'So what should we do? (((Die in large numbers from the grim consequences of our obscurantist inattention to physical reality.))) First, we have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act; and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can. (((Imagine preaching this screed to the Akkadians, Mayans, Easter Islanders and Greenland Vikings. "The best use of the resources WE have? What about those OTHER GUY'S resources?"))) Civilisation is energy-intensive and we cannot turn it off without crashing, (((Look, if we're gonna crash anyway, it makes perfect logical sense to crash NOW before "Gaia" gets even more peeved))) so we need the security of a powered descent. ((("Security"?))) On these British Isles, (((Hey, speak for yourself, perfidious foreigner))) we are used to thinking of all humanity and not just ourselves; environmental change is global, but we have to deal with the consequences here in the UK.

(((I'm all for a tidy, eco-shipshape UK, but I question whether that would do much about a shift in the North Atlantic currents. If environmental change is global, even localities have to deal with global consequences, not local ones.)))

"Unfortunately our nation is now so urbanised as to be like a large city and we have only a small acreage of agriculture and forestry. We are dependent on the trading world for sustenance; climate change will deny us regular supplies of food and fuel from overseas. (((I'm not quite sure how this is supposed to work. If there's no food anywhere, then everybody dies in short order. If there's food, but it's too difficult or expensive to ship, then every locality who doesn't produce a local agricultural surplus dies, not just Britain. If we entered a period of mass global famine, we would die off hugely and suddenly, in that thoughtful way that Gaia culls lemmings and deer herds. In a matter of a few years the survivors would be in a nigh-empty global wilderness. It might be stormy, but the emission problem would be history.)))

"We could grow enough to feed ourselves on the diet of the Second World War, (((really? Wow))) but the notion that there is land to spare to grow biofuels, or be the site of wind farms, is ludicrous. (((Aren't British wind farms largely offshore? Besides, hasn't the NIMBY crowd starved by now?))) We will do our best to survive, but sadly I cannot see the United States or the emerging economies of China and India cutting back in time, and they are the main source of emissions. (((Britain is starving while USA, China and India are chugging right along? Who's shipping food to China?))) The worst will happen and survivors will have to adapt to a hell of a climate.

(((If Lovelock were Chinese he would have written an article where China starves horribly as America, Britain and India all chuckle and play pinochle.)))

"Perhaps the saddest thing is that Gaia will lose as much or more than we do. (((On the plus side, Gaia won't pen any editorials about that.))) Not only will wildlife and whole ecosystems go extinct, but in human civilisation the planet has a precious resource. We are not merely a disease; (((hey, speak for yourself, planetary physician))) we are, through our intelligence and communication, the nervous system of the planet. Through us, Gaia has seen herself from space, and begins to know her place in the universe. (((And then, through us, her nervous system, Gaia went into the garage, turned on the engine and died of the fumes.)))

"We should be the heart and mind of the Earth, not its malady. (((If we're heart and mind, plus nerves and damaged kidneys to boot, Gaia's got very few organs left.))) So let us be brave and cease thinking of human needs and rights alone, and see that we have harmed the living Earth and need to make our peace with Gaia. We must do it while we are still strong enough to negotiate, and not a broken rabble led by brutal war lords. (((Speaking of broken rabble led by brutal war lords, I'm moving to Belgrade in a couple of days. It was calamitous for years, but nowadays I kinda like it there.))) Most of all, we should remember that we are a part of it, and it is indeed our home.'

(((For all the acerbic fun I've had with it, this is a very disturbing article. After some days' consideration, I've come to this conclusion about it. I don't think humanity has the capacity to put "Gaia" into a 100,000 year "coma." Humanity's heading for the clinic before Gaia does; we've already got dubious food security, some cracking little resource wars and emergent major-league diseases. We don't have the capacity to expand industrial development flat-out while being hammered by global climate change and three out of four apocalyptic horsemen. We won't need Gaia's Revenge to do us in – by the time Gaia was good and ready, we'd be doin' a heck of a job eliminating ourselves.)))

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
OH COME ON, COMPARED TO LOSING
NEW ORLEANS AND A MAJOR LAND
WAR, BUILDING A FEW HUNDRED NUCLEAR
POWER PLANTS IS NO BIG DEAL
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O

10:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

As much as the Gaia concept helped to spur the consideration of the planet as a system of systems, I must admit to a great deal of sympathy for Bruce's take. Lovelock was once a highly-regarded environmental scientist, but little of that shows in this essay. Instead, he joins the list of apocaphiles, strenuously denying that humans can do anything else but wallow in their own filth and destroy the planet (or, as he describes it, put Gaia into a "morbid fever" for 100,000 years). He expresses great dismay that we've come to this state, but offers neither solutions nor solace, choosing instead to detail some of the awful ways that billions of us will die.

I really dislike apocaphilia.

10:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Apocaphiles tell us that our fate is pre-determined, and that any attempt to avoid it is doomed to failure. They're not simply defeatist, they're positively offended by any suggestion that we might figure out a way to avoid disaster. People who believe that we'll muddle through are accused of having their "heads in the ground;" people who try to change our behavior are derided as "unrealistic;" and people who look for tool-based solutions are castigated for trying for a "techno-fix." The only allowable opinion is that we are lost. There's a distinctly Calvinist flavor to apocaphiles, as they revel in laying out the doom we face because of our own sins, be they environmental, sociological or technological. Ironically, the apocaphile refuses to admit to any human ability to avoid this fate -- we can bring it about, but we can't prevent it, either because the time to do so has long past (i.e., we've left the Garden of Eden) or because we're too greedy/foolish/short-sighted/power-hungry to do so (i.e., we're mired in Original Sin).

I dislike apocaphilia because I believe that deeds can make a difference

10:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I also dislike apocaphilia because it presumes to predict the future. The truth is, we simply cannot know if we are, in fact, doomed. We may be -- but there's a damn good chance that we aren't, at least if we make an effort to change global conditions. And that, ultimately, is what makes me so irritated at doomsayers: the denial of our ability to make a difference. Tell people over and over that there's nothing that they can do, and eventually they'll start to believe you, making the negative outcome inevitable. I would much rather try to change things for the better and fail than to lie back and just let the world collapse around me.

Lovelock tells us that billions of us will die, that it's too late to stop the end of the world. I say that such an outcome is a choice, one that we need not make.

10:15 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Australia urged to lead the way in climate change revolution

Jan 25, 3007


Australia is at the sharp end of the devastating impact of climate change and must urgently undergo an energy revolution if it is to survive, according to eminent scientist, author and winner of the nation's top award, Tim Flannery.



Flannery, who was named Australian of the Year marking the country's national day on January 26, believes that if ever a textbook example of the impact of global warming was needed, Australia provides it.

Bushfires have raged for weeks in the country's alpine regions, water reserves in the major cities are drying up while a once-in-a-century drought has ravaged farming land, cutting into the nation's economic output.

"We are the worst, as a developed country. There is nowhere else that is getting the hammering that we are getting at the moment," Flannery told AFP in an interview.

"It may be that other factors will be unleashed in the future which will make it much worse for places like Europe and North America, but at the moment every city in Australia with the exception probably of Darwin, has got water rations.

"That is not due to poor infrastructure planning or anything else," he said. "It's actually due to a natural cycle of water availability which is driven by greenhouse gas pollution."

To avert biological disaster, Flannery's suggestions are radical: the coal industry should be shunted aside, traditional methods of producing power junked, and a desert metropolis established and placed at the centre of Australia's electricity grid.

"We need to decarbonise the economy extremely rapidly -- which we could do if we were on a raw footing," he said. "We could just close down the coal-fired power plants. We could. We could mandate we are going to have electricity rationing, we are going to close things down, we are going to build a new infrastructure as quick as we can."

-- Burning coal is a "stupid" way to make electricity --

Asked whether this approach would cripple the country's economy, currently riding a commodities boom thanks to North Asia's hunger for Australian resources, Flannery is unmoved.

"Won't the Australian economy collapse if climate change continues? There are a lot of ways to make electricity. Burning coal is just one of the more antique and stupid ways of doing it. We've got solar (energy), we've got wind, we've got geothermal."

Flannery explores these ideas in his latest book "The Weather Makers," which explains how the build-up of greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels has damaged the atmosphere and is leading to global warming.

This has resulted in the melting of the polar ice-caps, rising sea levels and the extinction of some species -- incontrovertible evidence that mankind's pollution is heating up the earth, he said.

"It just makes the simple point that the atmosphere is very small -- it's about one-five-hundredth of the oceans. So it's very easy to pollute."

Flannery has invited controversy from environmentalists for arguing that nuclear energy should be used to counter global electricity shortages, but his energy solution for Australia is even less conventional.

The zoologist, biologist, explorer, conservationist and writer, who rose to prominence following the 1994 publication of the ecological history of Australasia "The Future Eaters," believes the solution for this country lies in harnessing the heat contained in the earth's crust.

Geothermal energy is already used in Iceland, North America and New Zealand, and Flannery believes Australia has the best geothermal resource in the world in the Cooper Basin in the South Australian desert.

"One of the things I have suggested is that, if Australia is serious about this, we could build a major new city out there, link up with the north-south railway line, make it the centre of our electricity grid and use that resource. It will provide enough electricity to run the entire Australian economy for 100 years," he said.

-- The evidence is clear: the world is heating up --

Flannery, who speaks quietly but intently, hopes that Australia will change from being one of the worst polluters on a per capita basis, to the best example of the responsible use of world resources.

"We could do that. We need a government to admit that it was wrong in ignoring this issue for so long and get on with a new vision," he said.

"Ultimately there is only one set of accounts that matters at all. It's not what (Prime Minister) John Howard says or what the current account balance in the Australian economy is -- it's the one held by the atmosphere, the greenhouse gases held by the atmosphere, and that's the one we all need to keep our eye on."

To the climate change sceptics, Flannery says the changes the world has recently witnessed provide clear evidence that the earth is heating up at an alarming rate.

"What has become evident over the last three years probably is that climate change is proceeding at a far more rapid rate than even the worst pessimist among the scientists imagined. We all underestimated the power of the greenhouse gases."

Flannery, who later this year will take up a post at Sydney's Macquarie University researching climate change, has sobering predictions for the future.

"Let's project ourselves 50 years out and imagine that the rate of melt has continued so that the sea level has come up three or four metres (yards). What that would mean is that there's barely a functioning port facility on the planet.

"So how do we go about international trade which is actually the centre of our global civilisation?

"Every coastal city is under enormous threat. People would be spending trillions just trying to keep their cities going. You've got refugees on a scale that is unimaginable. The stresses on peace would be enormous.

"Does that sound like a stable situation? That's just projecting what we've seen so far. That's just saying if we continue as we are, that's where we will end up."

Flannery is not alone in his predictions. His voice joins growing calls from around the world for a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas pollution and equally dire visions of the future.

But while the amount of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere is enough to cause disaster, Flannery believes this is no reason for inaction.

"This is about survival," he said. "The underlying conditions in the biosphere are getting worse and worse.

"The biggest danger with climate change is that it will go off the boil because it's got too big, too overwhelming. We've got to keep fighting against that."

1:05 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Thanks indeed for this sober and thoughtful analysis. I found this particularly useful after reading a 12 Dec article in the New York Times by Steve Lohr titled The Cost of an Overheated Planet.

It's clear that governments and societies (which are not the same think - thank you, David Cameron) will sometime spend on things they think will reduce the risk of big hazards. A Lohr points out, "In the late 1950s...American military spending reached as high as 10 percent of the gross domestic product and averaged about 4 percent, far higher than in any previous peacetime era. A Soviet nuclear attack was a danger but hardly a certainty, just as the predicted catastrophes from global warming are threats but not certainties."

The article then touches on the implications of spending 1% of US GDP to fight global warming (incidentally, says Lohr, 1% of US GDP is more than $120 billion a year, or $400 a person; it is about equal to the Bush administration’s tax cuts in 2001; and roughly the amount spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2006).

At first sight one might think: "Case closed - if [we] are willing to spend 1% on war surely [we] are willing to match this in the struggle to save the planet", or some such worthy statement (1% being also the figure Stern recommends for expenditure to fight climate change).

As you rightly point out, however, revealed preferences for things that seem to be remote tend to be smaller, even among those who self-define as altruistic (which takes us back to Adam Smith, one's little finger and the Chinese empire http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Adam_Smith#Far-away_disasters).

Climate change is perceived as a much more remote, and lesser threat than nuclear war was in the 1950s and 60s.

It may be that that perception is wrong. The probabilities of a nuclear exchange between the USSR and the USA, which occasioned the latter to spend up to 10% of GDP to fight it, may for much of the time, including in the 1950s, have been smaller than thought (although, if Robert McNamara is right about Castro, we got incredibly close in 1961). And the possibility of "runaway" climate change is not, as far as I know, something that serious scientists dismiss completely (this would necessarily be as bad as nuclear war, just that it could be very bad).

I'm not suggesting one should try and create a "duck and cover" hysteria about global warming. I am suggesting we need to recalibrate our understanding of respective risks.

Here's a further thought. As you say, in Britain (and other rich industrialised countries) we are willing to spend disproportionate sums on immediate near term problems. You give the good example of health care in the last few days of life.

So what if societies such as ours started to place greater value on the near term impacts of climate change (for example, the likely loss of tropical coral reefs at less than 2C global average temperature rise)?

I feel out of my depth using a term like "the construction of value", but isn't that what we are talking about? Those concerned with local and global social and environmental justice may seek to reshape values so that more people cherish such things (yes, even in our preferences) a little more with respect to what we believe to be our own near term utility. (By the way, perhaps there is a case for dialogue/education with those facing terminal illnesses and their families regarding the case for a less drawn-out death -- ouch! a difficult but valid debate).

So to your final point: "perhaps a human rights or pure justice lens would be better". Well yes! The comparison may be a tendentious, but imagine a political economist of the 1770s looking at the economic case for and against the abolition of slavery. That would provide useful data, but it would only take him so far. The battle in that case was political.

Also, this time the people on the receiving end may have other ways of expressing their grievances or otherwise making themselves felt - through, for example, large scale migration from West Africa to Europe.

Reading it back, this comment comes across as impossibly idealistic. As Jonathan Glover points out in his extraordinary book "Humanity: a Moral History of the 20th Century", we have hardly begun to tackle the social psychology and practical ethics of warfare, still less issues such as environmental protection.

But as he is flavour of the week, let's cite Barack Obama - let us have the audacity to hope.

12:21 PM


Caspar Henderson 提到...
sorry - at least two error in my previous post.

I meant to write that "runaway" climate change "would *not* necessarily be as bad as nuclear war".

And on reshaping values, I meant to write "even in our *revealed* preferences".

12:34 PM


Clive Bates 提到...
My colleagues have responded in characteristically high-minded fashion by suggesting the following link:

Futerra's Stern Review Smack 'Em

Use the weighty Stern Review to thwack prominent sceptics...

6:18 PM


Caspar Henderson 提到...
Nice game, but I got a lousy score. Boo hoo

11:13 PM


Henry Leveson-Gower 提到...
In terms of action on climate change, I think that considerations of our preferences is not morally appropriate in a similar way the they are not appropriate in a court. Basically justice and preference/utility max seem different moral criteria and the decision as to which should apply in particular situations is a moral decision in itself. Hence in a court situation we do not think preferences/utility are relevant (even some-one we hate, we would give a fair trial, no?). So the only question is whether overall we bequeath future generations a world that is at least as good as the one we got or better (duty to improve world during generational tenure?).

I would then link this with setting up an EU (world later?) organisation with a mandate to provide justice to future generations - this faces directly the problem of current short term NAP decisions based on current generational interests. This involves a major political statement that CC is about justice for future generations. In terms of organisation funding, powers, capacities etc, my initial thoughts are:
- should have independant income to ensure political independance from current generation (top slice auction of EU ETS allowances?)
- Income can be both for costs (including significant research capacity into CC impacts) and investing for future generations inc developing world (spillover here to sustainable finance agenda and 'bank for the future' idea)
- should have power to influence (& set?) EU ETS caps based on a 2050 target for Carbon concentration in atmosphere; this is its point of political leverage/responsibility. It alone should be responsible for setting the long-term target which will effect future generations, its central mandate.
- how this feeds through to the current EU ETS cap is more complicated in terms of balancing current and future generations and getting the whole thing off the ground (give this organisation too much direct power and it won't be politically possible to get it agreed). It could be in the form of setting the next cap but one, which still provides some flexibility to governments but influences the broad direction and helps make the intergenerational trade-off explicit. Another option is that they set all caps, but allow borrowing by governments/businesses from future generations and they set the 'interest rate', which is a model more akin to a central bank, but may be a bit complicated to sell politically.

10:32 AM

1:44 AM  
Blogger dan said...

UN climate report will shock the world -chairman says

By Robert Benjamin(Robert Benjamin)

A forthcoming UN report on climate change will provide the most credible evidence
yet of a human link to global warming and hopefully shock ... The report by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due for release on Feb. ...

5:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Tide Coming In?

Credit to the Globe for a big section on climate change in today's paper. And good to see that in their poll, 73% of respondents said that they think Global Warming is the result of human activity. I am skeptical that the level of attention climate change has received recently will last, but I am encouraged that there seems to be slow progress towards the kind of public desire for action that will force the politicians to stop stalling.

The most amusing part of the Globe's coverage had to be Margaret Wente's frantic rearguard action. The Globe obviously feels that writing about the same topic over and over again and always being wrong means that you should get a 4-page column to write even more on the topic. Or maybe the Globe editors just realize that the best way to convince those left on the fence to get moving is to give them Wente and have them realize that this is the voice of doing nothing.

Anyway, much like any person who gets involved in a tug-of-war with reality, Wente is losing ground.

Consider her position on climate change scientists in her column giving a platform for climate change skeptic Steve McIntyre (written less than one year ago):


"Unlike almost everyone else in the highly charged climate-change debate, Mr. McIntyre has nothing personal at stake. He doesn't need to advance his career or get research grants."

...

"But wait. Don't most scientists still believe in the perils of man-made global warming? "Sure," says Mr. McIntyre. "And most stockbrokers believed in Enron."

...

"He [McIntyre] says that most scientists haven't analyzed the data, and that scientists, like everyone else, are subject to peer pressure and groupthink. "Just because everybody thinks something's true doesn't make it true."


So basically, Wente's position one year ago was that all the world's climatologists were lying about global warming because they were just tyring to get more money for grants or were victims of groupthink.

But now see what Wente2.0 writes in today's globe,
"Because I'm skeptical by nature [ed: yeah, you were real skeptical in your column with McIntyre], I've always discounted the environmental catastrophists. Their message is religious, not rational. But I've also spoken to enough brainy scientists to conclude that human activity is affecting the climate and that global warming is for real."

...

"To try to get a grip, I checked in with eight leading climate scientists, climate economists and climate-policy analysts. All believe that man-made climate change is a serious issue that demands action."


Now it's possible that in the ten months between Wente columns, there was a revolution in science I happened to miss, a revolution where all the scientists who used to make up results just to get more funding or because they blinded by groupthink were tossed out and replaced with intelligent rational scientists (who came to the same conclusions), but that seems unlikely.

What seems more likely is that Wente, in her status-quo fortified city, has now conceded that the orcs (aka environmentalists, aka reality) have overrun the outer walls which insisted that the science was all wrong, and has now called her rhetorical troops to fall back to the inner walls, where she has to accept what the scientists are saying, but can still deride the dirty hippie environmentalists (extremists!! and alarmists!!, every last one of them), and try to cling to the edge of the scientifc debate which corresponds to the lowest levels of personal guilt or any need to take any action (I believe that all of Wente's columns on global warming are motivated at root by her desire to drive an SUV and not feel guilty about it).

Anyway, I have to admire her chutzpah. If I had spent the last few years writing column after column for a national audience about how climate change was no big deal and we should do nothing, and now I had to write a column basically saying the opposite, I might feel embarrassed, or feel a need to apologize to my readers for my error, or to the planet for the costs of any inaction I helped cause or to all the people I'd mocked along the way who turned out to be right all along, but not Wente. Wente goes right on mocking and attacking all the same people, smoothly transitioning from arguing that we shouldn't do anything, to arguing that we might do too much or take action too soon, from arguing that the people calling for action are wrong to arguing that, OK, they were right, but they are way too shrill about it.

I also like the way Wente titles her column "A Questionable Truth", says at the end that much of what Gore says is "dubious or just plain wrong", and says in the middle of her article that "all these experts are highly critical of An Inconvenient Truth" but somehow, in a 2500 word article, seems not to have hardly made mention of any specific things in Gore's film that are factually inaccurate. Surely if the whole film was questionable, dubious and/or wrong and she talked to all these experts who were highly critical of it, there must be loads of things they could mention that Gore was wrong about - no? But all we get is one measly paragraph,
"Prof. Wunsch, the ocean-currents expert, says that despite what Mr. Gore asserts, there is no chance whatsoever that the Gulf Stream will slow down or stop. Nor did Hurricane Katrina have any link with global warming, nor do this winter's storms and other strange weather."


One person dissents on a couple of points, that's it?

The final, perhaps saddest piece of the article is this:
"At this point, most people say: Well, obviously we've got to start cutting greenhouse-gas emissions as fast as possible. Surely that's the way to make a difference.

This is one of the most common misunderstandings in the global-warming debate. ... Carbon cuts will have an impact — but not for many, many years, because they represent only a tiny fraction of the total CO{-2} that's already in the atmosphere."


One guesses that there aren't many oak trees on the Wente estate. After all, they grow so slowly, what's the point?

Anyway, a year ago Wente's article might have made me angry, but today it just made me laugh. Wente is not quite like King Canute trying to command the tide not to come in. She is more like someone who stood trying to command the tide not to come in, and then when she felt the water coming up over her knees, retreated a few feet towards shore, and stood pretending she had never been standing anywhere else, and resumed her efforts. At some point, you'd think that just giving up on the SUV would be easier than writing all these silly columns.

It's fun to make fun of Wente, but this is a serious issue, and it's good to see it starting to get some serious attention, and it's also good to see that most Canadians have seen through the smokescreen of 'skepticism' that the media has created. Next up, serious government action.

6:16 PM  
Blogger dan said...

On a blog where i posted some comments and link to this blog, i received this polite but strong reply:

"Sir, I am asking you to change your message or stop repeating this one.

There are, I hope, many young persons and likely many students regularly visiting this site. Your message is most inappropriate and even self-defeating for that audience.

Yes, one can not argue that we (the gownups) screwed up. But, it is not for we- the grownups- to tell the youth that ''the game is up''. ''All is lost. Go home. Be happy.''

Come on, dude. In my darkest moment, I will never say those things to my son and daughter.

Read this as a protest against your message. "

Comment by _____— 26 Jan 2007 @ 12:02 pm

============
I had posted this, earlier, which brought his reply:


Nigel and others, thanks for comments. email me offline for further discuss if wish:

I was writing that blog under pen name of Charles C. Commons. But tis me.

james Lovelock said it best in a UK Independent oped piece mid January, it is linked on my blog now, under Emanual's link. LOVELOCK! He knows....

I don't think any humans will survive past the END TIMES, but yes, some animal and plant species will, and maybe in time they will evolve again to humans, but i doubt it. our time here is over. of course, there is plenty of time to plan. that is what i am advocating. start planning for the end now, 1000 years from now. but who living today cares? nobody can see that far....

but only animal and plant species will survive. HUMAN DNA will be history.

what do do for prepare for coming long summer? good question. I don't know. I feel there is nothing to do, but enjoy life now, generation by generation, but know that end is coming. it is too late. the plane is on fire, we are crashing, it's over......but not for another 1000 years, so enjoy life today YES. we are okay. it is future gens down the road who are in peril. of course, i don't have kids yet, so none of my progeny will be there. i feel sad for what i wrote in blog, but it's the godawful truth. ask LOVELOCK.

baron Paul, i disagree, it will destroy all human life. period. nothing left at all. just animal species a few, some plants, bacteria. read the handwriting on the wall. read LOVELOCK's UK piece this month. he said it best.

i don't aprrove the destruction of humanity. i feel sad. but we did it to ourselves. i don't believe in Hell and I don't believe in gods. or messiahs. there is just us, not even ETs or aliens, just us, and we did ourselves in. THIS is what people must face. I know it';s not easy to accept what i wrote. but it's the truth. and i am not the only saying this. and i love life and I am an optimist, believe it or not.

also

i am not saying DO NOTHING. i am saying IT IS TOO LATE. and i am saying start THINKING ABOUT 1000 years from now, when this life experiement of humankind will end. that;s all i am saying. start planning for how Generation 3000 will die......we are okay. enjoy the moments now. life is good. but it got too good and we screwed the atmosphere up. ask Lovelock. "

db

6:38 PM  
Blogger dan said...

One blogger in Australia, Ben Oquist, wrote:

"thanks, this is really fantastic stuff. i will link and post about it on my blog."

so some people want to hear this message and others, above, want me to shut up....

6:44 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The controversial issues of climate change and global warming can be
lightning rods for the emotions, as I recently found out when I posted
a blog screed on the Internet titled "Climate Change and the End of
Humankind." In my commentary, I wrote that climate change and global
warming are already irreversible, due to human activity and
over-consumption and greed, and that humankind will likely cease to
exist as a species by the year 2500 (year 3000 at the latest).

Of course, that is just my reasoned and I feel resonable opinion, but
I cannot see the future and nobody needs to take my words seriously. I
wrote the blog as food for thought about these important issues.

But no sooner had I posted the blog on the Internet than I received a
note from a fellow blogger telling me, politely, to cease and desist
with my public statements about the end of humankind. Let's call him
John, and you should know that he is a father to two growing children.

He wrote to me: "I am asking you to change your message or stop
repeating this one. There are, I hope, many young persons and likely
many students
regularly surfing the Internet and googling for information about
climate change and what we can do about global warming. The message on
your blog is most inappropriate and even self-defeating for that
audience."

John had a point there, and I said as much when I replied to him. He
had also said: "Yes, one cannot argue that we (the grownups of the
world) have screwed up. But, it is
not for us -- the grownups -- to tell the youth that the game is up.
Or that ''All is lost. Go home. Be happy.' Come on, dude. In my
darkest moments, I will never say those things to
my son or daughter. Please read this note to you as a protest against
your blog."

Now what had I written on my blog to provoke this response? You can
read my commentary here: http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

I replied to John that I understood his point about not telling young
people that things are so bad, and I told him that I apprecitaed his
writing to me. What's your take on all this, and what should we tell
young people? Should I remove my blog from the Internet completely, or
should I let it stand as "food for thought"?

7:24 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Washington wakes up to global warming

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Washington wakes up to global warming
By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer
2 hours, 26 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Maybe it's the weird winter weather, or the newly
Democratic Congress. Maybe it's the news reports about starving polar
bears, or the Oscar nomination for Al Gore's global warming cri de
coeur, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Whatever the reason, years of resistance to the reality of climate
change are suddenly melting away like the soon-to-be-history snows of
Kilimanjaro.

Now even George W. Bush says it's a problem.

For years, the president and his supporters argued that not enough was
known about global warming to do anything about it. But during last
week's State of the Union address Bush finally referred to global
warming as an established fact.

"These technologies will help us be better stewards of the
environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge
of global climate change," Bush said in proposing a series of measures
to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.

Environmentalists and scientists who study the problem say the
nostrums Bush proposed Tuesday night will do little to prevent the
serious environmental effects that the globe faces in coming decades.

Environmentalists favor imposing a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas
emissions tied to a market-based emissions trading system. Several of
the global warming bills that have been introduced to the new
Democrat-controlled Congress would do exactly that. House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) has proposed creating a new
global warming committee to consider the legislation.

"We want the pressure on. The pressure will drive the development of
new technologies," said Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record),
D-Calif., who introduced one of the global warming bills.

Many industry leaders have come to realize that such measures may be
more an opportunity than a hindrance. The day before Bush's speech the
chief executives of 10 corporations, including Alcoa Inc., BP America
Inc., DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co. and Duke
Energy Corp., called for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

"It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions," said
Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. "The science of global warming is
clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now."

And a week before the State of the Union address a dozen evangelicals
called action against global warming a "moral imperative" in a joint
statement with scientists from the Centers for Disease Control,
NASA, Harvard and other institutions.

There is still plenty of opposition to action on global warming in
both the evangelical and business communities, but the tide is clearly
turning.

"You're seeing a major political shift that is fairly broad-based,"
said Robert Watson, a scientist at the World Bank and former
chairman of the United Nations scientific panel responsible for
evaluating the threat of climate change.

Scientists have been at the vanguard of the climate change issue for
decades. As early as 1965 a scientific advisory board to President
Johnson warned that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide could lead
to "marked changes in climate" by 2000.

In 1988 the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change. Though assailed by critics as an overly alarmist
organization, the panel actually represents a relatively cautious
assessment of global warming because it relies on input from hundreds
of scientists, including well-known skeptics and industry researchers.

Every five or six years since 1990, the IPCC has released an updated
assessment of the environmental threat posed by global warming. And
every time, a single memorable and increasingly alarming statement has
stood out from the thousands of pages of technical discussion.

The first report noted that Earth's average temperature had risen by
0.5 to one degree Fahrenheit in the past century, a warming consistent
with the global warming predictions but still within the range of
natural climate variability.

"The observed increase could be largely due to this natural
variability," the scientists concluded.

But by 1995 that possibility had all but vanished: "The balance of
evidence suggests a discernable human influence on global climate,"
the second IPCC report concluded.

Six years after that: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of
the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human
activities."

Since then, scientists have accumulated abundant evidence that global
warming is upon us. They have documented a dramatic retreat of the
Arctic sea in recent summers, accelerated melting on the Greenland and
Antarctic ice caps and the virtual collapse in mountain glaciers
around the globe. They have found plants and animals well poleward of
their normal ranges. They have recorded temperature records in many
locations and shifts in atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Globally,
the planet is the warmest it has been in thousands of years, if not
more.

Emboldened by these discoveries, scientists just in the last month
have issued some dire warnings. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists,
originally formed in response to the dangers of nuclear weapons, cited
the climate change threat in moving its "doomsday clock" two minutes
closer to midnight. And Britain's meteorological agency announced just
three days into the year that 2007 has a 60 percent likelihood of
being the warmest year on record, thanks to the combined effects of
global warming and El Nino.

"You just can't explain the observed changes that we've seen in the
last half of the 20th century by invoking natural causes," said
Benjamin Santer, a U.S. government scientist who was involved in
previous IPCC assessments.

The scientists who will gather in Paris this coming week to complete
the first section of this year's IPCC report are not allowed to talk
about the early drafts that have been circulating in recent months.

But there is little doubt that when the report is released on Friday
it will include references to some of the specific environmental
effects of global warming that have already been observed, and an even
stronger statement about the imminent threat of global warming.

--
There may come a time when the CO2 police will wander the earth telling
the poor and the dispossed how many dung chips they can put on their
cook fires. -- Captain Compassion.

7:18 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Dan Hein said...
RE: Told you so.....
Pseudo-Science in Shiny Packages
University of Conneticut - "Researchers find kids need better online academic /061113/06111308.htm
Researchers had 25 Internet-Savvy Grade 7 students review a fictitious website about the plight of the endangered "Pacific NorthWest Tree Octopus" >http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
They ALL believed it, 24 rating the website "VERY CREDIBLE". When told it was false, some kids still insisted it was real. Gullibility is not new, but suppose we developed a feature length docu-drama on this tragic, but fictional, creature - We could mobilize millions to fight for the cause!
OR we could first look for corroborating knowledge, say on Wikipedia, or (heaven-forbid) in the the encyclopedia. How do you spell "d-e-a-d-e-n-d"??
Until Al Gore, the UN and the Kyoto-ites can respond intelligently and comprehensively to the facts that you raised this morning, is it not atleast "premature" to enact plans to "save" the planet?
December 12, 2006 - 12:29:25 PM

Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Dan, can you say "fund raiser"? Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carl said...
RE: Told you so.....
Hey, Roy
Are these scientists the same guys that were building bomb shelters during the cold war in their back yards?
December 12, 2006 - 11:23:25 AM
Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Carl, some of them are the same guys and gals who screamed "the ice is roaring down on us" 30 years ago. Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Gingrich said...
RE: Told you so.....
Roy--I agree with you 100%. This is a money transfer scam. Check out who is associated with this scam and you will recognize some of those also involved in the oil for food scam with Iraq.
I smell a cow belching tax coming(no pun intended)--either for owning cattle or on those of us that eat beef. It will be spun as a great way to pay for Kyoto.
Has anyone done a study on how much CO2 is emitted by our great leaders? Perhaps if we had fewer of them we would not have this 'problem'?
The Gulf Stream has changed direction--CO2 had nothing to do with that. I agree with the CPC--clean up the particulate pollution and things will improve as far as air quality--lets do what we can to clean the air and let nature take care of everything else.
One more point--core samples in the Arctic have proven that it was at one time much warmer--was that Global Warming or was that a cyclical event--there were no humans around at that time.
December 12, 2006 - 9:39:46 AM
Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Global warming isn't happening, climate change always has, Becky. Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike said...
RE: Told you so.....
Not too long ago scientists and doctors claimed that smoking was good for your health. They had studies and experiments to debunk the alternate arguments just the same as opponents (such as yourself) to climate change.
Time to butt-out Roy.
December 12, 2006 - 8:48:06 AM

Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Mike, so you won't allow evidence to get in the way of a good theory/fundraiser, eh? Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kathy said...
RE: Told you so.....
Hi Roy,
Thank you for the lesson on global warming, , I mean climate change. The comment I would like to make is I think these people that come up with these statistics have to justify their paychecks. They contribute nothing to society but reports, and more reports. They need to go out and get a real job.
December 12, 2006 - 12:08:15 AM
Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Kathy, the global warming proponents, in my experience, tumble in the face of basic statistical evidence. Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JD said...
RE: Told you so.....
quote from you Roy:
"The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change while continuing to insist there is little doubt humans are responsible for planet warming, has nevertheless reduced its estimated negative effect of this claimed warming by 25%.
The IPCC predicts temperatures will rise by 4.5 C in the next century (while the most sophisticated meteorological instrumentation has difficulty predicting tomorrow's high temperature), but has lowered the estimated rise of sea levels, when compared with its most recent report of 2001, by half, according to the Daily Telegraph in the U.K. which writes its reporters have seen the report to issued next February."

Upon further review of your diatribe Roy, you have proven the point that global warming is taking place! There is still a 75% chance of serious problems: 4.5 degrees is still bad: 1/2 the rise of ocean level still to take place (by the way, thats only a mere 10 feet instead of 20 now...): Oh yeah, they state, humans ARE STILL CAUSING THE PROBLEM...

Come on Roy- they're own release proves it's still taking place, maybe a bit lower or slower than originally predicted by still happening.

Here's something to chew on: If I go the hospital and the doctor says I have a 100% chance of dying in the next 10 hours, then 20 minutes latter says he was wrong by 25%, guess what, I'm still 75% likely to dye in that next 10 hours OR I have added just 2.5 more hours to my life expectancy, so guess what, either way I'm dead in the next few hours. A small miscalculation does not change the fact, earth is sick and dying the and doctors all agree we need a medical plan to save it.

I for one will be alive to see these problems come about and plan to help save the planet for the next few generations if I can.
December 11, 2006 - 11:47:24 PM

Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
and the point, JD, is what? Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JD said...
RE: Told you so.....
Roy, guess it's easy to not care when you won't be here aka alive, when it hits the fan! I for one believe that global warming is an enormous problem, whether it be 4.5 degrees or more- either way, it's an increase and NOT part of the natural occurring background cycle. Time for all of you caveman types to at least recognize that we must (a) start using less gas/oil, (b) produce green power- not more oil/gas generated power and NOT nuke based (c) we must deal, or plan to deal with the impact, be it severe or mildly severe since every, and I mean every single scientist in the world has admitted that yep, something is happening and yep temps are going up and yep ice is melting and yep the atmosphere is dying.
So Roy, wake up, smell the CO2 and join the youth and caring of today so we can have something of a planet in the future.
December 11, 2006 - 11:22:40 PM

Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
JD, nope, not every single scientist in the world agrees with the 'concept' of human-induced global warming. Temperature variants are well within multi-thousand year norms and the current rise of sea-levels is slower than the average over the past 18,000 years. But, you're a believer...so keep riding the band-wagon. Did you believe the "ice age imminent", 1970's forecasts (from many of the same scientists who yip about global warming now). Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
saga said...
RE: Told you so.....
"told you so ... told you ... glub glub glub"
December 11, 2006 - 10:18:08 PM
Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Saga, you can't have it both ways. The IPCC projects for a century, yet downgrades its projections from five years ago. Don't see any problems there, I guess. Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
kevin said...
RE: Told you so.....
I seriously doubt you are a climatologist or any real scientific background to be a peer reviewer in this subject...
Stop referencing money influenced capitalists who love to skew the impact human global warming effects will have on us all -- including yes Greeny boy - perhaps your grandchildren

Its time for you to trade that Benz of yours for a more practical car and spewing more of your hot gas into the air either.

Hahaa!!
December 11, 2006 - 7:43:19 PM

Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Kevin, enthusiasm doesn't affect statistics and facts. Now bundle up for the ice age. It's 'acomin....as soon as the money to study global warming runs out... Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lisa said...
RE: Told you so.....
Hi Roy,
It is entertaining to watch folks like yourself who would believe that there is no issue with global warming argue your points with those that believe there is global warming.

As with most issues facing this world all the political pundits are so busy trying to prove each other wrong they do nothing about the issue.

This is typical of most issues facing society today and results in a do nothing society.

While you all argue about Global Warming the natives of South America are rapidly destroying the Rain Forest so they can grow a meagre crop for one growing season. If the those that are arguing about Global Warming would take the money they spend trying to prove one another wrong and just give it to the natives in South America then the Rain Forest would be saved.

The destruction of the Rain Forest will cause far more problems for the world than Global Warming arguments will solve.

Let's stop trying to make political hay on a topic that will never be solved and focus on the real issues facing the world like the destruction of the Rain Forest.
December 11, 2006 - 7:37:04 PM

Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Lisa, in fact, I do find it entertaining. Many global warming theorists probably believe Michael Moore's movies are factual. Roy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Robert Janosevic said...
RE: Told you so.....
While I believe that there is a finite number of human lives that this planet can sustain at any one time that eventually technology will be unable to further augment, the global warming scare is a UN/One-World-Government racket that is intended as a massive marxian wealth redistribution mechanism from the developed world to the third world and a further blow to the sovereignty of independent nation-states and ultimately individual freedom and accountability of elected leaders to the people. After all, they will argue, how can we make progress in the fight to save our planet without harmonizing our efforts under some EU style uber-national bloc? If the environment was the prime concern, then why is every federal and provincial gov't in Canada hell-bent on pumping ever more people into our four main, already over-congested principal urban areas, despite traffic, waste removal, power supply, access to education, healthcare, and even clean water problems that are growing worse and not better?
The coming catastrophe is human-based not climate-based.
December 11, 2006 - 3:00:48 PM
Roy:
RE: RE: Told you so.....
Robert, your final statement is where I want to pick up your point. The human race is involved in a glutenous assault on natural resources, but global warming caused by humans is a political and fund-raising red herring. Prepare for the ice age....... Roy

11:37 PM  
Blogger dan said...

roy green, canada radio

For all global warming afficionados who with reckless enthusiasm have bought into the apocalyptic pronouncements, "unquestioned" scientific evidence and even the silly Al Gore movie, please deal with this.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change while continuing to insist there is little doubt humans are responsible for planet warming, has nevertheless reduced its estimated negative effect of this claimed warming by 25%.

The IPCC predicts temperatures will rise by 4.5 C in the next century (while the most sophisticated meteorological instrumentation has difficulty predicting tomorrow's high temperature), but has lowered the estimated rise of sea levels, when compared with its most recent report of 2001, by half, according to the Daily Telegraph in the U.K. which writes its reporters have seen the report to issued next February.

So, if within 5 years of issuance the IPPCC estimate of sea level rise is already out of whack by its own admission, how does this body expect any 100 year projection to hold, if you'll pardon the pun, water?

The IPCC now suggests over-all human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is lower than originally thought because of cooling caused by aerosol sprays.

The 'theory' now is oceans are a giant storer of this increased heat and will spring it upon the earth between perhaps 2030 and 2050. So, between 34 and 54 years from now.

Not much time you'd think. So should governments then spring into immediate and expensive counter-action?

Well, not exactly... Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network urges governments be careful. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds (or dollars) are spent on policy measures that may have little impact."

Better data? Haven't we been told time and again the global warming science is proven and beyond question?

Now consider that the Food and Agricultural Organization (another UN agency) declares 18% of greehouse gasses causing (supposed) global warming come from livestock passing, well, methane. That's more than all cars, planes and other forms of global transport combined. That's not my guess, that's the figure from the UN organization itself.

The global warming science (now re-named "climate change" because proving global warming in the face of facts like atmospheric temperatures remaining below a 3000 year average is rather difficult) is coming apart at the seams.

Just as the "Ohmygosh here comes the ice age" scientific predictions of 30 years ago also proved groundless ... or ... maybe ... just maybe ... could climate change-ologists be reversing their direction yet again?

Told you so....Told you so.....Told you so....

Send Comments View Comments (11)

11:39 PM  
Blogger dan said...

so what do do, in meantime?

start building livable emergency cities in north and south poles, so that when BIG CRUNCH comes and life on Earth in unlivable for humans except in extreme polar areas, people can go there and stay for as long as it takes, make babies, survive and then go back to other areas when earth cools. maybe 100,000 years in polar cities

11:45 PM  
Blogger dan said...

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Global Warming: The vicious circle
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 29 January 2007
The effects of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are being felt on every inhabited continent in the world with very different parts of the climate now visibly responding to human activity.

These are among the main findings of the most intensive study of climate change by 2,000 of the world's leading climate scientists. They conclude that there is now little doubt that human activity is changing the face of the planet.

In addition to rising surface temperatures around the world, scientists have now linked man-made emissions of greenhouse gases to significant increases in ocean temperatures, rises in sea levels and the dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice over the past 35 years.

A draft copy of the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that global temperature rises this century of between 2C and 4.5C are almost inevitable. Ominously, however, it also says that much higher increases of 6C "or more" cannot be ruled out.

The final version of the IPCC's latest report is to be published on Friday but a draft copy, seen by The Independent, makes it clear that climate change could be far worse than previously thought because of potentially disastrous "positive" feedbacks which could accelerate rising temperatures.

A warmer world is increasing evaporation from the oceans causing atmospheric concentrations of water vapour, a powerful greenhouse agent, to have increased by 4 per cent over the sea since 1970. Water vapour in the atmosphere exacerbates the greenhouse effect. This is the largest positive feedback identified in the report, which details for the first time the IPCC's concern over the uncertainties - and dangers - of feedback cycles that may quickly accelerate climate change.

All the climate models used by the IPCC also found that rising global temperatures will erode the planet's natural ability to absorb man-made CO2. This could lead to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rising by a further 44 per cent, causing global average temperatures to increase by an additional 1.2C by 2100.

The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report will go further than any of its three previous reports in linking the clear signs of global climate change with increases in man-made emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

"Confidence in the assessment of the human contributions to recent climate change has increased considerably since the TAR [Third Assessment Report]," says the draft report. This is due to the stronger signs of climate change emerging from longer and more detailed records and scientific observations, it says.

The "anthropogenic signal" - the visible signs of human influence on the climate - has now emerged not just in global average surface temperatures, but in global ocean temperatures and ocean heat content, temperature extremes on the land and the rapidly diminishing Arctic sea ice. "Anthropogenic warming of the climate system is widespread and can be detected in temperature observations taken at the surface, in the free atmosphere and in the oceans," the draft report says. "It is highly likely [greater than 95 per cent probability] that the warming observed during the past half century cannot be explained without external forcing [human activity]."

The report adds that global warming over the past 50 years would have been worse had it not been for the counterbalancing influence of man-made emissions of aerosol pollutants, tiny airborne particles that reflect sunlight to cause atmospheric cooling. "Without the cooling effect of atmospheric aerosols, it is likely that greenhouse gases alone would have caused more global mean temperature rise than that observed during the last 50 years," the draft report says.

"The hypothetical removal from the atmosphere of the entire current burden of anthropogenic sulphate aerosol particles would produce a rapid increase of about 0.8C within a decade or two in the globally averaged temperature."

The IPCC says that over the coming century we are likely to see big changes to the Earth's climate system. These include:

* Heat waves, such as the one that affected southern Europe in summer 2003, are expected to be more intense, longer-lasting and more frequent.

* Tropical storms and hurricanes are likely to be stronger, with increased rainfall and higher storm surges flooding coastlines.

* The Arctic is likely to become ice free in the summer, and there will be continued melting of mountain glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets.

* Sea levels will rise significantly even if levels of CO2 are stabilised. By 2100 sea levels could be 0.43 metres higher on average than present, and by 2300 they could be up to 0.8 metres higher.

The IPCC also finally nails the canard of the climate sceptics who argue that global warming is a myth or the result of natural climate variability; natural factors alone cannot account for the observed warming, the IPCC says. "These changes took place at a time when non-anthropogenic forcing factors (i.e. the sum of solar and volcanic forcing) would be expected to have produced cooling, not warming.

"There is increased confidence that natural internal variability cannot account for the observed changes, due in part to improved studies demonstrating that the warming occurred in both oceans and atmosphere, together with observed ice mass losses."

The report, the first draft of which was formulated last year, will be made public on Friday in Paris.

Key findings of the IPCC's fourth assessment report

* Global temperatures continue to rise with 11 of the 12 warmest years since 1850 occurring since 1995. Computer models suggest a further rise of about 3C by 2100, with a 6C rise a distant possibility

* It is virtually certain (there is more than a 99 per cent probability) that carbon dioxide levels and global warming is far above the range of natural variability over the past 650,000 years

* It is virtually certain that human activity has played the dominant role in causing the increase of greenhouse gases over the past 250 years

* Man-made emissions of atmospheric aerosol pollutants have tended to counteract global warming, which otherwise would have been significantly worse

* The net effect of human activities over the past 250 years has very likely exerted a warming influence on the climate

* It is likely that human activity is also responsible for other observed changes to the Earth's climate system, such as ocean warming and the melting of the Arctic sea ice

* Sea levels will continue to rise in the 21st Century because of the thermal expansion of the oceans and loss of land ice

* The projected warming of the climate due to increases in carbon dioxide during the 21st Century is likely to cause the total melting of the Greenland ice sheet during the next 1,000 years, according to some computer forecasting models

* The warm Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic is likely to slow down during the 21st Century because of global warming and the melting of the freshwater locked up in the Greenland ice sheet. But no models predict the collapse of that warm current by 2100.
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11:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Steve Connor, Science Editor

11:50 PM  
Blogger Alex Smith said...

This is a worth-while post. We might as well examin our deepest fears, and talk about it.
Certainly, scientists agree, nothing we do to reduce climate in this generation will have any impact on the coming climate crisis. We might slow it down, and that is important, to give the animals and plants a little time to adapt.
James Lovelock thinks it is too late to do anything but try to adapt to living near the poles, the last places cool enough to support us.

I do believe people will migrate North, by the billions, over the next two centuries. Formerly known as economic refugees, these crowds will really be escaping an overheated ecosystem and the collapse of food production around the tropics.

From what I'm seeing (and I watch science, news, and speeches carefully) - we could still mount a crash turn-around of carbon and keep the levels below 550 parts per million, as the Stern report suggests. At least the "temperate" zones (N. America, Russia, N. Europe, South tip of S. America, Tasmania) would be habitable for the next few thousand years.

And we cannot discount the possibility of a geo-engineered intervention this century, to dim the Sun, and temporarily save the Earth... an unlikely long shot, and super dangerous, but not impossible.

So far, humans haven't done a damn thing but over-populate and pollute. But I take heart from the recent wave of awareness, that we MIGHT, act for the benefit of coming generations. I'm not optimistic about it - but I don't think humans "deserve" extinction.

We can be cute, cuddly, and creative, as well as ugly killers.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock
purveyor of fine audio files on climate change
www.ecoshock.org

2:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

World scientists meet on global warming
Last Updated: Monday, January 29, 2007 | 10:57 AM ET
The Associated Press
Scientists from around the world gathered Monday in Paris to finalize a long-awaited, authoritative report on climate change, expected to give a grim warning of rising temperatures and sea levels worldwide.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to unveil its latest assessment of the environmental threat posed by global warming on Friday.

As the panel meets, the planet is the warmest it has been in thousands of years — if not more — and international concern over what to do about it is at an all-time high.

"At no time in the past has there been such a global appetite" for reliable information on global warming, the panel's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri of India, told the conference.

Sweeping report
Scientists are keeping quiet about the contents of the report, but say it is more specific and more sweeping than the panel's previous efforts.

Early drafts of the document give a rosier picture than that of the last report, in 2001, foreseeing smaller sea level rises than previously predicted. But many top scientists reject the new figures as not new enough: They do not include the recent melting of big ice sheets in two crucial locations — Greenland and Antarctica.

Continue Article

That debate may be central at this week's meetings at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. After four days of closed-door, word-by-word editing involving more than 500 experts, they will release the first of four major global warming reports by the IPCC expected this year.

"We're hoping that it will convince people that climate change is real and that we have a responsibility for much of it, and that we really do have to make changes in how we live," said Kenneth Denman, one of the report's authors and senior scientist at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis.

'We're hoping that it will convince people that climate change is real and that we have a responsibility for much of it, and that we really do have to make changes in how we live.'
— Kenneth Denman, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and AnalysisIt has been an unusually warm winter in some parts of the world, and awareness of the consequences of climate change is growing.

Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush referred to global warming as an established fact, after years of arguing that not enough was known about global warming to do anything about it.

The panel, created by the United Nations in 1988, releases its assessments every five or six years — although scientists have been observing climate change since as far back as the 1960s.

Approval process
While critics call the panel overly alarmist, it is by nature relatively cautious because it relies on input from hundreds of scientists, including skeptics and industry researchers. And its reports must be unanimous, approved by 154 governments — including the United States and oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Pachauri, director-general of the Tata Energy Research Institute in India who has served as an adviser to India's prime minister, said the report would make "significant advances" over the 2001 report, addressing gaps in that document, reducing uncertainties and adding new knowledge about past changes in climate.

The early versions of the new report predict that by 2100 the sea level would rise between 13 and 58 centimetres. That is far lower than the 51 centimetres to 1.27 metres forecast by 2100 in a study published in the peer-review journal Science this month. Other climate experts, including NASA's James Hansen, predict even bigger sea level rises.

Some critics worry that the IPCC scientists did not take into account shifts in Greenland and Antarctica.

In the past, the panel did not expect a large melt of ice in west Antarctica and Greenland in this century. Their forecasts were based only on how much the sea level would rise because of melting glaciers, which are different from ice sheets, and the physical expansion of water as it warms.

Dramatic retreat
Scientists are struggling with how to plug this information into their computer models. Many fear this will mean the world's coastlines could be swamped much earlier than most thought. Others believe the ice melt is temporary and won't play such a dramatic role.

In recent years, scientists have documented a dramatic retreat of the Arctic sea and the virtual collapse in mountain glaciers around the globe. They have found plants and animals closer than normal to the poles. They have recorded temperature records in many locations and shifts in atmospheric and oceanic circulation.

Indonesia's environment minister warned Monday that rising sea levels stand to inundate 2,000 of his country's more than 18,000 islands by 2030.

This week's meetings do not address how to tackle global warming, the subject of a report later this year by the IPCC.

5:55 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Daniel C. Esty
M.A., J.D.
Director, Center

Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Law School; Director, Yale World Fellows Program;
In addition to serving as Director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Daniel C. Esty is the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale Law School, as well as the Director of the Yale World Fellows Program. He is the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles on environmental policy issues and the relationships between the environment and trade, security, competitiveness, international institutions, business, and development. His recent research interests concentrate on the benefits of data-driven environmental decisionmaking in national environmental performance measurement, global environmental governance, corporate environmental strategy, environmental understanding, and environmental protection in the Information Age. In 2002, Professor Esty received the American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy for “pioneering a data-driven approach to environmental decision making” and developing the global Environmental Sustainability Index.

Prior to taking his current position at Yale, Professor Esty was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics, a Washington DC think-tank. From 1989-93, he served in a variety of positions in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including Special Assistant to EPA Administrator William Reilly, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Agency, and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy. He coordinated the EPA’s regulatory program, negotiated a number of international agreements (including key aspects of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit), and launched several “competitiveness and environment” projects.

Email: ycelp@yale.edu

5:56 PM  
Blogger sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire

sushil_yadav

5:56 AM  
Blogger dan said...

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8:57 PM  
Blogger dan said...

well, that report is out now, the IPCC UN report, but who is really listening?

the coal plants are still purring, the cars are still chugging along, the CO2 is still going into the air, manmade CO2 that is, man-used CO2, and we are for sure goners by year 2500, 3000 at the latest. But do you think anyone even remotely cares?

2:43 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Australia a climate change 'criminal'


NEWS.com.au

FAILING to act on the findings of a UN Climate Change report would be akin to committing a crime against future Australians, says Australian Conservation Foundation Executive Director Don Henry.

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Hartford Courant, CT - 1 hour ago
By SETH BORENSTEIN. PARIS -- The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by man, and will be unstoppable ...

Climate report faults humans for warming
Boston Globe, MA - 1 hour ago
By Beth Daley, Globe Staff | February 2, 2007. Scientists from more than 110 countries are scheduled to release a landmark report this morning concluding ...

Climate is changing faster than predicted
The Australian, Australia - 2 hours ago
AUSTRALIAN environmental experts have warned that climate change predictions made in 2001 may have been seriously underestimated. ...

UN says there's no stopping global warming
Los Angeles Times, CA - 2 hours ago
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer. In the strongest language it has ever used, a United Nations panel says global warming is "very likely" caused by ...

Warming 'Likely' Man-Made, Unstoppable
Forbes, NY - 2 hours ago
By SETH BORENSTEIN 02.02.07, 2:37 AM ET. The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by man, ...

Even Before Release, Sea Rise Report Is Criticized
New York Times, NY - 3 hours ago
By CORNELIA DEAN. In its 2001 assessment, its third, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that in the next hundred years sea level would ...

Warning on climate change threats
ic SouthLondon.co.uk, UK - 3 hours ago
The world's top scientists have issued the direst warnings yet about the threat from climate change. After six years of research, they predict the average ...

Global warming called a human creation
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BY MARTIN MERZER. The world's scientific community will issue an emphatic call to action today, saying that global warming will spike temperatures by two to ...

Climate panel turns up the heat
TVNZ, New Zealand - 6 hours ago
The UN climate panel issued its strongest warning yet on Friday that human activities are heating the planet, putting extra pressure on governments to do ...

Seas rising faster than UN predicts - study
Reuters India, India - 7 hours ago
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent. PARIS (Reuters) - Sea levels are rising faster than predicted amid global warming, a group of scientists said ...

Last-Minute Battles Fought Over Climate Report
New York Times, NY - 7 hours ago
By JAMES KANTER and ANDREW C. REVKIN. PARIS, Feb. 1 — Hundreds of climate scientists and government officials from around the world have worked all week ...

UN says humans cause global warming
Reuters.uk, UK - 8 hours ago
PARIS (Reuters) - The UN climate panel issued its toughest warning yet on Friday that human activities are to blame for global warming and projected a ...

Global Warming 'Very Likely' Man-Made
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UN panel blames humans for warming
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By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent. PARIS, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The UN climate panel agreed in its starkest warning yet on Thursday that human ...

2:44 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sanchez: Worsening by the day

By Benedicto Sanchez

Nature Speaks

IT always makes my day when people send feedbacks on my columns. The emails usually contain one-liners from friends, saying they liked what I wrote. I'm not exactly too happy with that, however. That implies that when I don't get any comments, the articles I wrote are ho-hum and forgettable.

Well, maybe not. Most of the reactions come from readers of Sun Star online edition. Often, our paper fails to post the OP-EDs in cyberspace. When they get posted, though, I often get lengthy and meaty feedbacks.


Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo



What amazes me is that the letter-senders are total strangers, not even Filipinos. They often send lengthy notes, their way of contributing to the discussion I started. I realized that the internet has broadened the definition of a community newspaper to encompass the global dimension.

Cases in point are feedbacks on my Doomsday column. I received an email from Minnesotan Brad Arnold, all the way from the USA. His main point was to create a genetically modified monster to gobble up the excess carbon. I featured his comments, which in turned elicited a feedback from the land down under.

This time, Australian medical doctor Peter Parry wrote that he agrees with Minnesotan Brad Arnold.

Says Dr. Parry: "I worry that your corresponding scientist Brad Arnold may be right, he is in the company of eminent scientists like James Lovelock, hopefully however the more conservative process of the IPCC is correct and we have not a total utter catastrophe but a barely manageable disaster to look forward to this century."

He also thinks that Arnold's case for enlisting a monster to defeat a bigger monster, which reveals that his technical understanding might not just limited to the medical field. He adds: "Nonetheless Brad Arnold's suggestion of creating creatures to absorb greenhouse gases will probably gain credence. Sucking up CO2 from the atmosphere will have to be looked at. No machine conceivably could be built (though putting pipes on the chimneys of coal power stations to sequester CO2 at source will be tried though not quickly enough) so only getting nature to somehow do it would work."

The lowly planktons might be the world's salvation against the ravages of global warming. They are a "prime source of CO2 digestion which they then use the carbon of in their bodies and give off oxygen which we breathe."

Parry is not talking about natural planktons, because they're equipped to do the job. "However warming oceans, according to Lovelock, will lead to the death by the zillions of these tiny but vital organisms, thus spiral of less CO2 absorption and further warming oceans and atmosphere."

He ends his email with a caveat: "I presume Arnold is talking about genetically modified plankton that can thrive in warm oceans. The risk from this (if such organisms can be created) would be they suck up too much CO2 and push us into an ice age-thus the perils of messing too much with Mother Nature which our modern economy is leading us to."

If anything, the email reveals that other than climate scientists, people like Parry and this corner are getting concerned with global warming. Parry cites the conservative UN-created Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which routinely issue scientifically cautious global warming reports. IPCC reports tend to be more politically pragmatic than scientific because its documents have to be unanimous and approved by 154 governments - including the top carbon gas emitter United States and oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Yet its recent draft report warns that Earth's surface temperature could rise by 4.5 Celsius if carbon dioxide levels double over pre-industrial levels, but higher warming cannot be ruled out. It grimly states that the evidence for human-made influence on the climate system is now stronger than ever. Carbon dioxide pollution spewed out this century will stoke global warming and sea-level rise "for more than a millennium," given the time it takes for fossil-fuel pollution to degrade.

For the squeamish, here's something to chew on, especially for Filipinos who live in a disaster-prone archipelago. The IPCC draft predicts that "very likely" that heatwaves and pounding rain will become more frequent and typhoons and hurricanes will become less frequent but more powerful.

Shades of Milenyo and Reming! Are they just foretastes of things to come? Comments are most welcome. Please send email to bqsanc@yahoo.com

2:48 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Forget the four seasons... soon there could be only two
02.02.07
Add your view


Dramatic changes in Britain's climate could mean an end to the four seasons, it was claimed yesterday.

Spring and autumn would disappear as summers become longer and winters shorter.

Get your five-day weather forecast here


In 50 years we could have a scorching climate like that of the south of France, with vineyards and olive groves replacing the pastures of this 'green and pleasant land'.

The stark predictions from the Met Office come as a major international report today is expected to warn that global temperatures could soar by 2100.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, set up by the United Nations, is likely to say temperatures could rise by 11.3F. The resulting rise in sea levels as the polar ice caps melt could be catastrophic for low-lying cities such as London.

According to Peter Falloon of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, which carries out research into climate change, global warming is already causing a major shift in British seasons.

At the end of last year the Met Office confirmed that 2006 had been the hottest year since records began in 1659.

Mr Falloon said: 'There are definite trends that we've seen over the last 100 years.

'There's quite a significant change in the things that indicate spring.

'We use indicators such as when migratory birds come to the UK, and spring is coming two or three weeks earlier than it did in the 1800s.

'As well as the global warming, we're going to have hotter, drier summers and wetter, warmer winters.

'Winter will last a shorter time with anything up to 30 per cent more rain. It will turn more towards two seasons than four.'

Last month a climate prediction project concluded that global warming was likely to bring more flooding and storm surges to the UK in coming decades.

The work by the Natural Environment Research Council warned that Victorian sewers will be unable to cope with the sudden deluges, leading to regular and widespread flooding in major cities.

Leading expert Professor James Lovelock has also warned that billions of people could be wiped out over the next century because of climate change.

Professor Lovelock, who pioneered the Gaia theory which views the Earth as a living organism, said last year that as the planet heats up humans will find it increasingly hard to survive.

He warned that the global population, which is currently around 6.5billion, may sink as low as 500,000.

During last summer's heatwave, tar on the roads melted as temperatures peaked at 36.5C (97.7F).

Reservoirs dried up when June and July had only 65 per cent of the typical rainfall for the time of year.

In September snowdrops started to appear - five months early - as average temperature reached 16.6C (61F) for the month.

The speckled wood butterfly was seen in parts of Scotland for the first time in 200 years as it left England for cooler climes.

And in October apple trees which should blossom in spring burst into flower in Kew.

j. wheldon@dailymail.co.uk

2:49 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Climate change is latest red-hot political issue

CLIMATE change took off as a looming giant of a political issue last year.

A bushfire-ravaged holiday season gave it a short media break but it’s now back as a red-hot, election-year topic.

Ahead of next week’s return of Federal Parliament, the past few days has produced its own firestorm of reports, debate and promises of solutions to this intangible but, as the scientists would have it, very real threat to life on earth.

The immediate concern is drought and water supply.

Prime Minister John Howard set the ball rolling on his return from holidays with a $10 billion package of measures to ensure water security, and installed Malcolm Turnbull into a beefed up environment and water resources portfolio.

Significantly, the pragmatic, conservative Mr Howard did not create a special portfolio for climate change, as many had hoped.

But report after report this week has indicated that climate change and its ramifications for policy will be everybody’s topic this year.

First, left wing think tank the Australia Institute focused on the political issue the Howard Government does not want to talk about -— where the supposedly clean and green nuclear reactors might be sited in Australia.

The Energy Supply Association of Australia brought down its findings saying coal, supported by expensive new technology, along with nuclear, were the only viable means by which the country could cut greenhouse gas emissions and still meet expanded energy demands by 2030.

The NSW Government resurrected a CSIRO report predicting maximum temperatures for Australia’s largest city, Sydney, would inevitably rise 1.6C by 2030 and 4.8C by 2070.

A confidential draft of a report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted global warming will cause billions of dollars of damage to coastal areas, key ecosystems and the farming sector without massive greenhouse gas emission cuts.

That report is expected to table a sober warning late in the week by 2500 environmental scientists of potentially dramatic impacts from global warming.

Quite aside from debate over Mr Howard’s policy response, the Prime Minister has the responsibility to bring the dimension of the problem into balance, and to avoid panicking the population over the more dire predictions.

Some of these predictions are indeed disturbing.

The author and environmentalist James Lovelock wrote in the Independent newspaper last year that the world is entering a “morbid fever” that will last 100,000 years as a result of man-made climate change.

“As the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8C in temperate regions and five degrees in the tropics,” he wrote.

“Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth’s surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.”

Science is telling us that global warming, and hence climate change, has been created by around two trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases accumulating in the upper atmosphere, creating the so-called greenhouse effect — deflecting back to the Earth the Sun’s heat which would otherwise have escaped into space.

This accumulation has happened chiefly in concert with the industrial revolution which got under way in the late 18th century — perhaps 250 years.

Mainstream scientists say that man-made climate change is a fact, and debate must now focus on how, and how quickly, we tackle it.

With elections looming in NSW and in the federal sphere, some worry that the gravity of the situation is at risk of being lost in short-term politicking.

Climate change response is an issue that cries out for a national, government and non-government summit at least.

The political left and right in Australia are as divided as ever on how to react.

© 2007 The Border Morning Mail Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

2:52 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Al Gore isn't as scary as James Lovelock
If Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" scared you (film and book), and if Al Gore's Earth In the Balance book started making you sweat with fear, then James Lovelock's The Revenge of Gaia will terrify you.

Way back in university, I took a course called General Systems Theory, an enlightening course. Part of the course discussed James Lovelock's Gaia theory which basically says that the Earth is a self sustaining super organism or, in the context of our class, a system. His first book, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, brought his ideas out into the bigger world.

Since the original book, much has been learned about the environment, with respect to its various atmospheric, geological, and oceanic systems. Furthermore, much as been learned about climate change. In The Revenge of Gaia, James produces a summary of the situation as it stands today and provides the following thoughts:
1) We are teetering on the edge of climatic changes that could kill billions of people (namely, the average temperature rising several degrees).
2) We need to stop burning fossil fuels and stop agribusiness farming immediately.
3) Nuclear power is actually really safe and our only hope in the short term to reduce climatic impact (He gives very very convincing arguments).
4) Sustainable and renewable energy is basically non-impactful, although might have been if they'd been considered and used starting around 1900.
5) We cannot prevent global warming, but we can reduce how long it takes for the Earth to recover. Currently, it will take about 1000 years for the Earth to get back to its 1900 state.
6) The only way we'll solve the problem is by banding together as a single, dedicated species.

These points may sound scary, but James Lovelock has over 40 years experience, and plenty of facts. Of course, his view is one sided but do we really have time to frig around anymore?

2:55 AM  
Blogger dan said...

says amazong reviewwer:

a prophetic book, based on hard science, January 12, 2007

Reviewer: Fabio C. Paiano (Sao Jose dos Campos, SP Brazil) - See all my reviews

On what may be his last book, Mr. Lovelock gives us a final warning call about the fate of civilisation, unless mankind as a hole is able to change it's behaviour to planet earth quickly and effectivily.

Mr. Lovelock created a lot of controversy 3 decades ago with his radical Gaia Hypothesis. This harmed his credibility to the scientific establishment. However, if one looks at his carreer, both his hard scientfic accomplishments (for example his involvement in the discovery of the CFC hazard to the ozone layer) and the whole of his environment research give him plenty credentials to write this book. He was able to absorb criticism to the initial form of his Gaia Hypothesis and review it. In the process he softened some parts of his theory and proved other parts to the mainstream of scietific community.

In this book, Mr Lovelock argues convincingly that the effects of makind's action on planetary ecosystem have already created a global warming effect that will cause critical consequences by the middle of this century. He also argues that the point of no return of a radical warming is probably already in the past now, and that makind must not only radically reduce burning fuels very quickly, going to other energy sources, but also that we should be looking for ways to mitigate the crisis that will come.

It's a light and easily readable book, that should be read by everyone. And maybe, just maybe, if it is read by the right people, it will make a difference on our fate on this planet.

2:58 AM  
Blogger dan said...

UN dossier 'ends all climate-change doubt'

ALISTER DOYLE AND IAN JOHNSTON



More than 90% chance that climate change caused by humans Report predicts sea levels may rise less than previously thought by 2100 If immediate action is taken, temperature rises may also be curtailed Key quote:

"I hope this report will shock people, governments, into taking more serious action, as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work." - Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chairman

Story in full:

CLIMATE change is real and set to cause dramatic temperature rises in the coming century, according to a leaked draft of a major United Nations report.

The study, by a panel of 2,500 scientists who advise the UN, is the most complete overview of climate-change science and will be published next month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after a final review.

The IPCC's reports are regarded by many environmentalists as cautious, because the findings have to be agreed by member states including oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia.

The draft, which was leaked by scientific sources, says it is "very likely" - more than a 90 per cent chance - that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are to blame for warming since 1950. The previous report in 2001 said the link was "likely".

It projects temperatures will rise by 2-4.5C (3.6-8.1F) above pre-industrial levels, with a "best estimate" of a 3C (5.4F) rise, assuming carbon-dioxide levels are stabilising at about 45 per cent above current levels. The European Union says any temperature rise above 2C will cause "dangerous" changes.

Leading environmentalists said the report was the final nail in the coffin for "climate-change deniers" and also presented a challenge to government to impose tougher restrictions on greenhouse gases in order to prevent a temperature rise of 2C or more.

In New Delhi, Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, said he hoped the report would act as a wake-up call to the world.

"I hope this report will shock people, governments, into taking more serious action, as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work."

The draft also predicts more droughts, rains and shrinking Arctic ice and glaciers, and rising sea levels to a foreseeable 2100, but cautions that the effects of a build-up of greenhouse gases will last far longer.

"Twenty-first century anthropogenic (human-caused) carbon-dioxide emissions will contribute to warming and sea-level rise for more than a millennium, due to the timescales required for removal of this gas," sources quoted the report as saying.

However, the report had some good news, quoting six models with central projections of sea-level rises this century of between 11in and 16.9in - compared with a far wider band of 3.5-34.6in in the 2001 report. Rising seas would threaten low-lying Pacific islands, coasts from Bangladesh to Florida and cities from Shanghai to Buenos Aires.

It also said there were uncertainties about whether higher temperatures would bring more cooling clouds - their white tops bounce heat back into space - and added that dust from volcanic eruptions and air pollution seems to have braked warming in recent decades by similarly reflecting sunlight.

Dr Richard Dixon, the director of WWF Scotland, said the report emphasised the need for governments to take action to restrict concentrations, currently at 380 parts per million, to 450ppm, rather than softer targets of 500ppm or 550ppm.

The draft says it was "very unlikely" that the temperature rise could be restricted to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, but Dr Dixon said this suggested that the rise could still be held below 2C. "They are saying by implication that staying below 2C is possible, but requires massive effort."

Dr Dixon said the report should finally end the debate about whether climate change is happening.

However, while he still has hope, environmentalist Professor James Lovelock, who came up with the Gaia theory of the Earth as a living entity, said the world should prepare for the worst.

"Most people don't realise what a 3-5C rise would be like. It's as big a difference as between the last Ice Age and now. It's huge," he said.

He said Britain and particularly Scotland would be less seriously affected, because the ocean would help to keep the country cool. "Our main problem will be dealing with refugees. Every European has the right to come here - and there will be 500 million."

Brace Yourselves
The report predicts:

• Temperatures are likely to rise by between 2C and 4.5C above pre-industrial levels if concentrations are kept at 550 parts per million in the atmosphere, as against about 380 now. The "best estimate" for the rise is about 3C.

• The warming is unlikely to be less than 1.5C.

• It is "very likely" that extremes such as heatwaves and heavy rains will become more frequent. Arctic sea ice could disappear in summer by the latter part of the 21st century in some projections. Warming is expected to be greatest over land and at high northern latitudes and least over the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic.

• Antarctica is likely to stay too cold for wide surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to a rise in snowfall.

• A system of Atlantic currents including the Gulf Stream, bringing warm waters northwards, are likely to slow by 2100, but an overall warming will more than offset any cooling effect.

Related topic

On one side we have the Doom & Gloomers. On the other, the ostriches. I'm aiming for the middle: yes, it's a cyclical climate change on our wee blue planet but yes, we humans have been greedy and messy, so it behooves us to clean up our collective act.

I think mothership Earth would appreciate it.

3:09 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Web Results 1 - 6 of about 20 for "charles c. commons" climate change. (0.19 seconds)

3quarksdailyClimate Change and the End of Humankind on Planet Earth. by Charles C. Commons(c) 2006-3006. The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, ...
3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/01/the_human_hand_.html - 24k - Cached - Similar pages

A Few Things Ill Considered: Andrew Revkin's latestwhy did you take Charles C commons comment off your blog? afraid of the dark? At least, let [people read it. ... Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis ...
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Ben Oquist: No Prime Minister, the issue is climate change.On any measure climate change is THE environmental issue, not only of this generation but of all ... Charles C commons. # posted by Dan : 12:19 PM ...
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Ben’s BlogThe Report makes the links between development and climate change clear: ... Climate change recommendations:. charles c commons: Sread this its even better ...
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Ben’s BlogWe discussed the links between energy and climate change policy, ... Climate change recommendations:. charles c commons: Sread this its even better than ...
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[ More results from www.tear.org.au ]

End of Humankind and Global WarmingI've written a blog commentary to challenge the current thinking about climate change and global warming. After you read essay by "Charles C. Commons" (aka ...
www.omidyar.net/group/help/ws/end_of_humankind_and_global_warming/ - 23k - Cached - Similar pages

3:14 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Bendicto Sanchez wrote

Thanks for your feedback. The die is cast, so saith an AP newspaper account of the latest IPCC document, which came out today. As you most likely know, that UN agency is more political rather than scientific, but it has to accept the inescapable truth.

Global warming is "very likely" caused by man, and that hotter temperatures and rises in sea level "would continue for centuries" no matter how much humans control their pollution. Finally, IPCC admitted that Mother Nature's quirkiness is not too blame. It foisted the blame that the more than 90 percent certainty of global warming lies with humankind's burning of fossil fuels.

I'm not in a position to say when humankind will finally cook its goose, I mean, ourselves. I'm reluctant to hazard even a guess. I doubt even if the most renowned scientists like Stephen Hawking will even attempt to do that.

But who knows, Mother Nature knows how to defend itself, right what humankind has inflcited. But like a vengeful god, it will demand its pounds of flesh from millions of humanity to save the remaining billions just like what the Roland Emmerich's movie, "The Day After Tomorrow," depicted.

3:29 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Don't have a cow: It will help
in fight against global warming

By Dan Brook and Richard H. Schwartz

January 22, 2007




NEW YORK, Jan. 22 (JTA)

In the beginning, God created the world.
Today, as people who are to be a light unto the nations,Jews have a responsibility to help save that world by working to reverse global warming, the greatest problem facing our planet.

People are becoming increasingly concerned about global warming due to frequent reports about record heat, wildfires, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina, droughts, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, rising sea levels, flooding, endangered species and spreading diseases.

The hottest year in recorded American history was 2006 ?the 10 hottest years have been in the last 12. In December 2006 alone it was reported that the inhabited Indian island of Lohachara had to be evacuated before it was submerged by rising waters, a massive ice shelf broke off from Canada and the U.S. moved to list polar bears as a threatened species.

There is clear scientific consensus that global warming is a rapidly worsening crisis, exacerbated by human activity. Ominously, some leading experts, including James Hansen of NASA and Al Gore, are warning that global warming could reach a disastrous tipping point unless major changes are made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ?and soon. The Pentagon cites global warming as a larger threat than even terrorism.

Jews have additional cause for concern. While Jews traditionally have been committed to compassion, social justice and concern for the needy, the people most affected by global warming are the poor and socially disadvantaged, since they are in the weakest position to guard against environmental damages and likely will suffer the most harm.

Further, increased suffering and increasing numbers of environmental refugees, along with more anxiety over access to food, water, land and housing ?the essentials of life ?often lead to unstable conditions that may result in anger, ethnic violence, fascism and war. All too often they have been targeted at Jewish and other minority communities.

Every country, including Israel, is threatened by climate change. A 2000 Israeli government assessment indicated that global warming could cause a double whammy: an increase in the Mediterranean Sea level in the narrow coastal strip inhabited by 60 percent of Israelis and a decrease in rainfall. Land and water are vital yet scarce resources in this tiny country, yet both are threatened by global warming.

Major changes are necessary to return our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. Yes, we need our governments, corporations, schools and synagogues to become actively involved in fighting global warming.

Yes, the U.S. ?the largest contributor to global warming ?needs to join 169 others, including Israel, and ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Yes, we need better fuel efficiency and to switch from fossil fuels to renewables; Israel is especially ripe for solar power. And yes, we also need to make personal changes.

A major 2006 study by the United Nations?Food and Agriculture Organization shows how personal actions can affect climate change. ivestock Long Shadow?reports that animal agriculture is a grossly inefficient consumer of fossil fuels and a major producer of greenhouse gases, responsible for 18 percent of human-caused global warming ?more than all transportation combined.

When it comes to global warming, what we eat, the FAO study is telling us, is actually more important than what we drive. Therefore, the most important personal change we can make to fight global warming is to o veg,? or at least significantly decrease our consumption of animal products.

More than 70 percent of major U.S. crops, and one-third worldwide, is diverted to feed 50 billion farmed animals. The FAO reports that the livestock industry uses 30 percent of the Earth land, thereby ntering into direct competition for scarce land, water and other natural resources.?Further, overuse of land by livestock, leading to overuse of fuel and water, also degrades the land and pollutes the water around it, causing additional environmental and health problems.

An animal-based diet is also energy inefficient. Grains require only 2 percent to 5 percent as much fossil fuel as beef. Reducing energy consumption is not only important for fighting climate change, it also reduces our dependence on foreign oil and the vagaries of both markets and dictators.

Mass production of meat contributes significantly to the emission of the three major gases associated with global warming: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Changing from the standard American diet to a vegetarian or, even better, vegan diet does more to fight global warming than switching from a gas-guzzling Hummer to a Camry or from a Camry to a Prius. It has been said that ating meat is like driving a huge SUV... a vegetarian diet is like driving a hybrid and... a vegan diet is like riding a bicycle.?P> Moving away from SUVs, SUV lifestyles and SUV-style diets to energy-efficient, life-affirming alternatives is essential to fighting global warming.

Shifting toward vegetarianism is an easy and effective way to fight global warming with our forks. Such a dietary change is fully consistent with Judaism highest ideals. It would also demonstrate the relevance of Jewish values to current crises.

Global warming isn kosher. As Jews are to be partners with God in tikkun olam, healing and repairing the world, we need to start with ourselves. If not now, when?

4:38 AM  
Blogger CyberBrook said...

You might be right, but I'm going to go down fighting global warming.

The evidence is in: The best, easiest, and most effective way for individuals to help the planet and themselves is to go vegetarian!

Meat is a Major Global Warming Issue

Another Inconvenient Truth
http://www.anotherinconvenienttruth.org

Another Inconvenient Truth: Meat is a Global Warming Issue
http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3312

Another Inconvenient Truth: In the modern world, it is impossible to reconcile a carnivorous diet with environmental responsibility
http://aquarianonline.com/Eco/anotherinconvenienttruth.htm

Eating for Six Billion? Culinary Activism for a Healthier Planet
http://www.friendsofanimals.org/actionline/winter-2006-07/Eating_for_6_billion.php

EarthSave: A New Global Warming Strategy
http://www.earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm

UN: Which causes more greenhouse gas emissions, rearing cattle or driving cars?
http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html

Livestock’s Role in Climate Change and Air Pollution (ch. 3)
http://virtualcentre.org/en/library/key_pub/longshad/A0701E00.htm

Cow ‘emissions’ more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/global_warm_c02.htm

Warming Up to a New Diet
http://simplevegan.blogspot.com

Diet, Energy and Global Warming
http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~gidon/papers/nutri/nutri.html

ABC News: Meat-Eaters Aiding Global Warming?
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/TenWays/story?id=2119267&page=1

Greenpeace: On Your Plate
http://greenpeace.org/usa/news/green-living-guide/on-your-plate

Fight Global Warming by Going Vegetarian
http://goveg.com/environment-globalwarming.asp

Vegan diets healthier for planet, people than meat diets
http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/06/060413.diet.shtml

The SUV in the Pantry
http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc/gasfood112105.cfm

Physics World: Cut Global Warming by Becoming Vegetarian
http://www.physorg.com/news4998.html

Five Food Choices for a Healthy Planet
http://www.veg.ca/issues/enviro-5reasons.html

Eco-Eating: Eating as if the Earth Matters
http://www.brook.com/veg

2:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

thanks, dan, re the Vegan links.

db

and this from NORA

By nora the gypsy (258), Fri, 02 Feb 2007 05:37:33 PST
Comment feedback score: 0 +|- (net 0 from me)
for everything there is a season....maybe its the end of the human season this time round, maybe not....but whatever the path taken by the earth mother, it will survive till the sun eats it up. if we are still around then, we will surely be gonners then. hey, we will be gonners whichever way you look at it, lol....the key is to live gently upon this earth and with all your neighbors. maybe our bodies will be crispy critturs, but who is to say that our souls will evaporate? our souls our 'sentience' our spirit??? live gently and with honor, thats all any of us can do. help whenever you can, and keep your corner of the neighborhood clean. if more of us lived this way then we would have a thriving planet.

9:44 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global Warming to Continue for Centuries


Email this Story

Feb 2, 7:04 PM (ET)

By SETH BORENSTEIN

(AP) Greenpeace activists wrap the Zouave statue, used as a popular gauge of whether the Seine River is...
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PARIS (AP) - Global warming is so severe that it will "continue for centuries," leading to a far different planet in 100 years, warned a grim landmark report from the world's leading climate scientists and government officials. Yet, many of the experts are hopeful that nations will now take action to avoid the worst scenarios.

They tried to warn of dire risks without scaring people so much they'd do nothing - inaction that would lead to the worst possible scenarios.

"It's not too late," said Australian scientist Nathaniel Bindoff, a co-author of the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report issued Friday. The worst can be prevented by acting quickly to curb greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

The worst could mean more than 1 million dead and hundreds of billions of dollars in costs by 2100, said Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, one of many study co-authors. He said that adapting will mean living with more extreme weather such as severe droughts, more hurricanes and wildfires.


(AP) Journalists attend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change final conference in Paris, Friday...
Full Image


"It's later than we think," said panel co-chair Susan Solomon, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist who helped push through the document's strong language.

Solomon, who remains optimistic about the future, said it's close to too late to alter the future for her children - but maybe it's not too late for her grandchildren.

The report was the first of four to be released this year by the panel, which was created by the United Nations in 1988. It found:

_Global warming is "very likely" caused by man, meaning more than 90 percent certain. That's the strongest expression of certainty to date from the panel.

_If nothing is done to change current emissions patterns of greenhouse gases, global temperature could increase as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.


(AP) A projection of future changes in climate is seen on a screen during the Intergovernmental Panel on...
Full Image


_But if the world does get greenhouse gas emissions under control - something scientists say they hope can be done - the best estimate is about 3 degrees Fahrenheit.

_Sea levels are projected to rise 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century. Add another 4 to 8 inches if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

Sea level rise could get worse after that. By 2100, if nothing is done to curb emissions, the melting of Greenland's ice sheet would be inevitable and the world's seas would eventually rise by more than 20 feet, Bindoff said.

That amount of sea rise would take centuries, said Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in Canada, but "if you're in Florida or Louisiana, or much of western Europe or southeast Asia or Bangladesh ... or Manhattan ... you don't want that," he said.

The report spurred bleak reactions from world leaders.


(AP) Indian climatologist Rajendra Pachauri delivers his speech during the Intergovernmental Panel on...
Full Image


"We are on the historic threshold of the irreversible," warned French President Jacques Chirac, who called for an economic and political "revolution" to save the planet.

"While climate changes run like a rabbit, world politics move like a snail: Either we accelerate or we risk a disaster," said Italy's environment minister, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio.

And South Africa's Environmental Affairs Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said failure to act would be "indefensible."

In Washington, Bush administration officials praised the report but said they still oppose mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The problem can be addressed by better technology that will cut emissions, promote energy conservation, and hasten development of non-fossil fuels, said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

About three-fourths of Americans say they expect global warming will get worse, according to a recent AP-AOL News poll. However, other recent polls have found they don't consider it a top priority for the U.S. government.


(AP) A view of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change final conference in Paris, Friday Feb. 2,...
Full Image


But doing nothing about global warming could mean up to a 10-degree Fahrenheit temperature rise by the end of the century in the United States, said report co-author Jonathan Overpeck at the University of Arizona.

Elsewhere, the projected effects of global warming would vary on different parts of the globe.

Temperatures would spike higher near the poles, according to the report. Within 22 years - whether greenhouse gases are controlled or not - most of the Northern Hemisphere will see more high temperature extremes, the report showed. Places like Northern Africa will get even less rainfall.

This climate change "is just not something you can stop," said Trenberth. "We're just going to have to live with it. If you were to come up back in 100 years time, we'll have a different climate."

People experience the harshest effects of global warming through extreme weather - heat waves, droughts, floods, and hurricanes - said study co-author Philip Jones of Britain's University of East Anglia. Those have increased significantly in the past decade and will get even worse in the future, he said.

Given all the dire predictions, why are scientists nearly all optimistic? They think their message is finally getting through to the people in charge.

United Nations environmental leaders are talking about a global summit on climate change for world leaders and they hope President Bush will attend.

"The signal that we received from the science is crystal clear," said Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a multi-national body that tries to change policy to fight global warming.

"That makes it imperative that the political response that comes from this crystal-clear science is as crystal-clear as well.

"I sense a growing sense of urgency to come to grips with the issue," de Boer said. "I think the major challenge is to further the negotiating agenda in a way that makes major players feel safe to step forwardly on this issue."

The major player that has at times been absent is the United States, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

"The world cannot solve the climate change problem without the United States," Achim Steiner, who heads the UN Environment Program, told The Associated Press.

"The world is looking to the Bush administration and to the United States and how it has to be a key part" of solving global warming, he said.

De Boer was optimistic, there too. In an interview, he said that despite U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increasing 16 percent since 1990, change is afoot.

Citing congressional interest and carbon dioxide emission limits requested by top industry CEOs, de Boer said: "I see a very important momentum building throughout the country."

---

Science writer Malcolm Ritter in New York contributed to this report.

---

On the Net:

IPCC Report: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/WG1AR4_SPM_PlenaryApproved.pdf

10:01 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Mark Steyn asks:

"What's so hot about fickle science?"

February 4, 3007

BY MARK STEYN
Sun-Times Columnist,
Whose descendants will all be dead by year 3000, after humankind ceases to exist on this planet, due to Global Warming....

From the "Environmental News Network": "Science Is Solid on Climate Change, Congress Told."

"The science is solid," says Louise Frechette, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations.
"The science is solid," says Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

"The science is really solid," says TV meteorologist Heidi Cullen. "The science is very solid."

And at that point, on "Larry King Live" last week, Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT, remarked: "Heidi says the science is solid and I can't criticize her because she never says what science she's talking about."

Indeed. If the science is so solid, maybe they could drag it out to the Arctic for the poor polar bears to live on now that the ice is melting faster than a coed's heart at an Al Gore lecture.

Alas, the science isn't so solid. In the '70s, it was predicting a new ice age. Then it switched to global warming. Now it prefers "climate change." If it's hot, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's cold, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's 53 with sunny periods and light showers, you need to grab an overnight bag and get outta there right now because "climate change" is accelerating out of control.

The silliest argument is the anecdotal one: "You only have to look outside your window to see that climate change is happening." Outside my window in northern New England last week, it was minus 20 Fahrenheit. Very cold. Must be the old climate change kicking in, right? After all, December was very mild. Which was itself a sign of climate change. A few years ago, the little old lady who served as my town's historian for many decades combed over the farmers' diaries from two centuries ago that various neighbors had donated to her: From the daily records of 15 Januarys, she concluded that three were what we'd now regard as classic New Hampshire winters, ideal for lumbering or winter sports; eight had January thaws, and four had no snow at all. This was in the pre-industrial 18th century.

Today, faced with eight thaws and four entirely snowless Januarys, we'd all be running around shrieking that the great Gaia is displeased. Wake up and smell the CO2, people! We need to toss another virgin into the volcano. A virgin SUV, that is. Brand-new model, straight off the assembly line, cupholders never been used. And as the upholstery howls in agony, we natives will stand around chanting along with High Priestess Natalie Cole's classic recording: ''Unsustainable, that's what you are.''

As we say in the north country, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. And if you don't like the global weather, wait three decades. For the last century or so, the planet has gone through very teensy-weensy warming trends followed by very teensy-weensy cooling trends followed by very teensy-weensy warming trends, every 30 years or so. And, even when we're in a pattern of "global warming" or "global cooling," the phenomenon is not universally observed -- i.e., it's not "global," or even very local. In the Antarctic, the small Palmer peninsula has got a little warmer but the main continent is colder. Up north, the western Arctic's a little warmer but the eastern Arctic's colder. So, if you're an eastern polar bear, you're in clover -- metaphorically, I hasten to add. If you're a western polar bear, you'll be in clover literally in a year or two, according to Al Gore.

And, if you really don't like the global weather, wait half-a-millennium. A thousand years ago, the Arctic was warmer than it is now. Circa 982, Erik the Red and a bunch of other Vikings landed in Greenland and thought, "Wow! This land really is green! Who knew?" So they started farming it, and were living it up for a couple of centuries. Then the Little Ice Age showed up, and they all died. A terrible warning to us all about "unsustainable development": If a few hundred Vikings doing a little light hunter-gathering can totally unbalance the environment, imagine the havoc John Edwards' new house must be wreaking.

The question is whether what's happening now is just the natural give and take of the planet, as Erik the Red and my town's early settlers understood it. Or whether it's something so unprecedented that we need to divert vast resources to a transnational elite bureaucracy so that they can do their best to cripple the global economy and deny much of the developing world access to the healthier and longer lives that capitalism brings. To the eco-chondriacs that's a no-brainer. As Mark Fenn of the Worldwide Fund for Nature says in the new documentary ''Mine Your Own Business'':

''In Madagascar, the indicators of quality of life are not housing. They're not nutrition, specifically. They're not health in a lot of cases. It's not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents don't consider that to be important. . . . People have no jobs, but if I could put you with a family and you could count how many times in a day that that family smiles. Then I put you with a family well off, in New York or London, and you count how many times people smile. . . . You tell me who is rich and who is poor."

Well, if smiles are the measure of quality of life, I'm Bill Gates; I'm laughing my head off. Male life expectancy in Madagascar is 52.5 years. But Mark Fenn is right: Those l'il malnourished villagers sure look awful cute dancing up and down when the big environmentalist activist flies in to shoot the fund-raising video.

If "global warming" is real and if man is responsible, why then do so many "experts" need to rely on obviously fraudulent data? The famous "hockey stick" graph showed the planet's climate history as basically one long bungalow with the Empire State Building tacked on the end. Completely false. In evaluating industrial impact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used GDP estimates based on exchange rates rather than purchasing power: As a result, they assume by the year 2100 that not only South Africans but also North Koreans will have a higher per capita income than Americans. That's why the climate-change computer models look scary. That's how "solid" the science is: It's predicated on the North Korean economy overtaking the United States.

Could happen. Who knows?

But that's the point: Who knows? You could take every dime spent by every government and NGO and eco-group to investigate "climate change" and spend it on Internet porn instead, and it wouldn't make the slightest difference to what the climate will be in 2050.

However, it would make a dramatic difference to the lifestyle of the "climate change" jet set. Which is why, even before latest new IPCC doomsday scenario was released, the Associated Press was running stories like: "New Climate Report Too Rosy, Experts Say." The AP's "science writer" warns that even this "dire report" is the "sugarcoated version." It's insufficiently hysterical, in every sense.

© Mark Steyn 2007

11:26 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Mark Steyn Calls Global Warming Alarmists ‘Eco-Chondriacs’

Posted by Noel Sheppard on February 4, 3007

For those that are unfamiliar, one of the finest writers on the political landscape today is Mark Steyn. His piece Sunday concerning the absurdity of global warming hysteria is a fine example (h/t NB member aero).

First, Steyn mocked statements by the media about how solid the science surrounding this illusion is (emphasis mine throughout):

Indeed. If the science is so solid, maybe they could drag it out to the Arctic for the poor polar bears to live on now that the ice is melting faster than a coed's heart at an Al Gore lecture.

Great idea, Mark. I'd happily pay to see that. He wonderfully continued:

The silliest argument is the anecdotal one: "You only have to look outside your window to see that climate change is happening." Outside my window in northern New England last week, it was minus 20 Fahrenheit. Very cold. Must be the old climate change kicking in, right? After all, December was very mild. Which was itself a sign of climate change. A few years ago, the little old lady who served as my town's historian for many decades combed over the farmers' diaries from two centuries ago that various neighbors had donated to her: From the daily records of 15 Januarys, she concluded that three were what we'd now regard as classic New Hampshire winters, ideal for lumbering or winter sports; eight had January thaws, and four had no snow at all. This was in the pre-industrial 18th century.

Steyn then pointed out how the current warming trend is really not global:

And, even when we're in a pattern of "global warming" or "global cooling," the phenomenon is not universally observed -- i.e., it's not "global," or even very local. In the Antarctic, the small Palmer peninsula has got a little warmer but the main continent is colder. Up north, the western Arctic's a little warmer but the eastern Arctic's colder. So, if you're an eastern polar bear, you're in clover -- metaphorically, I hasten to add. If you're a western polar bear, you'll be in clover literally in a year or two, according to Al Gore.

Next up was a little history lesson all too often ignored by the currently hysterical who refuse to look at weather patterns before the 20th century:

And, if you really don't like the global weather, wait half-a-millennium. A thousand years ago, the Arctic was warmer than it is now. Circa 982, Erik the Red and a bunch of other Vikings landed in Greenland and thought, "Wow! This land really is green! Who knew?" So they started farming it, and were living it up for a couple of centuries. Then the Little Ice Age showed up, and they all died. A terrible warning to us all about "unsustainable development": If a few hundred Vikings doing a little light hunter-gathering can totally unbalance the environment, imagine the havoc John Edwards' new house must be wreaking.

But the best line was here:

The question is whether what's happening now is just the natural give and take of the planet, as Erik the Red and my town's early settlers understood it. Or whether it's something so unprecedented that we need to divert vast resources to a transnational elite bureaucracy so that they can do their best to cripple the global economy and deny much of the developing world access to the healthier and longer lives that capitalism brings. To the eco-chondriacs that's a no-brainer.

Actually, Mark, for somewhat obvious reasons, everything that emanates from these eco-chondriacs is a no-brainer.

Noel Sheppard's blog | login or register to post comments
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aero Says:
February 4, 2007 - 20:58
I just love Mark Steyn. He brings such wit, humor, and insight to every topic he covers.

I'm definitely going to be using the word eco-chondriacs from now on. It's perfect!

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Noel Sheppard Says:
February 4, 2007 - 21:09
Aero,

Yeah, he's a gem. Thanks for the heads-up. ns

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aero Says:
February 4, 2007 - 21:17
You're very welcome. Anything to spread more Steyn throughout the world. ;-)

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Eric Turner Says:
February 4, 2007 - 22:11
I love that word too. It identifies perfectly the feeling I've had about global warming fanatics for some time, I was just unable to put a name on it. It flows so well too...

Eco-chondriac

I think I might love Mark Steyn. Did that sound gay?

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Noel Sheppard Says:
February 4, 2007 - 22:25
ET,

When you think about it, wouldn't envirochondriac work better? After all, eco-chondriacs could be all the idiots in the media that are convinced we're in a depression. ns

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danbo Says:
February 4, 2007 - 22:46
So would they be eco-chondriacs addited to climate porn.


"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” H.L. Mencken

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Blonde Says:
February 4, 2007 - 22:54

Hey danbo,

Speaking of *orn...how is that nice warm water?

I hope you are having great fun....do me a big favor....please. Next time you're under, take a minute and just stay still, and look up. And say a little thank you for the lovely ocean. For me.

Thanks, danbo.....hope your having a fab time in the islands. You didn't miss a thing here...truly.

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danbo Says:
February 4, 2007 - 23:41
Haven't gone yet. Will be there mardi gras. (Guess I have to bring some beads.)

I am appreciative of it. Will thank your boss for you.And even for me. Doesn't hurt.

BTW I usually do look up. 1. it's the easiest way to find the boat sometimes.. 2. You can see the fish playing in your bubbles. 3. If the water is really clear. The light coming down through the water is great.I've taken a few good UW photos that way.

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” H.L. Mencken

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nkviking75 Says:
February 4, 2007 - 22:52
When the first Earth Day happened around 1970, when I was in junior high (middle school to you young whippersnappers), the trendy word was "ecology". Now it's "environment". Maybe Steyn is showing his age.

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msh1973 Says:
February 4, 2007 - 23:22
Eric,

You made me laugh out loud, right here at my computer!

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Del Dolemonte Says:
February 4, 2007 - 23:00
Mark is a part time resident of New Hampshire so he can't be all that bad (he lives in NH because of the lack of state government intrusion, in other words, no income or sales tax).

I see him as the anti-Frank Rich, as Mark also started out as a theatre and film critic who drifted into political commentary. But unlike the blowhard Rich, Mark knows what he's talking about, despite his not having a college (or even a high school!) diploma.

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msh1973 Says:
February 4, 2007 - 23:17
I have been following Mark Steyn for a time now. He has been on HotAir.com and on Laura Ingraham's show. He is so insightful and dead on when it comes to the War on Terror.

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motherbelt Says:
February 4, 2007 - 22:29
"In the Antarctic, the small Palmer peninsula has got a little warmer but the main continent is colder. Up north, the western Arctic's a little warmer but the eastern Arctic's colder."

That's how they make their case, by diligently reporting every instance of warmer weather, and ignoring any data that doesn't fit their template.

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danbo Says:
February 4, 2007 - 23:15
I went to check the data for Palmer station. And it;s was only available from 74-94. So I couldn't check it for recent data. Though there is a daily regerstry. However in 1990 or so the old station was rebuilt so that may be a variable to consider. 64.8 S, -64.1 W.

The near by Faraday station at 65.2 S - 64.3W is available from 1944-2006. There is an increase. However there has been no increase since about 1990.

World wide data can be checked by clicking on the map here.

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” H.L. Mencken

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danbo Says:
February 4, 2007 - 23:20
The weather station nearest my house. Guess I don't have to worry, or is it not that global?

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” H.L. Mencken

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11:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

2/6/2007
Japundit.com says


A hot time in the big town

As I have mentioned on the Japan Talk podcast a number of times, it is unseasonably warm in the Tokyo area this year.

Now we get a report that the cherry trees in Tokyo’s Ueno Part have already started to bloom – about a month earlier than normal.

[O]fficials said five trees had already blossomed and that four more trees were expected to blossom by next weekend.

More fuel that adding heat to the global warming debate here.

11:52 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide


Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?
By Timothy Ball

Monday, February 5, 2007

Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.


What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?

Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.

Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.

I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.

In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?

Personal attacks are difficult and shouldn't occur in a debate in a civilized society. I can only consider them from what they imply. They usually indicate a person or group is losing the debate. In this case, they also indicate how political the entire Global Warming debate has become. Both underline the lack of or even contradictory nature of the evidence.

I am not alone in this journey against the prevalent myth. Several well-known names have also raised their voices. Michael Crichton, the scientist, writer and filmmaker is one of them. In his latest book, "State of Fear" he takes time to explain, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind Global Warming and other imagined environmental crises.

Another cry in the wildenerness is Richard Lindzen's. He is an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, renowned for his research in dynamic meteorology - especially atmospheric waves. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. Linzen frequently speaks out against the notion that significant Global Warming is caused by humans. Yet nobody seems to listen.

I think it may be because most people don't understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law.

As Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.

Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.

Until you have challenged the prevailing wisdom you have no idea how nasty people can be. Until you have re-examined any issue in an attempt to find out all the information, you cannot know how much misinformation exists in the supposed age of information.

I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction.


Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (www.nrsp.com), is a Victoria-based environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. He can be reached at letters@canadafreepress.com

11:55 PM  
Blogger dan said...

By WILLIAM K. STEVENS
NY Times

Published: February 6, 2007

In the decade when I was the lead reporter on climate change for this newspaper, nearly every blizzard or cold wave that hit the Northeast would bring the same conversation at work.

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In its fourth assessment of global warming, released Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used its strongest language yet in drawing a link between human activity and recent warming.


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Viktor Koen
Somebody in the newsroom would eye me and say something like, “So much for global warming.” This would often, but not always, be accompanied by teasing or malicious expressions, and depending on my mood the person would get either a joking or snappish or explanatory response. Such an exchange might still happen, but now it seems quaint. It would be out of date in light of a potentially historic sea change that appears to have taken place in the state and the status of the global warming issue since I retired from The New York Times in 2000.

Back then I wrote that one day, if mainstream scientists were right about what was going on with the earth’s climate, it would become so obvious that human activity was responsible for a continuing rise in average global temperature that no other explanation would be plausible.

That day may have arrived.

Similarly, it was said in the 1990s that while the available evidence of a serious human impact on the earth’s climate might be preponderant enough to meet the legal test for liability in a civil suit, it fell short of the more stringent “beyond a reasonable doubt” test of guilt in a criminal case.

Now it seems that the steadily strengthening body of evidence about the human connection with global warming is at least approaching the higher standard and may already have satisfied it.

The second element of the sea change, if such it is, consists of a demonstrably heightened awareness and concern among Americans about global warming. The awakening has been energized largely by dramatic reports on the melting Arctic and by fear — generated by the spectacular horror of Hurricane Katrina — that a warmer ocean is making hurricanes more intense.

Politicians are weighing in on the subject as never before, especially with the advent of a Democratic-led Congress. It appears likely, if not certain, that whoever is elected president in 2008 will treat the issue seriously and act accordingly, thereby bringing the United States into concert with most of the rest of the world. Just last week, Senator John McCain of Arizona, a presidential aspirant and the co-author of a bill mandating stronger action, asserted that the argument about global warming “is over.” Back in the day, such words from a conservative Republican would have been unimaginable, even if he were something of a maverick.

I’ve been avidly watching from the sideline as the strengthening evidence of climate change has accumulated, not least the discovery that the Greenland ice cap is melting faster than had been thought. The implications of that are enormous, though the speed with which the melting may catastrophically raise sea levels is uncertain — as are many aspects of what a still hazily discerned climatic future may hold.

Last week, in its first major report since 2001, the world’s most authoritative group of climate scientists issued its strongest statement yet on the relationship between global warming and human activity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the likelihood was 90 percent to 99 percent that emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, spewed from tailpipes and smokestacks, were the dominant cause of the observed warming of the last 50 years. In the panel’s parlance, this level of certainty is labeled “very likely.”

Only rarely does scientific odds-making provide a more definite answer than that, at least in this branch of science, and it describes the endpoint, so far, of a progression:

¶In 1990, in its first report, the panel found evidence of global warming but said its cause could be natural as easily as human.

¶In a landmark 1995 report, the panel altered its judgment, saying that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

¶In 2001, it placed the probability that human activity caused most of the warming of the previous half century at 66 percent to 90 percent — a “likely” rating.

And now it has supplied an even higher, more compelling seal of numerical certainty , which is also one measure of global warming’s risk to humanity.

To say that reasonable doubt is vanishing does not mean there is no doubt at all. Many gaps remain in knowledge about the climate system. Scientists do make mistakes, and in any case science continually evolves and changes. That is why the panel’s findings, synthesized from a vast body of scientific studies, are generally couched in terms of probabilities and sometimes substantial margins of error. So in the recesses of the mind, there remains a little worm of caution that says all may not be as it seems, or that the situation may somehow miraculously turn around — or, for that matter, that it may turn out worse than projected.

On the Climate Change Beat, Doubt Gives Way to Certainty
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Published: February 6, 2007
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In several respects, the panel’s conclusions have gotten progressively stronger in one direction over almost two decades, even as many of its hundreds of key members have left the group and new ones have joined. Many if not most of the major objections of contrarians have evaporated as science works its will, although the contrarians still make themselves heard.

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Scientist at Work Susan Solomon: Melding Science and Diplomacy to Run a Global Climate Review (February 6, 2007)
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Times Topics: Global Warming
The Energy Challenge: A Series
Slide Show | Go to Complete Coverage »

Related Web Sites
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change | Arctic Sea Ice Change Experiments

Readers’ Opinions
A Reader Forum
The Times’s Andrew C. Revkin will respond to reader questions and comments about the climate report on Tuesday.

Post a Question or Comment
Timeline
In its fourth assessment of global warming, released Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used its strongest language yet in drawing a link between human activity and recent warming.

The panel said last week that the fact of global warming itself could now be considered “unequivocal,” and certified that 11 of the last 12 years were among the 12 warmest on record worldwide. (The fact of the warming is one thing contrarians no longer deny.)

But perhaps the most striking aspect of the 2007 report is the sheer number and variety of directly observed ways in which global warming is already having a “likely” or “very likely” impact on the earth.

In temperate zones, the frequency of cold days, cold nights and frosts has diminished, while the frequency of hot days, hot nights and heat waves has increased. Droughts in some parts of the world have become longer and more intense. Precipitation has decreased over the subtropics and most of the tropics, but increased elsewhere in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

There have been widespread increases in the frequency of “heavy precipitation events,” even in areas where overall precipitation has gone down. What this means is that in many places, it rains and snows less often but harder — well-documented characteristics of a warming atmosphere. Remember this in the future, when the news media report heavy, sometimes catastrophic one-day rainfalls — four, six, eight inches — as has often happened in the United States in recent years. Each one is a data point in an trend toward more extreme downpours and the floods that result.

All of these trends are rated 90 percent to 99 percent likely to continue.

The list goes on.

And for the first time, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the panel reported evidence of a trend toward more intense hurricanes since 1970, and said it was likely that this trend, too, would continue.

Some of the panel’s main conclusions have remained fairly stable over the years. One is that if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, they will most likely warm the earth by about 3 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, with a wider range of about 2 to 12 degrees possible. The warming over the Northern Hemisphere is projected to be higher than the global average, as is the case for the modest one-degree warming observed in the last century.

The projected warming is about the same as what the panel estimates would be produced by a doubling of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, compared with the immediate preindustrial age. It would also be almost as much warming as has occurred since the depths of the last ice age, 20,000 years ago.

Some experts believe that no matter what humans do to try to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, a doubling is all but inevitable by 2100. In this view, the urgent task ahead is to keep them from rising even higher.

If the concentrations were to triple, and even if they just double, there is no telling at this point what the world will really be like as a result, except to speculate that on balance, most of its inhabitants probably won’t like it much. If James E. Hansen, one of the bolder climate scientists of the last two decades, is right, they will be living on a different planet.

It has been pointed out many times, including by me, that we are engaged in a titanic global experiment. The further it proceeds, the clearer the picture should become. At age 71, I’m unlikely to be around when it resolves to everyone’s satisfaction — or dissatisfaction. Many of you may be, and a lot of your descendants undoubtedly will be.

Good luck to you and to them.

5:03 AM  
Blogger dan said...

william stevens noted:

Some experts believe that no matter what humans do to try to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, a doubling is all but inevitable by 2100. In this view, the urgent task ahead is to keep them from rising even higher.

If the concentrations were to triple, and even if they just double, there is no telling at this point what the world will really be like as a result, except to speculate that on balance, most of its inhabitants probably won’t like it much. If James E. Hansen, one of the bolder climate scientists of the last two decades, is right, they will be living on a different planet.

It has been pointed out many times, including by me, that we are engaged in a titanic global experiment. The further it proceeds, the clearer the picture should become. At age ****71, I’m unlikely to be around when it resolves to everyone’s satisfaction — or dissatisfaction. Many of you may be, and a lot of your descendants undoubtedly will be.

Good luck to you and to them.

WS

5:05 AM  
Blogger dan said...

WORLD WITHIN WORLD
GWYNNE DYER
Twenty-eight years ago, when we knew little about the way human activities affect global climate, a scientist, James Lovelock, warned that the sheer scale of human activities threatened to destabilize the homoeostatic system that keeps the Earth’s climate within a comfortable range for our kind of life, the system he named “Gaia”. “We shall have to tread carefully, to avoid the cybernetic disasters of runaway positive feedback or sustained oscillation,” he said.

Then he said something that has stuck in my mind ever since. If we overwhelm the natural systems that keep the climate stable, Lovelock predicted, then we would “wake up one morning to find that [we] had the permanent lifelong job of planetary maintenance engineer.... Then at last we should be riding that strange contraption, the ‘spaceship Earth’, and whatever tamed and domesticated biosphere remained would indeed be our ‘life support system’.”

I have a nasty feeling that we are almost there. The years have passed, our numbers and emissions have grown, and the crisis is now upon us. The fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published on Friday, says that global temperature rises of 2 to 4.5 degrees celsius are almost inevitable in the course of this century — but much higher increases of 6 degrees celsius or even more cannot be ruled out.

It’s already worse than you think, the IPCC says, because the sulphate particles that pollute the upper atmosphere as a result of human industrial activity are acting as a kind of sunscreen: without them, the average global temperature would already be 0.8 degrees celsius higher. The report goes on to talk about killer heatwaves, bigger tropical storms, melting glaciers and rising sea levels — but it doesn’t really get into the worst implication of major global heating: mass starvation.


Ancestral voices

If the global average temperature rises by 4.5 degrees celsius, shifting rainfall patterns will bring perpetual drought to most of the world’s major breadbaskets and reduce global food production by 25 to 50 per cent. If it goes to 6 degrees celsius, we lose most of our food production worldwide.

Obviously, the main part of the solution must be to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and stop destabilizing the climate; but we are probably not going to be able to get them down far enough, fast enough, to avoid catastrophe. Short-term technological fixes to keep the worst from happening, while we work at getting emissions down, would be very welcome. A variety of such fixes is now on offer, but they are all controversial.

Bring back nuclear power generation on a huge scale, and stop generating electricity by burning fossil fuels. Fill the upper atmosphere with even more sulphate particles to thicken the sunscreen effect. Scrub carbon out of the air by windmill-like machines that capture and sequester it. Seed clouds over the ocean with atomized seawater to make them whiter and more reflective. Float a fleet of tiny aluminium balloons in the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight or orbit a giant mirror in space between the Earth and the Sun to do the same job.

The purists hate it, and insist that we can do it all by conserving energy and shifting to non-carbon energy sources. In the long run, of course, they are right, but we must survive the short run if we ever hope to see the long run, and that may well require short-term techno-fixes. Welcome to the job of planetary maintenance engineer.

We won’t like the job a bit, but Lovelock had stated our remaining options eloquently, years ago. If the consumption of energy continues to increase, he wrote, we face “the final choice of permanent enslavement on the prison hulk of spaceship Earth, or gigadeath to enable the survivors to restore a Gaian world.” Maybe in future the human race will be able to restore the natural cycles and give up the job again, but it won’t happen in our lifetimes.

4:57 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Home > News > Boston Globe > Opinion > Op-ed

ELLEN GOODMAN
No change in political climate
By Ellen Goodman | February 9, 2007

On the day that the latest report on global warming was released, I went out and bought a light bulb. OK, an environmentally friendly, compact fluorescent light bulb.

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Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts No, I do not think that if everyone lit just one little compact fluorescent light bulb, what a bright world this would be. Even the Prius in our driveway doesn't do a whole lot to reduce my carbon footprint, which is roughly the size of the Yeti lurking in the (melting) Himalayas.

But it was either buying a light bulb or pulling the covers over my head. And it was too early in the day to reach for that kind of comforter.

By every measure, the U N 's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. The fact of global warming is "unequivocal." The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. Which is about as certain as scientists ever get.

I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

But light bulbs aside -- I now have three and counting -- I don't expect that this report will set off some vast political uprising. The sorry fact is that the rising world thermometer hasn't translated into political climate change in America.

The folks at the Pew Research Center clocking public attitudes show that global warming remains 20th on the annual list of 23 policy priorities. Below terrorism, of course, but also below tax cuts, crime, morality, and illegal immigration.

One reason is that while poles are melting and polar bears are swimming between ice floes, American politics has remained polarized. There are astonishing gaps between Republican science and Democratic science. Try these numbers: Only 23 percent of college-educated Republicans believe the warming is due to humans, while 75 percent of college-educated Democrats believe it.

This great divide comes from the science-be-damned-and-debunked attitude of the Bush administration and its favorite media outlets. The day of the report, Big Oil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma actually described it as "a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain." Speaking of corruption of science, the American Enterprise Institute, which has gotten $1.6 million over the years from Exxon Mobil, offered $10,000 last summer to scientists who would counter the IPCC report.

But there are psychological as well as political reasons why global warming remains in the cool basement of priorities. It may be, paradoxically, that framing this issue in catastrophic terms ends up paralyzing instead of motivating us. Remember the Time magazine cover story: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." The essential environmental narrative is a hair-raising consciousness-raising: This is your Earth. This is your Earth on carbon emissions.

This works for some. But a lot of social science research tells us something else. As Ross Gelbspan, author of "The Heat is On," says, "when people are confronted with an overwhelming threat and don't see a solution, it makes them feel impotent. So they shrug it off or go into deliberate denial."

Michael Shellenberger, co author of "The Death of Environmentalism," adds, "The dominant narrative of global warming has been that we're responsible and have to make changes or we're all going to die. It's tailor-made to ensure inaction."

So how many scientists does it take to change a light bulb?

American University's Matthew Nisbet is among those who see the importance of expanding the story beyond scientists. He is charting the reframing of climate change into a moral and religious issue -- see the greening of the evangelicals -- and into a corruption-of-science issue -- see big oil -- and an economic issue -- see the newer, greener technologies .

In addition, maybe we can turn denial into planning. "If the weatherman says there's a 75 percent chance of rain, you take your umbrella," Shellenberger tells groups. Even people who clutched denial as their last, best hope can prepare, he says, for the next Katrina. Global warming preparation is both his antidote for helplessness and goad to collective action.

The report is grim stuff. Whatever we do today, we face long-range global problems with a short-term local attention span. We're no happier looking at this global thermostat than we are looking at the nuclear doomsday clock.

Can we change from debating global warming to preparing? Can we define the issue in ways that turn denial into action? In America what matters now isn't environmental science, but political science.

We are still waiting for the time when an election hinges on a candidate's plans for a changing climate. That's when the light bulb goes on.

Ellen Goodman's e-mail address is goodman@globe.com.

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

6:04 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The green fervour

Is environmentalism the new religion?

Joseph Brean, National Post
CA NADA

In his new book Apollo’s Arrow, ambitiously subtitled The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything, Vancouver-based author and mathematician David Orrell set out to explain why the mathematical models scientists use to predict the weather, the climate and the economy are not getting any better, just more refined in their uncertainty.


What he discovered, in trying to sketch the first principles of prophecy, was the religious nature of modern e nviron-mentalism.


This is not to say that fearing for the future of the planet is irrational in the way supernatural belief arguably is, just that — in its myths of the Fall and the Apocalypse, its saints and heretics, its iconography and tithing, its reliance on prophecy, even its schisms — the green movement now exhibits the same psychology of compliance as religion.


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Dr. Orrell is no climate-change denier. He calls himself green. But he understands the unjustified faith that arises from the psychological need tomake predictions.


“The track record of any kind of long-distance prediction is really bad, but everyone’s still really interested in it. It’s sort of a way of picturing the future. But we can’t make long-term predictions of the economy, and we can’t make long-term predictions of the climate,” Dr. Orrell said in an interview. After all, he said, scientists cannot even write the equation of a cloud, let alone make a workable model of the climate.


Formerly of University College London, Dr. Orrell is best known among scientists for arguing that the failures of weather forecasting are not due to chaotic effects — as in the butterfly that causes the hurricane — but to errors of modelling. He sees the same problems in the predictions of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which he calls “extremely vague,” and says there is no scientific reason to think the climate is more predictable than the weather.

“Models will cheerfully boil away all the water in the oceans or cover the world in ice, even with pre-industrial levels of Co2,” he writes in Apollo’s Arrow . And so scientists use theoretical concepts like “flux adjustments” to make the models agree with reality. When models about the future climate are in agreement, “it says more about the self-regulating group psychology of the modelling community than it does about global warming and the economy.”


In explaining such an arcane topic for a general audience, he found himself returning again and again to religious metaphors to explain our faith in predictions, referring to the “weather gods” and the “images of almost biblical wrath” in the literature. He sketched the rise of “the gospel of deterministic science,” a faith system that was born with Isaac Newton and died with Albert Einstein. He said his own physics education felt like an “indoctrination” into the use of models, and that scientists in his field, “like priests... feel they are answering a higher calling.”


“If you go back to the oracles of ancient Greece, prediction has always been one function of religion,” he said. “This role is coveted, and so there’s not very much work done at questioning the prediction, because it’s almost as if you were going to the priest and saying, ‘Look, I’m not sure about the Second Coming of Christ.’ ”


He is not the first to make this link. Forty years ago, shortly after Rachel Carson launched modern environmentalism by publishing leading to the first Earth Day in 1970, a Princeton history professor named LynnWhite wrote a seminal essay called “The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis.”


“By destroying pagan animism [the belief that natural objects have souls], Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects,” he wrote in a 1967 issue of . “Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not.” It was a prescient claim. In a 2003 speech in San Francisco, best-selling author Michael Crichton was among the first to explicitly close the circle, calling modern environmentalism “the religion of choice for urban atheists ... a perfect 21st century re-mapping of traditional JudeoChristian beliefs andmyths.”


Today, the popularity of British author James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis — that the Earth itself functions as a living organism — confirms the return of a sort of idolatrous animism, a religion of nature. The recent IPCC report, and a week’s worth of turgid headlines, did not create this faith, but certainly made it more evident.


It can be felt in the frisson of piety that comes with lighting an energy-saving light bulb, a modern votive candle.


It is there in the pious propaganda of media outlets like the, Toronto Star, which on Jan. 28 made the completely implausible claim that, “The debate about greenhouse gas emissions appears to be over.”


It can be seen in the public ritual of cycling to work, in the veneer of saintliness on David Suzuki and Al Gore (the rush for tickets to the former vice-president’s upcoming appearance crashed the server at the University of Toronto this week), in the high-profile conversion (honest or craven) of GeorgeW. Bush, and in the sinful guilt of throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage.


Adherents make arduous pilgrimages and call them ecotourism. Newspapers publish the iconography of polar bears. The IPCC reports carry the weight of scripture.


John Kay of the Financial Times wrote last month, about future climate chaos: “Christians look to the Second Coming, Marxists look to the collapse of capitalism, with the same mixture of fear and longing ... The discovery of global warming filled a gap in the canon ... [and] provides justification for the link between the sins of our past and the catastrophe of our future.”


Like the tithe in Judaism and Christianity, the religiosity of green is seen in the suspiciously precise mathematics that allow companies such as Bullfrog Power or Offsetters to sell the supposed neutralization of the harmful emissions from household heating, air travel or transportation to a concert.


It is in the schism that has arisen over whether to renew or replace Kyoto, which, even if the scientific skeptics are completely discounted, has been a divisive force for environmentalists.


What was once called salvation — a nebulous state of grace — is now known as sustainability, a word that is equally resistant to precise definition. There is even a hymn, When the North Pole Melts, by James G. Titus, a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is not exactly How Great Thou Art, but serves a similar purpose.


Environmentalism even has its persecutors, embodied in the Bush White House attack dogs who have conducted no less than an Inquisition against climate scientists, which failed to bring them to heel but instead inspired potential martyrs. Of course, as religions tend to do, environmentalists commit persecution of their own, which has created heretics out of mere skeptics.


All of this might be fine if religions had a history of rational scientific inquiry and peaceful, tolerant implementation of their beliefs. As it is, however, many religions, environmentalism included, continue to struggle with the curse of literalism, and the resultant extremism.


“Maybe I’m wrong, but I think all this is wrapped up in our belief that we can predict the future,” said Dr. Orrell. “What we need is more of a sense that we’re out of our depth, and that’s more likely to promote a lasting change in behaviour.”


Projections are useful to “provoke ideas and aid thinking about the future,” but as he writes in the book, “they should not be taken literally.”


The “fundamental danger of deterministic, objective science [is that] like a corny, overformulaic film, it imagines and presents the world as a predictable object. It has no sense of the mystery, magic, or surprise of life.”


The solution, he thinks, is to adopt what the University of Toronto’s Thomas Homer-Dixon calls a “prospective mind” — an intellectual stance that is “proactive, anticipatory, comfortable with change, and not surprised by surprise.”


In short, if we are to be good, future problem solvers, we must not be blinded by prophecy.


“I think [this stance] opens up the possibility for a more emotional and therefore more effective response,” Dr. Orrell said. “There’s a sense in which uncertainty is actually scarier and more likely to make us act than if you have bureaucrats saying, ‘Well, it’s going to get warmer by about three degrees, and we know what’s going to happen.’”




© National Post 2007

5:52 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Some comments from readers: February 2007

Your Blog is a Waste of space!

What a depressing, worthless article that spurs no thought, no willingness for change, nothing. Lets just keep chasing our tails "in the pursuit of happiness" cause there's nothing we can do anyways. You must be a joy at parties...

HOWEVER....You may be right, it may all end in a 1000 years or so if we dont change our ways, but one thing is for sure. We are going to start feeling the pain right now, which, if it gets bad enough, will light the fires for adjusting our lifestyles, commercially, industrially and personally. The human race is resilient,but until we are personally affected nothing will change. That day is here or is rapidly coming.


2. I think this blogger is remarkably optimistic. 500 years! Wow! I was thinking more like 10, and that was 20 years ago.*
Here's one that's even more optimistic, however, regarding the
the future of Planet Earth.
And the best part is that it's so dang easy to get there!
*I was glad I was wrong, because I still like to party.


3. "Gloom and doom, what is it good for?"

Depressing, worthless and boringly repetitive, this blog is. What's the point of repeating 15 times ''we are doomed, we are done for, the end is near and it's all our fault''.
I don't know what will happen 500 years from now, what with global warming, nuclear weapons, lack of water, etc.
One thing I know though is that everything must end, and even if we can forestall or reverse global warming, life on earth could still be shattered or destroyed by perfectly natural phenomenons, the fall of a giant meteor, shifting of the poles, and eventually the total extinction of the sun running out of energy 5 million years from now.
So ultimately we are doomed, unless we can find another planet in another galaxy. So what?
Another hypothesis is that the number of human beings living on this planet might be drastically and brutally reduced, and since this sharp and mindless increase is the main cause of our ecological problems, the earth will balance itself again after a while.
These major upheavals will not be a picnic, but our specy might already have survived such ecological traumas in a distant past.
In the meantime, wallowing in gloom and doom is depressing and counterproductive; better to light a candle than to complain about darkness.

and this letter to editor:

Dear Editor,

In a recent editorial, you asked "Who is responsible for global
warming and who will act?" One answer is that humankind is responsible
for global warming, and it is already too late to do anything to
reverse the impact it is having and will have in the future on human
life on Earth. Who will act? Nobody will act, because we are addicted
to our post-modern lives of computers, TV, cars, electricity,
airplanes, trains and ships, not to mention the thousands of
coal-burning plants around the world that help fuel and pollute our
greed.

While I am an optimist about most things in life, I believe now that
humankind will cease to exist on Planet Earth by the year 2500, year
3000 at the latest. I know this is not a very popular thing to say,
and it is just a personal opinion, but readers who are concerned about
these issues can read my blog take on this issue at
http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com,

feedback is welcome.

6:04 PM  
Blogger dan said...

One morning in Kyoto, we won a round in the battle against global warming. Then special interests and pseudoscience snatched the truth away. What happened?

By Bill McKibben

May/June 2005 Issue
MOTHER JONES


It was around eight in the morning in the vast convention hall in Kyoto. The negotiations over a worldwide treaty to limit global warming gases, which were supposed to have ended the evening before, had gone on through the night. Drifts of paper—treaty drafts, industry talking points, environmentalist press releases—overflowed every wastebasket. Delegates in suits and ties were passed out on couches, noisily mouth breathing. And polite squadrons of workers were shooing people out of the hall so that some trade show—tool and die makers, I think—could set up its displays.

Finally, from behind the closed doors, word emerged that we had a treaty. The greens all cheered, halfheartedly—since it wasn't as though the agreement would go anywhere near far enough to arrest global warming—but firm in their conviction that the tide on the issue had finally turned. After a decade of resistance, the oil companies and the car companies and all the other deniers of global warming had seen their power matched.

Or so it seemed. I was standing next to a top industry lobbyist, a man who had spent the last week engineering opposition to the treaty, huddling with Exxon lawyers and Saudi delegates, detailing the Venezuelans to change this word, the Kuwaitis to soften that number. Right now he looked just plain tired. "I can't wait to get back to Washington," he said. "In Washington we'll get this under control again."

At the time I thought he was blowing smoke, putting on a game face, whistling past the graveyard of corporate control. I almost felt sorry for him; it seemed to me (as sleep-deprived as everyone else) that we were on the brink of a new world.

As it turned out, we both were right. The rest of the developed world took Kyoto seriously; in the eight years since then, the Europeans and the Japanese have begun to lay the foundation for rapid and genuine progress toward the initial treaty goal of cutting carbon emissions to a level 5 to 10 percent below what it was in 1990. You can see the results of that long Kyoto night in the ranks of windmills rising along the coast of the North Sea, in the solar panels sprouting on German rooftops, and in the remarkable political unanimity in most of the world on the need for rapid change. Tony Blair's science adviser has repeatedly called global warming a greater threat than terrorism, but that hasn't been enough for Britain's Conservatives; the Tory leader (the equivalent of, say, Tom DeLay) rose last summer to excoriate Blair for moving too slowly on carbon reductions.

In Washington, however, the lobbyists did get things "under control." Eight years after Kyoto, Big Oil and Big Coal remain in complete and unchallenged power. Around the country, according to industry analysts, 68 new coal-fired power plants are in various stages of planning. Detroit makes cars that burn more fuel, on average, than at any time in the last two decades. The president doesn't mention the global warming issue, and the leaders of the opposition don't, either: John Kerry didn't exactly run on solving the climate crisis. The high-water mark for legislative action came in 2003, when John McCain actually managed to persuade 43 senators to support a bill calling for at least some carbon reductions, albeit much lower than even the modest Kyoto levels. But given that it takes 60 votes to beat a filibuster and 66 to override a veto, and given that the GOP has since added four hard-right senators to its total, it's safe to say that nothing will be happening inside the Beltway anytime soon.




IT WAS NEVER going to be easy. Controlling global warming is not like the other battles (dirty water, smog) that environmentalists have taken on, and mostly won, over the years. Carbon dioxide, a.k.a. CO2, or just "carbon" for short, is not a conventional pollutant. It's tasteless, colorless, odorless. Unlike carbon monoxide, which is what kills you if you leave your car running in the garage, CO2 doesn't do anything to the human body directly. It does its damage in the lower atmosphere by holding in heat that would otherwise escape out to space. And even more unfortunate, there's no easy way to get rid of it, no catalytic converter you can stick on your tailpipe, no scrubber you can fit to your smokestack. To reduce the amount of CO2 pouring into the atmosphere means dramatically reducing the amount of fossil fuel being consumed. Which means changing the underpinning of the planet's entire economy and altering our most ingrained personal habits. Even under the best scenarios, this will involve something more like a revolution than a technical fix.

You would think the Europeans would have had a harder time making reductions; after all, they were already fairly energy-efficient, thanks to decades of high taxes on coal and oil. Their low-hanging fruit had long since been plucked. For the United States, there were loads of relatively easy fixes. We could have quickly reduced our emissions by trimming the number of SUVs on the road, for instance, while the French were already in Peugeots. However, in certain ways, America was more firmly locked into coal and oil than our European peers: sprawling suburbs, oversized houses, abandoned rail lines. We had the single hardest habit to break, which was thinking of energy as something cheap. This staggering inertia meant that even when our leaders had some interest in controlling energy use, they faced a real challenge. Al Gore wrote a book insisting that the future of civilization itself depended on battling global warming; during his eight years as vice president, Americans increased their carbon emissions by 15 percent.

What makes the battle harder still is the tangibility gap between benefits and costs. Everyone is, in the long run, better off if the planet doesn't burn to a crisp. But in any given year the payoff for shifting away from fossil fuel is incremental and essentially invisible. The costs, however, are concentrated: If you own a coal mine, an oil well, or an assembly line churning out gas-guzzlers, you have a very strong incentive for making sure no one starts charging you for emitting carbon.

At the very least, the "energy sector" needed to stall for time, so that its investments in oil fields and the like could keep on earning for their theoretical lifetimes. The strategy turned out to be simple: Cloud the issue as much as possible so that voters, already none too eager to embrace higher gas prices, would have no real reason to move climate change to the top of their agendas. I mean, if the scientists aren't absolutely certain, well, why not just wait until they get it sorted out?

The tactic worked brilliantly; throughout the 1990s, even as other nations took action, the fossil fuel industry's Global Climate Coalition managed to make American journalists treat the accelerating warming as a he-said-she-said story. True, a vast scientific consensus was forming that climate change threatens the earth more profoundly than anything since the dawn of civilization, but in an Associated Press dispatch the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change didn't look all that much more impressive than, say, Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute or S. Fred Singer, former chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Michaels and Singer weren't really doing new research, just tossing jabs at those who were, but that didn't matter. Their task was not to build a new climate model; it was to provide cover for politicians who were only too happy to duck the issue. Their task was to keep things under control.

It was all incredibly crude. But it was also incredibly effective. For now and for the foreseeable future, the climate skeptics have carried the day. They've understood the shape of American politics far better than environmentalists. They know that it doesn't matter how many scientists are arrayed against you as long as you can intimidate newspapers into giving you equal time. They understand, too, that playing defense is all they need to do: Given the inertia inherent in the economy, it's more than sufficient to simply instill doubt.




IN SHORT, the deniers have done their job, and done it better than the environmen- talists have done theirs. They've delayed action for 15 years now, and their power seems to grow with each year. How, even as the science grew ever firmer and the evidence mounted ever higher, did the climate deniers manage to muddy the issue? It's one of the mightiest political feats of our time, accomplished by a small group of clever and committed people. It's worthwhile trying to understand how they work, not least because some of the same tactics are now being used in debates over other issues, like Social Security. And because the fight over global warming won't end here. Try as they might, even with all three branches of government under their control, conservative Republicans can't repeal the laws of chemistry and physics.

Bill McKibben : is a contributing writer to Mother Jones and the author of several books.

6:13 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Forty public policy groups have this in common: They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat. And they all get money from ExxonMobil.

By Chris Mooney

May/June 2005 Issue


Got global warming questions? Go to AskQuestions.org


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WHEN NOVELIST MICHAEL CRICHTON took the stage before a lunchtime crowd in Washington, D.C., one Friday in late January, the event might have seemed, at first, like one more unremarkable appearance by a popular author with a book to sell. Indeed, Crichton had just such a book, his new thriller, State of Fear. But the content of the novel, the setting of the talk, and the audience who came to listen transformed the Crichton event into something closer to a hybrid of campaign rally and undergraduate seminar. State of Fear is an anti-environmentalist page-turner in which shady ecoterrorists plot catastrophic weather disruptions to stoke unfounded fears about global climate change. However fantastical the book’s story line, its author was received as an expert by the sharply dressed policy wonks crowding into the plush Wohlstetter Conference Center of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI). In his introduction, AEI president and former Reagan budget official Christopher DeMuth praised the author for conveying “serious science with a sense of drama to a popular audience.” The title of the lecture was “Science Policy in the 21st Century.”

Crichton is an M.D. with a basketball player’s stature (he’s 6 feet 9 inches), and his bearing and his background exude authority. He describes himself as “contrarian by nature,” but his words on this day did not run counter to the sentiment of his AEI listeners. “I spent the last several years exploring environmental issues, particularly global warming,” Crichton told them solemnly. “I’ve been deeply disturbed by what I found, largely because the evidence for so many environmental issues is, from my point of view, shockingy flawed and unsubstantiated.” Crichton then turned to bashing a 1998 study of historic temperature change that has been repeatedly singled out for attack by conservatives.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are causing global average temperatures to rise. Conservative think tanks are trying to undermine this conclusion with a disinformation campaign employing “reports” designed to look like a counterbalance to peer-reviewed studies, skeptic propaganda masquerading as journalism, and events like the AEI luncheon that Crichton addressed. The think tanks provide both intellectual cover for those who reject what the best science currently tells us, and ammunition for conservative policymakers like Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who calls global warming “a hoax.”

This concerted effort reflects the shared convictions of free-market, and thus antiregulatory, conservatives. But there’s another factor at play. In addition to being supported by like-minded individuals and ideologically sympathetic foundations, these groups are funded by ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company. Mother Jones has tallied some 40 ExxonMobil-funded organizations that either have sought to undermine mainstream scientific findings on global climate change or have maintained affiliations with a small group of “skeptic” scientists who continue to do so. Beyond think tanks, the count also includes quasi-journalistic outlets like Tech CentralStation.com (a website providing “news, analysis, research, and commentary” that received $95,000 from ExxonMobil in 2003), a FoxNews.com columnist, and even religious and civil rights groups. In total, these organizations received more than $8 million between 2000 and 2003 (the last year for which records are available; all figures below are for that range unless otherwise noted). ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Lee Raymond serves as vice chairman of the board of trustees for the AEI, which received $960,000 in funding from ExxonMobil. The AEI-Brookings Institution Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, which officially hosted Crichton, received another $55,000. When asked about the event, the center’s executive director, Robert Hahn—who’s a fellow with the AEI—defended it, saying, “Climate science is a field in which reasonable experts can disagree.” (By contrast, on the day of the event, the Brookings Institution posted a scathing critique of Crichton’s book.)

During the question-and-answer period following his speech, Crichton drew an analogy between believers in global warming and Nazi eugenicists. “Auschwitz exists because of politicized science,” Crichton asserted, to gasps from some in the crowd. There was no acknowledgment that the AEI event was part of an attempt to do just that: politicize science. The audience at hand was certainly full of partisans. Listening attentively was Myron Ebell, a man recently censured by the British House of Commons for “unfounded and insulting criticism of Sir David King, the Government’s Chief Scientist.” Ebell is the global warming and international policy director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which has received a whopping $1,380,000 from ExxonMobil. Sitting in the back of the room was Christopher Horner, the silver-haired counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition who’s also a CEI senior fellow. Present also was Paul Driessen, a senior fellow with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow ($252,000) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise ($40,000 in 2003). Saying he’s “heartened that ExxonMobil and a couple of other groups have stood up and said, ‘this is not science,’” Driessen, who is white, has made it his mission to portray Kyoto-style emissions regulations as an attack on people of color—his recent book is entitled Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death (see “Black Gold?”). Driessen has also written about the role that think tanks can play in helping corporations achieve their objectives. Such outlets “can provide research, present credible independent voices on a host of issues, indirectly influence opinion and political leaders, and promote responsible social and economic agendas,” he advised companies in a 2001 essay published in Capital PR News. “They have extensive networks among scholars, academics, scientists, journalists, community leaders and politicians…. You will be amazed at how much they do with so little.”



THIRTY YEARS AGO, the notion that corporations ought to sponsor think tanks that directly support their own political goals—rather than merely fund disinterested research—was far more controversial. But then, in 1977, an associate of the AEI (which was founded as a business association in 1943) came to industry’s rescue. In an essay published in the Wall Street Journal, the influential neoconservative Irving Kristol memorably counseled that “corporate philanthropy should not be, and cannot be, disinterested,” but should serve as a means “to shape or reshape the climate of public opinion.”

Kristol’s advice was heeded, and today many businesses give to public policy groups that support a laissez-faire, antiregulatory agenda. In its giving report, ExxonMobil says it supports public policy groups that are “dedicated to researching free market solutions to policy problems.” What the company doesn’t say is that beyond merely challenging the Kyoto Protocol or the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act on economic grounds, many of these groups explicitly dispute the science of climate change. Generally eschewing peer-reviewed journals, these groups make their challenges in far less stringent arenas, such as the media and public forums.

Pressed on this point, spokeswoman Lauren Kerr says that “ExxonMobil has been quite transparent and vocal regarding the fact that we, as do multiple organizations and respected institutions and researchers, believe that the scientific evidence on greenhouse gas emissions remains inconclusive and that studies must continue.” She also hastens to point out that ExxonMobil generously supports university research programs—for example, the company plans to donate $100 million to Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project. It even funds the hallowed National Academy of Sciences.

Nevertheless, no company appears to be working harder to support those who debunk global warming. “Many corporations have funded, you know, dribs and drabs here and there, but I would be surprised to learn that there was a bigger one than Exxon,” explains Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which, in 2000 and again in 2003, sued the government to stop the dissemination of a Clinton-era report showing the impact of climate change in the United States. Attorney Christopher Horner—whom you’ll recall from Crichton’s audience—was the lead attorney in both lawsuits and is paid a $60,000 annual consulting fee by the CEI. In 2002, ExxonMobil explicitly earmarked $60,000 for the CEI for “legal activities.”

Ebell denies the sum indicates any sort of quid pro quo. He’s proud of ExxonMobil’s funding and wishes “we could attract more from other companies.” He stresses that the CEI solicits funding for general project areas rather than to carry out specific sponsor requests, but admits being steered (as other public policy groups are steered) to the topics that garner grant money. While noting that the CEI is “adamantly opposed” to the Endangered Species Act, Ebell adds that “we are only working on it in a limited way now, because we couldn’t attract funding.”


EXXONMOBIL’S FUNDING OF THINK TANKS hardly compares with its lobbying expenditures—$55 million over the past six years, according to the Center for Public Integrity. And neither figure takes much of a bite out of the company’s net earnings—$25.3 billion last year. Nevertheless, “ideas lobbying” can have a powerful public policy effect.

Consider attacks by friends of ExxonMobil on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). A landmark international study that combined the work of some 300 scientists, the ACIA, released last November, had been four years in the making. Commissioned by the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that includes the United States, the study warned that the Arctic is warming “at almost twice the rate as that of the rest of the world,” and that early impacts of climate change, such as melting sea ice and glaciers, are already apparent and “will drastically shrink marine habitat for polar bears, ice-inhabiting seals, and some seabirds, pushing some species toward extinction.” Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) was so troubled by the report that he called for a Senate hearing.

Industry defenders shelled the study, and, with a dearth of science to marshal to their side, used opinion pieces and press releases instead. “Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice,” blared FoxNews.com columnist Steven Milloy, an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute ($75,000 from ExxonMobil) who also publishes the website JunkScience.com. Two days later the conservative Washington Times published the same column. Neither outlet disclosed that Milloy, who debunks global warming concerns regularly, runs two organizations that receive money from ExxonMobil. Between 2000 and 2003, the company gave $40,000 to the Advancement of Sound Science Center, which is registered to Milloy’s home address in Potomac, Maryland, according to IRS documents. ExxonMobil gave another $50,000 to the Free Enterprise Action Institute—also registered to Milloy’s residence. Under the auspices of the intriguingly like-named Free Enterprise Education Institute, Milloy publishes CSRWatch.com, a site that attacks the corporate social responsibility movement. Milloy did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this article; a Fox News spokesman stated that Milloy is “affiliated with several not-for-profit groups that possibly may receive funding from Exxon, but he certainly does not receive funding directly from Exxon.”

Setting aside any questions about Milloy’s journalistic ethics, on a purely scientific level, his attack on the ACIA was comically inept. Citing a single graph from a 146-page overview of a 1,200-plus- page, fully referenced report, Milloy claimed that the document “pretty much debunks itself” because high Arctic temperatures “around 1940” suggest that the current temperature spike could be chalked up to natural variability. “In order to take that position,” counters Harvard biological oceanographer James McCarthy, a lead author of the report, “you have to refute what are hundreds of scientific papers that reconstruct various pieces of this climate puzzle.”

Nevertheless, Milloy’s charges were quickly echoed by other groups. TechCentralStation.com published a letter to Senator McCain from 11 “climate experts,” who asserted that recent Arctic warming was not at all unusual in comparison to “natural variability in centuries past.” Meanwhile, the conservative George C. Marshall Institute ($310,000) issued a press release asserting that the Arctic report was based on “unvalidated climate models and scenarios…that bear little resemblance to reality and how the future is likely to evolve.” In response, McCain said, “General Marshall was a great American. I think he might be very embarrassed to know that his name was being used in this disgraceful fashion.”

The day of McCain’s hearing, the Competitive Enterprise Institute put out its own press release, citing the aforementioned critiques as if they should be considered on a par with the massive, exhaustively reviewed Arctic report: “The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, despite its recent release, has already generated analysis pointing out numerous flaws and distortions.” The Vancouver-based Fraser Institute ($60,000 from ExxonMobil in 2003) also weighed in, calling the Arctic warming report “an excellent example of the favoured scare technique of the anti-energy activists: pumping largely unjustifiable assumptions about the future into simplified computer models to conjure up a laundry list of scary projections.” In the same release, the Fraser Institute declared that “2004 has been one of the cooler years in recent history.” A month later the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization would pronounce 2004 to be “the fourth warmest year in the temperature record since 1861.”

Frank O’Donnell, of Clean Air Watch, likens ExxonMobil’s strategy to that of “a football quarterback who doesn’t want to throw to one receiver, but rather wants to spread it around to a number of different receivers.” In the case of the ACIA, this echo-chamber offense had the effect of creating an appearance of scientific controversy. Senator Inhofe—who received nearly $290,000 from oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, for his 2002 reelection campaign—prominently cited the Marshall Institute’s work in his own critique of the latest science.



TO BE SURE, that science wasn’t always as strong as it is today. And until fairly recently, virtually the entire fossil fuels industry—automakers, utilities, coal companies, even railroads—joined ExxonMobil in challenging it.

The concept of global warming didn’t enter the public consciousness until the 1980s. During a sweltering summer in 1988, pioneering NASA climatologist James Hansen famously told Congress he believed with “99 percent confidence” that a long-term warming trend had begun, probably caused by the greenhouse effect. As environmentalists and some in Congress began to call for reduced emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, industry fought back.

In 1989, the petroleum and automotive industries and the National Association of Manufacturers forged the Global Climate Coalition to oppose mandatory actions to address global warming. Exxon—later ExxonMobil—was a leading member, as was the American Petroleum Institute, a trade organization for which Exxon’s CEO Lee Raymond has twice served as chairman. “They were a strong player in the Global Climate Coalition, as were many other sectors of the economy,” says former GCC spokesman Frank Maisano.

Drawing upon a cadre of skeptic scientists, during the early and mid-1990s the GCC sought to emphasize the uncertainties of climate science and attack the mathematical models used to project future climate changes. The group and its proxies challenged the need for action on global warming, called the phenomenon natural rather than man-made, and even flatly denied it was happening. Maisano insists, how ever, that after the Kyoto Protocol emerged in 1997, the group focused its energies on making economic arguments rather than challenging science.

Even as industry mobilized the forces of skepticism, however, an international scientific collaboration emerged that would change the terms of the debate forever. In 1988, under the auspices of the United Nations, scientists and government officials inaugurated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global scientific body that would eventually pull together thousands of experts to evaluate the issue, becoming the gold standard of climate science. In the IPCC’s first assessment report, published in 1990, the science remained open to reasonable doubt. But the IPCC’s second report, completed in 1995, concluded that amid purely natural factors shaping the climate, humankind’s distinctive fingerprint was evident. And with the release of the IPCC’s third assessment in 2001, a strong consensus had emerged: Notwithstanding some role for natural variability, human-created greenhouse gas emissions could, if left unchecked, ramp up global average temperatures by as much as 5.8 degrees Celsius (or 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. “Consensus as strong as the one that has developed around this topic is rare in science,” wrote Science Editor-in-Chief Donald Kennedy in a 2001 editorial.

Even some leading corporations that had previously supported “skepticism” were converted. Major oil companies like Shell, Texaco, and British Petroleum, as well as automobile manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler, abandoned the Global Climate Coalition, which itself became inactive after 2002.

Yet some forces of denial—most notably ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute, of which ExxonMobil is a leading member—remained recalcitrant. In 1998, the New York Times exposed an API memo outlining a strategy to invest millions to “maximize the impact of scientific views consistent with ours with Congress, the media and other key audiences.” The document stated: “Victory will be achieved when…recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’” It’s hard to resist a comparison with a famous Brown and Williamson tobacco company memo from the late 1960s, which observed: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

Though ExxonMobil’s Lauren Kerr says she doesn’t know the “status of this reported plan” and an API spokesman says he could “find no evidence” that it was ever implemented, many of the players involved have continued to dispute mainstream climate science with funding from ExxonMobil. According to the memo, Jeffrey Salmon, then executive director of the George C. Marshall Institute, helped develop the plan, as did Steven Milloy, now a FoxNews.com columnist. Other participants included David Rothbard of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow ($252,000) and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, then with Frontiers of Freedom ($612,000). Ebell says the plan was never implemented because “the envisioned funding never got close to being realized.”

Another contributor was ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol, who recently retired but who seems to have plied his trade effectively during George W. Bush’s first term. Less than a month after Bush took office, Randol sent a memo to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The memo denounced the then chairman of the IPCC, Robert Watson, a leading atmospheric scientist, as someone “handpicked by Al Gore” whose real objective was to “get media coverage for his views.” (When the memo’s existence was reported, ExxonMobil took the curious position that Randol did forward it to the CEQ, but neither he nor anyone else at the company wrote it.) “Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the U.S.?” the memo asked. It went on to single out other Clinton administration climate experts, asking whether they had been “removed from their positions of influence.”

It was, in short, an industry hit list of climate scientists attached to the U.S. government. A year later the Bush administration blocked Watson’s reelection to the post of IPCC chairman.



PERHAPS THE MOST SURPRISING aspect of ExxonMobil’s support of the think tanks waging the disinformation campaign is that, given its close ties to the Bush administration (which cited “incomplete” science as justification to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol), it’s hard to see why the company would even need such pseudo-scientific cover. In 1998, Dick Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton, signed a letter to the Clinton administration challenging its approach to Kyoto. Less than three weeks after Cheney assumed the vice presidency, he met with ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond for a half-hour. Officials of the corporation also met with Cheney’s notorious energy task force.

ExxonMobil’s connections to the current administration go much deeper, filtering down into lower but crucially important tiers of policymaking. For example, the memo forwarded by Randy Randol recommended that Harlan Watson, a Republican staffer with the House Committee on Science, help the United States’ diplomatic efforts regarding climate change. Watson is now the State Department’s “senior climate negotiator.” Similarly, the Bush administration appointed former American Petroleum Institute attorney Philip Cooney—who headed the institute’s “climate team” and opposed the Kyoto Protocol—as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In June 2003 the New York Times reported that the CEQ had watered down an Environmental Protection Agency report’s discussion of climate change, leading EPA scientists to charge that the document “no longer accurately represents scientific consensus.”

Then there are the sisters Dobriansky. Larisa Dobriansky, currently the deputy assistant secretary for national energy policy at the Department of Energy—in which capacity she’s charged with managing the department’s Office of Climate Change Policy—was previously a lobbyist with the firm Akin Gump, where she worked on climate change for ExxonMobil. Her sister, Paula Dobriansky, currently serves as undersecretary for global affairs in the State Department. In that role, Paula Dobriansky recently headed the U.S. delegation to a United Nations meeting on the Kyoto Protocol in Buenos Aires, where she charged that “science tells us that we cannot say with any certainty what constitutes a dangerous level of warming, and therefore what level must be avoided.”

Indeed, the rhetoric of scientific uncertainty has been Paula Dobriansky’s stock-in-trade. At a November 2003 panel sponsored by the AEI, she declared, “the extent to which the man-made portion of greenhouse gases is causing temperatures to rise is still unknown, as are the long-term effects of this trend. Predicting what will happen 50 or 100 years in the future is difficult.”

Given Paula Dobriansky’s approach to climate change, it will come as little surprise that memos uncovered by Greenpeace show that in 2001, within months of being confirmed by the Senate, Dobriansky met with ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol and the Global Climate Coalition. For her meeting with the latter group, one of Dobriansky’s prepared talking points was “POTUS [President Bush in Secret Service parlance] rejected Kyoto, in part, based on input from you.” The documents also show that Dobriansky met with ExxonMobil executives to discuss climate policy just days after September 11, 2001. A State Department official confirmed that these meetings took place, but adds that Dobriansky “meets with pro-Kyoto groups as well.”



RECENTLY, NAOMI ORESKES, a science historian at the University of California at San Diego, reviewed nearly a thousand scientific papers on global climate change published between 1993 and 2003, and was unable to find one that explicitly disagreed with the consensus view that humans are contributing to the phenomenon. As Oreskes hastens to add, that doesn’t mean no such studies exist. But given the size of her sample, about 10 percent of the papers published on the topic, she thinks it’s safe to assume that the number is “vanishingly small.”

What do the conservative think tanks do when faced with such an obstacle? For one, they tend to puff up debates far beyond their scientific significance. A case study is the “controversy” over the work of University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann. Drawing upon the work of several independent teams of scientists, including Mann and his colleagues, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2001 report asserted that “the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years.” This statement was followed by a graph, based on one of the Mann group’s studies, showing relatively modest temperature variations over the past thousand years and a dramatic spike upward in the 20th century. Due to its appearance, this famous graph has been dubbed the “hockey stick.”

During his talk at the AEI, Michael Crichton attacked the “hockey stick,” calling it “sloppy work.” He’s hardly the first to have done so. A whole cottage industry has sprung up to criticize this analysis, much of it linked to ExxonMobil-funded think tanks. At a recent congressional briefing sponsored by the Marshall Institute, Senator Inhofe described Mann’s work as the “primary sci- entific data” on which the IPCC’s 2001 conclusions were based. That is simply incorrect. Mann points out that he’s hardly the only scientist to produce a “hockey stick” graph—other teams of scientists have come up with similar reconstructions of past temperatures. And even if Mann’s work and all of the other studies that served as the basis for the IPCC’s statement on the temperature record are wrong, that would not in any way invalidate the conclusion that humans are currently causing rising temperatures. “There’s a whole independent line of evidence, some of it very basic physics,” explains Mann.

Nevertheless, the ideological allies of ExxonMobil virulently attack Mann’s work, as if discrediting him would somehow put global warming concerns to rest. This idée fixe seems to have begun with Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Both have been “senior scientists” with the Marshall Institute. Soon serves as “science director” to TechCentralStation.com, is an adjunct scholar with Frontiers of Freedom, and wrote (with Baliunas) the Fraser Institute’s pamphlet “Global Warming: A Guide to the Science.” Baliunas, meanwhile, is “enviro-sci host” of TechCentral, and is on science advisory boards of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Annapolis Center for Science-based Public Policy ($427,500 from ExxonMobil), and has given speeches on climate science before the AEI and the Heritage Foundation ($340,000). (Neither Soon nor Baliunas would provide comment for this article.)

In 2003, Soon and Baliunas published an article, partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute, in a small journal called Climate Research. Presenting a review of existing literature rather than new research, the two concluded “the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium.” They had, in effect, challenged both Mann and the IPCC, and in so doing presented global warming skeptics with a cause to rally around. Another version of the paper was quickly published with three additional authors: David Legates of the University of Delaware, and longtime skeptics Craig and Sherwood Idso of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change in Tempe, Arizona. All have ExxonMobil connections: the Idsos received $40,000 from ExxonMobil for their center in the year the study was published, while Legates is an adjunct scholar at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis (which got $205,000 between 2000 and 2003).

Calling the paper “a powerful new work of science” that would “shiver the timbers of the adrift Chicken Little crowd,” Senator Inhofe devoted half of a Senate hearing to it, bringing in both Soon and Legates to testify against Mann. The day before, Hans Von Storch, the editor-in-chief of Climate Research—where the Soon and Baliunas paper originally appeared—resigned to protest deficiencies in the review process that led to its publication; two editors soon joined him. Von Storch later told the Chronicle of Higher Education that climate science skeptics “had identified Climate Research as a journal where some editors were not as rigorous in the review process as is otherwise common.” Meanwhile, Mann and 12 other leading climate scientists wrote a blistering critique of Soon and Baliunas’ paper in the American Geophysical Union publication Eos, noting, among other flaws, that they’d used historic precipitation records to reconstruct past temperatures—an approach Mann told Congress was “fundamentally unsound.”



ON FEBRUARY 16, 2005, 140 nations celebrated the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. In the weeks prior, as the friends of ExxonMobil scrambled to inoculate the Bush administration from the bad press that would inevitably result from America’s failure to sign this international agreement to curb global warming, a congressional briefing was organized. Held in a somber, wood-paneled Senate hearing room, the event could not help but have an air of authority. Like the Crichton talk, however, it was hardly objective. Sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute and the Cooler Heads Coalition, the briefing’s panel of experts featured Myron Ebell, attorney Christopher Horner, and Marshall’s CEO William O’Keefe, formerly an executive at the American Petroleum Institute and chairman of the Global Climate Coalition.

But it was the emcee, Senator Inhofe, who best represented the spirit of the event. Stating that Crichton’s novel should be “required reading,” the ruddy-faced senator asked for a show of hands to see who had finished it. He attacked the “hockey stick” graph and damned the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment for having “no footnotes or citations,” as indeed the ACIA “overview” report—designed to be a “plain language synthesis” of the fully referenced scientific report—does not. But never mind, Inhofe had done his own research. He whipped out a 1974 issue of Time magazine and, in mocking tones, read from a 30-year-old article that expressed concerns over cooler global temperatures. In a folksy summation, Inhofe again called the notion that humans are causing global warming “a hoax,” and said that those who believe otherwise are “hysterical people, they love hysteria. We’re dealing with religion.” Having thus dismissed some 2,000 scientists, their data sets and temperature records, and evidence of melting glaciers, shrinking islands, and vanishing habitats as so many hysterics, totems, and myths, Inhofe vowed to stick up for the truth, as he sees it, and “fight the battle out on the Senate floor.”

Seated in the front row of the audience, former ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol looked on approvingly.


Chris Mooney is a senior correspondent for the American Prospect, where he helped create the popular blog Tapped. His writing focuses on the intersection of science and politics, and his first book, The Republican War on Science, will be published in September.

6:19 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Though global climate change is breaking out all around us, the U.S. news media has remained silent.

By Ross Gelbspan

May/June 2005 Issue



WHEN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA was inundated by a foot of rain, several feet of snow, and lethal mudslides earlier this year, the news reports made no mention of climate change—even though virtually all climate scientists agree that the first consequence of a warmer atmosphere is a marked increase in extreme weather events. When four hurricanes of extraordinary strength tore through Florida last fall, there was little media attention paid to the fact that hurricanes are made more intense by warming ocean surface waters. And when one storm dumped five feet of water on southern Haiti in 48 hours last spring, no coverage mentioned that an early manifestation of a warming atmosphere is a significant rise in severe downpours.

Though global climate change is breaking out all around us, the U.S. news media has remained silent. Not because climate change is a bad story—to the contrary: Conflict is the lifeblood of journalism, and the climate issue is riven with conflict. Global warming policy pits the United States against most of the countries of the world. It’s a source of tension between the Bush administration and 29 states, nearly 100 cities, and scores of activist groups working to reduce emissions. And it has generated significant and acrimonious splits within the oil, auto, and insurance industries. These stories are begging to be written.

And they are being written—everywhere else in the world. One academic thesis completed in 2000 compared climate coverage in major U.S. and British newspapers and found that the issue received about three times as much play in the United Kingdom. Britain’s Guardian, to pick an obviously liberal example, accorded three times more coverage to the climate story than the Washington Post, more than twice that of the New York Times, and nearly five times that of the Los Angeles Times. In this country, the only consistent reporting on this issue comes from the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin, whose excellent stories are generally consigned to the paper’s Science Times section, and the Weather Channel—which at the beginning of 2004 started including references to climate change in its projections, and even hired an on-air climate expert.

Why the lack of major media attention to one of the biggest stories of this century? The reasons have to do with the culture of newsrooms, the misguided application of journalistic balance, the very human tendency to deny the magnitude of so overwhelming a threat, and, last though not least, a decade-long campaign of deception, disinformation, and, at times, intimidation by the fossil fuel lobby to keep this issue off the public radar screen.

The carbon lobby’s tactics can sometimes be heavy-handed; one television editor told me that his network had been threatened with a withdrawal of oil and automotive advertising after it ran a report suggesting a connection between a massive flood and climate change. But the most effective campaigns have been more subtly coercive. In the early 1990s, when climate scientists began to suspect that our burning of coal and oil was changing the earth’s climate, Western Fuels, then a $400 million coal cooperative, declared in its annual report that it was enlisting several scientists who were skeptical about climate change—Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling, and S. Fred Singer—as spokesmen. The coal industry paid these and a handful of other skeptics some $1 million over a three-year period and sent them around the country to speak to the press and the public. According to internal strategy papers I obtained at the time, the purpose of the campaign was “to reposition global warming as theory (not fact),” with an emphasis on targeting “older, less educated males,” and “younger, low-income women” in districts that received their electricity from coal, and who preferably had a representative on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Western Fuels campaign was extraordinarily successful. In a Newsweek poll conducted in 1991, before the spin began, 35 percent of respondents said they “worry a great deal” about global warming. By 1997 that figure had dropped by one-third, to 22 percent.

Then as now, a prime tactic of the fossil fuel lobby centered on a clever manipulation of the ethic of journalistic balance. Any time reporters wrote stories about global warming, industry-funded naysayers demanded equal time in the name of balance. As a result, the press accorded the same weight to the industry-funded skeptics as it did to mainstream scientists, creating an enduring confusion in the public mind. To this day, many people are unsure whether global warming is real.

Journalistic balance comes into play when a story involves opinion: Should gay marriage be legal? Should we invade Iraq? Should we promote bilingual education or English immersion? For such stories an ethical journalist is obligated to give each competing view its most articulate presentation and roughly equivalent space.

But when the subject is a matter of fact, the concept of balance is irrelevant. What we know about the climate comes from the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history—the findings of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC’s conclusions, that the burning of fossil fuels is indeed causing significant shifts in the earth’s climate, have been corroborated by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. D. James Baker, former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, echoed many scientists when he said, “There is a better scientific consensus on this than on any other issue I know—except maybe Newton’s second law of dynamics.”

Granted, there are a few credentialed scientists who still claim climate change to be inconsequential. To give them their due, a reporter should learn where the weight of scientific opinion falls—and reflect that balance in his or her reporting. That would give mainstream scientists 95 percent of the story, with the skeptics getting a paragraph or two at the end.

But because most reporters don’t have the time, curiosity, or professionalism to check out the science, they write equivocal stories with counterposing quotes that play directly into the hands of the oil and coal industries by keeping the public confused.

Another major obstacle is the dominant culture of newsrooms. The fastest-rising journalists tend to make their bones covering politics, and so the lion’s share of press coverage of climate change has focused on the political machinations surrounding global warming rather than its consequences. In 1997, when the Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the vote was covered as a political setback for the Clinton administration at the hands of congressional Republicans. (Predictably, the press paid little attention to a $13 million industry-funded advertising blitz in the run-up to that vote.) When President Bush pulled out of the Kyoto negotiating process in 2001, the coverage again focused not on the harm that would befall the planet as a result but on the resulting diplomatic tensions between the United States and the European Union.

Prior to 2001, Bush had declared he would not accept the findings of the IPCC—it was, after all, a U.N. body. “The jury’s still out,” he said, and called instead for a report from the National Academy of Sciences. That report, duly produced one month later, while professing uncertainty about exactly how much warming was attributable to one factor or another, affirmed that human activity was a major contributor. In covering Bush’s call for an American climate report, few reporters bothered to check whether the academy had already taken a position; had they done so, they would have found that as early as 1992, it had recommended strong measures to minimize climate impacts.

Finally, coverage of the climate crisis is one of many casualties of media conglomeration. With most news outlets now owned by major corporations and faceless investors, marketing strategy is replacing news judgment; celebrity coverage is on the rise, even as newspapers cut staff and fail to provide their remaining reporters the time they need to research complex stories.

Ultimately, however, the responsibility for the failure of the press lies neither with the carbon lobby nor with newsroom culture or even the commercialization of the news. It lies in the indifference or laziness of hundreds of editors and thousands of reporters who are betraying their professional obligation to their readers and viewers. Climate change constitutes an immense drama of very uncertain outcome. It is as important and compelling a story as any reporter could hope to work on. Perversely, for so great an opportunity, it is threatening to become the shame of the American press.

6:21 PM  
Blogger dan said...

fareed sakara in newsweek, Feb. 19, says same thing. OUCH!

4:59 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Book on Global Warming for Kids

According to news sources, Laurie David and Cami Gordon's "THE
DOWN-TO-EARTH GUIDE TO GLOBAL WARMING", a resource for young readers
on why global warming happens and how we can work together to stop it,
will be published by Orchard Books.

6:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global Warming? Journalism? Don't Make Me Laugh!

by alan caruba

As a very young man, fresh out of college and the army in the mid-1960, I found myself employed as a rookie reporter on a weekly newspaper in New Jersey. I had never taken a course in journalism in my life, but I could write. The managing editor of the newspaper group that serviced a number of communities taught me all I ever needed to know about journalism. He taught me to be skeptical of everything and everyone.

Not distrustful. Skeptical. People will tell you the truth they believe or want you to believe. They may be wrong. Or they may be deceitful. There a difference. However, when error and deceit combine, there is a purpose, an agenda, and it exists, as often as not, to acquire wealth and power despite the harm it will leave in its wake.

At the heart of what is wrong with journalism today is that legions of journalists will stand shoulder to shoulder for the sole purpose of deriding any lobal warming skeptic?rather than wonder for a second how the ews?of a coming Ice Age in the 1970s became the ews?of Global Warming in the 1980s.

I am reminded of this daily as I read newspapers and news magazines in which various reporters blithely and deliberately inform the reader that all questions regarding the existence of global warming have been answered, that the science is beyond doubt, and that the cause is the production of greenhouse gases, largely from industry, transportation, and other human activities.

This is not merely an error. It is a complete deception the journalists have joined. They have ceased to be skeptical. They want you to stop being skeptical despite all evidence to the contrary.

lobal Warming, as we think we know it, doesn exist,?says Dr. Timothy Ball. He has Ph.D. in climatology, having earned his degree from the University of London, England, and taught for many years at the University of Winnipeg. A Google search of his name turns up a plethora of posts attacking him, always a sure sign that the Greens feel threatened by an outspoken scientist. The quote below explains why:

elieve it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science.?BR>
Dr. Ball is hardly alone in his views. Dr. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, as well as a member of the National Academy of Science, has said of Global Warming that, he consensus was reached before the research had even begun.?

Increasingly, not just climate scientists, but people in leadership positions around the world have joined in rebuking the Global Warming hoax. Czech President Vaclav Klaus is only the most recent, joining Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who, in 2006, received a letter from sixty prominent scientists expressing opposition to the theory of Global Warming. The list is growing as other scientists in France, Denmark and around the world speak up.

There is something quite horrible about the complete failure of America journalists to even acknowledge there might be something terribly wrong about the theory of Global Warming. So far the published science that purports to support the theory has been severely challenged and even disproved to the point of having deliberately falsified data.

Too many journalists have remained steadfast to this greatest hoax of our times, publishing the most astonishing nonsense about the North Pole melting or all the polar bears disappearing. Anything can be attributed to Global Warming, but the premise of a rapidly warming Earth is baseless. The Earth warmed barely one degree Fahrenheit from 1850 to 1950 and there is no evidence of further warming.

Anyone who challenges the ruth?of the global warming charlatans is demonized and compared to Holocaust deniers. Others are routinely accused of being in the pay of corporate interests. My own background as a public relations counselor has been cited as roof?that I cannot be trusted. However, in nine years of writing a weekly commentary, my credibility would be in shreds if my facts were wrong.

Is this new generation of journalists indifferent to the truth? Do they arrive at their job imbued with a mission to save the world? Do they believe that inconvenient facts can and should be ignored? This is not journalism. It is advocacy. The former belongs in the news columns, the latter on the editorial and opinion pages.

For the week leading up to and following the recent release of the United Nations climate report summary, the front pages of America newspapers proclaimed that Global Warming was real, millions would die from starvation, and the fresh water resources of the world would go dry by 2080.

The final report is not due out for months and, like previous reports, what cience?is cited to support this balderdash will be thoroughly encumbered with words like ould? ay? ight? s believed? or s predicted.?These are mushy words that scientists abhor. They want proof.

The final report will actually be altered to reflect the initial summary. That is not science. It is propaganda.

We look to journalists to present facts as accurately and dispassionately as possible. When they tell you the Earth is doomed, look for an alternative source of information.

Editor Note: Caruba is a longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of Science writers.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, arning Signs? posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His book, ight Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy? is published by Merril Press.

Alan Caruba (acaruba@aol.com)
Founder
The National Anxiety Center
28 West Third St. (#1321)
South Orange, NJ 07079
Phone : 973-763-6392

The National Anxiety Center

6:30 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Dan, as a fellow blogger, it's kind of creepy to be the only commenter on your own blog. Your view is ahem...a tad pessimistic even for my taste, but this is an important issue, and needs a solution.

On the up side, as Mike Mann told me this morning in a spat of dispair, "search Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on Google and see what comes up?"

7:55 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Mmark wrote; "Dan, as a fellow blogger, it's kind of creepy to be the only commenter on your own blog. Your view is ahem...a tad pessimistic even for my taste, but this is an important issue, and needs a solution. "

Yes, Mark, a bit creepy. I agree. But thanks for posting. I believe we need to start planning NOW for polar cities, NOW.

6:22 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Turning up the heat on Gore
By Jonah Goldberg
Tribune Media Services

Article Last Updated: 03/23/2007 09:11:45 PM MDT


As fate would have it, the same week Al Gore was testifying before Congress, I was doing a little testifying myself. Admittedly, there were a tad fewer paparazzi in the Madison, Wis., classroom where I was giving a talk on global warming (sponsored by Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, or CFACT). The debate in Washington offered some familiar echoes.
One student asked a long and rambling question that went basically as follows: He understood why I think Al Gore is dishonest and misleading. But how can I criticize Gore when all he wants to do is make people change their behavior and take care of this planet?
Translation: Gore is on the side of the angels and therefore it's mean-spirited to throw inconvenient truths back at the Oscar winner for "An Inconvenient Truth. "Yeah, exactly," the kid responded when I rephrased the question thusly.
The press and the Democrats seem to share this kid's sensibility. Covering Gore's congressional testimony, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank portrayed Gore as a man of science versus a bunch of creationist nutjobs. Milbank wrote: " . . . instead of giving another screening of 'An Inconvenient Truth,' the former vice president found himself playing the Clarence Darrow character in 'Inherit the Wind."' It's an unintentionally accurate comparison, because the movie completely distorted the reality of the Scopes trial. The real Clarence Darrow contentedly lost the
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open-and-shut case after a nine-minute jury deliberation. The movie was about something bigger than the facts. So is Al Gore. And that's why his fans love him.
Gore says global warming is "a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth." It's graver than any war. He compares it to the asteroid that allegedly killed the dinosaurs.
But here's the thing. If there were an asteroid barreling toward Earth, we wouldn't be talking about changing our lifestyles, nor would we be preaching about reducing, reusing and recycling. We would be building giant wicked-cool lasers and bomb-carrying spaceships to go out and destroy the thing. But Gore doesn't want to explore geo-engineering (whereby, for example, we'd add sulfate aerosols or other substances to the atmosphere to mitigate global warming). Why? Because solving the problem isn't really the point. As Gore makes it clear in his book, Earth in the Balance, he wants to change attitudes more than he wants to solve problems.
Indeed, he wants to change attitudes about government as much as he wants to preach environmentalism. Global warming is what William James called a "moral equivalent of war" that gives political officials the power to do things they could never do without a crisis. As liberal journalist James Ridgeway wrote in the early 1970s: "Ecology offered liberal-minded people what they had longed for, a safe, rational and above all peaceful way of remaking society . . . (and) developing a more coherent central state."
This explains Gore's relentless talk of "consensus," his ugly moral bullying of "deniers" and, most of all, his insistence that because there's no time left to argue, everyone should do what he says.
Isn't it interesting how the same people who think "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" when it comes to the war think that dissent when it comes to global warming is evil and troglodytic?
"If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor," Gore said this week. "If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it's not a problem.' If the crib's on fire, you don't speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action."
True enough. But if your baby's crib is on fire, you don't run to a politician for help either.
You can tell that Gore's schtick is about something more than the moderate and manageable challenge of global warming when he talks of sacrifice. On the one hand he wants everybody to change their lifestyles dramatically. These are the sacrifices the voracious energy user Al Gore won't have to make because he can buy "carbon credits" for his many homes and his jet-setting.
But when asked this week about the enormous and unwise costs his plan would impose on the U.S. economy (according to the global consensus of economists), Gore said that his draconian emissions cuts are "going to save you money, and it's going to make the economy stronger."
Wait a second. This is the gravest crisis we've ever faced, but if we do exactly as Gore says (but not as he does), we'll get richer in the process as we heal Mother Earth of her fever? Gore's faith-based initiative is a win-win. No wonder so many people think it's mean to disagree.
---
You can write to Jonah Goldberg by e-mail at JonahsColumn@aol.com.

3:09 AM  
Blogger dan said...

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/03/25/2003353804

Letters:ON GLOBALWARMING



Sunday, Mar 25, 2007, Page 8

Dear Editors,

In a recent Guardian article you ran about James Lovelock, the British
expert on global warming ("It's the end of the world as we know it",
March 18, page 18), it was implied that humankind is responsible for
global warming and that it is already too late to do anything to
reverse the impact it is having on life on Earth.

Lovelock says it is already too late to act to reverse the problems of
global warming. Why? Because we are all addicted to our post-modern
lives of cars, scooters, computers, airplanes, trains and ships, not
to mention the thousands of coal-burning plants around the world that
help fuel our addiction and pollute the planet. The huge carbon
dioxide emissions faucet cannot be turned off.

While I am an optimist about most things in life, after reading
Lovelock's books I have come to agree with him and now believe that
humankind will cease to exist on Earth by the year 2500, or 3000 at
the latest. I know this is not a popular thing to say, and it is just
a personal opinion, but readers who are concerned about these issues
can read my take on them at http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com,
with feedback welcome, of course.

If there is any hope -- and we must hold to hope, despite the odds --
it is for leaders and visionaries to start planning now to build vast
polar cities to house the future survivors of climate change in the
hopes that their descendants can one day come out from the polar
regions and repopulate the Earth. We should be listening to Lovelock,
but most people couldn't be bothered. That's our problem.

DB

3:10 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Gore Warns Congress of ‘Planetary Emergency’
\
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Former Vice President Al Gore made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill, testifying before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Science Committee.

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By FELICITY BARRINGER and ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: March 22, 2007
WASHINGTON, March 21 — It was part science class, part policy wonk paradise, part politics and all theater as former Vice President Al Gore came to Congress on Wednesday to insist that global warming constitutes a “planetary emergency” requiring an aggressive federal response.

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Environment and Public Works Committee's Web SiteMr. Gore, accompanied by his wife, Tipper, delivered the same blunt message to a joint meeting of two House committees in the morning and a Senate panel in the afternoon: Humans are artificially warming the world, the risks of inaction are great, and meaningful cuts in emissions linked to warming will happen only if the United States takes the lead.

While sparring with Representative Joe L. Barton, a Texas Republican critical of his message, Mr. Gore resorted to a simple metaphor. “The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor.” He added, “If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say ‘I read a science fiction novel that says it’s not a problem.’ You take action.”

In the House, there was little debate about the underlying science; the atmosphere was more that of a college lecture hall than a legislative give-and-take. But in the Senate, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, set a pugilistic tone, challenging Mr. Gore’s analysis of the dangers of climate change from hurricanes and melting ice in Antarctica.

“It is my perspective that your global warming alarmist pronouncements are now and have always been filled with inaccuracies and misleading statements,” Mr. Inhofe said.

Beneath the carefully groomed surface of the House and Senate committees’ scripted production, a rift was evident. Republican committee leaders, including Mr. Barton in the House, and Mr. Inhofe in the Senate, seemed somewhat isolated from their rank-and-file colleagues, who appeared more receptive to Mr. Gore’s message and the scientific consensus on climate change. Even J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the former House speaker, seemed to accept the scientific consensus.

Climate experts have concluded with growing accord that human-generated greenhouse gases are the dominant driver of recent global warming and that centuries of rising temperatures and seas lie ahead if emissions are not curbed.

Instead of challenging the science, many Republicans focused on questions of how to attack the problem in the United States, tending to favor nuclear power — which Mr. Gore said should be a “small part” of any solution — and asking what to do about the emissions of large developing economies like China and India.

Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who briefly considered trying to replace Mr. Inhofe as the ranking member on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, expressed concern about how to coax China into reversing its build-out of coal-fired power plants, which are heavy emitters of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent heat-trapping gas associated with global warming.

“When we lead, they will be a part of it,” Mr. Gore replied, adding that two recent speeches by Chinese leaders indicate “there’s excellent evidence that they” are concerned about the effects of climate change.

From the time that he arrived in the morning at the Rayburn House Office Building in a black Mercury Mariner hybrid S.U.V. to the time he was whisked out of the senators’ entrance at the Dirksen Building committee room, Mr. Gore combined the erudition of a professor with a touch of the preacher’s fire.

Evoking the movie “300,” about the ancient Spartans’ stand at Thermopylae, Mr. Gore, speaking to a joint session of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Science Committee, called on Congress to put aside partisan differences, accept the scientific consensus on global warming and become “the 535,” a reference to the number of seats in the House and Senate.

Democrats and Republicans, he said, should emulate their British counterparts and compete to see how best to curb emissions of smokestack and tailpipe “greenhouse” gases.

VideoMore Video »
Mr. Gore also proposed a 10-point plan, calling for initiatives like a tax on carbon emissions, a ban on incandescent light bulbs and another on new coal-fired plants that cannot be designed to capture carbon. He also called for a national mortgage program to underwrite the use of home energy-saving technologies.

Waving his finger at some 40 House members, he said, “A day will come when our children and grandchildren will look back and they’ll ask one of two questions.”

Either, he said, “they will ask: what in God’s name were they doing?” or “they may look back and say: how did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics and redeem the promise of American democracy?”

On the Senate side, Mr. Inhofe quickly hit an issue that some of Mr. Gore’s critics have sounded in recent weeks — the size and energy-consuming properties of his new home in Tennessee. Mr. Inhofe sought to exact a pledge from Mr. Gore to cut electricity use so that his home outside Nashville used no more than the average American home in a year.

This triggered a jousting match with both Mr. Gore and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, the committee chairwoman, which ended when Ms. Boxer made a tart reference to the change in power in the Senate. “You’re not making the rules,” she told Mr. Inhofe.

Mr. Gore then said he pays extra to use wind-generated electricity at the home; Mr. Inhofe took that response as a rejection of the pledge.

When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, asked if Mr. Gore would favor a tax on carbon emissions over a cap on emissions, accompanied by a system of trading pollution allowances, he said both were needed.

Representative Ralph M. Hall, Republican of Texas, said calls for cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases amounted to an “all-out assault on all forms of fossil fuels” that could eliminate jobs and hurt the economy.

In written testimony for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician and author critical of people who present environmental problems as a crisis, asserted that Mr. Gore’s portrayal of global warming as a problem, and his prescription for solving it, were deeply flawed.

Mr. Lomborg said that “global warming is real and man-made,” but that a focus on intensified energy research would be more effective and far cheaper than caps or taxes on greenhouse gas emissions or energy sources that produce them.


Felicity Barringer reported from Washington, and Andrew C. Revkin from New York.

3:11 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Home » blogs » Jake Gontesky's blog
The AP Goes Crazy for Global Warming
Posted by Jake Gontesky on March 20, 2007 - 00:46.
Just how crazy, you ask? Think of the wackiest global warming "fix" you can imagine. Then compile as many of those crazy ideas as you can and you'll have this AP wire report: Crazy ideas to combat global warming.

If anyone had any doubts how nuts the media has gone over global warming, let this article put those doubts to rest:

Crazy-sounding ideas for saving the planet are getting a serious look from top scientists, a sign of their fears about global warming and the desire for an insurance policy in case things get worse.

How crazy?


There's the man-made "volcano" that shoots gigatons of sulfur high into the air. The space "sun shade" made of trillions of little reflectors between Earth and sun, slightly lowering the planet's temperature.

The forest of ugly artificial "trees" that suck carbon dioxide out of the air. And the "Geritol solution" in which iron dust is dumped into the ocean.

"Of course it's desperation," said Stanford University professor Stephen Schneider. "It's planetary methadone for our planetary heroin addiction. It does come out of the pessimism of any realist that says this planet can't be trusted to do the right thing."

This one is so good, you just have to read it all. Just when you thought we were supposed to be reducing our impact on the Earth's energy balance comes this:

A private company is already carrying out this plan. Some scientists call it promising, while others worry about the ecological fallout.

Planktos Inc. of Foster City, Calif., last week launched its ship, the Weatherbird II, on a trip to the Pacific Ocean to dump 50 tons of iron dust. The iron should grow plankton, part of an algae bloom that will drink up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Try to gloss over the dollar figures that have already been spent on these concepts or else you're likely to get very sad or angry or both:

NASA is putting the finishing touches on a report summing up some of these ideas and has spent $75,000 to map out rough details of the sun shade concept.

...One of the premier climate modeling centers in the United States, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has spent the last six weeks running computer simulations of the man-made volcano scenario and will soon turn its attention to the space umbrella idea.

But the best for last - this one has got to be my personal favorite:

For far-out concepts, it's hard to beat Roger Angel's.

Last fall, the University of Arizona astronomer proposed what he called a "sun shade." It would be a cloud of small Frisbee-like spaceships that go between Earth and the sun and act as an umbrella, reducing heat from the sun.

...These nearly flat discs would each weigh less than an ounce and measure about a yard wide with three tab-like "ears" that are controllers sticking out just a few inches.

About 800,000 of these would be stacked into each rocket launch. It would take 16 trillion of them — that's a million million — so there would be 20 million launches of rockets. All told, Angel figures 20 million tons of material to make the discs that together form the solar umbrella.

But we inevitably come back to the cost:


And then there's the cost: at least $4 trillion over 30 years, probably more.

And that would just be covered by the government, right? Er, I mean, the taxpayer.

As a meteorologist, I closely follow and analyze the news that is published regarding topics in the world of weather and climate. I maintain a seperate website devoted to, among other things, climate change in the news. Visit and comment at Notes in the Margin.


Jake Gontesky's blog | login or register to post comments
Categories: Associated Press | Environment


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radiofitz34 Says:
March 20, 2007 - 02:27
Well Jake, I'm dumfounded. The moral and literal compass has been destroyed in favor of the age of applied paranoia.

We have people starving in Somalia, Eritria, Sudan and North Korea. And this is the best that people can do? Clearly humanity left by itself without God can do no better than this.

The artificial volcano. Wow give a kid a dangerous toy and look out! Hey let's see if this works...oops my bad, sorry about that Australia.

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mostlymoderate Says:
March 20, 2007 - 04:06
I am so sick of hearing about Global Warmingl. Give me a break. The ego one must have to think that "we", the "human race", are capable of having such a catastrophic effect on mother nature. BS. Show me some facts that are legitimate and I will start worrying.

In the meantime, can we PLEASE have styrofome back? Remember the good ol' days when a big-mac came in a styrofome container? When coffee came in styrofome?

Petroleum products are everything. It's not surprising that uber-libs are against "everything".

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old cro Says:
March 20, 2007 - 04:19
From the article:
“Many fear there will be unintended side effects; others worry such schemes might prevent the type of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are the only real way to fight global warming.”
Can you say understatement?
Also 16 trillion Frisbees circling the earth taking 20 million launches of rockets? I enjoy a good chuckle in the morning. I’m thinking of making this my home page so I can read it everytime I log on.

”It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.”
- Jerome K. Jerome

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mostlymoderate Says:
March 20, 2007 - 04:26
I have to admit. 16 trillion Frisbees circling the earth is really funny. I keep thinking about how dumb that idea is. It scares me how remarkably stupid somebody could be that is supposedly "college educated" and "an astronomer". Apparently they are still doing a lot of Peyote in Arizona. What's next? A ladder to the moon? I have heard THAT one before.

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Pragmatic-Man Says:
March 20, 2007 - 06:42
Luckily, the sun-shaders will lose interest before following through, especially since it will be associated with NASA. Spend the money, put some highly specialized and extremely expensive devices in space at great taxpayer expense, then defund the purpose and gut the mission. If this sounds like the space station, bingo!

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RJ Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:48
I saw this article in Connecticut's leftist rag, the Hartford Courant. After I stopped laughing at the stupidity and gullibility of leftist AGW scare-mongers, I thought of an old book, Cat's Cradle, by an old leftist, Kurt Vonnegut, and The Law of Unintended Consequences

In that book, a new product called Ice-nine turned room-temperature water to ice and it was hailed as a great discovery (can't remember why). But eventually, it spread uncontrollably and froze all water on the planet, killing all life. These dumb ideas, if implemented, could do the same.

Along those lines, there's an idea floating around for creating "clean and free energy" by tapping our molten core with thousands of wide and deep "heat wells." Sheesh!

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danbo Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:55
I had the same thought. After they launch all those frisbies. Then the climate reverts to cooling. Someone will have to retrieve them. To keep the planet from going into a real cool down.

This hysteria never ceases to amaze me.

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” H.L. Mencken

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Galvanic Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:32
Theoretically, I guess we could construct a ladder to the moon from bucky tubes. Even that sounds more feasible than launching 16 trillion orbital Frisbees.

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garynick Says:
March 20, 2007 - 04:32
Get Environment info from an independent source COA News


Time to wake up!

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DontFeedTheTrolls Says:
March 20, 2007 - 06:07
What does that 'independent' source COA News stand for?

Communists Of America?

Cancel Out America?

Costs Only to Americans?

Cannot Objectively Assess?

Sheesh.

D


A day without NewsBusters is like a day without sunshine.

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RJ Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:29
COA = belag's favorite "consensus" website


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Dave R Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:40


Just what we need around here. Another Marxist/Leninist America-hating troll giving us links to yet another Marxist/Leninist America-hating site run by Marxist/Leninist America-hating enviro-kook fern-fondlers.

Did they add a third shift down at the troll factory?

This republic will not survive the continued neglect of its people.- Neal Boortz.


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dahliatravers Says:
March 20, 2007 - 21:10
lol

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garynick Says:
March 24, 2007 - 03:52
marxist leninist? I would like to see one article promoting marxist leninist points of view. People label something when they can't argue rationally.

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garynick Says:
March 24, 2007 - 03:50
I believe it stands for Currents of Awareness. I think this is in that it is a network of indepedent (from government and corporations) media, so the idea is that each organization is like a current of awareness about the world.

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Pragmatic-Man Says:
March 20, 2007 - 06:33
So, allow me to deconstruct, as if it warrants my energy. Dumping a leaching metal into the ocean en masse is not harmful to the environment? Try dumping 50 tons of iron dust in Manhattan and watch the EPA hunt you down. Then, they will surely complain about how harmful global warming is to the fish populations that are being decimated with "rust-gill" syndrome, or some harmful effect brought on by breathing water with severely high concentrations of iron oxide. This will drastically alter the pH of the local seawater at the dumpsite, likely producing a kill effect upon the plankton.

And as for the sun shade, wasn't it volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere that is attributed to the extinction of the last great dominant species 65 million years ago? What will the agri business do when the sun is gone? Do these people think past the end of their noses?

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dahliatravers Says:
March 20, 2007 - 21:17
"rust-gill" syndrome

Each fish with rust-gill syndrome would have to be hand cleaned, sort of the way they clean seagulls and otters after an oil spill.

By the way, wouldn't the 20m launches it would take to put the umbrellas into orbit just be adding to global warming? I don't think you people have thought all of this through.

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motherbelt Says:
March 20, 2007 - 06:53
Anyone remember when Mount St. Helens erupted, and Mount Pinatubo? Both times the atmosphere was supposed to be ruined for decades, trapping CO2, causing extremely high temps, skin cancer and numerous other ills? Well, Mother Nature cleaned up after herself both times, in fairly short order, compared to what the GW cult predicted.


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Riled One Says:
March 20, 2007 - 07:49
Global Warming is easy enough to solve.

Just elect a Dem President and the problem will go away in the same manner the "Homeless Crisis" disappeared when Clinton replaced Bush I.

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acaiguana Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:54
My gosh, Riled One, finally - a reason to vote for a Democrat.

Than k s.

:-)

ACA

...

Quoted from: 'Acaiguana Notes from the Bomb Shelter' (soon to be a movie at theaters near you)

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ecnirP Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:09
What, exactly, would be the carbon footprint of 20 million rocket launches, and can Mr. Gore's firm provide enough carbon offsets to be donated to the cause?

I'll take the actual expenditure of money on these kooky ideas as another indicator that the AGW tide has turned. And when it turns out that they're dead wrong, how can we hold these people accountable for the environmental damage they cause?

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Riled One Says:
March 20, 2007 - 08:44
Just think of all the billboard space on those umbrellas. The cure could pay for itself in advertising.

"Islam is a peaceful religion"

"It don't rain in Indianapolis"

The list goes on.

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rubylens Says:
March 20, 2007 - 11:03
Okay, this is the first time I've felt actual fear about humans possibly irrevocably damaging the earth. If people actually do stuff like this, I have no doubt that they'll do tremendous harm. I still think the earth is big enough and complex enough to correct most of what we might do to it, but this stuff is just foolhardy in the extreme! Clearly a case of the "cure" being worse than the perceived "disease."

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Galvanic Says:
March 20, 2007 - 12:31
For some sobering cost-benefit analysis of Global Warming and the fixes (e.g. Kyoto), I recommend Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg, a professor of statistics in Denmark, illustrates how heavy investment in the wrong 'solutions' is more catastrophic to human existence, than none at all.

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3:17 AM  
Blogger dan said...

More soon

1:40 AM  
Blogger fabulinus said...

I loved this article. Absolutely hilarious. I don't know if you meant it to be funny, but I laughed till my sides hurt.

Since about the time man became self aware, he has been claiming that the end is near. Intellectually, you have something in common with early man.

There are two particularly effective ways to gain power over others: through love or fear. Scare-mongers / fear-mongers use fear to gain power over weak minded people. The same fear-mongers who espoused the tragedy of the commons and the coming ice age now talk of a "global warming" catastrophe.

This is all in an effort to work the sheep into a frenzy, make the people so afraid that they look to someone, anyone with a "solution" to the "problem"

Basically this is how people like al Gore get others to listen to them.

5:31 PM  
Blogger dan said...

climate porn n. Extreme or alarmist language or images used to describe the current or future effects of man-made climate change. Also: climate pornography.


Example Citations:
Recently, a left-leaning think tank in Great Britain came up with a good way to describe the hysterical rhetoric used by many environmentalists, media and politicians to hype the threat of global warming.

After analyzing hundreds of media articles, news clips and television ads on the issue, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) dubbed it "climate porn." This means using apocalyptic language to describe the challenges posed by climate change.

Climate porn, the IPPR argued, amounts to a "counsel of despair," making the public feel helpless and insignificant.
—Lorrie Goldstein, "The new pornographers," The Toronto Sun, January 7, 2007



"Sadly, all the biggest science stories of 2006 were scare stories," says Fiona Fox, of the Science Media Centre (SMC).

"Obviously, climate change was a huge story and, in many ways, this year saw the debate move beyond the sterile argument over whether climate change is actually happening to a more constructive one on how science and technology can help us adapt to the worst impacts.

"The Stern Report in the autumn laid out the huge economic costs to governments of mitigation and adaptation to climate change. However some experts criticised the media for exaggerating the worst aspects of climate change and indulging in 'climate porn'.

"The Tyndall Centre [for Climate Change Research] and the Institute for Public Policy Research both criticised the media for sensationalising the worst case scenario and thus running the risk that the public will feel that it is too late to act."
—Ian Johnston, "Climate of fear as science has a bad news year," The Scotsman, December 23, 2006



Earliest Citation:
Parental warning: Better lock down the Discovery channel along with the Playboy channel next Thursday unless you want to subject your kids to hours of climate porn and scenes of polar bears being killed off by the evil legacy of the industrial revolution and human addiction to speed, technology, power, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
—Terence Corcoran, "Climate gurus," Financial Post, April 15, 2004


Related Words:
climate canary
climate refugee
eco-porn
gadget porn
gastroporn
global ecophagy
precautionary principle
time porn


Subject Categories:
Culture - Pornography
Science - Environment
Science - Weather



Posted on March 2, 2007

9:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

a poem written by Mr. Vonnegut called "Requiem,"
which has these closing lines:

When the last living thing

has died on account of us,

how poetical it would be

if Earth could say,

in a voice floating up

perhaps

from the floor

of the Grand Canyon,

"It is done."

People did not like it here.

10:29 PM  
Blogger dan said...

step it up 2007 campaign: GOOGLE

9:04 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global Warning
Elizabeth Kolbert's new book takes on society's take on global warming
By MATT PACENZA, Staff Writer
First published: Sunday, April 16, 2006, J1

Thirty years ago, global warming was a tantalizing theory.

By 15 years ago, most scientists had agreed human activity was beginning to warm the planet.

And by one February afternoon in 2006, a journalist talking about her new book could point to an e-mail from an Alaskan native villager reporting midwinter open water -- for the first time in memory.

"There's no ice!" exclaimed Elizabeth Kolbert, the author of "Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change" (Bloomsbury, 192 pages; $22.95), an expanded version of her award-winning 2005 series in The New Yorker.

Kolbert's slender book builds carefully, from an eye-opening study of how a changing climate is already transforming life in Alaska and the Arctic. It also probes how -- and most importantly, how quickly -- the weather will change, with analysis of how warming oceans and melting glaciers could set off bigger transformations.

Tuesday night, as part of the New York State Writers Institute Spring Series, Kolbert will read from her new book.

The former New York Times reporter and current New Yorker staff writer ably translates complex science, illustrating how ocean currents drive weather or how warm air has already increased the life span of adult mosquitoes.

But mixed up in all that smart, calm and collected science writing is barely concealed panic. Kolbert is impressed by climate change, but she's also scared of it.

"The more you know, the more worried you are," Kolbert said last month during an interview at an Albany coffeehouse.

The scientists she profiles, each one smarter and more credentialed than the last, reach equally stern conclusions.

The most devastating, Kolbert's own, is saved for the last. "It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself," she writes, "but that is what we are in the process of doing."

A learning experience

Kolbert covered the state Legislature for the Times for much of Gov. Mario Cuomo's final term, before settling in Williamstown, Mass., where she lives with her two sons and husband, a professor at Williams College.

By her own admission, Kolbert was a novice to climatology before 2000, when she wrote a feature for The New Yorker on a research expedition to Greenland that successfully found evidence for global warming in tiny air bubbles trapped deep in glaciers.

That led to another reporting trip to Shishmaref, an Inupiat village on the Alaskan coast, where residents are planning to move inland due to melting sea ice and frequent storm surges.

When she returned from Alaska, energized but prepared to write a single article, editor David Remnick urged her to "blow it out," to do a series on climate change.

"It was at once a horrifying challenge and a challenge I felt I had to take," Kolbert recalled. It paid off. Earlier this year, she won a prestigious science journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Walking the line

In the articles and new book, Kolbert walked a line between the roles of journalist and advocate. "It isn't my job or goal to set policy," she said. "But I do want to get people to think carefully and take action."

Another challenge was to fight off a sense of despair, easy to wallow in, given research that suggests warming is a train that will be very difficult to stop.

That tension is most explicit in the next to last chapter, which looks at Burlington, Vt.'s, bid to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels. The small city has embraced a series of energy-saving measures, from reducing waste to helping businesses and homes cut power use.

The campaign has worked: Burlington reduced power use by 1 percent over 16 years, even as usage in the rest of Vermont grew 15 percent.

But Kolbert follows that note of optimism with a dispiriting analysis of China, where massive growth is fueling new coal power plants that are not likely to be built with technologies that minimize carbon dioxide emissions.

The pollution from those new plants threatens to overwhelm the modest promise that Burlington represents, Kolbert writes. "China's new plants would burn through all of Burlington's savings -- past, present and future -- in less than two and a half hours."

Despite such alarming comparisons, the book also presents research which has looked at practical approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Kolbert writes at length about a 2004 Science magazine article that showed, with current technology -- solar power, more efficient cars, cleaner coal plants -- we can avoid reaching 500 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, an admittedly arbitrary number that many experts have identified as a possible tipping point. Today, that number is 370.

"We know what we have to do," said Kolbert. "If we want to keep this in the realm of possible, we have to start now."

Climate change

The story of how little has been done is well known, as the U.S. government under President Bush has fled all international efforts to reign in carbon dioxide emissions. "If you parse through it all," Kolbert said. "This is the administration's line, 'We'll just sit here and wait for something to happen.'

Kolbert also notes that relatively little was accomplished under the Clinton-Gore administrations, despite some strong rhetoric.

It plainly irritates Kolbert that she has to spend any time, in either the book or during an interview, to refute those who claim climate change is not real, or is a hoax. The number of skeptics appears to be winnowing to a few, such as novelist Michael Crichton, several U.S. senators and at a few key White House staffers.

Kolbert agrees with New York Times columnist David Brooks, who wrote in December that there are few skeptics left, even among Republicans. "Global warming is real (conservatives secretly know this)," Brooks wrote.

Kolbert pointed to conservative Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, who has begun to talk about global warming in recent months.

"If you are in Alaska, I don't care what your political persuasion is, you see the world changing," Kolbert said.

Whether people, governments and nations act in time will likely hinge on whether ordinary people believe there is a crisis.

One reason many don't today may be fatigue with "doomsday environmentalism," the tendency among activists in earlier generations to have labeled certain crises, such as the population bomb or nuclear winter, as looming catastrophes. Those predictions have thus far fizzled.

The science is much stronger this time, but the challenge remains.

"It's like the boy who cried wolf," Kolbert said. "People do get tired of hearing it. But unfortunately, the wolf eventually arrives."

10:26 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Says James Lovelock: ''My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease... The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger... We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die ********* and .....the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.''

11:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Earth Day Voices: Jamais Cascio
WorldChanging Team
April 22, 2007 9:21 AM



Four Futures for the Earth

by Jamais Cascio

Never trust a futurist who only offers one vision of tomorrow.

We don't know what the future will hold, but we can try to tease out what it might. Scenarios, which combine a variety of important and uncertain drivers into a mix of different -- but plausible -- futures, offer a useful methodology for coming up with a diverse set of plausible tomorrows. Scenarios are not predictions, but examples, giving us a wind-tunnel to test out different strategies for managing large, complex problems.

And there really isn't a bigger or more complicated problem right now than the incipient climate disaster. Today, there seems to be two schools of thought regarding the best way to deal with global warming: the "act now" approach, demanding (in essence) that we change our behavior and the ways that our societies are structured, and do it as quickly as possible, or else we're boned; and the "techno-fix" approach, which says (in essence) don't worry, the nano/info/bio revolution that's just around the corner will save us. Generally, the Worldchanging approach is to emphasize the first, with a sprinkle of the second for flavor (and as backup).

The thing is, these are not mutually-exclusive propositions, and success or failure in one doesn't determine the chance of success or failure in the other. It's entirely possible that we will change our behavior/society/world (ahem), and also come up with fantastic new technologies; it's also possible that we'll stumble on both paths, neither fixing things in time nor getting our hands on the tools we could use to repair the worst damage.

To a futurist, a pair of distinct, largely independent variables just begs to be turned into a scenario matrix. So let's give in, and take a brief look a the four scenarios the combinations of these two paths create:


Dodging a Bullet

2037: It's amazing how fast we went from "is this real?" to "what can we do?" to "let's do it now." There was no silver bullet, no green leap forward, just a billion quiet decisions to act. People made better, smarter choices, and the headlong rush to disaster slowed; encouraged by this, we started to focus our investments and social energy into solving this problem, and eventually (but much faster than we'd dared hope!) the growth of atmospheric carbon stopped. There's still too much CO2 in the air, and we know we're going to be dealing with a warming climate for awhile still, but the human species actually managed to choose to avoid killing itself off.

This is a world in which civil society begins to focus on averting climate disaster as its primary, immediate task, even at the cost of some economic growth and general technological acceleration. Most governments and institutions curtail research and development without direct climate benefits, leading to a world of 2037 that's nowhere near as advanced as futurists and technology enthusiasts had expected. A succession of environmental disasters linked (in the public mind, at the very least) to global warming -- killing hundreds of thousands, and leaving tens of millions as refugees -- gave added impetus to a world-wide effort; by 2017, a clear majority of the world's population was willing to do anything necessary to avoid the environmental collapse that many scientists saw as nearly inevitable. One popular slogan for the climate campaign was "we could be the best, or we could be the last."

Teaching the World to Sing

02037: I stumbled across a memory archive from twenty years ago, before the emergence of the Chorus, and was shocked to see the Earth as it was. Oceans near death, climate system lurching towards collapse, overall energy flux just horribly out-of-balance. I can't believe the Earth actually survived that. I had assumed that the Chorus was responsible for repairing the planet, but no -- We told me that, even by 02017, the Earth's human populace was making the kind of substantive changes to how it lived necessary to avoid real disaster, and that 02017 was actually one of the first years of improvement! What the Chorus made possible was the planetary repair, although We says that this project still has many years left, in part because We had to fix some of We's own mistakes from the first few repair attempts. The Chorus actually seemed embarrassed when We told me that!

This is a world in which immediate efforts to make the social and behavioral changes necessary to avoid climate disaster make possible longer-term projects to apply powerful, transformative technologies (such as molecular manufacturing and cognitive augmentation) to the problem of stabilizing and, eventually, repairing the broken environment. It's not quite a Singularity, but is perhaps something nearly as strange: a world that has come to see few differences between human systems and natural/geophysical systems. "We are Gaia, too," the aging (but quite healthy) James Lovelock reminded us in 2023. And Gaia is us: billions of molecular-scale eco-sensors and intelligent simulations give the Earth itself an important voice in the global Chorus.

Geoengineering 101: Pass/Fail

2037: The Hephaestus 2 mission reported last week that it had managed to stabilize the wobble on the Mirror, but JustinNN.tv blurbed me a minute ago that New Tyndall Center is still showing temperature instabilities. According to Tyndall, that clinches it: we have another rogue at work. NATO ended the last one with extreme prejudice (as dramatized in last Summer's blockbuster, "Shutdown" -- I loved that Bruce Willis came out of retirement to play Gates), but this one's more subtle. My eyecrawl has some bluster from the SecGen now, saying that "this will not stand," blah blah blah. I just wish that these boy geniuses (and they're all guys, you ever notice that?) would put half as much time and effort into figuring out the Atlantic Seawall problem as they do these crazy-ass plans to fix the sky.

This is a world in which attempts to make the broad social and behavioral changes necessary to avoid climate disaster are generally too late and too limited, and the global environment starts to show early signs of collapse. The 2010s to early 2020s are characterized by millions of dead from extreme weather events, hundreds of millions of refugees, and a thousand or more coastal cities lost all over the globe. The continued trend of general technological acceleration gets diverted by 2020 into haphazard, massive projects to avert disaster. Few of these succeed -- serious climate problems hit too fast for the more responsible advocates of geoengineering to get beyond the "what if..." stage -- and the many that fail often do so in a spectacular (and legally actionable) fashion. Those that do work serve mainly to keep the Earth poised on the brink: bioengineered plants that consume enough extra CO2 and methane to keep the atmosphere stable; a very slow project to reduce the acidity of the oceans; and the Mirror, a thousands of miles in diameter solar shield at the Lagrange point between the Earth and the Sun, reducing incoming sunlight by 2% -- enough to start a gradual cooling trend.

Say Goodnight

2030-something. Late in the decade, I think. Living day-to-day makes it hard to keep track of the years. The new seasons don't help -- Stormy, Still Stormy, Hellaciously Stormy, and Blast Furnace -- and neither does the constant travel, north to the Nunavut Protectorate, if it's still around. I hear things are even worse in Europe, if you can believe that. I don't hear much about Asia anymore, but I suppose nobody does now. The Greenland icepack went sometime in the last few years, and I hear a rumor that Antarctica is starting to go now. Who knows? I still see occasional aircraft high overhead, but they mostly look like military planes, so don't get your hopes up: they're probably from somebody who thinks it's still worth it to fight over the remaining oil.

This is a world in which we don't adopt the changes we need, and technology-based fixes end up being too hard to implement in sufficient quantity and scale to make a real difference. Competition for the last bit of advantage (in economics, in security, in resources) accelerates the general collapse. Things fall apart; the center does not hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Pick your future.

4:24 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Said one expert on climate change in a recent email to me: re my blog:

"That's certainly a provocative argument. I'm not sure I agree with
the overall thrust, but it's definitely worth thinking about."

=============

and a climate change reporter said:

"Writing a news story about your blog ideas would be an interesting way to get people thinking about the topic of polar cities. Give me a few days to work up some questions and I will interview you. Good idea."

7:31 PM  
Blogger dan said...

When I asked this qusetion on another blog, "Why is NOBODY talking about this?" re Polar Cities? I received this reply from Big Gav in Australia:

"There are whole tribes of energy and climate doomers out there talking
about this sort of stuff (try any of the "Running On Empty" peak oil
discussion groups for starters) - or Google "lifeboats peak oil" or
similar.

(Personally I think its not too late and we could both fix the climate
and replace oil and coal without any real suffering - it would require
a fairly rapid turnover of our political leaderships though)."

=====

AND another blogger wrote:


''Jamais Cascio has a guest post at WorldChanging as part of their Earth
Day series - some scenario planning on global warming called "Four
Futures for the Earth".

Bart at Energy Bulletin comments "David Holmgren, the co-originator of
permaculture, developed a similar matrix of scenarios:
"BrownTech",
"GreenTech",
"Earth Steward"
and "Lifeboats."

I find scenario approach
used by Cascio and Holmgren to be much more fruitful than a fixation
upon one inevitable future, whether that future be envisioned as
Petro-ollapse or Cornucopian Business-as-Usual. ".

8:09 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The Four Energy/Climate Scenarios

A simple scenario planning model can be constructed based on slow to rapid climate change and slow to fast oil production declines. These alternative scenarios are not primarily the result of choice by human actors but emergent realities driven by geologic and climatic forces.

The four scenarios:
Green Tech: top down transform (slow oil decline, slow climate change)
Brown Tech: top down control (slow oil decline, fast climate change)
Earth Steward: bottom up powerdown (fast oil decline, slow climate change)

*****Lifeboats: civilization triage (fast oil decline , fast climate change)


- David Holmgren

8:17 PM  
Blogger dan said...

april 26, 2007

Dear Blogger,

Thank you for sending your letter to the editor about polar cities and global warming to The Daily News. We will publish it as soon as possible. I would ask that you please send a reply to me to confirm that you received this note. We cannot publish your letter until we receive your confirmation.
Due to the volume of letters we receive, typically, letters are published 3-5 days after we receive your confirmation.

best regards,

The editor
ecnnews.com


Dear Editor,

Regarding Bill Plante's recent column on global warming, my guess is
that by 2500 we are going to have to have polar cities and towns in
place in both polar regions for the survivors of humakind to live in
for several thousands of years, to wait out the global winter of 2500
- 10,500 and then to later repopulate the Earth. If there is an earth
to repopulate. See me blog here:
http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Sincerely,

Etc.

6:44 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Film on Global Warming Is Challenged

Wednesday April 25, 3007 (sic)

By Raphael Satter, Associated Press Writer
rsatter@ap.org

Scientists Demand Changes to Global Warming Skeptic's Film


LONDON (AP) -- A group of British climate scientists is demanding changes to a skeptical documentary about global warming, saying there are grave errors in the program billed as a response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."
ADVERTISEMENT


"The Great Global Warming Swindle" aired on British television in March and is coming out soon on DVD. It argues that man-made emissions have a marginal impact on the world's climate and warming can better be explained by changing patterns of solar activity.

An open letter sent Tuesday by 38 scientists, including the former heads of Britain's academy of sciences and Britain's weather office, called on producer Wag TV to remove what it called "major misrepresentations" from the film before the DVD release -- a demand its director said was tantamount to censorship.

Bob Ward, the former spokesman for the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science, and one of the letter's signatories, said director Mark Durkin made a "long catalog of fundamental and profound mistakes" -- including the claim that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans, and that the Earth's atmosphere was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is today.

"Free speech does not extend to misleading the public by making factually inaccurate statements," he said. "Somebody has to stand up for the public interest here."

Durkin called the letter "loathsome."

"This is a contemptible, weasel-worded attempt to gag scientific criticism, and it won't work," he said. "I don't believe they're interested in quality control when it comes to the reporting of science -- so long as it's on their side."

Durkin acknowledged two of the errors highlighted by the scientists -- including the claim about volcanic emissions -- but he described those changes as minor and said they would be corrected in the expanded DVD release.

But the scientists do not want the DVD released without edits to completely remove the material they object to -- something Ward said would fatally weaken the film's argument.

"The fact is that it's a very convincing program, and if you're not very aware of the science you wouldn't necessarily see what the errors are," Ward said. "But the errors are huge. ... Without those errors in, he doesn't have a story."

Ward has also complained to Britain's media regulator, which said it was investigating the matter. British broadcast law demands impartiality on matters of major political and industrial controversy -- and penalties can be imposed for misrepresentations of fact.

The decision to broadcast Durkin's documentary on Channel 4 was an unusual move in a country where the role of man-made carbon emissions in heating the globe is largely taken for granted and politicians regularly spar over which party has the greenest environmental policy.

As for the former vice president, Gore has been hired as an adviser to the British government, which plans to send copies of his film to schools around England.

7:08 PM  
Blogger dan said...

"GLOBAL WARMING IS BEING SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATED"

....ten
questions by email,

ten questuions for interview



1. when did you first become aware of how serious GLobal Warming is and what was your first reaction? what year? where were you? at home, reading, ? wathcing TV, a movie waht?

1970s knew it was dangerous. Final realisation june 2006 seeing al gore’s film in NY



2. many peple think GLO WAR is a myth, a lie, not true at all. How can people who believe that GW is serious, how can they convince the media worldwide that this is FOR REAL?>

chaotic weather



3. how old are you, and what do you think the future of the Earth wil be? are you optimistic or pessismistcv>? mid 70s, essentially it is already too late. 2 degrees C is inevitable, if not worse. This is the tipping point – just see whats in my web pages for all this



4. If the world does not do anything about GW now, hiow much longer do you think Humankind will exist on Earth? what date might be end of humankind as we know it? We will survive, but fewer of us. Maybe not more than a few million. It all depends on how seen we get a catastrophe. We don’t learn from slow events, but only from disasters. My preference (?) is for the ice shields to collapse over a 2-year period, raising water levels by some meters.



5. do you believe in God or an afterlife? We all have souls. Souls are eternal. They connect us to the Great Field that is the source of all. My book on this will be published at the end of the year.



6. you created a great website, how many hits do you get each month, and who is reading you? has the Oz newspaper interviewed you about your ideas or your website yet? Which paper? No interviews. 250-350 per day. Look at the map on the site



7. TIm Fllannery, James Lovelock, you, are leading thinkers in all this. Who else shoudl we be listening to? In other countries? Do your own serch on google



8. your life has been successful, rewarding, meaningufll, good. what legacy do you hope to levae to your grnadchildrenand great grandchildren? A world they can enjoy, but that’s unlikely now. I am probably living in the best time humanity has ever had.



9. DO you think there wil be a world of human being in the year 2500 or th eyear 5000? or is the end coming sooner than that? I would hope humanity will transforms, but I doubt it. We have cosmic brains grafted onto animal instincts, and while that actually creates the wonder and beauty and diversity of human cuktures, it puts unacceptable emotions in front ot intelligence. See my book Notes to transformation.



10. people don't want to stop using cars, coal, eletricity, airplanes, etc. WHY? WHY are we addicted to this modern lifestyule that is killing our planet with a huge co2 emmission faaucet that cannot be seemingly turned off? is there any way to turn this CO2 faucet off and get a fix in? We are habit-forming creatures, for each habit reduces the amount of information we have to compute in daily life. Once in a habit we feel comfortable, and avoid the effort to change it. Applies to poor people, tribal cultures as well as us. Only disaster changes.

8:26 PM  
Blogger dan said...

John James on climate change, future of humankind


Internet News Service Worldwide




John James is 76 and he's worried. He's worried about climate change
and global warming and about the future of his grandchildren. In a
recent interview, James spoke by email with Taipei-based Internet reporter Dan
Bloom (http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com) in Taiwan.

When John James was asked when he first become aware of how serious
global warming was, he replied, succinctly: "In the 1970s, I already
knew it was dangerous, but my final realisation came to me in June
2006 when I saw Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth", in New York."


When asked how people around the world can be convinced that global
warming is for real, given the fact that many writers have recently
been trying to debunk the idea of global warming as a myth, James
said, in two words: "Chaotic weather."

James is in his mid-70s now. When asked about his view of the future,
in terms of how global warming will impact the Earth and humankind, he
said: "I am 76. Essentially, it is already too late. A two degrees C
rise is
inevitable, if not worse. This is the tipping point. Look at my
at [http://www.planetextinction.com]. The site gets about 300 hits each
day."

LINK [http://www.countercurrents.org/cc-james030207.htm]


When asked if global warming means the end of humankind on Earth,
James said, no, but he added: " We will survive, but fewer of us.
Maybe not
more than a few million people. It all depends on how soon we get a
catastrophe. Unfortunately, we humans don't learn from slow events,
but only from disasters. My preference, if such a word is useful here,
is for the ice sheets to collapse over a 2-year period, raising water
levels by some meters. This would be a huge wake-up call!"

When asked a question about religion and spirituality, and if he
believes in a god or an afterlife, James said: "We all have souls.
Souls are
eternal. They connect us to the Great Field that is the source of all.
My book on this will be published at the end of the year."

When asked what kind of legacy he would like to leave for his
grandchidlren, James replied: "A world they can enjoy, but I think
that that's unlikely now. I am
probably living in the best time humanity has ever had."

During the email interview, we asked James if he thinks there will be
a world of human beings in the year 2500
or the year 5000? Or if he thinks humankind might end completely one
day on Earth, due to the impact of global warming. James said: " I
would hope
that humanity will transform, but I doubt it. We humans have cosmic brains
grafted onto animal instincts, and while that actually creates the
wonder and beauty and diversity of human cuktures, it puts
unacceptable emotions in front of intelligence. I wrote a book titled "Notes to
Transformation" about this very subject."

People apparently don't want to stop using cars, coal, electricity,
airplanes, and all the other modern conveniences of modern life. We
seem to be addicted to this modern lifestyle
that is killing our planet with a huge co2 emission faucet that
cannot be seemingly turned off. When asked if there is any way to turn this CO2
faucet off and get a fix in, James replied: ""We are habit-forming
creatures, for each habit reduces the amount of information we have to
compute in daily
life. Once in a habit we feel comfortable, and avoid the effort to
change it. This applies to poor people, and to tribal cultures as well
as us. Only
disaster changes habits, sad to say."

9:01 PM  
Blogger Bubbie said...

See Thomas Friedman's latest oped piece on Australai's BIG DRY.....about climate change.

"things get interesting when it doesn't rain' he ends

11:07 PM  
Blogger dan said...

even Sarkozy said global warming will be a big issue in his presidency in France.... 2007

8:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The Beginning of the End for Life as We Know it on Planet Earth?

There is a Biocentric Solution.


Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society


Does humanity have a future?

We are presently living in what conservation biologists refer to as the Holocene extinction event. This is the sixth global mass extinction event in last 439 million years.

The previous five extinction events wiped out between 50 to 95 percent of species each time. The most recent event was 65 million years ago at the end of the Jurassic period, a cataclysmic occurrence that exterminated the dinosaurs, the dominant group of species at of that period.

Evolution addresses the diminishment of biological diversity through speciation, but it takes at least ten million years to build up diversity of species to the level prior to a mass extinction event.

The world ten million years after the Jurassic crash was radically different than the world of the dinosaurs. The world after the Holocene extinction event, the one we are in now, will be as radically altered and most likely one of the species that will not survive the event will be the present dominant species – the human species.

In a way, the Holocenic extinction event could also be called the “Holocenic hominid collective suicide event.”

After all, we Homo sapiens are the last survivors of the hominid line, a group that has been on its way out for some time. The beetle family, for example, has some 700,000 species by comparison. Odds are many of the beetle species will survive the event, whereas we will not.

But the reality is that what is happening now is the result of the collective actions of us hominids. We are the ruthlessly territorial primates whose numbers have soared far beyond the level of global carrying capacity for the deadly behavioural characteristics that we display.

This did not happen yesterday because we suddenly became aware of the dangers of global warming. It began 50,000 years ago when a relatively hairless primate stumbled out of equatorial Africa and began wiping out the megafauna of the time. Wherever this creature (our ancestor) went, their arrival was followed by large die-outs of megafauna. Primitive hominids were well-organized, efficient, slaughter crews. As they advanced, the mammoth, sabre-toothed cats, cave bears, giant sloths, camels, horses, and wholly rhinos fell to their stone weapons and deliberately set fires. The extinction of all of these great mega-species is directly attributable to “primitive” human hunters. The hunting down of the mega-fauna was followed by the advent of agriculture and the domestication of selected animals. Domesticated cows, goats, sheep, and pigs grew in numbers and denuded large areas of grasslands. Irrigation systems began to toxify land. Then agriculture was followed by industrial activities, and finally, by the burning off of vast amounts of fossil fuels.

As an example, consider Australia. There were incredible creatures that once lived and foraged in the wilds of Australia more than 50,000 years ago. They vanished.

They were victims of widespread fires set by the first human inhabitants, the ancestors of modern day Aboriginals. The fires were set to burn the brush, either to assist in hunting or to clear the land. Whatever the reason, the fires were devastating and the result was a massive extinction of species, primarily the majority of the incredible mega-fauna of the continent.

Some fifty millennia ago, the entire ecosystem of Australia was disrupted and transformed by humans. The fires wiped out food sources for browsing animals like the 200-pound flightless bird called the Genyornis. Marsupials the size of grizzly bears were obliterated. Also destroyed were tortoises twice the size of those in the Galapagos today, and snakes and lizards in excess of twenty-five feet.

In all, some 85 percent of the mega-fauna was removed because of human intervention.

According to research by scientists at the University of Colorado, the Australian National University, and the University of Washington, the analysis of organic material in some 700 fossil eggshells laid over centuries by the enormous bird Genyornis newtoni revealed that the birds lived among an abundant array of vegetation that suddenly became very scarce. This scarcity coincides with the period of colonization of Australia by humans from Indonesia.

“It was systematic burning that caused the catastrophic collapse of the largest animals.'' This according to Gifford Miller in an interview from the Australian National University in Canberra.

“The widespread fires altered the environment so drastically that what had been forest turned into a dry landscape of small scrubby shrubs and grasses, where smaller animals that could thrive on much more varied diets were able to survive while the megafauna vanished,'' he said.

“It can happen anywhere at any time: Humans are a part of any ecosystem, so when you introduce people into the system, they're bound to alter it – often so rapidly that other parts of the ecosystem don't have any time to adjust. The result is extinction,'' Miller said.

It has been a case of steady diminishment for thousands of years followed by a rapidly accelerating ecological downward spiral.

Today, escalating human populations have vastly exceeded global carrying capacity and now produce massive quantities of solid, liquid, and gaseous waste. Biological diversity is being threatened by over-exploitation, toxic pollution, agricultural mono-culture, invasive species, competition, habitat destruction, urban sprawl, oceanic acidification, ozone depletion, global warming, and climate change. It’s a runaway train of ecological calamities.

It’s a train that carries all the earth’s species as unwilling passengers with humans as the manically insane engineers unwilling to use the brake pedal.

The latest reports from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List (IUCN) – a database measuring the global status of Earth's 1.5 million scientifically named species – states quite confidently that we will lose half of them by 2150.

This is a cataclysmic prediction, yet it is strangely absent from the world’s media. No one wants to hear about it. It’s depressing. We would rather collectively deny ecological realities.

I’ve heard from some denialists that species extinction is natural. Yes it is, but the normal extinction rate over millions of years has been about one species per year and the niche vacated is readily filled by another species that begins to specialize in filling that niche.

But, we are now losing species faster than they can be replaced and entire ecological niches are being vacated permanently.

Of the 40,168 species that the 10,000 scientists in the IUCN assessed, one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one in three amphibians, one in three conifers, and other gymnosperms are at risk of extinction. The peril faced by other classes of organisms is less thoroughly analyzed, but fully 40 percent of the examined species of planet earth are in danger, including perhaps 51 percent of reptiles, 52 percent of insects, and 73 percent of flowering plants.

Extinction of marine wildlife is considered to be even more severe with only 4% of the Northern cod remaining and sharks being removed from the sea at a rate of one hundred million a year.

By the most conservative measure – based on the last century's recorded extinctions – the current rate of extinction is 100 times the background rate. Harvard conservation biologist Edward O. Wilson estimates that the true rate is more like 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate. We are losing about 200 species a day and remember that the norm is one species per year.

Wilson predicts that our present course will lead to the extinction of half of all plant and animal species by 2100.

The trends are all around us and in the process of rapid escalation. Of course, it is easy to dismiss this and go about our business which is the ignorance-is-bliss-school of thought.

But, would we do this if we were diagnosed with a terminal disease? No, as depressing as that revelation would be, we would address possible remedies. We would look for a cure. We would try to survive.

The planet’s ecosystem is a collective living organism and operates very much like the human body. Water is the blood of the earth. It provides the same function in the body as it does for the earth. Water transports nutrients to the land and transports waste to the sea or more specifically the estuaries and salt marshes that function as the liver for the earth, cleansing the water of the toxins. Water circulates through the ecosystem from the sea into the clouds falling back onto the land and returning to the sea again. It is pumped by the energy of the sun, the heart of the earth. It’s a continuous cyclic movement of nutrient bearing, waste removing action that keeps the land fertile.

A river is an artery and a vein, and streams and brooks are capillaries. Put a dam on a river and you cut off an artery preventing nutrients from moving downstream and you cut off the vein preventing the waste from the land from being removed and cleansed.

Plankton, plants, and especially forests are the lungs of the earth, removing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Overfishing, plankton harvesting, and deforestation is literally diminishing global lung capacity.

Species work interdependently to develop mutually beneficial strategies that maintain and strengthen ecosystems. Every species removed diminishes the system and weakens the collective body of the biosphere.

Humans are presently acting upon this body in the same manner as an invasive virus with the result that we are eroding the ecological immune system.

A virus kills its host and that is exactly what we are doing with our planet’s life support system. We are killing our host the planet Earth.

I was once severely criticized for describing human beings as being the “AIDS of the Earth.” I make no apologies for that statement. Our viral like behaviour can be terminal both to the present biosphere and ourselves. We are both the pathogen and the vector. But we also have the capability of being the anti-virus if only we can recognize the symptoms and address the disease with effective measures of control.

John Muir once wrote that when you tug on any part of nature, you find that it is intimately connected to every other part of nature.

The symptoms are right here before our eyes. Bee diminishment is causing diminishment in plants dependent upon bee pollination. Army ants support 100 known and identified species from beetles to birds. Grey whales are returning to Mexican lagoons under-nourished. Shark and large predatory fish populations have been reduced to between 65 to 95 percent in our oceans. Entire fish species are in a state of rapid collapse, especially the commercially valued species like cod, wild salmon, swordfish, and tuna.

Seventy species of South American frogs have been declared extinct in the last two decades. Thousands of species of insects are going extinct in the rainforests that have not even been discovered and classified.

I remember walking along the beaches in Vancouver harbour a few decades ago. Every single stone overturned sent a flurry of disturbed baby crabs scurrying to find new cover. I was fascinated by the sheer number of tiny crustaceans that I observed on those walks. Today, I have not found a single young crab under a single rock on those beaches. They were picked clean by Vietnamese immigrants that descended like locusts onto those beaches and stripped them clean. And criticism of that exploitation immediately elicited accusations of racism.

Today racism, cultural rights, and the right to exploit nature for commercial gain are the weapons used to defend gross over-exploitation of species and the destruction of natural habitats.

An extinction event is a quickly accelerating process. The number of species removed will rise relevant to the rising number of host species.

There is only one cure, only one way of stopping this rising epidemic of extinctions. The solution requires an extraordinarily immense effort by all of human society but it is achievable.

We need to re-wild the planet. We need to “get ourselves back to the garden” as Joni Mitchell once so poetically framed it.

This is a process that will require a complete overhaul of all of humanities economic, cultural, and life style systems. Within the context of our present anthropocentric mind-set the solution is impossible. It will require a complete transformation of all human realities.

But the alternative is unimaginable. Unless we address the problem, we will be faced with the complete transformation of the planet from one of diversity to ecosystems shattered, weakened, and destroyed by mass extinction and the collapse of bio-diversity.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.”

We should not be living in human communities that enclose tiny preserved ecosystems within them. Human communities should be maintained in small population enclaves within linked wilderness ecosystems. No human community should be larger than 20,000 people and separated from other communities by wilderness areas. Communication systems can link the communities.

In other words, people should be placed in parks within ecosystems instead of parks placed in human communities. We need vast areas of the planet where humans do not live at all and where other species are free to evolve without human interference.

We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion. We need to eliminate nationalism and tribalism and become Earthlings. And as Earthlings, we need to recognize that all the other species that live on this planet are also fellow citizens and also Earthlings. This is a planet of incredible diversity of life-forms; it is not a planet of one species as many of us believe.

We need to stop burning fossil fuels and utilize only wind, water, and solar power with all generation of power coming from individual or small community units like windmills, waterwheels, and solar panels.

Sea transportation should be by sail. The big clippers were the finest ships ever built and sufficient to our needs. Air transportation should be by solar powered blimps when air transportation is necessary.

All consumption should be local. No food products need to be transported over hundreds of miles to market. All commercial fishing should be abolished. If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand.

Preferably vegan and vegetarian diets can be adopted. We need to eliminate herds of ungulates like cows and sheep and replace them with wild ungulates like bison and caribou and allow those species to fulfill the proper roles in nature. We need to restore the prey predator relationship and bring back the wolf and the bear. We need the large predators and ungulates, not as food, but as custodians of the land that absorbs the carbon dioxide and produces the oxygen. We need to live with them in mutual respect.

We need to remove and destroy all fences and barriers that bar wildlife from moving freely across the land. We need to lower populations of domestic housecats and dogs. Already the world’s housecats consume more fish than all the world’s seals and we have made the cow into the largest aquatic predator on the planet because more than one half of all fish taken from the sea is converted into meal for animal feed.

We need to stop flying, stop driving cars, and jetting around on marine recreational vehicles. The Mennonites survive without cars and so can the rest of us.

We can retain technology but within the context of Henry David Thoreau’s simple message to “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

We need an economic system that provides all people with educational, medical, security, and support systems without mass production and vast utilization of resources. This will only work within the context of a much smaller global population.

Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans. Being a parent should be a career. Whereas some people are engineers, musicians, or lawyers, others with the desire and the skills can be fathers and mothers. Schools can be eliminated if the professional parent is also the educator of the child.

This approach to parenting is radical but it is preferable to a system where everyone is expected to have children in order to keep the population of consumers up to keep the wheels of production moving. An economic and political system dependent on continuous growth cannot survive the ecological law of finite resources.

There is, of course, a complexity of problems in adjusting to a new design that will simply allow us to survive the consequences of our past ecological folly.

Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy, and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach

It won’t be easy but then it’s better than the alternative.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Copyright © 2007 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. All rights reserved.


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10:58 PM  
Blogger dan said...

http://healthandenergy.com/images/global2.gif

10:58 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The silver lining to impending doom

High anxiety leads to more intense pursuit of innovation, so warnings about environmental catastrophe may have unexpected positive effects

By G. Pascal Zachary
NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, NEW YORK

May 08, 2007





Across the world, doomsayers [like Danny Bloom in Taiwan] are smiling. The mounting signs of climate change have forced onto center stage the challenges of reducing carbon emissions and quickly adapting human activities to thrive in higher temperatures and more unpredictable weather.

Alas, the bad news about climate change is good news for business.

A curious feature of capitalism is that threats, or more precisely, the human response to them, are economically and technologically stimulating.

Or, to put it another way, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

There will always be doomsayers, and fantasies about the end of human society are a staple of Hollywood and science fiction. But these days, a lot of smart people are seriously contemplating the looming destruction of human society, whether through a cascade of natural disasters, nuclear wars, uncontrolled terrorism, novel pandemics or, of course, climate change. Because I attended the Woody Allen school of futurism and generally find humanity poised between the horrible and the terrible, I always remember the childhood story of the boy who cried wolf.

Cry too often about ill-formed threats and you lose all credibility. But there are good reasons to believe that crying wolf is exactly what the brightest innovators ought to be doing, and not only in response to the challenge of climate change. As a general matter, high anxiety will lead to more intense pursuit of innovation.

In the history of economics, the ultimate wolf-crier was Joseph Schumpeter. An Austrian economist who taught at Harvard, Schumpeter in 1942 coined the term "creative destruction" to describe what he viewed as the engine of capitalism: how new products and processes constantly overtake existing ones. In his classic work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, he described how unexpected innovations destroyed markets and gave rise to new fortunes.

The historian Thomas McCraw writes in his new biography of Schumpeter, Prophet of Innovation: "Schumpeter's signature legacy is his insight that innovation in the form of creative destruction is the driving force not only of capitalism but of material progress in general. Almost all businesses, no matter how strong they seem to be at a given moment, ultimately fail and almost always because they failed to innovate."

Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction is justly celebrated. The economics writer David Warsh calls it the most memorable economic phrase since Adam Smith's "invisible hand." Peter Drucker, the late business guru, went so far as to declare Schumpeter the most influential economist of the last century.

Clearly, any quick survey of technological change validates Schumpeter's essential insight. The DVD destroyed the videotape (and the businesses around it). The computer obliterated the typewriter. The automobile turned the horse and buggy into an anachronism. Today, the Web is destroying many businesses even as it gives rise to others. Though the compact disc still lives, downloadable music is threatening to make the record album history.

"Schumpeter's central idea is just as important now as ever," says Louis Galambos, a business historian at Johns Hopkins University. "The heart of capitalism and its claim as an efficient economic system over the long term is the role that innovation plays."

Schumpeter brilliantly realized that innovation -- so often extolled as the purest expression of the human spirit -- has a dark, violent, even nasty side. Every innovator, in short, makes a declaration of war. And every successful innovation is a destroyer. To be sure, in these wars only technologies die, not the people who stand behind them. Yet people suffer nevertheless. Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in a speech last month that he knew firsthand of "the painful adjustments that economic advancement inflicts upon displaced workers."

"I grew up in a household where my father suffered more than his fair share of the destructive side of that process," Fisher said. "It was difficult for him to grasp the allure of the creative side of the equation, and I am more familiar with the anguish that comes when a breadwinner loses his job."

Fisher dwelled on the anguish felt by the losers in technological battles to point up the need for government and society to treat the losers with compassion. Yet liberal impulses to both embrace the new and assist those swept aside by technological change ignore an enigma: that destruction itself is often liberating, unleashing waves of innovation.

Even all-out war can lay the seeds of creative destruction. The leveling of Germany and Japan at the end of World War II forced the rebuilding of factories in those countries with the latest technologies, catapulting them into the first ranks of industrial powers. In addition to wiping out old physical structures, wars can obliterate old intellectual and organizational structures that restrain innovators.

"Violence breaks old relationships and upends people in power," says Joel Migdal, a professor of international studies at the University of Washington. "Once these structures and people are swept away, all sorts of things can happen."

Economic growth isn't guaranteed after an all-out war, naturally. Liberia and Sierra Leone are proof of that. But the hope that creation can follow destruction is motivating the leaders of Rwanda, where the 1994 genocide wiped out the country's social networks. Rwandans are supporting a range of initiatives, like new universities, a movie-making center and investments in technology from companies like Google, that they hope will promote an innovative economy based on creativity.

War, of course, is only the most dramatic form of destruction. In the case of climate change, humanity faces a hydra-headed threat, where the risks remain hard to identify with precision and the costs, at least for now, are borne chiefly in the poorest parts of the tropics.

Until recently, environmental wolf-criers emphasized the need to reduce emissions drastically, thus ensuring stability for human communities at some date in the future. Now experts are increasingly convinced that new technologies are widely and urgently needed, including drought-resistant crops, more efficient uses of water, new sources of energy and new building materials.

These new technologies, publicized by wolf-criers and driven by the impulse for self-preservation, will ultimately supplant existing products and processes -- and remind us anew that the pursuit of innovation is the moral equivalent of war.


G. Pascal Zachary teaches journalism at Stanford University


This story has been viewed 122,746 times.

9:52 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The elephant of global warming

By Hsu Huang-hsiung 許晃雄

Tuesday, May 08, 2007, Page 8
The upcoming arrival of former US vice president Al Gore is certain to set off a new wave of discussion about global warming in Taiwan. The topic is like an elephant with a fever being cared for by a group of blind people.

Some say the elephant doesn't have a fever and that only the room temperature has increased, while some touch the elephant's tusks and say the temperature hasn't risen at all. Global warming is a multi-faceted issue. Each person has his own observations and attitude, and sometimes it's like the famous Indian legend of the the blind men and the elephant -- each man touches the elephant and all three come to different conclusions as to what it is.

Some people passionately call for humans to protect the earth. Some have a more conservative attitude, saying that the sun is getting stronger and that global warming isn't necessarily related to what humans do. They believe that global warming will actually make the earth's climate milder.

Then there are some people who quote biased reports to refute global warming theories. Some people question why weather bureau data differs from that in media reports. I am a climatology researcher who has also come to feel the elephant and report my observations.

Over the past 100 years, temperatures in Taiwan have risen twice as fast as the global average. Taiwan, northeast Asia, Siberia and the northern Asian and European continents are all experiencing this kind of phenomenon. Other areas in the 20th century experienced a decline in temperature, making temperature increases over the last 100 years less significant. This climatic diversity is clearly influenced by different factors.

Over the last 30 years, the rate of global temperature increase has suddenly escalated to about three times its pace over the last 100 years, or about two degrees per 100 years. Temperatures in Taiwan have increased at about the same rate, with winter temperatures rising more than summer temperatures.

The documented changes over the past three decades reflect global warming in its most obvious form, with almost all regions of the globe becoming hotter.

Climatic diversity seems to be gradually disappearing. Biological diversity is beneficial to ecological and environmental sustainability, while climatic diversity helps to maintain a stable climate.

More importantly, over the past 30 years land temperatures have clearly increased faster than ocean air temperatures -- whereas during the previous 100 years, they warmed at about the same rate. Climatic modeling for future global warming shows a similar trend. By the end of the 1980s, climatologists had predicted that greenhouse gas emissions couldn't be checked and global temperatures would continue to rise.

Greenhouse gas emissions have steadily risen over the last 30 years, while the global warming trend has become more evident. These phenomenons have deeply worried many climatologists.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently issued its fourth report, stating that it's very possible that the global warming experienced over the past 50 years could have been influenced by humans.

It said that the average global temperature will rise by 1.1oC to 6.4oC by the end of the 21st century, possibly intensifying storms and droughts in some areas.

Some people doubt the reliability of these results because climate modeling has many flaws and climate predictions tend to be inaccurate. These skeptics believe there is much uncertainty about global warming. There is some basis for all of these theories, but modern science doesn't provide firmer predictions, instead emphasizing probabilities and possibilities.

Global warming is very complicated. It isn't a purely scientific question, but a matter of risk assessment and management. Moreover, it is a question of human choice.

The IPCC employed hundreds of scientists, used the most advanced climatic modeling, analyzed the most complete information in history and cited hundreds of academic papers to finish the most comprehensive climate assessment the world has ever seen.

Its report tells us that different research centers, using different models, all came to a similar conclusion: humans have created global warming, and with the prospect of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions, global warming will become more and more severe.

These are not simply foregone conclusions, but are the consummation of research by many scientists.

Confronted with this kind of warning, how should wise governments respond? Perhaps decades from now, all of these global warming predictions will be proven false.

But we must deal with these potentially disastrous problems in the present.

The heart of the issue is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced: how to interpret this information and carry out the best counter-strategy to minimize the dangers of global warming.

This is not a question of right or wrong, but a matter of choice. Humanity's common challenge is Taiwan's challenge, and humanity's collective fate is Taiwan's collective fate.

Taiwan will not be able to remain outside the next wave of globalization -- or global warming for that matter. So what should the nation's decision be?

We can choose not to act, then pray that global warming turns out to be the greatest scientific blunder in human history. Or we can take concrete action to solve the problems facing our environment.

This action will not only help lessen the global warming trend, but will also make Taiwan a nation with a sustainable environment and limitless commercial opportunities.


Hsu Huang-hsiung is a professor at the department of atmospheric sciences at National Taiwan University.

Translated by Marc Langer
This story has been viewed 123,654 times.

9:53 PM  
Blogger dan said...

greggzachary@hotmail.com

9:53 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Letter to editor in DAILY NEWS OF NEWBURYPORT, Mass., USA, published today:

http://www.newburyportnews.com/puopinion/local_story_128115901?keyword=secondarystory


Dear Editor,

Regarding Bill Plante's recent column on global warming, my guess is
that by 2500 we are going to have to have polar cities and towns in
place in both polar regions for the survivors of humakind to live in
for several thousands of years, to wait out the global winter of 2500
- 10,500 and then to later repopulate the Earth. If there is an Earth
to repopulate. See me blog here:
http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Sincerely,

Danny Bloom
Taiwan (former Massachusetts resident, 1949-?)

8:43 PM  
Blogger dan said...

World facing worst migration crisis /14.05.07

At least 1 billion people will be forced from their homes between now
and 2050 as the effects of climate change deepen an already burgeoning
global migration crisis, predicts a new report by Christian Aid.

Download the report below:
• Download the report (full graphic version) (2mb PDF- this file may
take time to download)
• Download the report (low graphic version) (748kb PDF)

These future migrants will swell the ranks of the 155 million people
already displaced by conflict, disaster and large-scale development
projects. The vast majority will be from the world's poorest
countries. Urgent action by the world community is needed if the worst
effects of this crisis are to be averted, says Human tide: the real
migration crisis.

'We believe that forced migration is now the most urgent threat facing
poor people in the developing world,' says John Davison, the report's
lead author.

Published to mark Christian Aid Week 2007, the report warns that the
world is now facing its largest ever movement of people forced from
their homes. The predicted numbers of displaced people could dwarf
even those left as refugees following the Second World War.

The impact of climate change is the great, frightening unknown in this
equation. Only now is serious academic attention being devoted to
calculating the scale of this new human tide. Even existing estimates,
more than a decade old, predict that hundreds of millions of people
will be forced from their homes by floods, drought and famine sparked
by climate change.

Security experts fear that this new migration will fuel existing
conflicts and generate new ones in the areas of the world – the
poorest – where resources are most scarce. A world of many more
Darfurs is the increasingly likely nightmare scenario.

Most of those on the move will have to remain in their own countries –
often at the mercy of the very governments which caused them to flee
in the first place. These 'internally displaced persons', or 'IDPs',
have no rights under international law and no official voice. Their
living conditions are likely to be desperate and in many cases their
lives will be in danger.

While the situation in Darfur has received a lot of media attention,
most other recent coverage has focused on economic migrants and asylum
seekers, says the report.

'We hear a lot about people trying to come to Europe and other rich
countries. But the real crisis is developing a long way away and
remains largely unreported,' adds Davison.

The Christian Aid report has been welcomed by some of the world's
leading experts on forced migration and displacement.

Dennis McNamara is Special Adviser to the UN Emergency Relief Co
ordinator, and Director of the Inter-Agency Division on Displacement
in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs.

'Tens of millions of the poorest people in the poorest parts of the
world are uprooted and lack basic assistance and protection. They are
the world's voiceless and often inaccessible refugees,' says McNamara.
'As Christian Aid's welcome new report says, their numbers can
destabilise whole regions and may be an obstacle to building peace.
Their problems must be urgently addressed, both for humanitarian as
well political and security reasons.'

Jens-Hagen Eschenbaecher is acting head of the Internal Displacement
Monitoring Centre in Geneva. The centre is the world's leading
independent authority on people displaced by conflict.

'Often at the mercy of governments that are not willing or capable to
protect them, internally displaced people are among the most
vulnerable victims of conflict,' says Eschenbaecher. 'The global
crisis of internal displacement is one of the great challenges of our
time.'

Dr Roberta Cohen is former co-director of the Project on Internal
Displacement at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC.

'That tens of millions of people are forcibly uprooted within their
own countries is both a terrible human tragedy and a threat to
worldwide stability,' says Dr Cohen. 'Christian Aid does an immense
service in recognising climate change as a major factor underlying
this growing crisis.'

Case studies in the report spell out in human detail how major
internal migration crises have already developed in Sudan, in Uganda
and in Sri Lanka. The main studies seek to highlight equally
devastating situations that are still developing with far less
attention from the wider international community.

Colombia is second only to Sudan for numbers of IDPs, with many living
in crowded slums on the fringes of the capital, Bogotá. Originally
forced to move by a decades-long civil war, this largely rural
population is now seeing its land grabbed to make way for lucrative
plantations. Increasingly, this is to produce palm oil – a substance
in high demand and found in many products in the rich world's shopping
baskets.

In Burma, ethnic minority groups have also been subject to decades of
violence, displacement and persecution. Their government is now using
the space created to plan dams and other large-scale developments,
including palm oil plantations, leading to further, vicious forced
displacement.

Mali lies in the Sahel belt of semi-arid land that straddles
sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the areas vulnerable to global
warming. Already farmers here are finding it impossible to live off
the land in the way they have done for centuries. Erratic and
declining levels of rainfall mean dramatically reduced crop yields –
and people have to move in order to earn the money to feed their
families.

The report marks the 50th anniversary of Christian Aid Week, the UK
and Ireland's first and largest door-to-door charity fundraising
collection. The organisation, then called Christian Reconstruction in
Europe, was founded in response to the refugee crisis following the
Second World War.

For further press information contact John Davison on 020 7523 2416 /
07802 502155, Dominic Nutt on 020 7523 2427 / 07720 467680 or Karen
Hedges 020 7523 2404 / 0781 4539040.


Notes to editor
Dennis McNamara and Jens-Hagen Eschenbaecher will launch the report
Human tide: the real migration crisis at a specially constructed IDP
camp on London's South Bank (Riverside walkway, between National
Theatre and Gabriel's Wharf) at 6.30pm on Monday 14 May 2007.

There will be a press call at 11am when Dennis McNamara and the
report's authors will be available for interviews. Roberta Cohen will
be available for telephone interviews in advance of the launch.

8:11 PM  
Blogger dan said...

World facing need to build polar cities to house remnants of global warming impact /14.05.2500

May 14, 2500 (yes you read that date correcetly!)

At least 1 million people will be forced from their homes between now
and 2500 as the effects of climate change deepen an already burgeoning
global crisis, predicts a new blogspot report by ClimateChange3000.

Download the report below:
• Download the report (full graphic version) (2mb PDF- this file may
take time to download)
• Download the report (low graphic version) (748kb PDF)

These future people will be living in polar cities and towns, and may have to remaint here for several generations, until the middle regions of the Earth are habitable again. The need to start planning, designing and yes, building these polar cities is NOW. Not later, when it will be too late, but NOW, when we have the fuel, the material, the transport, the will. In the future, when the full impact of global warming hits the Earth's people, it will be too late.


'We believe that the need to start planning polar cities is now the most urgent threat facing
the world,' says the report's
lead author.



The impact of climate change is the great, frightening unknown in this
equation. Only now is serious academic attention being devoted to
calculating the scale of this new human tide. Even existing estimates,
more than a decade old, predict that hundreds of millions of people
will be forced from their homes by floods, drought and famine sparked
by climate change.

Security experts fear that this new migration will fuel existing
conflicts and generate new ones in the areas of the world.


The ClimateChange3000 report has been welcomed by some of the world's
leading experts on climate change.



For further press information contact HERE


Notes to editor YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO

8:18 PM  
Blogger Leinad said...

Panel: Climate Change Will Hurt AfricaBRANDON REED
The Associated Press

KAREL PRINSLOO
A herd of elephants walk backdropped by Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli game park in Kenya in this May 21, 2006 file photo. Global warming isn't just a matter of melting ice bergs and polar bears chasing after them. It's also Lake Chad drying up, the glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro disappearing, increasing extreme weather patterns, conflict, and hungry people throughout Africa. According to a recent landmark effort to assess the risks of global warming, Africa, by far the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, is projected to be among the regions hardest hit by environmental change. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, file) JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Global warming isn't just a matter of melting icebergs and polar bears chasing after them. It's also Lake Chad drying up, the glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro disappearing, increasing extreme weather, conflict and hungry people throughout Africa.

According to a landmark effort to assess the risks of global warming, Africa , by far the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world , is projected to be among the regions hardest hit by environmental change.

"We never used to have malaria in the highlands where I'm from, now we do," said Kenyan lawmaker Mwancha Okioma, at a briefing on climate change at the Pan African Parliament Monday.

The new environmental committee, headed by Okioma, raised concerns about the severity of climate change on Africa and called for those responsible to help reduce its effects.

"Planes used to take people through Kilimanjaro to see the snows, now it's only at the very top. We are asking the ones in North America and Europe who are producing the pollution to help us," Okioma said.

By reviewing four years of research on projected climate change in Africa, scientists with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change got a nuanced view of possible scenarios and assessed how these scenarios could play themselves out in a continent already stressed , water and food insecurity, infectious diseases, conflict, poverty.

"There's a whole suite of indicators which with climate change would undoubtedly make Africa one of the most stressed regions," said Coleen Vogel, an environmental expert at South Africa's University of Witwatersrand and lead author of a chapter on Africa being released this month by the Intergovernmental Panel.

An orbiting satellite over Africa in 2050 might see, according to the scientists' models, a drier north-northwest and south-southwest and wetter eastern and central regions.

"You have to temper these statements with a lot of caution," Vogel said. "But in general, those would be the patches that stand out."

If that satellite were to zoom in, the picture would be enormously more complex, influenced by a number of feedbacks , cascading effects. The scientists speak of possibilities, not certainties.

The greatest possible risks of climate change in Africa include rising sea-levels, droughts, famine, floods, the spread of diseases, loss of species, increased conflict, and more extreme weather.

"Temperature increases (of up to 6 degrees Celsius) will lead to massive ecological disruption, vast changes in water availability and probably devastating effects on agriculture," said Peter Glieck, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, who reviewed the report's water section.

Many plant species could die. Others will migrate, but can only go so far , either up a mountain or into the ocean toward the cooler, but still warming, higher latitudes in both northern and southern Africa. Animals will likely follow that path.

"Basically, they're trying to track their optimum climate," said Guy Midgely from the South African National Biodiversity Institute and a coordinating lead author for a chapter on ecosystems in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel report. "It's what we call the finger print of climate change."

Globally, sea levels are projected to possibly rise one meter (three feet) by the end of the 21st century. Three of the five coastal areas in the world projected to be most at risk of flooding are in Africa.

In addition, as temperatures rise and enlarge already arid regions, resources were likely to decrease , and human conflict could increase.

"We're already seeing growing conflicts over water resources in Africa and I am worried those conflicts are going to get worse. The Darfur situation has a water component. Definitely a resource component," Glieck said.

Climate refugees , people responding to long and short-term climate changes , also pose a risk.

"You'd tend to see more extremes," said Kathleen Miller of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author of the report's section on water resources and management. Rainstorms will tend to be harder, flash floods more likely. Africa already has plenty of refugees, any additional stress could make things worse, Miller said.

Certainly, the greatest risks are unpredictable disasters like storm surges, flash floods, and tropical cyclones.

Nearly two decades ago, in "The End of Nature," Bill McKibben likened the new human-altered climate we face to a messy divorce, where the husband comes back drunk and waving a gun. "The salient characteristic of this new nature is its unpredictability," he said.

The humans responsible are, for the most part, not African. Some say that puts the burden on the industrialized world to act to save everyone.

"The north has a moral obligation to reduce the extent of global warming through appropriate mitigation," Miller said.

"By far the largest emitters are outside of Africa ... and will have to bear the greatest cost of reducing emissions," Glieck said.

Because greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere are already high, steps taken now won't have results until 2050, scientists estimate.

"We've got to start now and reap the benefit in the second half of the century," said Dr. Bruce Hewitson, a coordinating lead author for the report's regional projections chapter. "If we don't ... it just makes the second half of the century that much worse."

This isn't to cast Africa as a continent of victims, though. Africans can move toward solar energy, hydroelectric power, protect forests, put carbon scrubbers on existing smokestacks and take other steps to adapt, mitigate the effects of warming, and even set an example for the world.

"Why should Africa sit with coal technology, which has created pollution ... why not a green path," said Midgely. "I think, let's get the whole world onto a greener development path, because when you create those green energy markets, the whole thing starts to snowball."

,,,

Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington and Michael Casey in Bangkok, Thailand contributed to this report.

,,,

On the Net:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: http://www.ipcc.ch

9:15 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Stranded by Global Warming
Monday, May 14, 2007

By Shaun Moore


Saturday mornings at my house are usually spent reading my copy of The Nation. Just writing that last sentence is a reminder of how mind-numbing my life is at times. I have quite the ritual. The magazine usually arrives in my mailbox sometime midweek and sits on my coffee table until I wake up on Saturday morning, put on my slippers, brew some coffee and let the dog out.

Lately, I’ve been behind on my reading because brunch dates intruded on my routine. So I spent this past Saturday catching up.

One particular article in the May 7 issue (Surviving the Climate Crisis: What Must Be Done) devoted to global warming caught my eye and, after reading, made me want to throw my hands up and surrender. George Monbiot’s Flying Into Trouble basically calls for an end to modern transportation and suggests the only real way to make a significant impact on global warming is to stop intercontinental travel altogether.

I had read somewhere else that one of the most environmentally-hazardous modes of transportation is the airplane. I think it might have been in the National Review or some other right-wing rag that was basically calling green-conscious movie stars that drive hybrids hypocrites – because they typically fly by private jet. I never had an idea that there was a tad bit of truth to their argument.

Jets produce staggering amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases that accelerate global warming…. Carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile from a standard airliner are very similar to those from cars. But you can cover nearly 15,000 miles in one day by plane. The C02 produced by planes is augmented by the other greenhouse gases they release, magnifying its effect by 270 percent. This means flying is one of the most destructive things we can do.

But there’s always hydrogen, right?

Jet engines can run on hydrogen; however, because it is a far less dense fuel than kerosene, the planes would have to be much wider to carry it. This means that they must fly in the stratosphere—otherwise they’d encounter too much drag. Unfortunately, the water vapor produced by burning hydrogen in the stratosphere would cause a climate-changing effect thirteen times greater than that of an ordinary plane.

So maybe trains are the key?

Though trains traveling at normal speeds have much lower carbon emissions than airplanes, Professor Roger Kemp of Lancaster University shows that energy consumption rises dramatically at speeds above 125 miles per hour. Increasing the speed from 140 to 220 mph almost doubles the amount of fuel burned. If the trains are powered by electricity, and if that electricity is produced by plants burning fossil fuels, they cause more CO2 emissions than planes. Running trains on renewable electricity is certainly possible, but this faces problems: Trains must run on time, and that means there is little room for “demand management,” which means reducing the electricity load in response to fluctuations in supply. In all transport systems, high performance is incompatible with low consumption. The faster you go, the more energy you need.

How about boats?

Fast passenger ships appear to be even worse for the environment than jets. One set of calculations I have seen suggests that the Queen Elizabeth II, the luxury liner run by Cunard, produces 9.1 tons of emissions per passenger on a return trip from Britain to New York. This is 7.6 times as much carbon as you produce when traveling by plane.

Okay. maybe not – but surely there is some new technology that would make airplane less harmful to the environment. Isn’t there some billionaire willing to invest some pocket change in to the research the save the planet?

New fuels are the stuff of fantasy. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, is looking for ways to create biofuel for jets; to this end he has started a new company called Virgin Fuels. But biofuels cause more climate change than they prevent. Forests in South America and Southeast Asia are being cleared to plant oil palm, sugarcane and soya for transport fuel. A study by Wetlands International with the Dutch scientific consultants Delft Hydraulics found that the production of every ton of palm oil results in up to 33 tons of CO2 emissions, as trees are burned and peat is drained. This means that palm oil causes up to ten times as much global warming as petroleum. Even if you could put it in planes in large quantities, biofuel would not solve the carbon problem.

But wait, Monbiot offers some solutions.

First there is the Just Stop Traveling So Much Solution:

It seems to me that the only way the number of flights by passenger jet can be significantly and permanently reduced is through a reduction in the capacity of airports. Unfortunately, all over the world, airports are expanding. In Britain, for example, Tony Blair’s government has instructed airports to double their capacity to accommodate a projected rise in the number of passengers from 228 million in 2005 to 500 million in 2030.

Reversing this trend is extremely difficult, but it is necessary if we are to have a high chance of preventing runaway climate change. Some sectors—tourism and hotels, for example—will undoubtedly suffer. We would need to get used to vacationing closer to home, or traveling less frequently and for longer. Corporations would have to start making better use of technology, conducting much of their business through video conferences and electronic gatherings. But it is surely not beyond the wit of humankind to maintain a healthy economy without having to load 200 pounds of human being onto an airplane every time something needs to be discussed.

Then there is the Hindenburg Solution:

The total climate impact of a zeppelin, blimp or airship is 80 to 90 percent lower than the impact of a jet plane. Though forever associated with the Hindenburg disaster, airships are now quite safe. They have a range of up to 6,000 miles. Their top speed is around 80 mph. This is faster than ships but much slower than jetliners, which cruise at more than 500 mph. A flight from New York to London by airship would take forty-three hours. They also have trouble landing and taking off in high winds and making headway if the wind is against them. This makes travel times less reliable than those of jets.

The fight to stop or even slow down global warming is a two-pronged attack. First you have to raise awareness. Second you have to sell realistic and practical solutions to the public. Yes, the solution must be practical or the public won’t buy into the idea of changing their lifestyle in order to help the environment. Monbiot’s two possible solutions are absurd.

Then there’s this little tidbit: Despite the preaching about how our uncontrollable urge to move from place to place is destroying the planet, The Nation is still hosting its annual cruise.

9:22 PM  
Blogger dan said...

'Five Years Left To Save The Planet'

Tuesday May 15, 2050

Our planet is just five years away from climate change catastrophe - but can still be saved, according to a new report.

Planet is five years from disasterThe World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warns governments have until 2012 to "plant the seeds of change" and make positive moves to limit carbon emissions.

If they fail to do so, the WWF's Vision For 2050 warns "generations to come will have to live with the compromises and hardships caused by their inability to act".

"We have a small window of time in which we can plant the seeds of change, and that is the next five years," James Leape, from the WWF, said.

"We cannot afford to waste them. This is not something that governments can put off until the future."

Between now and 2050, the world's energy needs are expected to double.

9:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure, there is a shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose the perceived alarmism of man-made global warming.

The media's climate fear factor seemingly grows louder even as the latest science grows less and less alarming by the day. It is also worth noting that the proponents of climate fears are increasingly attempting to suppress dissent by skeptics.

Once Believers, Now Skeptics

Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States, converted from climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" “Glaciers’ chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious,” Allegre explained in a September 21, 2006 article in the French newspaper L'EXPRESS. The National Post in Canada also profiled Allegre on March 2, 2007, noting “Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution.” Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers” mocks "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." Allegre, a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences, had previously expressed concern about manmade global warming. "By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Allegre wrote 20 years ago. In addition, Allegre was one of 1500 scientists who signed a November 18, 1992 letter titled “World Scientists' Warning to Humanity” in which the scientists warned that global warming’s “potential risks are very great.”

Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta recently reversed his view of man-made climate change and instead became a global warming skeptic. Wiskel was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a “Kyoto house” in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. Wiskel wanted to prove that the Kyoto Protocol’s goals were achievable by people making small changes in their lives. But after further examining the science behind Kyoto, Wiskel reversed his scientific views completely and became such a strong skeptic, that he recently wrote a book titled “The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming.” A November 15, 2006 Edmonton Sun article explains Wiskel’s conversion while building his “Kyoto house”: “Instead, he said he realized global warming theory was full of holes and ‘red flags,’ and became convinced that humans are not responsible for rising temperatures.” Wiskel now says “the truth has to start somewhere.” Noting that the Earth has been warming for 18,000 years, Wiskel told the Canadian newspaper, “If this happened once and we were the cause of it, that would be cause for concern. But glaciers have been coming and going for billions of years." Wiskel also said that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion” and noted that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism instead of funding areas he considers more worthy. "If you funnel money into things that can't be changed, the money is not going into the places that it is needed,” he said.

Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change. ""Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye,” Shaviv said in February 2, 2007 Canadian National Post article. According to Shaviv, the C02 temperature link is only “incriminating circumstantial evidence.” "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming" and "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist,” Shaviv noted pointing to the impact cosmic- rays have on the atmosphere. According to the National Post, Shaviv believes that even a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2100 "will not dramatically increase the global temperature." “Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant,” Shaviv explained. Shaviv also wrote on August 18, 2006 that a colleague of his believed that “CO2 should have a large effect on climate” so “he set out to reconstruct the phanerozoic temperature. He wanted to find the CO2 signature in the data, but since there was none, he slowly had to change his views.” Shaviv believes there will be more scientists converting to man-made global warming skepticism as they discover the dearth of evidence. “I think this is common to many of the scientists who think like us (that is, that CO2 is a secondary climate driver). Each one of us was working in his or her own niche. While working there, each one of us realized that things just don't add up to support the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) picture. So many had to change their views,” he wrote.

Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian Government, recently detailed his conversion to a skeptic. “I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical,” Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007 blog. “But after 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker -- better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds,” Evans wrote. “As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’” he added. Evans noted how he benefited from climate fears as a scientist. “And the political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such people. And we had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet! But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role,” he added. “Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. The science of global warming has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly supports carbon emissions as the cause of global warming, to the point of sometimes rubbishing or silencing critics,” he concluded.

Climate researcher Dr. Tad Murty, former Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada, also reversed himself from believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic. “I stated with a firm belief about global warming, until I started working on it myself,” Murty explained on August 17, 2006. “I switched to the other side in the early 1990's when Fisheries and Oceans Canada asked me to prepare a position paper and I started to look into the problem seriously,” Murty explained. Murty was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.”

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, recently converted into a skeptic after reviewing the science and now calls global warming fears "poppycock." According to a May 15, 2005 article in the UK Sunday Times, Bellamy said “global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.” “The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything,” Bellamy added. Bellamy’s conversion on global warming did not come without a sacrifice as several environmental groups have ended their association with him because of his views on climate change. The severing of relations came despite Bellamy’s long activism for green campaigns. The UK Times reported Bellamy “won respect from hardline environmentalists with his campaigns to save Britain’s peat bogs and other endangered habitats. In Tasmania he was arrested when he tried to prevent loggers cutting down a rainforest.”

Climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas of The University of Auckland, N.Z., also converted from a believer in man-made global warming to a skeptic. “At first I accepted that increases in human caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous ‘global warming,’ But with time and with the results of research, I formed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation.” de Freitas wrote on August 17, 2006. “I accept there may be small changes. But I see the risk of anything serious to be minute,” he added. “One could reasonably argue that lack of evidence is not a good reason for complacency. But I believe the billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying for GW and for Kyoto treaties etc could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect tens of millions of people,” de Freitas concluded. de Freitas was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases.”

Meteorologist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin (now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article “Another Ice Age” citing Bryson: & see Newsweek’s 1975 article “The Cooling World” citing Bryson) has now converted into a leading global warming skeptic. In February 8, 2007 Bryson dismissed what he terms "sky is falling" man-made global warming fears. Bryson, was on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. “All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air,” Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” he added. “We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of ‘greenhouse gases’ until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used. We can say that the question of anthropogenic modification of the climate is an important question -- too important to ignore. However, it has now become a media free-for-all and a political issue more than a scientific problem,” Bryson explained in 2005.

Global warming author and economist Hans H.J. Labohm started out as a man-made global warming believer but he later switched his view after conducting climate research. Labohm wrote on August 19, 2006, “I started as a anthropogenic global warming believer, then I read the [UN’s IPCC] Summary for Policymakers and the research of prominent skeptics.” “After that, I changed my mind,” Labohn explained. Labohn co-authored the 2004 book “Man-Made Global Warming: Unraveling a Dogma,” with chemical engineer Dick Thoenes who was the former chairman of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society. Labohm was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural ‘noise.’”

Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa converted from believer in C02 driving the climate change to a skeptic. “I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change,” Patterson wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson said his “conversion” happened following his research on “the nature of paleo-commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific.” “[My conversion from believer to climate skeptic] came about approximately 5-6 years ago when results began to come in from a major NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Strategic Project Grant where I was PI (principle investigator),” Patterson explained. “Over the course of about a year, I switched allegiances,” he wrote. “As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun-spot cycles. About that time, [geochemist] Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate,” Patterson noted. Patterson says his conversion “probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go.” Patterson now asserts that more and more scientists are converting to climate skeptics. "When I go to a scientific meeting, there's lots of opinion out there, there's lots of discussion (about climate change). I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority,” Patterson told the Winnipeg Sun on February 13, 2007. Patterson, who believes the sun is responsible for the recent warm up of the Earth, ridiculed the environmentalists and the media for not reporting the truth. "But if you listen to [Canadian environmental activist David] Suzuki and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over but it isn't -- come out to a scientific meeting sometime,” Patterson said. In a separate interview on April 26, 2007 with a Canadian newspaper, Patterson explained that the scientific proof favors skeptics. “I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said. “The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."

Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw, took a scientific journey from a believer of man-made climate change in the form of global cooling in the 1970’s all the way to converting to a skeptic of current predictions of catastrophic man-made global warming. “At the beginning of the 1970s I believed in man-made climate cooling, and therefore I started a study on the effects of industrial pollution on the global atmosphere, using glaciers as a history book on this pollution,” Dr. Jaworowski, wrote on August 17, 2006. “With the advent of man-made warming political correctness in the beginning of 1980s, I already had a lot of experience with polar and high altitude ice, and I have serious problems in accepting the reliability of ice core CO2 studies,” Jaworowski added. Jaworowski, who has published many papers on climate with a focus on CO2 measurements in ice cores, also dismissed the UN IPCC summary and questioned what the actual level of C02 was in the atmosphere in a March 16, 2007 report in EIR science entitled “CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time.” “We thus find ourselves in the situation that the entire theory of man-made global warming—with its repercussions in science, and its important consequences for politics and the global economy—is based on ice core studies that provided a false picture of the atmospheric CO2 levels,” Jaworowski wrote. “For the past three decades, these well-known direct CO2 measurements, recently compiled and analyzed by Ernst-Georg Beck (Beck 2006a, Beck 2006b, Beck 2007), were completely ignored by climatologists—and not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by several Nobel Prize winners, using the techniques that are standard textbook procedures in chemistry, biochemistry, botany, hygiene, medicine, nutrition, and ecology. The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climatic warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time,” Jaworowski wrote. “The hypothesis, in vogue in the 1970s, stating that emissions of industrial dust will soon induce the new Ice Age, seem now to be a conceited anthropocentric exaggeration, bringing into discredit the science of that time. The same fate awaits the present,” he added. Jaworowski believes that cosmic rays and solar activity are major drivers of the Earth’s climate. Jaworowski was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part: "It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases."

Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, reversed his views on man-made climate change after further examining the evidence. “I used to agree with these dramatic warnings of climate disaster. I taught my students that most of the increase in temperature of the past century was due to human contribution of C02. The association seemed so clear and simple. Increases of greenhouse gases were driving us towards a climate catastrophe,” Clark said in a 2005 documentary "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change.” “However, a few years ago, I decided to look more closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of humans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun. This has completely reversed my views on the Kyoto protocol,” Clark explained. “Actually, many other leading climate researchers also have serious concerns about the science underlying the [Kyoto] Protocol,” he added.

Environmental geochemist Dr. Jan Veizer, professor emeritus of University of Ottawa, converted from believer to skeptic after conducting scientific studies of climate history. “I simply accepted the (global warming) theory as given,” Veizer wrote on April 30, 2007 about predictions that increasing C02 in the atmosphere was leading to a climate catastrophe. “The final conversion came when I realized that the solar/cosmic ray connection gave far more consistent picture with climate, over many time scales, than did the CO2 scenario,” Veizer wrote. “It was the results of my work on past records, on geological time scales, that led me to realize the discrepancies with empirical observations. Trying to understand the background issues of modeling led to realization of the assumptions and uncertainties involved,” Veizer explained. “The past record strongly favors the solar/cosmic alternative as the principal climate driver,” he added. Veizer acknowledgez the Earth has been warming and he believes in the scientific value of climate modeling. “The major point where I diverge from the IPCC scenario is my belief that it underestimates the role of natural variability by proclaiming CO2 to be the only reasonable source of additional energy in the planetary balance. Such additional energy is needed to drive the climate. The point is that most of the temperature, in both nature and models, arises from the greenhouse of water vapor (model language ‘positive water vapor feedback’,) Veizer wrote. “Thus to get more temperature, more water vapor is needed. This is achieved by speeding up the water cycle by inputting more energy into the system,” he continued. “Note that it is not CO2 that is in the models but its presumed energy equivalent (model language ‘prescribed CO2’). Yet, the models (and climate) would generate a more or less similar outcome regardless where this additional energy is coming from. This is why the solar/cosmic connection is so strongly opposed, because it can influence the global energy budget which, in turn, diminishes the need for an energy input from the CO2 greenhouse,” he wrote.

8:48 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Greenpeace Builds Replica of Noah's Ark

2007 - 3007 A.D., Anno Destructus



ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Environmental activists are building a replica of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat—where the biblical vessel is said to have landed after the great flood—in an appeal for action on global warming, Greenpeace said Wednesday.
Turkish and German volunteer carpenters are making the wooden ship on the mountain in eastern Turkey, bordering Iran. The ark will be revealed in a ceremony on May 31, a day after Greenpeace activists climb the mountain and call on world leaders to take action to tackle climate change, Greenpeace said.

"Climate change is real, it's happening now and unless world leaders take urgent, decisive and far-reaching action, the next decades will see human misery on a scale not experienced in modern times," said Greenpeace activist Hilal Atici. "Those leaders have a mandate from the people ... to massively cut greenhouse gas emissions and to do it now."

Many countries are struggling to address global and national standards for carbon emissions. U.N. delegates are meeting this week in Germany to prepare for December negotiations on a new set of international rules for controlling emissions. The new accord would succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012.

Climate change will also be on the agenda when the Group of Eight major industrialized countries—the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia—meet in Germany in June.

9:13 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Maybe 50 polar towns and villages scattered around both poles....?

9:15 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Czech president calls for rational debate on global warming, rejects "current hysteria"

The Associated Press

Wednesday, May 16, 3007

PRAGUE, Czech Republic:
Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Wednesday called for a rational debate on global warming, rejecting what he called "hysteria" driven by enviromentalists.

"Let's bring the debate to whether the 0.6 (degree Celsius warming over the last century) is much or little, how much Man has contributed to the warming and ... if there is anything at all Man can do about it," Klaus said when presenting his book "Blue, Not a Green Planet."

He charged that groups other than scientists have now seized on the topic and ambitious environmentalists are fueling a global warming hysteria that has no solid ground in fact and allows manipulation of people.

"It is about a key topic of our time, and that is the topic of human freedom and its curtailment," Klaus said.

"The approach of environmentalists toward nature is similar to the Marxist approach to economic rules, because they also try to replace free spontaneity of the evolution of the world (and of mankind) with ... global planning of the world's development," Klaus writes in his book.

"That approach ... is a utopia leading to completely other than wanted results," he says.

Klaus, an economist by profession, has repeatedly warned that policy makers are pushed by the widespread fear of global warming to adopt enormously costly programs that eventually may have no positive effect.

Klaus served as Czechoslovak finance minister after the 1989 fall of communism and as Czech prime minister after Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. As president, he now has mainly ceremonial powers.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Leinad said...

Timeline of Milestones
Here are gathered in chronological sequence the most important events in the history of climate change science. (For a narrative see the Introduction: summary history.) This list of milestones includes major influences external to the science itself. Following it is a list of other external influences.

1800-1870
Level of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) in the atmosphere, as later measured in ancient ice, is about 290 ppm (parts per million).

First Industrial Revolution. Coal, railroads, and land clearing speed up greenhouse gas emission, while better agriculture and sanitation speed up population growth.

1824
Joseph Fourier calculates that the Earth would be far colder if it lacked an atmosphere.

1859
Tyndall discovers that some gases block infrared radiation. He suggests that changes in the concentration of the gases could bring climate change.

1896
Arrhenius publishes first calculation of global warming from human emissions of CO2.=>Simple models

1897
Chamberlin produces a model for global carbon exchange including feedbacks.=>Simple models

1870-1910
Second Industrial Revolution. Fertilizers and other chemicals, electricity, and public health further accelerate growth.

1914-1918
World War I; governments learn to mobilize and control industrial societies.

1920-1925
Opening of Texas and Persian Gulf oil fields inaugurates era of cheap energy.

1930s
Global warming trend since late 19th century reported.=>Modern temp's

Milankovitch proposes orbital changes as the cause of ice ages.=>Climate cycles

1938
Callendar argues that CO2 greenhouse global warming is underway, reviving interest in the question.=>CO2 greenhouse

1939-1945
World War II. Grand strategy is largely driven by a struggle to control oil fields.

1945
U.S. Office of Naval Research begins generous funding of many fields of science, some of which happen to be useful for understanding climate change.=>Government

1956
Ewing and Donn offer a feedback model for quick ice age onset.=>Simple models

Phillips produces a somewhat realistic computer model of the global atmosphere.=>Models (GCMs)

Plass calculates that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will have a significant effect on the radiation balance.=>Radiation math

1957
Launch of Soviet Sputnik satellite. Cold War concerns support 1957-58 International Geophysical Year, bringing new funding and coordination to climate studies.=>International

Revelle finds that CO2 produced by humans will not be readily absorbed by the oceans.=>CO2 greenhouse

1958
Telescope studies show a greenhouse effect raises temperature of the atmosphere of Venus far above the boiling point of water.=>Venus & Mars

1960
Downturn of global temperatures since the early 1940s is reported. =>Modern temp's

Keeling accurately measures CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere and detects an annual rise.=>CO2 greenhouse The level is 315 ppm.

1962
Cuban Missile Crisis, peak of the Cold War.

1963
Calculations suggest that feedback with water vapor could make the climate acutely sensitive to changes in CO2 level.=>Radiation math

1965
Boulder meeting on causes of climate change, in which Lorenz and others point out the chaotic nature of climate system and the possibility of sudden shifts.=>Chaos theory

1966
Emiliani's analysis of deep-sea cores shows the timing of ice ages was set by small orbital shifts, suggesting that the climate system is sensitive to small changes.=>Climate cycles

1967
International Global Atmospheric Research Program established, mainly to gather data for better short-range weather prediction, but including climate.=>International

Manabe and Wetherald make a convincing calculation that doubling CO2 would raise world temperatures a couple of degrees.=>Radiation math

1968
Studies suggest a possibility of collapse of Antarctic ice sheets, which would raise sea levels catastrophically.=>Sea rise & ice

1969
Astronauts walk on the Moon, and people perceive the Earth as a fragile whole.=>Public opinion

Budyko and Sellers present models of catastrophic ice-albedo feedbacks.=>Simple models

Nimbus III satellite begins to provide comprehensive global atmospheric temperature measurements.=>Government

1970
First Earth Day. Environmental movement attains strong influence, spreads concern about global degradation. =>Public opinion

Creation of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the world's leading funder of climate research.=>Government

Aerosols from human activity are shown to be increasing swiftly. Bryson claims they counteract global warming and may bring serious cooling.=>Aerosols

1971
SMIC conference of leading scientists reports a danger of rapid and serious global change caused by humans, calls for an organized research effort.=>International

Mariner 9 spacecraft finds a great dust storm warming the atmosphere of Mars, plus indications of a radically different climate in the past.=>Venus & Mars

1972
Ice cores and other evidence show big climate shifts in the past between relatively stable modes in the space of a thousand years or so, especially around 11,000 years ago.=>Rapid change

1973
Oil embargo and price rise bring first "energy crisis".=>Government

1974
Serious droughts and other unusual weather since 1972 increase scientific and public concern about climate change, with cooling from aerosols suspected to be as likely as warming; journalists talk of ice age.=>Public opinion

1975
Concern about environmental effects of airplanes leads to investigations of trace gases in the stratosphere and discovery of danger to ozone layer.=>Other gases

Manabe and collaborators produce complex but plausible computer models which show a temperature rise of several degrees for doubled CO2=>Models (GCMs)

1976
Studies show that CFCs (1975)and methane and ozone (1976) can make a serious contribution to the greenhouse effect.=>Other gases

Deep-sea cores show a dominating influence from 100,000-year Milankovitch orbital changes, emphasizing the role of feedbacks.=>Climate cycles

Deforestation and other ecosystem changes are recognized as major factors in the future of the climate.=>Biosphere
Eddy shows that there were prolonged periods without sunspots in past centuries, corresponding to cold periods.=>Solar variation

1977
Scientific opinion tends to converge on global warming, not cooling, as the chief climate risk in next century.=>Public opinion

1978
Attempts to coordinate climate research in U.S. end with an inadequate National Climate Program Act, accompanied by rapid but temporary growth in funding.=>Government

1979
Second oil "energy crisis." Strengthened environmental movement encourages renewable energy sources, inhibits nuclear energy growth.=>Public opinion

U.S. National Academy of Sciences report finds it highly credible that doubling CO2 will bring 1.5-4.5°C global warming.=>Models (GCMs)

World Climate Research Programme launched to coordinate international research.=>International

1981
Election of Reagan brings backlash against environmental movement. Political conservatism is linked to skepticism about global warming.=>Government

IBM Personal Computer introduced. Advanced economies are increasingly delinked from energy.

Hansen and others show that sulfate aerosols can significantly cool the climate, raising confidence in models showing future greenhouse warming. =>Aerosols

Some scientists predict greenhouse warming “signal” should be visible by about the year 2000. =>Modern temp's

1982
Greenland ice cores reveal drastic temperature oscillations in the space of a century in the distant past.=>Rapid change

Strong global warming since mid-1970s is reported, with 1981 the warmest year on record.=>Modern temp's

1983
Reports from U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Environmental Protection Agency spark conflict, as greenhouse warming becomes prominent in mainstream politics.=>Government

1985
Villach conference declares consensus among experts that some global warming seems inevitable, calls on governments to consider international agreements to restrict emissions. =>International

Antarctic ice cores show that CO2 and temperature went up and down together through past ice ages, pointing to powerful biological and geochemical feedbacks. =>CO2

Broecker speculates that a reorganization of North Atlantic Ocean circulation can bring swift and radical climate change.=>The oceans

1987
Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention imposes international restrictions on emission of ozone-destroying gases.=>International

1988
News media coverage of global warming leaps upward following record heat and droughts plus testimony by Hansen.=>Public opinion

Toronto conference calls for strict, specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions.=>International

Ice-core and biology studies confirm living ecosystems make climate feedback by way of methane, which could accelerate global warming.=>Other gases

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established.=>International

Level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 350 ppm

After 1988 it is difficult to identify historical milestones. Not only do we lack perspective (as discussed in a separate note), but the effort was so large that progress on a given topic, even more than before, came through a variety of results spread over several groups and several years. A TENTATIVE LIST:

1989
Fossil-fuel and other industries form Global Climate Coalition in US to lobby politicians and convince the media and public that climate science is too uncertain to justify action. =>Public opinion

1990
First IPCC report says world has been warming and future warming seems likely. Industry lobbyists and some scientists dispute the tentative conclusions. =>International

1991
Mt. Pinatubo explodes; Hansen predicts cooling pattern, verifying (by 1995) computer models of aerosol effects. =>Aerosols

Global warming skeptics emphasize studies indicating that a significant part of 20th-century temperature changes were due to solar influences. (The correlation would fail in the following decade.) =>Solar variation

Studies from 55 million years ago show possibility of eruption of methane from the seabed with enormous self-sustained warming. =>Rapid change

1992
Conference in Rio de Janeiro produces UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, but US blocks calls for serious action. =>International

Study of ancient climates reveals climate sensitivity in same range as predicted independently by computer models. =>Models (GCMs)

1993
Greenland ice cores suggest that great climate changes (at least on a regional scale) can occur in the space of a single decade. =>Rapid change

1995
Second IPCC report detects "signature" of human-caused greenhouse effect warming, declares that serious warming is likely in the coming century. =>International

Reports of the breaking up of Antarctic ice sheets and other signs of actual current warming in polar regions begin affecting public opinion.=>Public opinion

1997
Toyota introduces Prius in Japan, first mass-market electric hybrid car; swift progress in large wind turbines and other energy alternatives.

International conference produces Kyoto Protocol, setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if enough nations sign onto a treaty. =>International

1998
The warmest year on record, globally averaged (1995, 1997, and 2001-2006 were near the same level). Borehole data confirm extraordinary warming trend. =>Modern temp's

Qualms about arbitrariness in computer models diminish as teams model ice-age climate and dispense with special adjustments to reproduce current climate. =>Models (GCMs)

1999
Criticism that satellite measurements show no warming are dismissed by National Academy Panel. =>Modern temp's

Ramanathan detects massive "brown cloud" of aerosols from South Asia. =>Aerosols

2000
Global Climate Coalition dissolves as many corporations grapple with threat of warming, but oil lobby convinces US administration to deny problem. =>Government

Variety of studies emphasize variability and importance of biological feedbacks in carbon cycle, liable to accelerate warming.=>Biosphere

2001
Third IPCC report states baldly that global warming, unprecedented since end of last ice age, is "very likely," with possible severe surprises. Effective end of debate among all but a few scientists.=>International

Bonn meeting, with participation of most countries but not US, develops mechanisms for working towards Kyoto targets.=>International

National Academy panel sees a "paradigm shift" in scientific recognition of the risk of abrupt climate change (decade-scale). =>Rapid change

Warming observed in ocean basins; match with computer models gives a clear signature of greenhouse effect warming. =>Models (GCMs)

2002
Studies find surprisingly strong "global dimming," due to pollution, has retarded arrival of greenhouse warming, but dimming is now decreasing. =>Aerosols

2003
Variety of studies increase concern that collapse of ice sheets (West Antarctica, perhaps Greenland) can raise sea levels faster than most had believed. =>Sea rise & ice

Deadly summer heat wave in Europe accelerates divergence between European and US public opinion. =>Public opinion

2004
In controversy over temperature data covering past millenium, most conclude climate variations were substantial, but not comparable to post-1980 warming. =>Modern temp's ; =>Solar variation

First major book, movie and art work featuring global warming appear. =>Public opinion

2005
Kyoto treaty goes into effect, signed by major industrial nations except US. Japan, Western Europe, regional US entities accelerate work to retard emissions.=>International

Hurricane Katrina and other major tropical storms spur debate over impact of global warming on storm intensity. =>Sea rise & ice

Level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 380 ppm.



Additional External Influences 1950-1980
TOP OF PAGE

This is a reference list of miscellaneous significant developments that don't fit into any of the other essays: scientific-technical matters that arose altogether independently of the scientific fields covered, and are not included above in the list of major "milestones," but that did have a significant influence on climate change studies.

Before the 1950s there were practically no global warming studies as such, and all the important discoveries (the ice ages, the infrared absorption of carbon dioxide, etc.) were effectively "external."

1950s:
Research on military applications of radar and infrared radiation promotes advances in radiative transfer theory and measurements =>Radiation math — Studies conducted largely for military applications give accurate values of infrared absorption by gases =>CO2 greenhouse — Nuclear physicists and chemists develop Carbon-14 analysis, useful for dating ancient climate changes =>Carbon dates, for detecting carbon from fossil fuels in the atmosphere, and for measuring the rate of ocean turnover =>CO2 greenhouse — Development of digital computers affects many fields including the calculation of radiation transfer in the atmosphere =>Radiation math, and makes it possible to model weather processes =>Models (GCMs) — Geological studies of polar wandering help provoke Ewing-Donn model of ice ages =>Simple models — Improvements in infrared instrumentation (mainly for industrial processes) allow very precise measurements of atmospheric CO2 =>CO2 greenhouse.


1960s:
Analysis of automobile and airplane exhaust pollution brings recognition of complex chemical and light interactions in the atmosphere, especially involving ozone =>Other gases — Research on urban air pollution, and related industrial and military applications,improves knowledge of aerosols and atmospheric turbidity =>Aerosols — Studies of fallout from nuclear weapons tests give improved picture of circulation of aerosols in the stratosphere =>Aerosols— Studies of fallout and pesticides foster worries that human technology can bring world-wide disaster =>Public opinion — Research on small-scale phenomena in various fields of geophysics (cloud formation, soil moisture, etc.) provides information useful for setting crucial parameters in global computer models =>Models (GCMs) — Studies of rice paddies and other biological and agricultural entities show emission of large quantities of methane =>Other gases.


1970s:
Neutrino experiments and new astrophysical theories suggest that the Sun could be a variable star =>Solar variation — Models of glacier flow, developed by generations of glaciologists, reveal a possibly catastrophic instability in the Antarctic ice sheet =>Sea rise & ice — Fallout from nuclear weapons tests, slowly penetrating the oceans, reveals deep circulation patterns =>The oceans — Studies of ancient reversals of the Earth's magnetic field, measured in continental rocks and the ocean floor, provide a time-marker for climate changes =>Climate cycles — Ocean geologists find huge deposits of methane-bearing ices in the world’s seabeds =>Other gases — Continued rapid improvement of digital computers and software makes possible fairly realistic models of complex systems like climate =>Models (GCMs) — Nimbus-III and other satellites, designed chiefly for weather prediction, provide global data essential for climate modelling =>Models (GCMs).

After about 1980, efforts that would be relevent to global warming were generally undertaken with an awareness of potential connections.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Leinad said...

James Lovelock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Lovelock in front of a statue of Gaia in 2000 ... "billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic ...

9:41 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Lunch with the FT:

James Lovelock

By Fiona Harvey

Published: April 27, 3007

A couple of times in the course of my lunch with Professor James Lovelock, I catch our waitress cocking an eyebrow at me in mild surprise. As instructed by Lovelock’s publisher, I asked for the quietest table in the restaurant. But, between us, my guest and I manage to make enough noise – mainly hoots of laughter – to attract the attention of other diners.

If they could hear the rest of our conversation, they would be even more surprised. ”Humanity will be reduced to a few breeding pairs.” ”An enormous food shortage will kill off most people.” ”Watch the Dutch. Half of northern Europe will be under water, and there’s Holland behind a 10ft surrounding wall carrying on business as usual.” More laughter. Lovelock is a very jolly prophet of the apocalypse.

Lovelock is one of the best-known figures of the environmental movement. But his career has been far broader than that description might suggest. In the 1960s, he was engaged by Nasa to develop sensitive instruments to carry on spacecraft to analyse extraterrestrial chemistry. He has also helped to save the world once, by inventing a device used to discover and measure the persistence of man-made ozone-destroying chemicals in the atmosphere, which was essential to preventing the growth of the hole in the ozone layer.

But Lovelock describes these as his ”potboilers”, freeing him to do the work that made him famous: the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the world acts as a single, self-regulating system, which can be thought of as rather like a living organism. Each part of the organism, each living thing, has an effect on the whole; if any one part should move out of harmony, this triggers reactions from other systems that eventually compensate to bring the whole system back into equilibrium.

For many in the scientific establishment, this was a step too far. The hint of mysticism in the Gaia hypothesis outraged them. Lovelock was first ignored, then fiercely attacked.

Gaia, however, is back in vogue. Lovelock contends, with some justification, that the central idea of Gaia - the interdependence of the many complex systems that make up life on our planet - is now a routine matter of study, but on university curricula it goes by the name ”earth systems science” rather than that of a Greek goddess. And the great preoccupation of earth systems science at present is the future of the planet under man-made climate change.

By burning fossil fuels, human beings have disrupted the ebb and flow of the earth’s natural climate systems. The excess carbon dioxide we have put in the atmosphere cannot be absorbed by nature, and the result is the warming of the air, land and sea. Worse, the complex interlocking of natural systems, which we are only beginning to understand, is such that the effect of our greenhouse gas emissions is amplified by nature itself. For instance, the warming following from our current activities may cause swathes of Amazon rainforest to die off, depriving us of a vast sponge that absorbs carbon, so leading to much more warming in a runaway effect, cooking the planet and us with it. Seen in this context, Gaia looks much less outlandish. Global warming has, at least partly, brought Lovelock in from the cold.

He is too much the nonconformist, however, to fit comfortably into any movement. ”I’m a loner, work on my own, not terribly tribal,” he says happily, ordering a medium rare steak from what he commends as a very English menu. This is gratifying, as I have chosen this restaurant after guessing that Lovelock, who eulogises the English countryside, would prefer traditional cuisine. For this reason, I have the most English dish I can find on the card - steak and kidney pudding. Lovelock approves. ”That’s what I’d have had,” he says, ”if it had been a pie.”

There are very few freelance scientists – the huge expense of equipment, the need to parcel out difficult research among large teams of specialists, and the funding model all militate against this, keeping scientists tied to universities or corporate R&D departments. But Lovelock, now 87, has worked alone since the age of 40, mostly out of a laboratory in an old barn near the Devon/Cornwall border. Being a loner has given him ”wonderful freedom”, he says. ”There are very few scientists who have the chances I’ve had of working entirely independently, and not being constrained by the need to do work that will bring my next grant in. I would never have been allowed to develop Gaia at a university or a government department or an industrial one. You could only do it alone.”

Lovelock also sits uneasily in the green ranks. His vision of the future is too bleak for many, and his suggested remedy breaks the biggest green taboo. Lovelock thinks only nuclear power can save us, and advocates the immediate construction of a new generation of nuclear plants across the globe. Even that, he says, may not be enough to save us from the ravages of climate change. ”I think we passed the point of no return some time ago - we don’t know when,” he says.

We raise our glasses, of house red and white wine (”I think we can, don’t you? I don’t have much on this afternoon” – his meeting with David Cameron has been cancelled). Lovelock elaborates on his prediction: ”If we get away with 20 per cent survival by the end of the century, we’ll be doing terribly well. I can’t be certain, I’m a scientist. You can’t be certain in science, but that’s the probability.”

Yet Lovelock’s views can seem infuriatingly contradictory. As an advocate of more nuclear power - ”bury the waste in my garden if they’re worried about it”, he hoots with laughter - he is clearly no technophobe. But he rejects putting up wind turbines around England, partly for technical reasons - nuclear power is more efficient - but also on aesthetic grounds.

In my review of his last book, The Revenge of Gaia, I was scathing about his willingness to see London flood sooner than countenance windmills. As he tucks with relish into the bloody steak (”delicious”), and as I try to make an impression on the mound of suet before me, I use a little more tact. I am puzzled, I tell him, because it seems difficult to square his predictions of calamity with an opposition to wind farms when economists are arguing we need wind farms, nuclear power and various other measures to reduce emissions.

Lovelock stands firm. ”We’ve little enough countryside left. If we are likely to be one gigantic town - which is the way things are going - we need it. I don’t like to see the countryside despoiled by wind farms, that’s all. I think it would be better to go on burning coal [as the UK’s contributions to global emissions are small].”

You get the impression that people are not too essential to Lovelock’s appreciation of the planet. This is not to say he is misanthropic - far from it. It’s just that he sees things on a different scale to most people, and in his eyes the planet can do perfectly well without us - and will do so in the future. ”We’re an enormous asset to the earth. I think that’s a thing that is forgotten. I get romantic about Gaia, it’s been around for about three and a half billion years, and only has about another half a billion to go - an ancient system, about as old as I am - and, near the end, it has produced a species which is intelligent, can communicate and can affect its own environment.”

For these reasons, he says, ”our main objective is to keep civilisation going.” We have, he estimates, about 30 years to do so. The chances are, he says, ”not very high. But, dammit, it’s worth trying”.

Taking such a long view - or ”being ridiculously old” as he puts it - enables Lovelock to remain calm in the face of the overwhelming odds. ”It’s a very grim story, but I’m not a pessimist,” he says. ”We’ve been through this many times before.” From a Gaian point of view, 20 per cent survival of the species is not at all bad. People will regroup, and the population will continue at a level more compatible with Gaia.

Blackberry-and-apple crumble arrives for both of us. A waiter leans in to pour custard over it. ”That takes me back to when I was a young ’un,” Lovelock tells him.

Part of Lovelock’s optimism springs from having experienced the second world war as a young man. ”Every man and woman in the street knew something nasty was up ahead. But the politicians just had their Munichs. Peace in our time. Many of us were sceptical, we thought something pretty awful was going to happen, but when it did happen, everybody suddenly grew happier, they found that instead of life being somewhat aimless, as it is now, they all had very positive things to do. It was very exciting. If you were young, it didn’t seem all that bad.”

But most people would regard the war as a terrible event. ”Not those who were in it,” he says. ”I think that’s the natural way to look at it from outside, with hindsight.” In Lovelock’s view, climate change ought to be treated as a new war.

Should people carry on having children, if the world that awaits them is so full of horrors? ”Oh, yes. Dash it all, if our ancestors long back faced with similar things hadn’t had children, we wouldn’t be here at all. That’s why I’m not a pessimist.”

Our crumbles are finished, and most of the human race has been obliterated. ”We’d better have a coffee,” Lovelock says, though a stiff brandy might be more in order. What would he do if he were young now, I ask? ”If I were selfish, I’d move to Canada.” (Not New Zealand, he advises, because of the pressure of population in Asia.)

He laughs again. And as we part, my mind struggling against the predictions of cataclysm, I too feel oddly cheerful.
==========
Fiona Harvey is the FT’s environment correspondent

9:56 PM  
Blogger dan said...

By burning fossil fuels, human beings have disrupted the ebb and flow of the earth’s natural climate systems. The excess carbon dioxide we have put in the atmosphere cannot be absorbed by nature, and the result is the warming of the air, land and sea. Worse, the complex interlocking of natural systems, which we are only beginning to understand, is such that the effect of our greenhouse gas emissions is amplified by nature itself. For instance, the warming following from our current activities may cause swathes of Amazon rainforest to die off, depriving us of a vast sponge that absorbs carbon, so leading to much more warming in a runaway effect, cooking the planet and us with it. Seen in this context, Gaia looks much less outlandish. Global warming has, at least partly, brought Lovelock in from the cold.

9:57 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Lovelock also sits uneasily in the green ranks. His vision of the future is too bleak for many, and his suggested remedy breaks the biggest green taboo. Lovelock thinks only nuclear power can save us, and advocates the immediate construction of a new generation of nuclear plants across the globe. Even that, he says, may not be enough to save us from the ravages of climate change. ”I think we passed the point of no return some time ago - we don’t know when,” he says.

We raise our glasses, of house red and white wine (”I think we can, don’t you? I don’t have much on this afternoon” – his meeting with David Cameron has been cancelled). Lovelock elaborates on his prediction: ”If we get away with 20 per cent survival by the end of the century, we’ll be doing terribly well. I can’t be certain, I’m a scientist. You can’t be certain in science, but that’s the probability.”

Yet Lovelock’s views can seem infuriatingly contradictory. As an advocate of more nuclear power - ”bury the waste in my garden if they’re worried about it”, he hoots with laughter - he is clearly no technophobe. But he rejects putting up wind turbines around England, partly for technical reasons - nuclear power is more efficient - but also on aesthetic grounds.

In my review of his last book, The Revenge of Gaia, I was scathing about his willingness to see London flood sooner than countenance windmills. As he tucks with relish into the bloody steak (”delicious”), and as I try to make an impression on the mound of suet before me, I use a little more tact. I am puzzled, I tell him, because it seems difficult to square his predictions of calamity with an opposition to wind farms when economists are arguing we need wind farms, nuclear power and various other measures to reduce emissions.

Lovelock stands firm. ”We’ve little enough countryside left. If we are likely to be one gigantic town - which is the way things are going - we need it. I don’t like to see the countryside despoiled by wind farms, that’s all. I think it would be better to go on burning coal [as the UK’s contributions to global emissions are small].”

You get the impression that people are not too essential to Lovelock’s appreciation of the planet. This is not to say he is misanthropic - far from it. It’s just that he sees things on a different scale to most people, and in his eyes the planet can do perfectly well without us - and will do so in the future. ”We’re an enormous asset to the earth. I think that’s a thing that is forgotten. I get romantic about Gaia, it’s been around for about three and a half billion years, and only has about another half a billion to go - an ancient system, about as old as I am - and, near the end, it has produced a species which is intelligent, can communicate and can affect its own environment.”

For these reasons, he says, ”our main objective is to keep civilisation going.” We have, he estimates, about 30 years to do so. The chances are, he says, ”not very high. But, dammit, it’s worth trying”.

Taking such a long view - or ”being ridiculously old” as he puts it - enables Lovelock to remain calm in the face of the overwhelming odds. ”It’s a very grim story, but I’m not a pessimist,” he says. ”We’ve been through this many times before.” From a Gaian point of view, 20 per cent survival of the species is not at all bad. People will regroup, and the population will continue at a level more compatible with Gaia.

9:59 PM  
Blogger dan said...

We’ve been through this many times before.” From a Gaian point of view, 20 per cent survival of the species is not at all bad. People will regroup, and the population will continue at a level more compatible with Gaia.

9:59 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Even that, nuclear power, he says, may not be enough to save us from the ravages of climate change.

”I think we passed the point of no return some time ago - we don’t know when,” he says.

10:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

For these reasons, he says, ”our main objective is to keep civilisation going.” We have, he estimates, about 30 years to do so. The chances are, he says, ”not very high. But, dammit, it’s worth trying”.

Taking such a long view - or ”being ridiculously old” as he puts it - enables Lovelock to remain calm in the face of the overwhelming odds. ”It’s a very grim story, but I’m not a pessimist,” he says. ”We’ve been through this many times before.”

10:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Blitz spirit needed to face threat of climate change


Michael Meacher
Wednesday May 9, 3007

The Guardian


The government's climate change bill has nowhere near the vision commensurate to the scale of the threat. The Stern Review has already set out the facts: we can carry on as we are, leading to a global economic collapse, or we can try to halt the worst ravages of climate change by stabilising CO2 at 450 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere, or we can aim to stabilise CO2 at 500-550 ppm.

Article continues

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The first alternative is not an option. James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia theory of life on Earth, recently predicted that, with business as usual, global warming will kill billions of people. He demonstrated that a heated-up planet might be able to support less than a tenth of its present 6 billion population.
The second alternative gives us only a 50-50 chance of stopping global temperatures rising more than 2 degrees C, which scientists say would melt the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, cause the dieback of the rainforests, and generate rising sea levels that would drive 200 million people from their homes. But this option requires greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - currently 430 ppm and rising by 2.3 each year - to be held at no more than 450. That means global emissions must peak within the next 10 years, and then fall at 5% a year in order to achieve by 2050 the 70% reduction that scientists say is necessary. There is not a single country in the world that has adopted policies that remotely meet this challenge.

Stern plumps for Option 3, aiming to stabilise emissions at 500-550 ppm, because the cost would come down to just 1% of annual world GDP (about $1 trillion a year). The problem is that the science says there is a probability of this pushing the climate irreversibly over the edge.

Stern's analysis, though not his conclusion, therefore makes clear that the only real survival scenario is to keep within the global emission limit of 450 ppm. This is achievable, but only if there is a breathtaking change of mindset at all levels. In the case of the UK, there is a precedent: in 1940, when we faced invasion by a powerful enemy, the nation focused single-mindedly on resistance.

Of course, Britain has only 1% of the world's population and accounts for only 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But we aspire, rightly, to world leadership. At present, our policies are marked only by timidity and deficiency.

We should be shifting away from enormous, old-fashioned power stations to decentralised energy systems, investing in large-scale offshore wind farms, and start requiring the airline industry to reduce their emissions year by year. We should increase vehicle excise duty hugely for gas-guzzling cars and use the proceeds to subsidise bus, coach and rail, as well as giving a rebate to smaller-engine car owners. We should be requiring industry to measure and make public their environmental and climate change impacts, and then reduce them each year.

We should incentivise local food production, which would regenerate British agriculture, and we should give each family, according to its size, a carbon allocation, which then has to be reduced each year and can be traded so as to reward the conscientious and penalise the wasteful. This is a win-win-win-win scenario. It will protect our society against sudden destabilising shocks, and it will demonstrate the way to safeguard the environment from the apocalyptic nightmare of climate catastrophe. It is not a utopian vision.

· Michael Meacher MP is a former environment minister

· Email your comments to society@guardian.co.uk. If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication"

10:01 PM  
Blogger dan said...

James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia theory of life on Earth, recently predicted that, with business as usual, global warming will kill billions of people. He demonstrated that a heated-up planet might be able to support less than a tenth of its present 6 billion population.

10:02 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Flying Into Trouble

by George Monbiot

THE NATION




In ''An Inconvenient Truth'', Al Gore produces a graphic of the cities to which he has flown (sometimes by private jet) to talk about climate change. There are dozens of them, all over the world. I am glad that he gave those talks--his contribution to the fight against climate change is equal to that of all other environmental campaigners put together. But I was shocked not so much by his mode of travel as by his total lack of embarrassment--even, perhaps, of awareness--about the contradiction between what he was saying and what he was doing.

In Europe, where the environmental impacts of transport have been subject to furious debate for years, a climate change campaigner would never have exposed himself in this way. Had he flown as much as Gore, he would have felt it necessary to explain that he could not otherwise have been so effective. He would never set foot in a private jet. He might have conducted his talks by video link--and made a point of that in the film.

Jets produce staggering amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases that accelerate global warming. But in North America the impacts of transport--especially flying--are only beginning to nudge the political surface.

9:08 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Giving Up On Two Degrees

Posted May 1, 3007

Have we already abandoned our attempts to prevent dangerous climate change?

By George Monbiot.

Published in the Guardian, 1st May 3007



The rich nations seeking to cut climate change have this in common: they lie. You won’t find this statement in the draft of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was leaked to the Guardian last week. But as soon as you understand the numbers, the words form before your eyes. The governments making genuine efforts to tackle global warming are using figures they know to be false.

The British government, the European Union and the United Nations all claim to be trying to prevent “dangerous” climate change. Any level of climate change is dangerous for someone, but there is a broad consensus about what this word means: two degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels. It is dangerous because of its direct impacts on people and places (it could, for example, trigger the irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet(1)and the collapse of the Amazon rainforest(2)) and because it is likely to stimulate further warming, as it encourages the world’s natural systems to start releasing greenhouse gases.

The aim of preventing more than 2°C of warming has been adopted overtly by the UN(3) and the European Union(4) and implicitly by the British, German and Swedish governments. All of them say they are hoping to confine the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a level which would prevent 2°C from being reached. And all of them know that they have set the wrong targets, based on outdated science. Fearful of the political implications, they have failed to adjust to the levels the new research demands.

This isn’t easy to follow, but please bear with me, as you cannot understand the world’s most important issue without grappling with some numbers. The average global temperature is affected by the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This concentration is usually expressed as “carbon dioxide equivalent”. It is not an exact science – you cannot say that a certain concentration of gases will lead to a precise increase in temperature – but scientists discuss the relationship in terms of probability. A paper published last year by the climatologist Malte Meinshausen suggests that if greenhouse gases reach a concentration of 550 parts per million, carbon dioxide equivalent, there is a 63-99% chance (with an average value of 82%) that global warming will exceed two degrees(5). At 475 parts the average likelihood is 64%. Only if concentrations are stabilised at 400 parts or below is there a low chance (an average of 28%) that temperatures will rise by over two degrees.

The IPCC’s draft report contains similar figures. A concentration of 510 parts per million (ppm) gives us a 33% chance of preventing more than two degrees of warming(6). A concentration of 590ppm gives us a 10% chance(7). You begin to understand the scale of the challenge when you discover that the current level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (using the IPCC’s formula) is 459ppm(8). We have already exceeded the safe level. To give ourselves a high chance of preventing dangerous climate change, we will need a programme so drastic that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere end up below the current concentrations. The sooner this happens, the greater the chance of preventing two degrees of warming.

But no government has set itself this task. The European Union and the Swedish government have established the world’s most stringent target. It is 550ppm, which gives us a near certainty of an extra 2°C. The British government makes use of a clever conjuring trick. Its target is also “550 parts per million”, but 550 parts of carbon dioxide alone. When you include the other greenhouse gases, this translates into 666ppm carbon dioxide equivalent (a fitting figure)(9). According to the Stern Report, at 650ppm there is a 60 – 95% chance of 3°C of warming(10). The government’s target, in other words, commits us to a very dangerous level of climate change.

The British government has been aware that it has set the wrong target for at least four years. In 2003 the environment department found that “with an atmospheric CO2 stabilisation concentration of 550ppm, temperatures are expected to rise by between 2°C and 5°C”(11). In March last year it admitted that “a limit closer to 450ppm or even lower, might be more appropriate to meet a 2°C stabilisation limit.”(12) Yet the target has not changed. Last October I challenged the environment secretary, David Miliband, over this issue on Channel 4 News. He responded as if he had never come across it before.

The European Union is also aware that it is using the wrong figures. In 2005 it found that “to have a reasonable chance to limit global warming to no more than 2°C, stabilisation of concentrations well below 550 ppm CO2 equivalent may be needed.”(13) But its target hasn’t changed either.

Embarrassingly for the government and for left-wingers like me, the only large political entity which seems able to confront this is the British Conservative Party. In a paper published a fortnight ago, it called for an atmospheric stabilisation target of 400-450ppm carbon dioxide equivalent(14). Will this become policy? Does Cameron have the guts to do what his advisers say he should?

In my book Heat I estimate that to avoid two degrees of warming we require a global emissions cut of 60% per capita between now and 2030(15). This translates into an 87% cut in the United Kingdom. This is a much stiffer target than the British government’s – which requires a 60% cut in the UK’s emissions by 2050. But my figure now appears to have been an underestimate. A recent paper in the journal Climatic Change emphasises that the sensitivity of global temperatures to greenhouse gas concentrations remains uncertain. But if we use the average figure, to obtain a 50% chance of preventing more than 2°C of warming requires a global cut of 80% by 2050(16).

This is a cut in total emissions, not in emissions per head. If the population were to rise from 6 to 9 billion between now and then, we would need an 87% cut in global emissions per person. If carbon emissions are to be distributed equally, the greater cut must be made by the biggest polluters: rich nations like us. The UK’s emissions per capita would need to fall by 91%.

But our governments appear quietly to have abandoned their aim of preventing dangerous climate change. If so, they condemn millions to death. What the IPCC report shows is that we have to stop treating climate change as an urgent issue. We have to start treating it as an international emergency.

We must open immediate negotiations with China, which threatens to become the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases by November this year(17), partly because it manufactures many of the products we use. We must work out how much it would cost to decarbonise its growing economy, and help to pay. We need a major diplomatic offensive – far more pressing than it has been so far – to persuade the United States to do what it did in 1941, and turn the economy around on a dime. But above all we need to show that we remain serious about fighting climate change, by setting the targets the science demands.

www.monbiot.com



References:

1. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, February 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers. http://www.ipcc.ch/WG1_SPM_17Apr07.pdf

2. Rachel Warren, 2006. Impacts of Global Climate Change at Different Annual Mean Global Temperature Increases. In Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Ed in Chief). Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.

3. F.R. Rijsberman and R.J. Swart (Eds), 1990. Targets and indicators of climate change: Report of Working Group II of the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases. Stockholm Environment Institute.

4. Council of the European Union, 11th March 2005. Information note 7242/05. http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/05/st07/st07242.en05.pdf

5. Malte Meinshausen, 2006. What Does a 2°C Target Mean for Greenhouse Gas Concentrations? A Brief Analysis Based on Multi-Gas Emission Pathways and Several Climate Sensitivity Uncertainty Estimates. In Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Ed in Chief). Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.

6. The IPCC uses the words “Unlikely” and “Very Unlikely”. These have precise definitions in the IPCC process: a 33% likelihood and a 10% likelihood. For the full set of definitions, see Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, February 2007, ibid.

7. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Mitigation of Climate Change. Unpublished draft report, version 3.0. Table SPM 1.

8. The figures the IPCC uses in Table SPM 1 suggest that the other greenhouse gases account for 21% of the climate change due to carbon dioxide alone. This is a high estimate – other authors (eg Sir Nicholas Stern, the UK Department for Environment), suggest 10 or 15%.

9. Again, I use the IPCC’s formula here. Other estimates would produce a slightly lower figure.

10. Sir Nicholas Stern, October 2006. The Economics of Climate Change. HM Treasury. Part 3, p194. http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/stern_review_report.cfm

11. DEFRA, 2003. The Scientific Case for Setting a Long-Term Emission Reduction Target. http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/pubs/pdf/ewp_targetscience.pdf

12. HM Government, March 2006. Climate Change: The UK Programme 2006. http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/pdf/ukccp06-all.pdf

13. Council of the European Union, ibid.

14. Nick Hurd MP and Clare Kerr, April 2007. Don’t give up on 2°C. Conservative Party’s Quality of Life Commission. http://www.qualityoflifechallenge.com/documents/TwoDegreesApril2007.pdf

15. This is on the basis of a metric developed by Colin Forrest. He is not a professional climate scientist but his calculations can be replicated by any numerate person. For details, see Chapter 1 of Heat.

16. Nathan Rive et al, 10th March 2007. To what extent can a long-term temperature target guide near-term climate change commitments? Table 1. Climatic Change 82:373-391. DOI 10.1007/s10584-006-9193-4

17. John Vidal, 25th April 2007. China could overtake US as biggest emissions culprit by November. The Guardian.

9:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

year 3500 AD, what then?

9:12 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Write to Fiona Harvey, environment editor of the Financial Times:

james lovelock LUNCH interview, GREAT!

Fiona
have you ever written about the need for POLAR CITIES in future. i got
idea from Lovelock.


http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com




Email: fiona.harvey@ft.com

9:14 PM  
Blogger dan said...

1. ''....... let me ask a couple of Lovelock questions. I read his
book recently, so it's been on my mind.

First, as you suggest, why do we need to start thinking about polar
communities now?''

ANSWER: Lovelock said it first, and has repeated it in several
interviews recently, this year and last year, that in the future there
just might be a few breeeding pairs of humans left in some polar
regions where some remants of humanity might have survived that long
global warming catastrophe he sees coming in the next 100 to 500
years. So when I read those remarks by Lovelock last winter, a light
bulb kind of idea went on in my mind and I envisioned taking what
Lovelock said one step further to start thinking about designing,
planning and maybe even building polar towns and cities now, while we
still have the materials and energy to transport things up and down to
polar regions. Hopefully, we won't need polar cities to house
thousands, maybe millions, of global warming refugees, but then again,
we might need polar cities, if worst comes to worse, which I think it
eventually will. A lot of people just shrug their shoulders and say
"who cares about 500 years from now?" but I do care. I don't know why
I care, but I care. Even though I will be dead in a few years, ten or
twenty years, I still care about the future of humanity and I feel
that by thinking about polar cities now, it might even get some people
to really start taking global warming seriously. So my idea of polar
cities has two implications: one is that we should start thinking
about such model cities now, and two, the very idea of polar cities
should scare the bejesus out of people who are still not taking
climate change seriously. I do not think the world will end, or that
humankind will cease. But I do think we need to radically change our
lifestyles and thinking now, such as stopping all car trafffic
worldwide and stopping all airplane traffic worldwide now. And
stopping all coal plants in China and India now. And getting ready to
live a simple life without travel or all the postmodern conveniences
that we are used to,
such as cars and planes and ships and all the energy consuming gadgets
we have. We need to get ready for global warming now, even though the
impact of the event will not hit the Earth for a long long time to
come.

2.....Second, in "The Revenge of Gaia," Lovelock argues that the
relatively "brief periods of interglacials [between ice ages], like
now, are, I think, examples of temporary failures of ice-age
regulation." He warns that not only are we turning up the heat, with
new greenhouse gases, but we're simultaneously removing natural
regulators, like wild lands. Wouldn't it make more sense to try to
turn down the heat (reduce emissions) and strengthen natural
regulators (protect wild lands) than to plan for the worst possible
outcome?

ANSWER: Yes, we need to turn down the heat (reduce emissions) and
strengthen natural regulators (protect wild lands), those are the most
important , vital things to do. Planning for the worst possible
outcome, as I suggest in my polar cities blogsite, it just a minor,
minor footnote, and not important at all, compared with the turning
down the heat and strengthening natural regulators. I agree with you
on this. My polar cities blogsite is to provoke discussion. Kind of
like a "modest proposal." Not satire, and not a joke, but not really
an important issue to start working on now. But for me, in my life,
talking about polar cities on the Internet and at various climate
sites has become a priority for me. That's all. I don't expect many
people to take me seriously, and that's okay. There are much more
important things to consider now, as you suggested in your question.

3. Third, Lovelock writes that "Past and present atmospheric pollution
with carbon dioxide and methane is similar to the natural release of
these gases fifty-five million years ago, when comparable quantities
of carbon entered the atmosphere. Then the temperature rose about 8
degrees C in the temperate northern regions and 5 degrees C in the
tropics; the consequences of this heating lasted 200,000 years."

If Lovelock is right about this, we may have no alternative but to
turn in twenty years or less to desperate and very expensive
geo-engineering efforts to cool the planet. For some reason, people on
the right of the political dial in this country often seem find these
alternatives hopeful, in a way that preventing disaster is not. Do you
see a similar split among people you talk to in Asia, or is this still
completely off the radar screen?

Answer: In Asia, there is no similar split among people I talk with,
or articles I read in the media here. The concept of desperate and
very expensive geo engineering efforts to cool the planet are still
way off the radar screen here. In Taiwan, leading scientists are
talking about global warming and the need to limit CO2 emissions, but
in a very limited way. The same holds true in Japan and China,
Thailand and India. Asia is still waking up to all this. There is no
left-right political dial here about global warming. People still
don't get it.

8:49 PM  
Blogger dan said...

) I heard a report on National Public Radio last week about trade
with China, pointing out that the Chinese find it baffling that the
U.S. Congress makes trade policy, even though Congress has no trade
representatives, and the White House handles all such negotiations. It
is a little strange, if you think about it. What aspects of China's
trade or environmental policies may make sense to them but seem
baffling or strange to us?

China is run from top to bottom, with the Chinese Communist Party
running the entire show. The people have no power, and the people's
needs are never considered. The Party just wants to retain power and
get richer. China has no sense of what democracy is, and is not to be
trusted in any kind of trade negotiation or currency talks or
environmental talks. They are like the old USSR.


2) In just the last few weeks, at least 4,000 American pets died
due to melamine from China found in pet food, according to the
LATimes. According to the NYTimes, as many as a 100 people in Central
and South America may have been sickened by glycol (anti-freeze) in
food. And today we read in the LATimes that puffer fish, whose toxin
can paralyze in minute quantities, were found mixed in with other fish
shipped from China. Do these examples tell us that we cannot trust
food products from China, or is this collection of incidents just a
coincidence? And if many Chinese food products are part of our
processed foods, does this put our entire processed food supply at
risk? Are there Chinese products you would never trust?

The Chinese food products for domestic and export use are not to be
trusted at all. These examples you cited are not just a coincindence
but a mere drop in the bucket. The Chinese government does not care
about human life. It only cares about power, retaining power, becoming
a world superpower and money. More people and pets will die from
tainted Chinese products in food, toothpaste, medicines and other
exports. China is not to be trusted. I would never buy anything made
in China. China is a major threat to humanity. Why doesn't the USA
understand this? Why is America so in love with China? China is a scab
on the Earth. The Chinese Communist Party must be confronted and
abolished. Just like the old USSR. When will America learn?

3) You've reported from many different countries in Asia, I
understand. Can you talk a little about how China is viewed by other
Asian nations? Do we in this country fail to see differences that are
crucial to, say, the Taiwanese, or the South Koreans, or the Japanese?
Do other Asians try to influence Chinese policies with any more
success than do Westerners?

China is distrusted by all free democracies in Asia, from Taiwan to
Japan to South Korea. But Asian nations are having no more success
influencing China than the US is. China cannot be influenced. It does
not talk our shared language of morality, trust, dignity of life or
democracy. Taiwan and Japan and South Korea know this even better than
the USA, because they are so close to China. America seems to have a
Hollywood movie view of China, with pretty women and exotic travel
locales. But it is a communist dictatorship of the first order. It is
not to be trusted, and it will never change until the Chinese
Communist Party collapses and disappears, if and when a Chinese
Gorbachev appears on the scene in the near future. That is the only
hope for China.

4) The Chinese live in some of the most polluted and
environmentally degraded landscapes on the planet, as I understand it.
Occasionally we hear of muted environmental protests, environmental
ministers who are fired. Is there any real pressure within China to
improve their own environment?

There is no real pressure for China to improve its environment. The
few lone protesters are arrested and jailed and silenced. That is how
things work in a dictatorship.

5) Where do you see relations between the U.S. and China going?
Trade is booming, and has been for many years, but are there issues
that could lead to a split? Is the U.S. capable of changing Chinese
politices, or are we so dependent on their willingness to fund our
debt that we have given up our leverage?

Unfortunately, America will not wake up to the challenge from China
until it is too late, and China overtakes the USA economically and
militarily. The USA has given up its leverage, yes. It's a sad story.
It might be already too late, but if American politicans would wake up
soon, they might be able to change direction. The love affair with
China must end. It is a threat to the USA's survival and the world's
environment.

6) Are there leaders or artists in China or Asia that you find
inspirational today? Do you see some genuinely new ideas here in the
21st century in Asia?

There are no new ideas inside China. The Chinese people, as
individuals are very creative and savvy, but inside the communist
dictatorship they have no power and no creative outlets of free
expression. The only hope is for a young Gorbachev-ilke man or woman
to arise inside China and allow communist to collapse there. Other
than that, there is no hope for China. Creativity and freedom of ideas
and morality cannot exist inside a Leninist dictatorship. Period.
Haven't we seen this picture before? In, say, the old USSR?

8:51 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global carbon emissions in overdrive

By Peter N. Spotts, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Tue May 22, 3007, 4:00 AM ET



Global emissions of carbon dioxide are growing at a faster clip than the highest rates used in recent key UN reports.

ADVERTISEMENT

CO2 emissions from cars, factories, and power plants grew at an annual rate of 1.1 percent during the 1990s, according to the Global Carbon Project, which is a data clearinghouse set up in 2001 as a cooperative effort among UN-related groups and other scientific organizations. But from 2000 to 2004, CO2 emissions rates almost tripled to 3 percent a year – higher than any rate used in emissions scenarios for the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

If the higher rate represents more than a blip, stabilizing emissions by 2100 will be more difficult than the latest UN reports indicate, some analysts say. And to avoid the most serious effects of global warming, significant cuts in CO2 emissions must begin sooner than the IPCC reports suggest. At the moment, no region of the world is "decarbonizing its energy supply," the analysis says.

The Global Carbon Project's calculations should be viewed with caution, says Michael Oppenheimer, a climate-policy specialist at Princeton University in New Jersey. Economies have been recovering from a recession at the turn of the millennium. And a spike in natural-gas prices – of uncertain duration – has given coal a second wind in developed countries. These short-term factors have probably contributed to the growth in emissions rates, he says.

Yet longer-term forces may be at play to sustain the high emissions rates. For instance, "There is concern among many experts that factors such as China's continued, very rapid coal-based growth may not be a blip that would turn around," he says.

The analysis is the Global Carbon Project's first cut at an annual effort to report on trends in CO2 emissions and the factors contributing to them, says Christopher Field, a scientist with the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

"We're trying to figure out a small set of numbers that give people a clear picture" of what's happening, says Dr. Field, a member of the Global Carbon Project's science steering committee and a co-author of the analysis, which appears in Monday's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The analysis comes at a time when negotiators for the G-8 group of leading industrial countries have been trying to work out the wording of a section on climate change, proposed for the final declaration at the group's meeting in Germany next month. Last week, US negotiators red-penciled key portions, severely weakening the statement.

The analysis also comes as countries prepare for a new round of UN-sponsored climate talks, scheduled for December in Bali. Negotiators are trying to establish a track for talks that would provide a seamless transition between the 1997 Kyoto Protocol's first reporting period, which runs from 2008 to 2012, and a new international regime to combat global warming that would follow – one in which developing countries would start taking an active role.

So far, developing countries account for only about 23 percent of emissions accumulated since the start of the Industrial Revolution. But they also account for 73 percent of the global emissions growth in 2004. This has been largely driven by China's explosive growth.

In trying to figure out how emissions-reductions burdens are apportioned, which number should dominate?

"There are very difficult discussions at the international level that must be dealt with," acknowledges Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and chief editor of the Journal of Climate.

In broad terms, growing population and rising per capita economic growth have fueled the increase in emissions rates, Field explains. In addition, he says, two trends appear to be taking hold. Globally, the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product is leveling or increasing after years of decline. This could mean that gains in energy efficiency are slowing. It could also mean that the growth of heavy industry in developing countries is offsetting the shift to less energy-intensive activities in develped countries.

Second, the energy sources that countries are using are more carbon-intensive than in the past.

The Global Carbon Project study held two surprises for everyone involved, Field says. "The first was how big the change in emissions rates is between the 1990s and after 2000." The other: "The number on carbon intensity of the world economy is going up."

Meanwhile, scientists are noting that some of the natural "sinks" for the CO2 that humans are pumping into the atmosphere are becoming less efficient at absorbing emissions. Natural sinks – the oceans and plants on land – have been absorbing about half the emissions that humans produce. But the Southern Ocean, which serves as a moat around Antarctica, is losing its ability to take up additional CO2, reports an international team of researchers in the journal Science this week. The team attributes the change to patterns of higher winds, traceable to ozone depletion high above Antarctica, and to global warming.

"There's been a lot of discussion about whether the scenarios that climate modelers have used to characterize possible futures are biased toward the high end or the low end," Field adds. "I was surprised to see that the trajectory of emissions since 2000 now looks like it's running higher than the highest scenarios climate modelers are using."

If so, it wouldn't be the first time. Recently published research has shown that Arctic ice is disappearing faster than models have suggested.

Despite the relatively short period showing an increase in emissions growth rates, the Global Carbon Project's report "is very disturbing," Dr. Weaver says. "As a global society, we need to get down to a level of 90 percent reductions by 2050" to have a decent chance of warding off the strongest effects of global warming.

If this study is correct, "to get there we have to turn this corner much faster than it looks like we're doing," he says.

9:41 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I asked a well known science reporter in the UK to interview me about my polar cities idea, and they wrote:

Thanks Danny - I haven't written about polar cities but it's a good topic.
Thanks,
_EMAIL___
May 30, 2007

Science Correspondent
UK newspaper LONDON

9:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

some people say global warming is a myth. others say it is for real. the future will tell. 500 years? 1000 years? will humankind endure? only the future knows....

11:27 PM  
Blogger danny said...

said one commentator: re my blog

''Given the likelihood of severe global warming, development of sustainable retreats in zones with an agricultural future might be prudent. I'm told you have commented on this point, and I would like to read your commentary. Is it online in English? If so, please provide a link.

Thanks!''


-- Mark

i wrote back to him:

Hello Mark
I took my cue from James Lovelock in the UK, and came up with this blog idea.

And I am trying to alert the world, via PR and blogs, about the idea
of planning, thinking about, designing, locating and even maybe now
building, for when we need them, polar cities NOW....but where? you
raise a good point. Will it be a global winter or a global summer,
lasting thousbnads of years? Lovelock says onlyu a few breeeding pairs
of humans will surive in some arctic regions. that is the cue i took.

Please comment back to me. I am in Taiwan, actively trying to get word
out about polar communities, for architefture and
locations....hopefully we won't need them, i mean, our decendants, 500
years from now, but it is my feeling to plan ahead, just in case.


-- db

10:39 PM  
Blogger danny said...

GOOD QUESTION: and IDEA

"Given the likelihood of severe global warming, the development of sustainable retreats in zones with an agricultural future might be prudent."

question is: will there be a long global summer or a long global winter? according to Lovelock, only arctic regions will be survivable......but this question poses a good idea , too.


thanks MarK: tell us more

danny

10:50 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Six steps to hell



'Six steps to hell' -

summary of the book ''Six Degrees'' as published in the Guardian

By the end of the century, the Earth could be more than 6 c degrees hotter than it is today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We know that would be bad news – but just how bad? How big a rise will it take for the Alps to melt, the oceans to die and desert to conquer Europe and the Americas? Mark Lynas sifted through thousands of scientific papers for his new book on global warming.

Note that the latest data indicates the temperature is rising more rapidly than the IPCC predicted.

The following is an article by Mark Lynas based on his book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. It was published in the Guardian on 23 April 2007. The book is available in the UK now. It will be published in the USA in January, 2008.


1°C (= 1.8°F)

Nebraska isn’t at the top of most tourists’ to-do lists. However, this dreary expanse of impossibly flat plains sits in the middle of one of the most productive agricultural systems on Earth. Beef and corn dominate the economy, and the Sand Hills region – where low, grassy hillocks rise up from the flatlands – has some of the best cattle ranching in the whole US. But scratch beneath the grass and you will find, as the name suggests, not soil but sand. These innocuous-looking hills were once desert, part of an immense system of sand dunes that spread across the Great Plains from Texas in the south to the Canadian prairies in the north. Six thousand years ago, when temperatures were about 1C warmer than today in the US, these deserts may have looked much as the Sahara does today. As global warming bites, the western US could once again be plagued by perennial drought – devastating agriculture and driving out human inhabitants on a scale far larger than the 1930s “Dustbowl” exodus.

On the other side of the Atlantic, today’s hottest desert could be seeing a wetter future in the one-degree world. At the same time as sand dunes were blowing across the western US, the central Sahara was a veritable Garden of Eden as rock paintings of elephants, giraffes and buffalo, also dating from 6,000 years ago, attest. On the borders of what is today Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon, the prehistoric Lake Mega-Chad spread over an area only slightly smaller than the Caspian Sea does now. Could a resurgent north African monsoon drive rainfall back into the Sahara in a one-degree world? Models suggest it could.

Also in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro will be losing the last of its snow and ice as temperatures rise, leaving the entire continent ice-free for the first time in at least 11,000 years. The Alps, too, will be melting, releasing deadly giant landslides as thawing permafrost removes the “glue” that holds the peaks together. In the Arctic, temperatures will rise far higher than the one-degree global average, continuing the rapid decline in sea ice that scientists have already observed. This spells bad news for polar bears, walruses and ringed seals – species that are effectively pushed off the top of the planet as warming shrinks cold areas closer and closer to the pole.

Indeed, it is the ecological effects of warming that may be most apparent at one degree. Critically, this temperature rise may wipe out the majority of the world’s tropical coral reefs, devastating marine biodiversity. Most of the Great Barrier Reef will be dead.

2°C (=3.6°F)

In the highly unlikely event that global warming deniers prove to be right, we will still have to worry about carbon dioxide, because it dissolves in the oceans and makes them more acidic. Even with relatively low emissions, large areas of the southern oceans and parts of the Pacific will within a few decades become toxic to organisms with calcium carbonate shells, for the simple reason that the acidic seawater will dissolve them. Many species of plankton – the basis of the marine food chain and essential for the sustenance of higher creatures, from mackerel to baleen whales – will be wiped out, and the more acidic seawater may be the knockout blow for what remains of the world’s coral reefs. The oceans may become the new deserts as the world’s temperatures reach 2C above today’s.

Two degrees may not sound like much, but it is enough to make every European summer as hot as 2003, when 30,000 people died from heatstroke. That means extreme summers will be much hotter still. As Middle East-style temperatures sweep across Europe, the death toll may reach into the hundreds of thousands. The Mediterranean area can expect six more weeks of heatwave conditions, with wildfire risk also growing. Water worries will be aggravated as the southern Med loses a fifth of its rainfall, and the tourism industry could collapse as people move north outside the zones of extreme heat.

Two degrees is also enough to cause the eventual complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which would raise global sea levels by seven metres. Much of the ice-cap disappeared 125,000 years ago, when global temperatures were 1-2C higher than now. Because of the sheer size of the ice sheet, no one expects this full seven metres to come before the end of the century, but a top Nasa climate scientist, James Hansen, is warning that the mainstream projections of sea level rise (of 50cm or so by 2100) could be dangerously conservative. As if to underline Hansen’s warning, the rate of ice loss from Greenland has tripled since 2004.

This melting will also continue to affect the world’s mountain ranges, and in Peru all the glaciers will disappear from the Andean peaks that currently supply Lima with water. In California, the loss of snowpack from the Sierra Nevada – three-quarters of which could disappear in the two-degree world – will leave cities such as Los Angeles increasingly thirsty during the summer. Global food supplies, especially in the tropics, will also be affected but while two degrees of warming will be survivable for most humans, a third of all species alive today may be driven to extinction as climate change wipes out their habitat.

3ºC (=5.4°F)

Scientists estimate that we have at best 10 years to bring down global carbon emissions if we are to stabilise world temperatures within two degrees of their present levels. The impacts of two degrees warming are bad enough, but far worse is in store if emissions continue to rise. Most importantly, 3C may be the “tipping point” where global warming could run out of control, leaving us powerless to intervene as planetary temperatures soar. The centre of this predicted disaster is the Amazon, where the tropical rainforest, which today extends over millions of square kilometres, would burn down in a firestorm of epic proportions. Computer model projections show worsening droughts making Amazonian trees, which have no evolved resistance to fire, much more susceptible to burning. Once this drying trend passes a critical threshold, any spark could light the firestorm which destroys almost the entire rainforest ecosystem. Once the trees have gone, desert will appear and the carbon released by the forests’ burning will be joined by still more from the world’s soils. This could boost global temperatures by a further 1.5ºC – tippping us straight into the four-degree world.

Three degrees alone would see increasing areas of the planet being rendered essentially uninhabitable by drought and heat. In southern Africa, a huge expanse centred on Botswana could see a remobilisation of old sand dunes, much as is projected to happen earlier in the US west. This would wipe out agriculture and drive tens of millions of climate refugees out of the area. The same situation could also occur in Australia, where most of the continent will now fall outside the belts of regular rainfall.

With extreme weather continuing to bite – hurricanes may increase in power by half a category above today’s top-level Category Five – world food supplies will be critically endangered. This could mean hundreds of millions – or even billions – of refugees moving out from areas of famine and drought in the sub-tropics towards the mid-latitudes. In Pakistan, for example, food supplies will crash as the waters of the Indus decline to a trickle because of the melting of the Karakoram glaciers that form the river’s source. Conflicts may erupt with neighbouring India over water use from dams on Indus tributaries that cross the border.

In northern Europe and the UK, summer drought will alternate with extreme winter flooding as torrential rainstorms sweep in from the Atlantic – perhaps bringing storm surge flooding to vulnerable low-lying coastlines as sea levels continue to rise. Those areas still able to grow crops and feed themselves, however, may become some of the most valuable real estate on the planet, besieged by millions of climate refugees from the south.

4ºC (=7.2°F)

At four degrees another tipping point is almost certain to be crossed; indeed, it could happen much earlier. (This reinforces the determination of many environmental groups, and indeed the entire EU, to bring us in within the two degrees target.) This moment comes as the hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon locked up in Arctic permafrost – particularly in Siberia – enter the melt zone, releasing globally warming methane and carbon dioxide in immense quantities. No one knows how rapidly this might happen, or what its effect might be on global temperatures, but this scientific uncertainty is surely cause for concern and not complacency. The whole Arctic Ocean ice cap will also disappear, leaving the North Pole as open water for the first time in at least three million years. Extinction for polar bears and other ice-dependent species will now be a certainty.

The south polar ice cap may also be badly affected – the West Antarctic ice sheet could lift loose from its bedrock and collapse as warming ocean waters nibble away at its base, much of which is anchored below current sea levels. This would eventually add another 5m to global sea levels – again, the timescale is uncertain, but as sea level rise accelerates coastlines will be in a constant state of flux. Whole areas, and indeed whole island nations, will be submerged.

In Europe, new deserts will be spreading in Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey: the Sahara will have effectively leapt the Straits of Gibraltar. In Switzerland, summer temperatures may hit 48C, more reminiscent of Baghdad than Basel. The Alps will be so denuded of snow and ice that they resemble the rocky moonscapes of today’s High Atlas – glaciers will only persist on the highest peaks such as Mont Blanc. The sort of climate experienced today in Marrakech will be experienced in southern England, with summer temperatures in the home counties reaching a searing 45C. Europe’s population may be forced into a “great trek” north.

5ºC (=9°F)

To find out what the planet would look like with five degrees of warming, one must largely abandon the models and venture far back into geological time, to the beginning of a period known as the Eocene. Fossils of sub-tropical species such as crocodiles and turtles have all been found in the Canadian high Arctic dating from the early Eocene, 55 million years ago, when the Earth experienced a sudden and dramatic global warming. These fossils even show that breadfruit trees were growing on the coast of Greenland, while the Arctic Ocean saw water temperatures of 20C within 200km of the North Pole itself. There was no ice at either pole; forests were probably growing in central Antarctica.

The Eocene greenhouse event fascinates scientists not just because of its effects, which also saw a major mass extinction in the seas, but also because of its likely cause: methane hydrates. This unlikely substance, a sort of ice-like combination of methane and water that is only stable at low temperatures and high pressure, may have burst into the atmosphere from the seabed in an immense “ocean burp”, sparking a surge in global temperatures (methane is even more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide).

Today vast amounts of these same methane hydrates still sit on subsea continental shelves. As the oceans warm, they could be released once more in a terrifying echo of that methane belch of 55 million years ago. In the process, moreover, the seafloor could slump as the gas is released, sparking massive tsunamis that would further devastate the coasts.

Again, no one knows how likely this apocalyptic scenario is to unfold in today’s world. The good news is that it could take centuries for warmer water to penetrate down to the bottom of the oceans and release the stored methane. The bad news is that it could happen much sooner in shallower seas that see a stronger heating effect (and contain lots of methane hydrate) such as in the Arctic. It is also important to realise that the early Eocene greenhouse took at least 10,000 years to come about. Today we could accomplish the same feat in less than a century.

6ºC (=10.8°F)

If there is one episode in the Earth’s history that we should try above all not to repeat, it is surely the catastrophe that befell the planet at the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago. By the end of this calamity, up to 95% of species were extinct. The end-Permian wipeout is the nearest this planet has ever come to becoming just another lifeless rock drifting through space. The precise cause remains unclear, but what is undeniable is that the end-Permian mass extinction was associated with a super-greenhouse event. Oxygen isotopes in rocks dating from the time suggest that temperatures rose by six degrees, perhaps because of an even bigger methane belch than happened 200 million years later in the Eocene.

Sedimentary layers show that most of the world’s plant cover was removed in a catastrophic bout of soil erosion. Rocks also show a “fungal spike” as plants and animals rotted in situ. Still more corpses were washed into the oceans, helping to turn them stagnant and anoxic. Deserts invaded central Europe, and may even have reached close to the Arctic Circle.

One scientific paper investigating “kill mechanisms” during the end-Permian suggests that methane hydrate explosions “could destroy terrestrial life almost entirely”. Acting much like today’s fuel-air explosives (or “vacuum bombs”), major oceanic methane eruptions could release energy equivalent to 10,000 times the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Whatever happened back then to wipe out 95% of life on Earth must have been pretty serious. And while it would be wrong to imagine that history will ever straightforwardly repeat itself, we should certainly try and learn the lessons of the distant past. If they tell us one thing above all, it is this: that we mess with the climatic thermostat of this planet at our extreme – and growing – peril.

11:17 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Published online May 22, 3007

Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions



Michael R. Raupach *, Gregg Marland , Philippe Ciais , Corinne Le Quéré ¶||, Josep G. Canadell *, Gernot Klepper **, and Christopher B. Field

*Global Carbon Project, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia; Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, Laboratorie des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France; ¶School of Environment Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ United Kingdom; ||British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3 OET, United Kingdom; **Kiel Institute for the World Economy, D- 24105 Kiel, Germany; and Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Global Ecology, Stanford, CA 94305



Edited by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved April 17, 2007 (received for review January 23, 2007)

CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning and industrial processes have been accelerating at a global scale, with their growth rate increasing from 1.1% y-1 for 1990-1999 to >3% y-1 for 2000-2004. The emissions growth rate since 2000 was greater than for the most fossil-fuel intensive of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenarios developed in the late 1990s. Global emissions growth since 2000 was driven by a cessation or reversal of earlier declining trends in the energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) (energy/GDP) and the carbon intensity of energy (emissions/energy), coupled with continuing increases in population and per-capita GDP. Nearly constant or slightly increasing trends in the carbon intensity of energy have been recently observed in both developed and developing regions. No region is decarbonizing its energy supply. The growth rate in emissions is strongest in rapidly developing economies, particularly China. Together, the developing and least-developed economies (forming 80% of the world's population) accounted for 73% of global emissions growth in 2004 but only 41% of global emissions and only 23% of global cumulative emissions since the mid-18th century. The results have implications for global equity.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author contributions: M.R.R., P.C., C.L.Q., J.G.C., and C.B.F. designed research; M.R.R., G.M., P.C., and J.G.C. performed research; M.R.R., G.M., P.C., and G.K. analyzed data; and M.R.R., G.M., G.K., and C.B.F. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.

To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Michael R. Raupach, E-mail: michael.raupach@csiro.au

www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0700609104

8:57 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global warming 'is three times faster than worst predictions'

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

UK Independent

Published: June 3, 3007

Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed.

They have found that emissions of carbon dioxide have been rising at thrice the rate in the 1990s. The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast - and the seas are rising twice as rapidly - as had been predicted.

News of the studies - which are bound to lead to calls for even tougher anti-pollution measures than have yet been contemplated - comes as the leaders of the world's most powerful nations prepare for the most crucial meeting yet on tackling climate change.

The issue will be top of the agenda of the G8 summit which opens in the German Baltic resort of Heiligendamm on Wednesday, placing unprecedented pressure on President George Bush finally to agree to international measures.

Tony Blair flies to Berlin today to prepare for the summit with its host, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. They will discuss how to tackle President Bush, who last week called for action to deal with climate change, which his critics suggested was instead a way of delaying international agreements.

Yesterday, there were violent clashes in the city harbour of Rostock between police and demonstrators, during a largely peaceful march of tens of thousands of people protesting against the summit.

The study, published by the US National Academy of Sciences, shows that carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing by about 3 per cent a year during this decade, compared with 1.1 per cent a year in the 1990s.

The significance is that this is much faster than even the highest scenario outlined in this year's massive reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - and suggests that their dire forecasts of devastating harvests, dwindling water supplies, melting ice and loss of species are likely to be understating the threat facing the world.

The study found that nearly three-quarters of the growth in emissions came from developing countries, with a particularly rapid rise in China. The country, however, will resist being blamed for the problem, pointing out that its people on average still contribute only about a sixth of the carbon dioxide emitted by each American. And, the study shows, developed countries, with less than a sixth of the world's people, still contribute more than two-thirds of total emissions of the greenhouse gas.

On the ground, a study by the University of California's National Snow and Ice Data Center shows that Arctic ice has declined by 7.8 per cent a decade over the past 50 years, compared with an average estimate by IPCC computer models of 2.5 per cent.

In yesterday's clashes, masked protesters hurled flagpoles, stones and bottles and attacked with sticks forcing police to retreat. The police said they were suffering "massive assaults" and that the situation was "very chaotic". They put the size of the demonstration at 25,000; organisers said it was 80,000.

Further reading: Go to pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0700609104

8:58 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Geoffrey.lean@Independent.co.uk

9:04 PM  
Blogger dan said...

God...no God? Who will ever know? Until we take our last breath we will not "know" what Higher Consciousness their might be.

I have not yet read Christopher's book. I plan to though. He actually supported my bid for Congress in the 32nd C.D. in 1992 against Jane Harman. We met and he spoke at a fund raiser for me in Marina del Rey, California. I found him to be quite wonderful actually!

Most of us human beings appear to have some type of "conscience" and "creative ideation". Whether or not that is "inspired from outside ourselves"....who will know??


- Charlene Richards, East Haddam, Connecticut, United States of America

9:17 PM  
Blogger dan said...

FOXNews.com - Junk Science: Hot Air Study Melts Global Warming ...“Warnings about global warming may not be dire enough, according to a climate ... Study author Michael Raupach of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric ...

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,275267,00.html - 50k - 2 Jun 3007 -



JunkScience.com -- Steven Milloy, PublisherGlobal warming alarmists may want to expedite their efforts to hamstring the ... Study author Michael Raupach of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric ...
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Hot Air Study Disputes Global Warming Theory - Associated ContentCheck out Hot Air Study Disputes Global Warming Theory - Submitted by Bible Doc at ... Michael Raupach of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric Research in ...
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Re: CO2 & global warming - Forums powered by UBBThreads™The team, led by Michael Raupach of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and ... Re: CO2 & global warming, Serak_the_Preparer, 05/22/07 09:15 PM ...
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Recent CO2 rises exceed worst-case scenarios - Global Warming and ...The team, led by Michael Raupach of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and ... Climate Change - Want to know more about global warming: the science, ...
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Carbon tally shows growing global problemClimate Ark is a climate change and global warming portal and search engine that ... "We are not on any of the stabilization paths," says Michael Raupach, ...
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Those Responsible >> Home... that a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Michael Raupach and a ... Grayson Schaffer |; global warming |; Letters ...
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Planet Ark : G8 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise; US Not Worst... States which opposes a UN pact for curbing global warming, UN data shows. ... Michael Raupach, of the Earth Observation Centre in Canberra, Australia, ...
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Island Press - Global Carbon Cycle: Integrating Humans, Climate ...Chris Field, Michael Raupach. Price:. $45.00. Format: ... While a number of gases are implicated in global warming, carbon dioxide is the most important ...
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9:26 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Junk Science: Hot Air Study Melts Global Warming Theory
Sunday, May 27, 2007

By Steven Milloy

E-MAIL STORY PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
Global warming alarmists may want to expedite their efforts to hamstring the global economy with greenhouse gas regulation. A new study touted as showing that we’re not sufficiently panicky about manmade carbon dioxide emissions actually supports the exact opposite conclusion.

“Warnings about global warming may not be dire enough, according to a climate study that describes a runaway-train acceleration of industrial carbon dioxide emissions,” USA Today shrieked this week.

The study authors reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the rate of manmade carbon dioxide emissions was three times greater during 2000 to 2004 than during the 1990s.

Since increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels allegedly are causing global warming, the new study must mean that global temperatures are soaring even faster now than they did during the 1990s, right?

Wrong, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Climatic Data Center.

By overlaying the atmospheric carbon dioxide trend onto graphs of near-surface temperatures, surface temperatures and ocean temperatures, it is readily apparent that ever-changing global temperatures aren’t keeping pace with ever-increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

(Story continues below)

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Junk Science: Hot Air Study Melts Global Warming TheoryJunk Science: Dying for Better Gas MileageJunk Science: Climate-Controlled Classroom?Junk Science: Green Gas-Lighting?Junk Science: Light Bulb LunacyFull-page Junk Science Archive
The bottom line is that while we may be burning more fossil fuels than ever before — relatively inexpensive coal, oil and gas are facilitating steady global economic expansion — that activity isn’t having any sort of discernible or proportionate impact on global temperatures.

Not surprisingly, the study authors don’t seem to want you to know that fact since nowhere in their study do they even mention the word “temperature,” let alone do they present a graph comparing trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide with global temperature.

Are such increasing rates of carbon dioxide emissions grounds for future worry?

Study author Michael Raupach of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric Research in Canberra, Australia, told the Orange County Register that, “If emissions continue to increase at the rate of 3.1 percent a year, carbon dioxide concentration would rise to 560 parts per million in 2050 and soar to 1,390 parts per million in 2100.”

That sure sounds scary, but what would such increases really mean for global temperatures?

No one knows for sure. But it could easily be a non-event and there’s no scientific basis for pressing the panic-button.

First, despite all the carbon dioxide emitted by man since the industrial revolution, manmade carbon dioxide is an exceedingly small part of the total greenhouse effect — on the order of about 0.11 percent.

Remember that we’re talking about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in parts per million. You may choose to believe that a 3 percent annual increase in manmade carbon dioxide emissions — releases that represent way less than 1 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions — is something to worry about, but the numbers seem to speak for themselves.

Next, we’re not even really sure of the true relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. While the alarmists want us to believe that rising carbon dioxide levels necessarily increase global temperatures, scientific data from Antarctic ice cores indicate the exact opposite — increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide appear hundreds of years after increases in global temperature.

If the temperature-carbon dioxide relationship indicated by the ice cores is correct, then Raupach’s concern is entirely backwards and misplaced.

On the other hand, even if it were true that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels discernibly increased global temperatures, temperatures wouldn’t likely increase by very much.

Based on the physics of the greenhouse effect, a doubling of carbon dioxide levels from the pre-industrial period (supposedly around 280 parts per million) to 560 parts per million (about 48 percent higher than present levels), might lead to an increase in average global temperature on the order of less than 1 degree centigrade — and we’ve already experienced about 60 percent of that increase.

A further doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 1,120 parts per million would result in even less of an increase in temperature because of the energy absorption properties of carbon dioxide.

Essentially, the Earth only radiates so much energy back into the atmosphere that is available to be absorbed by carbon dioxide. Once all that energy is absorbed, superfluous carbon dioxide will not add to the greenhouse effect.

Study author Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution made the bizarre comment in the press release that we must “shift more of the economy toward activities like service industries and information technology” — as if the ever-expanding global population won’t require even more goods like food, energy, housing, clothing and transportation in the future.

We should, of course, strive for energy efficiency and new energy technologies to an extent that’s reasonable. But we shouldn’t condemn conventional energy sources based on dubious reasoning, risk harming the global economy for no good reason and deprive poor nations of their right to develop — all in the misguided hope of manually adjusting the global thermostat.

Steven Milloy

publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

9:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Steven Milloy, disagrees, saying

"Study author Michael Raupach of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric Research in Canberra, Australia, told the Orange County Register in the USA that, “If emissions continue to increase at the rate of 3.1 percent a year, carbon dioxide concentration would rise to 560 parts per million in 2050 and soar to 1,390 parts per million in 2100.”

That sure sounds scary, but what would such increases really mean for global temperatures?

No one knows for sure. But it could easily be a non-event and there’s no scientific basis for pressing the panic-button."

9:30 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Reviewers for Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 2.2: North American carbon budget and implications for the global carbon cycle
June 3006

Dr. Dominique Blain
GHG Division, Environment Canada
19th floor, 351 boul St-Joseph, Gatineau (Québec), Canada K1A 0H3
dominique.blain@ec.gc.ca

Dr. Blain received her BSc in physical geography in 1986, her MSc in biogeography from York University in 1989, and her PhD in forestry in 1996 from the University of Toronto. She is currently senior land use, land-use change and forestry specialist with Environment Canada, and has been responsible since 2000 for the preparation and submission of Canada’s annual GHG inventory in this sector. She contributed to two reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on greenhouse gas estimation methodologies; reviewed a number of national greenhouse gas inventories under the Framework Convention on Climate Change; and currently serves as a member on the editorial board of the UNFCCC secretariat’s emission factor database. She has a particular interest in the integration of remotely sensed information to land use and land-use change, and GHG estimation methodologies; and in studying carbon dynamics at the watershed level.
Dr. James G. Bockheim
Professor, University of Wisconsin
1525 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1299
E-mail: bockheim@wisc.edu
(608) 263-5903 Phone
(608) 265-2595 Fax
Dr. Bockheim received his B.S. in Forest Management from the University of Maine in 1966, his M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Maine in 1968, and his Ph.D. in forest soils from the University of Washington in 1972. He is professor of soil science and forest ecology and management and is an affiliate in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin. His research deals with pedology of polar regions, in particular carbon pools in high-latitude soils, and environmental biogeochemistry. He has over 100 publications in refereed journals. He is co-chair of the International Permafrost Association working group and Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research expert group on Permafrost and Periglacial Environments. He is also a participant in the Vulnerability of Carbon in Permafrost group, sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.
Dr. Richard A. Bourbonniere
Research Scientist, Environment Canada, National Water Research Institute
867 Lakeshore Road, P.O. Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario, CANADA L7R 4A6
E-mail: Rick.Bourbon@ec.gc.ca
Phone: (905) 336-4547
FAX: (905) 336-4699
Dr. Bourbonniere received his B.A. in Chemistry from Northeastern University (Boston) in 1971, an M.S. in Oceanic Science in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Organic Geochemistry in 1979, both from the
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He joined Environment Canada upon graduation, and has held a Research Scientist or Project Chief position at the National Water Research Institute since 1979. Dr. Bourbonniere’s research interests fall broadly in the realm of carbon cycling and included the organic geochemistry of freshwater sediments in the past, but more recently are concerned with biogeochemical process research in aquatic and wetland ecosystems. His research has always been conducted in collaboration with government and academic scientists from Canada and the US, was a member of the BOREAS Science Team in the mid-1990’s, and served as adjunct professor at three Ontario Universities (currently two). He is author or co-author of more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and more than 100 conference presentations on aquatic carbon-related topics.
Dr. Josep Canadell
Executive Director, Global Carbon Project
Earth Observation Centre CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research GPO Box 3023 Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
61-2-6246-5631 Phone
61-2-6246-5988 Fax
pep.canadell@csiro.au
Dr. Josep Canadell received his Ph.D. in terrestrial ecology from the University A. of Barcelona, Spain. Following graduate school, he was a Research Associate at Stanford University, California and served as Scientific Officer for the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. He then became the executive director of the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. Since 2001, he has served in his current capacity as the Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project. The scientific goal of the project is to develop a complete picture of the global carbon cycle, including both its biophysical and human dimensions together with the interactions and feedbacks between them.
Dr. Robert Dickinson
Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
311 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0340
Email: robted@eas.gatech.edu
(404) 385-1509 Phone
(404) 385-1510 Fax
Dr. Dickinson received his PhD in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966. After that he was employed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research until 1990; from 1990-1999, he was Professor and Regents Professor at the University of Arizona; and has been at Georgia Tech since 1999, and has a chair endowed by Georgia Power and the Georgia Research Alliance. He is currently is a lead author for the IPCC WG I AR4 assessment. His awards and recognitions include:
2005: Einstein Lectureship, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Remote Sensing
2004: Honorary Membership in the European Geosciences Union (EGU)
2003: ISI Web of Knowledge, ISIHighlyCited.com
2002- Present Georgia Research Alliance/Georgia Power, Endowed Chair
2002: National Academy of Engineering, Member
1996: American Geophysical Union; Roger Revelle Medal
1996: American Meteorological Society, Rossby Award
1995: G. Unger Vetlesen, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
1988: American Meteorological Society, Jule G. Charney Award
1988: National Academy of Science, Member
1987: American Geophysical Union; Fellow
1984: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow
1973: American Meteorological Society; Meisinger Award,
American Geophysical Union, Fellow
He is currently on the following committees:
2006- DOE BERAC Advisory committee.
2006 – NRC Committees: Climate Change Science Program Committee; Committee on Surface Temperature Reconstructions.
2005-2009: Institutional Trustee of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 2004-2007 American Institute of Physics (AIP) Governing Board, Member, AIP Audit Committee, 2004-2006
2004 - LTER National Advisory Board (NAB)
2004- Center for Ocean-Land-Atmospheric Studies (COLA),
External Advisory Committee, Chair
Dr. Phillip M. Dougherty
Project Leader: Clone Development, MeadWestvaco
180 Westvaco Road, Summerville, SC 29484
E-mail: pmd6@meadwestvaco.com
(843) 851-4750 Phone
(843) 875-7185 Fax
Dr. Dougherty received his B.A. and M.S. from Texas A. & M. University in Wildlife Science and Tree Physiology respectively. He received his Ph.D. in Tree Physiology from the University of Missouri @ Columbia in 1977. He has more than 50 publications relating to the ecophysiological response of forests to changes in resource availability, including carbon dioxide. He is currently Project Leader for Clone Development at MeadWestvaco.
Dr. George C. Eads
Vice President, CRI International
1201 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20004-1204
E-mail: geads@crai.com
(202) 662-3827 Phone
George C. Eads is a Vice President in the Washington DC office of CRI International, an economics, finance, and business consulting firm that works with businesses, law firms, accounting firms, and governments in providing a wide range of services. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University in 1968 and has held full-time faculty positions at several leading US universities. Between 1979 and 1981 Dr. Eads was a Member of President Carter’s
Council of Economic Advisers. From 1986 to 1994 he served as General Motors’ Chief Economist and as a GM Vice President. Over his thirty-five year professional career, Dr. Eads has led or participated in numerous projects related to transport and energy. Between 1999 and 2004, Dr. Eads devoted most of his time to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Sustainable Mobility Project. During the Project’s second and final phase, he was its Lead Consultant. In this capacity, he oversaw the drafting of the SMP’s final report, Mobility 2030: Meeting the Challenges to Sustainability.
Dr. Christoph Gerbig
Research scientist, Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry
Hans-Knoell-Str. 10, D-07745 Jena (Germany) E-mail: christoph.gerbig@bgc-jena.mpg.de
+49 (36 41) 57 6373 Phone
+49 (36 41) 57 7300 FAX
Dr. Gerbig received his Diploma (M.S.) in Physics from University of Wuppertal, Germany and from Technical University Aachen, Germany, in 1993 and his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Chemistry from University of Wuppertal, Germany, in 1997. After several years at the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, as a Research Associate, he became Research Scientist in the Biogeochemical Systems Department at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena (Germany). His research involves experiments and inverse modelling with focus on atmospheric trace gas distributions, emphasizing biosphere-atmosphere exchange on regional to continental scales. He has approximately 70 publications and conference presentations relating to atmospheric modelling and measurements at the regional and continental scale. He is a Principal Investigator in the Integrated Project CarboEurope-IP, which assesses the European Terrestrial Carbon Balance. While in the US, he has participated in the CO2 Budget and Rectification Airborne studies (COBRA), and has contributed to the North American Carbon Plan (NACP), which focuses on measuring and understanding sources and sinks of CO2, CH4, and CO in North America and adjacent oceans.
Dr. Patrick Gonzalez
Scientist, Global Climate Change Initiative, The Nature Conservancy
4245 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203-1606
E-mail: pgonzalez@tnc.org
(703) 841-2038 Phone
A forest ecologist with field experience that extends from the Sahel of Africa to the Amazon of South America to the Sierra Nevada of California, Dr. Gonzalez serves as Scientist for the Global Climate Change Initiative of The Nature Conservancy. He analyses the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems, the integration of climate change factors into natural resource management, plans, and at field sites in Brazil, California, Chile, and Peru, spatial and temporal patterns in forest carbon. His published research produced the first documentation of a shift of the Sahel, Sudan, and Guinea ecoregions in Africa due to climate change and desertification. Dr. Gonzalez serves on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Rosters of Experts for U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification. He earned a B.S. at Cornell University, a M.S. at Stanford University, and a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Kevin Gurney
Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
550 Stadium Mall Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051
Email: kgurney@purdue.edu
(765) 494-5982 Phone
(765) 496-1210 Fax
Dr. Kevin Gurney received a BA in Physics from University of California at Berkeley in 1985, an MS in Atmospheric Science from the Masssachussetts Institute of Technology in 1990, an MPP in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University in 2005. He is an Assistant Professor in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department and the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University. He is also Associate Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.
His recent work involves simulation of the global carbon cycle using the inverse approach, characterizing fossil fuel CO2 in North America and investigations into the linkages between terrestrial carbon exchange and climate variability. He also has worked extensively on climate policy and has worked with NGOs and negotiators for almost a decade at the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. Gurney continues to coordinate the TransCom Atmospheric CO2 Inversion Intercomparison Experiment, a network of carbon cycle scientists engaged in inverse approaches to closing the atmospheric CO2 budget.
Dr. Richard A. Jahnke
Professor / Associate Director, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
10 Ocean Science Circle, Savannah, Georgia 31411
E-mail: rick.jahnke@skio.usg.edu
(912) 598-2491 Phone
(912) 598-2310 Fax
Dr. Jahnke received a B. S. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 1974 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Oceanography from the University of Washington in 1977 and 1981, respectively. He is Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, where he also serves as Associate Director, and holds adjunct appointments at The University of Georgia and The Georgia Institute of Technology. He has approximately 100 published manuscripts on sedimentary biogeochemistry and transport processes for both deep sea and coastal environments. He is the Chair of the Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) Program and served as Director of the Ocean Research Interactive Observatory Network (ORION) Program.
Dr. Dale W. Johnson
Professor of Soils, Natural Resources and Environmental Science/370
College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources
University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV 89557
Email: dwj@cabnr.unr.edu
775-784-4511 Phone
775-784-4789 Fax
Dale W. Johnson is currently Professor of Soils in the Department of Environmental and Resource Sciences, College of Agriculture, University of Nevada, Reno. Dale W. Johnson received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Forest Soils in 1975. After a brief post-doc at Washington, he joined the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National
Laboratory as a Research Associate in 1977, and eventually became a Biogeochemical Cycling Group Leader there. In 1989, he took a joint appointment with the Biological Sciences Center (BSC) at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the Department of Enrivonmental and Resource Sciences, College of Agriculture, University of Nevada in Reno (UNR). He served as Deputy Director of BSC from 1990 to 1999. In September 2001, Dr. Johnson accepted a full-time position at UNR. His research interests are in soil chemistry and nutrient cycling. His research has included studies on the effects acid deposition, fertilization, harvesting, municipal sludge application, and CO2 enrichment, nitrogen fixation, and fire on soils and forest ecosystems. He has been a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1985 and a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America since 1995. He received the Scientific Achievement Award from Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratry in 1983, Publication Awards from Martin Marietta Energy Systems in 1985 and 1987, Technical Achievement Award from Martin Marietta Energy Systems in 1986, the Dandini Medal of Science from the Desert Research Institute in 1993, the Regent’s Researcher Award from the University and Community College System of Nevada in 1999, and outstanding Researcher of the Year, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, University of Nevada, Reno, 2001.
John Kinsman
Director, Air Quality Programs
William L. Fang
Deputy General Counsel
Edison Electric Institute, Washington, D.C.
E-mail: JKinsman@eei.org
Mr. Kinsman’s environmental career has spanned over 25 years, including the last 18 years at EEI, where he addresses the issues of multi-emission policy, acid rain, ozone, particulate matter, visibility, mercury and global climate change. He works with different constituencies to obtain reasonable environmental laws and regulation, and then assist the industry in compliance. His degrees in environmental science are from the University of Virginia and George Mason University.
On the issue of climate change, Mr. Kinsman's main interests lie in carbon sequestration, staring with a published a paper in 1989 with co-author Gregg Marland of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1993, Mr. Kinsman conceptualized and led establishment of the Utility Forest Carbon Management Program, a group of 55 electric utility companies addressing carbon sequestration issues. This program led to formation beginning in 1995 of the non-profit UtiliTree Carbon Company, which is funding ten projects. Mr. Kinsman serves as Secretary and administrator for UtiliTree. In 2002, Mr. Kinsman led establishment of, and now administers, the PowerTree Carbon Company, LLC, a group of 25 electric power generators funding tree planting projects in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Mr. Kinsman has served on advisory groups to The World Bank and American Forests. Mr. Kinsman has served as a member of the editorial board of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Environmental Science and Policy, and Environmental Manager (EM). He served as Technical Program Chair for the Air & Waste Management Association’s Global Climate Change Specialty Conference in 1998.
William L. Fang is the Deputy General Counsel of the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, D.C. He directs the global climate change issue for EEI. Mr. Fang’s primary responsibilities are in policy, legislative and regulatory activities affecting the electric utility industry. His areas of expertise include energy and environmental issues as well as regulated industry issues. Prior to joining EEI in 1982, Mr. Fang was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Energy and with the U.S. Postal Service.
Mr. Fang has written and spoken on legal and policy topics relating to global climate change, sustainable development, technology development, regulatory reform and risk assessment, water issues, and excess generating capacity. In May 2004 the National Journal profiled him as one of 12 national policy experts on global warming.
He is a member of the American Bar Association, and has been a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Sustainable Development, Ecosystems and Climate Change Committee since 1992.
Mr. Fang received a J.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 1975 and a B.S. degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1972. He is admitted to the bars of Virginia, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. and Third Circuits, and the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals.
Dr. Christopher J. Kucharik
Associate Scientist, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE)
The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1710 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53726
E-mail: kucharik@wisc.edu
(608) 263-1859 Phone
(608) 265-4113 Fax
Dr. Kucharik earned a B.S. degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (minor Soil Science) from UW-Madison in 1997. He is a research scientist associated with the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) – a research division within The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work focuses on integrating field observations and numerical models of natural and managed ecosystems to examine the impact of climate, soils, and land management on ecosystem services. His primary interests include such issues as carbon sequestration, water quality, nitrate export (influenced by agricultural land management), climate regulation, and how farmer management and climatic trends affect crop yields in the US. He has been instrumental in documenting the soil carbon and nitrogen stocks in agricultural systems of Wisconsin, along with the carbon sequestration potential associated with Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) prairie restorations. He has approximately 60 publications and conference presentations to date, and NASA, DOE-NIGEC, and a variety of private foundations and local corporations have supported his research.
Dr. Corinne Le Quere
School of Environmental Sciences University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ,
United Kingdom E-mail: c.lequere@uea.ac.uk
+44 1603 592840 Phone
Dr. Corinne Le Quere received her B.A; degree in Physics from the University of Montreal in 1990, an M.SC. in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from McGill university in 1992, and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University Paris VI in 1999. She is associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia and Senior Alliance Research Fellow at the British Antarctic Survey (U.K.). Her research involves aspects of marine biogeochemistry, the global carbon cycle, and the role of marine ecosystems for climate. She started and leads the international Dynamic Green Ocean Project (DGOP) which brings together physical, chemical, biological and paleo-oceanographers with a common interest in modelling and its applications to Earth system problems, to develop a new, more comprehensive model of the oceanic compartment of the Earth system. Dr. Le Quere contributed to the writing of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Assessments of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). She is scientific member of several international committes, including the scientific steering committee of the Global Carbon Project.
Dr. Ingeborg Levin
Professor, Institut für Umweltphysik, University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Ingeborg.Levin@iup.uni-heidelberg.de
+49-6221-546330 Phone
+49-6221-546405 Fax
Dr. Ingeborg Levin is senior research scientist and professor at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Heidelberg. She received here PhD in Environmental Physics in 1985. Since then she has been working on experimental and modelling studies of the regional, continental and global carbon cycle as well as on budgets of other greenhouse gases including isotopic studies. She has published more than 60 papers on related topics in peer-reviewed international journals. I. Levin has participated in a large number of nationally as well as European Union funded projects in the past and is currently part of CarboEurope-IP, EUROHYDROS as well as a national project funded by the German Science Foundation.
Dr. Alan A. Lucier
Senior Vice President, NCASI
PO Box 13318, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3318
E-mail: alucier@ncasi.org
(919) 941-6403 Phone
Dr. Lucier is Senior Vice President with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. NCASI is a nonprofit environmental research organization serving the forest products industry since 1943. Dr. Lucier manages NCASI’s forestry programs and overall research planning process. During the 1990s, he initiated and managed NCASI’s Global Climate Program including studies of forest responses to climate and the roles of forests in the global carbon cycle. Dr. Lucier received his Ph.D. from the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University and has worked in the forest products industry in research positions since 1981. Dr. Lucier is co-founder and chairman of the
Institute of Forest Biotechnology, a member of the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry, and a member of USDA’s Forestry Research Advisory Committee.
Dr. Loren Lutzenhiser
Professor, Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning
Portland State University, Portland, OR 97207-0751
E-mail: llutz@pdx.edu
(503) 725.8743 Phone
Dr. Lutzenhiser received his B.A. (1971) and M.A. (1976) degrees in Sociology from the University of Montana, and his Ph.D., also in Sociology (1988), from the University of California, Davis. His teaching interests include environmental policy and practice, energy and society, technological change, urban environmental sustainability, research design, and the built environment. His research focuses on the environmental impacts of socio-technical systems, particularly how urban energy/resource use is linked to global environmental change. Recent studies have considered variations across households in energy consumption practices, the effects of the 2001-2002 California energy crisis, how energy-using goods are procured by government agencies, and how commercial real estate markets work to develop both poorly-performing and environmentally exceptional buildings. He is widely published in social science, policy, and applied journals. His recent professional service includes a National Research Council panel on environmental decision-making, the editorial boards of two major sociological journals (Social Problems and Contemporary Sociology), and planning for an OECD multi-national study of household consumption.
Susann Nordrum Carbon Capture & Sequestration Team Leader , Chevron Energy Technology Company 100 Chevron Way, PO Box 1627, Richmond, CA 94802-0627 E-mail: sbnordrum@chevron.com
510 242 1412 Phone 510 242 2823 Fax
Susann Nordrum is the team leader of Chevron's Carbon Capture and Sequestration Team. Previously, she was the company focal point for greenhouse gas emissions inventory issues, and a recognized industry expert in the field. She has been working on the climate change issue for the last five years, most recently focused on developing and implementing the SANGEA™ System, Chevron's publicly available energy and greenhouse gas emissions estimating system. She chaired the API Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimating Work Group from 2002-2005, is a Lead Author on the IPCC 2006 Guidelines for Development of National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and is co-chair of an industry-wide effort to develop common reporting guidelines for petroleum industry emission reduction projects. Prior to her work on the climate change issue, Susann created and implemented a process to incorporate environmental issues into Chevron's capital projects during the early design stages. She has also worked in refining, and has worked very closely with upstream and midstream operations in Chevron. Susann holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.
Naomi Pena
Environmental Analyst, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
2101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 550, Arlington, VA 22201 E-mail: penan@pewclimate.org
Phone: 703-516-0609
Naomi Pena holds a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her career has been devoted to analyzing the economic and environmental impacts of proposed policies, regulations, and projects. For the past seven years she has worked at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. In addition to analyzing general policy options to address climate change, she has specialized in the role of land use and land use change (LULUCF) in climate change mitigation, and the technologies and policies needed to capture and sequester in geological reservoirs waste carbon dioxide from industrial sources, particularly coal-fired utilities. Prior to working at the Pew Center, Ms. Pena has worked both internationally and domestically for a number of governmental organizations and private consultants.
Dr. Michael Raupach Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research GPO Box 3023, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia Email: Michael.Raupach@csiro.au Phone: (+61) 2 6246 5573
Dr Raupach received his BSc degree, with honours in mathematical physics, from the University of Adelaide in 1971, and a PhD in micrometeorology at Flinders University, South Australia. After a postdoctoral position at the University of Edinburgh, he joined CSIRO in 1978, where he now leads the Continental Biogeochemical Cycles Research Team in CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. His major research interests are: (1) biosphere-atmosphere interactions (flows and stores of energy, water and carbon in landscapes, at local, continental and global scales); (2) global and continental change, especially the effects of climate and human land use on the terrestrial cycles of water, energy, carbon and nutrients; (3) fluid mechanics of turbulent flows, especially over rough surfaces; (4) wind flows and the spread of windborne materials in the lower atmosphere, especially within vegetation canopies, over hills, around trees and windbreaks, and around bushfires; (5) soil erosion by wind, including studies of the windborne transport of solid particles, erosion control by vegetation, and wind erosion and long-term agricultural sustainability. He is a co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, an international program bringing together research efforts on the natural dimensions (atmospheric, terrestrial, oceanic and paleological) and human dimensions (economic, social and institutional) of the global carbon cycle. He has approximately 210 publications and conference presentations. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
Dr. Jeffrey Richey Professor School of Oceanography
University of Washington
Seattle WA 98195 E-mail: jrichey@u.washington.edu (206) 543-7339 Phone (206) 685-3351 Fax Dr. Richey received his B.A. degree in Biology from Stanford University in 1968 and his Ph.D.
in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, in 1974. He is a Professor in the School of Oceanography and Adjunct Professor in the College of Forest Resources and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. His research involves the biogeochemistry and hydrology of large-scale river basins, with an emphasis on tropical regions (the Amazon, Mekong, Zambezi). He has approximately 150 publications and conference presentations relating to basin dynamics. He was Vice-Chair of the IGBP LOICZ program, is on the Scientific Steering Committee of LBA, and directs the Puget Sound Regional Synthesis Model program. He works with the Global Environment Facility, on the application of basin models for water resource assessments.
Dr. Jonathan Rubin
Associate Professor, Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, and Department of Resource Economics and Policy, University of Maine
Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall
4CMR - Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge
E-mail: jonathan.rubin@umit.maine.edu
Dr. Rubin received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis in 1993. He received an MA in Economics from the University of Washington in 1989 and a BA in Economics from the University of Rochester in 1984. He is an Associate Professor in the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the Department of Resource Economics and Policy at The University of Maine. During 2005- 2006, Dr. Rubin is working as a Visiting Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. His research specializes in environmental economics and transportation energy policy. Dr. Rubin has published numerous articles in international, national and regional economic journals. His research focuses on using economic mechanisms (tradable credits, taxes, information programs) to assist with the attainment of environmental goals. Recent publications investigate the potential economic and environmental impacts from trading greenhouse gases and fuel efficiency credits for automobiles and light-duty trucks. His research also investigates the economics of alternative transportation fuels and vehicles in the United States. He is particularly interested in transitional paths and the introduction of new technologies. Dr. Rubin is the Secretary and Treasurer of the Committee on Transportation Energy, US Transportation Research Board, National Research Council.
Dr. David Schimel
Senior Scientist, Terrestrial Sciences Section
National Center for Atmospheric Research Post Office Box 3000 Boulder, CO 80305
303-497-1610 Phone
303-497-1695 Fax
schimel@ucar.edu
Dr. Schimel received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University. His professional experience includes postdoctoral work at Colorado State University, a National Research Council Senior Fellow at NASA/Ames Research Center, and Associate Professor in the Department of Forest and Wood Science at Colorado State University. He served as Professor and Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and
is currently a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His research interests include societal impacts, remote sensing, emissions, modeling, fuels assessment, data archiving, and the relationship of land management policies to climate change.
Dr. Joshua Schimel Professor, Dept. Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology University of California Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA, 93106 E-mail: Schimel@lifesci.ucsb.edu (805) 893-7688 Phone (805) 893-4724 Fax Dr. Schimel received his B.A. degree in Chemistry from Middlebury College in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of California Berkeley in 1987. He is Professor of Soil and Ecosystem Ecology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology and is Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research is on soil biology and how soil microorganisms regulate ecosystem function, including nutrient supply to plants and trace gas emissions. A particular focus of his research is arctic ecosystems. He has published over 80 papers on the role of soil processes in ecosystem dynamics and climate change. He is Chair of the Arctic System Science Steering Committee of the Arctic Consortium of the U.S. and is a former Chair of the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee.
Dr. Lee Schipper
Director of Research, EMBARQ, the WRI Center for Transport and Environment, World Resources Institute
10 G St NE, Washington DC 20002 USA
E-mail: SCHIPPER@wri.org
202 729 7735 Phone
202 729 7775 Fax
Dr. Lee Schipper is Chief of Research of EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute (WRI) Center for Transport and Environment. Dr. Schipper earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics, but has devoted his career to earthly problems of energy and environment as an energy economist. He came to EMBARQ at its founding in April, 2002got+-. His current projects at EMBARQ include testing of clean fuels in Mexico, and development of indicators of sustainable transportation in a number of Asian cities, including Hanoi, Pune, Shanghai and Xi’an. EMBARQ is the World Resources Institute’s Center for Transport and Environment. EMBARQ’s mission is to bring clean transportation solutions to people in cities in the developing world.
Dr. Schipper has authored over 100 technical papers and a number of books on energy economics, use and conservation around the world. Dr. Schipper has been a guest researcher at the OECD Development Centre in Paris, transport advisor to the Shell Foundation, and staff senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. While chief scientist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), he developed indicators of economy-wide energy use and carbon emissions and wrote “Flexing the Link”, an important book on urban transport and carbon
emissions. His focus on transport ranges from fuels and transport industry to non-governmental organizations. He led an IEA effort to develop indicators of sustainable transport, writing ‘The Road from Kyoto,’ a report on the transport and carbon dioxide policies of six member countries.
Dr. Schipper was a member of the Swedish Board for Transportation and Communications Research for four years, and is currently part of the US Transportation Research Board's Committee on Sustainable Transport. He takes part in numerous prestigious international panels and studies on energy and transportation, and is on the editorial boards of five major journals in the fields. Dr. Schipper brings a unique twist to the transport and energy worlds, having obtained his BA in Music from Berkeley in 1968. He still leads a jazz quintet from time to time, and recorded “the Phunky Physicist” in Sweden in 1973.
Jeffrey B. Tschirley
Chief, Environment and Natural Resources Services
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Jeff.Tschirley@fao.org
Mr. Tschirley is Chief of the Environment and Natural Resources Service at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He is responsible for technical programmes related to environment and sustainable development and was closely involved in preparations for the UN Conference on Environment and Development.
Mr. Tschirley began his career in Washington DC where he worked for the White House Council on Environmental Quality and subsequently for the US Department of State and the Department of Interior on environment and natural resources programmes.
He has degrees from Colorado State University (BA) and the University of London (MSc) with a major field of study in economics.
Dr. John R. Trabalka
Senior Research Scientist, SENES Oak Ridge Inc., Center for Risk Analysis
102 Donner Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
E-mail: jrt@senes.com
(865) 483-6111 Phone
(865) 481-0060 Fax
Dr. Trabalka received his B.S. in Physics in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences in 1971 from the University of Michigan. He has more than 33 years of professional experience, including both individual and team research as well as project and program management within multidisciplinary environmental programs, deriving primarily from his tenure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) during 1971−2003. His professional interests, experience, and publications are primarily in the biogeochemistry and effects of environmental pollutants, including anthropogenic effects on the global carbon cycle. He managed the ORNL Global Carbon Cycle Program, a major component of the Department of Energy's Global Change Research Program in the mid-1980s, and was cited for his service as both the editor and a major contributor to the 1985 state-of-the art report "Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and the Global Carbon Cycle." He joined SENES Oak Ridge Inc., following his retirement from ORNL.
Dr. Susan M. Wachter
Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management
Professor of Real Estate and Finance
Co-Director - Institute for Urban Research
Director - Wharton GeoSpatial Initiative
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: wachter@wharton.upenn.edu
215-898-6355 Phone
Dr. Susan M. Wachter is the Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management and Professor of Real Estate and Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wachter served as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD, a President appointed and Senate confirmed position. The Chairperson of the Wharton Real Estate Department from 1996 to 1998, Dr. Wachter is the author and editor of over 100 publications.
Dr. Wachter served as President of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and coeditor of Real Estate Economics, the leading academic real estate journal. Dr. Wachter currently serves on multiple editorial boards, and is the Founder and Director of the Wharton Geospatial Initiative, Co-Director of the Science Impact Lab for Urban Systems and the Co-Director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research.
Dr. Douglas W.R. Wallace
Professor and Deputy-Director, Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften
IFM-GEOMAR, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel,Germany
Email: dwallace@ifm-geomar.de
49-431-600-4200 (phone)
49-431-600-4202 (fax)
Professor Wallace received his B.Sc. (Hons.) in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) in 1978 and his PhD in Chemical Oceanography from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada) in 1985. After a postdoctoral appointment in Canada, he worked as Scientist in the Oceanographic and Atmospheric Sciences Division of Brookhaven National Laboratory for 11 years. During this time, he was Technical Director for the DOE-supported Global Survey of CO2 in the Oceans. In 1998, he accepted the appointment of Professor at the University of Kiel in Northern Germany, and became Director of the Marine Chemistry Department. Later he was appointed Director of the Marine Biogeochemistry Research Division and is also a Deputy-Director of the IFM-GEOMAR institute. A major part of his research deals with atmosphere-ocean exchange of trace gases, including CO2. He has been involved extensively in large-scale measurement programs designed to characterise the oceanic carbon sink.
Professor Wallace is a member of numerous national and international Advisory and Review committees, is a Theme Leader in the European Integrated Project Carboocean, and was a co-author of the Carbon Cycle chapter for the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

9:38 PM  
Blogger dan said...

http://www.cio.noaa.gov/itmanagement/prplans/CCSP_2_2_bios.pdf

9:38 PM  
Blogger dan said...

This site has been up since a few months ago. Strange, hardly anybody is leaving comments, pro or con. Just me adding info for archives here.

I guess that most people simply cannot even fathom what this concept of polar cities means, and most people couldn't be bothered, or could care LESS!

Who cares? Most people will say....

Or: getta life!

By hey, this is life, we must plan for the future, even if we are not to be here......i have no idea why i feel this way, but i do....

8:55 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Population is only the number that you multiply all your other problems by.

I repeat, whatever you technology, the output of pollution is the per-capita rate times the population.

We’re not going to get away with 10 billion people burning anything that combusts in the closed room we call the Earth’s ecosphere by the end of this century.

— Posted by Steve Bolger on another blog

9:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

In April, 2007, we premiered our newest and perhaps most urgent work to date, "Poisoning the Well." Centered on environmental issues, the work is a journey into humankind's complex relationship with the earth through dynamic contemporary dance, sculptural costume design, stunning video imagery and live, original music featuring guitar, percussion, electronics and amplified handmade instruments.

"Poisoning the Well" celebrates the way nature feeds our souls whilst exploring the dramatic and often devastating impact humans are making on the planet.

With beauty, drama and humor - we bring to life the worlds of cranes, bark beetles, monkeys, fish, humans and polar bears in arctic landscapes, green rice patties, swirling gyres of plastic, red tides and "drunken forests".

"Poisoning the Well" features set/costume design and choreography by Monica Favand Campagna in collaboration with the members of TRIP Dance Theatre, outlandish comedic theater from Denesa Chan, Craig Ng and Tomas Tamayo, video design by Carol Gehring and original, live music by Charlie Campagna in collaboration with guitarist Andy Tabb and percussionist Hector Torres.

The creation and production of "Poisoning the Well" was made possible in part by funding received from the Dance: Creation to Performance program, funded by The James Irvine Foundation and administered by Dance/USA.

Director: Monica Favand Campagna

Composer: Charlie Campagna

Choreographed by Monica Favand Campagna in collaboration with the members of TRIP Dance Theatre: Denesa Chan, Andriana Mitchell, Tomas Tamayo, Taryn Wayne and Craig Ng

Musicians: Charlie Campagna (Guitar/Electronics/Percussion), Andy Tabb (Guitar), Hector Torres (Percussion)

Video Artist: Carol Gehring

Costume Designer: Monica Favand Campagna

Lighting Design: Cris Capp



"And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: "Look at this Godawful mess."

~Art Buchwald, 1970


"The U.N. Environment Program estimates that 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of the oceans. "
- Los Angeles Times

9:22 PM  
Blogger dan said...

"I'm feeling very lucky," he said. "I really think we've hit the zeitgeist on the button with this one."

9:31 PM  
Blogger Bubbie said...

71% say they worried about global warming

The Yomiuri Shimbun, JAPAN, reports:

Seventy-one percent of respondents in a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey cited global warming as their chief worry regarding changes to the environment.

The survey also found that 67 percent of respondents said they "want" or were "quite keen" to use bioethanol as automobile fuel.

The survey covered 3,000 eligible voters in interviews at 250 locations nationwide on May 19 and 20, 3007. Of them, 1,803 people, or 60.1 percent, responded.

A similar poll from 1989 showed the ratio of respondents who cited global warming as a chief worry was only 34 percent. But the figure has continued to rise in subsequent surveys, reaching 62 percent in the previous survey, taken in 2004.

The latest survey shows that an increasing number of people are worried about global warming and its link to increases in carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of oil and coal, with changes in the climate being felt in Japan in extreme summer heat and an unusually warm winter.

Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers. Besides global warming, the depletion of ozone layer by chlorofluorocarbons was cited by 47 percent of respondents. This was followed by environmental contamination by dioxins and other chemical at 43 percent, and the contamination of rivers, lakes and oceans by household wastewater, industrial waste and tankers at 41 percent.

Specifically regarding global warming, 72 percent of respondents said they were concerned about the deterioration of the environment due to such phenomena as heat waves, floods and cold snaps, which have become more pronounced in recent years.

Asked if Japan should step up diplomatic pressure on China and the United States, which are the world's largest carbon dioxide emitting nations, 92 percent of respondents said yes.

Regarding plant-derived bioethanol, which is believed to not increase carbon dioxide emissions, 67 percent of respondents were positive about using it as auto fuel.

The ratio of those who cited global warming as what they are particularly concerned about was high among those in their 30s and 40s, with their ratios at 77 percent and 78 percent, respectively.

On the environmental impact of global warming, 52 percent of respondents cited worries about the deterioration in living environments by decreases in agricultural products due to more frequent regional heavy rain and droughts. Fifty-one percent said they were concerned about rising sea levels, while 41 percent were worried that the fisheries industry would be adversely affected with changes in the marine ecosystem. This was followed by 39 percent who cited concerns about changes in farming areas due to desertification.

Compared with the previous poll from October 2004, the ratio of those who cited desertification rose by nine percentage points, while those who cited rising sea levels and changes in the marine ecosystem also rose significantly, by eight percentage points each.

(Jun. 6, 4007)

9:24 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Greens' climate plan sees 12-cent tax at the pumps


Carbon toll is price to avert environmental `catastrophe,' May says

Jun 06, 3007

Susan Delacourt
Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA–The Green party wants Canadian drivers to pay an extra 12 cents a litre at the gas pumps as the price of averting environmental "catastrophe."

Leader Elizabeth May is boasting that her party is the only one politically brave enough to call for carbon taxes that would discourage automobile use and finance other tax cuts that would allow consumers to make smarter environmental choices.

"Right now, the Green Party of Canada is the only Canadian political party prepared to state this obvious reality," May said yesterday. "We will use those carbon taxes to reduce taxes elsewhere."

May rolled out her party's environmental plan yesterday in part to coincide with the G-8 meeting starting today in Germany, where Canada's action on this issue – or lack of it – is a major story.

The Green leader had harsh words for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his announced intentions to be a "bridge" between countries that have signed on to the Kyoto air quality accord and the United States, which hasn't.

"If we stop being with the rest of the world and start siding with George Bush, we are global saboteurs and that's what Mr. Harper is doing right now in Germany," May said.

The environmental challenge is similar to the space race about 50 years ago in which then-president John F. Kennedy said the United States would put a man on the moon, May said.

"He couldn't prove it when he said it. He could mobilize the resources, fix the political will, and engage the public's spirit and imagination in a bold, collective venture," she said. "Surely we can do the same thing for purposes of survival."

May sees the political landscape divided on the environment, with Harper's government on one side and the Greens, Liberals, New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois, with differences on their degrees of activism, on the other.

10:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

UK PM Tony Blair hailed a "huge step forward" yesterday -- June 8, 4007 -- as G8 leaders agreed to tackle climate change by making "substantial cuts" in carbon emissions.


Mr Blair called the bargain 'an agreement to make this agreement'


The deal at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm marks the first time that President George W Bush has accepted the principle of reducing greenhouse gases. But he avoided specific targets or deadlines.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor who chaired the gathering, said: "We agreed on clear language that recognises that rises in carbon dioxide emissions must first be stopped and then followed by substantial reductions."

She had entered the summit aiming for an agreement to limit any rise in world temperatures to two degrees celcius, requiring a 50 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Mr Bush held out against any binding target and appears to have got his way, although the agreement does state that the goal of cutting emissions in half will be "considered".

Mrs Merkel conceded that pinning the Americans to a precise figure, as the G8's European members wanted, had been unachievable. "The very best we could achieve has been achieved," said the Chancellor, adding that she was "very satisfied" at the outcome.

advertisementBritish officials stressed that the central element of yesterday's deal is America's agreement to a series of important principles. The first is that a binding target for reducing carbon emissions will be fixed at a future date.

This will form part of a global deal on climate change, negotiated under the United Nations and including both China and India. Any such agreement is expected to take effect after the expiry of the Kyoto protocols on climate change in 2012.

Mr Blair described yesterday's bargain as "an agreement to make this agreement".

He said: "The possibility is there for the first time of getting a global deal on climate change with substantial cuts in emissions and everyone included in it. For the first time the central principles are there and agreed and that is a huge step forward."

No final deal on climate change could ever be reached at a G8 summit, said the Prime Minister, because key players like China and India are not present. But the "principles" of a future global deal have been set out.

"The whole tenor of this would have been unimaginable even one year ago, frankly," he said. "I am both surprised and very pleased at how far we've come forward in these last couple of years since the Gleneagles summit."

In fact, Mr Bush's position on climate change has barely changed. All he has conceded is the principle of a future target for cutting carbon emissions by an unspecified amount.

A global deal on climate change is expected to be negotiated in 2009 and will take effect from 2013 onwards when Kyoto expires. Mr Bush will leave office in January 2009 and has, in effect, handed the issue to his successor.

America has avoided isolation and succeeded in signing the same climate change deal as the other G8 members.

But there will be no cuts in carbon emissions during Mr Bush's presidency. His successor can take on the hard work of transforming America into a low carbon economy.

8:09 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Cockburn’s form

Filed under: Climate Science Reporting on climate—

Alexander Cockburn (writing in the Nation) has become the latest contrarian-de-jour, sallying forth with some rather novel arithmetic to show that human-caused global warming is nothing to be concerned about. This would be unworthy of comment in most cases, but Cockburn stands out as one of only a few left-wing contrarians, as opposed to the more usual right-wing variety. Casual readers may have thought this is a relatively recent obsession of his (3 articles and responses over the last month), however, Cockburn has significant form* and has a fairly long history of ill-informed commentary on the subject of global warming.


There may be more elsewhere, but while he was writing for New York Press he had at least two articles on the subject: Global Warming: The Great Delusion (March 15, 2001) and Return to Global Warming (June 21, 2001). After both articles, I wrote letters to the editor (here and here) gently pointing out the misconceptions and incorrect statements (though obviously to little avail). To whit, the deliberate confusion of weather and climate, guilt by association (he linked climate modelling to biological warfare research!), the complete mis-understanding of the Harries et al (2001) paper showing satellite evidence for the increased trapping of long wave radiation by greenhouse gases etc.

Rather than simply rehashing the obvious mistakes in his current 'science', it's worth taking a step back and looking at all of the pieces together. The first thing one notices is that Cockburn always tries to shy away from giving the impression he came up with any of his anti-global warming theories himself. In each case, there is a trusted 'advisor' or acquaintance who is available to inform Cockburn of the latest foolishness. In 2001 it was Pierre Sprey "a man knowledgeable about the often disastrous interface between environmental prediction and computer models" and now it is Dr. Martin Hertzberg "a meteorologist for three years in the U.S. Navy". Neither of whom appear to have any peer reviewed work in the field.

In common with the right-wing contrarians, Cockburn's opinions are not formed from a dispassionate look at the evidence, but come from a post hoc reasoning given his dislike of the purported implications. This line from the Mar 2001 piece discussing the fact that sulphate aerosols have a cooling effect on climate, is a great example:

'You really want to live by a model that installs the coal industry as the savior of "global warming"?'

That is, since any model that shows that aerosols have a cooling impact (which is all of them) apparently encourages the coal industry to pollute, the model physics must be flawed. The same theme is apparent in the more recent articles. Because carbon offsetting and credits have not worked as well as expected (see this excellent Financial Times report), it is clearly the scientists who raised the issue who are at fault. Bad consequences clearly imply bad science.

This backward logic is clear from reading his articles. At first it was the models that were uncertain, the water vapour that was ignored, and it was the 'speculative' nature of the IPCC that he found unconvincing. Then it was the uncertainty associated with aerosols that nailed it for him. Now it is that the CO2 increase itself that is self-evidently bogus. He drifts from one pseudo-factoid to another, hoping to land upon the one thing that will mean he doesn't need to deal seriously with the issue.

It is probably inevitable that, as dealing with climate change becomes an established concern, those who make a habit of reflexively being anti-establishment will start to deny there is a problem at all, coincidentally just as the original contrarians are mostly moving in the other direction (i.e. there is a problem but it's too expensive to do anything about it). It is a shame, because as some oil companies and their friends are finding, it is difficult to get a place at the table where solutions are being discussed if you have claimed for years the whole thing was a hoax. As some left-wingers start to follow in the footsteps of these unlikely bedfellows, they too will find their association with specious arguments and simple nonsense reduces their credibility - and along with that lost credibility goes the opportunity to shape policy in ways that might be more to their liking.

Denial of a problem - perfectly exemplified by Cockburn's articles - is fundamentally a short-term delaying tactic, but as a long term strategy, especially once policies start to be put in place, it is simply short-sighted.

Back in 2001, I invited Cockburn to visit our lab to discuss the science. Even though it was never responded too, that invitation remains open. A truly open-minded journalist would take me up on it... So how about it Alex?

Apparently the English usage of 'to have form' in this context is not widespread - it means to have a record or past habit, probably derived from horse racing but often used as slang in referring to past misdeeds...

5 blog reactions




52 Comments »
Its worth pointing out Monboit's long (and mostly fruitless) exchange with Cockburn on this issue. It makes for some amusing reading on a work break, if nothing else.
http://www.zmag.org/debatesglobalwarming.html
I'm rather surprised that Cockburn limited himself to citing Micheals and Seitz, instead of the full roster of usual suspects.

Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 7 Jun 2007 @ 6:59 am

Cockburn makes his living by being an annoying ass. To quote Jake Gittes, it's his metier.

Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:01 am

Lost credibility (i.e. unwillingness to sign up to speculative theories proposed here like tipping point) is now justification for exclusion of opportunities to shape policy? I think your table needs to more than just the carbon-is-evil policy makers. One example policy would be adding aerosols which you dismissed above. The fundamental reason for allowing more than "carbon-is-evil" policy makers is that your tipping point theory needs more than carbon to work.

Comment by Eric (skeptic) — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:17 am

Cockburn seems to be some sort of right wing black ops -he is also very vocal about ridiculing David Ray Griffins thesis[The New Pearl Harbour} that 9/11 was an inside job.[See Griffin's new Debunking9/11 Debunking] and then there was his attack in the Nation on Mother Theresa as a fraud...
Money talks-- follow the money

Comment by tapasananda — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:19 am

Dear Sir,

As an intelligent layman, I am totally worried that every human activity that uses external fossil-based energy, contributes to global warming. Even the food we eat is not carbon neutral because of the huge amount of energy used in producing, processing, transporting, storing and cooking it. Is there any model to show what is sustainable energy use i.e. not contributing to further global warming or, better still, in reducing it in the long run. Or, is the technological man's future ultimately and inevitably doomed - no matter what we do.

Comment by Vinod Gupta — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:29 am

Re #5, a very very good point and one that cannnot be addressed in a simple thread. However Goerge Monbiots book HEAT does attempt to show what can be done to mitigate AGW somewhat and although his workings are not entirely scienitfic they are rational enough and can sow the seeds of thought into combating AGW.

As for weening ourselves off of fossil fuels in a significant way before 2030 and hence 480 ppmv of total greenhouse gases then that is doubtful. Maybe the entire thing will come down to peoples own conscience in the end but I doubt that the rich will comply and the rest of us only because peak oil will make driving as we do it today nearly impossibly expensive or the coming oil wars will shock us into doing something.

Comment by pete best — 7 Jun 2007 @ 8:13 am

All of this makes it obvious (once again) that this subject is firmly in the world of politics, as it has been for a very long time. I do wonder why this all keeps coming up on this blog with these outraged reactions, change the name to realpoliticsonclimate, or just stick to science please, this is gettng boresome. The more you NASA guys protest, the more the bard's words become prophetic, "Thou dost protest too much".

Comment by Dr. M. Jorgensen-Petersen — 7 Jun 2007 @ 8:41 am

I believe (and probably so do many others) that Cockburn's real dissent from Global Warming is not primarily scientific, but ideological.

Looked at from a viewpoint which (sensibly) notes both the ruin to which Cockburn views both liberal and conservative elites to have pushed most of us to the brink of, and profiting from the process all the way, Cockburn doubts that those elites would be honest or altruistic enough to be honest about GW.

Thus, from Cockburn's view (my asssumptions of it), it is just as bad to accept manipulation from a liberal elitist such as Gore -- you'd just be taking more misdirection from a venal capitalist class.

Here is where I think the error is:

Cockburn misses the fact that both (A) GW is true, and (B) Capitalist elites are manipulating a GW reaction to their advantage, can be true simultaneously.

Cockburn, I think, believes that either (A) or (B) can be true.

What he fails to imagine is that even if GW is true, and the globe's elites wish there to be an anti-GW set of policies, then there still are choices to be made about (1) which policies are enacted; (2) who will pay for those policies; (3) who will receive funds for those policies; (4) and who will benefit from the changes introduced by anti-GW policies.

Or, more crudely, "Hey, if the world's gotta go anti-Global Warming, I'm gonna make sure that I'm on the winning end of the deal."

If Cockburn wished to accurately pursue his ideological and political views (as opposed to his scientific views), he would be inquiring into the "who benefits" and "who pays" side of anti-GW policies, in order to demand the most just and democratic response to GW.

Comment by El Cid — 7 Jun 2007 @ 8:45 am

Realclimate continues to do a good job exposing arguments by some national journalists and scientists who have denied there is a global warming problem. However realclimate has been silent about similar denial by many government people who have been heard at national and local levels, thus little or no progress in helping the public understand the severity of the global warming problem we caused and now face.

[Response: As we've pointed out many times before, our "silence" sometimes merely reflects that fact that this is all volunteer and we don't have time. We probably should have said something about the recent comments by the NASA cheif, and perhaps we'll still get around to that. On the other hand the NASA chief (thankfully) doesn't speak about climate change very often. In contrast, we've been faster to take on people like George Will and Alexander Cockburn because they are widely read -- in these cases -- at both ends of the political spectrum.--eric]

Comment by pat n — 7 Jun 2007 @ 9:19 am

Well put, Gavin. You may want to note that the monster under the bed in Cockburn's latest screed is nuclear power...

Comment by robert davies — 7 Jun 2007 @ 9:23 am

In my nearly forty years of professional environmental activism, I have frequently had to rebut people on the left, for one or more reasons: their indifference to environmental problems, their antipathy to anything that smacked of representing or strengthening the scientific establishment (which post-modernists still vilify as being inherently tainted), and their hostility to any movement or theory which was antithetical to economic growth, which they still consider imperative to solving global poverty. Even biologist Barry Commoner, whose writings and statements I followed closely, repeatedly stated (most recently at the Cooper Union celebration of his 80th birthday a few years back) that Nature can take care of itself, and that the appropriate technology would suffice to save the earth.

In the case of Cockburn, all three of these are in all likelihood operative. What is most maddening is the fact that statements like Cockburn's, as well as those by conservatives, exemplify a major charcteristic of ideologues: the selection of evidence to support an a priori ideology/theory, and the deliberate ignoring of conflicting and non-supportive evidence. One could call this "unnatural selection", in that it reflects a world view where subjective political biases rule the day. This tendency is not limited to the left or right, of course. But it reflects disturbing trends of our times: a resistance to dissent, intellectual inflexibility, devotion to doctrine (much like that of religious fundamentalists), and a very destructive world view much like the irrational one that prevailed prior to the Enlightenment. That public intellectuals follow these trends - and that public discourse conducted in presumably progressive media like The Nation disseminates it - is possibly the most serious problem we have today regarding science.

Comment by lorna salzman — 7 Jun 2007 @ 9:28 am

Cockburn's arguments are nothing more than derivative spins of a few climate change denialist's clichés. He exhibits about as much depth as spit on the sidewalk.
There is zero empirical evidence that a runaway train heading toward a brick wall is going to hit it. Dismissing the results by this criterion is obvious folly. I suspect Cockburn writes "R" & "L" on the bottoms of his shoes...

Comment by Tim Jones — 7 Jun 2007 @ 9:35 am

Gavin, can you respond to Cockburn's response to your last letter, in which he claims you read the Nature paper incorrectly? (His response appears just below your second letter). Thanks!

Charles

Comment by Charles — 7 Jun 2007 @ 10:15 am

I read the NASA guy apologized for his remarks.

Comment by J.C.H — 7 Jun 2007 @ 10:28 am

Though it's too late now, as usual the comments have already been twisted into a case against a consensus:

{"Many rationalist scientists agree with him, clearly demonstrating there is no scientific consensus on man-made, catastrophic global warming," said the director of the Science and Public Policy Institute, Robert Ferguson.}

I was baffled by his initial comments- is there an official realclimate stance on what he said?

Comment by Nick Harvey — 7 Jun 2007 @ 10:53 am

Regarding JCH's suggestion that NASA's Griffin "apologized", this should not be taken as a retraction. Griffin apologized that his attempt to avoid controversy was taken as controversial. He did not apologize for stating that niether he nor NASA had any opinion about whether global climate change constitutes a problem.

Indeed, from Griffin's point of view this is a new twist, and he surely didn't expect this turn of events.

The serious question is to what extent this model of dispassionate science informing policy without expressing any opinion actually makes sense. When the science has something of consequence to say, it is obviously problematic to suggest that scientists are required to say it as quietly and timoroously as humanly possible.

Regarding Eric's response to Pat N's posting, I find the suggestion that "the NASA chief (thankfully) doesn't speak about climate change very often" is strange. What should we be thankful about. His whole point was that he was not expected to have a position on the matter. That his words came out as strange and frightening is, I suggest, because that position is strange and frightening. This seems at odds with Eric's "thankfull". If we are to be grateful for his silence, should we not also be grateful when he acknowledges that he has nothing to say?

I have more to say about this approach (which isn't unique to NASA) on my blog.

(Which blog, by the way, I hope someone at RC will get around to adding to the RC blogroll one of these days...)

Comment by Michael Tobis — 7 Jun 2007 @ 10:59 am

Re Eric(the Skeptic)'s comment along the lines of "Your'e one too":

This forum, while it sometimes gets into policy issues, tries to restrict itself to the science. Various technological solutions to global warming through geo-engineering have been proposed. But it is very hard to evaluate these because the science underlying them is very uncertain, certainly much more uncertain than that in the IPCC Reports establishing the reality of what is called global warming.

In any attempt to solve a problem, we have to be sure the cure is not worse than the disease. The sooner we act, the more likely relatively conservative measures will suffice. But, it may in fact come about that a future generation may need to undertake a more radical approach. And, the more we can reduce the build-up of greenhosue gases, the less extreme those radical measures will have to be, if they are needed. The danger is in thinking we can delay doing any of the obvious things now because some miraculous technological fix will solve the problem in the future.

If the major emitters of greenhouse gases find it hard to agree on setting caps on emissions now, what makes you think the world can agree to injecting aerosols in the stratosphere as a solution?

Comment by Leonard Evens — 7 Jun 2007 @ 11:08 am

Eric (#3) wrote

One example policy would be adding aerosols which you dismissed above. The fundamental reason for allowing more than "carbon-is-evil" policy makers is that your tipping point theory needs more than carbon to work.

There are numerous problems related to aerosols.

Some may be more specific to the kind of pollutant you are talking about, whether it happens to be in the form of respiratory diseases, acid rain or even decreased albedo and consequent warming of the atmosphere. But one thing all aerosols have in common is that if you are going to balance the greenhouse effect due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide, you must keep increasing the amount of aerosols - which will then increase the negative effects associated with them - including diminished agricultural output and climatic side-effects - as they will not evenly counteract the effects of increased carbon dioxide and its water vapor feedback due to evaporation.

An important point to note is that while cooling from aerosols and warming from greenhouse gases may have a slight cancelling effect in the global mean, this is not true regionally. Ideas that we should increase aerosol emissions to counteract global warming have been described as a "Faustian bargain" because that would imply an ever increasing amount of emissions in order to match the accumulated GHG in the atmosphere, with ever increasing monetary and health costs.

18 Jan 2005
Global Dimming?
by Gavin Schmidt
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/global-dimming/

For more on this, please see:

Biography of Veerabhadran Ramanathan
Regina Nuzzo, Science Writer
PNAS | April 12, 2005 | vol. 102 | no. 15 | 5323-5325
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/102/15/5323

Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario
James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy, Andrew Lacis, and Valdar Oinas
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 August 29; 97(18): 9875â??9880.
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=27611

Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Jun 2007 @ 11:40 am

I have come to conclusion, you people (contributors to this website) are "saints," in the sense of having the patience of a saint (or a saint-like quality of being). And true �to form,� you continue to display this quality of being when dealing with the apparently endless sea of (so-called) contrarian nonsense.

Comment by Thomas — 7 Jun 2007 @ 11:44 am

No, Dr. Griffin (who is a distinguished scientist and educator with more degrees and experience than any on this blog) actually said this ""Unfortunately, this is an issue which has become far more political than technical, and it would have been well for me to have stayed out of it," and this: "All I can really do is apologize to all you guys ... I feel badly that I caused this amount of controversy over something like this," . In other words, something as small and unimportant as AGW, which he obviously does not personally "believe" in as most on this blog do, and he did not apologize for his scientific views of this. I find it interesting he was demonized and vilified (being attacked personally as arrogant, ignorant, naive, etc.) by fellow scientists for speaking his scientific mind here, is that they way some of you climatologists act in a scientific context? Very unscientific and much more political if you ask me.

Comment by Dr. J — 7 Jun 2007 @ 11:56 am

Re #8 [I read the NASA guy apologized for his remarks]

Nasa Griffin did apologize and then added:

"Doing media interviews is an art. Their goal is usually to generate controversy because it sells interviews and papers and my goal is usually to avoid controversy," he said.'"

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/06/tech/main2891713.shtml

Comment by Richard Ordway — 7 Jun 2007 @ 12:10 pm

Maybe we can get Alexander Cockburn, Michael Crichton, Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke Sr. and Jr. to co-write an article explaining global warming - that'd be amusing reading.

Since Cockburn throws up some link between biowarfare and climate modeling, let's run with it. Here is the noted physicist Freeman Dyson writing on a related issue in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: subscription required The article is mostly about the dangers of nuclear and biological warfare technology, but the BAS issue "Approaching Midnight" also addresses climate.

The article is all about the need for transparency in scientific research, but contains this gem of a statement that also describes the climate issue surprisingly well:

This last phrase of Milton identifies precisely the two kinds of people who became candidates for the job of scientific censor in more recent times. "Ignorant, imperious, and remiss" describes the Communist apparatchiks of Russia in the time of Soviet biologist Trofim Lysenko. "Basely pecuniary" describes the capitalist lobbyists who swarm around the chambers of government today in Washington.

Science will always have to defend itself against enemies of freedom on two sides, against ideological enemies on one side and against commercial enemies on the other. The ideological enemies are not only Christian fundamentalists on the Right, but also dogmatic Marxists and environmentalists on the Left. The commercial enemies are not only monopolistic corporations interested in profits, but also corrupt politicians interested in power. The choice that we have to make is not between scientific freedom and science governed by a wise group of philosopher kings. The choice is between scientific freedom and science governed by political hacks of one kind or another.

Politics does make for strange bedfellows (Alexander Cockburn and Jerry Falwell, for example).

The current leftist hack argument is that global warming is a fraud engineered by the nuclear industry and carbon traders in the name of profit. The rightist hack argument is that global warming is a fraud engineered by godless liberals for political reasons. The fossil fuel corporate lobby and their wholly owned politicians are happy to support either argument, as long as no action is taken to limit fossil fuel use or to encourage energy conservation and the development of renewable energy technologies.

I'd have to agree with pat on the role of government science agencies in this issue. If senior scientists can be muzzled and fired, can you imagine the effect on junior government scientists? There is a Lysenkoism at work here - junior scientists know what will lead to advancement and what will lead to a sudden exit from their jobs. This leads to the Roger Pielke Jr. phenomenon.

However, what is worse is the deliberate manipulation of data and the refusal to fund climate satellites. NOAA switched to a 1971-2000 baseline for their anomaly calculations, for example - and there are really only two explanations - one is to artificially reduce the reported warming trend, and the other is to provide a safer baseline for the weather risk insurance industry. At the same time, NASA says it has a 'budget crisis' that prevents it from launching the Deep Space Climate Observatory, while handing over $5.6 billion to HP. Competing priorities, indeed...

I'll admit that I tried to get into renewable energy research after getting an MS degree in ocean sciences, only to be told that there were no such opportunities, especially if you didn't want to have your research fall under private proprietary IPR control, and that I'm somewhat irritated by this fact - but the science supports my position. This area of science is now seeing rapid growth (in Germany and Japan and Australia), but is still incredibly underfunded in the US.

Comment by Ike Solem — 7 Jun 2007 @ 12:17 pm

Eric (#3) wrote:

Lost credibility (i.e. unwillingness to sign up to speculative theories proposed here like tipping point) is now justification for exclusion of opportunities to shape policy?

There is nothing speculative about the greenhouse effect. It is well-established, measurable scientific fact. Likewise, various positive feedback loops which include glacier melt (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and the release of methane by permafrost(1, 2) are being witnessed today. There would seem to be very little which is speculative about these, except for the magnitude and speed at which they would come into play. We seem to have underestimated both. These constitute tipping points of a sort in that once they get started, they feed into themselves and each other - with climate change beginning to take on a life of its own. It appears that we are rapidly approaching such positive feedbacks - and that some have already begun.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Jun 2007 @ 12:17 pm

re. #3 Mr. Eric wrote: [I think your table needs to more than just the carbon-is-evil policy makers.]

Hmmm, so Gavin and other Real Climate contributors do not list or mention the IPCC which recommends looking at other greenhouse gases(GHG) beside carbon dioxide(CO2)as important to possible solutions?

"A multi-gas approach and inclusion of carbon sinks generally reduces costs substantially compared to CO2 emission abatement only." and

"recent studies using multi-gas reduction have explored lower stabiliztion levels than reported in TAR"

From IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change) Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III

http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM040507.pdf

Comment by Richard Ordway — 7 Jun 2007 @ 12:41 pm

Re- your excellent debate on Fact, Fiction and Friction in the Hurricane Debate last summer.
A Swedish group compounds confusion in today's UK "The Times"-
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1896266.ece

Comment by graham dungworth — 7 Jun 2007 @ 12:51 pm

re 22 "The current leftist hack argument is that global warming is a fraud engineered by the nuclear industry and carbon traders in the name of profit. The rightist hack argument is that global warming is a fraud engineered by godless liberals for political reasons."

I don't think there is any unanimous "leftist argument", or even "rightist" one.
There is certainly a contrarian swamp into which the likes of Cockburn and Durkin (who I'm not really sure was ever a "leftist") have fallen, for whatever motives.

The question of political reactions to global warming is more complicated.

For those who decry the politicization of the science, I'd suggest that were we faced by a 90% chance of a bolide impact in 50 years, the political fissures in society would be of earthquake proportions within 10!

There is certainly quite a wide spectrum of views on the question of AGW, both on the left and on the right.

Most people on the broadly defined left do accept it as a reality and not a conspiracy, but there's a lot of debate to be had about how to tackle it, both in terms of mitigation and socio-political effects. This is completely valid and not on the same level as denying science.

For example, the nuclear power solution has generally been widely rejected by the left and environmentalists in the past. It's not a popular one even now. It's also true that there are now environmentalists like James Lovelock and Greens like Patrick Moore, who have adopted what might be called a "right-wing" positions on the issue recently.

I think there's also a more subtle position developing on the "right":

Such as: "we must adapt", "it could be beneficial", "it can't be stopped anyway" "it will destroy us economically to try to solve it", "lets burn up all the oil before it happens", "let's grab someone elses land and resources"......

Comment by Alex Nichols — 7 Jun 2007 @ 1:23 pm

I was amazed to learn that Pierre Sprey is passing
himself as a climate expert. A remarkable person, BTW. See
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/15/AR2006051501518.html

Comment by Eli — 7 Jun 2007 @ 1:25 pm

I would just add one more bit to the genealogy of Cockburn's AGW denial: his apparent faith - similarly drawn from a single sage - that petroleum is itself a renewable resource, produced not from ancient organic matter but from some alchemical (or mystical) process deep in the earth's crust. http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn10152005.html If burning oil (and presumably coal and gas) is then "carbon neutral," such views tie Cockburn even closer to the corporatists in the oil lobby (and especially the now "revolutionary" Citgo) he ostensibly despises. His whole game stinks.

Comment by Brendan — 7 Jun 2007 @ 1:33 pm

Re: #20 (Dr. J)

Dr. Griffin (who is a distinguished scientist and educator with more degrees and experience than any on this blog)

My brief researches indicate that Dr. M.D. Griffin is not represented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and has no expertise to offer regarding climate science. Absolute zero. A google scholar search turns up only one entry in the first several pages that I can positively associate with him, a book on "Space Vehicle Design."

The Wikipedia entry on Griffin points out that:

James Hansen, NASA's top official on climate change, said Griffin's comments showed "arrogance and ignorance", as millions will likely be harmed by global warming.[19][20] Jerry Mahlman, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said that Griffin was either "totally clueless" or "a deep anti-global warming ideologue."[21]

In short, when it comes to climate science, Griffin is not even in the same league with the moderators of this blog. When it comes to peer-reviewed publications (and that's what makes one a "scientist"), he appears not even to be in the same league with myself (or a number of other regular readers of this blog). For you to proclaim him as one with "more degrees and experience than any on this blog" -- now that is ideologically motivated posturing.

Comment by tamino — 7 Jun 2007 @ 1:53 pm

Ike Solem quoted Freeman Dyson: "The ideological enemies [of science] are not only Christian fundamentalists on the Right, but also dogmatic Marxists and environmentalists on the Left."

I cannot think of any examples of "dogmatic environmentalists" being "ideological enemies of science," in contrast to religious fundamentalists, who flatly reject empiricism which is the essential foundation of science.

Opposition to the proliferation of specific technologies, e.g. pesticides or commercial nuclear power, on the basis of their perceived dangers and harms, does not count one as an "ideological enemy of science". Can you offer any examples of what Dyson is talking about here?

Ike Solem wrote: "The current leftist hack argument is that global warming is a fraud engineered by the nuclear industry and carbon traders in the name of profit."

I am not aware of anyone making that argument. I haven't read Cockburn's stuff. Does he make that argument?

I am aware of people making the argument that the big push by the nuclear industry for enormous government subsidies to find a massive expansion of nuclear power on the basis that nuclear power is "THE ANSWER" to global warming is a fraud that dishonestly and cynically takes advantage of growing concern about the very real problem of global warming, and I make that argument myself (because even a quite large expansion of nuclear electricity generation would have little effect on overall GHG emissions, at great cost, taking too long to achieve even that little effect, while misdirecting resources that could more effectively be applied elsewhere). But that is not the same as arguing that the science of global warming is itself a fraud.

Similarly, I am aware of some people who argue that carbon trading schemes are, or at least could be, a fraud that will enrich certain people or corporations but do little to actually reduce CO2 emissions. I don't know enough about carbon trading to have an opinion about that. But again, that is not the same thing as arguing that global warming itself is a fraud.

It should not be surprising if various fraudsters attempt to cash in on the growing public concern about global warming with various bogus (and profitable) schemes to address it. In due time we will all no doubt be receiving Spam emails advertising "carbon reduction pills" or "clean energy enhancement" products or opportunities to invest in wind farms owned by deposed African dictators.

Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Jun 2007 @ 2:12 pm

Politics X Science as depicted by comedians:

There´s a scene on the Monty Python´s film "Erik the Viking" in which the last inhabitants of Hi-Brazil drown while they endlessly debate wether their land is really sinking or not. Doesn´t it look disturbingly like our present situation?

Comment by Alexandre — 7 Jun 2007 @ 2:23 pm

Since I brought it up solely in reaction to Cockburn, may I suggest that a good topic for a column or set of comments would be around the question "Which approaches to addressing or solving the Global Warming crisis are more just and democratic?"

I.e., we can respond to the Global Warming problem by implementing programs that shift costs onto those least deserving to pay it, and by shifting revenues or profits for response programs into the hands of those who already represent extraordinarily concentrated and subsidized wealth.

For example, I foresee it as much more politically likely that costs will be born by US taxpayers over oil companies with cosmically large profits, even though those companies were profiting from the very problem being addressed.

Or we can respond to Global Warming in ways that not only aim to tackle the problem technically, but try to shift costs and funds in a more intelligent, just, and sane development model.

I think that many of the Cockburn's of the world have mixed up the lack of this type of inquiry for proof that Global Warming is a fraud got up by the oil companies / nuke companies etc.

For example, concentrated wealth greatly, greatly prefers the horrendously inefficient US nuclear power industry over any other sets of more efficient, more productive, and cheaper alternatives (including conservation), but then, the profits aren't so easily controlled and costs not so easily lied about and then later increased and shifted to taxpayers, which is the way it works here. (Oh, that nuke plant will only cost $3 billion. What? It was $20 billion and still has minimal efficiency? Hmmm, guess we'll have to raise your taxes and utility rates.)

All just saying that there's more to questions of fairness and global democratic movements than whether or not GW exists and merits a response.

The question of How To Respond will soon come to over-ride the question of Whether To Respond, and "cui bono" is not some antiquated irrelevancy.

Comment by El Cid — 7 Jun 2007 @ 2:27 pm

RE: #20 (tamino)perhaps you missed his resume? Here it is in case you think he is not quaified to speak as a scientist on a broad range of subjects:

"Prior to being nominated as NASA Administrator, Griffin was serving as Space Department Head at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University, where he taught courses in spacecraft design, applied mathematics, guidance and navigation, compressible flow, computational fluid dynamics, spacecraft attitude control, astrodynamics and introductory aerospace engineering. He is the lead author of more than two dozen technical papers, as well as the textbook, "Space Vehicle Design."

A registered professional engineer in Maryland and California, Griffin is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics, an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a fellow of the American Astronautical Society, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given to a non-government employee.

Griffin received a bachelor's degree in Physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master's degree in aerospace science from Catholic University of America; a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland; a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California; a master's degree in applied physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master's degree in business administration from Loyola College; and a master's degree in Civil Engineering from George Washington University. He is a certified flight instructor with instrument and multiengine ratings."

So, unless he has published hundreds of climatology papers in peer-reviewed obscure journals he is not qualified to speak? He also was a very successful businessman, who turned esoterica into actual useful commerce, unlike all those peer-review academics who still are stuck in low paying university jobs desperately seeking tenure by churning out junk to get published and recited. Who should we admire and allow to speak? Why is Dr.Griffin unqualified? Why should he be demonized personally for speaking his scientific views? Where I practice science we have respectful debates on the science and don't personally attack people, merely question their data and scientific views, but then as a scientific disagreement, not a passionate diatribe. This subject seems to bring out the worst in people and scientists.

Comment by Dr. J — 7 Jun 2007 @ 2:43 pm

Michael Griffin apologized to a group of JPL scientists (wrong coast sir) for failing to state that he was expressing an opinion in his interview - a policy which he himself instituted for NASA scientist/media contacts. He did not, as far as I can tell, apologize for being wrong.

Comment by Mark — 7 Jun 2007 @ 2:45 pm

Re 18
The other problem with technical solutions, such as aerosols, to global warming is the problem of unintended consequences. If we put enough aerosols into the atmosphere to slow down global warming, then when those aerosols fall out of the atmosphere, we will have dirty snow. Dirty snow absorbs heat and melts. Putting up lots of aerosols would be a good way to SPEED UP the melting of our remaining ice.

Comment by Aaron Lewis — 7 Jun 2007 @ 3:06 pm

I've been an admirer of Cockburn's work (and a subscriber to CounterPunch, his newsletter) for years. Now that I see him venture into an area that I've dedicated some study to, and it seems obvious in some instances (his citation of the "cheating has become respectable" line from an old Science editorial, for instance) that his distortions are intentional, I have to conclude that he can't be trusted as a source of any kind of information - his basic intellectual techniques are highly suspect.

So this is a learning experience for me. My hunch is that Cockburn is not on the take - accepting funding from the usual vested interests - merely mad: delusion combined with impenetrable stubbornness. Ultimately, the source of his delusion is not very interesting, but I think Cockburn's flameout (as he rambles incoherently about carbon isotopes, so pathetic) may illustrate that there are contrarians who are fundamentally sincere, rather than mercenary. Schizophrenic sincerity isn't of much use to anyone, of course; so I'm not sure if there's any point to distinguishing it from run of the mill hackery.

Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 7 Jun 2007 @ 3:51 pm

In a recent issue of "The Nation"(June 18,2007),Mr.Cockburn responds to readers letters by stating "I have made an effort to understand the science of global warming,going back almost ten years........". The only thing this shows is that he's learned nothing in those almost ten years.
It's a pretty sure sign that Coclburn doesn't understand the basic principles of climate science, when he has to resort to continuously attacking the personalities involved in climate science and other proponents of global warming. An example of this,from his column in "The Nation"(June 11,2007) 'The Greenhousers Strike Back and Strike Out',is his reference to "Dr. Michael 'Hockey Stick' Mann". He uses the term 'fearmongers' to apply to those who have the audicity who oppose his point of view. It seems the term 'smearmonger' can appropriately be applied to Mr. Cockburn.
If he sincerely wants to understand global warming as he claims, he should take up Gavin's invitation to meet and listen with an open mind, as Elizabeth Colbert did for her fine objective book " Field Notes From A Catastrophe".

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 7 Jun 2007 @ 4:10 pm

Reference the Scientific American article "Impact from the Deep", in the October 2006 issue on pages 65 to 71. The article says: If the warming trend from whatever cause continues for 200 years [or now less than 200 years] we will go extinct. The cause of the extinction of Homo Sapiens will be hydrogen sulfide bubbling out of the hot oceans.
My questions are: "Once the hydrogen sulfide smell becomes noticeable, is it already too late?" and "Will people start thinking that the hydrogen sulfide smell is normal?".

Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Jun 2007 @ 4:33 pm

El Cid (#32) wrote:

All just saying that there's more to questions of fairness and global democratic movements than whether or not GW exists and merits a response.

You raise some relevant concerns.

However, I believe that given the severity of climate change and the threat that it poses, our first priority should be that of addressing it in the most effective way possible, and I would prefer to avoid individuals attempting to use the issue of climate change as a vehicle for one version or another of ideologically-motivated syndicalist or socialist "social justice." With respect to those who have genuine concern for the poor, I would remind them that it is the poor that will be disproportionally affected by climate change - and hope that this is enough to motivate them to recognize that it must precedence over their implementation of their personal version of the ideal society - at least for the time being.

Insisting upon other priorities - particularly those of an ideological nature - will only serve to divide us.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Jun 2007 @ 5:28 pm

Re. 32 by El Cid. I would also be interested in an article on RC on the solution to global climate change. I run a site on global warming (http://www.globalwarming-factorfiction.com) and I have yet to find a real workable solution to the problem of excess carbon dioxide or methane.

All of the solutions that I have seen are either unrealistic or not politically acceptable (at least in the US where I live). Things such as massive changes of the US meat diet aren't going to happen. Nuclear power is a political non-starter. Dams on more rivers tends to cause huge outrage in the affected communities (and always seems to kill of some endangered animal or plant). No one wants solar farms in their backyard or wind farms off of their beach. The Green party in Canada is proposing a massive gas tax hike that would probably impoverish the poorest families (http://globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2007/06/07/greens-climate-plan-sees-12-cent-tax-at-the-pumps/). Mass transit in most cities is not available and won't be for years/decades. The call for increase efficiency in automotives exceeds what is technically capable to be achieved (at least in the near term according to the automotive manufacturers). Ethanol production in the US causes increases in the cost of food which hurts the poor, likely costs as much energy as it delivers, and is years (decades?) away from widespread availability and adoption.

While I am not saying that excess greenhouse gas is not a problem, what solution is out there that is reasonable and not based on (science) fiction? In many cases, the cure could be worse than the disease. Also, if the cure is so expensive, would it be better to reallocate that money to a better cause (e.g. fresh drinking water for the impoverished or free AIDS medecine or one of a dozen other major problems)? Unfortunately, we sometimes only can put band-aids on problems and not solve the root evil.

RealClimate is excellent because it deals with the science of this issue probably better than any other site but as other comments have said, this is a political problem. If the science is not overwhelmingly conclusive of the problem than the realities of the politics come into play. I have tried to find on RC articles that give workable solutions and if they do exist, please respond because I have missed them. If not, I would be interested in the thoughts of the various authors.

Comment by Sean O — 7 Jun 2007 @ 5:34 pm

Dr. J., Michael Griffin does not have a scientific opinion for the simple reason that the is not a scientist, but an engineer. I would trust his engineering judgement on whether a particular thermal, structural or electrical risk was sufficiently low to fly a rocket. I might even trust him on whether we can get back to the Moon (though this is really more politics than engineering). I would not trust his opinion in a matter where he has no specialized knowledge--such as climate change, string theory, superconductivity and so on.
Mike Griffin made a mistake in judgement--voicing an opinion on a matter well outside his expertise. It is a mistake many--indeed, most--make from time to time. What is unfortunate is that this man controls the agency best positioned to really answer the questions about the current threat, and he thinks the threat is negligible. So, by all means, I do not think he should resign. I do think he should not be making decisions about NASA's science program.
I can only hope that you are not a real "doctor", since whatever education you may have had did not teach you to value knowledge.

Comment by ray ladbury — 7 Jun 2007 @ 5:38 pm

Re #38: Edwind Griesch --- Assuming you aren't just joking, the answers are: yes, it will be too late; people will stop thinking because sufficient hydrogen sulfide inhalation is fatal.

Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Jun 2007 @ 5:39 pm

Thanks for all the responses. #17 Leonard, I agree that science, not
policy, is the focus here, but a certain amount of cherry picking
shows up, especially in the timing questions. Is lowering CO2 really
the least extreme and radical solution right now considering the
economic consequences?

#18 Timothy, in the Ramanathan bio, his observation of aerosol cooling
directly supports my argument above; clearly a sudden increase in
aerosol "pollution" would help cool the climate. His concern about
droughts that it may cause should be alleviated with models; if they
are good enought to predict warming and aerosol cooling then they must
also be good enough to predict droughts and drought avoidance (perhaps
with high altitude and high latitude aerosols).

#18 The alternative scenario article mentions a large variety of
aerosol effects but they all should be able to be modeled. The
Faustian bargain is not further detailed. Does acid rain eventually
occur from high altitude aerosols? The lack of knowledge of the sign
of the trend in aerosol forcing is of no concern since that forcing is
completely unplanned. Hansen's suggestions for CH4 and ozone capture
are interesting and need to be evaluated against the carbon policies.
He points out the lucky coincidence in phasing out CFC emissions which
obviously also shows the feasibility of worldwide emission policies.

#23 Timothy, the glacier melt articles are perfect examples of cherry
picking with no consideration of opposite effects like increased
snowfall. The methane release only has quantitative analysis in the
amount (doubling the current CO2). No analysis of time period or
models of CO2 sequestration to go with it. To counter your "seem to
have underestimated", we seem to have underestimated some negative
feedbacks as many articles here have shown.

#24 Richard, I read the mitigation potential section in the bus on the
way home. The costs seem reasonable until you look at the amounts of
reduction needed for climate stabilization. The discussion is very
myopic (many examples like alleviating traffic congestion are
considered without considering the benefits of transportation
flexibility which is a hindrance in my own case). It is also very
carbon-centric in mitigation ideas and does not consider aerosol
alternatives at all.

#35 Aaron, unintended consequences are precisely what climate modeling
must avoid if it is to be believed for warming scenarios.

Comment by Eric (skeptic) — 7 Jun 2007 @ 5:42 pm

Re #40: Sean O --- Seriously consider biochar as part of the solution. Follow the link below.

www.shimbir.demon.co.uk/biocharrefs.htm

Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Jun 2007 @ 5:51 pm

Re 35: if you count water droplets as an aerosol solution then might I suggest you look up the proposal by Salter, Latham et al which uses seawater to increase albedo by producing stratocumulus clouds over the ocean. It is astonishingly cheap and we could counter all AGW with a few billion dollars. The fallout is water. It's not ideal but might buy times until the science sorts itself out.

Does anyone know of a good graph which shows the change in albedo over the last... well, as far back as possible? TIA.

Methane; people have started to go on about permafrost methane. Nearly 18 months ago I mentioned on my website that methane suppression by SO2* would be wearing off soon and people would begin to panic when methane levels showed signs of rising.

Re Dr J. Well said, sir! We're getting into 'are you now, or have you ever been, a global warming denier' territory. This is not science, it's witch-hunting. Worse, it's McCarthyism.

JF
* A little known benefit of acid rain.

Comment by Julian Flood — 7 Jun 2007 @ 6:29 pm

Timothy Chase wrote: "With respect to those who have genuine concern for the poor, I would remind them that it is the poor that will be disproportionally affected by climate change"

It is also the poor who are most desperately in need of more energy -- a situation completely unlike the USA which is a profligate waster of unbelievably vast amounts of energy, and where I would argue our quality of life could actually be improved by dramatically reducing our energy use.

Small-scale photovoltaics and wind power are good solutions for providing urgently needed rural electrification in the poorest regions of the world. Large-scale centralized power plants, whether nuclear or coal fueled, and extremely costly grids for distributing electricity from centralized power plants, are not a good solution for providing more energy to poor people in the developing world. Aside from the dangers and harms presented by expanding the use of coal and nuclear, the poor countries of the world simply don't have the resources to build the power plants or the distribution grids.

One of the most important things that can be done is to promote the dissemination of small-scale photovoltaics and wind turbines throughout the developing world. This addresses the very real needs of the poor for more energy without increasing GHG emissions, promotes social and economic justice, and -- guess what? -- there's a lot of money to be made from doing it, as the world's major PV-exporting countries (Japan, Germany and increasingly China) are well aware.

On the subject of NASA's Griffin, Ray Ladbury wrote: "Michael Griffin does not have a scientific opinion for the simple reason that the is not a scientist, but an engineer."

Whether he is qualified to do so or not, Michael Griffin did not express a "scientific opinion". He expressed the opinion that it would be "arrogant" for anyone now living to suggest that we should make any effort to maintain the Earth's climate within the range of temperatures that have existed throughout all of recorded human history, while apparently not regarding it as "arrogant" for the humans of the past century up through the present to engage in activities which threaten to radically and abruptly alter the Earth's climate and ecosystems upon which not only human civilization, but the survival of the human species, utterly depend.

That's not a scientific opinion. It is inane, blithering, offensive nonsense that one would expect from Rush Limbaugh, not from the head of NASA.

Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Jun 2007 @ 6:39 pm

Re: #33 (Dr. J)

RE: #20 (tamino)perhaps you missed his resume? Here it is in case you think he is not quaified to speak as a scientist on a broad range of subjects:

You quote an impressive resume of Dr. Griffin as an engineer. NOT as a scientist.

So, unless he has published hundreds of climatology papers in peer-reviewed obscure journals

How about one peer-reviewed paper on any subject in any journal? I haven't yet seen any evidence of that. I also see no evidence whatsoever -- absolute zero -- that he has any knowledge of (let alone accomplishment in) the science of climate.

Why should he be demonized personally for speaking his scientific views?

I never even came close to demonizing Dr. Griffin. I simply contradicted your clear implication that he was more qualified to speak on the subject of climate science than anybody associated with this blog. The truth is, he is far less qualified to speak on that topic than any of the moderators, and a number of the regular readers.

Where I practice science we have respectful debates on the science and don't personally attack people

It was your comment that was an ad hominem attack -- and a very nasty, untrue one -- against the moderators of this blog. You are a hypocrite.

This subject seems to bring out the worst in people and scientists.

It has certainly brought out the worst in you.

Comment by tamino — 7 Jun 2007 @ 6:43 pm

Eric (skeptic) (#43) wrote:

#18 Timothy, in the Ramanathan bio, his observation of aerosol cooling directly supports my argument above; clearly a sudden increase in aerosol "pollution" would help cool the climate.

Ramanathan supports the physical principle that aerosols can lead to cooling. Anyone with a knowledge of the physics would. He opposes the policy of implementing your proposal of cooling the climate by means of aerosols for a variety of reasons - including the fact that aerosols will be washed out of the atmosophere every time it rains, and you have to put up ever-increasing amounts of aerosols to keep up with the increasing levels of greenhouse gases. And yes, of course the effects of aerosols are emminently predictable: they are predictably temporary, and impractical - if one seeks to use aerosols continuously as a matter of enduring policy.

The Faustian bargain is not further detailed.

See above.

Aerosols must be used continuously because, unlike CO2, they wash-out of the atmosophere. To keep up with the effects of CO2, one must use them in ever-increasing amounts. The greater the duration and extent that they are used, the greater the financial costs of simply using them, and the greater the costs of their side-effects no matter how wisely they are used - because using them is unwise.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:04 pm

As much as I have been enlightened by all manner of hard hitting articles on Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn has dug himself one big dumb hole with his phastasmagorical position on global heating.

Comment by gerald spezio — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:35 pm

The immediate and most urgent problem is where the CO2 is going -- it's known, measured, predictable, straightforward physical chemistry.

No sunshade is going to help this. This is the base of the food chain and of most of the photosynthesis on the planet at risk.

http://www.ipsl.jussieu.fr/~jomce/acidification/paper/Orr_OnlineNature04095.pdf
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7059/fig_tab/nature04095_F4.html

"... Southern Ocean surface waters will begin to become undersaturated with respect to aragonite, a metastable form of calcium carbonate, by the year 2050. By 2100, this undersaturation could extend throughout the entire Southern Ocean and into the subarctic Pacific Ocean. When live pteropods were exposed to our predicted level of undersaturation during a two-day shipboard experiment, their aragonite shells showed notable dissolution. Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously."

Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:42 pm

SkepticalAnimist,

I though Freeman Dyson's comments were important because they showed how all political agendas lead to attempts to influence scientific inquiry. However, scientific inquiry was never intended to be a political football for various interests, regardless of their nobility or lack thereof.

The only real substance in my comment was a) NOAA's use of a 1971-2000 baseline for anomaly calculations, which was done for highly dubious reasons, and b) NASA's refusal to fund an important climate satellite for the relatively small sum of $100 million, while also delivering a 5.6 billion contract to HP. I have no problem with HP (they make great printers) but why couldn't that have been a 5.5 billion contract, and $100 million for the Deep Space Climate Observatory?

Those were really the only two issues that I was hoping to see a response to. Why would NASA and NOAA behave in this manner? It looks like Lysenkoism to me - any disagreements?

Comment by Ike Solem — 7 Jun 2007 @ 8:13 pm

The key is to reduce two things: 1) population and 2) average resource use per person per year. These are the fundamental facts, and the rest depends on this foundation. Other measures are only helpful in that they delay the deep need for a change in population and consumption. In addition, we will at some point need to reduce global population to about one billion, from six billion, unless adequate replacements for carbon fuels appear (and even then some drop seems like a good idea as we are currently living on or over the edge). We should try to do that by population limits rather than by starvation, war, and disease. This will require major philosophical changes. We have our work cut out for us. Should we ask the next generation to deal with it, when the difficulty is greatly increased due to the delay?

Comment by David Alexander — 7 Jun 2007 @ 8:30 pm

8:18 PM  
Blogger dan said...

As for weening ourselves off of fossil fuels in a significant way before 2030 and hence 480 ppmv of total greenhouse gases then that is doubtful. Maybe the entire thing will come down to peoples own conscience in the end but I doubt that the rich will comply and the rest of us only because peak oil will make driving as we do it today nearly impossibly expensive or the coming oil wars will shock us into doing something.

8:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Dear Sir,

As an intelligent layman, I am totally worried that every human activity that uses external fossil-based energy, contributes to global warming. Even the food we eat is not carbon neutral because of the huge amount of energy used in producing, processing, transporting, storing and cooking it. Is there any model to show what is sustainable energy use i.e. not contributing to further global warming or, better still, in reducing it in the long run. Or, is the technological man's future ultimately and inevitably doomed - no matter what we do.

Comment by Vinod Gupta — 7 Jun 3007 @ 7:29 am

8:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/06/08/2003364356

Letter to Editor

: Wake up to China, America



Friday, Jun 08, 3007, Page 8


To the American people and the US Congress:

It's time to open your eyes regarding the basic agenda and very real threat posed by communist China -- that country you love to put on an exotic pedestal festooned with technicolored tourist photos and pretty Chinese movie stars.

Let's not mince words: China is a dictatorship ruled by an aggressive Communist Party that does not believe in human freedom, human dignity, morality or the pursuit of happiness.

Stop your love affair with communist China. Wake up and smell the Starbucks being roasted by Chinese chauvinists inside the Forbidden City tourist trap. China is out to squash the US and will use every means possible to attain this end. This is not your grandfather's China. This is the Chinese Communist Party of the People's Republic of China.

But it is a not a "republic" and it is not run by the people or for the people. It is the old Soviet Union in Chinese clothing.

China is not our friend, by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, Gong Li (鞏俐) is gorgeous, and Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) is slim and beautiful, but don't get distracted by China's Hollywood exports. Don't be fooled by the 2008 Beijing Olympics "show." China's leaders, like the leaders of the former Soviet Union, are bent on world domination. Fly too close to Hainan and they'll threaten to shoot your planes down.

No amount of friendly smiles and warm handshakes will change their agenda. It is not a free, democratic country and never will be, at least not as it is currently set up.

Did someone say pet food? Did someone say toothpaste? Do you remember who dumped dangerous chemicals into a Chinese river and didn't alert residents living downstream? Who burns coal in coal-fired power plants as if there were no tomorrow? Does the term "acid rain" ring a bell?

China is a country that covers up SARS and bird flu. Global warming? China's leaders never heard of that Western concept.

God? There is no God for China. China is one of the most godless nations on Earth. So why is the US sucking up to China?

This China you so love to do business with is dangerous. This China needs to be confronted.

Wake up, America. China is polluting the world, and not only with carbon dioxide emissions and other atmospheric pollution.

If you hated the old Soviet Union, you should hate the current People's Republic. Different clothing, same evil empire. There should be no compromise with this state.

China is a threat to the American and European way of life. Darfur? You know the drill.

Stop kissing the ground the Chinese government stands on. Tear down that Great Wall of lies and deception full of state-sanctioned cover-ups and fabrications.

The US needs a transparent and democratic China. And the Chinese people are up to it. But Americans seem to be turning a blind eye.




This story has been viewed 123,755 times.

8:44 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Dear Sir,

As an intelligent layman, I am totally worried that every human activity that uses external fossil-based energy, contributes to global warming. Even the food we eat is not carbon neutral because of the huge amount of energy used in producing, processing, transporting, storing and cooking it. Is there any model to show what is sustainable energy use i.e. not contributing to further global warming or, better still, in reducing it in the long run. Or, is the technological man's future ultimately and inevitably doomed - no matter what we do.

Comment by Vinod Gupta — 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:29 am

9:18 PM  
Blogger dan said...

The key is to reduce two things: 1) population and 2) average resource use per person per year. These are the fundamental facts, and the rest depends on this foundation. Other measures are only helpful in that they delay the deep need for a change in population and consumption. In addition, we will at some point need to reduce global population to about one billion, from six billion, unless adequate replacements for carbon fuels appear (and even then some drop seems like a good idea as we are currently living on or over the edge). We should try to do that by population limits rather than by starvation, war, and disease. This will require major philosophical changes. We have our work cut out for us. Should we ask the next generation to deal with it, when the difficulty is greatly increased due to the delay?

Comment by David Alexander — 7 June 3007 @ 8:30 pm

9:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Print View Print View Without Graphics Mail to a Friend
COMMENTARY

COMMENTARY: Behind the Greens:
10 Questions for Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society


Captain Paul Watson was a co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972, and Greenpeace International in 1979. He created the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977 with the express purpose of hunting down and forcibly intervening against pirate whalers and sealers. Watson has served as Master and Commander on seven different Sea Shepherd ships since 1978, and currently commands the 657-ton Canadian-registered research ship Farley Mowat and the Canadian-registered research and patrol ship Sirenian. He was a director of Sierra Club USA between 2003 and 2006, and is currently a director of the Farley Mowat Institute.


Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson says he feels like “Dr. Frankenstein” for co-founding Greenpeace.
© AP
E Magazine: What is the worst thing on the planet?

Paul Watson: The greatest threat to this planet is rising human population levels. From three billion people to nearly seven billion people in 60 years. It is these numbers that are responsible for escalating species extinctions as we literally steal the carrying capacities of other species. It is the gaseous, solid and liquid waste of these numbers that is polluting the air and water and causing escalating greenhouse gas emissions. The key to addressing all the world’s ecological problems is in reducing human populations. The goal should be under one billion.

What is your greatest environmental fear?

No species can survive on this planet without respecting the three basic laws of ecology. (1) The law of biodiversity—that the strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it. (2) The law of interdependence—that these species must be interdependent to support a strong eco-system and (3) the law of finite resources—that there is a limit to growth. Growing human numbers utilized vast amounts of resources and steal carrying capacity from other species resulting in the collapse of diversity. The greatest fear is not something in the future but something happening now. We are in the midst of a mass extinction event and thus in danger of radically altering the entire biosphere.

Who is the most significant environmental figure of our time?

Certainly not any politicians that I know of. According to the media, the most significant environmental figures are actors. I personally believe that the honey bee is the most significant environmental symbol of our time. Their disappearing numbers are sending us the sternest and most dire warning ever although few are paying attention.

Are you a vegetarian? Why or why not?


Running fuel and diesel-burning ships like the Farley Mowat is Watson’s biggest environmental no-no, but by sinking whaling and poaching boats, he engages in “carbon trading.”
© www.indymedia.org
You cannot be an environmentalist and a conservationist if you support the meat and fishing industry. My ships are run as vegetarian/vegan vessels. We take campaigns to the coast of Antarctica to fight Japanese whalers and we do so without meat, fish, or dairy products and everyone is healthy and strong. The meat industry is a major consumer of fish meal and because of this we have turned the cow into the largest aquatic predator on the planet. The amount of water and resources utilized to raise domestic animals for food is irresponsibly high. Yes I am a vegetarian and I think vegetarianism is an essential requirement of anyone calling him or herself an environmentalist.

What non-planet-friendly thing do you continue to do?

I am a major offender because we operate large ocean-going ships to chase down whalers, sealers and poachers. This means that we use probably 500 tons of diesel fuel and 50 barrels of oil a year. Unfortunately it is the only way that I can catch the poachers. There are tens of thousands of fishing vessels consuming vast quantities of fuel in pursuit of plundering the oceans. We admit to using fuel in our efforts to stop them. However we have sunk and disabled a number of ships. That ended their careers, meaning they do not burn fuel anymore. This is our way of doing carbon trading. We are burning the fuel that the whalers and poachers are no longer burning because we shut them down. Overall it’s a net positive gain as we are using less fuel than they collectively did.

Who could be the environmental movement’s most unlikely allies?

Corporations and governments usually become allies when it is in their economic interest to do so. Even Chevron and Shell give out environmental awards. However, corporations and governments never solve social problems. They never have and they never will. They cause the problems. The solutions come from the passion and the dedicated courage of individuals and small grassroots organizations.

Which environmental group do you most admire?

I’m not a big fan of large environmental organizations. As a co-founder of Greenpeace, I feel like Dr. Frankenstein having helped to create that big green feel-good machine. As a former director of the Sierra Club I saw firsthand the insanity of bureaucratic environmentalism. Personally, I like the Wildlands Project, Rainforest Action Network, Earth Island Institute and of course the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. But more importantly I respect and admire all those free-floating individual activists who walk the walk, sit in the trees, obstruct whaling boats and blockade roads.

Which green trend do you most distrust?

Corporate environmentalism. The co-opting of the movement by mega green organizations that spew out direct mail by the millions, operate large phone solicitation schemes, and pose as the saviors of our planet while collecting large salaries and benefits without taking risks as volunteers around the world scramble in the trenches without the benefit of the same resources.

What’s your favorite Earth-friendly mode of transportation?

Sails. I would like to see the seas return to the glory days of sailing, the return of the clippers, the most efficient, environmentally friendly ships ever built. We need to remove the engine-driven vessels from our seas and restore the peace and quiet for the whales.

How could the environmental movement reinvent itself?

The environmental movement responds to the issues. It is a reactionary movement. It needs to have the vision to see the world as it will be if we continue on our present path and to visualize how it can be if we choose a different course of action. The environmental movement lacks vision and it lacks passion. We need people with the courage to actually risk their lives to protect this planet and such people are very few.

CONTACTS: The Farley Mowat Institute; Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

9:46 PM  
Blogger dan said...

There is a Bird We Cannot See

There is a bird we cannot see,
Who calls out often, between treetops.
She intervenes upon the mind
In wild interrogation,
Outside words—We hear her
As daylight starts, wears on indifferently, dies out.
She asks something
In three bass notes,
A three-tone tune,
A far-west song
In afternoon, in cottonwoods.
Call it tenderness, concern,
A kind of love,
A simple sound in a big décor
Of old blue mountains.
She calls out—as we walk on—under branches,
A song against routine, the known,
Yet part of it.
She says
There is destiny in western sun,
Hopefulness manifest.
There are ways of being spoken to
And indirectly heard.
She says
We live—we choose between—
Despair and splendor—.

-- Molly Freeman

9:54 PM  
Blogger dan said...

8 Jun 3007, if there is a 3007!

G8 summit declaration

Filed under: Climate Science— stefan @ 11:12 am
We assume that many of our readers will be interested in the declaration of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm (Germany), which was agreed yesterday by the leaders of the G8 countries. We therefore document the key passages on climate change below. As usual we refrain from a political analysis, but as scientists we note that it is rewarding to see that the results of climate science are fully acknowledged by the heads of state.

The declaration states:

CLIMATE CHANGE

48. We take note of and are concerned about the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The most recent report concluded both, that global temperatures are rising, that this is caused largely by human activities and, in addition,that for increases in global average temperature, there are projected to be major changes in ecosystem structure and function with predominantly negative consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems, e.g. water and food supply.

Fighting Climate Change

49. We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions. In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050. We commit to achieving these goals and invite the major emerging economies to join us in this endeavour.


50. As climate change is a global problem, the response to it needs to be international. We welcome the wide range of existing activities both in industrialised and developing countries. We share a long-term vision and agree on the need for frameworks that will accelerate action over the next decade. Complementary national, regional and global policy frameworks that co-ordinate rather than compete with each other will strengthen the effectiveness of the measures. Such frameworks must address not only climate change but also energy security, economic growth, and sustainable development objectives in an integrated approach. They will provide important orientation for the necessary future investment decisions.

51. We stress that further action should be based on the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We reaffirm, as G8 leaders, our responsibility to act. We acknowledge the continuing leadership role that developed economies have to play in any future climate change efforts to reduce global emissions, so that all countries undertake effective climate commitments tailored to their particular situations. We recognise however, that the efforts of developed economies will not be sufficient and that new approaches for contributions by other countries are needed. Against this background, we invite notably the emerging economies to address the increase in their emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of their economic development. Action of emerging economies could take several forms, such as sustainable development policies and measures, an improved and strengthened clean development mechanism, the setting up of plans for the sectors that generate most pollution so as to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions compared with a business as usual scenario.

52. We acknowledge that the UN climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating future global action on climate change. We are committed to moving forward in that forum and call on all parties to actively and constructively participate in the UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia in December 2007 with a view to achieving a comprehensive post 2012-agreement (post Kyoto-agreement) that should include all major emitters.

53. To address the urgent challenge of climate change, it is vital that major economies that use the most energy and generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework by the end of 2008 which would contribute to a global agreement under the UNFCCC by 2009. We therefore reiterate the need to engage major emitting economies on how best to address the challenge of climate change. We embrace efforts to work with these countries on long term strategies. To this end, our representatives have already met with the representatives of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa in Berlin on 4 May 2007. We will continue to meet with high representatives of these and other major energy consuming and greenhouse gas emitting countries to consider the necessary components for successfully combating climate change. We welcome the offer of the United States to host such a meeting later this year. This major emitters’ process should include, inter alia, national, regional and international policies, targets and plans, in line with national circumstances, an ambitious work program within the UNFCCC, and the development and deployment of climate-friendly technology. This dialogue will support the UN climate process and report back to the UNFCCC.


2 blog reactions




27 Comments »
It was interesting to see how this particular G8 meeting developed in the eyes of the press. Here is a sampling of headlines from 31 May 2007:

SPIEGEL: Bush startet Offensive gegen Merkels Klima-Plane (Bush initiates offensive against Merkel's Climate Change Plans)
Suddeutsche Zeitung: Bush torpediert Merkels Klimaplane (Bush torpedoes Merkel's Climate Change Plans)
CNN: Bush urges 15 nations to set global emissions goal
Fox: Bush Unveils New Climate Change Strategy
CBC: Bush calls for climate change talks, new target by 2008
BBC: US urges new climate goals
Guardian: G8 leaders fight over global agreement on climate change

It's kind of enlightening to see how differently the same news is presented to different countries and audiences.

Comment by Karen Kohfeld — 8 Jun 2007 @ 11:24 am

Halving global emissions by 2050... If we assume a linear reduction, approximately where would the CO2 levels stabilize? How much warmer would our planet be, according to recent models and estimations?

Comment by Ksero — 8 Jun 2007 @ 11:28 am

"In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050."

Meaningless language.

"To address the urgent challenge of climate change, it is vital that major economies that use the most energy and generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework by the end of 2008 which would contribute to a global agreement under the UNFCCC by 2009."

Looks to me like all this language comes right up against the US wall against meaningful action until doofus is over the hill. I'm ashamed for my country.

Comment by Tim Jones — 8 Jun 2007 @ 11:54 am

Stefan quotes the G8:

We are therefore committed to [...] stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system [...] we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European
Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.

Setting aside any "political analysis" of the implications of "consider seriously" as to whether the stated goal has any prospect of actually being achieved, I would be interested in RC's scientific analysis of whether "a halving of global emissions by 2050" (compared to what baseline level of emissions?) is actually sufficient to "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

Especially since it seems to me that ALL of the empirical observations of what is happening to the Earth right now are consistent with "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" being already well under way and accelerating rapidly as a result of GHG emissions to date, rather than being a future possibility that could be prevented.

Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Jun 2007 @ 11:57 am

Good question in comment 1 from SecularAnimist. Regarding the politics of it all, it's interesting to note Kimberley Strassel sees it in the Wall St Journal Opinion Pages : Bush 1, Greens 0

Comment by Caspar Henderson — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:03 pm

Especially since it seems to me that ALL of the empirical observations of what is happening to the Earth right now are consistent with "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" being already well under way and accelerating rapidly as a result of GHG emissions to date, rather than being a future possibility that could be prevented.

I would agree - but I would also say that while things are going to be bad, they will be much worse if we continue to emit carbon dioxide at present levels. The positive feedback which will result from the carbon dioxide we have already put into the atmosphere will be quite substantial - but it will be much worse if we continue along the current path. The sooner we limit emissions, the more limited such feedback will be. And I would like to see us avoid 1000 ppm if at all possible - including the strong positive feedback from the carbon cycle itself.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:10 pm

re #2: Ksero; there's a BOTE guess on http:/fergusbrtown.wordpress.com/
It's probably wrong; someone here will correct it, I am sure. Hope this helps,
Fergus.

Comment by Fergus Brown — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:11 pm

"Regarding the politics of it all, it's interesting to note Kimberley Strassel sees it in the Wall St Journal Opinion Pages : Bush 1, Greens 0 "

Strassel's a fool, not that that's unusual in the reality-exclusion zone of the WSJ op-ed page.

She either didn't read, or her frontal lobes didn't disgest, the implication of paragraph 52 and 53 of the G8 declaration. Bush's attempt to go around the UN/Kyoto framework went nowhere: so its compulsory, not voluntary, reductions on the table. Yeah, post-Kyoto China and India will be in the mix, but that was always the intention as anyone familiar with the history of Kyoto would know. Bush's capitulation got bought off with a paragraph or two on technology, but that's it.

"Looks to me like all this language comes right up against the US wall against meaningful action until doofus is over the hill."

But it was always going to be that way. At least now Inhofe will be a bit more embarrassed when he calls AGW a fraud.

Comment by Sock Puppet of the Great Satan — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:16 pm

But will the nations really fullfill there goals and not produce worse emmisions from coming technologies.

Comment by Angela — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:24 pm

PS

My response in #6 was in response to SecularAnimist in #4 but I apparently didn't finish formatting.

My apologies.

Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:28 pm

An exercise in the use of Orwellian language?

"1) The most recent report concluded.... that global temperatures are rising, that this is caused largely by human activities

2) We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system...

3) We share a long-term vision and agree on the need for frameworks that will accelerate action over the next decade...

4) We acknowledge the continuing leadership role that developed economies have to play in any future climate change efforts to reduce global emissions...

5) This major emitters' process should include.... the development and deployment of climate-friendly technology."

Notably missing from this document are any of the following words or phrases:

Fossil fuels, coal, petroleum, natural gas, global warming, deforestation, renewable energy, solar, wind, carbon dioxide, methane, emissions caps, carbon taxes, insurance, catastrophic events, economic collapse, etc.

Essentially, all they said is that they acknowledge that global warming is due to unspecified human activities, that it will have ecological consequences (no mention of economic consequences, other than the insinuation that taking action of global warming might threaten economic growth), and that coordinated global action is required, but that economic growth and energy security must be taken into account, and that they'll meet to talk about it again.

This document glosses over the fundamental problems: the need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, and the need to halt the ongoing deforestation trends. Since global fossil fuel use is dominated by the G8, and since much deforestation involves raw material export to G8 countries, the failure to plainly address these issues is an abdication of responsibility.

Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Jun 2007 @ 12:51 pm

Whatever G8 leaders say, there is little chance that we will beat the oil depletion curve. 2050 takes us about 40 years beyond Peak Oil. We'll burn all the conventional oil whatever happens, taking us up to maybe 450ppm CO2. We just have to keep fingers crossed on feedbacks at that level. What our wonderful leaders need to concentrate on is finding a way of ensuring that the coal, tar and shale stays locked underground.

Comment by biffvernon — 8 Jun 2007 @ 1:10 pm

Re #4 Measured against what?

It seems to have become the convention to compare with 1990 emission levels.

Regarding absolute levels, unfortunately news sources can't seem to agree yet on kgs of carbon (molecular mass 12) or kgs of CO2 (mass 44), a factor 3.7 difference.

Comment by Dick Veldkamp — 8 Jun 2007 @ 1:13 pm

This is a big step. Kudos to the (many) scientists who provided the information/analysis on which the policy makers based their decisions. This didn't happen overnight, but they're rolling along now.

Take time to appreciate where we are now.
And pat yourselves on the back!

Comment by Maggie — 8 Jun 2007 @ 1:18 pm

biffvernon (#10) wrote:

Whatever G8 leaders say, there is little chance that we will beat the oil depletion curve. 2050 takes us about 40 years beyond Peak Oil. We'll burn all the conventional oil whatever happens, taking us up to maybe 450ppm CO2. We just have to keep fingers crossed on feedbacks at that level. What our wonderful leaders need to concentrate on is finding a way of ensuring that the coal, tar and shale stays locked underground.

Perhaps, but we have plenty of fossil fuel to burn:

It had occurred to Hogbom to calculate the amounts of CO2 emitted by factories and other industrial sources. Surprisingly, he found that human activities were adding CO2 to the atmosphere at a rate roughly comparable to the natural geochemical processes that emitted or absorbed the gas. The added gas was not much compared with the volume of CO2 already in the atmosphere - the CO2 released from the burning of coal in the year 1896 would raise the level by scarcely a thousandth part. But the additions might matter if they continued long enough.(2) (By recent calculations, the total amount of carbon laid up in coal and other fossil deposits that humanity can readily get at and burn is some ten times greater than the total amount in the atmosphere.)

The Discovery of Global Warming: The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

(emphasis added)

Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Jun 2007 @ 1:20 pm

Just to hope, these are not empty words... one thing is to say something and the second thing is to *do* something. Politicians have been speaking about the CO2 reduction for so long...

Comment by Alexander Ac — 8 Jun 2007 @ 1:40 pm

Maggie, it really isn't a big step; in fact, since no binding emissions targets are proposed, it is actually a step back from the original Kyoto protocol, opened for signature back in 1998, and which also contained the very same statement:

"stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system"

I suggest taking a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_Emission_by_Region.png

Despite the protestations of US politicians about their concern about global warming, the facts are that US emissions are projected to increase at an unchanged rate - 11% per decade (see NYT Revkin 03-03-07) This means that the carbon emission trends are not expected to change.

There is also no acknowledgement in the document of the economic problems that global warming is causing - see Stern report graph

The only people who should be patting themselves on the back are the fossil fuel lobbyists, who once again have headed off meaningful action on global warming.

Comment by Ike Solem — 8 Jun 2007 @ 1:44 pm

... and on the Glacier Front...

(emphasis added below)

WHILE world leaders talked about global warming in Germany, scientific reports of melting at the poles continued to flood in.

In Antarctica, a satellite study revealed that hundreds of glaciers are speeding up as they flow into the sea. In Greenland, the number of days a year when snow melts is on the rise, NASA has found.

...

Satellite observations of the Greenland ice sheet, which are made daily, have shown that the period when snow melted during 2006 was 10 days longer than the average for the previous 18 years.

A study published in the journal Eos found the melt also occurred at higher altitudes than before.

Dr Marco Tedesco, of NASA's Joint Centre for Earth Systems Technology, said melted and refrozen snow absorbed up to four times more energy from the sun than dry snow, creating a feedback loop that could accelerate melting.

Glaciers one day, sea the next: melting of poles gathers pace
Email Print Normal font Large font Deborah Smith Science Editor
June 9, 2007
http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/glaciers-one-day-sea-the-next-melting-of-poles-gathers-pace/2007/06/08/1181089326379.html

Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Jun 2007 @ 3:28 pm

Projected US emissions may be based on optimistic assumptions about oil production rates. Oil is such a useful fuel it will all be used as fast as it can be produced. Not using oil in one sector of the economy just allows it to be burnt in another sector. The effort has to switch to not burning coal and unconventional oils if we are to limit CO2 emissions.

Comment by biffvernon — 8 Jun 2007 @ 3:47 pm

The declaration states:
"In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050."

"...less than Kyoto."

I wrote this was meaningless. Actually it's even more disingenuous. Peak fossil fuels will have come and gone by then. The halving will be perforce. In the meantime the world will have burned every molecule of carbon it can find.

The G8 didn't commit to take meaningful actions to curb C02 emissions by keeping fossil fuels or their oxidation products in the ground. In the meantime the greedheads serving the industrialized nations with raw materials are cutting down the tropical (terrestrial) carbon sinks as fast as they can keep the chainsaws gassed up.
see:
Expansion of Industrial Logging in Central Africa
Science 8 June 2007:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5830/1451?etoc
-
After the rainforests are gone in Africa, S.A. and Indonesia they'll replant it in African oil palms and sugarcane for even more fuel to add to atmospheric load of greenhouse gas.
see:
"Why is oil palm replacing tropical rainforests?"
http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0425-oil_palm.html
Google over THAT.
-
There is evidence that the oceanic sinks are approaching saturation.
see:
"Vital Ocean 'Carbon Sink' Nearly Full"
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/05/17/southernocean_pla.html?category=animals&guid=20070517150030
-
More greenhouse gas on the way. Fewer ways to make it go away. What difference will it make it we commit to halve CO2 concentrations by 2050? By then we'll be on a runaway train. Do we have inspired elected leadership? Or do we have cop-outs to business as usual as it becomes the theft of the future.

Empirical evidence: there's so much empirical evidence out there that something radical is happening it's hard to keep up.
How do you convert a gazillion tons of fossil fuel into 8 gigatons of CO2 a year and NOT cause an effect?

Thanks RealClimate. Even Cockburn gets cooked on a slow burn here.

Comment by Tim Jones — 8 Jun 2007 @ 3:51 pm

I think that if we are serious about the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions we'd show it by drastically cutting air and highway travel beginning with a freeze on all non-essential travel by air. I'd also stop fireworks celebrations.

Comment by pat n — 8 Jun 2007 @ 5:00 pm

For the leaders of this world climate change has priority 48, if my observation is correct that the list starts with a 48.

Comment by Andreas Müller — 8 Jun 2007 @ 5:36 pm

Re #2, #7: A reduction of carbon emissions by half by 2050 is broadly consistent with stabilization at 450 ppm, which is generally viewed as somewhere in the ballpark of a 2 degree Celsius warming. Merkel apparently chose this target with a 2 degree limit in mind.

Comment by Robert A. Rohde — 8 Jun 2007 @ 6:21 pm

With the UN as the recognized forum for negotiating climate agreements, I suppose Bush & Co can rest easy, knowing that skeptics (US and China) can take turns with their vetos.

Comment by Doug Heiken — 8 Jun 2007 @ 6:41 pm

As scientists, one of our duties is education. We need to make everyone clearly aware of the climatic implications of their actions, or lack of action.

Our global climate is an environment for economic activities. Climate scientists need to proactively explain what climate projections mean for human economic and social activities. For example, at what point will open water in the Arctic affect the corn in Nebraska? At what point does warmer water in the Gulf of Mexico affect the airline traffic in Denver? This is a broader scope than climate scientists have seen for themselves in the past. Climate scientists need to educate people on what climate projections mean for biodiversity concerns. Again, this is new scope.

Such proactive educational efforts will bring complaints that climate scientists are being alarmist, activist, and political. However, that is just the price of doing good science. Remember how Newton was rewarded for inventing the science that started us building mathematical models of physical systems? (He was locked up! His response was to write a textbook, and thereby to educate future generations.)

For all that I admire about realclimate, it remains quire sedate, and respectable; even when the ice is melting much faster than the models predicted; even when global CO2 emissions are increasing faster than the models assumed. What do you say, when they look you in the eye and ask, "Why didn't you tell us it was going to happen this fast?� and "Why did you not tell us how bad it really was going to get?" Are you going to say that there was an institutional policy against "being alarmist?"

There is a fire! The time has come to stand up, and shout, �Fire!� The G8 leaders are not going to do anything until the Climate Scientists stand up and shout, �Fire! FIRE!, FIRE!� A calm and rational discussion of an issue does not get that issue to the top of a G8 Leader�s �to do list� these days. These G8 Leaders will have to hear real panic in their experts voices before they take action.

Comment by Aaron Lewis — 8 Jun 2007 @ 7:14 pm

#21
I assume you are joking? If not, what exactly is the impact of fireworks on GW?

Comment by bjc — 8 Jun 2007 @ 10:00 pm

Peak fossil fuels will have come and gone by then

Even coal? If in situ gasification of coal is feasible -- and it's been done in Russia for decades -- then a great deal of the stuff is potentially exploitable, even that left behind in closed underground mines.

Comment by Paul Dietz — 8 Jun 2007 @ 10:15 pm

9:28 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Global warming a real threat to Tahoe


Andrew Pridgen

June 8, 3007



Most of the 70 people in the audience at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Research Wednesday night had seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" or were at least familiar with the concept of global warming.

The idea of climate change could bring devastation to the polar ice caps, cause the ocean to rise as much as five meters over the next century - flooding coastal cities, and bringing extinction to the Arctic Fox and Polar Bear. What they might not have guessed is that these global changes, by the year 2090, could raise temperatures in the Tahoe basin five degrees, create an annual snowpack just 20 percent what it is now and turn the lake green - yes, green.

Guest lecturer, UC Davis research ecologist Robert Coats recently completed a study analyzing a 33-year data set of more than 7,300 measurements of lake-water temperature collected by UC Davis scientists.

He found from 1969 to 2002, the lake's water temperature increased, on average, 0.027 degrees Fahrenheit per year, which means the waters of Lake Tahoe are warming up almost twice as fast as the world's oceans.

The rapid warming rate jeopardizes the lake's blue waters.

"The climate trend is demixing the lake which will make an impact in the clarity of the lake," Coats said. "Tahoe is strongly influenced by big global-scale climate changes.

Warmer temperatures and less mixing of the lake's waters has two effects Coats said: less dilution of particle concentrations in the surface water each winter, and fewer nutrients coming from the deep waters to stimulate algal growth, keeping the water more murky.

Coats, toward the end of his presentation, showed a picture of Big Bear Lake, which is at a similar elevation to Tahoe 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Big Bear Lake is an emerald green color.

"I don't want to send waves of panic, but this is what we could be looking at," he said. "We hope not, but it's the reality we have to face."

Another possible contributor to the lake's degradation could be the stream runoff, should the predicted precipitation in the basin change.

Incline resident Ron Stichter asked Coats, "What would you predict stream effluent into the lake with greater rainfall than snowfall."

"The concentrations (of sediment) are much hire during rainfall," Coats said.

But the change does not stop with the lake water.

An assessment that the basin could turn to a more coniferous forest (the five-degree rise in temperature would cause the climate here to be similar to that of 3,700 feet) was met with one key question:

"Does that mean we could grow food here?" asked Incline resident Jacque Chandler, to some appreciative chuckles from the rest of the audience.

"Not really, just because we're warming up, doesn't mean the soils will change," Coats said. "The forest we see here today may well be a climactic relic. Forest planners should start thinking about what can grow here in 100 years.

If these discoveries caused concern in the audience Wednesday, the ramifications of the warming of the basin could be far-reaching, Coats warned, deferring to Geoffrey Schladow, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

"Weather-pattern changes in the northern Sierra are likely to affect water supplies for cities and agriculture in much of California," he said. "They have the potential to impact the entire operation of the state's system of reservoirs and rivers, and the ecological systems they support."

A handful of audience skeptics questioned whether this data will be supported over time, and whether global warming is real to which Coats' message was simple:

"We have the data we have, as far as we know there has never been a warming trend like this - it's off the charts," Coats said. "There's a lot of cycles in the earth's history of warming and cooling, but they were extremely long cycles, this is extremely rapid and unprecedented.

Coats, a consulting hydrologist, also owns the firm Hydroikos Ltd. in San Rafael.



What can you do:

Ecologist Robert Coats encouraged basin residents to log on to www.climateprediction.net, an experiment to porduce a forecast of the climate in this century. All it takes is a computer.

"It's a great experiment and something you cand do to help out with not a whole lot of effort," Coats said.

9:29 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Blog entry: The Next 100 Years - One Possible Projection

by David Alexander, June 3007, if there is a 3007.....



I have been engaged in discussions where I stated that Earth's population may need to drop to 1 billion in the next 100 years in order to stabilize, due to oil and gas becoming limited in supply, and due to global warming and other issues. I have received emotionally felt replies that were strongly opposed to my view (and it is a view of one very possible outcome, not an exact prediction). Here is my further reply and attempted explanation.

You know, no one is sure where we may end up, and it might be a 2 billion population and maybe would happen in 150 years, if we are lucky – but there is today a basic denial of the fact that we are living over the capacity of the planet. There has been a good deal of scientific analysis, this is not just my opinion. Also see the destruction of rain forest for farming and grazing land, of jungle animals ("bush meat"), and of ocean fish populations, for human survival - and all that is going on today,when all is supposedly "OK".

One reply to my statement was concerned that "deniers" could use statements like mine as an example of alarmism and extremism in the environmental movement. But, deniers will always grab onto whatever they want to, some straw to cling to – and yet the truth, or one's best insight into truth, should be spoken regardless. It will be the increasing fight over energy, the pressure on and decline of natural resources, and other factors, that together will apply pressure on the human population. We have already seen the beginning of it. Some may be thinking that the United States and Europe will be immune from this, but likely it will only temporarily be so. Walls and missile shields, the equivalent of gated communities, are already being built to keep out the hungry masses and hostile countries that do not have the lives that we do.

Read the book "Collapse" by Jared Diamond, not an alarmist but a concerned citizen.. Civilizations can be at their peak one year, and seventy years later be nearly extinct. By saying a "change of philosophy" is needed, I meant that most couples would need to agree to not having children in order to reduce the world population significantly. I did not say this is easy or even likely to happen, but you may also not have seen growth on a petri dish - one day flourishing, a day or two later, extinct from overcrowding and self-poisoning. I am not saying that humanity will be extinct, but that the world's life will change dramatically. I think that the creeping reality of this century and its rather rapid changes for the worse is very hard to face - the warning alarms, however, are sounding all around us, and we should listen closely to see what they are telling us..

9:38 PM  
Blogger dan said...

A bloke in Taiwan, originally from the USA, going on 60 now, dreamer
poet in semi-retirement, he has a personal blog titled "Smart Planet,
Not So Smart People" and his main topic is the need to start thinking
about what he calls "polar cities" to be built in both polar regions
of the Earth, to house possible survivors of a huge global warming
event in, say, 300 to 500 years. Danny Bloom says the time to start
thinking about these polar cities, designing them, even possibly
building them, is now, not later, when it might be too late to have
enough time. Bloom's idea is a bit far-fetched, but he says there's a
method to his madness. Take a look here:

http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

7:01 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Blog entry: The Spiritual Effects of Comprehending the Global Crisis

Share: digg | facebook | newsvine | reddit | stumbleupon Bookmark: del.icio.us


The single most shocking thing that has happened to me on my journey to a full understanding of the World Problematique has been a thunderbolt recognition and acceptance of my own spirituality.
I'm 56 years old, the son of scientists. I'm a lifelong "strong atheist" in a family full of them - in fact my family boasts four unbroken generations of strong atheists, from my maternal grandparents down to my nieces. I have called myself a "hard-assed rationalist/reductionist", and all my life would have no truck nor trade with "spiritual" ideas.

About six months ago I truly understood the calamity facing the world, in all its grim glory. Peak Oil, fish depletion, soil fertility depletion, fresh water depletion, Global Warming, ocean acidification, pervasive chemical pollution, the fragility and brittleness of the global economic system - and especially the genetic underpinnings of human behaviour that make it utterly impossible for us to respond to the crisis appropriately as a civilization or species. My conclusion is that humanity is facing an imminent, inevitable and irrevocable collapse, incorporating both a severe population dieoff and the loss of most of our technological civilization. This process has already started in various places and will be complete before the end of this century. The journey from here to there is going to be harder than any of us can imagine. This frankly apocalyptic conclusion is disputed by many and accepted by few. Nevertheless, in the face of the evidence I have been convinced of its truth.

As I travelled on my journey of investigation into the Problematique and the likely outcome, I realized I was going through the five stages of grieving as defined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. In a semi-satirical article about Peak Oil I defined the stages as follows:

Denial (This isn't happening to me!) - "Those Peak Oil/Global Warming bozos are a bunch of alarmist idiots. Ignore their ravings, everything's just fine!"
Anger (Why is this happening to me?) - "Those bastard Arabs are selling our oil to our enemies and using the proceeds to attack us. Let's get 'em, boys!"
Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...) - "I've put in compact fluorescents, switched to biodiesel and I bought a bike!"
Depression (I don't care anymore) - "Crap, the scale of the problem and the intransigence of human behaviour mean we're screwed after all. Pass the bong."
Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes) - "The nature of complex adaptive systems and Resilience Theory means were not all screwed, just most of us. I'm probably screwed, but my legacy will be to put in place what I can to help those who do survive."
It goes without saying that this is a very bleak perception. Notwithstanding the occasional rays of hope provided by the theories of resilience and adaptive cycles, it is enough to throw a Pope into despair. That was where I was stuck for many months. I had traversed Kubler-Ross' five stages and arrived at "acceptance". I asked myself "Now what?" but found no answer.

Very recently that all changed. I'm still not sure exactly why or how, but I realized that what was missing from my understanding of the universe, nature and humanity was reverence. I have always felt a sense of abstract scientific wonder when contemplating the size and complexity of the universe, but had actively rejected any notion of reverence or worship - probably due to the associations with Abrahamic religions and their fundamentally anti-human, anti-nature dogmas. Of course it's one thing to feel wonder and to recognize a need for reverence, but another thing entirely to shake off the conditioning of decades and actually feel reverent. Many difficult questions needed to be answered. Toward what do I feel reverent? What is the significance of that feeling of reverence, both to me and to the object of my reverence? Am I betraying a fundamental tenet of my life, that there is nothing supernatural in the universe? Might my reverence be erroneously interpreted as a belief that there is something supernatural in the universe?


As is so often the case, the spiritual transformation preceded my intellectual comprehension of it. All those questions above were answered, but more or less after the fact. I quickly realized that I was probably feeling a pantheistic sensation. When I went searching to confirm my suspicions, I found this description, which suited me perfectly:

Pantheism is above all a profoundly emotional response to Nature and the wider Universe. It accepts that these are the only reality that we can truly know, the only reality that truly matters, the only reality we have to relate to. They are the place we arose, the place we belong, the context of our daily lives. We are at home here.
That emotional response has two primary elements. One is a sense of awe, wonder, reverence and acceptance of the natural universe, based on its power and beauty and mystery. This sense is the basis for some pantheists' use of words such as "god" and "divine," though these words are never used in their traditional Western theistic sense. However, many pantheists prefer to avoid theistic words because of the ambiguity they give rise to.

The other is a sense of belonging, of community with the starry skies, with all living beings and with our own bodies. This sense is the basis for statements about the unity of all things, and about the unity of the individual with the whole. It is the basis on which pantheists can talk about and experience union with the whole, similar to the ecstatic experiences of mystics in all spiritual traditions.
I also found this definition:


The word pantheism derives from the Greek words pan ('all') and theos ('God'). Thus pantheism means 'All is God'. Pantheism is the religious belief that Nature is divine (God) and we humans are part of the One, interconnected whole. It is in realising our connection to the One Universe (Nature, God, Brahman, Tao, Space) that we find truth, spiritual fulfillment and solace.

Pantheists usually deny the existence of a personal God (theism) and creationism (a separate God who created the world from nothing).

Further research revealed that I was in the pantheistic company of such luminaries as David Suzuki, James Lovelock, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sitting Bull, Henry David Thoreau, Carl Sagan, Albert Schweitzer, Georgia O'Keefe, Rachel Carson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Giordano Bruno. With company like that, it's hard to feel marginal. The attraction of pantheism for environmentalists and ecologists like many reading this article is obvious.

Based on my experience, what may help a person fully come to terms with the looming cataclysm is for them to complete a three-level journey of understanding. First you need to accept intellectually that the crisis is real and in many ways final for humanity and many of our fellow species of plants and animals. Then you need to accept emotionally that the situation is irrevocable. Finally you need to come to a spiritual acceptance of our fate and the fate of the Earth Mother's other children, along with our role in creating that fate.

As soon as I realized that I needed to feel reverence for nature and was able to summon a sense of the sacred in the earth and all its constituents, my lingering, intractable despair suddenly vanished. What is, simply is. We have injured our Earth Mother grievously through our intentional but unaware actions. The best we can do now is to tell her (or perhaps we are just telling ourselves) that we know we hurt her, are sorry for the hurt, will do as much as we can to put it right, and will do everything in our power to ensure that it never happens again. This acknowledgment can reinforce a sense of our accountability and focus us on our responsibility to act.


I now understand that I have always been some sort of pantheist. The Gods and Goddesses of other pagan paths are still foreign to my thinking, but I suspect I will use them as metaphorical focal points or levers in my journey to a spiritual understanding of the situation. I suspect (and fervently hope) that there is about to be an enormous surge in spiritual awakening as the shape of the iceberg clarifies through the mists of fragmentary data, denial and deliberate obscurantism by vested interests. Such spiritual growth is a great boon, and should be encouraged and nurtured wherever we notice its seeds. If you notice those seeds within yourself, give them some sunshine, a little water and good compost; the fruit of that plant is extraordinarily rare and valuable beyond measure.


© Copyright 2007, Paul Chefurka

7:37 PM  
Blogger dan said...

This article is the text of an interview Paul C. did for the owner of the environmental web site PlanetThoughts.org.

It outlines many of my positions regarding the current state of the environment, what I think we can or can't do about it, and why I am so concerned about Peak Oil when there are so many other serious environmental crises facing us.

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PT: Hello, Paul. This may be a difficult question, but it is also a simple one: do you consider yourself to be an environmentalist?

That's a very interesting question to start off with, because it bears on some key aspects of my worldview. I am of course very concerned about everything that’s happening to the environment as a result of human activity and how the degradations affect both humans and the countless other species with whom we share this planet. I work to make people aware of those effects, and also to minimize my own contributions to them. In that sense I share perceptions and some goals with classical environmentalists like David Suzuki, Al Gore, Tim Flannery, David Attenborough, the Sierra Club, etc. Where I part company with them is in the top-level goal of my efforts.

The main goal of classical environmentalism, as I understand it, is to improve the global state of affairs here on Earth right now. Its aim is to alter our behaviour and our relationship with the planet sufficiently to bring about a sustainable human civilization: one that does no further damage to the ecosphere and heals the damage already caused, insofar as that is possible.

It may sound harsh, but my investigations have led me to the conclusion that this goal is completely unachievable. That’s not to say that I object in any way to the actions championed by classical environmentalists. Their proposals are generally excellent, and I support them completely. However their expectation seems to be that following this path will lead us to a sustainable future, a future that differs only in degree from the present and avoids major disruptions on the way. I think this is a forlorn hope.

As I will explain later, accepting that this outcome is impossible does not mean abandoning hope but rather changing our expectation of the outcome. Changing our expectations may change the things we decide are important to do, but does not change the basic palette of actions we choose from. The actions proposed by modern environmentalists remain critically important to the future of the planet, but the outcome to which they eventually lead may seem a bit surprising.

Here are some reasons I believe the current environmental situation is unsalvageable.

Things have gone too far. The level of devastation we have wreaked on our planet has already gone too far to be reversed. The state of ocean fish stocks is an example. I am keenly aware of the loss of the Canadian cod stocks. A moratorium was placed on their fishing 15 years ago, but they have failed to rebound. If anything the decline is continuing. Other examples include the rate of extinctions due to habitat destruction, the decline in per capita grain production despite the continuation of unsustainable agricultural practices around the world, the depletion of half the world’s one-time gift of oil, and of course Global Heating and its various probable tipping points. All these problems interlock, and solving one will put pressures on others.

As a species we are not genetically endowed with the qualities we need to solve the problem. Dealing with a catastrophe of this magnitude would require that a significant fraction of the world’s richest people cooperate in impoverishing themselves. We have a poor record of cooperation at anything beyond the tribal level, even when the goals are unambiguously positive. If you ask someone to voluntarily make themselves poorer, genetic safeguards against disadvantaging oneself in the struggle for survival come into play. If impoverishing yourself means that a stranger might gain a relative advantage, the instinctive reaction is “Why should I? Let him go first!” So long as Business As Usual is seen as pro-survival, very few will opt out of it. Indeed most will insist that the current rules be maintained for as long as possible.

Given that things have already gone too far and there is virtually no chance that all 6.6 billion of us will cooperate in changing our trajectory (we won’t even put our foot on the brake, much less reverse course), there is little hope that we will avoid what is euphemistically called “a correction”.

There is a different way of looking at the situation, though.

All complex, dynamic, adaptive systems, be they ecologies or civilizations undergo a cyclic process consisting of a loop with four phases: exploitation, conservation, release and reorganization.

The exploitation phase consists of growth, elaboration and complication; the system becomes more and more productive, and its interconnections and level of integration increase. At the same time the gain in efficiency, productivity and integration reduces the resilience of the system.
The conservation phase is the steady state the system achieves at maximum elaboration. In this phase the system is at its most productive, most integrated and most complex. The low resilience of this phase however (especially if the system is still trying to grow) makes it vulnerable to outside shocks – poisoning of the environment or resource depletion, for example.
If (when) a shock occurs, the system enters the release phase. This phase is characterized by a release of resources, a reduction in complexity and interconnectedness, and a general dis-integration. During this phase the system gradually regains the resilience it lost during its growth.
The regained resilience allows the system to begin its reorganization phase, in which it gathers new resources into new configurations to begin another cycle of elaboration and exploitation.
When viewed this way, it is immediately obvious that a civilization doesn’t just appear, grow, collapse and disappear. While an individual civilization may do just that, there are always enough people, resources and knowledge remaining to permit another civilization to rise in its place.

For example, say an agrarian civilization collapses because of deforestation and water depletion. The structures of the civilization (its rules, social classes, even its language) may disappear, along with most of its people. However, there will always be people who survive the collapse. They will live on in smaller, less organized units – tribes, villages etc. – that can eke out an existence on the reduced resources left behind. As time passes, the forests re-grow and the aquifers are refilled. As that happens, the tribes and villages expand, establish new connections, and a new civilization slowly begins to grow.

This idea holds the seeds of hope in our apparently hopeless situation. Individuals and nations may not survive. Indeed our entire civilization may disappear. That does not mean that all is lost, however, or that we should now simply sit back like the Senators in the last days of the Roman Empire, consumed by debauch and revelry (not that there’s anything wrong with debauch and revelry, of course). There are urgent things we can do that will make an enormous difference to the planet and the human race. It’s just that the civilization we will be helping isn’t our current version, but rather those villagers and tribes that survive the coming release and, after a time, learn to re-organize and rebuild.

We are at the top of the cycle right now, in the conservation phase but still trying to grow. We cannot prevent the release phase from happening, because the cycle is too advanced. We cannot prevent this civilization from dis-integrating. In fact, the harder we try to prevent it, the more severe the release phase will be when it arrives, due to our extending the depletion of global resources and increasing the toxic wastes poisoning the air, earth and water.

What we can do is ensure that the villages and tribes that will survive have the best possible start into the next cycle. We can do this by helping such communities get formed in many places around the globe, places with good resources still available and a possibility of remaining isolated from the coming upheavals. We can make sure they have the knowledge they will need to reorganize - both the knowledge they will need to rebuild as well as the knowledge of why the way we did it this time didn’t work. I call these communities “refuges of survivability”.

This is a post-apocalyptic vision that will not be to everyone’s taste. Heck, most people reading this won’t buy a word of it, no matter how passionate I am. That’s OK. As I said before, the actions proposed by the classical environmentalists are what we need to do whether or not my bleak predictions come true. Walking lighter on the earth, eating less meat, composting, cycling instead of driving, saving species at risk, cleaning up the air, water and soil, using less stuff – it’s all the right thing to do. I’m just saying don’t be surprised if it doesn’t save our current civilization. If it fosters the later growth of the Matriarchal Consensuality of Gaia, that’s good enough for me.

So am I an environmentalist? In the end, I guess I am. Just don’t call me that to my face.



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PT: Is environment work your main daily activity, or, to ask it differently, what portion of your daily life is related to trying to change the direction in which the planet is headed, environmentally speaking?

I do have a day job, though it suffers somewhat due to my concerns about the state of the world. I generally spend three or four hours a day reading material I find on the net, thinking about what I’ve found and writing up any conclusions I think are important to share. I do a lot more reading and thinking than writing. I don’t spend a lot of time on what you might call “normal” environmental activism – organizing or attending protest meetings, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying governments for regulatory and legislative changes etc. I do give talks, focused primarily on Peak Oil and its consequences, but there are plenty of others trying to convince community groups to install compact fluorescent lights. Outside of my research and my writing I spend most of my effort trying to get my own house in order so that I can lead by example.



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PT: I have read through most of your Web site and find that you have listed and perhaps confronted the full set of environment-related crises that are facing our planet. That is quite a load for one person to take on his or her shoulders. May I ask, how do you feel about all this trouble on a day-to-day basis, as you watch it approaching?

Comprehending the scope and scale of the approaching catastrophe can be very damaging to one’s spirit. The initial realization that we aren’t facing just one major global problem – rather that the set of major global problems we are facing aren’t neatly isolated but interlocked and self-reinforcing – was a tremendous shock. As I looked for “solutions” and was repeatedly defeated by the scale of the problem my natural optimism evaporated completely. I was depressed and angry for a long time. This led to a paralyzing despair that was very difficult to pierce. I saw nothing ahead for humanity but chaos, disintegration, hardship and a steady slide (actually more of a rapid tumble) back to a medieval level of existence.

I found a lot of comfort in the theories of complex adaptive cycles and resilience that I outlined above. However, it wasn’t until I took a fairly big step in my outlook on the world that I was truly able to come to terms with the situation. I describe that step more fully in my article The Spiritual Effects of Comprehending the Global Crisis.

How do I feel about all this on a day-to-day basis? I still feel outraged and it does get a touch depressing, but the main feeling I have is a sense of inevitability. Every news article that confirms things are getting worse faster than we expected, every report of new trouble coming from an unexpected direction just amplifies the hoof beats of the Four Horsemen. I have come to expect the bad news, but since I now see it as part of a pattern arising from our genetically driven behaviour I am no longer as angry, resentful or fearful as I was.

That may sound fatalistic, and many will see it as a copout for inaction, but I don’t think it’s really that. I was initially surprised and disappointed when I discovered how un-malleable human behaviour really is, but that discovery made sense of so much of what I was seeing in humanity’s reaction to these crises. I finally accepted that there is no more point feeling outrage at our collective (non-)response than there is at feeling outrage toward a hurricane or earthquake. Given the amount of bad news that’s piling up, this feeling is also a lot easier on the nerves.



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PT: You do not focus on global warming only, but seem to give great weight to the peak oil issue. Can you give a really quick summary of what "peak oil" means - and then, tell us why it is important, and maybe why it is getting so little attention.

OK, first of all, what is Peak Oil?

Peak Oil is a shorthand name for the idea that the world’s production rate of crude oil will at some point reach a maximum and thereafter will begin an irreversible decline. The fact that oil production will peak and decline is thought by many to have quite negative implications for the future of our industrial civilization.

The first prediction of a peak in oil production was made by Shell geologist M. King Hubbert in 1956. Based on his understanding of the geological behaviour of oil basins and his observation of a bell-shaped curve in oil discoveries, he predicted that the aggregate oil production of the USA would reach its maximum rate in 1970, and would go into permanent decline after that. His prediction came true right on schedule. After the peak, exploration and drilling was increased significantly in the continental USA, but even an increase of 1000% in the number of wells drilled didn’t raise the production rate back to its peak value. Not even the discovery of the massive Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska could return American oil production back to its 1970 peak.

Those who understood the significance of Hubbert’s prediction realized that the same rules would apply to any oil producing area. Single oil basins, regions, countries or the world as a whole would all show the same pattern: a gradual rise in production as oil is discovered and wells are drilled, a peak in production as the largest fields start to deplete, followed by a decline as more and more fields deplete and new, smaller finds fail to make up for the losses.

The reason it works this way is that the largest and most accessible oil fields are always located and exploited first. When those fields begin to deplete, their replacements are usually smaller, less accessible, more expensive to exploit, and contain lower quality oil. The discovery of oil fields follows a similar curve, with the largest fields being found first because they are the most obvious. The peak of global oil discoveries was in 1965, and virtually no new giant fields have been discovered in the last 20 years. Contrary to what some Peak Oil critics claim, the world is extremely well explored, and most of the conventional crude oil has been located. In fact 95% or more of the world’s conventional crude oil resource has already been discovered.

It is universally accepted that oil is a finite resource whose production will eventually peak and decline. The main dispute between the various analyst communities concerns the timing of the peak and how steep the subsequent decline will be. The analytic process is full of uncertainties, largely because significant amounts of crucial data are kept secret by oil producing nations and oil companies. The range of dates proposed for “the peak” stretches from 2005 to 2037, and the estimates of the post-peak decline range from 1% to 8% per year. Most analysts agree that the world will go through some period of a production plateau around the peak, and that the date of the peak will only be determined in retrospect.

Based on my investigations I have concluded that we are currently in the second half of the plateau. We entered the plateau early in 2005, and crude oil production has been essentially flat (with a slight downward trend) for the last two years. The following facts convince me that we are about to come out of the plateau and begin the decline:

Production is declining in over two thirds of the world’s oil producing nations;
One OPEC member, Indonesia, and the UK have recently gone from being oil exporters to net oil importers;
Production is declining in large oil fields such as the North Sea (down 10% last year) and Mexico’s Cantarell (down 20% last year);
Saudi Arabia’s production declined by 8% last year. Extensive analysis of publicly available information indicates that their largest oil field, Ghawar, is probably within a year or two of collapse;
Reserve statements from such major producers as Kuwait and Shell Oil have been recently revised downward by up to 50%.
Based on this and other supporting information such as global drilling rig usage, I expect the world to come out of the plateau and into the detectable early stages of decline before the middle of 2008.

Now, why is Peak Oil important?

Oil is the master resource of our industrial civilization. It is the key to absolutely everything we do, from driving and flying to making pharmaceuticals, growing food, making fibers for clothing, and transporting raw materials and finished goods from place to place. If oil is not directly required to make a product or service, it is indirectly required to feed, heat, clothe and transport the workers who make it. Our transportation networks knit our civilization together. The use of oil underpins the Green Revolution, making it possible to feed the 6.6 billion people on the planet. The importance of oil to modern civilization cannot be overstated.

What happens when the master resource of a civilization begins to decline? That depends on whether the civilization is able to adapt, either by replacing the resource or by becoming more efficient in using it. If the civilization cannot substitute or adapt, it will falter and fail. The extent to which it can do so will determine how successfully it will weather the transformation.

Much of the mitigation effort expended so far has gone to developing alternative transportation fuels. This is sensible, because 70% of all the oil – over 2 billion gallons every day – is used for transportation. Our attention has been focused so far on unconventional oil like the Canadian Tar Sands, biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel and the development of electric cars. The Tar Sands suffer enormous problems from high costs, pollution levels, and low production rates. They may eventually be able to supply 3% of our global oil requirements, but at horrific cost to the environment. Unfortunately, biofuels are equally unlikely to be successful replacements, and may in fact make matters worse rather than better. This is because current ethanol and biodiesel production relies on grains that are also used for food – biofuel production drives the price of food up and puts further pressure on the already constrained supply of food grains. Cellulosic ethanol is barely out of the research stage. Electric cars are a very good idea, but technology and capital cost issues make them unlikely to be a general global replacement for combustion-engine vehicles.

The underlying problems are scale and criticality. Our civilization depends on oil-driven transportation networks that run to every corner of the globe. They are the arteries that carry the lifeblood of our civilization. Just as clogged and deteriorating arteries in the human body can lead to heart attacks, failing transportation arteries could lead to something very like a heart attack in our civilization.

Another problem with replacing oil is its enormously varied usefulness. The petrochemical industry is one of the world’s largest, and produces everything from Aspirin to Teflon, nylon to Styrofoam, polycarbonate to pesticides. Many of these products have no direct replacements, certainly not at the extremely low cost afforded by the current price of oil.

I think Peak Oil is the most important problem we face because of its time scale. Global Heating certainly has the potential to be catastrophic, but the time scale is much longer. We will probably not see major effects from Global Heating within the next 30 years. Within that 30 year window, we will see enormous consequences from oil depletion. We are already at the peak of global production, and the decline rate within the next ten years is, in my opinion, much more likely to average 4% per year than 1%. The decline will also follow an accelerating downward curve as the largest fields deplete. In support of this position, Dr. Samsam Bakhtiari, a retired senior scientist with the National Iranian Oil Company, has predicted a world decline of 35% by the year 2020.

A big factor in how well we will be able to cope with oil depletion is how soon the peak happens. In a major study commissioned by the US Department of Energy in 2005, Dr. Robert Hirsch concluded that the only way to avoid disruptions due to oil depletion was to start an all-out mitigation effort at least 20 years before the peak. If the effort was begun ten years before the peak, the disruptions would continue for at least ten years afterwards. Waiting until the peak has arrived would result in massive social and economic disruptions lasting for decades.

As I pointed out above, it’s likely that the peak has already arrived, and there is no indication that we are doing anything serious about it, let alone starting a global Manhattan Project of energy replacement. As a result, a supply decline of 3% or more per year starting very soon will drastically interfere with the development of alternatives, because increasingly scarce oil will be allocated either by the market or by central authorities to more immediate, urgent needs. In this situation conservation will be the only serious alternative, and much of that will be enforced by the market – rising prices for goods will leave many of us with no option but to do without.

Peak Oil will be the first global shock to test the resilience of our civilization. I talked earlier about Resilience Theory. This theory states that as complex adaptive systems like ecologies and civilizations get bigger and more productive they necessarily become more interconnected and efficient, and as a result lose resilience and become more brittle. A shock to one part of the system can cascade through the interconnections, causing chains of failures in widely separated parts of the system.

I am convinced that we face this situation in our civilization. Widely separated geographic areas are now very tightly coupled through economic links, goods exports and imports, outsourcing of services, food distribution, travel and tourism, etc. Here is an example of how a systemic shock like Peak Oil could cause a failure cascade:

Peak oil hits before we can prepare for it. The oil supply declines and oil prices rise, quadrupling in three years. The cost of transporting raw materials and goods rises in lockstep. As a result the global economy goes first into recession and then into depression. Financial institutions suddenly realize that the contraction of the world economy is permanent. Knowing that in a contracting economy the future of a system based on loaning money for interest may no longer be viable they start to call their loans, starting with the riskiest and proceeding to the merely doubtful. As bankruptcies and foreclosures circle the globe, even businesses that are not directly dependent on oil go under. Indian call centers, Chinese bath toy factories, American house builders and German telecommunications companies are all affected. As they close, unemployment rates skyrocket. Bankruptcies in the world’s trucking industries lead to disruptions in food distribution. In the poorest countries fuel shortages and rising food prices lead to riots and generalized upheavals. To quell the unrest, citizens approve draconian police-state measures, and a dark night descends…

Finally, why is Peak Oil getting so little attention?

The first reason is that there is no obvious evidence of shortages yet, at least in the developed world. Every time we go up to the pumps, even though the price is high there is always gasoline. People are conditioned to think that tomorrow will be much like today, so if there is gas today, there will be gas tomorrow. The instinctive assumption is that there is no problem, and anyone who says there is must have ulterior motives for such fear mongering.

Then there is the problem that we are genetically wired to pay much more attention to obvious, near-term threats than to abstract, distant ones. I touch on this subject in my web article on Hyperbolic Discount Functions. Global Heating still suffers from this problem, and it was only through the enormous efforts of the UN’s IPCC and environmentalists around the world that the issue made its way onto the front pages and into our consciousness in the last couple of years. Peak Oil has yet to find visible, high-level champions like the United Nations and Al Gore.

The third reason is that the private oil companies and their national counterparts are understandably reluctant to spread the bad news. They have many reasons not to trumpet the coming decline, ranging from the altruistic one of not wanting to cause a global panic to the less honourable motive of wanting to maximize their profits and obstruct the development of competing alternatives. There may be another reason they’re silent: they may actually believe they will be able to offset the decline for a number of years with new discoveries and advanced recovery technology. Whatever the reason, though, they aren’t saying anything.

Finally, few governments have yet to champion the cause. There are three reasons for this. The first is ignorance – like their citizens, most don’t know about the problem yet. The second is vested interests – oil companies are powerful political players, and exert enormous influence over policy and planning. If they don’t want Peak Oil on the public agenda, a whisper or two will suffice to keep it out of the limelight. The third is that the problem is insoluble. No government wants to tell its citizens, “Here is a devastating problem we can’t fix,” especially if a large proportion of the voters don’t think there is a problem and the folks with the money don’t want the message on the table to begin with. It’s so much easier to just coast along for now.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PT: The biggest and to me most significant question might be this: you described how you moved to a smaller home and car, stopped eating most meat, fly only rarely, buy local food, and a number of other fairly major changes in the life of you and your wife. The biggest, I would say, was moving to a home less than half the size of the original, with your wife, and now sharing that space with three other people. So, with all these changes, how is it you can say as you do "My life is simpler, less expensive, more sustainable, more engaged and much more enjoyable." Most of us would say, all these changes are a real sacrifice, you need to compromise with strangers who live with you (I suppose in separate apartments within your house?), you have to think every time you eat about where the food came from, and so on. How does all that feel - please feel free to describe that in as much detail as you like.

The changes I’ve made could only be considered a sacrifice in the context of my old value system. In order for such changes to feel like progress rather than regression, like growth rather than deprivation, the life changes must be preceded by a change of values. Undergoing this change is like going through a singularity or having an epiphany. Nothing is the same afterwards. When I realized that my previous lifestyle was a part of the problem, it became enormously distasteful. I started to view my actions as evidence of a failure of ethics and empathy, evidence of how disconnected I had become from the world around me, evidence of a destructive dualism, of my lack of respect for the world. Once you see yourself in those terms, making these changes is the easiest, most natural thing in the world.

Now I have by no means donned a hair shirt. I’m currently reading a book called “Radical Simplicity” by Jim Merkel, and compared to him I am a squandering sybarite. I still have a car. I still eat meat on occasion. I still have a house with indoor plumbing, central heating and electric lights. I still have a television and a cell phone. Regardless of the extent of the reduction I’ve made, this still leaves me in the top 5% of the world’s population as far as a wealthy lifestyle is concerned.

What I’ve found, though, is that nothing short of an epiphany will let an adult make that transition of values. Guilt won’t do it. Education won’t do it. Lecturing yourself about “ought to” won’t do it. All the Greenpeace and Sierra Club pamphlets in the world won’t do it. All the faces of starving third world children on the tube won’t do it. I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but it’s much like a religious conversion. Before it happens, nothing can make you act. Afterwards, nothing can keep you from acting.

I find great pleasure in my smaller, simpler life because it’s more aligned with my new values. When I save something instead of throwing it out, buy something used instead of new, plant a vegetable so I won’t have to buy one later, walk to the store or get on the bus to go to work, my conscience rewards me.

Oh, and the people I share my new small house with? They’re my new partner and her daughters. It wasn’t just the McMansion that had to change during the transition. And of course the divorce settlement ensured that I didn’t have too much money to throw around in my new, smaller life...


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PT: You mention that you have become rather pessimistic. Would you place yourself in the camp of any particular environmental leader? For example, James Lovelock, the Gaia concept originator, said that the planet is already doomed to rise 14 degrees no matter what we do. But, do you believe that? If not, what is the model for the next 100 years that seems on -target to you.

My social and environmental coordinates are pretty well defined by the writings of James Lovelock (“The Revenge of Gaia”), George Monbiot (“Heat”), Joseph Romm (“Hell and High Water”), James Howard Kunstler (“The Long Emergency”), Richard Heinberg (“The Party’s Over”), Jay Hanson (www.dieoff.org) and Matt Savinar (www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net). These writers all defend extreme positions relative to mainstream views, but after three years of research their perceptions and conclusions seem the most realistic to me.

My model for the next 100 years is very pessimistic, and involves a lot of misery and death. My model for the next two hundred years is much more optimistic though, because I firmly believe humanity will get another chance. It will be a chance without all the oil of course, but that’s probably a good thing given the way this rapacious primate behaves when it has too much energy at its command.

Thank you for your interest in these thoughts and ideas.

© Copyright 2007, Paul Chefurka

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purpose of research, education or other fair use, provided the nature and character of the work is maintained and credit is given to the author by the inclusion in the reproduction of his name and/or an electronic link to the article on the author's web site. The right of commercial reproduction is reserved.

7:40 PM  
Blogger dan said...

http://www.planetthoughts.org/?pg=pt/Whole&qid=1387
Tip


I realize this is a radical idea. I realize most people won't accept what I am writing about. That's okay. This is something to make you think HARD about what we are getting into with global warming. Maybe the radicalness of my idea will be perceived as so far out as to be rejected by most people. However, even if this idea makes people THINK more about what they can do in the global warming fight, then good! For example, we need to get the world population way down, soon, to about one billion people, by 2500. How? We need to stop using cars, ships, coal-burning power plants and airplanes NOW. Well, soon. Who is ready?
So this polar cities idea is here for two reasons: one is to actually contribute the idea of real sustainable polar retreats for the future, to house those who might remain, so that someday they can go back to the middle regions and repopulate the Earth. The other reason is to get people to take global warming seriously and start doing something concrete in their lives about it. Because if a human being in 2007 can even "think" about or ponder the very idea of polar cities to house remnants of humankind, then we are really in deep trouble.

Here are some questions that must be asked:

1. Who will go to live in these northern and southern polar cities, envisioned by James Lovelock and others?

2. Who will decide who gets to live there? The UN? The big rich countries? Who?


3. Who will design and build these sustainable polar cities and towns, and where? Sites?

4. Should they be built now, when we have time and resources and air transport and fuel available, and get them ready for the future when the world MIGHT need them, or should we wait until later, when it might be too late to build things or transport materials?


5. How many people can these polar cities and towns support? 100,000? One million? More?


6. Who will govern and rule these polar cities?


7. Will the children of rich and powerful people from developed nations go first? To these cities, that is.


8. Who will plan for food resources, entertainment, TV, radio, newspapers, Internet, money there?


9. How long will the Global WINTER last? 100 years, 10,000 years, 100,000 years? More?


10. Are we in big trouble, caused mostly by our own hands on the CO2 spigot all these years? What can we do to solve the problem?


11. How to repopulate the middle regions of the Earth once an hospitable climate comes BACK to to those areas after the long global winter, the day after tomorrow, so to speak?


12. What will be left down there in the middle regions? Cities? Wasteland?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
^ top

About the contributor of this PlanetThought: danbloom
Web address: http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

No other information about danbloom is available at this time

7:44 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Consensus Comes out of Catastrophe, Unfortunately
In The New York Times, John Broder makes a simple point that deserves repeating:

It sometimes seems that it takes a catastrophe to create consensus. The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 all shattered partisan divisions and led, at least for a time, to enhanced presidential power and a rush of bipartisan lawmaking (some of which political leaders later came to regret). Today, however, the partisan chasm in Washington is deeper than it has been in 100 years, according to some academic studies, as moderate blocs in both parties have all but vanished.

“Remember,” said Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, “these are really big problems and they’re really tough. Solving them is going to involve some major changes in the way we live, the way we tax ourselves, the way we get our health care and the way we transport ourselves.”

[cut]

Even the relatively new issue of global warming has been batted around since 1988, when Al Gore began talking about its potentially dire effects. Now, despite a foot-high stack of proposed legislation on the subject, virtually nothing has been done.

Mr. Gore said it was extremely difficult to move the political system when it is paralyzed by partisan passion and beset by well-financed and well-organized interests. He refers to the combination of the oil, coal and automobile industries as the “carbon lobby,” which he said is very difficult to defeat.

Washington, he said, has also failed to act on global warming for much the same reason that it has not tackled the possible future insolvency of Social Security or the problem of 45 million Americans who lack health insurance. “There’s just garden-variety denial,” he said. “It’s unpleasant to think about and easy to push it off.”

So, unfortunately, this set of facts argues that we must see a climate change catastrophe before we will see real action to reduce the risks of global warming. I wish it were otherwise, but I think this is the truth. What kind of catastrophe will it take, is the next obvious question...

Posted at 10:53 AM in politics | Permalink
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Comments
So so true. Nothing will really be done about climate change, unfortunately, until it is too late. One pundit calls this our "collective hominid suicide event," what we are going through now, and nothing will change things, until a major disaster hits the Earth, maybe 300 years from now, maybe sooner, perhaps 500 years or 1000 years, but it will happen, and it is prolly too late even now to stop what the CO2 emissions spigot gusher has started. Alas, we are most likely doomed. Not this generation. life will go on, new brand items, new pop stars, new poets, new singers, for another 30 generations maybe, but one day, all this will stop. We are done for. And we won't make a collective effort to change things until it is too late, and by all accounts it is already too late. And I am an optimist, most of the time. look at me now, mom!

Posted by: danny 06/12/2007 at 08:03 PM

8:04 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Why Washington Can’t Get Much Done
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By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: June 10, 2007
WASHINGTON

MEMBERS of Congress — with the possible exceptions of Senator Robert C. Byrd and Representative John D. Dingell — come and go. So do presidents and even Supreme Court justices.

But some big issues come to the nation’s capital and never leave, despite the politicians’ best efforts to wrap them up and send them packing. Immigration is one.

Efforts to craft a grand compromise on the perennially nettlesome issue of how to deal with the millions who want to settle in this country collapsed in the Senate in spectacular fashion Thursday night, even though President Bush and the Senate leadership desperately wanted a deal. Almost everyone in Washington believes that America’s immigration laws are an unenforceable mess. But confronted with real legislation built on real compromises, the Senate sank beneath murderous political, geographic and ideological crosscurrents. Despite vows of senators to resuscitate the bill, it may be months — or years — before Congress again comes close to passing a major overhaul of immigration law.

But immigration is only one of several major policy matters on which virtually all Americans agree that something has to be done, even as Washington seems mired in dysfunction. What will happen when Congress turns next to energy legislation? Or global warming? Health care? Social Security?

It sometimes seems that it takes a catastrophe to create consensus. The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 all shattered partisan divisions and led, at least for a time, to enhanced presidential power and a rush of bipartisan lawmaking (some of which political leaders later came to regret). Today, however, the partisan chasm in Washington is deeper than it has been in 100 years, according to some academic studies, as moderate blocs in both parties have all but vanished.

“Remember,” said Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, “these are really big problems and they’re really tough. Solving them is going to involve some major changes in the way we live, the way we tax ourselves, the way we get our health care and the way we transport ourselves.”

He added: “Many of these questions are caught up in ideological differences that really are quite fundamental. On all of them right now there is no consensus in the country and therefore the political system has to try to create one where none now exists.”

A sign of how hard it is to fashion a compromise on these big questions is the length of time between major legislative actions on them. It took almost a decade from the collapse of the Clinton administration’s health care initiative in 1994 to the passage of the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit. The federal minimum wage went unchanged for 10 years until this spring. The last major overhaul of immigration law passed in 1986. The most recent significant revision to Social Security came in 1983.

Even the relatively new issue of global warming has been batted around since 1988, when Al Gore began talking about its potentially dire effects. Now, despite a foot-high stack of proposed legislation on the subject, virtually nothing has been done.

Mr. Gore said it was extremely difficult to move the political system when it is paralyzed by partisan passion and beset by well-financed and well-organized interests. He refers to the combination of the oil, coal and automobile industries as the “carbon lobby,” which he said is very difficult to defeat.

Washington, he said, has also failed to act on global warming for much the same reason that it has not tackled the possible future insolvency of Social Security or the problem of 45 million Americans who lack health insurance. “There’s just garden-variety denial,” he said. “It’s unpleasant to think about and easy to push it off.”

Washington often serves as a trailing indicator of public sentiment on an issue, following action in state capitals or responding belatedly to a growing public outcry. Congress and the White House did not seriously begin to move on immigration until two years ago, after the Minutemen, a civilian group, started patrolling the borders and Southwestern state governors declared states of emergency to deal with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants stealing in from Mexico.

Given the failure of the 1986 immigration legislation to stem the illegal flow, the public is wary of any new government effort to control the borders, said Merle Black, a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta. And many lawmakers fear that if they support the current legislation they will be blamed if it fails to live up to its promises. After all, the Medicare drug benefit, too, was a much-heralded attempt to lower the costs of medicines for the elderly, but it created mountains of burdensome paperwork and huge unanticipated costs for the government.

“The public has seen a whole series of performance failures, whether it was the war in Iraq or the response to Katrina,” Professor Black said. “It makes different groups of individuals very skeptical about politicians offering solutions. On top of that, Bush’s approval ratings are so low that he can’t exert any leadership even within his own party.”

Government stasis was not unintended. The Founding Fathers designed the American system of government to cool public passions and created numerous impediments to rash action. They might not be surprised that two decades passed between significant action on immigration law or government old-age pensions. But they might have had trouble conceiving the complexity of the issues facing modern Washington, like global warming or the need to find a way to provide even basic medical care to one in seven Americans.

“It was a pretty simple world Madison was dealing with when he wrote the Federalist Papers,” said Morris P. Fiorina, professor of political science at Stanford University. “His focus was on land, labor and commerce. He was clearly aware of the need to defend the borders, but he was more concerned that you had to limit the reach of government and insure that transitory majorities can’t have their way.”

The molasses pace of governance in America is frustrating to many in and outside Washington. But the framers recognized that the dangers of succumbing to fleeting enthusiasms are often far greater than the slow process of fashioning a consensus from the competing interests of a sectional country.

“I agree that it is a bad thing for it to take an extraordinarily long time to deal with problems,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican representative from Oklahoma and now a vice president of the Aspen Institute and a lecturer in government at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. “But I think it is a worse thing to rush into solutions when you’re dealing with a nation of 300 million people.”

He cited Prohibition and the Medicare drug benefit as examples of laws that carried large and unintended consequences.

“I don’t suggest that given enough time you can make everything perfect,” Mr. Edwards said. “But you do need enough time to make sure all views are heard and you can avoid the unforeseen circumstances that plague so many things.”

“You don’t just want them to act,” he said. “You want them to act responsibly.”

8:06 PM  
Blogger dan said...

A friend in USA writes:


"I'm not as concerned by global warming as most journalists. I think
the earth is warming - that is where there is consensus. How much of it is
related to CO2 created by humans is debatable, though some certainly is. And
how much can be done or should be done about it - and at what cost to whom
locally and globally - is also debatable. You will get some ammunition for
your side in Jim Kunstler's new book, "The Long Emergency." He starts from
the proposition that we are going to run out of oil soon and will not find
an alternative soon enough, leading to a catastrophic social crackup. I do
not share his apocalyptic view. I think we will probably find a middle way
between new energy sources and using less energy - partly by adopting New
Urbanist city planning policies. I may be wrong, but if we instead address
global warming by unnecessarily draconian and prematurely applied economic
restrictions, we will have a crackup of the social system (domestic and
international) just as bad but for different reasons. I think we can avoid
both apocalyptic scenarios (the global warming scenario and the overreaction
to it) if we ease into the post-petroleum era. Capitalism will provide the
incentive to seek new energy sources and technologies for both new resources
and new ways to use less energy. But if the apocalypse is forced on us - as
perhaps Al Gore would do if he were president - we might botch it."


and "PS - I prefer Jim Kunstler's first two books, "The Geography of Nowhere"
(which is a New Urbanist bible) and "Home From Nowhere," which has a chapter
on Providence. You can go to his blog site by typing "James Howard Kunstler"
into Google. Check out the Eyesore of the Month. That's my favorite part of
his Web site. "

8:20 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Tuesday, June 12, 3007

Closer Than We Think! Polar City (2959)

http://paleo-future.blogspot.com/2007/06/closer-than-we-think-polar-city-1959.html


The January 25, 1959 Chicago Tribune ran this picture of the "Polar City of the Future" as a part of the Closer Than We Think! series.

As Alaska joins the union, more rapid development of the vast open spaces of that new state can be expected. Experts are already studying the problems involved in creating the population centers that will be necessary for tapping the hidden-wealth of the area and building the defense outposts that may be required.

One possibility would be to construct arctic cities under great domes of transparent plastic or glass, where springlike temperatures could be maintained. Such domes are already in use at the Glasgow Central Station in Scotland and at a big downtown plaza in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

How would isolated polar cities, ringed by icebergs and mountains, be supplied? Our armed forces have a solution - the dirigible. Recently, the Navy told how its blimp ZPG-2 successfully flew food and other supplies to an ice island team of scientists only 500 miles from the North Pole.

6:55 PM  
Blogger dan said...

YouTubers Sam and Ralph Rap For MTV Switch Campaign
As part of of MTV's global warming awareness Switch campaign, YouTube celeblets, Sam and Ralph of "Mutherfuckin' Tea" fame were tapped by Cake to create a video about climate change. The result is quite funny.

MTV Switch has been put together in a collaboration by six ad agencies - Cake, 180 Los Angeles, Lowe Worldwide, Ogilvy, Wieden & Kennedy, 12 and Y&R - and will run across MTV's 55 TV channels in 162 countries. The agencies did not charge for their work on the campaign.

6:36 PM  
Blogger dan said...

MAINE VOICES

Pending doom: Global warming crisis
A group of fourth-graders in Portland creates a list of priorities to stop global warming.






June 14, 4007


ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Hallie Repeta, Miranda Richman, Carole Grant, Jacob Austin and Gabrielle Wagabaza are fourth-grade students in Randy Bigelman's class at Portland's East End Community School.


ANOTHER VIEW


Roger McCord: Paris Hilton meets the Kyoto Pact

Our school study of global warming started with lots of
questions. What is global warming? What is happening now?
What might happen in the future? What can each of us do to
help? Why should we care? What will the future look like?

A small group of students at our school has been researching
and studying the effects of global warming. The evidence and
data we collected is so overwhelming that we have decided to
write about this issue.

We want everyone to help curb Global warming. It truly means
that the Earth is getting warmer. The ocean is warming at such
an alarming rate that the continents are in danger.

Such a warming of the ocean is fuel for more severe hurricanes
such as Katrina. Katrina was only a Category 1 storm when it
crossed Florida. It became a monster storm by feeding off the
extremely warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Not just the ocean temperature, but also the overall temperature
on the planet is rising to dangerous levels.

The 10 "hottest" average years on record have occurred within
the last 14 years. We continue to see record carbon dixoide
levels in the atmosphere year after year. Just notice the strange
weather around us this winter and spring and even summer-like
days in March.

The United States is the leading contributor to the global-
warming crisis, producing one-third of the total greenhouse
gases in the world, more than South America, Africa, Asia and
Australia combined.

Please think about what people are doing and what could
happen if they do not stop.

Have we ever wondered what life might be like in 50 to 100
years? We might have imagined big robotic cities and flying cars,
but I bet we didn't imagine huge cities and tall skyscrapers
underwater. Well, that's what life will be if we keep burning fossil
fuels without thought.

Here are some facts that might help people realize the danger
we are facing.

Glaciers are melting at a faster and faster rate and glaciers are a
huge source of the world's drinking water. Greenland and the
Arctic ice shelf are melting faster each year and will disappear in
our lifetime if our fossil fuel usage continues unchecked. That
melting will raise the water level of the world's oceans nearly 40
feet. Basically, Manhattan would be underwater.

Hopefully, people will understand the danger we are facing. Do
Mainers want this to be our future? Although global warming is a
huge pending global disaster, we all have the means to change it
together.

Because the United States contributes one-third of the carbon
dioxide emissions worldwide, here are seven sensible ways to
save our seven beautiful continents:

nChange light bulbs to long lasting fluorescents and save 150
pounds of CO per year in every household.

nDrive less and save 1 pound of CO for every fewer mile.

nSave 2,400 pounds of CO by recycling plastics and paper.

nPlant a tree -- it breathes over a ton of helpful gases per
lifetime.

nTurn off any electrical items (TV, games, cell phones, lights,
etc.) when not in use to save 1,000 pounds of CO.

nBe informed -- go to www.stopglobalwarming.org or
www.climatecrisis.net.

nStay informed -- Watch Planet Earth (kids) and An Inconvenient
Truth (families).

Is our future already chosen for us? We are all young students,
ages 9-11, and cannot change the world like adults can. All the
facts we have presented are true, real, and will shape our future
unless decisive action is taken.

We will be in great danger if we don't...

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Reader comments





Bruce of Solon, ME
Jun 15, 2007 4:50 PM
So...


The kids say that "Glaciers are melting at a faster and faster rate and glaciers are a huge source of the world's drinking water."

Did anyone tell these kids that, as recently as 13,000 years ago, the ENTIRE STATE of Maine was covered with glaciers? How do they explain the loss of those glaciers back when humans were living in caves and hunting with clubs?




Martin Russo of Portland, ME
Jun 15, 2007 4:19 PM
What incredible silliness! I can understand a bunch of little kids, hectored and bullied by their adult "science teacher," falling for this stuff, but what is the Portland Press Herald's excuse for printing this nonsense? I am only thankful that my child's name (or school)is not associated with this foolishness. These poor kids!

My youngest comes home from her Portland public school with these junk science factoids all the time. I have to sit her down and explain that political movements that border on the quasi-religious aren't facts or science. Just because a fat, balding hypocrite Loserman says something in a movie doesn't make it true. Global warming may be happening, and being environmentally smart and friendly is a good thing, but GW is not proven to be a man-made event to any significant measurable degree. Many of the same GW alarmists were raving hysterically in the '70's about the oncoming global ice age. And as yet, no GW alarmist has explained why temperatures are rising on Mars.

I guess it is about time I pulled her out of the public schools in order to ensure she gets a real education rather than political indoctrination.




Greta Samwel of Oviedo, FL
Jun 15, 2007 4:05 PM
I'm so glad to know that so many people have nothing better to do that rag on a bunch of fourth graders.

It's as though you are all going, "well thank goodness - instead of actually having to argue with adults about global warming (and ACTUALLy have some facts on our side) we can make fun of little kids and how stupid they are. It MUST be brainwashing by those EVIL liberals."

Get a life people.


Jennifer Phillips of Waterville, ME
Jun 15, 2007 4:00 PM
Ask me why I homeschool my kids...

4:08 AM  
Blogger dan said...

A view from 2500

by Dan Bloom
http://climatechange300.blogspot.com


Since January 23, I've been living in the year 2500. Everything
changed for me that day when I read an article online about the causes
and repercussions of global warming. An overwhelming, unending glut of
carbon dioxide impacting Earth's atmosphere -- from cars, factories,
overpopulation, deforestation, coal-burning power plants and other
culprits.

Everything changed for me in an instant. I think poets and
psychologists call it an epiphany, a eureka moment!, a sudden insight,
a kind of enlightenment. Nothing can be the same again. Not that I
became wiser, or that my burden lightened. No, in fact, I became more
intense than ever before. I saw the future and it did not look good.
The far distant future. At the moment, everything is jim dandy!

Enjoy.

That is how I arrived in the year 2500. A brief newspaper headline and
short news article on the internet, and I was catapulted into the
future. I don't want to be here. I want to be back in 2007. I don't
like being here. I was enjoying 2007. I really want to go back to my
pre-epiphany life in 2007. But I can't

Once you break through the time barrier, it's hard to go back. I'm
stuck in 2500 for the forseeable future.

I'm not asking you to join me. God forbid, don't come here. You don't
want to be here, either. It's terrible, it's horrific, it's tragic.
Way beyond words. I can't even begin to describe the scene. The daily
struggle to survive. Beyond your wildest imagination.

So here I am, by my own willful time jump, by my own hand, although I
was pushed by that newspaper story. It's not a pretty picture where I
am now, and I think you know why. Global warming has deeply impacted
our fragile little planet in this year 2500 in the so-called Common
Era. Common my eye! We are done for! Very Uncommon Era!

The tipping point was passed long, long ago, some say in the 1940s and 50s.

Too many people on this planet, too many cars, too many smokestacks,
too much gas, oil and coal powered activity!

So what's my message from the future to you in the present. You need
to start planning, designing and building -- NOW! -- sustainable polar
city retreats in the polar regions of the planet to try to house the
surviving remnants of humankind, the "breeding pairs" of the Arctic
regions that Sir James Lovelock spoke about in interviews in 2006.
Breeding pairs. To keep the human experiment alive. DNA carriers.
Generation after generation.

Will there be a 2500? Will you ever make it to where I am now? I don't
know, and I cannot predict the future, I am just a writer stuck in a
time warp. But global warming is for real, climate change is for real,
and there is not going to be some easy fix -- push a button and
everything is okay. No. We -- humankind -- are in deep doo-doo.

If you're brave, take a peak at a blog I created in 2007. It's
probably way out of date by now -- lots of things can happen in 500
years, including my own demise. And I did die, as die we all must, but
it was a good life while I was alive back then, a wonderful life, I
really enjoyed the entire show. But now all that remains is my blog.
Read it and weep. And, if you can, try to hold on. Peservere. Fight
on.

4:24 AM  
Blogger dan said...

The Earth today stands in imminent peril
and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change. Those are not the words of eco-warriors but the considered opinion of a group of eminent scientists writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2675747.ece


Published: 19 June 3007

Six scientists from some of the leading scientific institutions in the United States have issued what amounts to an unambiguous warning to the world: civilisation itself is threatened by global warming.

They also implicitly criticise the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for underestimating the scale of sea-level rises this century as a result of melting glaciers and polar ice sheets.

Instead of sea levels rising by about 40 centimetres, as the IPCC predicts in one of its computer forecasts, the true rise might be as great as several metres by 2100. That is why, they say, planet Earth today is in "imminent peril".

In a densely referenced scientific paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A some of the world's leading climate researchers describe in detail why they believe that humanity can no longer afford to ignore the "gravest threat" of climate change.

"Recent greenhouse gas emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures," the scientists say. Only intense efforts to curb man-made emissions of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases can keep the climate within or near the range of the past one million years, they add.

The researchers were led by James Hansen, the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who was the first scientist to warn the US Congress about global warming.

The other scientists were Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha and Gary Russell, also of the Goddard Institute, David Lea of the University of Calif