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View Diary: Eco-groups say Obama considering a domestic climate change summit. No word from White House (59 comments)

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  •  I'm very sceptical (17+ / 0-)

    I remain pretty much unconvinced of the level of seriousness on the part of this administration when it comes to climate change or other environmental issues. I think the President probably does understand the policy basics, on an abstract level if not on an emotional one, but it's like that famous quote from Edward Teller:

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to emotionally comprehend the exponential function"

    For those of us who do get it, on an emotional as well as intellectual level, this is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.  But the President doesn't have an interest or connection with science, and doesn't have a feel for geological time. The reality of the Anthropocene is not something on the radar screen. I heard on NPR this morning that one of the preachers giving a convocation at his inauguration is all about accepting science as describing God's grand design. That whole God's design first, science second, just won't cut it - it's a blind spot and while it's nice comforting language, it indicates to me that this issue is just another policy issue with a set of politics.  

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:46:01 AM PST

    •  Most experts warn that there will be a (5+ / 0-)

      major food shortage within ten years, but as dire as that prediction is, it hasn't registered with most people living in the U.S.  By the time Obama leaves office, we will be nearing the half-way mark...the question is: will Obama continue the "all of the above" approach he has taken, or will he implement real change, which means facing the oil and coal industries head on...

      Not gonna happen...

      Like you, I'm skeptical.

      •  There's a food crisis NOW (7+ / 0-)

        Last year, humanity consumed more food than it grew, dipping into reserves.  Reserves are at low levels, such that another shortfall would lead to a food crisis in 2013

        Food prices are up 45%.

        Meanwhile, Obama yawns and stretches and considers doing something.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:45:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm talking about mass starvation, unlike (5+ / 0-)

          anything we've ever seen.  I agree that there is a real problem now, but it is nothing compared to what it will look like in ten years.

        •  There's a lot of flexibility (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pat bunny, Cat Servant

          built into most food systems, and even significant shortfalls don't necessarily lead to excess deaths, provided societies are relatively stable.  Read Alex De Waal "Famine that Kills" a study of the Darfur famine in the late 80's.

          The problem comes when there are situations of conflict - which may or may not be related to resource conflicts having to do with changing climate.  

          This is why famines tend to sneak up on nations, rich and poor alike, and why often the consequences of climate change will be political rather than nutritional, at least over the short run.  Climate change may spark increasing food prices without actual starvation; that may spark unrest, even civil war, which may occur during bumper crop years.

          So it's always best to look at overall patterns over a decade or more, because I suspect relatively few famines will be related to an absolute lack of food resources, rather than lack of access.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:33:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's been true so far (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            but the prospect of a global shortfall running over multiple years is a new phenomenon.    In a real sense, flexibility is what saved us so far, but once the slack is taken up and the grain stores depleted, the rubber will meet the road.  If there isn't enough to go around in August, globally, we may well skip right past the unrest from food prices (which drove, for example, the Arab Spring) straight into the people eating grass and tree bark, North Korea Style, stage

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:45:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Most grain goes to feed animals (3+ / 0-)

              Then there's wastage, use for biofuels, etc.  There's plenty of grain if we are talking calories, even if we continue to eat into stocks; the problem will be price, and competition.  Will donor nations purchase food stocks at higher prices for the use of WFP?  A serious grain shortage will probably mostly be felt here in high meat and dairy prices; abroad it will vary tremendously.  

              “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

              by ivorybill on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:06:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  All too true (0+ / 0-)

                That qualifies as good news....

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:16:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  My daughter just returned from her college (6+ / 0-)

              class.  She said today they showed a film about the coming water shortage, and the predictions were dire.  Last semester she took a course from a college that had an opening (another acute shortage here in California) and much of the curricula was about the coming food shortage...there is a wealth of information available proving that a catastrophe is on the horizon, but most people are living in denial.

              •  I'm glad and relieved to hear that at least some (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                praenomen

                colleges are putting this information out to their students in unvarnished ways.  ("The predictions are dire.")

                I wish urgently that it were not all true, but since it is, it's crucial to get the info out to as many people as possible so that we can respond.

                --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

                by Fiona West on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:42:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. NM & TX are reving up the water wars in the (0+ / 0-)

            courts.

      •  food prices will go up this year (7+ / 0-)

        as a result of last year's monster drought, and since neither Obama nor Romney said a word about it during the campaign, it will come as quite a shock to people when it happens.

        The Arab Spring was partly ascribed to a climate-change related spike in food prices. The same sort of thing could happen here.

        Factor in the Beltway obsession with balanced budgets and slashing the social safety net, and you have a recipe for deepening economic crisis and unrest.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:00:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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