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View Diary: The U.S. is ground zero for climate change (172 comments)

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  •  That's OK . . . (1+ / 0-)
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    FishOutofWater

    I (mis)spell it that way myself sometimes.  But there are several other things that you’ve written that are more significantly wrong.  For one I don’t read the Huffington Post, so I don’t get any “talking points” there (or anywhere else, for that matter ) . . . I’m calling it as I see it, based on a fairly wide ranging reading of current literature and my own understanding of the physics of the situation.  And of Human folly . . .

    Second:  the problem is immediate.  It doesn’t really matter what happens “if we exploit all of the tar sands” . . . that eventuality, were it to occur, would be so far in the future as to make no difference.  Global warming is happening now, in a world with minimal tar sands production, and will continue unabated (absent other changes) if there is no tar sand production at all.  Granted that tar sand production is “dirty”, and worse in many ways than most of the alternatives.  But the “worseness” is relative, not absolute . . . and it’s a small fraction of the real problem, the consumption of fossil fuels overall.

    Third:  the problem is global.  While the US has historically been the worst contributor to greenhouse gasses, and remains among the worst of the worst, the problem has grown.  It is hard (for me, anyway) to argue that Americans are somehow “entitled” to a greater per-capita energy consumption than any of the other 6 billion plus people on the planet, and most of those “other” people see it that way too.  They want what we have . . . and if we don’t want them to get it the way we did (burning coal and oil) then it’s incumbent on US to help them get it in some less destructive way.

    And fourth:  the problem is a crisis.  We are past the proverbial “tipping point”, perhaps not so far past that we cannot, with presently available technology, claw our way back over to the “safe” side, but awfully close to that far past.  Any “solution” that talks about 2050 is too little, too late, and if sequestration is not a major part of that “solution” it won’t matter anyway.

    My “issue” with Keystone is not that I think it should be built . . . of course it shouldn’t, and the tar sands should not be exploited (sorry, Canada).  But stopping Keystone is not “the answer”.  Stopping Keystone doesn’t even really matter.  If what actually needs to be done is done then the whole tar sands endeavor will collapse under its own weight, and Keystone will simply become unnecessary.  It is a symptom, not the disease, and “protesting” it is rather like taking cough medicine for lung cancer.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:19:30 AM PST

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    •  Thank you for this clear exposition of your POV (0+ / 0-)

      Now I understand you better.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:24:02 AM PST

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    •  That all makes sense... (0+ / 0-)

      but it doesn't do anything to help your claim that the tar sands are a drop in the bucket, which I think I pretty effectively refuted.

      Also, I don't think anyone says that stopping any one pipeline is "the answer." Maybe you can provide some links or quotes indicating who you're arguing against.

      Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

      by play jurist on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:39:20 AM PST

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      •  Not "refuted" at all . . . (0+ / 0-)

        and not a "claim" either . . . just do the arithmetic.  Compare CO2 from Athabasca with CO2 worldwide, and tell me that it's more that a "drop".
         

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:05:24 AM PST

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        •  Wrong number, as I said. (0+ / 0-)

          Compare CO2 from tar sands with CO2 we can emit and stay at 2c.

          At least try to adress the actual counter-argument I'm giving. I get that you don't read HuffPo. That was hardly my point. What you keep repeating is the media take-away from a recent Nature study; HuffPo was just the first one I saw. However, it's not the only relevant number. I provided a link to one of the author's website explaining and providing more context and more relevant numbers than were chosen for reporting. To repeat, the tar sands are around 75% of our fair share of remaining CO2 sequester in a 2c scenario. Your number assumes business as usual, which is to say it assumes as a premise that we don't solve the problem then derives as a conclusion that stopping the tar sands won't solve the problem. That's kind of a trivial point. We have to start with a scenario in which the problem is solved, and that's got to involve nations at least aiming to hit their fair share numbers. Politically, that's going to involve some global compromise because we're way, way over under the status quo, but the fair share number has to be a baseline for understanding the issue.

          Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

          by play jurist on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:12:38 AM PST

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          •  I don't read "media take-aways" either . . . (0+ / 0-)

            there's not much in the secondary (or is it tertiary) literature that is anything but pablum for popular consumption, and it is written mostly by "reporters" who themselves have not a clue (and great editorial pressure to misreport if they do).  I have no use whatsoever for the "2c scenario", either . . . it doesn't, and won't, work that way . . . as that presumes some sort of attainable equilibrium point that doesn't exist.

            As for "the tar sands are around 75% of our fair share" that's a hypothetical piled on a hypothetical . . . the tar sands are not the only source of oil, so the size of that particular resource doesn't matter.  Climate change will have overwhelmed us long before it gets close to total exploitation.  Shutting down the tar sands operation would/will have exactly no effect on oil consumption over the next 20 years.

            And as for our "fair share" . . . if global warming matters at all it is zero.   As in none.  It's negative, actually, if we take responsibility for the CO2 that we have emitted already, and act to remediate it.    

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:55:02 AM PST

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            •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

              the important thing is that you get to feel morally and intellectually superior to everyone who is trying to do something.

              Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

              by play jurist on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 11:43:38 AM PST

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              •  only to those (0+ / 0-)

                who persist in doing what's ineffective and senseless.

                I'm altogether at home with those who are trying to do something useful . . .

                Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                by Deward Hastings on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 12:02:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

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