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Climate change will be much worse, much sooner than most people think.  The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) recent report, while rather dire, is actually a best-case analysis.  For example, the IPCC’s report did not include the effects of “amplifying feedbacks” such as melting permafrost releasing methane -- a powerful greenhouse gas -- which causes more warming, which melts more permafrost, and on and on.  Including such effects leads to much more dire results than the UN presented.

The reasons the IPCC report is actually a conservative, best-case analysis are:

  1. The IPCC requires information to be submitted years early, so the latest science is not included.
  1. Because of the growth of China and India, the actual worldwide emissions of CO2 in the past few years have been higher than the worst case assumptions of the IPCC.
  1. The IPCC tended to use linear models since they are easier to build and analyze, but the world doesn’t actually work that way.  Consider H2O.  When it’s colder than 0ºC (32ºF) it’s ice, when it’s warmer than that, it’s water.  It doesn’t slowly transition from ice to water as the temperature increases; the change is abrupt.
  1. The IPCC did not include “carbon feedback” mechanisms in its analyses for the most part because they did not know how to model them at the time.  These feedback mechanisms create “tipping points” that take control of climate change out of our hands.  Not only are tipping points possible, we are getting close to some... perhaps only years away.  See further discussion of tipping points below.
  1. The IPCC includes many scientists and others who represent the interests of their countries.  It’s consensus process tends to eliminate the more dramatic findings, even though many climate scientists believe that some of the more dramatic outcomes are not only possible, but likely.  Recently, more climate scientists have been speaking out about how climate change is likely to be much worse than the IPCC has predicted.

When you correct for the items above, the news is not good.  It is likely that climate change will be much worse, much sooner than most people think.  All of the climate change effects we have seen so far, including the rapid disappearance of Arctic sea ice in the summer — a phenomenon you could observe from the Moon — and the increase in extreme weather have all happened with just a 0.8ºC global average increase in temperature.  While the conservative IPCC report predicts a global average temperature increase of 2ºC to 5ºC by 2100, the actual increase, if we continue on the path we are on,  will be 6ºC or higher.

Climate scientists generally agree that to avoid catastrophe we better keep the temperature increase below 2ºC.  A 2ºC warming will be really bad and a 3ºC warming will be biblical.  At 4ºC and beyond, we could face the collapse of agriculture, the economy, and even civilization itself.  And because of tipping points, a 1ºC warming can lead to a 2ºC warming which can lead to a 3ºC warming and so on.  Some of the nearer-term tipping points we need to worry about are:

  1. While the world has only warmed 0.8ºC on average, the warming is more pronounced at the poles and this has led to significant warming — and melting — of the permafrost, which is essentially frozen peat.  When the permafrost melts, its organic material decays and gives off CO2 or, if the peat decays in water, methane.  Methane is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas compared to CO2.  The permafrost contains as much CO2 as the entire atmosphere holds.  Once the permafrost begins giving off greenhouse gases a rate faster than we can decrease our greenhouse gas emissions, its Game Over.
  1. There are vast amounts of frozen methane stored in ice structures under the oceans.  Much of this frozen methane (called clathrates or hydrates) is deep in the ocean where they won’t be affected much by the surface warming of the ocean caused by global warming.  However, some of the clathrates are located in more shallow waters of the Arctic Ocean where the recent dramatic melting of the summer sea ice could cause significant amounts of this frozen methane to be released.  In 2008, it was possible to circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean for the first time in recorded history and research ships in the area noticed places where methane were bubbling out of the sea.
  1. Global warming is causing vast amounts of trees to die through drought, beetle infestation, or other means.  The dead trees give off CO2 when they decay or burn in wildfires — which have dramatically increased in the past decades.  When trees decay or burn, they give off CO2 which leads to more warming.
  1. The oceans absorb much of the excess CO2 that mankind has released into the atmosphere.  But as the ocean warms and as it becomes more acidic (from absorbing our CO2) its ability to absorb CO2 decreases.  This effect is already being observed and it means that we need to decrease our emissions faster than it might otherwise seem.  The higher acidity also makes it harder for ocean animals to form shells and this is also being observed and is expected to become much worse this century.  The oceans can reach a point where they begin releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and that is also Game Over.

The time to take dramatic action is right now.  We need to put a price on CO2 and other greenhouse gases through a “Cap and Trade” system or tax.  We need to ban new coal plants and phase out existing coal plants (which are the worst CO2  offenders).  We need to mandate energy efficiency and renewable energy and stop subsidizing fossil fuels.  We need to phase out traditional beef production (which creates as much greenhouse warming as cars do!).  And we better agree on a serious follow-on to the Kyoto Protocol this December at the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen.

Based on my discussions with some climate scientists, I believe that it may already be too late to avoid catastrophe by only reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  While we must quickly and dramatically lower our CO2 emissions, we also need to research geo-engineering approaches that attempt to artificially remove CO2 from the atmosphere or reduce warming by blocking some of the sunlight that reaches Earth.  Like chemotherapy, some of these approaches have bad side affects, but also like chemotherapy, the alternative to treatment might not be acceptable.  Geo-engineering solutions that focus on removing CO2 from the atmosphere, rather than those focused on blocking sunlight, are probably safer.  We should invest a lot of money now on researching various geo-engineering approaches to see which might work while minimizing the bad side effects.  

Humans respond best to threats that are immediate, visible, simple, personal, have historical precedent, and are caused by another “tribe” (think Al-Qaeda).  Unfortunately, climate change, has none of these characteristics and this may partially explain why so little is being done to address the biggest threat mankind has ever faced.  

It’s also human nature to be optimistic.  But things don’t always work out for the better.  And in this case, the stakes are too high and scientists tell us that there is no reason to be optimistic if we don’t take serious action right now.  For the sake of our children and grandchildren, let’s get moving.

You can find further information on my web site: Climate Place

Originally posted to dannym999 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:50 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cap-and-trade sucks (16+ / 0-)

    We need to put a price on CO2 and other greenhouse gases through a "Cap and Trade" system or tax.

    These systems are typically worse than nothing.  The corporations typically over-estimate the "greenhouse gas emissions" and, with nation-states in tow, flood the market with "carbon credits."

    "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:40:00 AM PST

    •  Cap-and-trade (16+ / 0-)

      Just a way for some people to make money. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.

      Why do I distrust this so?

      •  Cap and Trade (9+ / 0-)

        Can Cap and Trade be abused?  Absolutely.  

        Can Cap and Trade have such a ridiculously large cap so as to demand little reduction?  Absolutely.

        Can a well designed system create real incentives for reductions of industrial CO2 and maintenance of biomass CO2?  Absolutely.

        Simply stating cap and trade is bad is a gross oversimplification.  Has the current cap and trade system for SO2 in the US worked pretty well?  I certainly think so.

        Is it harder to make a CO2 Cap and Trade system than a SO2 Cap and Trade?  Yes, I believe so, but that doesn't make it impossible.  Carbon taxes are also very difficult to assess, and also have the potential for fraud and abuse.  How do you assess a carbon tax on someone burning down an acre of the Amazon?

        •  Has cap & trade for CO2 worked in Europe? (8+ / 0-)

          No.

          Emissions are increasing and carbon credit prices have tumbled. The market has been completely ineffective at reducing emissions, but traders have made money.

          Global warming is much more complicated that SO2.

          "It's the planet, stupid."

          by FishOutofWater on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:15:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Regional vs. Global (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DBunn

            A regional cap and trade is doomed to failure, if for no other reason than transnational industry shifting and international trade in high carbon fuels.  A true global cap and trade would help on that front.  

            Setting up a good cap and trade system is a difficult challenging proposal.  Setting up a good carbon tax system is a difficult and challenging proposal.  Simple "cap and trade = bad" arguments are as insufficient as "carbon tax = bad" arguments.  Both systems have enough difficulties and likely flaws that they could both be nitpicked to death.  

            Proponents of a carbon tax are busy creating the best carbon tax proposal they can, so that it's evidently better than a cap and trade.  They don't need to spend time and energy tearing down a cap and trade system to do that.

            •  Cap and trade (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leftyboy666, Cassiodorus, Picot verde

              is just another trading scam.  This time, it's a  by-product that regulators and producers refuse to figure out how to accurately measure, but you can buy indulgences from the vatican...er, I mean...well, that's kind of what it's like at this point.

              I would prefer we go back to trading tulip futures.  Now there's a market!

            •  Cap-and-trade runs on the pretense (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DeminNewJ, Picot verde, VincaMajor

              that we can have capitalist growth on a finite planet Earth.  The longer we pretend, the worse it's going to get.

              "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

              by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:21:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The fallacy of limitless economic growth (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dlcampbe, DBunn

                is not limited to capitalism, however. Economic systems based on Marxism have also followed the fallacy of limitless growth. Environmental destruction has been caused by all kinds of human societies. The problem today is the scale of destruction is global.

                "It's the planet, stupid."

                by FishOutofWater on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:40:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Please explain -- (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tacet, Picot verde, leema, FishOutofWater

                  how any of the "socialist" states had an "economic system based on Marxism."

                  What the Soviet Union, the PRC, etc. had were economic arrangements which relied for their propaganda upon some bowdlerized version of "Marxism," stripped of its liberatory content (for more on this see Johann P. Arneson's The Future That Failed), and revved up to fit the needs of a contender state, an entity that fit the specifications of capitalist competition between nation-states.  This is analyzed in Minqi Li's new book, which I've reviewed online in a diary I just posted.  The Soviet Union was merely what Wallerstein called a "mercantilist semi-withdrawal" from the capitalist world economy, not a complete alternative.

                  The distinction I'm making is not just a grammatical correction or a pedantic nicety.  Marx gave us a CRITIQUE of political economy, not an alternative way of doing things, and his revolutionary alternative suggested a "dictatorship of the proletariat" (not a dictatorship of some elite political party claiming to represent the proletariat).  The former, Marx's ideal, was represented by the Paris Commune; the latter, the fake, was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party, and so on.

                  What I am suggesting, and what we should advocate, then, is a complete withdrawal from the world economy, for the sake of a "conserver society" alternative.

                  "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

                  by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:52:57 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The dictatorship of the proletariat (0+ / 0-)

                    turned into a dictatorship by the most violent politicians in the large "communist" countries. It was not a flaw or bowdlerization of Marxism, but an unanticipated consequence of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

                    Masses of people cannot be dictators, but violent individuals can. The rise of violent leaders out of the masses was an inevitable follow on to violent revolution based on Marxist theories.

                    I agree that Marx wrote an excellent critique of the inherent flaws of capitalism, but the alternative he advocated for has severe inherent flaws.

                    Acts - yes the bible - presents a picture of early Christian communal living based on giving up private property to the community. The bible is a very interesting document when viewed as an economics text.

                    "It's the planet, stupid."

                    by FishOutofWater on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:24:34 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Is this what happened -- (0+ / 0-)

                      in the Paris Commune?  The model for the "dictatorship of the proletariat" was the Paris Commune of 1871.  

                      The Russian appropriation of that rhetoric attempted to substitute "Communist Party" for "proletariat" for a nation-state in which the term "proletariat" named maybe two or three percentage points of the total population, and peasant production was still the general norm.

                      The rise of violent leaders out of the masses was an inevitable follow on to violent revolution based on Marxist theories.

                      Lenin and Stalin did not arise "out of the masses" -- they were members of a privileged educated class.  The Russian and Chinese revolutions were revolutions whose leaders APPROPRIATED "Marxist theories" for their propaganda value, rather than being based on Marx.

                      "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

                      by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:40:11 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Cap & Trade too easily corrupted (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VincaMajor

                    Anyone not skeptical of proposals for a Cap & Trade approach to CO2 reduction is a fool. To some they might look good on paper, but they haven't worked in the past, indeed they have had the perverse effect of making it seem like we're doing something when in fact we are not.

                    But this does not constitute an argument that no Cap & Trade system could be effective. It's a matter of proper design and implementation.

                    I find it ironic that one who writes this:

                    [Marx's] revolutionary alternative suggested a "dictatorship of the proletariat" (not a dictatorship of some elite political party claiming to represent the proletariat).  

                    would categorically dismiss the very idea of Cap & Trade due to flaws in previous/current attempts. Both cases would seem to examples of promising ideas made to look bad due to flawed implementations.

                    •  No, it's not. (0+ / 0-)

                      But this does not constitute an argument that no Cap & Trade system could be effective. It's a matter of proper design and implementation.

                      The laws of motion of the global capitalist economic world system practically mandate the creation of "Cap & Trade systems" as public relations gestures of neoliberal "First World economies" in an era in which fossil fuel consumption must go on while abrupt climate change has already passed the point at which disaster could have been prevented.

                      The need for a "Cap & Trade system" is not obvious -- indeed, the obvious measure to take would be a forcible abandonment of the coal mines and the oil wells.  If we wanted to stop consuming fossil fuels, the logic would go, we would stop producing them.  We pass a set of laws which say: maximum production quotas for fossil fuel producers, with increasing severity until fossil fuel production is reduced to zero.

                      But this is too simple for the "Cap & Trade system" advocates.  What they think we need is some kind of cute gimmick to allow the investment bankers on Wall Street to make money; "carbon credits".   This is of course a reflection of their priorities.  Our global Titanic is sinking, all right; let's load all of the rich people onto lifeboats first.  Doing the real math, of course, would oblige the "Cap & Trade system" advocates to recognize that if we are to accept rule by neoliberal politicians and their wealthy sponsors, we will only be able to get cosmetic prohibitions upon fossil-fuel burning, at best.

                      "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

                      by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:00:50 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Engineering the transition (0+ / 0-)

                        I was thinking of using "watch that first step" for the subject line of this comment.

                        We agree on where we need to go-- massive reduction in CO2 generation. The rest of the discussion is about how to get there. How do we get from a lethally dysfunctional market-fundamentalist form of capitalism, to the "conserver" system you advocate? My take is that a journey of a thousand miles will not be accomplished in a single step. So what do the intermediate steps look like? I think it's likely that they will be modifications of capitalism, rather than its complete abandonment.

                        We pass a set of laws which say: maximum production quotas for fossil fuel producers, with increasing severity until fossil fuel production is reduced to zero.

                        The above quote is a description of one essential component of an effective Cap & Trade system. The other components are about allocation of steadily decreasing energy supply from fossil fuel sources, and controlling windfall profits resulting from scarcity.

                        Have you read Peter Barnes' Capitalism 3.0?

                        •  Peter Barnes' Capitalism 3.0 (0+ / 0-)

                          reviewed here --

                          My take is that a journey of a thousand miles will not be accomplished in a single step.

                          It certainly also isn't accomplished by going backward, which is what the world has been doing since, well, since Kyoto.

                          I might also add that the journeys from the Nazi holocaust to the Marshall Plan, and from King Louis XVI to the French Republic, were not accomplished through small, intermediate steps.  Minqi Li (the topic of my most recent diary) points out with great clarity why you're not going to get "modifications of capitalism, rather than its complete abandonment."  If you want to save the world system from its complete disintegration after average global temperatures rise six or seven degrees after the release of the oceans' methane hydrates, you will have to give it a shrinking economy, and such a thing is anathema to capitalism.  The whole point of charging interest on loans is predicated upon assumptions of an expanding economy.

                          The above quote is a description of one essential component of an effective Cap & Trade system.

                          "Cap & Trade" is a consumer-focused approach: you make the consumers jump through hoops before they do what the competitive struggle for accumulation makes them do, and meanwhile the neoliberal financiers can make buckets of money speculating on your "carbon credits."  What I've suggested is a producer-focused approach: you force the producers out of business.  I can think of nothing more anti-capitalist than forcing malignant producers out of business.

                          "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

                          by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:40:23 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'd like to skip the Reign of Terror (0+ / 0-)

                            ... the journeys from the Nazi holocaust to the Marshall Plan, and from King Louis XVI to the French Republic, were not accomplished through small, intermediate steps.  

                            Are you suggesting war and revolution? I'd like to skip that part.

                            Maybe that is the only path to real change, but it strikes me as an uncertain path. For every successful revolution that led to a brighter future, there are a dozen that led nowhere. Crappy odds, and we don't have time to explore false paths. What is certain, however, what they all have had in common, is massive bloodshed.

                            Pragmatically, I don't know whether we could survive such things in this era. We survived them in the past (or at least the survivors did), but then we survived, so far, the Industrial Revolution too. Times are different now.

                            More pragmatism: violent upheaval at this historical moment seems as likely to lead to utter destruction, or backwards into a neo-medieval mode of social organization, as forwards to a more just and perfect future.

                            Incremental change may seem like a proven loser, but I think it's the only chance we got. Times are different now. The reason for the ruling classes to give up some of their wealth and privilege is that it is in their own self-interest to do so. I think that's where we need to push.

                            PS Just read the Minqui Li link. Excellent diary, and props to you for volunteering to help organize the conference. If I lived near LA, I'd try to attend.

                          •  Incrementalism (0+ / 0-)

                            Are you suggesting war and revolution? I'd like to skip that part.

                            What I'm suggesting is that, in a time of compounding disaster, incrementalism is the faith of fools.  From Sing C. Chew's recent book Ecological Futures:

                            Market optimism, regionalization, and globalization policies and practices will be pursued until ecological and natural limits are reached.  The "business as usual" approach will be fostered similar to what we witness in the palace-centered kingship economies that percisted at the end of the Late Bronze Age crisis (the second Dark Age (1200-700 BCE, in other words).  No doubt, as the catastrophes continue to mount as effects of global warming compound and recur, more stringent measures will be implemented to maintain economic, social, and political control. (130)

                            I'd like to skip this future, too.  But it's pretty damn likely to happen anyway.

                            For every successful revolution that led to a brighter future, there are a dozen that led nowhere.

                            Do you think this is all a big throw of the dice?  The Russian Revolution and the French Revolution and the American Revolution turned out like they did out of sheer dumb luck?  Maybe I need to write a diary about the trajectory of historical development or something.  

                            What you have today is the capitalist system, that engine of global "economic development" for the past two-hundred-plus years, crashing and burning against the limits of physical possibility.  Why you think that this situation deserves an incrementalist approach now is beyond me.  You might have had a case forty years ago.

                            violent upheaval at this historical moment seems as likely to lead to utter destruction, or backwards into a neo-medieval mode of social organization, as forwards to a more just and perfect future.

                            Tell it to the neoliberal powers-that-be who are currently screwing the planet.  Violent upheaval is always a response to conditions; nonviolent revolution the choice of champions.

                            The reason for the ruling classes to give up some of their wealth and privilege is that it is in their own self-interest to do so.

                            It's in the self-interest of the ruling class to give the bums a dime and smile for the cameras while doing it.  This is why, btw, you see all of these cosmetic approaches to abrupt climate change dominating the discussion.

                            "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

                            by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:32:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  All too true (0+ / 0-)

                            And now we have huge entities whose very existence depends on keeping those radical changes from happening. Since in our capitalist paradigm the entity with the most money has the loudest voice, it will almost inevitably result in a violent revolution at the point when the masses finally scream louder than the billions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry.

                            And of course the masses get the vast majority of their information from the transnational corporations, so the masses will remain confused about the cause of the problem and the logical target of their ire.

                            The only hope I see is if Obama manages to educate enough Americans to the point to where they will see through the corporate BS, but the state of American critical thinking is poor at best.

                            "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization" - Al Gore

                            by racerx on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 09:30:18 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  and -- (0+ / 0-)

                            thanks for the contribution to my tip jar.

                            "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

                            by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:45:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  I teach a cultural geography class (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cassiodorus

                    and one of the things I have the students read is the Introduction to A Critique of Political Economy.  Every year I ask the students who Karl Marx was, and by far, the most common response is, "He's the guy that invented communism".

                    I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

                    by sneakers563 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:23:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  No to cap and trade - yes to bio-char (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, Visceral, cameoanne

      We need to physically reduce the levels of CO2. The best and last hope for us is bio-char. Convert agricultural waste to carbon and bury it. The out gases can be sold for fuel. It's needs to be done on a massive scale though. That won't happen, therefore we will go to worst case scenario.

      We should rename Earth to Arrakis.

      There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain. - R.D. Laing

      by brenda on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:47:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Biochar (0+ / 0-)

        I'm very intrigued by biochar's potential but lots of research needs to be done. The claims about biochar's potential for improving soil fertility are based on very limited trials. We really don't know how ancient people's used biochar, so we need to develop our own understanding of this locally. Soils differ, and how biochar fits into a specific situation will probably vary.

        We need to be careful that virgin forest is not cut down for biochar as is now being done for charcoal.

    •  Jim Hansen doesn't like Cap & Trade (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue, Cassiodorus, Picot verde

      I spoke to him about it and he thinks it doesn't work either.  He wants a big tax on carbon with 100% of the revenues rebated to citizens on a per capita basis.  To get other countries to follow suit, he would put a carbon tax on imports only if the exporting country doesn't already have a carbon tax.  That way China will institute a carbon tax rather than have the money go to us.

      I like his idea.

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      We should just tax carbon emissions, heavily. Its not like we couldn't use the revenues and its a much more honest way of dealing witht he problem.

      •  Please explain how taxes would guarantee (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        reductions....and how you would get it through a Congress. Reality bites.

        •  Democrats have majorities in both house (0+ / 0-)

          if they want to pass such a bill, they could do it easily.

          Higher prices on anything force conservation. Just as higher gasoline prices led to a sharp reduction in driving last summer, so too would a sharp rise in the price of carbon lead to businesses looking for a way to reduce their use of carbon.

          Instead we are going to use some carbon trading scheme that is failing miserably in Europe and is actually encouraging businesses to pollute.

  •  And -- (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, crystal eyes, leema, dgil, mofembot

    we've known that the IPCC is watered down for at least nearly a year now.  Start reading the primary source data, and then you'll be on your way to writing an original diary.

    "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:42:27 AM PST

  •  I saw Al Gore a week ago (30+ / 0-)

    and his slide show now includes a "flame thrower" scene when a researcher puts a lighter near a hole in the ice. The average citizen doesn't think much about albedo, either, but melting ice is black, not white, and melts faster.

    Good diary. We might consider a series on solutions--big, fast, dramatic ones, not just riding my bike to work (which I'll do today.)

  •  Sequestration (6+ / 0-)

    So far, hasn't worked. Seeding iron into the sea or pumping carbon dioxide into oil wells sounds good, but despite some research nothing working right now.

    •  I will continue to assert (17+ / 0-)

      that society needs to practice stringent conservation rather than trying to sweep our toxic output, literally, under the rug.

      The solution to global warming (yes, let's call it that) starts with reducing the production of excess carbon.

      Sort of like quitting smoking before starting chemotherapy.

      •  I agree BUT (11+ / 0-)

        the situation is far, far more dire than the media have allowed us to discover. In the next decade (if our society isn't to degenerate into natural disasters, war and famine) we not only have to stop spewing out carbon dioxide but figure out effective, fast ways of sequestering what we've already thrown out there.

        I actually object to the term "global warming" since the effects of burning that "ancient sunlight" go so far beyond temperature. The acidification of the ocean (fizzing it up with carbon dioxide) is probably going to be more devastating in the short and long run, since most of our oxygen comes from the photosynthesis we are messing with.

      •  Never gonna happen. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, dark daze

        I've been saying for years that the lifestyle changes required were going to be an impossible sell, and we'd be far better off figuring out a way to get all that carbon out of the air ourselves.  Glad to see people are finallybeginning to come around to that as an option.

        And to use your analogy: if the patient refuses to quit smoking, you don't stop in your efforts to get them to quit, but you certainly don't deny them chemo cause of it.

        Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

        by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:36:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We're going to have to figure sequestration (5+ / 0-)

      out because we ain't gonna do enough to slow output in time. (I'm still waiting for this depression to register on CO2 output. If it doesn't, we have bigger problems than we can ever imagine.)

      "Misery is the river of the world, Everybody row!" - Tom Waits

      by the fan man on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:55:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may make it worse (8+ / 0-)

        because the dip in manufacturing (and closing up the basement at Lehman Brothers where the boys were playing games with oil futures prices) have enabled a dramatic drop in oil prices, and made the careless drivers more careless--reducing pressure for mass transit.

        Every solution must be used--including a tax on gasoline whenever it runs under $3 an hour.

      •  James Lovelock advises bio-char (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Picot verde, Visceral, cameoanne

        We need to physically reduce the levels of CO2. The best and last hope for us is bio-char. Convert agricultural waste to carbon and bury it. The out gases can be sold for fuel. It needs to be done on a massive scale though. That won't happen, therefore we will go to worst case scenario.

        Earth 2.0 - The Desert Planet.

        Inhabitants - 1 billion humans mostly gathered around the former Arctic sea, now tropical waters. All arctic biota have been forced off planet. Aquatic biota consist of mostly scavengers. All top predators except for man are extinct.

        Civilisation - Low level subsistence farming and hunter/gatherer.

        Political Organization - Dictatorships of competing war lords.

        Technology - Pre-agricultural hampered by a lack of raw resources making the rise of a second high tech society impossible.

        There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain. - R.D. Laing

        by brenda on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:02:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Biochar/terra preta (7+ / 0-)

      offer some hope.

      ...it is unfortunate that the opposition to the Democrats in this country now consists entirely of crazy people. - NNadir

      by RunawayRose on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:37:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  wouldn't it be nice to somehow convert all (6+ / 0-)

        the coal power plants into biochar plants and drag the dead trees & stuff there to be disposed of instead of just burning them. And then instead of toxic coal slurry, we'd have carbon sequestering terra preta being produced and each former coal plant would be ringed by highly productive farms. I'm sure it wouldn't produce as much power as the coal, but if we somehow had solar panels on our roofs, geothermal neighborhood systems, and a smart grid that integrated our phev car batteries into our homes, not to mention the wind power and the solar thermal, and even 4th Gen nuclear to dispose of our current stores of nuclear waste, maybe it could just all work out.
        But I'm sure I'm just dreaming, someone will tell me how that will all cost way too much and how for some reason none of that is really workable. And anyway, I probably spend too much time reading blogs.

        "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." ~JFK

        by spiraltn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:01:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If we start seeding iron into the sea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crystal eyes, cameoanne

      we're going to create a whole new set of problems. The technology quick-fixes don't work. We need to reduce our use of fossil fuels.

  •  100 months until we reach tipping point (12+ / 0-)

    The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. - Zeno

    by yellow dog in NJ on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:03:07 AM PST

    •  Make that 94 months (7+ / 0-)

      The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. - Zeno

      by yellow dog in NJ on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:04:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're already past it. (8+ / 0-)

        Count India and China.

        Anybody who can add and multiply should know the score.

        Droogie is as Droogie does....

        by vets74 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:06:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sadly, you may well be correct (13+ / 0-)

          A year or so ago, I had occasion to be talking to a guy whose wife is a top climate change scientist.  I gather that her particular area of specialized expertise is the effect of climate change on soils, and vice-versa.  He said she was extremely pessimistic, because she thought most people were underestimating the effects of melting permafrost, and also because most people were also underestimating the effects of increasing carbon use in India and China.  Even if they never use nearly as much carbon per capita as we do, and even if we reduce ours by 50%, we could still be seeing drastic increases in CO2 for years to come.

          •  Which is why (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DMiller, EdlinUser, vets74, KimD

            We need to take the focus OFF of reducing CO2 emissions and increase the focus on technology to clean the air.

            If you think the American people are going to accept the lifestyle changes required for a 50% drop in CO2 while India and China continue to increase their CO2 output; well, let's just say I don't think you know the American people.

            Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

            by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:40:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  exactly WHAT technology (5+ / 0-)

              do we have to clean the earth, air and water on that scale?

              You can't. Trees can but take decades if not centuries.

              •  And imagine (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Prognosticator, vets74

                what technology we WOULD have had if we had accepted human nature from the get go and taken all that time, energy and money we wasted on trying to (futilely) get conservation laws imposed and plowed it into technology instead.

                We need to get serious, and start a Manhattan Project for cleaning the air,earth and water on a global scale- while there's still time- instead of focusing on laws that, even if we get them passed (which is a HUGE if), will affect only the United States.

                No, the only way we get out of the Global Warming pit we're in, and I concede we may not, is going to be to invent technology to get us out of it.

                The faster that becomes the paradigm, the better, IMO.

                Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:07:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

                  I think technology got us into this mess and probably can't get us out. It's like trying to get out of a hole with a shovel. What you need is a ladder.

                  My fear is exactly what WILL happen - not maybe, will. Some well meaning idiot will do something stupid and mess things up even more. What we need are artificial methods to imitate and speed up the cleansing processes inherent in our planet... DannyM presents some good alternatives below - including two I haven't heard of. (Artificial trees? That sounds like something out of SimEarth.)

                  •  And exactly how (0+ / 0-)

                    are "artificial methods to imitate and speed up the cleansing processes inherent in our planet" not technology?

                    You're arguing for a distinction without a difference.

                    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                    by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:44:37 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you for your polite question. (0+ / 0-)

                      Planting more trees, for example, involves no technology, but cleans the atmosphere and is artificial to the extent that we're not wandering through forests and dropping seeds off our matted hides. (Also a great way to create jobs... reforestation.)

                      This is in contrast to, say, a suggestion below to install carbon dioxide absorbers, which create additional pollution both during the manufacturing process and afterwards.

                      My fear, in case you haven't sussed it out, is that people become so obsessed with technological solutions that they fail to realize technology and production themselves are part of the problem.

                      •  You raise a fair point. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        joseph rainmound

                        Not one that I agree with, mind you, but still.

                        I would argue first that technology and production are not part of the problem or the solution , but like most things, what they are (problem or solution) varies upon how they are used. It's all in the application.

                        And second of all, I firmly believe that the merits of using said technology far outweigh the drawbacks, though I have no objective proof of that.

                        Finally, by all means, lets do both. I merely suggest that we do not have the time or the will of the populace to do it the long way (reforestation, etc), and that at least for now, the short way will meet both with more success and less outcry.

                        Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                        by Whimsical on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:18:41 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

                          And we've seen what shortcuts do to the planet and the people living on it.

                          I love technology and use it daily. I'd probably have been killed without it. I understand your faith in its benefits. But technology is a weapon wielded by the populace. If the populace has no will, and can barely lift the weapon, they're more than likely to hurt themselves with it.

                          OTOH, I recall a woman on this site who shared with me a story about a day in Australia when she went up to and warned newly-arrived tourists that they needed to sunblock their children. Unfortunately, this kind lady was beaten and told to "Leave their family alone," as though her warning was some sort of threat. She sat healing on the sidelines two hours later when the children were taken to the hospital with dangerous burns. She remarked they'd probably have cancer, the whole family.

                          •  We'll have to agree to disagree, I suppose (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joseph rainmound

                            An analogy:

                            We are both Doctors treating a patient who has cancer.  You are for treating it solely with chemotherapy, because you are afraid of what else might be damaged by radical surgery.  I believe the patient is so far gone that chemo will not cure things in time and the patient will die; not to mention that chemo will have side effects that the patient will not be willing to put up with.

                            I am for radical surgery to both remove most of the tumor and to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy to a point where the patient will tolerate them.

                            Sound about right?

                            Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                            by Whimsical on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 07:22:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Doctors aren't allowed to treat themselves. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Whimsical

                            In this case, we're all the patient.

                            I think a better comparison would be that I'd be advocating treating the patient with immunotherapy and holistic methods, including diet, nutrition and exercise. The goal would be to induce the body's immune system to generate a response on its own. I don't want to use chemotherapy or surgery because chemotherapy has been shown to do as much harm as good, and surgery, depending on how bad the cancer is (this one's bad) could be potentially life threatening. I'm trying to get the body to heal itself.

                            You are advocating untested surgical and chemical solutions which may or may not work, and which may kill the patient in the process. You don't know, but you're guessing this will lessen the side effects and remove most of the tumor. (We can't exactly experiment on another Earth, unless quantum technology has created wormholes to parallel universes lately...)

                            I admit I'm no longer sure the Earth can heal itself. I AM sure we haven't done a good job of proving we can pinch-hit.

                          •  But there's really no other option, I think (0+ / 0-)

                            Either the Earth heals itself, we pinch-hit and heal it or, well, we do nothing and die; which I suppose makes that the third option.

                            I'd like to avoid option 3 at (nearly) all costs, and really don't think the prospects for humanity's survival as a civilization/species are more than microscopically improved if we go with option 1; especially given that you will not get people to accept the necessary lifestyle changes until it's far too late.

                            At this point, I'd put the odds of our survival like so:

                            Option 1: 10%
                            Option 2: 50%
                            Option 3: 0%

                            In the end, I guess it comes down to this: History has always been a race between knowledge and extinction- technology has helped us win that race since before the days of Thomas Malthus(who was the earliest forecaster of doom I could recall), and I simply cannot shake the notion that it would be foolish to bet against technology now.

                            I understand why you think differently, and certainly have no problem trying both approaches but I have read nothing that indicates to me that we have the time (or the will of the populace) to proceed only the slow way.

                            Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                            by Whimsical on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 05:15:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Some Geo-engineering approaches (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Whimsical
                1.  Biochar is simply heating organic material without oxygen (a process know as pyrolysis).  This is how we have been making charcoal for a long time.  This turns the organic material into solid carbon instead of CO2.  You can then sprinkle it on the ground (it acts as a soil stabilizer).
                1.  Seed the deep ocean with iron phosphate to spur the growth of algae that eat CO2 then die and sink to the bottom where they stay for ~1000 years.  A fleet of ships can remove many gigatons of CO2 this way.
                1.  Put sulphates (smoke) in the upper atmosphere over the poles to reduce sunlight and prevent the Arctic, Antarctic, and Greenland from melting.  This has really bad side effects (like stopping the rain in India) and we are really screwed if we do it for a while then stop before reducing CO2 by other means.  But this may be a desperate last resort.
                1.  Provide incentives to people in developing countries to reforest their lands.  This can also have good social side effects.  Check out Climate Healers.
                1.  Build machines (sometimes called "artificial trees") that directly remove CO2 from the air and convert to inert solid form (e.g., limestone).  These can't use too much energy or you're not really helping things!

                I'm not recommending that we implement these.  However, I am recommending that we start big research programs on these and other approached right now.

                •  Energy for the "artificial trees" (0+ / 0-)

                  Those "trees" should be planted in the desert and hooked up to concentrated solar powerplants. Plenty of power, cheap land, little or no NIMBYs.

                  I think the only thing holding us back is the lack of leadership we have. That and the fact that fossil fuel industries are spewing more misleading information than the cigarette companies ever did.

                  "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization" - Al Gore

                  by racerx on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 06:54:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  rec that comment ! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vets74, KimD

          People continue to forget that India and China will overtake the US in carbon emissions in the very near future.

          Just remember, Mother Nature bats last.

          •  Yes, but historical and per capita contribution (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vets74, iceweasel

            of China and India are much less.   Americans need to understand this, since they agreed to ask first, along with the other OECD countries, in the Framework Convention on Climate Change.  

          •  On total CO2 emissions,China has, but India won't (0+ / 0-)

            China has already overtaken the US in total CO2 emissions a year ago. India's total CO2 emissions are only about 20% of the US and China levels:

            List of countries
            by emissions (in thousands of metric tons)
            2004

            Rank  Country	     Annual CO2 emisions  % of total emissions
            
            1. China and Taiwan  7,010,170	     24.4 % 
            2. United States     6,049,435	     22.2 %
            -  European Union    4,001,222	     14.7 %
            3. Russia	     1,524,993	      5.6 %
            4. India	     1,342,962	      4.9 %
            

            since India is unlikely to quadruple their consumption at any time in the next 50-100 years (while the US and China are also likely to increase their total emission, unless drastic action is taken to reverse the trends), India is not likely to EVER catch up with China or the US in total emissions.

            In terms of per-capita emissions, India's emissions rank way below the US, and only a third of China's as you will find in my comment just below.

        •  India's per-capita CO2 level is low compared to (0+ / 0-)

          China, and extremely low compared to the US:

          UNDP Report
          CO2 emissions per capita (tonnes)

          Country 	 1990		2004
          
          United States	 19.3		 20.6
          China		 2.1		 3.8
          India		 0.8		 1.2
          

          Therefore, in 2004

          US per capita CO2 emissions were over 17x that of India's
          China per capita CO2 emissions were over 3x that of India's.

          If the US can drop to 7 or 8 tonnes per person per annum (a decent target for a developed country) and China can drop down by a half, both the US and China would still be producing a lot more CO2 per capita than the Indians do.

          India should therefore be not included in this list of "there are doing it too" countries when it comes to CO2 production. Such an inclusion is not only inaccurate but also gives China and the US a fake excuse to avoid doing their share towards curbing global warming.

          This doesn't mean that India shouldn't do its part in whatever way it can (there, indeed, are a lot of active and in-production projects in India towards solar, bio and other forms of energy), but if the entire world dropped it's CO2 emissions levels down to India's level, there would not be a climate crisis (and, I believe, the earth  would then be entering a cooling phase, following it's usual ice age cycles)!

          Hope the diarist makes note of this.

    •  wrong/right (0+ / 0-)

      It may be less than 100 months until we reach the climate tipping point.

      However, civilization will go under this summer.

      Once we are unable to produce and transport food regularly, the chaos - in the short term - will make global warming look almost quaint.

      Until THAT catches up with us.

  •  Why did people stop calling it Global (6+ / 0-)

    Warming? Climate Change "sounds" like a natural process. I wonder who made the switch?

    Deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king.

    by Milton Fine on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:14:15 AM PST

    •  Wingnuts. (5+ / 0-)

      Sort of like "death tax". That lie still persists.

      They tried "homicide bombers" for a while, but that bit of wingnutspeak, fortunately, "bombed".

      •  No (15+ / 0-)

        Scientists have used both terms for some time. Climate change is a more general description of the many effects an increase in global surface temperatures will have. "Warming" sounds pleasant (at least to those of us in northern latitudes) but climate change encompasses all aspects of climate - changes in precipitation, prevailing wind patterns, sea surface temperature anomalies, currents, and more.

        Math Kos runs Saturdays at midday-ish.

        by kyril on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:26:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DelRPCV, blue in NC, jemjo

          scientific aspect of it, but others who might be iffy about the subject, might see "climate change" as an agenda and not as science. While, global warming, has a more human effect to it. From a P/R point of view, the word "climate change" does not sounds as serious as global warming. If I was just some guy who didn't know any aspect of it, the word itself, would not warrant much attention. And in the word of today, where the wrong word can make or break a person or ideology, I think the media and scientific community should start using the word "Global warming" more often.

          Deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king.

          by Milton Fine on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:37:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, "climate change" (6+ / 0-)

            conjures up images of "it was chilly yesterday, the sun came out and it was nice, warm T-shirt weather today".

            Warm fuzzies.

            If wingnut of all wingnuts Frank Luntz is promoting the use of "climate change" for political reasons, then we - even in the scientific community - need to sit up and take notice.

            I'm not advocating using scientifically incorrect terms. But I am advocating being extremely aware of the Rethugs' superior ability to distort the message, an ability not shared by most Democrats and most scientists.

            •  "superior ability" (0+ / 0-)

              =increased mendacity.

            •  climate change is better (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tacet, kyril

              I teach environmental sociology to pre-sociological and non-environmental general education students in my intro classes - most of the time, what I teach them is all they are going to get in their four years in college.  The vast majority of them experienced the snowy and cold Dec. and Jan. here in Michigan as a refutation of global warming.

              I know, I know, we're a scientifically illiterate populace and we're prone to conflating local and anecdotal experience with both scientific data and global processes... but I've run into this for more than a decade.

              Climate change means, as someone suggested above, more extreme climatic events... and all of my students have been experiencing more extreme climatic events.  If their local and anecdotal experience coincides with climate change but not global warming, I say we go with what works.

        •  Climate crisis (31+ / 0-)

          This is the term I use simply because crisis implies volatility and we've been seeing PLENTY of volatility around the globe, extremes in both directions.

          I think "climate crisis" is the best term for describing all of this.

          "I love you back." - Barack Obama

          by jbalazs on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:38:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You ane not incorrect, but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DelRPCV, marina, LaughingPlanet

          the shift in terminology definitely has political origins.

          Erika Bolstad of McClatchy provides an excellent historical, scientific, and semantic analysis (emphasis added).

          " 'Global warming' gets people's attention more," said Frank O'Donnell, the president of Clean Air Watch, a nonpartisan advocacy group based in Washington. " 'Climate change' is softer. It's why General Motors says 'climate change' and why the Sierra Club uses 'global warming.' "

          Republicans abandoned the phrase "global warming" and started using "climate change" in 2002 after a memo from political consultant Frank Luntz. His advice, aimed at giving Republicans strong language to dominate the debate on environmental issues, served to politicize the terms.

          "Climate change" has evolved into the preferred Republican term when political leaders talk about the effect of greenhouse gases. Democrats and many environmentalists continue to use "global warming."

          However, to concur with what the commenter says:

          While Republicans may have been deliberate about making "climate change" part of their political vocabulary, it's also become the preferred scientific parlance.

          "The reason it's important to say 'climate change' is because it's an all-encompassing term," said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental advocacy group. "In a way, it's an evolution of our understanding. It also reflects the evolution of the scientific evidence. Scientists are confident enough to say this is unequivocal."

          But there is little doubt that wingnuts prefer "Climate Change", for various semantic and "spin" reasons.

          •  On the plus side (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ebohlman, kyril, KimD

            "climate change"  takes away their incessant talking point "such and such city had a record cold snap".  Invariably some repub pipes up every time there is a cool temperature somewhere.

          •  Larger Term (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rita in DC, kyril

            What the Climate Change framework allows discussion for is larger than Global Warming.  It is far easier to link drought, deluge, hurricanes, shrinking glaciers, dry summer rivers, and sea level rise into Climate Change than Global Warming.  Global Warming is too small a term for what we face.

            If the wingnuts want to cling to climate change (because they feel safer in positioning that term as a natural trend) it will come back to bite them in the end.

      •  See: (4+ / 0-)

        here (actual climate scientist) and here (another) for evidence of actual non-wingnut scientists who use and prefer the term 'climate change.'

        Math Kos runs Saturdays at midday-ish.

        by kyril on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:32:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  climate change (9+ / 0-)

      I actually prefer climate change. Wingnuts mock global warming when it snows, like cold weather is proof global warming is not happening. Climate change/global warming causes unusual freezing temps and rain so calling it climate change more accurately describes it.

      •  In an ideal world, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DelRPCV, Sychotic1, marina

        the entire public would be scientifically literate and would understand the subtleties.

        We treat people as if we're living in an ideal world and everybody's a PhD in a scientific field.

        The rethugs, OTOH, are well aware of the nation's scientific illiteracy, and they know how to distort the truth, selectively misuse terminology, use semantics and spin to conceal information and, in short, control the message.

        We need to match the message to the recipient if we want to have any hope of controlling the message as well as the Rethugs do.

      •  Human Caused Climate Change (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, marina

        moderation in everything ... including moderation

        by C Barr on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:10:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  International Panel on Climate Change (0+ / 0-)

      The IPCC issued its first report in 1990.  

      Global Warming was more of a media creation.  The scientific community usually uses Climate Change.  

      Global Warming actually understates the potential impact.  Changing the temperature a few degrees is bad.  Changing global precipitation patterns is catastrophic.  Changing prevailing winds and ocean currents could be worse than that.

      •  both are stupid (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VincaMajor

        the phrase needed was something like " Climate instability"  we are creating an unstable climate.

        Its the storms and the the droughts, and the heat waves and the ice etc that will cause the problems.  Noone gives a fuck if philadelphia becomes like South carolina, actually to most of us, that sounds nice.  So of course we dont care when its phrased global warming... most of us are running our heat 7 months a year.

        (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

        by dark daze on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:01:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  GW to Climate Change (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GMary

      Thank you for pointing this out.  A few years ago, it was called a Global Warming Crisis, as Al "Hollywood" Gore pointed out.

      Now, because the stats simply can't prove that the earth is warming, the alarmists have now called it "Climate change". So if the earth gets warmer, it's a crisis.  If it gets colder, it's a crisis.

      Before you get me wrong, I am all for reducing the pollutants that we produce, but they are not causing the climate to change.  The climate is always changing, and this is just an excuse for a special interests group to grab some cash.

      Like Blackwater changing it's name to Xe, this is simply a rebranding.

      •  are you serious? Or do you (0+ / 0-)

        like to just make stuff up?

        The earth is not getting warmer?

        Who benefits from taking steps against emissions?  Do they benefit more than the oil and coal companies benefit from inaction?  That is the important question. Who is denying the science and why?

  •  Be careful... (10+ / 0-)

    George Will is comin' to getcha...

    and he has all the facts!

    (Just ask all the "sources" he deliberately misrepresents).

  •  More... (12+ / 0-)

    Ocean Less Effective At Absorbing Carbon Dioxide Emitted By Human Activity

    In the Southern Indian Ocean, climate change is leading to stronger winds, which mix waters, bringing CO2 up from the ocean depths to the surface. This is the conclusion of researchers who have studied the latest field measurements carried out by CNRS's INSU, IPEV and IPSL. As a result, the Southern Ocean can no longer absorb as much atmospheric CO2 as before. Its role as a 'carbon sink' has been weakened, and it may now be ten times less efficient than previously estimated. The same trend can be observed at high latitudes in the North Atlantic.

    Glaciers In China And Tibet Fading Fast

    Glaciers that serve as water sources to one of the most ecologically diverse alpine communities on earth are melting at an alarming rate, according to a recent report.

    "I love you back." - Barack Obama

    by jbalazs on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:53:54 AM PST

  •  I always wondered about terraforming (9+ / 0-)

    If it was possible to change the entire climate of a planet to suit the needs of humanity.

    Well...

    Looks like we are geniuses at it.

    Way to go, geniuses.

  •  I think we need a Manhattan Project (12+ / 0-)

    or perhaps two:

    1. To investigate and develop all forms of alternative energy.  Per Scientific American, with current technology there is enough of each of the following to supply the entire current energy use of the world:  Solar, wind, and geothermal.

    (this doesn't seem to be on their website, but it's on p. 24 of the latest issue).

    1. To get rid of climate change gasses in the atmosphere.
  •  Was told, nicely, I was wrong in 2005 (4+ / 0-)

    with a warming forecast similar in magnitude.

    Perhaps my modeling is still off. But I've never felt comfortable with the incrementalism of the published forecasts.

    If you are going to warn someone that the house is one fire, doing remark on the lit match. Point out the ignited a pool of gasoline.

    For a more recent project How We Respond to Global Warming - Three Futures

    Don't read them if you're easily upset.

  •  Nobody ever mentions: (14+ / 0-)

    Decrease the population.  I don't mean war or genocide.  I mean a worldwide effort to breed less.  A smaller population of humans is the ONLY thing that's going to stop this problem.

    "Oh, your god!" -- Bender

    by Myrrander on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:13:56 AM PST

    •  Overpopulation is one of, if not THE (8+ / 0-)

      root cause of our problems. We have long since outgrown the planet's carrying capacity for our species. Just maintaining our current population level is coming at the mortal expense of other living things every single day. But we have shown ourselves pretty much incapable of controlling our reproduction, so alas, nature and our own violent proclivities are sure the hell going to do it for us, dammitall.

      Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

      by mofembot on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:19:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, (6+ / 0-)

        we don't know what the carrying capacity of our planet is for our species. I think that all 6 billion of us could live healthy lives if resources were not wasted, if we realized that food is sacred, and if people stopped getting their land taken away by big agro, oil, mining, forestry, dam building,etc....

        •  That assumes (7+ / 0-)

          ..we stop acting like human beings! It's very hard to do in reality. Greed and waste seem to be integral to our nature. I would speculate that we evolved as nomadic creatures who moved into virgin environments, vigorously defended them against outsiders while stripping the area's resources -- then moving on to a new location. This worked when there were only small numbers of people--the degraded areas could recover before they were once again inhabited by bands of humans and the world was large enough that the bands of humans could disperse without destroying each other. Now we have to seriously work out changing our nature--evolving our species.

          •  Greed and waste (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Menehune

            may be integral to our nature, but so are honesty and fairness. It depends on which we nurture. Just as important, we need to reform the structures which encourage this waste and greed to flourish - the economic structure, governance structures, healthcare structure, etc... We also need respect for human rights. Most of those who are starving in slums around the world, were not starving until they were forced off of their land and had to migrate to the cities.

            I think that different people evolved in different landscapes and, for the most part, they did not strip their homelands of their resources. They actually developed ways of living that were based on reciprocity with their ecosystems and allowed them to live sustainably. Now I agree that the ballooning global population is a problem, but I think that with good systems, fair trade, respect for peoples rights to lands and resources, etc.. this Earth can feed a hell of a lot of people.

        •  are you suggesting that the current population (0+ / 0-)

          given its current geographical distribution could live on locally produced food and products without an energy-intensive power and agricultural grid?

          Subsistence farming and hunter/gathering cannot work on the scale of the current global population.

    •  If there was one spot (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tacet, Myrrander, G2geek, marina, KimD

      where I could go back and selectively edit the Bible, it would be that "be fruitful and multiply" part. I might tweak that "dominion over all creatures" language too.

    •  if we had spent the post WWII era working (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Myrrander, Ice Blue

      assiduously, not to find new reasons for conflict and weapons expenditures, but doing three things:

      a. using antibiotics to exterminate certain really nasty microbes
      b. reducing reproduction rates
      c. developing renewable energy

      think what a world we would live in.

      and think about that, whenever you hear somebody use the phrase "us and them". because almost always, when somebody says that, i understand it differently than does the utterer.

      I don't know what to say.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:48:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  why a.? (0+ / 0-)

        "using antibiotics to exterminate certain really nasty microbes"

        Really, think about it .. why?

        It's nature, these 'nasty microbes'.

        I submit that the nasty microbes were mother Earth's way of telling us "there's too damn many of you".

        Think about that, for a moment in perspective.

        I'm not a Luddite: but antibiotics is our way of  cheating nature of it's right to 'cull the herd'. It is part of the problem of overpopulation.

        We misuse antibiotics to make animals into mass meat machines, we misuse them in our ignorance to 'cure the sick' too many times, and are in danger of creating microbes that no antibiotic can stop.

        Signs are already here, it may be microbes that will finally cull our herd. In horrible, nasty and world changing ways.

        •  you may not be a luddite, but nature has/had no (0+ / 0-)

          mechanism for dealing with a human population that is so highly mobile. which means every microbe infects every population, rather than just being a sorrow and misery in one population.

          barring some breakthroughs, we've clearly blown it with antibiotics. but if we'd adopted a take-no-prisoners approach back in the fifties, i believe we could have eradicated some pretty unpleasant characters, like gonorrhea, chlamydia and TB. the purely economic costs (nevermind the cost in suffering) of these diseases would have warranted the costs of exterminating them. now we've got antibiotic resistant forms. they aren't going to cull the herd. they're just going to put a huge burden on the herd. for all the remainder of human history.

          I don't know what to say.

          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:24:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I get what you are saying, but surprisingly (0+ / 0-)

            most bacterial infections are NOT vector driven by travel: bacteria have existed with man since the beginning, pretty much everywhere. You have bacteria - if you didn't, you'd be a very very sick person. We effectively need bacteria in our gut to live, and always have.

            Much of the bacteria we deal with has existed in the soil forever, and it's part of natures way of breaking down what was once living. It's ubiquitous, and I really don't think the issues with bacterial infections [which are the ONLY things antibiotics should be used against] vary from different places in the world all that much.  

            Now, of course you may be more likely get a bacterial infection in a less clean place - but the bacteria that cause the illness are present everywhere. You don't need to travel to get an E.Coli or shigella bacterial infection.

            We have concentrated a tremendous amount of money & resources on antibiotics, and have grossly overused them.

            Darwin is waiting, about every 20 minutes to give another boost to immunity on these creatures.

            NOW .. viruses and parasites are another matter: viral epidemiology operates withing a totally different set of rules than that of typical bacterial vectors. There are some exceptions, I'll grant you that, but overall it's not bacteria that is vector driven by human travel, it's viruses.

            And antibiotics don't work against viruses.

            •  by way of an example, chlamydia trachomatis (0+ / 0-)

              does not exist in the soil. it exists only within human cells. (yes, that's right: within.) if you exterminated it within a given human population, that would be it: C. trachomatis, gone. until, that is, someone flew into town and started spreading it around again. or stepped off a boat and started spreading it around again.

              similarly, N. Gonorrheae are not hanging out in your garden, or under your dog's toenails, or on a rusty nail. they're pretty much limited to existing in/on/about human mucous membranes. we could have completely stomped them out, once upon a time. now, it is hopeless -- any community that managed to rid itself of the little bastards can be assured that they would return, and the only drugs that would really take them out are expensive, unpleasant, and difficult to administer.

              somewhere along the line, each of these organisms made whatever evolutionary leap was necessary for them to infect a human host. and slowly but surely, they spread from one human population to another. eventually, with boats and airplanes, they found their way into pretty much every human population on earth. but it's pretty recent news, even in the time scale of civilization, nevermind evolution.

              I don't know what to say.

              by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:12:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  all quite true .. those are the exceptions. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                UntimelyRippd

                meanwhile, overuse of antibiotics is making even more common bacteria resistant, like staph.

                Beta-lactamase resistance of staph rules out a whole class of antibiotics, and we're starting run out of alternative methods to keep it from killing the host.

                God help us if any one the ones you cite get this point.

                •  your prayer is quite to the point. (0+ / 0-)

                  once upon a time, bacteria that killed the host weren't likely to get out of a small, local population -- at least, not unless they killed the host very, very slowly, e.g., tuberculosis or syphilis. but nowadays, they're almost guaranteed to spread themselves around, unless they kill the host very, very quickly. imagine, for example, a strep strain that kills children, maybe 2 weeks after infection, and does not respond to most antibiotics. 5 or 10% of the schoolchildren in a suburban school might be infected and doomed before anyone knew what was happening. (something most people don't know is that most MRSA strains aren't virulent enough to kill you -- so the docs have time to figure out that you need vancomycin or such. it's when you combine the virulence genes with the resistance genes that you get into serious trouble.)

                  I don't know what to say.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:26:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed... and then comes the question... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, Myrrander, Ice Blue

      "How?"  

      Keyword search "birth rate by country" and click the Wikipedia link, and look down the list.

      Most of the reckless reproduction is going on in countries where women are property.

      Equality for women plus access to contraceptives, causes the birth rate to drop by half.  

      This should be in our foreign policy: diplomatic and economic sanctions against any country that does not immediately provide full legal, cultural, and educational equality for women and universal access to all means of contraception, which we will subsidize if need be.

      And for the wealthy nations (that means us), a China-style one child per family law, since each American consumes on average as much as 20 people in China or India.  One American child = 10 Indian or Chinese children.  Therefor no justification whatsoever for not enacting strict reproductive limits here.  

      And no sooner does one mention any of the above, when up go the screams of "fascism!" from those who are more concerned with propagating their precious individual genes than with the fact that if we keep going down the present path we are headed for the end of human genes on planet Earth altogether.    

      •  One example of "developed" country (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        impacts:  An estimated 18 to 27 BILLION disposable diapers end up in US landfills annually.  So you've got not ONLY the sewage (which landfills aren't designed to handle) but the plastic "crap", too...

        And you're right,"no sooner does one mention any of the above when up go the screams of "fascism"..."  People need to seriously re-think this reaction, in light of the current dire situation.

        •  about those diapers.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prognosticator

          They should basically only be allowed to be dispensed by diaper services, as part of a contract for laundering cloth diapers: most of your weekly diapers are cloth, and 10% are disposable for use while taking the baby outside the home e.g. on a grocery run.  Or outlaw the damn things entirely and give people reusable plastic bags for when out of the home (to store used diapers).  And diaper services can use electric delivery vans, ultimately powered by renewables & nuclear.  (Bulk laundering of cloth diapers is more sanitary than can be achieved in the home, and more energy-efficient as well; think of a washing machine that holds a 100-lb load and uses boiling water for the sanitize cycle.)  

          As for fascism, my personal nightmare scenario involves all single people being herded up and stuffed into "dormitories."  Yet another good reason to keep my tech skills sharp and keep reducing ecological footprint.  

      •  How, indeed... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        Because inevitably any sort of reproductive policy invokes just what you're talking about -- cries of fascism, invocation of Godwin's Law, and talk of eugenics.

        We've got Manifest Destiny in our cultural DNA and there is no good "how."  But reality is harsh, so our solutions must be harsh.

        We talk about carbon offsets -- I will personally sell my one child allotment to anyone who wants it, as I do not have, nor plan to have, children.  I'm only half-snark here.

        "Oh, your god!" -- Bender

        by Myrrander on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:28:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  any sort of reproductive policy... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Myrrander

          What we have right now is a policy that favors dysgenics:  short-sighted and selfish people multiply like mice, farsighted & altruistic people have fewer kids, and so we go down the spiral of stupidity, back to the caves.  

          But there are some useful places to start, such as:

          Child tax credit is tripled for the first child.  Zeroed out for the second child. And at #3 and beyond, an exponentially increasing tax to represent the impact of exponential population growth.  

          You & I could auction our Kid Credit via Ebay or any other public or private site.  Think of it as "cap & trade" :-)

          Pay people $1,000 on the spot when they get spayed or neutered.  "Get a vasectomy, have a second honeymoon!"   And also, their names get entered in a yearly lottery with top prize of $2 million, a couple of second prizes of $1 million, and a bunch of other prizes ranging from $100k down to $1k.  Each year.  Though you could only win a $2m or $1m prize once in a lifetime, since you could live off the interest for the rest of your life.  

          Also, sterilize anyone convicted of a crime of force or fraud, after their appeals have been exhausted.  And these people do not get entered into the yearly lottery.    

          As for people being so concerned about their precious personal DNA: humans share over 99% of their genes with chimps and bonobos, so the differences between nationalities and between individuals are infinitesimal to the point of meaningless.  Especially compared to the threat of no human DNA after we extinct ourselves.  

          I would say that people who are fanatical about their own personal genes ought to be the first ones lined up at the spay & neuter clinic, willing or not, because DNA chauvinism or personal DNA Manifest Destiny (excellent phrase there) is a trait we can't tolerate any longer.  But that's just opinion, not a policy proposal:-)

          And the thing that would really save the world, is a male birth control pill that drops the sperm count to infertile levels but gives men the multiple-orgasmic capability of women.  That would catch on so fast it would leave the Popes and Mullahs scratching their heads wondering what happened.  I'm deadly serious about this.  Contraception combined with sexual enhancement in one pill.  Instant winner for individuals and for the world.  

          •  Okay man (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            I have to admit I was too timid to say nearly everything you just did.  Having read it now, I feel a bit guilty for my timidity.

            I wish I could rec this comment 1000x.

            "Oh, your god!" -- Bender

            by Myrrander on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:58:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's OK, it has to start somewhere. (0+ / 0-)

              I've already taken the hits for saying it, and I've adjusted the policies and wording so they don't push most peoples' hot buttons.  

              Oh, one more thing to add...

              In nature, if an animal is sick or injured, it typically dies and gets taken out of the gene pool.  

              Therefore:  Any human who has a life-saving medical intervention (or for that matter any use of surgery, since nature doesn't do surgery) also gets sterilized.  We want to be compassionate and keep people alive rather than letting them die.  However, we can't keep thwarting natural selection by letting people reproduce who would not have done so in nature.  And that's how natural selection works: it's not "fair" or "unfair," it's just random and impersonal.  

    •  Agreed, as well as changing our culture in the (0+ / 0-)

      way we look at what is valuable. Materialism is what really accelerated here, in the 1950s to the 1970s .. and it exploded in an orgasm of greed in the 1980s.

      It's got to be stopped.

  •  Take a look at the map of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, G2geek, marina, FarWestGirl

    Northern Canada and Siberia if you want to get an idea of the scale of the permafrost methane release problem.

    I really am of the view that humankind does not have time to fool around with recessions, depressions or military spending. We should be going flat out investing everything we have in energy efficiency, alternative energy, transit and more compact, mixed use, transit friendly cities.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:39:28 AM PST

  •  Blocking incoming light? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frostieb, Notreadytobenice

    Are we talking Mr. Burns-style, or more like in The Matrix?

    "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

    by McWaffle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:46:41 AM PST

    •  Calling upon engineers to solve global warming,,, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, marina

      may not be a bad idea. Let's go "All-In"
      and increase particulates in the atmosphere.
      Giant nuclear plants powering giant dust machines.
      That should cool us down to the Little Ice Age.

      When we decide that was a bad idea,
      we remove Central America and connect the Pacific/Atlantic thermocycles.
      From Wiki:
      "The closing of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago may have ushered in the present period of strong glaciation over North America by ending the exchange of water between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific Oceans"
      Wiki

      •  there's one small problem with blocking light. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calfacon

        we need it to grow food.

        funny how people overlook that, in their rush to "engineer" our way out of this mess.

        I don't know what to say.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:50:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, please. (0+ / 0-)

          Reproducing natural sunlight is easy.  We'd have to rig up lighting systems for fields, sure, but the idea that we'd be UNABLE to grow food if we blocked sunlight is laughable.

          Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

          by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:54:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes, because electrically generated light is free (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prognosticator, lemming22

            and abundant, and has no environmental negatives. i forgot. silly of me.

            I don't know what to say.

            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:15:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I never said (0+ / 0-)

              it was perfect, merely that it was doable.

              But hey, if you're determined to continue in the grand liberal tradition of letting the perfect being the enemy of the good, knock yourself out.

              Or maybe I'm being too harsh- I assumed you were being sarcastic when you said it was a small problem; so I pointed out in fact, how small a problem it actually is.

              Perhaps you were being literal; in which case my apologies.

              Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

              by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:53:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  i don't think it IS doable. (0+ / 0-)

                my intuition is that trying to generate electric light in order to grow our crops in order to make up for the sunlight that we are blocking out of the atmosphere in order to prevent ourselves from overheating is not going to work. i don't think it's exactly purity trolling to suggest that a plan that depends on redirecting our dwindling energy resources into a not very-efficient chain of fuel-to-heat-to-electricity-to-light-to-photosynthesis-to-sugar-to-carbohydrate is seriously questionable.

                i'm willing to admit that a fullscale analysis might indicate that somehow we could:

                a. find the necessary energy
                b. efficiently convert the necessary energy into light, and then into food
                b.2 do that conversion efficiently enough that the waste heat of generating the light doesn't cancel out a substantial part of whatever we gained by blocking out part of the sun.
                c. not completely fuck up the biosphere in the process.

                but i don't think it's very likely. in fact, i don't think we'd even try. instead, we'd come up with some other means for synthesizing calories, probably directly from coal. enjoy your shake.

                I don't know what to say.

                by UntimelyRippd on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:15:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My sister has Seasonal Affective Disorder (0+ / 0-)

                  You know what the cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is?

                  Its to sit in front of a special type of light bulb which mimics sunlight exactly for a couple of hours every given day.

                  If it works for humans, it should work for plants. As far as I'm concerned the hard parts already done.  

                  So and and b on your list are covered. b2 is doable, I believe; we're already working on green energy.  c is just ridiculous- we've already fucked up the biosphere and you're talking down one of the few ways to save it because "it'll fuck up the biosphere".  Peddle that doom and gloom somewhere else, we're all stocked up here.

                  Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                  by Whimsical on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:10:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Oh and (0+ / 0-)

                  As long as my shake tastes like steak (even if you have to jack me into A VR gig a la The Matrix to make it work), bring it on.

                  Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                  by Whimsical on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:11:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not trying to deny the problem (0+ / 0-)

      just saying that blocking sunlight is more of a supervillain plot than an actual plan.  Obviously climate change is a huge problem, but we need to keep our plans actionable and relevant.  We might as well call for building a gigantic rocket booster to get Earth further from the sun.

      "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

      by McWaffle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:10:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Surely, You Jest - (8+ / 1-)

    At a time when real incomes in much of the world have been halved because of the world financial crisis, you are suggesting phasing out coal?  I have news for you - whether people view the climate crisis as immediate or as distant, few will opt to pay double for energy with half an income.  Not will politicians choose to subsidize expensive alternatives when current coal-fired plants are operable.  We do not live in an era of limitless money - nor did we before the financial meltdown, a fact few Wall Street gurus acknowledged.

    The "forcing" you talk of remains highly problematic - consider the British Met's prediction of a much warmer than normal winter this year.  

    The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average. It is also likely that the coming winter will be drier than last year. ...
    The forecast of another mild winter across the UK has been welcomed by Help the Aged, who work with other agencies to support older people.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/...

    Oops!

    If climate models fail one season out, how can you speak so assuredly about 10 or 20 years?  I can tell you one thing for certain - extreme poverty will certainly do damage to humans and to their environment.  Haiti is the best example of the cost in lives and species because of extreme poverty and the lack of access to affordable energy.  The result?  Massive deforestation as every tree is burned for fuel.

    But it's not just Haiti.  High heating costs lead to an increase in wood and pellet burning in the developed world with all the climate and pollution impacts that this form of burning entails.  Biofuels unexpectedly resulted in increased deforestation pressures in the tropics and loss of wildlife habitat in North American agricultural areas.

    I wish it were as simple as shutting down all the coal-fired plants.  But it isn't.

    •  Darfur style killings & death will spread (10+ / 0-)

      across the drying subtropical belts as water supplies evaporate and crops wither in drought.

      Much of China is running out of water. California doesn't have enough water for irrigation of crops right now. Perth is turning into a desert and fires are consuming southern Australia.

      You don't have a clue. Climate change is already causing catastrophes. Coal must be made CO2 emissions free or plants must be shut down.

      FWIW globalization and U.S. meddling helped cause the disaster in Haiti.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:07:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pardon? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maxxdogg

        In case you haven't noticed, California has received copious rainfall since early February - two systems a week with slow steady rain - the best kind.  And snowfall by the feet in the Sierras.

        8.5 inches in Redding
        4.7 inches in Sacramento
        2.4 inches in Fresno
        Even 2.6 inches in San Diego

        http://www.weather.gov/...
        http://www.weather.gov/...
        http://www.weather.gov/...

        And Sierra snow?

        Many Sierra snow measurements have seen more than a 50% increase in snow depth.  Some 100%.  The most recent California Department of Water Resources snow survey data is from February 18th - before the current system began dumping moisture.  Even so, nearly every measuring site shows large increases.  A few are even above April 1 averages.

        http://cdec.water.ca.gov/...

        Finally Australia -

        From the Australian Bureau of Meteorology:

        So even though Victoria had deadly wildfires, the Australian summer has seen slightly above-average precipitation nationwide - with drought concentrated in Victoria, South Australia, and western New South Wales.

        And they are predicting a cool autumn, FWIW.
        http://www.bom.gov.au/...

        I suggest that you look in a mirror when looking for clues.

        •  Rain right now doesn't mean shite (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          forgore, elijah311

          What is important is snowfall in the Sierras (as you know) and overpopulation is at fault more than lack of actual water.

          There are bagels in the fridge

          by Sychotic1 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:08:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did You Bother to Look? (0+ / 0-)

            Actually, rain does matter since reservoirs are low.  Rainfall now will increase base water storage levels.  Also, it increases the ground moisture levels reducing early summer transpiration losses.

            But snowfall is also copious.  Many locations have received in excess of 6 inches of snow-water equivalent.  As of Feb 18th, Tuolumne Meadows had received 5+ feet of new snow.

            Ski Conditions and Weather: Winter has decided to stick around this week with 28 inches of new snow and a low temperature of -2°F. Since February 6, we have gotten 65 inches of snow.

            http://www.nps.gov/...

            By the end of the month it will likely be 10 feet.

            So - please - get your facts straight before you call me a Shiite.

            •  I said it doesn't mean shite (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              forgore, elijah311

              I don't know where you get the idea I called you anything.

              In the long run it is the snow and the problem isn't water fall, it could be 100 percent...there are too many people and competing interests for the water.

              There are bagels in the fridge

              by Sychotic1 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:25:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Great, you're gonna make it through this year, (0+ / 0-)

          what about the next 100?

          •  No - (0+ / 0-)

            I am simply showing that the statement above - that California doesn't have enough water RIGHT NOW - is wrong.  I love how you guys talk out your wazoo and then want to change the terms of the argument when your are challenged by data - data provided by those very agencies that you claim are at the forefront of AGW science.

        •  And we had a cold snap here in New England (0+ / 0-)

          Wow! We are SAVED!

          •  How Many Days Have There Been Zero Sunspots? (0+ / 0-)

            How long has it been since sunspot activity was at a monthly average of more than 25 per day?  When was the last time that sunspot activity has been this low since the discovery of the magnetosphere?

            1. More than 300 in this cycle - a record for the past century.

            ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/STP/SOLAR_DATA/SUNSPOT_NUMBERS/AMERICAN_NUMBERS/2007

            1. 33 months - another record in modern history.

            ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/STP/SOLAR_DATA/SUNSPOT_NUMBERS/AMERICAN_NUMBERS/MONTHLY

            1. Never. It's new territory.

            Now there is considerable debate about the influence of the magnetosphere, the solar wind, and even solar flux on climate trends.  The hubris of those looking at 30 years of Arctic data and making centuries-long predictions is that they simply don't know what large variations of the magnetosphere will do.  They have guessed up to now.  This year may actually allow scientists to gather data from a period of record low sunspot activity.

            So, amigo, it's more than just the frost on your windowpane.

    •  If you're actually denying human-caused (10+ / 0-)

      global warming as a near-certainty, then please take your flat earth ideas elsewhere. We literally don't have the time to indulge in such silliness.

      The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

      by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:10:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, Yes - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GMary

        Torquemada is alive and well.

        I have never said that I deny human-caused climate impacts.  I have said it repeatedly.  However, I do not jump automatically from "A" to "B" without careful consideration.  I believe that dramatic, unfounded, and expensive actions that have huge social costs will actually UNDERMINE efforts at building a sustainable environment.

        Oh, and by the way - I was dead-on right about the price of oil last July.  
        http://www.dailykos.com/...
        I confess, I only predicted a drop to $80.

        And lots of people called me a stupid old fool then, too.  Guess what?  The net impact of the price collapse is almost exactly as I predicted - solar and wind have taken a beating, while Exxon and Chevron sit it out and gobble up the pieces.

        But why look carefully at data and economic impacts when diatribes will do, eh?

        •  Ok, I see, then you're taking the (5+ / 0-)

          too clever by half "Intelligent Design" approach to denying it, of the Bjorn Lonborg variety, i.e. admitting that it "might" be happening, but not on anywhere near the scale that us crazy alarmists--some of whom are Nobel prize-winning scientists--say that it is, and in any case we just can't afford to fix it, so let's call the whole thing off--and then calling me a heretic-burning religious fanatic while you're at it (which being a Jew of pre-inquisition Spanish ancestry I find especially insulting). How loverly.

          And the collapse in oil prices is temporary, and ever heard of the gas tax?

          But keep denying, and hold onto those ExxonMoble stocks.

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:58:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep - (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GMary, elijah311

            You have made up your mind - Not only on the issue of global warming but upon the responses.  You make the fallacy of equating support of the main premise with support for its derivatives.

            The most famous scientist who acknowledges climate change but who does NOT support the resultant calls for actions is Richard Lindzen - Harvard PhD, MIT professor, and former IPCC lead author.  There are many others who attempt to straddle a disappearing middle ground.  Unfortunately, there seems to be only two tenable positions any more - either right-wing denialism or unquestioned support.  Although I am far closer to the latter, I retain my prerogatives to question.

            You don't have to be a card-carrying member of the Heartland Institute to have questions.  In fact, the chorus that has claimed that "All debate is over" - especially comparing those with continuing questions to holocaust deniers and mass murderers moved me from a supporter to a skeptic.  Any time a group of people claims that debate is over, I am instantly suspect - whether it is intervention in Iraq, bailouts to the finiancial industry, or climate change.

            •  You lost me at Torquemada (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, forgore

              Now you're accusing me of calling you a holocaust denier and mass murderer. Nice.

              Take a deep breath, relax, come back when you've got your marbles back.

              The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

              by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:25:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Marbles? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GMary, elijah311

                I stated that people like me - not you - are called "holocaust deniers" etc.  Perhaps it is you who should take a deep breath and read more carefully.  You sensitivity index is on overload.

                •  I got you the first time (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shpilk, forgore

                  And I came nowhere close to calling you that. Flat earth and Holocaust Denial are moral universes apart and you know it.

                  The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

                  by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:06:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Kovie - (0+ / 0-)

                    Please, please read what I say before you toss accusations.  I stated that people like me - not you - are called "holocaust deniers" etc.

                    I do. however, stand by my Torquemada reference - which was in direct response to your preceding comment -

                    If you're actually denying human-caused global warming as a near-certainty, then please take your flat earth ideas elsewhere. We literally don't have the time to indulge in such silliness.

                    Since I had no idea whether you were Jewish, Buddhist, or Mormon, the comment was clearly in reference to those who tolerate no divergence from a specific catechism.  Clearly your comment was utterly dismissive.

                    I NEVER indicated that you called me such.  I was responding to your statement that I compared YOU to a "Holocaust denier" - which I did not.  Then I went on to state that it is people who state the things I do who are sometimes compared - not by YOU - to "Holocaust deniers".

                    Most famously - Ellen Goodman -

                    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.

                    http://www.boston.com/...

                    Pretty sad - I don't support industrial chicken farming, but I don't compare it to the Holocaust, either.  I think we are on agreement on that one.

                    Again, I repeat, I never called you a "Holocaust denier" or said that you called me one.

                    <<<>>>

                    I can see that this exercise is pointless.
                    Please understand that by driving away people who are your closest potential allies, you make a concerted approach to environmental degradation less likely.  And I hasten to remind you that, despite the number of people who respond in polls that they "believe" in global warming, those expressing the need for concerted action have been declining dramatically in the past year.

                    http://people-press.org/...
                    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

                    •  And yet again, I got you the first time (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      shpilk, forgore

                      when you said that people accused you, not me, of being a holocaust denier. I never claimed that you were accusing me of this. And I never claimed that you were one.

                      And you do realize that Torquemada did far more than denounce people who veered from what he viewed as the one true path, I hope? He headed the Spanish Inquisition, which tortured people and burned them at the stake. Which is why the analogy was massively inappopriate. And this whole sidetrack is really getting silly.

                      Also, public polls are not a useful idication of what is solid science or a good solution. An overwhelming majority of Americans also don't believe in evolution. Does that make evolution questionable too? I rely on what scientists and evidence tell us, that human-caused global warming in simply undeniable and extremely serious.

                      The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

                      by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:13:55 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Humour Me - (0+ / 0-)

                        But I thought that SOMEONE would catch the connection between "flat earthers" and Torquemada.  Apparently not.  Seems that "Flat Earthers" like the Pope and his cardinals didn't take to kindly to Galileo's advocacy of Copernican ideas of heliocentrism.

                        The irony of it all.
                        The irony.

                        •  Torquemada was a flat-earther (0+ / 0-)

                          or, more accurately, a rejector of heliocentrism, like the church itself, but he was also much, much more than that, and you know it. Not everyone who's against abortion supports bombing clinics. Not everyone who denies evolution wants to have it taken out of science classes. Not everyone who believes that we have to go after terrorists believes that we have to torture them. Do you really need this spelled out?

                          Read a good book on basic logic.

                          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

                          by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:21:13 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  unwarranted leaps of logic (0+ / 0-)

          and nonsequiturs abound!

          What has the collapse (temporary I guarantee - go back to the late 90s when we were told by experts that cheap oil was back for good) of oil prices got to do with the theory of man made climate change?  What has your prediction (which by the way was way off) on oil prices got to do with anything? to prove that because you were "right" on that that you are "right" on this?

          And what about the fact that the temporary decrease in oil prices will only exacerbate the CO2 emissions problems?

          What is your point again?

      •  Human-caused global warming is debatable (0+ / 0-)

        Here is a study from NASA stating a direct relationship between increased sunspot activity and warming of ALL the planets in our solar system.

        There are literally hundreds of case studies and main-stream news stories that point to a "warming" of our entire solar system. Here is an excellent summary--well cited and thorough.

        I understand you'll probably hate me for having a different opinion than you. If you are able, ask yourself what is causing the sun to show an increase (or the current decrease) in sunspot activity.

        Current sunspot activity (which is caused by the interaction of gravitational fields of other celestial bodies on the surface of the sun) is directly related to much MUCH longer cycles that our Earth has gone through many times. The "end" (restart) of the long count Mayan calendar (which is accurate within seconds over thousands of years, as opposed to our Gregorian calendar which requires an extra day every four years) marks the point in space-time in which our planet (and sun and solar system) are in exact alignment with our galaxy's plane (the flat disc shape).

        I think The Bad Guys' denial of climate change has caused many progressives to mock and deride ANY other theory, no matter how well referenced and researched. I am NOT one of the bad guys.

        I'm not saying global warming isn't happening, or that atmospheric CO2 and methane aren't factors. I'm only saying that there ARE other factors, and that I believe they are becoming more powerful as our planet approaches (and eventually passes through) the galactic torsion field in the months and years ahead.

        There is also technology that has been around for a hundred years, but bought out and suppressed by oil and coal companies and cartels, because there is no way to make money from free energy.

        •  You got that right (0+ / 0-)

          I understand you'll probably hate me for having a different opinion than you

          •  Now that's progress. (0+ / 0-)

            Bully for you, ThinkFirst.

            Evidently you don't have to "think first", your opinion is solely based on whether other people agree with you or not.

            I think The Bad Guys' denial of climate change has caused many progressives to mock and deride ANY other theory, no matter how well referenced and researched.

            Thanks for proving my point.

            •  I am still waiting for an answer (0+ / 0-)

              Nobody has been able to explain why the global mean temperature for 2008 was less than one tenth degree celsius (<0.1C) warmer than the Kyoto Protocol base year of 1990.  I have asked several responders to answer this question.</p>

              I am looking for a clear, definitive explanation.  Got one?

              No, I didn't think so.  Nor can anyone explain why AGW theory did not predict the 2008/1990 differential.

              So everyone is convinced, beyond reasonable doubt, of the validity of a scientific theory that cannot explain the past and cannot reliably predict the future.

              •  And (0+ / 0-)

                when you say, "Nobody has been able to explain.." or "Nor can anyone explain..", you act is if you've already heard every opinion and theory.

                Surely there are people and theories you, in all your glorious wisdom--ahem--don't know about.

                Evidently, you think you have personally tested and verified everything, but I assure you, there is plenty you don't know.

                Admitting your own ignorance once in awhile might do a lot of people here some good.

                •  I haven't heard anyone's theory (0+ / 0-)

                  you act is if you've already heard every opinion and theory.

                  Nobody is even willing to attempt to explain why 1990 temperatures are virtually identical to 2008 temperatures despite all the CO2 that has gone into the atmosphere during that timeframe.

                  There simply is no explanation for this complete contradiction of Dr. James Hansen's predictions, and so nobody will step up to explain anything about it.

                  Why is that?  Everyone believes Hansen is right, but nobody wants to defend or explain his predictions.

                  •  Your echo chamber (0+ / 0-)

                    of "nobody can explain" and "everyone believes" all the same things has forced your own thinking into a box.

                    You might consider thinking outside your box if you want answers that your box doesn't provide. But hey, that's just my theory.

                    There is tons of profound research here, well cited and thorough, if you replied without first clicking my original link.

                    •  Before I wade through "tons" of research (0+ / 0-)

                      can you tell me if any of it explains the nearly identical temperatures between the Kyoto Protocols base year of 1990 and 2008?  Where did all the CO2 go?

                      •  If that explanation (0+ / 0-)

                        is the only thing upon which you are able to base a good theory, I'd ask you to put it aside and read the research yourself.

                        I wouldn't be writing this if it weren't worth it, and you wouldn't be replying if you weren't open minded enough to consider new ideas. You'll have to put aside your current ideas--that we are the sole cause of climate change. There are other factors, perhaps much more influential than CO2.

                        Learn why Pluto's temperature and atmospheric pressure is increasing rapidly even as it flies away from the sun in its highly elliptical 248-year orbit.

                        And it's not just Pluto, it's every planet in our system. Again, these claims are cited and referenced throughout the article I'm asking you to consider.

                        I'll link again. Page 2. Page 3.

                        •  Interesting information (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          elijah311

                          It may very well be relevant to what, if anything, is happening on Earth.

                          I wonder why Dr. James Hansen, whose backgroung is astronomy, not climatology, has never considered this information.

                          In any event, I don't think we disagree much about AGW because I agree that other factors are more important.  The problem is that the vast majority of people here are convinced beyond any doubt that AGW is proven science despite their own data from NASA that contradicts their theory.

    •  there is no economy in a toasted climate (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, shpilk, Sychotic1, G2geek, forgore

      hell of a bet you're making against scientists who know WTF they're writing about. i'd rather you didn't put my child up for collatoral when you ante up.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:23:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your first paragraph is spot on. (0+ / 0-)

      I agree with that bit, which is why I've been trying to get people to focus on technological solutions for the better part of a decade instead of focusing almost exclusively on trying to get conservation measures (which will never pass) enacted.

      Shame the rest of your post is drivel.

      Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

      by Whimsical on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:51:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "climate models" don't fail one season out, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose

      because "climate models" don't predict phenomena on a 3-month scale.

      but you probably know that.

      which raises the question of why you chose to paper over it in your comment.

      I don't know what to say.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:54:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, They Do - (0+ / 0-)

        There are 3-month climate models, one year models, 20 year models.
        They are not the same, but they are all models.

        •  False Linkage (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          forgore

          Sports Illustrated is showing models in swimsuits during winter.   This clearly shows that models are predicting global warming.

          They aren't the same as climate models, but they are all models.

          •  God Forbid One Uses Any Evidence - - (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder

            Here's something from NOAA.
            Would that qualify as a reasonable source to you?

            Canonical Correlation Model

            FIGURE F2.  Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA) forecasts of sea-surface temperature anomalies for the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, 120W-170W) for the upcoming five consecutive 3-month periods. Forecasts are expressed as standardized SST anomalies.

            http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/...

            NCEP Markov Model

            FIGURE F5.   Predicted 3-month average sea surface temperature anomalies from the NCEP/CPC Markov model (Xue et al. 2000, J. Climate, 13, 849-871). The forecast is initiated in JANUARY 2009.

            http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/...

            But, no.
            You just have to be oh-so-snarky.

            I await your refutation.

    •  Dear Blicero - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rita in DC, DMiller

      Obviously you are unable to tolerate a comment with which you disagree.  You have clearly violated the FAQ on hide-rating.  But then again, I doubt you care.

    •  hide-rating abuse (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rita in DC, EdlinUser, GMary
      Whoever hide-rated this should take it back. Just because you disagree doesn't justify a hide-rating.
    •  Winter Forecasts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, bluegrass50

      Forecasting seasonal trends has nothing to do with the models used for long term climate predictions.  Those aren't "climate models".  

      Using a forecast of one season for one small subsection of the planet to invalidate anthropogenic climate change is inane.

    •  Because killing people by the millions is a fair (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      forgore

      enough trade to get 'cheap electricity'.

      Coal has probably been the direct cause of more premature human death other that all the warfare in the last 200 years. It's poisoning us directly, as well as creating tons of carbon dioxide.

      What's not to like?!

      Burn baby, burn!

      •  Yeah, Right - (0+ / 0-)

        And the Titanic sank because it had too many lifeboats.

        Prior to the advent of the most basic use of coal - direct heating, most human beings lived brutish, short, diseased lives.  I do not deny that coal mining towns in Wales were dismal and that miners by the thousands in West Virginia died from black lung.  However, overall longevity increased dramatically with the availability of coal as a fuel.  

        If one takes 1750 as the beginning of the industrial revolution in Great Britain and 1950 as the beginning of widespread use of other fuels we can look at some of the "suffering".  This chart shows that mortality rates - especially for children and young people dropped dramatically during the period 1838 to 1912 - the core of the coal era in Great Britain.


        http://www.nber.org/...

        So, believe what you will about coal - you will anyway.  But the historical record indicates that your statement above is patently wrong.

  •  These denyers (4+ / 0-)

    remind me of the Bush administration when people were running around "hair on fire" prior to 9/11, or more recently, when many people were warning about a coming mortgage meltdown all the "free marketers" had the "see no evil, hear no evil" frame of mind.  Both led to disasters...and, here we go again.

    •  there are deniers here, and not.... (7+ / 0-)

      the obvious ones such as the trolls.

      Let's be terribly blunt about this:

      If you believe the science about this, then a few things are also necessarily true:  

      Radical cutbacks in population and consumption levels are needed in order to avoid a near-extinction or slate-wipe event.  

      QED, the current economic depression is a good thing, and we should just let the economy crash and then re-start with a sustainable economy.  Also we need to pass China-style "one child per family laws" worldwide.

      Yet when someone posted a diary a few days ago saying in effect that letting the economy crash was a good thing, they rapidly got smothered in denialist nonsense from otherwise-sensible people who refused to accept the fact that this means them too.  

      And any suggestion about limiting reproduction by law, brings howls of "fascism!" from people who should also know better.  

      Bottom line is, humans appear remarkably incapable of understanding the implications of this thing.  Even people who are in all other ways progressive.

      •  unfortunately, human behavior is far less (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cowalker, Sychotic1, G2geek, toys

        predictable even than climate behavior.

        letting the economy crash won't necessarily have the dampening effects one might expect or hope for. as has been observed endlessly, rising wealth historically has led to declining birth rates. but further, a really really really serious global financial collapse is likely to lead to a very, very, very wasteful and climatologically damaging orgy of war.

        i'm not saying you're right or wrong, i'm saying that my own crystal ball shows nothing but fog when i try to analyze the long-term results of "letting the economy crash."

        i agree, pretty much without reservation, that an all out global effort at population control would be a good thing. i myself have twice as many kids as i would have, had there existed a remotely proactive set of social institutions to prod me into taking the necessary steps to avoid it. instead, there exists a proactive set of social institutions (e.g., hospitals run by the catholic church) that in our case explicitly worked in the other direction.

        I don't know what to say.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:02:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        axel000

        You think being poor will make us save energy...I disagree...because we are unlikely to fall all the way to 3rd world status, instead we would fall to India/China status which are huge polluters, where feeding one's self definitely takes precedence over the environment (ours is more shortsightedness than poverty).

        There are bagels in the fridge

        by Sychotic1 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:11:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My neighbor, who was laid off, has been (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, Sychotic1, kkjohnson

          cutting the trees on his property for firewood, in order to heat his house.  Poverty makes it hard to be green.

          Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

          by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:45:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  the causality and the curve. (0+ / 0-)

          Being poorer will make us save energy only up to a point: driving less, turning down heat, and so on.  Beyond some other point, being even poorer will tend to result in, as you said, doing anything to eat.

          But the causality also works the other way:  Saving energy up to a point will make us wealthier by shifting money from the energy producers (e.g. oil companies) to the rest of the economy, but there comes a point where further conservation can only be achieved through downward changes in standard of living.  

          For example, a family of three people have a fridge that uses 600 KWH/year:  200 KWH/year each for refrigeration of food.  To drop that to half that level, they would need to have another family of three move in, leading to more crowding, less privacy, more time spent "managing" the household interpersonal dynamics, and less autonomy for each person.  

          On the overall scale of conservation and standard of living, there are optimums with sub-optimal conditions on either side of them.  Below the optimum, standard of living is inadequate or at least unsatisfactory.  Above the optimum, energy consumption continues to increase but no real benefit in standard of living is obtained; and that is where we are today, at roughly double the per capita energy consumption of the mid 20th century with no real benefits gained thereby (e.g. the 1950s family who watched a black & white TV at 60 watts didn't feel deprived for lack of a wall-sized color screen at 400 watts).

      •  We have a huge megaphone which continues (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        operating, feeding us bullshit and telling us to 'consume'.

        That's really what needs to be stopped, first.
        Shut off the propaganda machine, first.

  •  Deep down, I suspect that "conservatives" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Blicero, Visceral

    of the science and reality-denying, bible-thumping, gun-toting, minority-hating, Sarah Palin, Joetheplummer and "Obama is a Muslim commie terrorist" variety, who now comprise the vast majority of the modern "conservative" movement, gave up on the dream of actually controlling the world some time ago--around the time that Clinton beat Bush and ended their dream of a Permanent Reagan Fantasyland--and decided, on some level, to instead destroy it, so that the rest of us couldn't have it.

    Considering how many of them believe in the truly delusional Armaggedon myth (and yes, people, it's a myth, just like the burning bush and Mount Sinai and all that other mythological and allegorical crap that only stupid people believe in literally), I don't think that this is that far-fetched. And they couldn't have found a better "leader" than Bush, a stupid, deliberately reckless and vindictive malcontent sadist to the core. Or Gingrich and Cheney, not so stupid, but even more despicable, if that's possible.

    Is there a way to harness "conservatives" to reverse global warming or at least attenuate its effects, like feeding them to polar bears or putting them into earth orbit over the poles, to block the sun? Or can we at least banish them to Antarctica?

    This is like Mice and Men, and they're Lenny, except without a heart of gold.

    The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

    by kovie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:05:36 AM PST

  •  over 50 years of knowing and no action (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inventor, forgore, axel000

    Thanks conservatives for allowing greed to flourish!

    pre-emptive war · collective punishment · torture | 21st century values

    by The Dead Man on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:25:17 AM PST

  •  Point 3 is wrong (10+ / 0-)

    Let me try to defend the IPCC a little bit. They're not minimizing things; they're doing the best they can.

    I've been reading discussions on climate change for quite a while, and for the most part I agree with you, particularly on points 1, 2 and 5.

    I think point 3 is just wrong. It takes a lot of heat to melt ice, so while the temperature doesn't change while ice is melting, the melting ice actually absorbs a lot of heat and will slow the change in climate substantially. And the IPCC isn't stupid ... they use as sophisticated models as they can, which do replace some (but not all) of the nonlinear processes with linear models. So I don't think you can really say what the effects of the assumptions of linearity in their models is.

    Point 4 cuts both ways ... some of the feedback is negative, and slows down climate change, and some of the feedback is positive, and speeds it up. As far as I can tell, we still don't know the exact feedback mechanisms. If we look at the historic record, we can estimate the feedback, and I am fairly sure this is what the IPCC has done. The question is: as the climate heats up, whether this changes the feedback, and how it does so.

  •  CO2 won't go away either (0+ / 0-)

    Note this PNAS paper by Dr. Susan Solomon (IPCC WG1 chair) showing how the CO2 we put up now won't go away for millenia:

    http://www.pnas.org/...

  •  collapsing carbon mkt makes mega-pollution cheap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Asinus Asinum Fricat, axel000

    One of the impacts of our economic meltdown may well be it's contribution to our environmental meltdown.

    From the Guardian

    Europe's system to edge up the cost of emissions and boost green energy has backfired. There isn't much time to rescue it.

    A lot of the blame lies with governments that signed up to carbon trading as a neat idea, but then indulged polluters with luxurious quantities of permits. The excuse was that growth would soon see them bumping against the ceiling.

    Instead, exchanges are in meltdown: a tonne of carbon has dropped to about €8, down from last year's summer peak of €31 and far below the €30-€45 range at which renewables can compete with fossil fuels.

    The lesson of the carbon slump, like the credit crunch, is that markets can be a conduit, but not a substitute, for political will. They only work when properly primed and regulated. Europe hoped that the mere creation of a carbon market would drive everyone away from fossil fuels. It forgot that demand had to outstrip supply, and that if growth stops, demand drops too.

  •  The most maddening thing of all, to me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, MinistryOfTruth

    is to see quite intelligent people (I work with one, my mother is another) be completely unconcerned about this stuff, EVEN THOUGH THEY"RE AWARE OF WHAT"S GOING ON, because 'they have the peace that passes all understanding'. Not only are they blinding themselves, they refuse to take ANY action because it's all part of the Godly plan. So they're not just screwing themselves, they're screwing me (bad enough) and my 9 year old (far worse).

    •  i don't know which phenomenon of faith pisses (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ptah, EdlinUser

      me off more, the one in which a person will commit any horror based on the supreme confidence provided by faith, or the one in which a person will passively accept whatever the universe throws at humanity, on the grounds that it is the will of God, or Allah, or whomever/whatever else is presumed to have such a capacity. fatalism: blearrghh.

      I don't know what to say.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:05:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What is the damn downside? (0+ / 0-)

      That's what gets me about opposition to cleaning our air and water and switching to non-polluting renewable energy. Even if it turns out that global warming is a myth (and no, I don't think that) we end up with cleaner air, water and cheaper energy.

      But I know the reason for the opposition, for this campaign to convince people that global warming isn't real. Coal companies, oil companies, and every politician and national leader who gets their revenue or their campaign contributions from the polluters and the traditional energy companies....they're the ones funding this campaign, for their own short-term gain. Sickening.

  •  Climate Change threatens national security too! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forgore
  •  How Come Freezing In Chicago? (0+ / 0-)

    If there is global warming how come places like Chicago and New York have been really freezing this winter?

  •  Is there an online tracker... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that displays the atmospheric CO2 content that we can view in real-time?

    •  Not exactly real time, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tacet, subtropolis

      Here is a plot that shows monthly mean CO2 from the observatory at Mauna Loa (middle atmopshere, usually well mixed).  CO2 is pretty well mixed in the troposphere (given its long residence time), so this is a good proxy for global levels.

      Any influence from volcanic CO2 is easily screened out by the concurrent measurements of sulfur species that accompany volcanic influenced air.

      The annual trend noticeable in the data is associated with the winter/summer changes in biogenic carbon in the northern hemisphere(plants hold more carbon when actively growing).  That trend is less noticeable in southern hemispheric data since there is less land in the southern hemisphere.

  •  I take issue with your title (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdlinUser, leema

    Been my top issue for over 20 years now.  And I've long thought it's gonna be super bad, and a lot quicker than the official public discourse has let on.  (Of course, that's just me, your mileage may vary.)

    And, truth is, nobody really knows exactly what's gonna happen.  Agriculture problems; sea level increase.  Certain things, sure.  But a lot of others, we simply can't anticipate the complexities of synergistic effects and tipping points.

    "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:32:46 AM PST

  •  That reminds me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder

    It would appear that one benefit of the current economic crisis is that I can load up on sunscreen, on the cheap.  Off to Walgreens, before I forget.  

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:43:45 AM PST

    •  what? No "beachfront property" joke? (0+ / 0-)

      Of course, much of the coastal areas, at least in developed countries, will be long, deep stretches of toxic slurry as the waves incessantly grind up what used to be cities, refineries, etc.

      Yeah, it really makes me want to crack a few jokes.

      "They're telling us something we don't understand"
      General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

      by subtropolis on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:28:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  .5 to 1.2 mm/yr has been the historic sea rise. (0+ / 0-)

        The Native Americans who used to live three miles off Manasquan beach here in NJ didn't drown in one great deluge.  The Venetians have always adapted just fine.    

        You and I will be long gone before (and if) that ever happens.  As one who has a decent knowledge of the pace of the geological and hydrological history of the Earth, I am pretty confident that we will have time to adapt before "the waves incessantly grind up what used to be cities, refineries, etc.". I don't expect that we will have much say about where the oceans go, either.

        Photobucket

        Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

        by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:19:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  they really need to stop (0+ / 0-)
    talking about this in centigrade because americans see 6 degrees and don't think that it is very much. and considering how much influence our nation has on this issue (not to mention the amount of greenhouse gasses we spew into the atmosphere) we need to do better with the PR. like calling it "climate change". that's not much better than "global warming". how about "global meteorlogical annihilation" or "global weather disruption apocalypse"? (throw some religion in to it and americans might snap to attention!) i don't know, get don draper on it!
    •  the US really needs to be pushed into metric (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andhakari

      Enough of this dicking around. It's really pathetic that the so-called most advanced nation on Earth is still using such an outdated system.

      "They're telling us something we don't understand"
      General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

      by subtropolis on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:23:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  probably true, but not relevant to my point (0+ / 0-)
        i am concerned with selling a point of view. it's basic marketing, like selling something for $1.99 instead of $2. a bigger number makes a stronger impression on the brain. we have always been at the mercy of the frank luntzes of the world because the orwellians know how to sell to the sheep. obama seems to have this ability to communicate, though....
  •  Are the current droughts in China, Argentina, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forgore

    California, et al, linked to global warming? These stories are alarming. A big drought in California could start hurting people immediately.

    "I should have been a pair of ragged claws.." T.S. Eliot

    by collardgreens on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:57:31 AM PST

    •  Not really a useful way to think of things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, tacet, subtropolis

      Everything is linked to global warming. And nothing is linked to global warming.

      It's a poor way to frame the issue, because it oversimplifies things. Almost anything that happens on the face of this planet is affected by climate conditions, one way or the other. It's really more of question of probabilities. No one drought is "caused" by global warming, but global warming will (probably) lead to more frequent and more severe droughts. In some places.

      Iraq -- "the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people"

      by seancdaug on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:35:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look on the Bright Side... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, Andhakari

    This is a self-correcting mechanism that will destroy civilization as we know it.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:00:46 AM PST

  •  I hear you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis

    It would be unlikely for it to get worse than I expect, because I've been pretty damned pessimistic on the subject for quite some time.
    I have seen no reason to believe that the world will even take the easiest steps to avoid this disaster, let alone the massively disruptive changes needed to really make a significant difference.
    The only way there is going to be strong public support for essentially eliminating the use of fossil fuels, which is going to be required for any serious mitigation, is when the effects of climate change are so severe and so obvious that even folks like Inhoff can no longer deny it.
    The problem is that if we wait until that happens, it'll already be too late.
    I first started reading and learning about this problem more than 20 years ago. If we had started working seriously on the problem then, we might have had a chance.

  •  Wait... they didn't model feedback loops? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Drew J Jones, subtropolis

    OK, that explains why one of the biggest climate change skeptics I know is a PhD in math.

    Oh, he doesn't doubt that the climate is changing. He just didn't believe any of the models. He told me years ago that we'd passed the tipping point and there was nothing left to do but some palliative policy (conservation) and a lot of quick thinking.

    Did I mention that he did work in chaos theory? Feedback loops are his thing.

    Conserve as much as you can, but I'm afraid we're all living on Easter Island now. In fact, if you go with that hypothesis then Bush/Cheney policy makes much more sense from a cynical, self-interested point of view: They gave themselves and their buddies as many resources as possible and built up private mercenary armies. They probably know what's coming.

    [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

    by oldjohnbrown on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:20:45 AM PST

  •  I like the diary and fully (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, subtropolis, blindcynic, LookingUp

    believe in global warming and its many consequences, but I take issue with one thing in the diary;

    "The IPCC tended to use linear models since they are easier to build and analyze, but the world doesn’t actually work that way.  Consider H2O.  When it’s colder than 0ºC (32ºF) it’s ice, when it’s warmer than that, it’s water.  It doesn’t slowly transition from ice to water as the temperature increases; the change is abrupt."

    A lake with 8 inches of ice on it will not instantly turn to open water if it goes to 33 degrees.  It just is not that black and white.

    I've applied for more jobs in the last three months than most people will in their entire lives.

    by ATFILLINOIS on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:21:17 AM PST

    •  exactly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis, LookingUp, ATFILLINOIS

      And sometimes there's sublimation where the liquid phase is skipped...and then there's the issue of the latent heat related to the phase change.

      I too found this particular claim kinda bizarre. As a physics person, kinda makes my spine quiver to see this, since it's high (or maybe middle school) elementary physics...

      But if it were black and white, at least the balck parts would melt faster...

      "red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme" - Richard Thompson

      by blindcynic on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:38:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a valid point (0+ / 0-)

      I think the problem with using this metaphor is that it's too close to the subject at hand. The diarist was trying to explain the non-linear behaviour of the climate, not the polar ice caps specifically (though the change there is, in fact, also non-linear). So, perhaps the melting point of ice was a bad choice.

      In any case, the point about 8 inches of ice not immediately transitioning to water is also a bit off the mark, as the action of melting is due to some quantities of that ice going through a phase shift over time. Nobody is suggesting that the polar ice caps will melt altogether as one unit. Indeed, the eveidence is plainly the opposite—that they are in the process of melting (and doing so quite swiftly).

      "They're telling us something we don't understand"
      General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

      by subtropolis on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:40:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ice example (0+ / 0-)

        My point was that once the air and/or water temperature rises above 32F, the sea ice starts to melt.  I'm not implying that the ice melts instantaneously.  Just that you are "safe" when the air temperature is below 32F and you are "unsafe" (melting begins) when it is higher.  I know that even this is an oversimplification, but I think the point that nature is non-linear is valid and the non-linearity of H2O is an example of that.

  •  Farming for the Future (0+ / 0-)

    For those who are interested, this was on BBC2 recently - a look at climate chaos and peak oil in relation to farming in the UK, but it applies worldwide.  Beautifully made.

    Farming for the Future

    You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. --Anne Lamott

    by Airmid on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:19:50 AM PST

  •  One bit of good news (4+ / 0-)

    The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is due to launce tomorrow. This satellite is the first to map the sources and sinks of CO2, which is valuable data for modelling.

    From NASA: The OCO

    -- It will study carbon dioxide sources (where it comes from) and sinks (where it is pulled out of the atmosphere and stored). Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming. The new data will help scientists more accurately forecast global climate change.

    -- Data collected by the OCO mission may help policymakers and leaders make more informed decisions to ensure climate stability and retain our quality of life.

    -- Scientists don't know why the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by Earth's natural ocean and land "sinks" varies dramatically from year to year. These sinks help limit global warming. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will help scientists better understand what causes this variability and whether natural absorption will continue, stop or even reverse.

    -- Data collected by OCO will help solve the mystery of "missing" carbon--the 30 percent of human-produced carbon dioxide that disappears into unknown places.

    -- The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will yield 8-million carbon dioxide measurements every 16 days. That's a dramatic increase over current data available from today's small network of instruments on the ground, on tall towers and in aircraft, and from limited space observations.

    More here

  •  There is no planning for the future, near or long (0+ / 0-)

    term in America. Our politicians thinking is: we really want this for the corporations, will the voters remember in two years how we screwed them? I'm convinced that's about how far out their planning goes.

  •  I must not be human, because I'm not optomistic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing

    die welt ist shizer

    by Unbozo on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:44:03 AM PST

  •  Water Is a Bad Example (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis

    I agree with the points you're making in this diary. But one example you use to illustrate is wrong:

    Consider H2O.  When it’s colder than 0ºC (32ºF) it’s ice, when it’s warmer than that, it’s water.  It doesn’t slowly transition from ice to water as the temperature increases; the change is abrupt.

    No, water does slowly transition, as its heat changes, which is the actual physical change. The temperature stalls at 32F, while the H2O molecules slowly transition from a crystalline structure to a disorganized arrangement, as the heat rises. The temperature and solid/liquid state appear to change abruptly at the 32F transition, but that's because the heat and crystallization aren't directly observable by looking at it or holding it in our hand. We have to watch the heat input "disappear" for a while as the temperature stays at 32F.

    Yes, state phase changes are nonlinear. But though the point you're making is correct, the illustration isn't really apt. Especially because state phase changes aren't feedback, which is the kind of nonlinearity that makes climate changes much different from a linear model. But also because the state phase change isn't really as nonlinear as you set it up to be.

    A better example might be PA speaker/mic feedback. Everyone knows that turning up the volume rises linearly for a while, but eventually the amount of speaker getting into the mic can overwhelm everything, screaming out of control into another sonic world. The linear "0-10" dial doesn't really show that somewhere around "10" is the feedback zone. That's probably a better illustration with a familiar and simple experience that is more like the complex feedback of climate change.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:57:44 AM PST

  •  Chose your poison (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc, Andhakari

    a) Global War

    b) The Death of Civilization and perhaps humanity itself

    c) A pandemic of epic proportions

    d) Getting serious as the Manhatten Project on steroids in planning how to mitigate the worst aspects of the human-caused climate crisis

    e) Ignore it and pray really hard, maybe it will go away

    Just can't seem to win - If I'm standing still, I'm loitering. If I'm walking; I'm a vagrant. I just want to be a vagabond, or a wandering minstrel.

    by SecondComing on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:01:46 AM PST

    •  In my heart, I think E -- it will somehow go away (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SecondComing, seancdaug

      in spite of us -- but I think we're most likely to end up with a good outcome in spite of ourselves if we make a serious effort to choose alternative D --  getting serious about dealing with all this.

      In my experience, we usually don't actually create our good luck, but we do create the spacetime goodwill mumbo jumbo continuum that enbables us to have good luck.

  •  I'm going to start a coffee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari

    plantation in Muskegon.

    People will laugh.

    But I know the score.

    Maybe there's a god above, but all I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who out-drew ya. -5.75, -5.03

    by Muskegon Critic on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:08:14 AM PST

  •  I have watched this community drop the ball (0+ / 0-)

    On taking real action

    This a great dairy for raising awereness, which I applaud. But this community doesn't generally rally when it's time to make the work happen. This just happened to me when CARB almost shut down some green businesses and I was trying to mobilize action to stop them

    My question is: How will this community change so that when it's time to fight climate change on the ground, we're ready?

  •  Plant BAMBOO people! Trade in your old car for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MissInformation

    a Prius Hybrid and drive that as little as possible.  Stop eating meat.  Mulch your garbage and plant fruits and vegies instead of grass and flowers in your garden.  Recycle EVERYTHING.  Replace all your lightbulbs with CLFs. And encourage everyone you know to do the same.

    Time for wealthy nations to immediatly invest in desalination plants on their coastlines.  Time to immediately start constructing reservoirs to gather melting glacial waters.  Time to build huge solar and wind farms all over the world to replace fossil fuels as energy sources.

    Let's go, people!  Now!!!

    •  I appreciate your good intentions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, Contra

      but I don't see any indication that freeing up energy, food, and water resources will do anything other than encourage folks to have more babies and consume whatever is left.
      Sorry, I just don't think the vast majority of the world's population is going to change its ways until it gets the shit kicked out of them, and maybe not even then.

      Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart. ~ H. Williams

      by Andhakari on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:02:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, so you'd rather just give up instead of do (0+ / 0-)

        whatever you can to reverse our mass suicide?  And we won't just be taking ourselves out, we'll be taking every other species of plants and animals and insects with us.  

        I prefer taking action to do what I can, including NOT having any children.  We must also encourage people to only replace themselves, i.e. two children for every couple.  Period.

        Peace.

        •  Actually, I agree with you entirely. (0+ / 0-)

          But even here, on this site, I typically get all kinds of resistance when I mention overpopulation. There are still an awful lot of people out there committed to making as many babies as they can, often with political goals in mind.
          I have, in fact, done quite a lot and I haven't given up, but I think it's important to challenge unrealistic expectations when the evidence tells us to expect something else. If the human population doesn't decline, mitigating resource exploitation and pollution will not be sufficient to save what is worth saving on this little planet.

          Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart. ~ H. Williams

          by Andhakari on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:42:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Plant bamboo? (0+ / 0-)

      Please enlighten me.

  •  It's already way too late to effect changes to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari

    stop the worst. Really, it was too late 20 years ago. Any changes we make now will take decades to start showing up.

    It's not just GCC, or CO2.
    It's not just the Greenhouse Effect.

    The oceans have become cesspools of trash. The environment in China has become so toxic that 10% of their arable land can no longer be used for farming.

    We are finding toxic metals in the blood and fur of penguins and polar bears. The planet has been poisoned beyond repair, and we are accelerating the process.

    Our consumer culture is what is to blame, really. Americans lead the way: Europe followed and the rest of the world is jealous. The rest of the world is just starting up into the consumer culture.

    We are done.
    The Earth is finished.

  •  If it gets worse than I think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari

    there will be nothing left but single-cell life forms by 2100.  When Mark Lynas wrote "6 Degrees" he said there was a 7% chance of it being already too late - and that was 2 years ago.  (He gave us a 93% chance of being able to reverse the extreme climate change generally referred to as Global Warming - IF we significantly reduced fossil carbon emissions by 2015.  Well, it's possible.  It's even more possible than getting Rs to vote confirming Hilda Solis.  But that's not saying much.

  •  anything WE do is irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

    the practice of burning coal for power in India in China is growing exponentially as those countries' economies continue to grow, and the lack of desire (and in China's case, the lack of political authority) on the part of the public to stop it ensures CO2 emissions will continue to grow throughout the next century.

    There's no way we can cut emissions worldwide on a year-to-year basis, let alone phase carbon dioxide-emitting technology in time to prevent that absolute worst case scenario.

    •  New tech, fast as possible (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IndySteve, Whimsical

      It's unacceptable to just sit back and say "we can't do anything." We need to develop better power generation technology, and practical carbon sequestration and storage technology, and help get the Chinese and Indians using it. ASAFP, with a moon-shot sized push. And maybe it's a long shot, but you can't ethically just say "anything WE do is irrelevant" and leave it at that.

    •  This is just ridiculous...should we not even try? (0+ / 0-)

      Doing nothing is NOT an option. And the upcoming climate summit will be our best chance to bring China/India into the fold. Of course, we have to be realistic that we can't expect them to simply stop burning coal when half of our electricity comes from dirty coal. And remember, WE put most of the CO2 into the atmosphere during our industrialization phase. It is OUR responsibility to move first and provide leadership, rather than giving up.

    •  India's per-capita emissions are 1/3rd of China's (0+ / 0-)

      and 1/17th of US': links. India is nowhere near even China as a culprit in CO2 emissions.

  •  The first problem is admitting the reality (0+ / 0-)

    There is no global consensus that AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is real, and until there is, the kind of emergency measures you discuss will not be attempted on a scale approaching what is needed. Stop eating beef? Grow food locally? Stop motorized travelling? Stop having babies? Cluster into small agrarian villages? Build solar collectors and wind generators everywhere? Be cold at night and hot all day? Will we still have our internets?
    It's almost impossible for the human mind to imagine the realities just around the bend, although James Kunstler has done a valuable service to warn us in his blogs and books.
    And we still have to battle the coal and oil propaganda and corruption of media and public officials at every level just to make the case that global warming is coming fast. The scientific evidence for AGW has been clear since the 1950's and now we've lost 60 years pretending reality is not real.

    Every Republican member of the House chose to take Rush Limbaugh's advice.

    by howardfromUSA on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:53:21 AM PST

  •  it's too late to do anything about it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seancdaug

    If we had been listening in the 70s maybe. But it's too late, not least because to stop climate change would require the halting of the global economy. Millions would die.
    Do we intentionally kill millions to preserve our naturally ecology and prevent possible extinction, or do we passively allow cataclysmic mass extinction?

    We've already made our choice. The real question now is, will geo-engineering work and are we capable of it on the scale required. Either way, any steps we take to reverse ecological collapse will buy us time.

    I think the chances are good that our species will survive. But we're standing under the shadow of a nightmare future.

  •  It's an evolutionary stage of humanity's potential (0+ / 0-)
    for further development. Either we learn how to work together as a global civilization and figure out how to turn back the coming tide or the planet will temporarily turn hostile towards life killing off the vast majority of the species along with almost all of humanity--a handful of the bastards who caused the problems will survive in underground bunkers--will be wiped off the face of the planet. Earth has gone through, that we know of, five similar mass die offs and each time the planet survived. It's not a pretty picture for us but it's the way the system ensures we deserve to keep evolving plus it is how new species develop; one of the few species that survived starts to prosper again when plant life returns in force but they have little competition which allows them to over populate their current habitat and so they move to new adjacent ecosystems and through time and natural selection they'll alter into new species.

    With sentience comes knowledge, which in turn creates powerful technologies, which in turn demands a certain level of responsibility, which, if not met, will cause our implosion and, even worse, that of so many beautiful and wonderous life forms.

    Krusty the Klown Brand Klassic Signatures

    by Carl Brutanananadilewski on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:15:19 PM PST

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