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A basic challenge in complex modern society: how does one translate expert opinion on complex issues into broader discussion? This is true for almost every domain of our society, whether discussing nutrition or infrastructure investment requirements or budgetary issues or climate disruption. As for the last, many have been seeking to foster paths for scientists to communicate better with the public.

One of the key challenges: helping the public understand the difference between pseudo-experts and true specialists to help foster an understanding as to who to listen to amid the truthiness- and falsehood-laden discussions seeking to confuse the public about climate disruption threats and climate mitigation opportunities. There are those who seek to train scientists to go on TV talk shows and encourage them to give public lectures. Some people take a different path, such as the rappers below the fold asking -- and answering -- a simple question:

Who's a climate scientist?

This is from the Australian Hungry Beast show. As these scientists rap out

yo....we're climate scientists.. and there's no denying this Climate Change Is REEEEALL..

The problem, of course, is that there is a robust industry of misdirection and deceptionseeking to make us question that reality and to forestall meaningful action that would threaten the status quo (and the mega-profits of fossil-foolish industries).
I said Burn! it's hot in here..

32% more carbon in the atmosphere.

Oh Eee Ohh Eee oh wee ice ice ice

Raisin' sea levels twice by twice

We're scientists, what we speak is True.

Unlike Andrew Bolt our work is Peer Reviewed... ooohhh

For those unaware, an appropriate analogy would be that Andrew Bolt is Australian media's George Will.

Let's be clear, there are a lot of complicated issues in the world and perhaps none more than climate science. And, well, many of the scientific terms translate with difficulty into the general discussion. "Positive Feedback" sounds pretty good, no? Or, well, "Theory" means lots of uncertainty, no?

Feedback is like climate change on crack

The permafrosts subtracts: feedback

Methane release wack : feedback..

Write a letter then burn it: feedback

Denialists deny this in your dreams

Coz climate change means greater extremes,

Shit won't be the norm

Heatwaves bigger badder storms

The Green house effect is just a theory sucker (Alan Jones)

Yeah so is gravity ... float away muther f**cker

And, well, let us be clear that "extremes" is another of those highly complicated issues to consider. "Climate change", in many ways, is better described as "climate disruption" and "climate chaos" because the 'change' won't necessarily be some incremental shift which enables adaptation and evolution, fostering minor shifts. So what if there is a few percent more rainfall? Oops, what if it doesn't come as often and, when it comes, it comes in deluges of many inches? More droughts and more floods means disrupted agricultural production, threats to infrastructure, uneven water (and, in many cases, power) supplies, ... And, this is true across so many different domains.

Communicating science is difficult -- especially when there are legions of people seeking to confuse with disinformationrather than enlighten with truthful discussion. Here are some climate scientists seeking new tools for communication to help us understand who seeks to enlighten and inform.

Hat tip to Gareth in Climate Rap: Scientists fight back.  And, post my writing this, I like how GreenMiles discussed this:

The Australian TV show Hungry Beast teamed up with climate scientists to point out what the media won't - while scientists may debate the degree & speed of change, the people who completely deny the reality of global warming aren't climate scientists


1. Re the challenges of scientific communication, an excellent (eminently readable and insightful) example of this is Randy Olsen's Don't Be Such a Scientist. Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum's Unscientific America: How scientific illiteracy threatens our future is another top of the reading list choice looking at this challenge.  Along with Chris Mooney's work (Republican War on Science), one must recommend Naomi Orestkes and Erik Conway's Merchants of DOUBT:  How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming.

2. Examples of efforts to enhance climate science communication include  the Google Climate Communicators to the Climate Rapid Response Team to efforts for including public communications as part of the graduate-level educational programs for scientists.

3. For a discussion of and example of using counter-intuitive communication methods / 'images', see Randy Olsen's What can a good video do for you? Just take a look at Science Cheerleader’s video!

4.  Do not forget to increase the video's chance of going viral by viewing (and "liking") at Youtube.  And, well, the best single video series that I know re confronting climate deceivers is Greenman 3610's Climate Crock of the Week which also merit some 'liking'.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Protest Music, Science Matters, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Awesome! (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this!

    So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

    by Cenobyte on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:31:43 AM PDT

  •  Great diary... (27+ / 0-) usual.  Thanks for all the hard work you put into clarifying these issues.

    But as my father always says, "The trouble with making things idiot-proof is that they'll just come up with a higher grade of idiot."

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:35:06 AM PDT

  •  academia is under assault (13+ / 0-)

    for decades conservatives have chafed under the yoke of academic freedom as they watched Marxists, Nihilists, Existentialists and many other odd birds, from their perspective, not only keep their jobs and avoid prison, but even get to teach the tenets of their philosophies to the sons and daughters of these same conservatives who found themselves parenting nascent revolutionaries. Once the children discovered inequality, racism, and poverty, which their parents told them did not exist, they began to question the whole social order.

    In the meantime, one of the minor social wars was over smoking and tobacco companies became very adept at presenting junk science as valid science as they fought regulation.  We have seen this later with environmental sciences as Mobil has funded various scientists to tout their findings to refute climate change.

    However, the conservatives at first tried to take their ball and go home, starting their own universities so their progeny would not be tainted by new ideas. Regent, Liberty and Patrick Henry are examples.

    A new front has opened on the culture wars as Koch Bros and BB&T have teamed up to control faculty selection in strategic departments in universities. So far, they have funded departments in exchange for being able to hire and fire faculty in a couple of dozen colleges and universities.  This way they can draw up the intellectual drawbridge and insure a generation that is not critical of the status quo (such as requiring a university to present "Atlas Shrugged" to every junior business and economics major)    

    •  Lynne Cheney's Work With Donors & Trustees (9+ / 0-)

      has been another line of attack for 15-20 years or so.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:37:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It was under Reagan that research was essentially (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, Larsstephens

      turned over to for-profit corporations. After all, "why should the American taxpayer fund research when there are companies that can benefit and are perfectly willing to pay for it?"

      Well, now we only get what they pay for.

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:33:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually, most research is done by (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, Tennessee Dave

        universities. Though a great deal of it is chosen on the basis of commercial potential.

        And the corporations get the benefits. Pharmaceuticals are only an egregious example.

        Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:22:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, and now results of University research (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, alizard

          are sometimes? often? patented, no longer open to all for additional study, and research grants are expected to produce commercial results benefitting the University itself if not a corporate funder. This is not only about pharmaceutical research. This attitude is corosive.

          Research that is of little commercial interest, often the basic research that leads who knows where, or scientists just seeking the answers to interesting questions, the results of which they cannot predict, are not funded.

          This is how we might lose the kind of exciting serendipity that leads to unpredictable, entirely new branches and avenues. Makes me sad.

          Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

          by Catskill Julie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:13:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  repub to science matters and DK GreenRoots (11+ / 0-)

    great diary and video!

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:47:31 AM PDT

  •  Potty Mouthed Climate Scientists (9+ / 0-)

    I am shocked, Shocked, SHOCKED at these potty mouthed climate scientists.  They used dirty words and are totally uncivil.  I am appalled by their lack of good sense and good taste.  Obviously, all of their work must be discounted in favor of the polite, clean, and civil work supported by ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers.
    < /snark >

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:31:09 AM PDT

  •  Societal Complexity is a Non Factor to My Mind. (4+ / 0-)

    It's the corporate conquest that's the issue. Society doesn't have trouble with most scientific issues except those that have corporate and/or religious assault machinery against them.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:39:27 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary! I have to say I was thrilled (8+ / 0-)

    to wake up to this this morning.

    Just awesome. I am always amazed at the alacrity with which you assemble such expert work. As well as the depth of your knowledge base and resource network.

    "A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool." Robert Bulwer-Lytton

    by boatsie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:40:33 AM PDT

  •  the climate rapid response team (10+ / 0-)

    as I recall was rolled out prior to COP16 ... and they really did some incredible work to throw off track the uproar caused by ClimateGate the previous year.

    State of the World Forum in early 09 planned to roll out what they called EcoSwat teams to serve as experts against CD teams but also to be at the ready to descend into areas most dramatically impacted by severe weather events. Unfortunately, they ran out of funding so the idea never got off the ground.

    "A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool." Robert Bulwer-Lytton

    by boatsie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:44:00 AM PDT

  •  you have a problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, RunawayRose, DWG

    with a typo in your "Merchants of DOUBT" link; apparently it refers to an unknown "hthttp" protocol. ;-)

    T&R'd for the video.

    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." ~ Thomas Paine

    by the tmax on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:04:33 AM PDT

  •  It's hard for me to sympathize too much, (0+ / 0-)

    given some of the sloppy salesmanship done on the issue of global warming (still cannot stand the mushy "climate change" that is now in favor).  

    Plain honest truth tends to be the best, especially on a topic as painful as global warming, but we don't get a lot of that, particularly on the costs of taking action, and the likely benefits of specific actions.

    We are in la-la land.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:20:19 PM PDT

    •  This comment angers me (14+ / 0-)

      in so many ways.  Global climate change isn't some product that those of us in the climate sciences are hawking.  We aren't 'selling' anything.  Our job as scientists is two-fold.  One: to do the research and explain the results to the broader scientific community so our results can be expanded upon.  Two: to try to teach basic science literacy to the public in the university setting, something increasingly hard to do given the sorry nature of the k-12 public school system and the war on education in this country.  I didn't get into climate science to be an advocate or a salesman, I got into it to do interesting science.  I suddenly find myself with a portion of my time being spent outside my job description doing something I don't enjoy doing.  That would be arguing with idiots and people who are paid to mislead.

      Einstein once said (don't have the exact quote): You should make everything as simple as possible and no simpler.  The problem is climate science is complex.  The term global warming is simplistic and opens the science up for attack by deniers.  There will be parts of the Earth that will cool with climate change.  If you stick to the term global warming, all a denier has to do is point to the northwest Pacific where temperatures have decreased by 1decC over the last 20 years, or point to the growing glaciers in Scandanavia to cast doubt.

      The big problem is that we are all to blame for the current problems in the US.  The scientists for not doing a better job educating the public, the corporations for deliberately misleading the public, and the public itself for its apathy.  So guess what.  You are partially to blame for the current situation too.  How about you help out instead of whining that others aren't fixing the problem for you.

      All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer

      by BlueberryTomatoSoup on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:54:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure you're not. (0+ / 0-)

        I'll remember that the next time I hear about that 8 of the hottest years ever have happened in the last ten or some such thing...

        or, perhaps, some grand proposal for a huge solar farm that conveniently neglects the costs and practicalities of storing the energy and transmitting it to where it needs to go.

        or how about the IPCC not bothering to fact-check glacier melt data -- very easily done -- presumably because it makes a better sales pitch and we poor dumb yokels in the audience will never know the difference anyway?

        or, for that matter, some brouhaha because somebody DARES TO QUESTION YOU!!!! about inconvenient data like the ten year (or is it more than that) flattening of temperature increases at the beginning of this century in spite of dumping more and more CO2 into the air (aerosols? Something else?)

        Or even failure (not by all by a long shot) to differentiate between rates of emissions and levels in the atmosphere, perhaps because of the inconvenient facts that:

        1. CO2 stays in the atmosphere a LOOOONG time. Driving a Prius today ain't going to do much for your kids tomorrow.
        2. Making a real impact will mean serious reductions -- on the order of 90% in CO2 emissions in a hurry (because of #1) and that is going to be incredibly expensive and disruptive, IF it  is going to happen in time to matter.

        And, finally, climate change? Seriously? And you claim you're not trying to sell anything? The problem is simple: Too much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere creates an overall warming trend. "Climate change" is a symptom, not the problem.  People started spouting it because, in their brilliance, they believe we are too damned stupid to understand the truth.  Now, every time there's a bad hurricane or a heat wave or even a blizzard, they can shout, "I told you so!" I'm waiting for them to start doing it for earth quakes and potential asteroid strikes.  My sense is that y'all just haven't worked up the nerve.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu May 12, 2011 at 02:42:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Come off it ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac, BlueberryTomatoSoup

          1.  You want to be joining the crowds screaming about some few small errors within an extremely long report when the information was correct in one section and an error in another (glacier data).  You realize that the vast majority of the IPCC work is done by people volunteering their time?  In any event, re the IPCC errors, perhaps you should consider IPCC Errors: Facts and Spin.

          2.  Have you bothered to look at Plan B?  Lester lays out a path to reaching the serious levels of reduction in emissions and beginning in adaptation in serious enough ways.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:22:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suppose you could say that Plan B hints (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            at the gut-wrenching costs and difficulties of getting there with its reference to a Wartime mobilization, so I'll give you that one.

            Give me this, though:
            Most of the folks who talk about addressing the problem don't admit that it will be incredibly difficult and expensive.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu May 12, 2011 at 05:54:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I don't have time to appropriately rip apart (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          most of what you have written on this comment thread, so I will hit the big stuff, starting with this comment.

          You provide a fantastic example of what I am talking about in the top two examples you give.  The first one about the hottest years being in the last decade is not a product being sold, it is a simple fact.  You can't say we are selling you something when it is an observable fact.  Your second example on the other hand is an example of someone selling something.  And guess what, the vast majority of climate scientists are selling solar farms.  Personally I am against solar farms because of their inexcusably low efficiency given the horrible costs (both monetarily and environmentally in materials) associated with making them.  

          A Siegel pretty well summed up the response for the IPCC claim below.

          As for your ridiculous claim that there has been no warming over the last ten years, there has been.  This denier talking point came up with the anomalously warm 1998.  The only way you can make the claim that there was no warming in the new century is if you start your trend line at 1998 (not 1997 or 1999) and end it at 2006.  There has been a very clear warming over the last ten years, no matter how much wool fox news will pull over your eyes.  The claim is BS and as a denizen of DKos, you should be able to do a simple google search to disprove that one.

          Your statement that if we can't cut 90% of carbon reductions is similarly ridiculous.  That is like being stuck in the your Prius going 10 miles an hour and the brakes stop working.  And then you say, I'm going to crash anyway, I might as well go 90 mph!  It is true that the reality is there are a lot of changes that cannot be avoided, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to avoid causing even more damage.  

          Will it be expensive?  Of course it will.  I challenge you to find me a climate scientist who won't tell you that.  But it will not be nearly as expensive as the oil companies will have you believe.  Remember that when scientists first pointed out the problems with acid rain in the northeast the coal companies used this exact argument.  And guess what, they were wrong!  We fixed the problem with no disruption to our economy.  And then when it was pointed out that CFC's were causing the ozone hole.  Industry 'warned' us of how banning CFC's would be devastating to our economy.  We have heard all of this crap before, the difference is this time people actually believe it.  Same old crap.

          I would also state that the gains we would get from selling the technology over the world would make up for some of the costs.  Ultimately, living with the consequences will be much more expensive than stopping them now.

          As for the coal miners, I feel for their pain, but we can't keep any antiquated profession alive just so those people can have jobs.  Would you have made this claim about the whalers when we banned whaling?  How about the people who make DDT?  Or actual operators for the telephone company?  Or checkers at the grocery store?  You can't stand in the way of progress.  You have to help them find new jobs somewhere else.  The jobs you should be worried about is that of the farmers who are seeing their crop yield get smaller every year because of climate change.  I place a higher premium on making sure the world's food supply is safe than a few thousand people who will lose their jobs causing the problem.  

          Some people will be negatively impacted by dealing with climate change, and some would be negatively impacted by not dealing with it.  You have to weigh the equation and decide which side is worse.

          The warming of the globe on average is the cause of the climate change, but the warming itself would have very little effect on life as we know it.  It is the climate changes; changes in the hydrologic cycle, sea level rise, changes in the seasons, etc that are going to cause the damage to our society.  As has been adequately documented all over this site, a lot of people in this country cannot make the leap from one idea to its consequence.  Hence the hatred on the right of the individual mandate.  Without the individual mandate, the entirety of health care reform falls apart because everyone has to participate to keep costs low.  It is the same with climate change.  They can't make the link between a global temperature increase of 1decC and it not raining in the American southwest anymore.  And we shouldn't expect them to, as not everyone has taken basic meteorology classes.  These are the same people that blame their weather man for being wrong when it rains and he gave it only a 20% chance of rain.  They don't understand.  So we talk about the consequence (climate change) rather than the proximal cause (global warming) or distal cause (increased radiative absorption in the atmosphere).

          All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer

          by BlueberryTomatoSoup on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:10:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You've got the time. You don't have the chops. (0+ / 0-)

            Everything I need to know about you comes from

            As for the coal miners, I feel for their pain, but we can't keep any antiquated profession alive just so those people can have jobs.  

            Of course you don't feel their pain.  If you had that kind of empathy you would never construct such a ridiculous straw man.

            There are coal miners, and auto workers, construction workers, etc,etc, etc who will find their lives signigicantly impacted.

            I'm guessing you are in a station high enough not to care about such things. It's ok, I suppose, to let all those eat cake -- so long as they don't use any fossil fuels to bake it.

            But the real deal this:

            Neither acid rain nor CFCs required the complete re-tooling of our economy or our lives. They were, relatively speaking, blips.  Carbon neutrality is not a blip.  It will be a gut wrenching, transforming, and expensive process.  It is not sufficient merely to chant mantras like "Golly gee, boys and girls, we'll just export our technology" in place of real serious planning to  make sure that we do our best to realize the (pre) Founders' ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.

            People like you are the enemy because you just don't give a damn about people like me. It's all "I'm a friend of the earth and all you unlucky souls can go to hell for all I care."

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:38:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you really think that we should (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              screw over the planet just so the coal companies can keep making money off the backs of hard-working American's than you are the Koch's best friend.  Coal mining is not safe, and it isn't good for the people who do it.  They are not good jobs.

              So yeah, I look forward to the day when every single coal miner loses there job and gets a better one.  One that won't shorten their lifespan by a decade plus.  Just like I look forward to every sweat shop being shut down and every drug cartel being eliminated.  You seem to think that the people in coal country are only good for one thing.  You are wrong.  They work hard, harder than most in worse conditions.  They can take on near any industry that sets up shop in their area.  

              Auto workers won't find their lives impacted at all.  So they start making cars with electric motors rather than combustion.  Does your concern for the auto industry make you oppose public transit?  

              You don't seem to care about the negative consequences that will be felt by the poorest among us because of climate change.  Those people who make their living off the land in the poor countries; Bangladesh, India, Honduras.  

              Dealing with global climate change will require a reworking of our economy, but it does not have to be disruptive.  In fact, it is already happening.  I live in Texas and my house is powered by wind fields.  People are driving electric cars.  Already we are making progress.  Is it disruptive to you?  There is no future in the fossil fuel world.  And 50 years from now, when you can't even buy a car that runs on gasoline, you will look back and realize that you never even noticed the change.

              The two biggest things we can do to combat global climate change:  1. Switch to battery powered cars and 2. Decommission all of the existing coal and oil power plants in exchange for nuclear and wind (until a cleaner alternative comes along).  I ask you, which of those two things will you find disruptive?  

              I agree that transitioning to a carbon free world is a much bigger task than acid rain or CFC's were.  I bring up the examples because they were both cases where the companies causing the problems swore in front of Congress and the American people that instituting the necessary changes would bankrupt us as a nation.  And they were wrong.  The same thing is happening right now.  And you are buying into Exxon's spin by refusing to think critically about what these changes entail.  We can do this is a very non-disruptive way.  There are lots of plans out there that lay out in great detail how to transition without disrupting our economy.  You just have to bother looking.

              Already you have been given links to just one of those plans.  Your claims about the climate system have been shown to be false, and you are forced to resort to fake concern about the future of the coal miners.  You don't care about them.  You care about you.

              Trust me, I am not the enemy.  The enemy is the Exxons, BP's and Peabody Energy's.  And anybody who defends them.  The planet isn't yours, it belongs to all of us and we have to do our best to make sure to leave the planet a little bit better than we found it for our children.

              As for my station in life, you don't know me.  I have spent the last 12 years of my life below the poverty line.  I was unemployed for most of 2010.  So no, I don't have the time to argue with you any more.  I could throw every fact and figure in the world and you would refuse all of them.  

              "The greatest sin is the indifference of good men". (roughly paraphrased)

              All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer

              by BlueberryTomatoSoup on Fri May 13, 2011 at 01:02:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Can you read? (0+ / 0-)

                Again with the straw men:

                If you really think that we should screw over the planet just so the coal companies can keep making money off the backs of hard-working American's than you are the Koch's best friend.

                Where do I say that?
                Nowhere, noway, nohow.

                You are the prisoner of your own orthodoxy, reduced to spewing out canned answers to questions you don't care to understand.

                And yes, you are the enemy.  It's bad enough that we've got the Exxons and Mobils of this world fighting tooth and nail to preserve their dirty businesses, but that's what I would expect from them, just as the music industry has done all it can do to deal with music downloads.

                People like you, however, are willing to destroy millions of people because it suits you.  You'll cover your ears and look the other way because you don't want to do the hard work or the deep thinking.  It's so much easier to follow your agenda when you don't have to worry about the consequences.

                Hell -- you might even laugh at the thought of all those poor working people being unable to take care of your families when you realize that they were destroyed for no good reason and you helped.  

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Fri May 13, 2011 at 03:47:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What you are saying, however ... (0+ / 0-)

                  is that you are against against action to mitigate climate change -- it certainly seems -- because you can see losers in the process.  "Losers" even though all humanity will lose far more from failure to act.

                  As well, certainly the paths forward that I advocate, action will improve the situation for "those poor working people".

                  Certainly seems by tenor / tone of your comments that you are the one heedless of the consequences of the agenda that you seem to be promoting ... which seems to be inaction and status quo, which is simply a 'dig the hole deeper' path.

                  Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                  by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 07:53:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have said NOTHING of the sort. (0+ / 0-)

                    Your filters are blinding you.

                    What I HAVE said is that we can't sacrifice people to do it, and that makes the task much harder.

                    I suppose you can be cavalier about the difficulties if you are in position to be one of the "winners". If you really don't care about the havoc your actions wreak, it actually is cheaper and easier to take action.

                    Except that, you can't do it.
                    All the people you would ruin have more political power than you give them credit for -- political power that could be engaged to achieve the things you claim to care about.

                    I'm not talking about Exxon, because Exxon won't be ruined. Too much money and too much power. They will simply shift focus and make their money in a different way.

                    I'm talking about the millions you would consign to the trash heap with a cavalier "oh, there will be jobs" and the billions of people in emerging economies who will object to efforts by Western nations to hold them back from attaining the "good life".

                    Your use of the phrase "mitigate climate change" borders on a childish belief in fairies if you really believe that you can't get there without the cooperation of all the millions (billions) you've likened to buggy whips.

                    The United States cannot mitigate climate change. That will take the world, especially the so-called Asian Tigers.
                    A lot of people will have to cooperate to make that happen, and this "I'm a friend of the Earth, and -- trust me, I'm sure you'll end up OK and, if you don't, well -- that's life in Loserville, Bucko" attitude wil not make that happen.

                    Hard problems.
                    Hard solutions.
                    But doable.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Fri May 13, 2011 at 09:55:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In fact ... (0+ / 0-)

                      I suggest that you read what you are writing ... It reads as "we can't act because ..." rather than what you are asserting here: "When we act, here are things that we assure we do to assure the least damage to people like ..."  What you have written, in comment after comment, sounds like: we can't act because coal miners / etc will be hurt.  

                      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                      by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 01:13:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If you believe that, it's a pretty sad reflection (0+ / 0-)

                        on the current state of the American character, and a far cry from that day in 1962, when President Kennedy said:

                        We choose to [do these] things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Fri May 13, 2011 at 01:34:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Again ... (0+ / 0-)

                          read your material ... and others' reaction to it.

                          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                          by A Siegel on Sun May 15, 2011 at 04:31:42 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Again, it's a pretty sad reflection. (0+ / 0-)

                            What you are reading into my material simply isn't there.

                            What I have said is that we need to do the hard work not to leave millions (or billions behind).

                            There really is no choice -- if only because all those people have votes or live in nations run by people whose power depends one way or the other on moving out of poverty.

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon May 16, 2011 at 06:44:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Disagree ... at least in degree ... (0+ / 0-)

                with this:

                The two biggest things we can do to combat global climate change:  1. Switch to battery powered cars and 2. Decommission all of the existing coal and oil power plants in exchange for nuclear and wind (until a cleaner alternative comes along).

                EFFICIENCY ... EFFICIENCY ... EFFICIENCY are the key first three items (espeically for OECD countries).  Building / transportation / manufacturing / agricultural.  E.g., we need to reduce demand (which can also include consumption changes (e.g., conservation) -- for example, reduced meat consumption can have a greater impact, in many cases, than moving from a traditional car to an electric one).

                Second, we need the clean energy sources (your item 2, in part) along with 'turning oil into salt' and providing meaningful alternatives for transportation (your item 1).

                Land-use patterns and agricultural processes.

                Etc ...


                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 07:57:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Efficiency will be critical when you consider the (0+ / 0-)

                  short time frame in which we have to act if there is a real difference to be made.

                  How do you decommission most of our electric power generation to replace it with renewables at the same time you add on considerable demand from electric vehicles without attacking efficiency?

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Fri May 13, 2011 at 01:23:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Sigh .. (4+ / 0-)

      1.  Drive for "Climate Change" came, fyi, very heavily from those seeking to forestall change.  

      2.  "Plain honest truth tends to be the best ..." Are you asserting that the scientific community, writ large, isn't seeking to be honest?

      3.  "particularly on the costs of taking action" ... you find dishonest?  The "costs" are uniformly exaggerated and misrepresented, imo.  The "plain honest truth" is that the costs  of inaction overwhelm any costs of action ... and that robust systems-of-systems analysis would show that the benefits of action would be greater than the costs.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:35:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  O shigh. (0+ / 0-)

        1.duh.  Makes it no less stupid.  Maybe moreso, a "with friends like this who needs enemies?" sort of thing.

        The problem isn't climate change. Some elements of climate change are symptoms of an underlying problem, but climate change happens for all kinds of reasons, and it will continue to happen for all kinds of reasons. Nothing we can do about that.  What we can hope to do is stop pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

        2.  When you put it that way -- "seeking to be" -- I'm not sure.  It's very possible that they are "seeking to be".

        3. Well, you are more than welcome to believe that.  I am equally welcome to completely discount anything you say for making such a silly statement.  The impact of actually addressing the need -- and it really does require a 90% reduction in greenhouse gases FAST! (that CO2 lingers a loong time problem) -- will be huge, expensive, and disruptive.

        I suppose you can reduce the cost if you don't give a damn what happens to people who mine coal, build cars, don't live in cities (or do live in cities but don't make a fortune) etc, etc, etc.
        Good luck selling that, especially to emerging economies governed by folks who really don't want to tell their people that the West says they can't have the good life.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu May 12, 2011 at 02:54:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re 3 ... (2+ / 0-)

          1.  You are, in essence, arguing tail wagging the dog. Frank Luntz, et al, had tremendous influence driving language. And, "climate change" is also an accurate way to describe what is going.

          3. Actually, I would suggest that we need to be striving for a carbon-neutral society within 30 years and carbon negative within 40 (if not earlier) -- forget the 90%.

          Yes, there will be tremendous 'costs'.  But, again, the "costs" discussion has to also consider the "benefits" discussion.  

          Hmmm ... burning fossil fuels costs US health care over $100 billion a year according to the National Academy of Sciences (in an overly conservative study) ... 'greening' office buildings, schools, manufacturing facilities reduces pollution loads while also (substantially) increasing productivity / student performance / etc ... which is something that essentially none of the cost-benefit analyses of climate action has considered.

          In the Developing World, better to help them leap frog to clean energy development or continued to help them with dirty energy that is killing their people?

          Now, do I want to assert that taking on climate change / Global Warming / climate disruption will be a win economically for every single person and every single community and every single business beyond the 'insurance' value of reducing the levels of disruption?  No ... while better for the general welfare, Koch Industries is doing very well while polluting all of our lives.

          By the way, I won't get into it here, but I find Van Jones' path for treating coal miners and coal miner communities as heroes and helping them transition a sensible concept. I have also laid out, multiple times, paths for fostering clean energy futures in mining communities in ways that would create more employment/economic activity and beginning this even before any serious transition off coal would be hitting their jobs.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:32:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And please don't take this personally. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            There are individuals -- more than a few -- who fess up to the real size of the task.

            And yes -- the coal miner hero thing is a good start, even if all it does is get us thinking about the reality that good jobs are important to people and we can't simply assume that the required changes will produce them.

            But --- I don't believe there is enough truth telling going on, and the bad result of that is that it makes you (generic you, not personal you) seem untrustworthy.  That, btw, is the problem with the IPCC thing, that it makes it seem like they don't care about the truth.

            Americans got on board to send Apollo to the moon (a trivial task compared to carbon neutrality) and they got on board with WWII (not a trivial task at all).  Americans can get on board with re-shaping our lives to make a world our children can live in.  There's nothing wrong with salesmanship. Nothing at all. Trust, however, is utterly essential.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu May 12, 2011 at 06:02:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Lying, loaded language, fake concern (0+ / 0-)

      Enough to wonder if you are a professional at this.

      Let's pick up the talking points you throw in:
      "Climate change is natural. Symptom of other problems.Flattening of the increase. it will continue to happen for all kinds of reasons. Nothing we can do about that."

      The only driver of climate change that is going to happen on a significant human time scale is increases in CO2 emission caused by humans. Perhaps we can get worried about a big change in volcanic activity but we have no reason to think it will happen.  

      Other people have pointed  out that the "flattening" is picking one really warm year and taking that as your starting point, a deliberately misleading way  to measure a trend.

      Now what to do about it: whether alternative energy sources are economically competitive depends very strongly on the availability of capital and the stability of energy prices. Alternative energy projects tend to be very capital intensive but pay out for a very long period of time. Coal and gas plants are built not because they are fundamentally better but because they can be built rapidly. Investors tend to have a couple of year outlook.

      Everything in American policy is geared to support existing industries:  cheap coal, oil and gas leases, transfer of the health, risk and environmental costs to the public. Does anyone really think BP is going to pay out even a fraction of the human and economic costs of the gulf spill? If a nuc plant melts down, the public will pay for it, just as in Japan.  No company pays for the deaths and health problems from coal or the lost agricultural output. Who pays for the reduction in ocean food sources as it acidifies? Who pays for our support of Arab states such as Saudi Arabia (who funded the 9/11 attacks) or our two wars in the region? Some of every dollar spent on oil goes to a terrorist.

       As it is now, subsidies to  nonrenewable sources dwarf those for  renewables, although you would never know it from the press. Is it a loss to America when building codes and car fleet rules are changed to reward energy efficiency? Lack of energy policy is as much a distortion of the market as  having one, choosing to allow people to dump stuff into the air is  still a public policy choice.

  •  the rot at the core is the money in (4+ / 0-)

    politics, which disenfranchises the citizens.  all of these other ills flow from that.

  •  My preference is for scientists to be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    captainlaser, Larsstephens

    fucking climate scientists, and not climate fucking scientists.

    Damn climate scientists and their difficulties communicating effectively. /nt

    I'm also surprised that Romm posted this, as he won't tolerate cursing in comments.  

  •  the problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, A Siegel, captainlaser

    is that science is hard and not everyone can understand it. Given this plus the massive amount of money behind the status quo, you've got enough to make the general public throw up their hands and say "hey, some eggheads say this, but on the other side there are eggheads that say that".

    You see similar stuff in the evolution "controversy"; the average person can't distinguish a genuine scientist from a Discovery Institute crackpot.

    "Obama won. Get over it."

    by onanyes on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:10:19 PM PDT

  •  Hurricane forecaster vs Climate Scientist (4+ / 0-)

    Be aware that there are renown hurricane season forecasters who vie for funding against climate scientists.  I did a little research and the biggest name is seasonal hurricane forecasting gets a share of his funding from a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil.  Not surprisingly, this hurricane season forecaster is a climate change skeptic.

  •  Science-speak is easy for the ignorant to dismiss (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, captainlaser

    the demagogue says: Climate change is a hoax!

    the scientist says: the preponderance of the evidence tends to support the climate change hypothesis

    which sounds like a weasel-worded "maybe" to a non-scientist.

    But the demagogue is SURE of his stance, even though it's wrong.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:51:41 PM PDT

  •  We suffer from not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    being able to distinguish climate from weather.  For years, climate was the statistical characterization of past weather.  There were weather forecasts for days or week in advance.  Climatology had no predictive paradigm.  
       Beginning in the 80's various global, long- term forecast models were developed.  These were not perfect, often produced opposite results for the same area of the earth.   In weather, there are various feed-back and attenuating factors at play. An example of one attenuating factor is that hotter weather evaporates more water making more clouds which shade areas of the globe making those areas cooler.
       Climate models suffered from,  and to a degree still suffer from, not being verifiable.  ie Go back a hundred or two hundred years and input CO2 and other factors and see if the models replicate the weather/climate that was experienced.  
       The loss of ice in the Artic,  Greenland and  in most glaciers and increasing seasonal temperatures over broad areas of the earth are still better evidence of warming than model predictions.   Therein lies the proof of global warming.
       I have been dismayed recently to hear the recent tornado outbreak and Mississippi River flooding blamed on global warming.  Global warming "believers" are ill-advised to use single events as "proof"  because in a month or two there will be no tornados or floods which will only be "proof" to climate change deniers that change is not occurring.

    •  global warming affects weather (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      that is undeniable - a warmer ocean surface and atmosphere affect the weather. it is not the only thing that affects weather, of course, but it is one thing.

      each extreme weather event is another data point. it is sensible for people to talk about them and their relation to global warming.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:27:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a warmer ocean can also mean more rain (0+ / 0-)

        And more freshwater is exactly what 7 billion people need.  Rainfall may well adopt chaotic or monsoon patterns, but if there's more of it globally, it can be managed.

        In the short term, there's a lot of land that used to be wetland, that nature will take back.

        •  Re that "rain" ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Problem is that this additional rain is occurring (and will increasingly occur) in severe weather events. And, then will evaporate faster. More flooding and more droughts. And, harder to storm and use rain that hits in severe event than several less serious rainfalls that occur over a few weeks.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:35:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No it won't evaporate faster (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            Evaporation is driven by surface area.  If it continually sprinkles but the water never builds up to any depth, then the water has a very large surface area to volume and evaporates quickly.

            When there is a lot of heavy rain, the water pools.  Lakes and rivers get deeper.  Water sits on the ground and the pressure forces it underground into the aquifers.

            Is all the water from the April rains evaporating?  No, it's running down the Mississippi back to the ocean.

            The flooding will occur in floodplains that have always flooded and always will.  Droughts will occur in areas that have always had them, just not always in the very short human lifespan.

            Do you know why the Great Plains don't have trees?  It's not because it never rains enough for trees to grow.  It does, sometimes for many years straight.  But a drought always comes that kills the trees and causes forest fires.  And grass evolved for that environment, to keep it's roots deep underground and grow quickly back.

            Droughts and floods only matter if you're trying to give mother nature the finger and farm where you have no business doing so.  Does that mean the Earth can't support 7 billion people?  Yes it does, time to deal with it.

            •  Look ... (0+ / 0-)

              Stop spreading disinformation.

              No it won't evaporate faster

              Are you asserting that heat has no impact on evaporation?

              For example ...

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 02:45:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course heat has an impact (0+ / 0-)

                And so does surface area.

                More heat will drive more evaporation from land, but also more evaporation from the oceans.

                But when a lot of rain falls and the water gets deep, the ratio of volume to surface area decreases, so the overall evaporation rate is lower, even with higher temperatures.

                Evaporation also tends to form clouds which reflects sunlight and keeps the rest of the water cooler.  Lots of variables acting in opposing directions.

          •  Let me guess.... (0+ / 0-)

            People have a Constitutional Right to live below sea level, to have green lawns in the desert, to live below the tsunami stones and to live along a giant river that drains half a continent, right?

            Is it your position that nature is supposed to be perfectly static and provide for foolish people who live carelessly?

            •  Thus ... (0+ / 0-)

              1. You clearly question or deny human impact on the atmosphere and climate.

              2. You are seeking to misinform, deceive, and confuse.

              There is no basis, ever, in my body of work for playing games with this sort of assertion.

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 02:46:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course I question, I have to. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm a scientist, it's in my nature to question.  What's the alternative, to take it on faith?  Sorry, I don't work that way.  If people asking questions makes you uncomfortable, go join a church and stick your head in the sand.
                But I absolutely do NOT seek to misinform or deceive.  What would be my motivation to do so?

                I don't deny human impact on climate.  But it won't be larger in magnitude than natural changes that have occured in the past and will occur again in the future.

                I don't deny the existance of postive feedback loops.  But I specifically discount methane as a long lasting positive feedback, and I think a lot of negative feedback, such as high albedo cloud cover reflecting solar heat, are ignored.  Climate is a chaotic system.  It's very difficult to make stright line projections, which is what most of the doomsday scenarios are.

                I do deny that climate is supposed to be static at the 1950 datum, that droughts, floods, huricanes and tornados are never supposed to occur.  Nature is under no obligation to provide us with a comfy existance and it's foolish to expect the weather to always be nice and calm for our sake.

                •  You play games with your strawman (0+ / 0-)

                  creations ... are you serious with that last paragraph?

                  Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                  by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 08:14:46 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  So think like a scientist then (0+ / 0-)

                  Changes don't just happen. That idea is just solipsism not science. Weather is chaotic, but like any statistical system the average behavior is determined by the fundamental physics. We are changing the input energy by changing the energy trapping in the infrared, by about a percent. Since the leakage of energy to the upper atmosphere space is approximately diffusive we need a temperature change approximately linear in the increased trapped energy  to maintain energy balance, or a degree or two.

                  We are making a change to the system. You as a scientist need to explain why you feel you can claim this will have only a small effect. It's not science to argue it's complicated so nothing will happen. It is also not science to  ignore the ever improving data on the size of the effect.

                  In the standard denial flow, you next point to historic and prehistoric climate changes and argue from foolishness that because there are other things that have affected climate we should ignore CO2. This is no different than saying "well, most people die from heart attacks so it doesn't matter if this food is poisonous." We are NOT experiencing other changes that will affect climate, we have only one fast enough and dangerous enough to worry about and that is our release of huge amounts of CO2 not seen in the atmosphere for hundreds of millions of years. I am not going to sweat volcanoes, continental uplift or drift or albedo changes because you think that their existence negates the real issue.

                  And I don't particularly care if you have a vision of a mother Nature that cares or does not care for us.  It matters to me that human populations do live in vast numbers at low elevations and that my food supply and quality of life depend on the stability of the climate we have now. My goal is to minimize the costs to me and society from the weather changes driven by global warming. We can invest now or we can pay a lot more later in societal disruption and economic costs.

                  And why the poke at methane? CO2 is the issue.

                  •  I do think that way (0+ / 0-)

                    For negative feedback, the additional water evaporated by a warm planet forms more clouds which are white, and reflect much more sunlight than the dark blue or green water/land beneath.  It's a very powerful feedback mechanism actually.

                    The poke at methane was because the original diary was freaking out about a runaway positive feedback loop driven by a large methane release.  But a methane release in the artic will be seasonally modulated due to 6 months of dark, and with the short half-life, is really a non-issue.  Yes C02 is the issue, so why did the diary mention methane?

                    And finally, if it matters to you that billions live along the coasts, then you'd better understand that nature does not care about us and never will.  As a scientitst, I'm thinking beyond just a few short decades and so should you.

        •  But the rain will be in the wrong place (0+ / 0-)

          Extra heat expands the subtropical dry zones associated with air rising near the equator. Think Baja California, Norther Mexico Sahara, Middle East,  India (rain from monsoons, separate topic). This is a very basic response in the models and not easily discounted.  We have huge populations and agricultural regions in the areas that are drying out. (California and Texas are examples.) There will be more rain but it will be where we already have plenty such as the northern US.

    •  Sigh ... "believers" ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      captainlaser, Leftcandid, mawazo

      1. There is a difference between belief and knowledge. As Vicky Pope put it:

      When climate scientists like me explain to people what we do for a living we are increasingly asked whether we “believe in climate change”. Quite simply it is not a matter of belief. Our concerns about climate change arise from the scientific evidence that humanity’s activities are leading to changes in our climate. The scientific evidence is overwhelming.

      2. Re tornadoes / etc ... you would prefer that people fail to talk about climate disruption when severe weather events occur?  See Global Warming did not cause the tornados! Did it?

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:40:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolument, Adam. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leftcandid, A Siegel, mawazo

        I start my Global Warming Freshman Seminar by putting two words on the board   "Belief"  and "Knowledge".   Then I ask them "What do you KNOW about global warming?"

        We then spend the hour filling up the "Belief" board.   Because I ask them how could they "Know" something without having evidence or experimental data.   And then we are off and running for 16 weeks making sure that when the class is over, they KNOW something rather than resorting to what someone else has told them....

        And while these are mostly humanities students, when they are done, they can read a Nature or Science article and understand scientific process.

  •  There seems to be four significant impediments to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    clearly understanding global warming and it’s relationship to climate change.  First, we need to understand that there is a great difference between weather (what’s happening outside our homes right now) and climate (global, fairly enduring conditions that determine our weather over a long period.)  They are fundamentally different processes.  

    Secondly, we need to understand that whether the earth is warming really isn’t the question.  Our planet warms and cools in long term cycles of roughly 100,000, 40,000 and 20,000 years (determined by the Earth’s aspect to the sun) and in short term cycles (determined by a myriad of other factors including solar activity, ocean salinity and the concentration of greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere to name few.)  So, the question we need to be asking is whether the Earth is warming faster than would be expected by through natural causes.  The answer here is yes and the implications of that answer are staggering.

    Thirdly, we need to understand that the result we should expect from  global warming is not simply hotter weather but, rather, it is increasing frequent extreme weather because planetary warming destabilizes the physical conditions that produce climate on a global scale.

    Finally, we need to understand that the processes that dictate climate are extremely complex and understanding those processes requires at least a cursory familiarity with a number of sciences.  The key word here is science because climate change is a scientific issue, not a political one.  Conservatives, centrist and liberals have an equal stake in controlling this problem because if we don’t control it we are all going to pay equally.

  •  Time to reinvent science? (5+ / 0-)

    There's a commentary at The Scientist which seems pretty appropriate to this discussion: Wanted - Another Scientific Revolution.

    Laura J. Snyder offers up the hypothesis that modern science owes a great deal of its implicit context to a 'breakfast club' of 4 men: John Herschel, Charles Babbage, William Whewell, and Richard Jones.

    Because of these men, science was transformed from the province of the amateur—the clergyman collecting fossils or beetles in his spare hours, or the wealthy gentleman conducting electrical experiments at his country estate—to the career of the professional: trained at the university, published in specialized journals, and admitted to associations open only to fellow professionals.

    The commentary provides more detail, but Snyder ends with this point:

    One of the unintended consequences of the revolution wrought by the Philosophical Breakfast Club has been that the professional scientist is now less interested in, and perhaps less capable of, connecting with the broader public, sharing the new discoveries and theories that most excite the scientific community. Although there are some notable exceptions, today’s researcher has been less adept than the Victorian-era natural philosopher at engaging the public—and this estranged the general public from science. In part this is because the scientific establishment discourages its members from writing popular books and articles, considering these projects unserious, even frivolous, diversions from the real work of research. But this attitude has to change in order to mend the ever-deepening rift between science and the rest of modern culture. Today’s scientist should strive to be more like the 19th-century natural philosopher—ironically, more like those very men who created the modern scientist.

    Carl Sagan as a science popularizer comes to mind, as does James Burke of "Connections" Others?

      Social media may prove to be a tool that can help with this - but it's just a tool, and scientists are not the only ones who can use it.Where there's money and evil intent....

    I'm considering a diary around all of the Science Fiction stories that have dealt with the theme of the problem humans have with understanding and not being overwhelmed by the sheer amounts of informations available today.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:18:57 PM PDT

    •  This is an interesting idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, Larsstephens

      that has some merit.  However there are quite a few science popularizers out there.  I think the real problem is the success of science.  In the 19th century it would not be unreasonable for an educated person to be well informed about the most recent developments in many disciplines.  Today the amount of information out there is so vast that is no longer feasible.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:28:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GREAT video! Sent the link everywhere, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    captainlaser, Tennessee Dave

    tipped and rec'd. Thanks!!

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:20:12 PM PDT

  •  I'm not a climatologist. I'm a physicist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel


    Adam, someday you can explain to folks why State Climatologists are amongst the most anal naysayers on the planet.

    And why a climatologist is not a climate scientist.

  •  Methane is too short lived to give pos feedback (0+ / 0-)

    The half life of methane is only 8 years due to solar UV breakdown.  8 short years and the methane levels are half.  That's 1/32 the peak level in 40 years.  Earth's tilt keeps the seasons too heavily balanced for a 40 year exponentially decreasing blip to cause a major change in established patterns.

    And past history says that the chaos from too much heat is most likely to trigger another ice age due to massive snowfall a few years in a row and the albedo feedback.

    The rainfall this spring shows how moisture is pulled north from the gulf.  More moisture, more rain, which then means big blizzards in winter.

    Being a climate scientist also means understanding chaotic systems and not doing two point extrapolation.

    •  Sigh ... (0+ / 0-)

      Have you actually looked at the curves of methane in the atmosphere?

      Also, of course, what does methane break down into?

      The idea that Arctic melting could lead to massive amounts of methane (most serious concern, methane hydrate 'burp') rapidly entering into the atmospheric system isn't something to so casually dismiss.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:42:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More two point extrapolation (0+ / 0-)

        I bet you think that exponential curve is going to continue forever.  Just like the Dow 36,000 morons.  That curve will flatten out, physics demands it.  The 8 year half-life will not allow methane to build up in the atmosphere.

        What I see is that all of our industrial activity over two centuries has only doubled methane levels over the biological baseline  And that's because we're cranking it out daily.  If we stopped methane emissions, the levels would plummet back to the 800ppb biological level in much less time than it took us to get it up to 1600.

        Methane breaks down into water and C02.  The water goes into the ocean harmlessly.  The C02 is a much less potent greenhouse gas and gets absorbed by plants and stored away in biomass.  How do you think the methane got into the permafrost in the first place?

        It's a cycle, and yes a burp of a short lived chemical is something to casually dismiss.  Stop thinking in the time frame of the young where two decades is an eternity and start thinking about climate in terms of 10,000 year or 100,000 year long cycles, where none of this really matters all that much.  Any short term effect from a methane release is not going to cause permanent change to established cycles that are driven primarily by the sun and our orbit.

        •  There is a difference between (0+ / 0-)

          planetary cycles and geologic (like) time versus the impact on humanity and changes within years/decades/lifetimes.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Fri May 13, 2011 at 02:43:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But those changes happen all the time (0+ / 0-)

            My biggest problem with the climate change crowd is that they think that C02 levels are the only thing that drive climate change, and also the only thing that can cause human lifetime changes.

            The formation of the Sahara desert 8000 years ago happened within a couple generations and was a natural climate fluctuation with massive impact.

            People had to adapt then, they will have to adapt in the future.  I think it's incredibly naive to blame every natural disaster on C02 and therefore claim that it never would have happened.

            But don't complain to me.  I support nuclear power, so I do more to reduce C02 than most of the people on this site.

  •  The Fracking Song: a musical explainer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    The Fracking Song

    Via @jayrosen_nyu produced by his students.

    Scratching around in the ancient dirt of repellent prejudice instead of tackling the real issues is amateur hour. ~ Henry Rollins

    by mawazo on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:00:28 PM PDT

  •  Comment (0+ / 0-)

    One of the tricks that the science denial industry engages in is to hire experts who have records of successful peer-reviewed research.  Of course, those experts are (a) in fields other than climatology, and (b) want to make a quick payout.

    So you find, say, a chemical engineering professor.  One with good credentials and good work in his area of expertise.  That work likely has nothing to do with any discipline with climate change.  But all the average stupid couch potato sees is "Professor, Engineering PhD", a big name university, and "Science."  So, our prof gets a new and lucrative consulting and speaking gig.  The school can't go after him because the output he produces in his day job is just fine.  And now the climate change deniers have a "credible expert."

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