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About 5 years ago, one of the top climate scientists, Jim Hanson, declared we have about 10 years left to mitigate the effects of global warming before we just have to take the consequences of our stupidity. He got some criticism from this even among climate scientists because of the apparent precision of his estimate, but the gist of his warning is valid: we have a limited time and it is NOW, like RIGHT NOW that we have to deal with this crisis.

Since he made his warning, the pace of global warming has only accelerated. So we might even have LESS time than Jim Hanson suggested. Was his warning excessively precise? Yeah, sure it was. We can't know precisely how much time we have left, but I don't think it is that far off and the more scientific info comes in the more I am convinced he is not that far off. We are in 2012. Arctic ice volume is expected, at current rate of decline, to reach zero (that means an ice free Arctic Ocean) around 2015 according to modeling from the PIOMAS ice volume project at the University of Washington in Seattle. As that happens we WILL reach a critical tipping point in approximately the same time frame.

Now I don't think the supposed tipping points that are sometimes hypothesized are always valid. But there is one very clear, very frightening tipping point that will occur approximately in the same time frame as an ice-free Arctic Ocean, which means around 2015 or so. That is the release of methane that is frozen in the Arctic. From BBC News:

"In 2007, the water [off northern Siberia] warmed up to about 5C (41F) in summer, and this extends down to the sea bed, melting the offshore permafrost."

Among the issues this raises is whether the ice-free conditions will quicken release of methane currently trapped in the sea bed, especially in the shallow waters along the northern coast of Siberia, Canada and Alaska.

Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though it does not last as long in the atmosphere...

"With 'business-as-usual' greenhouse gas emissions, we might have warming of 9-10C in the Arctic.

"That will cement in place the ice-free nature of the Arctic Ocean - it will release methane from offshore, and a lot of the methane on land as well."

This would - in turn - exacerbate warming, across the Arctic and the rest of the world.

The release of this much methane into the atmosphere is one of the more frightening things to me in our near future. More so than a nuclear Iran or the deficit or pretty much anything else. And even if it isn't right at 2015 that it happens (I do agree these estimates are too precise) it WILL be this generation. And to prevent it we have to act right now. And we ALL have to act.

We look to government to solve major problems like this, and we definitely have to get governments around the world to act. Some have. Not enough. Lobbying your local, state and federal government reps to cut back on the carbon footprint of America is something we all should be doing. Writing letters to the editor as well to influence public opinion.

But we all have individual, personal responsibilities to cut back our carbon footprints. We are consumers and creating the markets for energy efficiency and alternate energy should be top of our list for making decisions as consumers. We don't have any more time. The next dozen generations will depend on our personal, as well as national, decisions right now when it comes to energy use.

Energy use is part of everything we do. Every bite we eat, every purchase we make has an energy cost and hence a carbon footprint. Which means on the one hand everything we do adds to the problem. On the other hand it means we have a lot of ways we can make good decisions and reduce our footprint.

My wife is a climate scientist and I have been following this issue for some 25 years, so we have been deliberately reducing our carbon footprint for more than a decade. When Jim Hanson gave us our 10-year warning I took it a step further and started offsetting our carbon use even further. I owe it to my kids to do all I personally can to prevent this looming tipping point from happening.

What can we do as individuals other than letters to the editor and letters to our politicians? Well, LOTS of stuff. Some save money, some cost money. Some cost a LOT to start but save you even more in the long run.

Energy use is a huge deal and the thing you can do the most to reduce. And I usually start with that. But let me first discuss something I usually only refer to without details: food consumption. This is another large part of our carbon footprint.

YOUR ATMOSPHERE IS WHAT YOU EAT:

If we all fed ourselves from our own organic gardens we'd be doing a lot. But that isn't possible. If we all became vegan we could reduce our carbon footprint a lot. But that isn't going to happen. I have intended to do a detailed article about how our eating choices affect our carbon and water footprints, but haven't gotten around to it. So let me just make a few basic suggestions to help everyone make good choices. Carbon use estimates from:

http://www.sciencenews.org/...

or from: http://timeforchange.org/...

Buying local and organic are important, of course. Those are local solutions for which I can only really advise for NYC. But as a first approximation shopping at your local food co-op can be a great way to cut your carbon footprint a bit, save money, and eat a healthier diet. My wife and I joined our local food co-op some 6 years ago and though it has been a tad inconvenient (work requirements, long lines, etc.) we are eating much better, getting better quality produce and meat, shopping more locally, and overall saving some money. To find local food co-ops, try this directory, though it is incomplete and somewhat out of date.

But short of growing your own or buying from your next door farm, generally your choices are going to be more what kinds of food you eat. Here are some guidelines based on the carbon estimates above.

BEEF: 13-19 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every kg of beef. And I think the actual impact would be higher if you include the methane from waste products.

CHEESE: 8.5 kg carbon emissions per kg hard cheese. Soft cheeses are better, some getting even as low as pork and chicken. I am guessing goat and sheep cheese might be better than cow cheese, but not sure.

PORK: 3.25-4.8 kg carbon emission per kg meat (not sure this takes into account the methane release from the waste which is quite high and can actually be a major source of fuel for energy production!)

CHICKEN: 3.5 kg carbon emission per kg meat

EGGS: 2 kg carbon emissions per kg eggs

YOGURT: 1.2 kg carbon emissions per kg of yogurt

MILK: 900 g carbon emission per kg milk

Vegan diets are, in general, the lowest in terms of carbon emissions. But just looking at meat, replacing beef with chicken can significantly cut your family's carbon foot print. And what strikes me is, coincidentally, the lower carbon emission meats tend also to be healthier and cheaper. So with chicken you cut the carbon footprint by about 75%, lower cholesterol, and at least where I shop save a fair amount of money. Leave out the cheese and bacon from your egg sandwich in the morning. Or better yet have a yogurt.

Now I eat beef from time to time (LOVE a good burger), but I stopped cooking it at home. I do pork (from a local farm!) or chicken as pretty much the only meat I use. When I use meat I use less of it, more like a flavoring than a major ingredient. And honestly about half the dinners I make are more or less vegetarian.

Let me add here that for ANY meat you get, please choose ones that are LABELED as being raised without antibiotics. This is another issue but one of almost equal importance.

Another more fun source for calculating the carbon impact of a meal can be found here: http://www.eatlowcarbon.org/...

Some lessons from that site: a chicken and cheese burrito has half the carbon footprint of a beef and cheese burrito. A burrito with rice, cheese and beans is even less.

An individual cheese pizza is about half the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger.

A chicken sandwich or turkey burger is even half of carbon footprint of the pizza.

And a falafel even half the carbon footprint of a chicken sandwich.

When ordering sushi salmon has a lower foot print than tuna which has a lower footprint than shrimp

And again I think in terms of health many of the lower carbon emission foods are healthier and often cheaper.

What you eat affects the climate, plain and simple. And you don't have to be vegan to significantly cut back your carbon footprint, though even a meat lover like me admits they generally are doing better in cutting back their carbon than I am.

ALL ABOUT ENERGY USAGE:

Oil, coal and gas industries are telling us renewable energy CAN'T meet global energy demands. They each tell us that only THEY can fuel our needs. Well, the world's top climate scientists beg to differ. Simply put, starting now we can use renewable energy to fuel our increasing energy needs, in the process mitigating many environmental problems, including global warming and urban pollution. And what is often left out is the fact that many of these solutions create local jobs. If we just listen to the scientists and tell the oil, gas and coal advocates to shut up, we can do it.

From BBC News:

Renewables can fuel society, say world climate advisers

Renewable technologies could supply 80% of the world's energy needs by mid-century, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In a report, it says that almost half of current investment in electricity generation is going into renewables.

But growth will depend on having the right policies in place, it says...

The report analysed 164 "scenarios" of future energy development; and the ones in which renewables were most aggressively pursued resulted in a cut in global greenhouse gas emissions of about one-third compared with business-as-usual projections by 2050...

And from a Spanish organization, REVE:
Renewable energy can exceed global demand, according to IPCC

"The report clearly demonstrates that renewable technologies could supply the world with more energy than it would ever need, and at a highly competitive cost," said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council.

The IPCC studied six renewable energy sectors--bioenergy, direct solar energy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean energy and wind energy. Renewable energy sources are expected to contribute up to 80% of global energy supply by 2050, according to a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following a review of 164 scenarios, the IPCC found that renewables will play the major role in any successful plan to combat climate change...

Renewable energy sources and technologies considered in this report

Bioenergy can be produced from a variety of biomass feedstocks, including forest, agricultural and livestock residues; short-rotation forest plantations; energy crops; the organic component of municipal solid waste; and other organic waste streams. Through a variety of processes, these feedstocks can be directly used to produce electricity or heat, or can be used to create gaseous, liquid, or solid fuels. The range of bioenergy technologies is broad and the technical maturity varies substantially. Some examples of commercially available technologies include small- and large-scale boilers, domestic pellet-based heating systems, and ethanol production from sugar and starch.

Advanced biomass integrated gasification combined-cycle power plants and lignocellulose-based transport fuels are examples of technologies that are at a pre-commercial stage, while liquid biofuel production from algae and some other biological conversion approaches are at the research and development (R&D) phase. Bioenergy technologies have applications in centralized and decentralized settings, with the traditional use of biomass in developing countries being the most widespread current application.

Bioenergy typically offers constant or controllable output. Bioenergy projects usually depend on local and regional fuel supply availability, but recent developments show that solid biomass and liquid biofuels are increasingly traded internationally.

Direct solar energy technologies harness the energy of solar irradiance to produce electricity using photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP), to produce thermal energy (heating or cooling, either through passive or active means), to meet direct lighting needs and, potentially, to produce fuels that might be used for transport and other purposes. The technology maturity of solar applications ranges from R&D (e.g., fuels produced from solar energy), to relatively mature (e.g., concentrated solar energy), to mature (e.g. passive and active solar heating, and wafer-based silicon PV).

Many but not all of the technologies are modular in nature, allowing their use in both centralized and decentralized energy systems. Solar energy is variable and, to some degree, unpredictable, though the temporal profile of solar energy output in some circumstances correlates relatively well with energy demands. Thermal energy storage offers the option to improve output control for some technologies such as CSP and direct solar heating.

Geothermal energy utilizes the accessible thermal energy from the Earth’s interior. Heat is extracted from geothermal reservoirs using wells or other means. Reservoirs that are naturally sufficiently hot and permeable are called hydrothermal reservoirs, whereas reservoirs that are sufficiently hot but that are improved with hydraulic stimulation are called enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Once at the surface, fluids of various temperatures can be used to generate electricity or can be used more directly for applications that require thermal energy, including district heating or the use of lower-temperature heat from shallow wells for geothermal heat pumps used in heating or cooling applications. Hydrothermal power plants and thermal applications of geothermal energy are mature technologies, whereas EGS projects are in the demonstration and pilot phase while also undergoing R&D. When used to generate electricity, geothermal power plants typically offer constant output.

Hydropower harnesses the energy of water moving from higher to lower elevations, primarily to generate electricity. Hydropower projects encompass dam projects with reservoirs, run-of-river and in-stream projects and cover a continuum in project scale. This variety gives hydropower the ability to meet large centralized urban needs as well as decentralized rural needs. Hydropower technologies are mature. Hydropower projects exploit a resource that varies temporally. However, the controllable output provided by hydropower facilities that have reservoirs can be used to meet peak electricity demands and help to balance electricity systems that have large amounts of variable RE drinking water, irrigation, flood and drought control, and navigation, as well as energy supply.

Ocean energy derives from the potential, kinetic, thermal and chemical energy of seawater, which can be transformed to provide electricity, thermal energy, or potable water. A wide range of technologies are possible, such as barrages for tidal range, submarine turbines for tidal and ocean currents, heat exchangers for ocean thermal energy conversion, and a variety of devices to harness the energy of waves and salinity gradients. Ocean technologies, with the exception of tidal barrages, are at the demonstration and pilot project phases and many require additional R&D. Some of the technologies have variable energy output profiles with differing levels of predictability (e.g., wave, tidal range and current), while others may be capable of near-constant or even controllable operation (e.g., ocean thermal and salinity gradient).

Wind energy harnesses the kinetic energy of moving air. The primary application of relevance to climate change mitigation is to produce electricity from large wind turbines located on land (onshore) or in sea- or freshwater (offshore). Onshore wind energy technologies are already being manufactured and deployed on a large scale. Offshore wind power technologies have greater potential for continued technical advancement. Wind electricity is both variable and, to some degree, unpredictable, but experience and detailed studies from many regions have shown that the integration of wind energy generally poses no insurmountable technical barriers.

And from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
If the full range of renewable technologies were to be deployed, levels of heat-trapping emissions could be kept to concentrations lower than 450 parts per million. This level could help keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°F from current levels, the temperature beyond which scientists have predicted would likely lead to the most serious consequences of climate change.

The report points out that the renewable energy transition is already underway. Nearly half of new electric generating capacity added globally in both 2008 and 2009 was from renewable sources. The same was true in the United States, with wind, solar, and other renewable technologies providing more than 40 percent of the new generating capacity.

"This IPCC report makes it clear that renewable energy has tremendous potential to meet our energy needs and confront the challenge of climate change. But we must do much more to scale up clean energy sources," said Rachel Cleetus, UCS climate economist. "Many renewables are already economically competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear energy, especially when you take into account all the hidden costs of conventional energy--such as public health risks, air and water pollution, global warming emissions, and security risks."

In a 2009 analysis titled "Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy," UCS concluded that by adopting a comprehensive package of climate and clean energy policies in the U.S., renewable sources could provide 25 percent of the nation's energy supply and 50 percent of electricity generation by 2030. When combined with investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, according to the UCS analysis, could help reduce heat-trapping emissions in 2030 by 56 percent from 2005 levels and save consumers money in every region of the country.

"To reach a low-carbon global economy by 2050 requires making smart policy choices and investments today," said Steve Clemmer, UCS Director of Energy Research and Analysis. "Here in the U.S. we can make serious progress by building on what the states have already done and adopt strong national renewable electricity and energy efficiency standards, and a price on carbon. That's a sure way to transition to a clean energy economy while driving down costs and significantly reducing emissions."

One problem with the info from the coal, oil and gas industries is that they only tend to take into account two or three renewable sources. Most places can take advantage of multiple sources which complement each other, at least largely addressing the issues of variable availability of sources like solar and wind.

Now is the time. The report focuses on policy makers, and this is critical. But we, as consumers, also have to step up to the plate. YOU can make a difference and if you do it right, you can save money in the process. Short of actually having rooftop solar or a wind turbine in your yard (not always possible!) here are some basic actions you can take that together will greatly help the environment while saving you money.

First, get a home energy audit. This is the best way to find ways to save energy and save money. The US Department of Energy has suggestions for a do-it-yourself (cheaper but not as effective) audit as well as how to get a professional audit (costs money but will find more effective ways of saving you money in the long run).

You should also switch your light bulbs from the old, inefficient incandescent bulbs to new, cleaner, MUCH more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. When my wife and I did this our energy bill went down by 30% immediately. We saved a huge amount by making the switch. Compact fluorescents are a bit more expensive than incandescent, but they last MUCH longer and use MUCH less energy so you save a lot in the long run. It is important, however, to dispose of them properly. Could be an excuse to go to your local IKEA and have some Swedish Meatballs...er, I mean some chicken while disposing of your CFLs.

At the same time that we switched to compact fluorescent bulbs, we also switched to all green energy (in our case all wind). This cost a tiny bit (a few pennies) more per kilowatt-hour of energy usage, but this was way offset by the savings using compact fluorescents. Together we went all green energy and saved money. You can find out about 100% Green Energy Plans or click here for other options. To see what green pricing options are available in New York through Con Ed click here.

Take these three steps to saving money and going green. You can be part of the solution, reducing pollution AND creating American jobs.

CARBON OFFSETS:

There is some controversy here, largely because there have been some scams associated with carbon offsets. And also there is no question that cutting back your carbon usage to start (see above suggestions) than offsetting, but I do some offsets as well.

Best carbon offset program according to GreenAmerica (formerly Co-op America, a group I have had dealings with for many years and I trust): (other ones listed there don't seem to be available anymore)

NativeEnergy takes an innovative approach to selling green tags as offsets. Instead of offering them from existing green energy facilities, it sells green tags from facilities that are yet to be built, representing the environmental benefits these future projects will generate. In this way, green tag and offset purchases through NativeEnergy help fund construction of new wind turbines and other projects. Better still, these green energy projects are all owned and operated by Native American tribes and small-scale farmers in the US, providing economic benefits to these populations.

In short, NativeEnergy’s model makes new green energy facilities financially viable that would have otherwise lacked the capital to go forward, increasing clean energy generation capacity and building the infrastructure for a low-carbon future.

Best offset programs from Planet Green based on a Tufts University study (not sure how good a source they are, but some of their suggestions I know are goo):

Native Energy: ...offset a ton of carbon for only [$12]. They are the least expensive of the best.

Atmosfair (German company?) received a ranking of Excellent from Tufts. They will reduce one ton of CO2 for $17.30.

Climate Friendly (Australian company) also received the ranking of Excellent from Tufts. They will offset one ton of carbon for $14.50.

Carbon Fund and TerraPass are also ones I am familiar with and they seem good. They tend be cheaper than the above listed ones but don't get the same high marks from independent agencies. They are better than not doing it at all, but Native Energy sounds the best balance of price to effectiveness.

So there you have it. Eating, energy use and carbon offsets are ways you can become part of the solution and help put off or even prevent that looming tipping point. There is no more time to put it off. ANY positive change you can make is worthwhile. My wife and I use public transportation, CFLs, wind energy, shop at a food co-op, and offset. We do this for our kids more than anything else, but it also just feels right.

There are plenty of other actions one can take and I am sure I will get some great suggestions in the comments. But whatever you are doing already, we all need to do some more. Personally I plan on talking to my building co-op board about roof top solar (tried this before but the up front cost turned them off...but can try again!), look into making an investment in a new food co-op opening up, and doing some more offsets. I doubt I will succeed in all of these, but I will try to further reduce my carbon foot print. Please join me in doing the same, however you find you can best act, please do more.

And don't forget to write your elected officials and media advocating for green energy and environmental policies that address global warming.

Return to Mole's Progressive Democrat

Return to Mole's Consumer Advice Page.

Return to I Had a Thought

Originally posted to mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (187+ / 0-)
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    glendaw271, IndieGuy, judyms9, Blue Boy Red State, WarrenS, Ree Zen, palantir, Cedwyn, A Siegel, retrograde, deepsouthdoug, relentless, Lefty Coaster, subtropolis, RLMiller, aliasalias, Odysseus, Siri, wonmug, Russgirl, cassandracarolina, JayDean, leema, My Spin, davis90, RWood, joanil, The grouch, home solar, flowerfarmer, AnnieR, sidnora, Spirit Dancer, Words In Action, Dinclusin, Crashing Vor, matching mole, bnasley, Emerson, koNko, pat bunny, history first, FarWestGirl, flavor411, Habitat Vic, SkylarkingTomFoolery, shpilk, forgore, RebeccaG, Orinoco, JosephK74, bubbanomics, jwinIL14, Chaddiwicker, squarewheel, JayC, xaxnar, historys mysteries, ashowboat, Theden, JanL, AllanTBG, edsbrooklyn, emmasnacker, Fresno, Bob Guyer, sofia, JuliaAnn, dmhlt 66, tari, drnononono, eeff, beforedawn, certainot, Simplify, JDWolverton, oceanview, FG, oldpunk, marleycat, vacantlook, Executive Odor, bronte17, Empty Vessel, annrose, cotterperson, hester, skybluewater, LLPete, MKSinSA, Leftcandid, Mimikatz, bablhous, Loonesta, HeyMikey, ipaman, Trial Lawyer Richard, zerelda, asterkitty, DBunn, hubcap, geebeebee, also mom of 5, linkage, strangedemocracy, frisco, Bule Betawi, ItsaMathJoke, Ocelopotamus, freesia, Ignacio Magaloni, Danno11, Mogolori, slathe, atana, fumie, Bernie68, MartyM, asym, northsylvania, Creosote, LinSea, DeminNewJ, Carol in San Antonio, bookwoman, grollen, figbash, Steven D, glitterscale, kamarvt, jamess, blueoldlady, ChemBob, Randtntx, DRo, GreyHawk, averybird, burnt out, pioneer111, jfromga, GDbot, molecularlevel, HoosierDeb, Clytemnestra, Bendra, sillia, DSC on the Plateau, CA Nana, Agathena, dirkster42, buffalo soldier, frsbdg, Sun Tzu, Alan Arizona, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, FishOutofWater, buckstop, LaughingPlanet, drewfromct, ladybug53, doppler effect, LNK, Magnifico, Catte Nappe, terabytes, wide eyed lib, Southcoast Luna, 0wn, redlum jak, rubyclaire, Tracker, Trendar, jexter, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, kevin k, cocinero, rebel ga, letsgetreal, howardfromUSA, LSmith, aaraujo, greenomanic, victoria2dc, dewley notid, adrianrf, Larsstephens, kaliope

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:18:16 AM PDT

  •  Fantastic compilation... (32+ / 0-)

    ...of resources and analysis.  

    Thanks so much, mole333.  I will spread this around as much as I can.

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

    by WarrenS on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:33:51 AM PDT

    •  Thanks! (15+ / 0-)

      Bringing together some stuff I worked on before with some stuff I have been meaning to post with the latest estimates of when this tipping point is going to slam into us.

      Gotta say that knowing actual climate scientists makes this all seem so much more immediate. They, as a group, are pretty scared. And the big global warming debate is NOT whether it is happening or not, it is how bad it is going to be and how much time we have to mitigate it.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:38:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish they, the climate scientists, would (9+ / 0-)

        take a more definitive, aggressive stand. I wish they would all go on indefinite strike together, taking the time off to publicize the issues and options to the 4 corners of the superpower until dramatic action is taken. I, for one, would be there to support them in there efforts in every way possible. That is one thing that the minority of us who have both the understanding and conviction could do, despite our numbers: we could support a few thousand climate scientists while they take to the streets and the airwaves.

        This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

        by Words In Action on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:24:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Politicians can make a difference (8+ / 0-)

          If suddenly, a prominent pol announced that he would forgo jet travel to climate conferences and instead use Cisco teleconferencing, that he would cut his living area by 75%, I believe that it would make a difference.

          But when we have pols and former pols jetting to climate conferences in Dubai, why should we believe that things are as bad as they say it is.

          Heck, didn't President Obama host Richard Branson this week, the same Richard Branson who is bankrolling Virgin Space?  What is Virgin Space?  Virgin Space is a company enabling space tourists to emit in a few minutes the same amount of CO2 that they would emit during a six hour trip from LA to NYC.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

          by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:46:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Celebrities (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PatriciaVa, WarrenS, Words In Action

            People care more about celebrities than they do politicians. If celebrities, en masse, agreed to forgo private jets, the big mansions, the second and third homes, the limos, people might notice. That said, if there is a bigger group of hypocrites than the Hollywood crowd, I'd be surprised.

            Unfortunately this issue is so far down on the average person's list that nothing material enough to effect change is going to happen in time. Just lay in the SPF 6000, buy some Ray-Bans, invest in Rocky Mountain beach front property, and chill.

        •  Yes... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          historys mysteries, FG, WarrenS, GreyHawk

          I think they can do more, but actually they have been trying. It just isn't such a strong part of the culture of being a scientist to be loud about it.

          But they do take some action, some of it pretty strongly worded. Similarly the wording of the IPCC report on green energy I quote in the diary is fairly strongly worded. Real Climate tries to address the worst of the Global Warming Denial Lobby, but they are not well known in the mainstream. There is a group calledScientists and Engineers for America that has been active in promoting science in American government, but they seem inactive right now (??). Finally, the Union of Concerned Scientists is very vocal on many issues. Their main weakness, if it is a weakness, is covering too many issues.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:07:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wish creative artists would take this up in (0+ / 0-)

          every variety of publishable or displayable manner possible--writers, graphic artists, artists in every medium--and band together to give Americans the true picture.

          Trouble with artists, though, is that mostly they create in private space (excepting theatrical artists here) and simply are not given to public displays of cooperation.

          Or maybe I don't read enough or surf teh internets enough because there are only 24 hours in a day...

      •  we are in the middle of climate change (5+ / 0-)

        and a lot will not be reversible. I am mad about the GOP. At one of the most critical points in human history they are pushing Middle Age policies.  

      •  Great Diary mole! Rec'd And Tipped (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mole333

        Mountaintop Removal, Gas Fracking & Tar Sands XL Pipeline An American Tragedy! [Totally Updated]

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 12:41:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rebel ga

          And thanks for the fracking etc focus you do! At least as important as what I cover.

          And my son is so on board with your Woodie Guthrie choice!

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:00:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If that stew had been; just a little bit thinner, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mole333

            even some of our senators, could have seen through it. Woody Guthrie had a way with words, for sure.

            They say write what you know. I'm from NJ and I love Pennsylvania.
            Still so much pristine farmland left, And these big oil and gas people with their republican cronies, want to blow it up and irrecoverably pollute it with toxic chemicals!

            It's bad enough what they've already done to the Appalachia's and W. Virgina with the coal mining and all the nuclear power plants they put everywhere. I remember 5 mile island. I only live about 45 miles away. That was scary! And the govt was like, don't worry about it. We've got everything under control. Sure.

            Oh no! There isn't enough money in the world to get me to let them destroy PA and the rest of this country and the world in general.

            Strip mining for coal or oil, gas fracking, and so many other environmental nightmares they think they can pull off on us! They think we're stupid. That we're gonna just let them without a fight! NOT!

            We've got to draw a line in the sand, here and now! pun intended

            From Tar Sands to Tankers, The Battle To Stop Enbridge!

            Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

            by rebel ga on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:50:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Get your offsets from NativeEnergy! (10+ / 0-)

      Is also called that because a significant part of that group is the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, who are a coalition of a number of tribes in the Dakotas who decided that renewable energy is a lot more consistent with native values than casinos.  Among the participants are the Winnebago, Lakota, Blackfeet.  

      If you buy offsets, be Indian POwered!

      (yes, I've bought my offsets from them)

    •  The earth is very overpopulated (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dirkster42, WarrenS, Jerry J

      and unrestrained capitalism is making that problem even worse.

      •  That's why they are developing a new flu strain (0+ / 0-)

        Haven't you heard?

        Ok, ok.. that may not be funny.. but seriously, I fear a rampant virus that could wipe out half of mankind more than I do imminent global warming effects.  I do believe we need to reduce our greenhouse gases, but I don't believe we are anywhere near a tipping point like the diarist does.

        •  I hope you are right about climate change, (0+ / 0-)

          but I fear you are wrong. Natural systems have a tendency to stay in a state of pseudo-equilibrium until one or more parameter achieves a critical function (frequency, concentration, temperature, etc.) and then chaos occurs.

  •  Back in the late 40's and early 50's my (29+ / 0-)

    elementary school teachers were teaching us about conservation of resources, a notion popularized by Teddy Roosevelt and then put to the test by the Great Depression.  It seemed to be a matter of good daily habits, good citizenship and a healthy lifestyle.  Recycling as a manufacturing process was left mostly to scrap ironists.  Emptying a coffee can meant there was something the kids could repurpose or redesign into something else.  How-to-make-stuff books abounded.  The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts movements reinforced these wise habits.  All of that changed in the last quarter century of the last century when we were urged to buy things by the most subtle advertising messages.

    My grand and good-hearted teachers would be considered subversive and nut jobs by today's GOP, a party afflicted with industrial strength projection.

    Keep this message banner in the wind, mole333.  It is crucial.

    Romney went to France instead of serving in our military, got rich chop-shopping US businesses and eliminating US jobs, off-shored his money in the Cayman Island"s, and now tells us to "Believe in America."

    by judyms9 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:39:53 AM PDT

  •  Honestly ... (16+ / 0-)

    I am not a big fan of secondary carbon offset companies. What does it mean when someone can provide offsets at $12/ton, for example, when a reasonable definition of the social cost of carbon is more in the range of $80-$120+ per ton.

    In any event, rather than 'paying middleman', I do donations to organizations that are effective at clean energy in the developing world (Solar Electric Light Fund, as an example), biomass projects (Green Belt Movement), etc ...

    Also, of course, am activist, help friends & neighbors with energy efficiency, promoting clean energy in day job, supporting climate organizations, blogging, etc ...

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

    by A Siegel on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:57:34 AM PDT

    •  Me too (6+ / 0-)

      I do Green Belt Movement and similar. But it is better to do some of the higher ranked secondary carbon offset companies than doing nothing. Native Energy has done some wonderful stuff, for example, even if their estimates of offset are not precise.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:09:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Carbon Offsets are a Scam.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nextstep, Jerry J

      ...not that different from the Indulgences of the Catholic Church.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

      by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:48:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No... (10+ / 0-)

        There ARE such scams, but the ones I mention do some extremely good work. Thanks to them there are dozens of wind farms and methane capture programs that wouldn't be there otherwise, creating good local jobs and clean local energy. That is why you have to be careful about what you pay into, but there are some good ones.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

        by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:09:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  especially (0+ / 0-)

        When you consider Chinese are rushing into cars and fetishizing KFC. Makes little difference what we do here countered to 1.3 billion Chinese changing their relationship to resources. That's the kind of carbon offset you just can't make work.

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

          I get the impression (and a. I could be wrong, and b. even if I am not wrong they can do it in a screwed up way) that the Chinese government is way more on board about the need to stop the effects of global warming than our government is. I feel like they will, in their own, possibly messed up way, take a more leadership role than we do when it comes to global warming.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:32:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Look what they have done to themselves (0+ / 0-)

            in the rush to be the world's manufacturer. The problem they face is that they cannot quickly convert themselves into a population of 4-500,000,000 that might reasonably exist there. They have devastated their environment. It's relatively easy to say things, it's relatively impossible to actualize them. You and me are both going to want that iPhone, or whatever, and each one of them represents and relatively unregulated manufacturing with toxins released and raw materials exploited each time.

            The world has become Augustus Gloop, I'm afraid, and putting it on a diet is impractical at this point as we have set up economies and life styles that you cannot so easily extricate from fossil fuels. Any economic pain is countered with the cry for jobs, logically, which means consumption. We are all addicts, and at this point it is more dangerous for the addict to cut off their supply, unfortunately.

    •  Plant a tree.. (0+ / 0-)

      or several.. or organize a group to do so.

      I am no fan of these offset companies as well.  There's too much "profit" being made on them.

  •  This is the BIG issue and not on the table (14+ / 0-)

    The political parties are not dealing with this big issue.

    Come to think of it, they are not really dealing with many big issues.

    They are part of the 1%

    Our culture would have to change and that is too much to ask for us uninformed and ignorant Americans.

    •  Well (14+ / 0-)

      Biggest green energy investment to date was under Obama. So I won't completely agree. However, I do agree that more needs to be done but that was not the intent of this diary. We can talk about the political party until the high carbon footprint cows come home but in the mean time we can all be doing our share as well. If we are doing as little as the politicians then we aren't much better.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:10:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is true, we all (7+ / 0-)

        can be doing our bit and should be doing our bit.  However, at the end of the day this is primarily an issue that pertains to industry and agriculture.  This entails that we need government solutions and that consumer activism won't cut it.  This, for me, is the most important issue, but also one I've also becomenextremely pessimistic about given the realities of power and money and how they function in governments today.  I'll also confess that environmentalists placing the onus on consumers (rather than produces) strikes me as yet another variation of austerity ideology.  I am not making the claim that we don't need to be responsible consumers.  I am sayi g that I find the way environmental narratives revolve almost entirely around consumption and not production (which is the big source of the problem) leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

        •  Hmm... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          adrianrf

          Interesting point re: austerity crap. I don't agree that saying some of the onus is on consumers is the same, but I see your point. To me it is more saying consumers have the power to drive the market...not completely because it isn't a level playing field, but sometimes more than industry likes to admit. In my field we get lots of stuff in styrofoam packaging. Some of us started writing the companies about the environmental impact of this. Of course they all started saying, oh we can't do anything about that without raising our prices. Within a matter of years the big companies started including postage paid stickers so you can send the boxes back for reuse. And slowly it has almost become industry wide. A small example, but it was driven by the consumers not by industry and it didn't take long for it to happen. But it did take some initial action by some people who were told it would never happen.

          I definitely advocate lobbying government. And I left out the very tactic I describe above: writing companies. Which is also critical. But without clear popular/populist action, I find it hard to believe either government or industry will act. I see your point, but think you may underestimate the power and importance of consumer action.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:13:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Consumer choice is (5+ / 0-)

            not much of a choice if its businesses that are defining the coordinates of the choice.  That is, if we're given two different choices that both have the same negative environmental impact, then we feel as if we're making a choice when, in fact, everything is left intact.  Corporations have structured our world in this way and this is one of the reasons I'm pessimistic about consumer action as a realistic means for changing these things.

            But the real problem is this.  The domains driving climate change are not whether or not people are using energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances (which we should), but overwhelmingly arise from factories, shipping, and farming.  It's easy for consumer activism to get businesses to change from styrofoam to cardboard.  It's exponentially more difficult to get the required changes in factories, agriculture, and shipping because the entire economy is interdependent with these things and they are largely invisible to consumers.

            Additionally, I think you have a rather naive idea of what can be accomplished by lobbying our politicians.  Call me a cynic (I am), but the manner in which government has come to be structured by our election cycles makes them so massively dependent on industry campaign contributions that our voices are a drop in the water.  This is why we see them, again and again, nibbling at the edge as Obama has done.  They do nothing because they can't act decisively without becoming unelectable (especially after Citizens United).  Green consummerism, while something we should all be doing, is also a massive form of denial with respect to the real source of the problem and the real issues.

            Finally, I just have to repeat that I see green moralizing as another example of austerity.  Once again the middle class and poor are being asked to practice asceticism in response to a problem that arose as a result of the actions of the 1% and politicians who have been bought off.  I would like to hear more discussion of this among environmentalists, more awareness of the class and economic dimension of all of this, rather than calls for the victims to practice more austerity.  As an aside, I would also like to add that meat does far more to damage the environment than cars.  You might wish to rethink the "what we can do mantra".  

            •  It takes involvement (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fumie, dirkster42, ladybug53, adrianrf

              I spend a lot of time with my politicians. Believe me you can have an effect if you get involved. I have experienced it. Money has a huge role, but so does getting face to face with your electeds. Which I do, from the most local to  Congress and even Senators from time to time.

              The infrastructure does not change if there is no pressure to change. That has to come as much from consumers as anyone. Pushing the politicians is indeed something you can do and can have an influence if you get to know them. But without consumer habits even slightly changing, we can't expect anything to change. The political and the consumer go hand in hand, or at least have to if we want change.

              I am interested in your comparison with austerity. I don't feel that is quite right but I also see you have a point. I will say that much of what I outline saves my wife and me money and makes a healthier lifestyle for us, so I don't see it as austerity. It is better for us and empowering because we see the difference we make in terms of the success of the co-op we are part of, the wind farms that are funded by our choice of energy source, etc. So I don't feel forced into austerity but rather like I am taking a leadership role. But that doesn't mean the point doesn't also have validity. But there again, that has to come from serious political activism. I have helped candidates get elected despite being massively outspent, and I have talked to politicians and gotten them to change their positions. And if I can do it many people can.

              FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

              by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:50:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is lack of Congressional support (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      Obama has basically the right ideas for a start and has done about as much as possible to promote action through the executive branch (ie, EPA, DOW, DOC) but it became painfully obvious as the mid-terms approached that Congress was not going to act and I'll agree the issue was demoted in priority the Administration from them.

      However, you must recognize it has recently come back to prominence in his policy speeches and appears to be on the second term agenda, with UN commitments looming within that term.

      I have to say I was not pleased with the posture taken in the COP negotiations which were a continuation of Bush policy, but I understand he had nothing to negotiate with lacking a Congressional mandate and some progress was made last year's session despite US obstructionism.

      There are a core of supporters in Congress, but sadly too man Dems are either against taking measures based on mis-guided economic arguments (even some Liberals) or frnce sitters.

      And this is why taking back the House or at least seriously diluting the Republican majority is important.

      That failing, only sanctions from Europe will motivate the US.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:39:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Voter support lacking u mean. Thugs 'tobacco'd' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atana

        the truth about climate and now not even a majority believes its true anymore.  It's very simple: people are LAZY and SELFISH enough that if you can confuse the costs of doing something (lying that its way too high and is a jobs!killer) and doing nothing ('God will fix it', 'it won't be that bad', 'that quick' et-b/s-cetra) then they simply will stick with the status quo.

        Hell, lie about the right things and they'll blame anyone who tries to do something good for thier high cost of energy and demand drillbabydrill!  See, reality in 2012.

        Best strategy now: prepare your kids for survival, nationally and individually.  And dump tonnes of # into med research, to survive the fone thing that will most likely kill us in the 'advanced' countries; disease.  Sadly, the poor world will most likely simply die in unbelievably horrific numbers (think 3 bil or more in a generation, assuming no nuclear winter).

        All just my opinions, of course.  (But then I've been studying this issue as a layperson and calling for action since 1980.)

      •  The BTU Tax of 1993... (0+ / 0-)

        ...passed by Dem representatives, but wisely rejected by Dem senators, cost the careers of many many Dem representatives.

        Who would have guessed that Dem rank-and-file would have rejected Dem pols who want them to pay higher energy taxes (BTU tax).

        And that was in 1993.

        Today, the median income has stagnated/decreased over the past twelve years.

        The last thing the working class needs is an increase in energy prices, especially government-mandated energy increase.

        Come October, Romney will promise that, if elected, his administration will not increase any energy taxes, whether it be Cap and Trade or a Carbon Tax.

        And I expect smart Dems to do so as well.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:35:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A better idea (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scientician, mightymouse, catfood

          Carbon tax and dividend...which would raise taxes on fossil fuels but in exchange would cut income or payroll taxes through a refunded dividend. Thus for most lower and middle income folks, the higher tax on fuels would be offset by the dividend, but the carbon tax could be used to fund alternatives, renewables and would be a pricing signal to discourage fossil fuel usage.

          Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

          by NoMoreLies on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:26:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  well, what other solution (6+ / 0-)

          Because the tax mother nature is going to impose on the middle class is going to be one whole heck of a lot worse.

          Let me get this straight:  we shouldn't do anything about climate change (of which a carbon tax is far and away the most efficient), because it'd cost to much.  That is precisely the same logic the oil companies use.  

          I am sorry, but if people are paying an artificially low price and sacrificing the future of humanity to do it, they ought to freaking wake up, and smell the coffee and yes, pay a higher price for the damage they are doing.  If they are, for example, taking public transit, and not driving, etc, then they impacts will be a lot lower, but a lot of middle class folks are still driving gas guzzlers and then complaining about how an energy tax would huyrt them.  Here's a clue:  if they didn't waste so much, it wouldn't affect them so much.

          I suppose we ought not to have put an end to slavery too, since I[m sure that drove up costs for the middle class too.

          •  "It would cost too much" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse

            for the people who matter, i.e. the 0.01%.

            I think the "people who matter" are either willfully blind about the consequences of climate change, or some of them actually want to accelerate a human dieback -- which they think their wealth will protect them from sharing.

            •  What irks me (4+ / 0-)

              is the line of argument that we can't do anything if it would affect anyone else at all.  "Gee, massive planetary catastropehe? Sorry, some people are struggling to make ends meet, so we can't do squat."

              This is such an unbelievably fallacious argument, since it isn't like we don't know how to avoid impacts on the working class.

              I kind of like the tax and dividend approach, where taxes are taken proportional to energy use, and redistributed per capita.  The more efficient gain, the less efficient lose.  Since the rich use more energy, they'd pay more.

              The issue of economic equity is a separate one and should not be used to justify do nothing ideology on this critical issue.

              But yes, the "people that matter' are willfully blind, or more likely to my mind, so accustomed to not giving a shit who they kill or maim as a "cost of doing business" that not caring about all humanity isn't that much of a stretch for some of these guys.

            •  Are you joking (0+ / 0-)

              If "the 99%" wanted something really strongly and only rich people objected, it would be done, guaranteed.

              The reality is that no one wants the pain associated with drastically reducing fossil fuel consumption: not rich people, not middle class people, and not poor people.

              The kind of changes required are civilization-wide and as such they will not be tolerated.

              Rich people tell fairy tales about needing to drill more. Poor people tell fairy tales about taxing speculation and shadowy Wall Street types.

              The reality is that everyone is going to contribute to decreased fossil fuel consumption, either now, or later when forced to by nature.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:15:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But the irony is ... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lurkyloo, adrianrf

                the longer we wait, the higher the cost will be.

                “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

                by jrooth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:22:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  No, because the 1% controls the conversation (0+ / 0-)

                about what the 99% want. The 1% made the decision that the US would be consumer society, made the decision to promote car culture and urban flight, makes the decision to flood the discussion with noise about "climategate" and "climategate 2.0".

                Yes, everyone's life will be affected, one way or another. But the way we are going is intended -- by the 1% (or the 0.01%) to push all the pain and death onto the 99% while maximizing their own profits as long as possible. One of the Koch brothers buys, redecorates, and resells European castles (resells to the super-rich). The 0.01% of the US rub shoulders with European nobility who have had their money for centuries and look down their noses at the likes the Kochs.

                These industrial 0.01%ers want to be nobility too. They want castles and serfs. A return to the middle ages sounds like a good deal to them, if they can be the kings. Some of them see climate change and mass dieoff as a huge opportunity.

          •  We've gone money crazy. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lurkyloo, adrianrf

            It is not possible for something to cost "too much" in worldwide monetary terms. It's a closed system. The Earth can't run out of money. Money doesn't come from other planets or go to other planets.

            On a planetary scale, money is not real. To say a global disaster costs too much money to prevent is exactly like saying there's not enough of the letter "L" in the world.

            We're letting money, an imaginary thing, trump the reality of melting ice and increasing temperatures. It is actually crazy.

            •  Not true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AmericanAnt

              "Money" is a proxy for human labor and physical resources like silicon, rock, oil, etc.

              To say something is "too expensive" is to say that too much human labor and physical resources have to be diverted from other causes to this one to make this one worth doing.

              When you are talking about reducing fossil fuel consumption, you are talking about increased real prices for food, medical care, education, transportation, finished goods, etc. Not in "money", but in "how many hours do I have to work to get a hamburger?"

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:19:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Re (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf
      The political parties are not dealing with this big issue.

      Come to think of it, they are not really dealing with many big issues.

      They are part of the 1%

      If you think that not dealing with fossil fuel dependence is a "1% vs 99%" issue, I've got a 9mpg hummer I'd like to sell you cheap.

      Lots of average Americans live in McMansions in suburban towns where they have to drive miles just to get milk.

      Lots of average Americans have other ruinously expensive and resource intensive consumer habits.

      Lots of average Americans have several children who just perpetuate ever growing resource consumption.

      Lots of average Americans refuse to change any of these habits and scream bloody murder when any such change is suggested (note that Romney may be getting mileage out of accusing Obama of raising gas prices, which would in all reality be correct public policy).

      Ordinary Americans are no less likely than rich people (and probably more likely since they are impacted more) to oppose changes to the current system.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:10:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  they are dealing with it the only way possible (0+ / 0-)

      You cannot stop the merry-go-round. So Obama talks alternative energy while cheering the US auto industry's coming back from the dead. People think buying an electric car thinks no oil is burnt to run it. Probably burns more as electric distribution is only 70% efficient. We have so many pacts with the devil that there is no way to get away with needing to burn more fossil fuels. End of story.

  •  Global fossil fuel consumption will not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep

    decline in the near future.  If there actually is some sort of tipping point in the next 20 years then tip we will.  But I'll wager more than a lump of coal that the Arctic will still have plenty of sea ice in 2015:

    http://arctic-roos.org/...

    (I understand that these are not volume)

    Also, these do not look like acceleration:

    http://www.ssmi.com/...

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    Not to make too much of short-term series.  All of your sustainable living suggestions are positive in themselves, but we will find out what continued carbon fuel consumption means to the climate system.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:12:55 AM PDT

    •  Sadly (9+ / 0-)

      Sadly the changes being discussed have been going faster than I remember them being predicted even 10 years ago. We can't assume we have even one more year to mitigate this thing.

      And accepting the tipping point is not an option to me. If it happens we will have to deal with it but leaving that to my kids is about as irresponsible as I can be, so I do all I can to keep the tipping point from happening and that should be our number one focus as individuals and as activists.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:13:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please, I'm not saying don't try, just that what (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sidnora, JosephK74, blueoasis, reenactor

        a few middle and upper-middle-class westerners do in terms of lifestyle changes won't make any difference.  My own suspicions about tipping points really have no bearing on projecting fossil fuel consumption.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:26:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Understood. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sidnora, blueoasis, NoMoreLies, reenactor

          I just think too many people use this to abandon all effort. And I also am all too used to the predictions from global warming scientists (like the current prediction of no Arctic ice in the near future, forget fixing an exact year) being ignored even as one after the other comes true, often ahead of schedule. Again, been reading up on this for 25 years, so it often feels like deja vu all over again every time a prediction is made.

          As for fossil fuel consumption, I bet that could happen far faster if a.) some governments got into they way they would going from a peace time to war time economy, and/or b.) enough middle-class and upper-middle-class westerners started creating a real market for the alternatives. Of course ending subsidies for oil would help as well. But if we aren't creating the market, there is no incentive for a change given our current system. A perceived market could go as far as government action in making the change. We need some free market effort mixed in with our push for government intervention here.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:48:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I take the opposite tack (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mole333, ladybug53, adrianrf

            instead of throwing up my hands, i take the attitude that the house is already on fire. Efforts at fire prevention are now fruitless, so my efforts should go toward dousing the flames and salvaging as much of the house as possible.
            If I take the attitude that the fire has not already started, it is a small step to thinking that maybe it never will get started, which makes turning the key in the ignition that much easier.

            I work at a major ski resort in Vermont. We are currently experiencing what looks to be five straight days of record warmth (after a near record warm, snowless winter). The entire ski industry in Vermont will almost certainly be shuttered by this phenomenon, cutting the spring ski season by well over a month in a year that saw it start very late due to warm temperatures in November and December.
            It is not yet the first day of spring, in central Vermont, and I was swarmed by mosquitoes as I sat outside last evening.

            Sure, this is anecdotal. It's also unprecedented in the 350 year history of written records in VT.

            Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

            by kamarvt on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:58:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ski industry (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kamarvt, ladybug53, adrianrf

              I know the ski industry (as well as insurance industry) has been concerned about global warming for years. Just wish they were more vocal and political about it.

              FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

              by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 06:01:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  a tough line to walk (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ladybug53, mole333, adrianrf

                Ski industry is populated by corporations, some of which are subsidiaries of megacorporations. that creates conflicts of interest. What's good for the long term future of snow sports is not what's good for the immediate future of big business. There's also the image issue. It's hard to sound the alarm about climate change when you're selling a fantasy experience of pristine winter, with snow on the trees as well as on every trail, etc.
                That said, my resort and many others are trying hard to lead by example. One of our big initiatives this year is to recycle 4 times as much as last year. We compost all the food waste from the base lodges, use biodiesel in the grooming fleet, have installed low energy snowmaking, subsidized local mass transit, and more.

                Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                by kamarvt on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 06:16:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ski industry (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kamarvt

                  The Ski industry itself knows full well its survival is at stake. I have no clue who owns what ski resorts so the conflicts with higher up companies is beyond me, but for the resorts themselves, they either have to figure out how to market for warm weather activities or fight global warming.

                  Interesting to hear from someone on the inside of an industry I have been somewhat watching for some years.

                  FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                  by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:36:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  also as to VT (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kamarvt

              hope the sugar season doesn't turn into a bust. i'm sure here in NY the maples don't know what the hell is going on and VT is the biggest market in the US.

              i feel like i should buy a gallon of syrup just in case the price skyrockets.

              anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

              by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:15:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  YES (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kamarvt

                Almost mentioned this but it got lost in the mix. The maple syrup industry will leave America if global warming continues. Good for Canada, but not for Vermont.

                As an aside, I used to enjoy maple syrup bought cheap at B grade but very delicious at a reasonable price. New York doesn't allow B grade so the prices are way too high for my budget so I haven't bought maple syrup since I moved to NY State. I think those rules need to be changed. B grade tastes wonderful, it just is a darker color, an it is priced in the range of middle class folk like me.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:39:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I live in NY and buy Grade B (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kamarvt

                  maple syrup all the time.

                  "Rick should scat. Mitt Romney needs to be left alone to limp across the finish line, so he can devote his full time and attention to losing to President Obama." -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/29/12

                  by wide eyed lib on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:13:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  same here (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wide eyed lib, kamarvt, mole333

                    love grade B. great for baking too. more maply flavor.

                    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                    by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:14:43 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Hey! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wide eyed lib

                    Where do you get it? It disappeared from the market and we discovered it was made illegal. I assume that law has changed if you now find it available but I haven't seen it.

                    Trader Joe's was my original source of Grade B, delicious maple syrup. Didn't see it last time I was there and my food co-op doesn't carry the B grade.

                    Personally I think B tastes better than A.

                    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                    by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:03:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I get it in the regular grocery store but also (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mole333

                      see it in health food stores.

                      I'm not sure where you got the info that it was ever illegal. I've been steadily buying it in NY for many, many years. I'd say we buy 12 or 16 oz. every 2-3 months.

                      "Rick should scat. Mitt Romney needs to be left alone to limp across the finish line, so he can devote his full time and attention to losing to President Obama." -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/29/12

                      by wide eyed lib on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:40:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  finished sugaring last week. (0+ / 0-)

                I started during Feb, and my few taps ran dry last Monday.
                Decent harvest, great flavor this year.
                I just came in from activating the compost heap and turning the soil in the garden, since the frost is all out of the ground. I may sow peas, radish, and spinach later; there's no cold weather in the forecast at all.

                FWIW to the comments below; I tap 3 trees and boil around 1/2 to 1 gallon of syrup; plenty for me and gifts to family. Anybody with a healthy sugar maple or two can do it for about $20 investment and the cost of running a stovetop burner for 4-6 hours to yield about 12oz of B grade syrup. (for me that's $3).
                And Grade B syrup can be made into A by reboiling it; just add water and boil it off. But I too prefer a more robust maple; I leave mine unfiltered.

                Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                by kamarvt on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:25:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Try the Alps. (0+ / 0-)

              http://en.skiinfo.com/...

              "The new snow builds on the deep bases established at many ski areas during what were for many record snowfalls in December and January and means these are now freshened up for the Easter holidays as resorts enter what is for most the last month of winter 2011-12."

              Where are we, now that we need us most?

              by Frank Knarf on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:28:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  your climate denialism (6+ / 0-)

      is increasingly tiresome and trollish. we know damn well that continued carbon consumption already is having terrible impacts on the climate, and that major ice sheets are melting even faster than had been predicted.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:49:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Knarf: Sea level rise: Compare: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, mole333, mightymouse, nextstep

      http://climate.nasa.gov/...

      Sea level is rising at a pretty good clip and will almost certainly accelerate later in the century as the cryosphere melts.

      I seriously doubt that the Arctic sea ice will be gone in 3 years. How soon that will happen depends on CO2 levels and the nature of the feedbacks.

      I think that we will reach tipping points (meaning that the mechanism of global warming will be out of our hands) sometime in the next couple of decades...irreversible melting of Arctic Ocean and Greenland, eg. But it won't be obvious to most people that anything has happened.

    •  certainly (0+ / 0-)

      fossil fuel consumption won't want to slow down. as oil production continues to plateau, we'll see lulls in oil usage (corresponding to economic restriction). but coal is going to keep moving on, maybe even going up.

      in terms of GW, a massive slowdown in fossil fuel usage would be a double-edged sword. yeah, CO2 emissions would drop, but so would soot and NOx and other deals (like jumbo jet-made cirrus clouds) which try to cool the atmosphere. meanwhile, the long pulse of CO2 we've already dumped in the air would continue to warm, only with the brakes taken off, and if peat bogs and permafrost and clathrates start picking up it's all over.

      of course, less soot means less black carbon landing on arctic ice, but the ice cap is already doomed anyways. greenland's melt might slow down a bit tho.

      truth be told, there won't really be that big of a slowdown in fossil fuel usage. even here in enlightened america we'd dig up every last lump of brown coal and cut down every tree there is and burn them just to try to keep our lifestyle going.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:12:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  27 years ago I decided to build solar heated home (14+ / 0-)

    and I bought a building site for solar. 19 years ago I moved into a solar home I designed myself. I've always believed in leading by example.

    Republicans take care of big money, for big money takes care of them ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:55:21 AM PDT

  •  If I can be vegan almost anyone can... (10+ / 0-)

    James Hansen says what you can do NOW!

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:16:23 AM PDT

    •  But bacon taste good...pork chops taste good... (4+ / 0-)

      Sorry, channelling my inner Pulp Fiction.

      I feel everyone can focus on what they can. To me it is more important to not drive a car than give up all meat, though we do rent when on vacation and we do cut way back on our meat.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:36:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  moved to a walking neighborhood about (10+ / 0-)

        8 years ago and never looked back 2nd best thing I ever did...first was going vegan.  Some things take a little longer either walking, riding bike or on bus but I kind of like the life slowdown. :)

        Macca's Meatless Monday

        by VL Baker on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 01:08:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Guyer, Simplify, ladybug53

          I managed to bike, walk and bus every where in Los Angeles for years. Then moved to Kyoto then NYC. But now with a family I couldn't live in LA without driving.

          I was vegetarian for years, but really just like having meat. I do cook vegan a lot but to do 100% vegan would just not be what my family would be happy with...me included. Beef was not so hard to  cut out. Pork is harder (even though we're Jewish!) because it is good and our co-op gets some really good, really fresh, really cheap pork sausages and ground pork from a local farm.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:28:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Cutting way back on meat... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sillia, ladybug53, mole333, Tracker, adrianrf

        ...is almost as good for the climate as going completely vegetarian. We should definitely do the 80% that's easy before freaking out about the 20% that's difficult.

        And I say this as a seven-year vegetarian.

        •  well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53

          cutting back on meat is certainly important in more ways than one, since americans just eat too much of the stuff.

          just as important is improving the environmental quality of your meat. make it local, make it pastured. it's more expensive to be sure, but that's good. the earth puts more work into making a steak than a pound of beans, it should cost more.

          the problem with the idea that everyone go vegan is that the modern vegan diet exists mostly because of fossil fuels which is itself a problem. that's not to say you can't be a locavore vegan but in large parts of the country it's pretty hard in winter. many vegans are on a 3000-mile diet as well, and certain essential vitamins and minerals may not be available in winter time.

          not that it can't be done, it's just hard. and we all know how difficult it is to get americans to sacrifice.

          anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

          by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 07:59:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't forget... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            adrianrf

            antibiotic free...

            I had no interest in "organic" until I realized the effects of antibiotics in animal feed and realized to avoid those effects I'd probably have to explore "organic" companies. We are killing ourselves with the misuse of antibiotics in animal feed...and that is a VERY BASIC biological observation, not anything controversial. So I try and only buy, at least for home consumption, antibiotic free meat.

            Local is great. We don't do it as much as we should. But the pork we buy is good in that sense even though my main motivation is that it is about $4 a pound for meat we like, which is wickedly cheap.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:46:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, if you're going for low carbon... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            melo

            ...as the highest priority, you probably want to go local-omnivore. I'm one of those people who just thinks meat is yucky, so I probably burn more carbon than a locavore.

            But anyway, that's why I'm not beating the drum for everyone to go full vegan. It's not really necessary, and a lot of people do not do well with it.

            Less meat is still better for most people.

        •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

          My family has pretty much cut out 80% of our meat and most of what we do eat is pork (so-so) or chicken (pretty good). We really do solid vegan most of the time, but just not with the deliberation that a vegan would insist on. And my family wouldn't be satisfied with vegan only. So I gotta do what will work in the context of my family.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:42:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Better yet: Kill your dog kill your cat (0+ / 0-)

      Those pooties and woozles have a huge carbon footprint.

      This is not snark. This is telling you you're analyzing climate change completely wrong.

      •  I'd rather have my dog and cat now (0+ / 0-)

        than human in the future. Sorry.

        •  I have 2 cats (0+ / 0-)

          I  would never harm them. The carbon foot print is huge. Let's be realistic.

          •  that depends (0+ / 0-)

            mostly on what you feed them tho.

            still, my bulldog weighs half what i do and when i used to make her food, she ate more than me. but at the same time the modern pet food industry somehow figured out a way to take utter leftover crap unfit for human consumption and actually raise its carbon footprint to about that of a person.

            i don't know how the hell that works.

            anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

            by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:20:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

          Much as I disagree with the choice set up by oldhippie, personally I would sacrifice my cats for my kids any day. I love our cats but my kids are far more important to me, so I find your comment (though understandable as a response to oldhippie's comment) kind of horrific and disturbing.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:18:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I would contend... (11+ / 0-)

    ...that it is already too late to make any difference.  We can argue that climate change is still reversable, but the fact of the matter is it will not be reversed.  We will not, as a species, have a "coming to God" moment where we realize we can't settle for decreasing our carbon footprint, that we have to not only decrease our carbon emmissions, we have to find a way to sequester carbon.

    We are no where near that moment, by the time we are, it will already be too late to stop.  Not too late to eventually REVERSE, but too late to stop the change from coming.

    It's already started, it's too late to prevent, it's too late to stop, allw e have now is the hope that it can be reversed someday in the future but that may be generations from now.

    I don't know what I'm doing anymore.

    by DawnG on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:34:09 PM PDT

    •  Hope you're wrong (7+ / 0-)

      but I believe you're right. I keep posting this video from 2009 because Dr. Lewis explains better than anyone else I've seen or heard from just how immense a task we face in order to get off carbon based fuel and how little (if any) time we have to get serious about it. By serious, I don't mean improving automobile mileage gradually or increase recycling or even just investing in wind and solar energy. It would take much more than that. The thing it would take most that we just don't have? Political will.

      "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

      by Sagebrush Bob on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:46:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Change (5+ / 0-)

        Change does not happen by continually saying it can't be done or it will be too hard. I don't believe that anything has or can be accomplished with that attitude and every climatologist I know advocates doing the things I recommend. Tough or not, I believe listening to the scientists, both as individuals and as political activists, is a must.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

        by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:58:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I believe we have to try. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, kkbDIA, Danno11, adrianrf

          We owe it to ourselves and future generations.

          That said, I don't believe that we will act soon enough or strongly enough. Sadly, based on all I've seen, the best chance we have of slowing down climate change is if the world's economies all collapse sooner rather than later.

          "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

          by Sagebrush Bob on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:14:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. I changed my field of (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sagebrush Bob, mole333, adrianrf

            study to Sustainability Science about ten years ago because I had to at least try to do something.  I figured that we have 2 choices - act as if we have a chance to make a difference, or give up and guarantee disaster.  I am not optimistic, but I have to keep trying.

            The earth is going to be just fine, and the biosphere will eventually adjust, just as it has after every previous extreme climate event and mass extinction.  In a few thousand or a million years, it will all be ok.  The next 50-100 years or so are going to be pretty damn rough, however.

          •  Yep. The world economic order is incompatible (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, kamarvt, melo

            with the viability of the world ecological system.  So, in addition to all of the other suggestions contained in this diary, I would advocate direct action aimed at facilitating radical and transformative economic change.  If we moved toward what Chris Hedges calls "monastic communities" (although I don't like the celibate connotations of the term "monastic"), we might be able to survive as a species.  But, it would take a sustained, focused, massive, worldwide effort--exponentially larger than Occupy--to achieve the kind of change that is necessary.

            To quote Gimli:  "Certainty of death, small chance of success...what are we waiting for?"

            •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

              the idea of agrarian kibbutzim isn't going to go over too well in the US, even if you make them more like a moshav (i.e. private ownership of land).

              honestly, i don't know what to do. i think a lot of people who actually are in the know and worried are in the same boat. there's a sense of inevitability and general numbness about.

              anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

              by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:22:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The horse IS out of the barn already (13+ / 0-)

      Mitigation is the best we can hope for, but the disaster for the planet is already underway.

      I used to think that there would be a sudden awareness by everyone, but now I see the problems coming in dribs and drabs. Smaller, isolated problems so far, not one concerted overwhelmingly obvious catastrophe ---YET.

      Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

      by murasaki on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:59:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree completely (5+ / 0-)

      Pay attention to what anyone in political office in this country is saying on this issue and try to convince yourself that there is hope. Change will definitely come, but it will be well, well past the tipping point. Sorry to be so negative, but I don't see us getting out of our own way on this one.

    •  We can't even get a majority of "Democrats" (10+ / 0-)

      to act decisively in a meaningful way, how the hell are we ever going to get Republicans to do so?

      This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

      by Words In Action on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:15:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm... (4+ / 0-)
      ...it is already too late to make any difference
      I think you are dead wrong here. YES it has already begun and YES it WILL affect us for decades to come. But it is definitely possible to make a difference. It is, in fact, ALWAYS possible to make a difference. How much and how long that difference will take to manifest may be an open question, but it is definitely possible to make a difference and we SHOULD do our best to make a difference.

      Proper forestry can indeed sequester carbon. Has to be done right. Monoculture like done by the big forestry companies is worse than useless according to a study I saw a few years back in Nature. But properly done reforestation can indeed make a big difference. Other methods of sequestering carbon are more controversial. But may be necessary. But how much and how fast do we have to sequester? More we shove into the air the harder it will be to sequester! We can make a difference and can do it right now.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:33:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I mispoke. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74, blueoasis, kkbDIA, lurkyloo

        It is not too late to make a difference, it is too late to prevent catastrophic change, the change is already happening and the environment is too big to steer clear of it.  

        There will be no serious effort to reverse course until the change has already become catastrophic.  By then it will be very much too late to prevent.  Oceans are acidifying, species of plants and animals are being driven to exctintion, these are all unavaoidable.

        It will take generations of sustained effort to reverse what has already happened and even if it's successful it may not be possible to end up where we were.

        The bell is already ringing, it cannot be unrung.  That is not to say it cannot be made better in time, but I have no faith that humanity has the foresight to prevent it from reaching catastrophic levels.

        This is Easter Island on a global scale.  

        I don't know what I'm doing anymore.

        by DawnG on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:43:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, kkbDIA, drnononono

          This is actually a current debate among climate scientists. Some think we can still prevent catastrophic changes some do not. ALL think there will be (and already are!) changes and all think we need to be acting individually and collectively.

          Change doesn't happen by saying it won't happen. Things CAN and DO change. But that change has to begin somewhere and if we aren't going to start things rolling, no one will. So I for one intend to do my part pushing things the right way.

          Of course change is already happening. And it may be too late to prevent even catastrophic change. But I think, and a good chunk of climate scientists (but by no means all) think we still have a shot.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:13:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  we don't know how it plays out (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333, drnononono

          we have an obligation to see that it plays out as well as possible.

          I'm pretty realistic, but it gets depressing reading the "all hope is gone" statements that climate diaries engender.

          Our best hope is a WWII level commitment to attacking the problem.

          This diary is interesting and a thorough list for "early adopters" - but really it will take a government/national/international commitment to make a difference.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:44:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would say the diary goes a bit further (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, drnononono

            I am also saying that these actions I recommend create a market force, if you will (I do NOT invoke any invisible hands!) that can drive the government and industrial actions. If there is no market, there is no incentive for industry to act and little political will. If there is some real investment in green energy, energy efficiency (which saves money for the consumer as well!), local food, etc. then industry will cater to it more and there will be more political will. So I see it more than simply good actions by a few, I see it as a potential driving force for the rest. But I agree government and industry has to be involved as well.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:17:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  DawnG: Here's the thing: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333, DawnG, adrianrf

          Most models show that a doubling of CO2 from the normal interglacial level of about 280ppm to 560ppm will warm the earth by about 3 degC (5.4 degF.) Another doubling, which is entirely possible at the rate we're going, takes us to 6 deg C (10.8 degF.)
            We are at 393ppm now, and when you add in other greenhouse gases as CO2 equivalents, well above 400 ppm.
          3 degrees C will be disastrous. 6 degrees will make most of the world uninhabitable.
             Per Hansen at NASA GISS, 3 degrees of warming played out over centuries, results in an 80 foot rise in sea levels. A sea level rise of 1-2 meters is likely by the end of the century.
              It is possible to slow or stop excess CO2 emissions to the point that they can be handled by natural sinks. We can't stop global warming completely, but it is possible to avert the looming disaster.

      •  Also elimination of fossil fueled turf lawns (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wide eyed lib, melo

        and replacement with perennial and woody polycultures modeled on the appropriate native plant community for the region or a modified, non invasive permaculture or edible planting replaces 1/2 ton per acre CO2 emission and instead sequesters 1/2 ton per year. This is based on the increased biomass of the native vegetation and the elimination or almost complete reduction in the need to manage the landscape using fossil fuel powered mowing equipment.

        And it saves time and creates habitat that other organisms need.

        Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

        by NoMoreLies on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:35:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, blueoasis, FG

      It is too late to prevent present and near term effects, but not too late to mitigate long term effects and adapt, the latter an easier and cheaper task if we accomplish the former.

      The US risks becoming a rogue nation in the next few years unless it gets with the program.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:45:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's more of a question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      "how much" - and for how long.

      We may have already inflicted so much harm, it doesn't matter what we do. To many billions in the 3rd world, it's probably already too late. Floods, storms, disease, starvation, war from lack of resources all a result of climate change.

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:25:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  DawnG. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, adrianrf

      We are already warming and some warming is built in and irreversible. The question is how much worse are we going to make it.

  •  What about those with food issues? (0+ / 0-)

    For instance I can only handle small amounts of lactose since I'm latino, and the missuses has coeliac's disease.

    •  Every one has to work with what they can (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, catfood

      The estimates of carbon footprints of various foods are still in rough stages, so I can't find complete enough info to answer details. But, a basic rule of thumb is the less animal products you eat the better. That is why vegan is best. But of course being vegan but gluten intolerant would be hard, though not impossible.

      Too many commenting here seem to imply (or maybe I'm reading it in) that if you can't do everything right away what can we do. I believe in doing what you can when you can and keep pushing yourself to do a little more. The end result is my personal carbon footprint is a fraction of that of most Americans. That was not done overnight and it wasn't done by looking for reasons not to act. I did it by looking for what was possible for my family at a given time and to keep looking for more.

      You have some limitations. Everyone will so the trick is not to fight those limitations, but to find the things you can do within those limitations (chicken and eggs, for example, are good options if your lactose and gluten intolerant).

      What I write here is intended to be a guide from which people can find their own options.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:42:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. Rec'd in hopes of a wider audience. (6+ / 0-)

    Fair's fair. I don't vote in your church; don't go preaching in my government New video: "The Future Just Ain't What It Used to Be"

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:26:32 PM PDT

  •  Another useful detailed diary (4+ / 0-)

    glad to see it rescued.

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

    by matching mole on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:30:49 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. (4+ / 0-)

    Keep 'em coming.

    350.org, IMO, is among a very small handful of the truly most important organizations on the planet today.

    The basic premise that a sustainable concentration of greenhouse gas emissions is somewhat below our current level of 392 PPM (something closer to the 275 pre-industrial level) and much, much below the concentrations we are headed toward, is undeniable and should be accepted by EVERY climate scientist.

    The basic premise that the time in which we can mitigate the worst effects of climate change is rapidly running out should be undenable to any climate scientist.

    The basic premise that significant climate change will have dire consequences to billions of people and multitudes of plant and animale species should be undenable to any climate scientist.

    With these understandings and the current base of support for real climate science that there is in the world, climate scientisits ought to be able to stand up and convince people of the severity of the situation.

    This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

    by Words In Action on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:34:48 PM PDT

    •  As I outline above... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      In another comment I discuss some of what scientists are trying to do to get society listening to them. But it is kind of not in the culture of science to yell so hard publicly about science...perhaps it needs to BE part of our culture.

      But they do take some action, some of it, like a very widely circulated letter to the Senate, is pretty strongly worded. Similarly the wording of the IPCC report on green energy I quote in the diary is fairly strongly worded. Real Climate tries to address the worst of the Global Warming Denial Lobby, but they are not well known in the mainstream. There is a group called Scientists and Engineers for America that has been active in promoting science in American politics, but they seem inactive right now (??). Finally, the Union of Concerned Scientists is very vocal on many issues. Their main weakness, if it is a weakness, is covering too many issues.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, I'd only indicate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, mole333, tari

    that even if we were to drop to 350ppm carbon dioxide tomorrow, the changes we've already put in place will continue for many decades.

    I haven't posted in a while, but what I was saying 4 years ago about methane still holds true today.

    I believe that the mechanism that clears out methane, that determines its "half -life" as a GHG is being altered - the time scale of how long methane persists before it's broken down to mere carbon dioxide is no doubting lengthening.

    This process occurs in the upper reaches of the atmosphere and I've seen no studies that show the dynamics of this process, if it's being changed and by how much. But frankly, high localized methane levels seem to be consistent with the massive Arctic warming we've already observed.

    I wish there was some observations that could back up my theory, but at this point it's just that - a theory. Make of it what you shall.

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:14:07 PM PDT

  •  4 degrees = half billion left? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    http://www.smh.com.au/...

    fight the evil.  fight the denialists.

    Stop Prohibition, Start Harm Reduction

    by gnostradamus on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:34:21 PM PDT

    •  Humans cannot survive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gnostradamus, Simplify, NoMoreLies

      maximum wet bulb temperatures of much over 90 degrees F for long. 95 degrees F wet bulb is a death sentence for even the most healthy person, in a matter of hours.

      There are places where this already happens on a limited basis now. With localized variations, one can see heat waves that could take place in areas of the Middle East and South Asia where anyone who did not have the ability to get into air conditioning would be at risk. Of course the elderly, the very young and sick would be first to suffer, as it always seems to be.

      In 2003 in France, about 15,000 people died from a heat wave.
      http://www.usatoday.com/...
      This is modern, western EU country - one can imagine the death tolls in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Southeast Asia or any of the Arab countries where the massive division of wealth will be the deciding factor of who lives, and who dies.

      And obviously, the increased temperatures mean more fires, and Australians already know  more than enough about that, as well. Even money cannot save some folks - the fire doesn't care how much money you've got.

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:47:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    I don't see it happening. Theres just too many people who are tired of the system and are dragging themselves from day to day just to survive; we need hope in Ohio. Places like California know the truth. Places like Ohio you'll need more than this diary- you need billboards on every damn major highway to get the public's attention.

    I'm tired of living in a world where I can't be friends with veterans because I'm transgender and I can't be friends with transgenders because I'm a veteran.

    by glbTVET on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:39:33 PM PDT

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drnononono

      Of course it will never happen while many people who should know better insist on saying it won't.

      Consumers make choices all the time. In this case it involves creating local jobs in places like Ohio. In places like Iowa, Tennessee and Indiana are already feeling the benefits of projects Native Energy sponsor. The more such contact between green energy and even red states happens, the more people in those states will say, hey, this helps us!

      Billboards are a great idea. Perhaps one part of these organizations are billboards in areas where these projects are saying "These jobs come to you thanks to environmentalists! Together we can fight global warming and create American jobs."

      Okay, get an ad agency to work on the wording, but it is a good idea!

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:28:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No offense, but you're dreaming. (0+ / 0-)

    It's over.   There is NO chance of reigning in climate change, and while repeating the talismanic stuff about so called "renewable energy" is essentially trying to stop a hurricane by holding up a whirlygig.

    Jim Hansen, to whom you appeal, is a very strong proponent of the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy:   Nuclear energy.

    You don't mention it.

    This may come as a surprise, but for most of human history, right up to the mid 19th century, the vast majority of human energy was so called "renewable energy."   At that time most of humanity lived short, brutish lives.

    Nuclear energy is the only completely new form of energy discovered in the last several millenia.  

    At one time, famously, Holland used wind power to drain its low lands.

    Today they use diesels.

    Why?

    At one time humanity depended on biomass for almost all of its internal heat.   One result was the deforestation of Europe.    

    They say that Columbus was looking for spices, but what he really found and what Europe really wanted from North America was wood.

    (One can read about the wood crisis in Europe, and the European response to it in the fascinating treatise:  Coal:  A Human History.

    I wrote about this same process of deforestration occurring elsewhere years ago, when people were still selling the "renewables will save us" game while burning more and more and more gas.

    This Power Plant Produces More Energy Than The Nation Of Cameroon.

    Renewable energy will not save us.   It is not sustainable; it is not even really renewable.

    As it is, so called "renewable energy" is a band-aid, and the belief in it as some kind of savior is a big part of the problem, again, a whirlygig against a hurricane.

    There is one, and only one, source of sustainable energy, that which has the highest energy density, nuclear energy.

    Regrettably, the people who irrationally hate nuclear energy - almost all from a position of ignorance - have achieved a bizarre kind of credibilty that is probably the equivalent of the 14th century view that the cause of the bubonic plague was sin.

    If we really cared - and it's certainly too late to care - we would try to understand what sin really is.

    •  Ah, NNadir (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, NoMoreLies, Agathena

      I don't mention nuclear power for two reasons:

      1. The IPCC report I cite doesn't mention it from what I can see, and

      2. I don't trust the nuke industry. They make so many misleading claims I don't trust them. I have always been open to including nuclear energy but they ignore many costs of their own industry, ignore the many varieties of green energy, and are misleading about green energy.

      If the nuclear industry ever did anything to win my trust I'd consider it. But they don't. I trust the IPCC more. I do listen to Jim Hanson. But as long as the industry dishes up such bull shit, I can't support them. The IPCC disagrees with you. Doesn't mean you don't have a point, but it is hard for me to weed through the nuclear industry propaganda to see whether they are worth it or not. If they stopped the condescending bullshit they might do better.

      Sorry. Even here in DKos all I get is condescending statements that don't match what I hear from scientific journals. Why should I trust your word?

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:35:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is always the problem of nuclear waste (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mole333, adrianrf, melo

        and no solutions except burying it in the earth somewhere. After we bury the liquid carbon, and the waste from fracking, and the nuclear energy, we expect there will be room for growing food and getting clean water?
        No more nukes.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 07:35:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Integral Fast Reactor (0+ / 0-)

          Nuclear power plants aren't going away anytime soon. Their waste and the accumulated waste from the nuclear weapons program are going to be with us for a long time unless we do something other than just let it sit in containment structures. We may as well do something useful with that waste as long as we have it. The IFR is a type of breeder reactor that consumes nuclear waste.  See http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor for more details.

          The article lists the following advantages.

           IFRs could in principle extract almost all of the energy contained in uranium or thorium, decreasing fuel requirements by nearly two orders of magnitude compared to traditional once-through reactors, which extract less than 0.65% of the energy in mined uranium, and less than 5% of the enriched uranium with which they are fueled.  This means that no new uranium would need to be mined into the foreseeable future.

          Breeder reactors can “burn” longlasting nuclear waste components (actinides: reactor-grade plutonium and minor actinides), turning liability into an asset. Another major waste component, fission products, would stabilize at a lower level of radioactivity in a few centuries, rather than tens of thousands of years.

          The IFR also has passive safety advantages compared to conventional Light Water Reactors. The fuel and cladding are designed such that when they expand due to increased temperatures, more neutrons would be able to escape the core, thus reducing the rate of the fission chain reaction. In other words, an increase in the core temperature will act as a feedback mechanism that decreases the core power. This attribute is known as a negative temperature coefficient of reactivity.

          •  Look... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Agathena, adrianrf

            I think there are several better places for us to put our money than nuclear energy. But I am willing to accept SOME role for nuclear energy of they could convince me that they weren't lying sacks of shit like  the tobacco companies. I have seen way too many arguments from the nuclear industry that are just like the tobacco industry that I can't really trust the bastards. I'd like to find common ground but so far I can't.

            The whole nuke industry has to revise its PR. They have alienated the public for years by their condescending attitudes and their refusal to address genuine safety concerns.

            The nuke industry has to start from scratch as far as I am concerned. Their current marketing techniques have failed decades ago but they still cling to them even when modern events make them even less believable. Time to start anew! But I haven't seen that yet. So I still don't trust them.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:30:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Agathena

          I am not so cynical as you but I feel NNadir ignores what you are focusing on and  that is a fatal flaw in his agruments.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:24:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Fukushima (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, Agathena

      watch Germany exit nuclear power and drastically increase their already strong renewable sector

      •  Germany (6+ / 0-)

        I visited Germany a couple of years ago, for a scientific conference in Heidelberg and to visit my family roots. I was amazed at how many solar panels I saw. I mean GERMANY is not know for its sunny climate and yet there many houses had solar panels. What is wrong with America? Are we such losers we can't match that. And I'm not even talking about being green, I'm just talking about basic long term savings for the consumer.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

        by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:16:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Germany imports electricity from nuclear neighbors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Knarf

          On short, overcast winter days Germany is forced to import electricity from nuclear plants in France and the Czech Republic at considerable cost. Solar is definitely an appropriate solution in many places, but not everywhere. What percentage of Germany's electrical power needs are met by solar?  How many power plants has Germany been able to replace as a result of solar?  

          •  The output from German PV in 2011 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Knarf

            was about 18 TWh, which could be produced from 2 1100MW NPPs. For the cost of the FiT alone, Germany could build 2 1600MW EPRs each year.

            •  Which came to 3% of Germany's power output (0+ / 0-)

              And its nuclear output was 148 TWh. And it still had to purchase additional power from its nuclear neighbors. It also, by the way, increased it's consumption of soft dirty coal in 2010. If Germany is really going to be shutting down its nuclear power plants over the next decade it doesn't seem likely that PV generated electricity is going to be a significant contributor to that effort.

          •  My point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            adrianrf, melo

            There are many green alternatives. No single one works. Have to work with all of them. Solar is one small part. What are the possibilities of wind, methane from waste, etc. This is what I find disgusting about nuclear advocates. They ALWAYS focus on only a subset of alternatives. Every area has a range of options. If you can convince me that nuclear energy HAS to play a role with real safety taken into account (and all those claims here on DKos that Fukushima could NEVER go through a meltdown reduced my faith in the nuclear industry  almost to zero) then I am open to it. But so far nuclear advocates have been such dicks and have ignored so many aspects of alternative energy and have been so in denial about dangers of nuclear energy, that I have developed a huge skepticism around the whole industry.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:36:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And my point (0+ / 0-)

              In a thread that starts with Germany dumping nuclear because of Fukushima, when you bring up its solar effort as an example for what can be done, you shouldn't be surprised when it's pointed out how little solar has and will likely contribute to Germany's total energy needs compared to nuclear in any reasonable time frame.  Solar has great potential in many locations around the world. Germany just isn't one of them.   Can other renewable sources of energy contribute significantly more than PV in Germany? Without a doubt. However, within time frames that matter, over the next several decades, nuclear will still be around. Either we devote adequate resources to trying to make it safer through better technology and governmental oversight or we risk seeing incidents like Fukushima repeated.

              •  Personally (0+ / 0-)

                I come from this view. First off I don't believe we should close nuclear plants that already exist unless they are unsafe. We probably need the energy for now.

                Second, I noticed roof top solar all over Germany. Why is that being paid for if, as you suggest, it is not cost-effective? Even in rural areas there were solar panels on most roofs. I suspect you are right overall but also are quoting sources that underestimate the impact of solar.

                As for other sources, new nuclear takes up to a decade to come on line. I bet many alternative energy source could be replacing fossil fuels in the interim. Nuclear is probably a part of the equation, but until the nuclear industry is more honest about what it has to offer vs. other sources of energy, it is really hard for me to advocate for them. I have seen too much BS from that industry and it remains untrustworthy. If it cleaned itself up in ALL ways, I'd be open minded about it.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:10:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Germany is not the ideal solar example: (0+ / 0-)

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

                  "Is the sun setting on solar? If there's a country on the planet that's embraced the generation of electricity from the sun, it is Germany.

                  It has between a third and a half of the world's photo-voltaic cells - but in this heartland of solar energy, the industry sees dark clouds looming.

                  Subsidies are falling. Makers of solar panels have gone bankrupt.

                  Thousands of employees, fearing for their jobs, have just held a demonstration in Berlin.

                  Mainstream, influential magazines run headlines like Solar Subsidy Sinkhole: Re-evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun."

                  Where are we, now that we need us most?

                  by Frank Knarf on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 04:18:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  very clever (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mole333, Meteor Blades

                    a bbc article whose main interviewed source is a climate denier. yeah, germany's right wing government is cutting subsidies and it's impacting the industry. and lots of germans are upset about it.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:41:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Those bankruptcies are mostly a product... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...as I am sure you know, Chinese selling solar panels below cost, not because the companies themselves are inefficient or in the wrong business. Switching from fossil fuels and nuclear at a rapid pace is bound to have bumps in the road. That doesn't mean it's the wrong road.

                    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                    by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:04:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The conversation regarding alternative energy (0+ / 0-)

                      in Germany has mainly concerned the marginal economics of solar vs other options in a cloudy, northern climate.  Spain, Greece, Arizona, California make far more sense.

                      Consider the aggregate effective power yield of the global PV and water/space heating installed base.  Was it sensible for Germany to place it's subsidy Euros there?

                      Where are we, now that we need us most?

                      by Frank Knarf on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 07:53:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Chicagoland uses nukes (0+ / 0-)

      It keeps our air breathable. I don't think we'd get enough sun to use solar for all of our energy needs and same with wind, but I think solar especially could be used to reduce the horrendous peaks in usage that form on hot days in summer.

  •  I'm afraid it's going to take a Pearl Harbor event (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    We're not going to see action on a significant scale unless and until something dramatic happens either too big or too quickly to ignore, like Pearl Harbor or 911.

    Would the complete disappearance of the northern polar ice cap do it? Maybe - there's already suggestions the lessened ice sheet is having a big effect on weather in Europe this winter past. When it's completely gone, what that will do to climate patterns is anyone's guess.

    Ditto if the Atlantic Conveyor got switched off and the Gulf Stream stopped running.

    What I'm especially worried about is a phase-change event, where a threshold is crossed and change occurs at orders of magnitude greater than had been seen up till that point. Large methane releases could do it.

    Human nature being what it is, there will still be those denying it's happening or human responsibility for it, along with those who will say that it's now so big, there's no point in doing anything except trying to live with it. (And they'll resist any attempt to put blame on them.)

    It's an irony that two congressman instrumental in blocking action on the ozone layer and environmental problems in the 90's were named Doolittle and Delay.

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

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:57:36 PM PDT

    •  Atlantic Conveyor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, jrooth

      That is actually one of the less likely scenarios. NOT impossible but not considered likely.

      What it takes is some consumer pressure, I think. If there is no consumer pressure there will never be political will or industry will. It has to get going somewhere, and the suggestions I give are ways in which that has started.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  At the time of Pearl Harbor we had leadership (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, 0wn, adrianrf

      FDR had been preparing the people for the upcoming war for a couple of years by that time.

      I just don't know what the Obama admin is thinking. He can talk even if he can't pass law himself.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 07:02:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pearl Harbor? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, mole333, adrianrf, melo

      10s of thousands dead in Europe in the 2003 heat wave?
      10s of thousands dead in the 2010 heat wave in N. Africa and Russia?
      The end of Russian wheat exports in 2010?
      The drought and heat waves in Oklahoma and Texas?
      700 dead in the Chicago heat wave in 1995?
      Pearl Harbors abound.

      •  But if Rush and Hannity aren't worried about it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        adrianrf

        it's not happening.

        If the summer continues like March, heat death tolls from prior years are going to seem minimal. I diaried last year about the earth getting to a point where there will be regions where people literally can't survive without some kind of cooling. It could be real soon now.

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

        by xaxnar on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 09:28:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chicago heat wave (0+ / 0-)

        But that Chicago heat wave wasn't all about heat... at least not never seen before heat. It was about isolated people without families or friends. It was about people too afraid of crime to open their windows.

        And protocols were put in place in Chicago to try to deal with heat emergencies. Such as the naming of heat emergencies, the opening of cooling centers, the system of safety checks on folks.

        Mike Royko wrote at the time that most likely older people (the victims were predominately older) had always died during heat waves and were simply unnoticed since old people die all the time.

  •  I'm sure (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drnononono, Simplify, mightymouse

    that reasonable realistic leadership will find a pragmatic, free-market based solution that will address the requirements of all vital national interests and major  stakeholders.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:22:54 PM PDT

  •  Great, informative, hopeful diary! Thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333

    for posting this treasure trove of useful information and suggestions.  

  •  fixing limbaugh/RWradio will open the way to real (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333, mightymouse, Lefty Coaster, fumie

    reform.

    one of our major parties is in complete denial and preventing any significant action and the most significant tool for  preventing cooperation, electing idiots in denial, and creating a denial constituency is RW radio.

    and there are 76 universities listed in the link below that endorse 170 limbaugh stations.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:28:01 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! We need to push this again! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333, Lefty Coaster, catfood

    It cannot wait! A switch to a vegetarian life style is the greatest reserve human mankind has. We should also link this with a fight against diabetes to improve health and to reduce health care costs.

  •  Climate change is the perfect illustration of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Lefty Coaster, 0wn

    the limitations of our government's power.  The modern U.S. government only legislates on social issues.

    All other legislation is written by 1% industry Wall Street types.

    The government isn't going to fix climate change.  The government will slow down all efforts to limit emissions.  The government is an obstacle.

  •  I have given up hope for anything short of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    a gigantic climate disaster that keeps on running away and forcing life to adapt much faster than most of our current stock of interconnected living communities can.

    The momentum of the industrial revolution and our social systems will persist as long as they can without dramatic change. The pace of change in the complex social/industrial system we have created is much to slow, although it will speed up some as we have more problems with sea level rise and extreme weather. As a species we have not evolved to respond to long term problems of this magnitude but instead have evolved to handle the short run issues that represent immediate and short term future survival. There is nothing wrong with this, we could not have evolved to take the large systems, general impact, long time frame advanced technology effectively into account.

    If we had a tipping point we could all see, like a hoard of zombies walking toward our house, in the way we have evolved to see and respond to threats it would be easier to turn on a dime but even at that it would take a long time to change our systems.

    There is no tipping point, just a process of accelerating climate change that gradually proceeds past, worsened by positive feedback loops, the ability of the compensating, negative feedback loops, to slow the pace of change. Systems folks call it a runaway system. That is what we are hoping we can effectively deal with.

    I still eat vegetarian and do other individual positive things because they are good to do, I have just lost hope that the scale of the problem and the momentum in the social/industrial and climate systems will be affected in any meaningfully positive way by what I do.

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:52:49 PM PDT

  •  Someone in Northern Wisconsin. (5+ / 0-)

    73 degrees, only a little snowleft, and only in the shade.  Unprecedented  warmth, as she remembers.

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 06:54:43 PM PDT

    •  I am in Southern Wisconsin (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fumie, mole333, adrianrf

      Three days in a row: records smashed, temperatures in the low 80s, expect at least 3 days left of this heat wave with temperatures more typical of the second half of June. The heat wave has lasted so long - 8 days, that even the native plants are being fooled into growing now. I was out today at a client's site and the hepaticas are blooming. They typically don't bloom around here for at least another month.

      Madison Wisconsin's high temperature was 82 degrees on March 15. That was 39 degrees above the AVERAGE high temperature for March 15.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:43:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pyrolysis: Closing the loop.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catfood, DSC on the Plateau

    The massive 100 year combustion (burning with oxygen) of stored carbon from 2.5 Billion years of sequestration is the culprit.

    The solution is to stop the combustion, the combining of Carbon and oxygen into CO2. We can instead isolate the carbon by pyrolysis, or slow conversion into charcoal in the absence of oxygen. By turning waste wood, recycled landfill papers, woods and other organic molecule combustibles, as well as actively using harvested invasive plants and trees into char, we can add back to the carbon sink without burning.

    The solution is pyrolysis. Charcoal creation in chambers of earth, steel or in covered pits in the absence of oxygen (at around 700 degrees) keeps carbon out of the atmosphere, puts it into a solid transportable form which is essential for soil amendment, and which increases growth and water retention on the land, as well as cuts fertilizer use and adds tilth to heavy and depleted soils. It also creates some gasification liquids and diesels for fuels. Europeans used wood boxes and gasification as truck fuel during the darkest days of WW2.

    The trees and plants grown on these char-amended soils worldwide can be accelerated by up to four times the rate of trees grown on normal depleted soils, and thus accelerate the rate of removing carbon from the atmosphere by fourfold, possibly more. The more carbon, the more soil, the more trees for sequestration, and soon, the loop is closed.  

    This needs to start now in every region of the planet. It may be the solution to several issues at the same time; depleted soils, food and fuel production for increasing populations, carbon sequestration in an virtous cycle increasing as time progresses, and jobs for people who are currently classified as useless consumers. They can be producers again.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 07:42:56 PM PDT

    •  Anyone doing this? (0+ / 0-)

      Any proposals to do this?

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:20:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am science naive... (0+ / 0-)

        but have heard a good deal about this (biochar).

        I would love to help market and publicize this option if there are any orgs pushing it.

        •  I hadn't heard of it! (0+ / 0-)

          Perhaps you can contact some groups like Union of Concerned Scientists or Native Energy or whatever and see what they say about it or how it could be publicized and marketed.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 06:03:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333

          biochar is nice for some soils, though in small amounts. it's good as an addition to compost (like 10% or so). if you throw it directly in your soil it can lock up nitrogen and other essential chemicals and minerals, so it's best to add it instead to compost. think about it - you're talking about something similar to the activated carbon in your brita filter. it's really good at attracting and holding minerals and stuff.

          honestly, it's just better in terms of carbon to just let the wood and stuff rot on the ground or use it as mulch. i'm sure the amount of CO2 released is about the same or even better  when you add it all up and god knows the forest floor and the entire ecosystem that relies on deadfall need the minerals too.

          anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

          by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:29:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  somewhat (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, adrianrf

      unfortunately, even as with char, there's no magic bullet.

      producing charcoal or biochar certainly produces sequesterable carbon which is great. it was very useful as a soil amendment in tropical areas, but is less useful in non-tropical areas such as the US. but it's great for creating straight-up carbon.

      thing is, pyrolizing wood and landfill papers etc produces lots of syngas which is mostly methane and CO. which can be burned for energy, but produces, you guessed it, CO2 in the process. this syngas can be redirected to heat the material in a retort kiln but still produces CO2, and the initial heating of the material usually requires either gas or previously-made charcoal, the burning of which creates CO2.

      the best way to sequester carbon, ironically enough, is already being done, though none of us would think it's that great. the landfill. the fact that you can dig into a landfill and find whole chunks of wood or readable newspapers from 40 years ago is a sign that the carbonaceous material is not breaking down biologically at a significant rate due to the anaerobic conditions down there. it isn't rotting and turning into CO2 by bacterial/fungal means. it's just sitting there for a long-ass time. also, using lumber to build stuff. you're essentially taking large amounts of carbon and building permanent structures with it (tho anybody who has taken a close look at the way we build houses in this country might not use that word).

      clearly recycling the material is a better use of it tho. and wood sequesters carbon better when you just let the trees hang out and stay alive.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:25:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well the numbers are still being run... (0+ / 0-)

        on biochar, its true. There are multiple variables which change the effect, as I understand it.

        As far as char not being as useful in North America, that may not be verified yet. There was not as much need for Native Americans to convert trees to char since the soils here were plenty fertile. They did a lot of burning of fields, which produces some soil char, but the jury is still out as far as South American loma prieta (black earth) versus North American amended soil. More numbers needed, but I suspect we could benefit a great deal when you think of the pummeling, de-humusing, de-layering and de-tilthing  the midwestern and western soils have taken in the past 100 years.

        Trees do indeed fall and rot, and contribute their carbon back to the soil. All well and good. BUT.. when their carbon is charred, it becomes a permanent, or at least thousands of years permanent, in the soil. This has been demonstrated in the Amazon in the Loma Prieta soils, in which the carbon chips and chunks in the red soils are carbon dated to 10,000 years old. The carbon is nearly for all practical purposes NEVER released back into the atmosphere. It remains sequestered. Not like a tree falling and rotting. That IS released in a relatively short time.

        And there is the valued added part of tree growth acceleration. If indeed true that trees can capture more than four times the carbon in char-rich soils with less moisture being applied by nature or man, we can create a virtuous cycle of carbon sequestration which is permanent, or mostly so. If we could make the trees hang out and stay alive for thousands of years, well, we could get ahead of the game. It seems the best course is to try some plantations and test plots for this virtous cycle to see how long it would take to make a dent in the 325ppm atmospheric carbon problem.

        So yes, true, but I think some attitude of possible optimism is warranted. Let's not shoot down small experiments because we are worried it might lead to a good idea being accepted.

        The problem of atmospheric carbon is managable if we accept that we are now the managers of the earth's atmosphere, like it or not. We need to start managing as if it mattered and conduct some of these trials and experiments to see if we have a shot at survival. I am not in the Let's Throw Our Hands Up and Chant at the Moon crowd. I think we can and will find solutions, all evidence and attitudes to the contrary.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:28:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  mah (0+ / 0-)
          but the jury is still out as far as South American loma prieta (black earth) versus North American amended soil.
          i think you mean 'terra preta'. yeah, it's great soil. slash-and-char plus adding large amounts of humanure, food waste and pottery shards makes for great tropical soil. some of the reasons are tropical-centric, such as the fact that many tropical soils are naturally thin and lose nitrogen quickly. overall tho, it wasn't merely the char that did the job, and i think a lot of people pushing biochar forget that.

          as to letting things fall apart naturally, when a tree rots, it doesn't completely convert to CO2. a good amount of carbon is left either in the soil or in the bodies of all the critters that feed on it, which is helpful for the food chain and that portion of the carbon cycle. likewise, by improving soil structure, more plants are supported by the forest floor which improves carbon sequestration in new wood. if you take deadfall out of the forest and put it somewhere else, the ability of forest soil to support a vigorous polyculture is going to slowly ebb and fewer trees will end up growing and you end up shooting yourself in the foot. you've sequestered carbon in one place while reducing the forest's natural ability to sequester carbon in another.

          it's true that pyrolizing wood creates more stable carbon from a given input, but it does require heat to start the process, which requires excess CO2 production.

          this is why i don't consider char to be that great a solution. also, it would have to be done industrially to really be 'clean'. making biochar in your backyard is a dirty, sooty business usually.

          anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

          by chopper on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 06:52:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great, topical and Important piece of work. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333
  •  I think this too is scary.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, mightymouse, adrianrf

    A few years ago Richard Clarke was talking about what the biggest threat to the united states would be in the future, and he talked about other al-Qaida positions, and their threat levels, and so on.

    The other franchise groups -- al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabab (the Somalia-based militant group)

    He said the biggest threat wasn't al-Qaida or any militant group, it was going to be global warming.

    The reporter asked him if that threat was enough to get us to do everything possible to reverse global warming.  Richard Clarke smiled, and paused, and then said.

    Oh, it's too late for that.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 08:18:47 PM PDT

    •  Depends what you mean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      We are in the midst of it and it will keep going even if humans disappeared today. But the climate will find a new equilibrium and where that is kind of depends on what we do now. To believe action now will have no benefit for future generations is wrong. To believe action now will prevent the effects of global warming is also wrong. The reality will be somewhere in the middle and scientists are advocating action. I tend to listen to the scientists.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:23:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, but (0+ / 0-)

        What Richard Clark was saying, we should have been dealing with this before we hit the tipping point.  

        It's not too late to start dealing with it, but it's too late to prevent disaster.

        " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

        by EarTo44 on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 04:57:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is another proactive thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333

    that anyone who gardens can do:

    Start using carbon - specifically bio char.  If you don't know anything about it Google.

    Here is a link to a talk chat Johannes Lehman - one of bio char's evangelists gave.

  •  Unprecedented March heat (4+ / 0-)

    You have to wonder what role global warming plays in this unprecedented March heat.  Chicago has recorded FIVE consecutive 80-degree days, with as many as three more expected in this heat wave.  Prior to the past week, Chicago has never had more than two consecutive 80-degree days in March.  International Falls just had its warmest St. Patrick's Day ever, with a high temperature of 77 degrees, 42 degrees above normal and 22 degrees above the old record high.  Its low temperature of 52 degrees was only 3 degrees short of the old record high.

    Record heat feels great now.  Record heat won't feel so great in July.

    You might be a Rethug if you join forces with the tobacco lobbyists but condemn abortion, birth control, and gay marriage as crimes against humanity.

    by jhsu on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 08:27:42 PM PDT

  •  Cutting back on air conditioning (5+ / 0-)

    The sad irony is that using air conditioning promotes global warming, which promotes even more use of air conditioning.  Although I'm participating in the Xcel Energy WindSource program, it's still better to conserve electricity (and the fossil fuels needed to generate it) than to offset it.

    Because of the profligate waste of air conditioning, I have taken steps to conserve it over the past several years.  On hot summer days when I must use air conditioning (renting a small house with a small window unit), I only run it in the evening.  Even on 100-degree days, using air conditioning for a few hours in the evening is enough to cool the indoor temperature down to the upper 70s.

    Waiting until evening to turn on the air conditioning is more efficient in several ways:
    1.  The air conditioning only has to remove the heat once.
    2.  The period of peak electricity use is over, which means that the power company has more slack capacity available.
    3.  The air outside is cooler, and the sunlight is fading.  This allows the air conditioner to work more efficiently.

    In contrast, air conditioning abuse is much more rampant today than was the case when I was a kid in the "greedy and wasteful" 1980s.  I've learned to bring a light jacket with me on hot summer days, because so many buildings are freezing cold.  I also have to REMOVE my sweater in most buildings in winter, because it's too hot inside.  It's as if the people who control building thermostats are trying to deprogram me from the idea of wearing a sweater in winter and short sleeves in summer.  What happened to the standard practice of heating to 68 and cooling to 78?  (That's actually profligate compared to the seasonal thermostat settings I keep nowadays.)

    You might be a Rethug if you join forces with the tobacco lobbyists but condemn abortion, birth control, and gay marriage as crimes against humanity.

    by jhsu on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 08:43:40 PM PDT

    •  Heh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      I am lucky. I have a basement apartment. When we get flooding or bugs I don't feel so lucky, but when the summer heat begins I do. It takes awhile for that heat to sink to our level. We don't have an A/C, though not sure how long we can get away with that. We use fans and have for years.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:27:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Man. I wish I could be optimistic and say.... (4+ / 0-)

    ...everyone will "do their part" and we can turn this climate thing around.

    But we've already reached the tipping point.

    That's not to say we shouldn't try to slow it down or ameliorate the situation best we can. But it's too late to go back. All we can do is adapt.

    Methane is ALREADY being released in vast quantities from the Alaskan, Canadian and Siberian tundra. Literally millions of lakes are warming and releasing methane so thick, you can light the water on fire.

    Snow fall in Southcentral Alaska is near record levels. Warmer December, January, February, and March weather will mean more snow instead of deep cold. The flora and fauna of Alaska are already changing. Most of the Black Spruce have been devasted by Spruce Bark beetles, setting us up for warm summer wildfires which can devastate millions of acres. Our glaciers are retreating far faster than anyone anticipated.

    I can go on. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to change our evil ways. But convincing Brazilian farmers not to burn down rain forest hasn't worked. There and in other developing countries, illegal logging is considered a petty crime. Convincing people to recycle backfires as it costs more to process most materials for re-use than to make new ones. We need to become far more efficient with what we have and in ways to re-cycle it.

    We need to adapt. Or we will surely die.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 09:07:59 PM PDT

  •  Get over absolutes and just start trying (8+ / 0-)

    What bothers me the most is that it is too often publicized and too many people look at it as an absolute: you have to go to no meat, no gasoline, have to go to all wind or all solar. That kind of a viewpoint and approach insures that our effort will fail.

    We can make many smaller changes that will matter a lot in the aggregate.

    Eat LESS meat and animal fats. Make it patriotic to go meatless one or two days a week. (I make black bean soup and a great minestrone which we have regularly in the winter. We also love eggplant parm and in the summer pasta salad, felafel or stuffed grape leaves, or bean burritos with fresh salsa.) And just use less meat in your usual recipes. Try the family spaghetti sauce with a half or quarter pound of meat instead of a whole pound, and maybe try ground turkey, or soy crumbles. Make a white sauce to include in your mac and cheese and use sharp instead of American, and I bet you can use less cheese. Learn the benefits of trying just a bit of sausage or bacon or ham as a flavoring agent instead of as the main dish. Switch it, stretch it.

    Use LESS gasoline. Go for a more fuel-efficient car, plan to combine and reduce your shopping and everyday trips, carpool, make sure your tire inflations are correct and your air filter is clean. Walk! Most people are comfortable walking one quarter to one half mile to a destination without complaint.

    Add to your home insulation especially in the attic and around windows and doors.

    Set your thermostat temp lower for heat and higher for AC. Change it one degree at a time so you have a chance to acclimate. Reduce your water heater temp if you use electric or gas, saves energy and safer too.

    Think of adding solar or on-demand water heating. This can actually be added to your existing water heater very easily and amortizes itself over time.

    Plant a victory garden even if its a small one or in containers. It is great for kids especially to think of growing even a little of their own food; cucumbers, squash, cherry tomatoes, beans are easy to grow in a raised bed or in pots on a patio. After harvest, give them a quick dip in boiling water and then ice water, and many things will freeze nicely.

    Reduce waste and recycle. Buy eco-packaged products or buy in bulk (we love Amish stores here in the Mid-Altlantic). Look at your trash and think about what you can recycle or avoid using so much of.

    Turn off unused lights and unplug unused appliances.

    It's not a big deal to do any of this, it just requires being conscious. Can't we reduce our personal energy use 20% without having a hissy fit?

  •  Hey, I'm doing my part. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333, adrianrf

    I've paid less for winter heating than I ever have up here in WI!

    ...

    Schyeah. I have a garden, brew, and am a locavore. It helps. Great links btw, and thank you for a rational argument for dealing with climate change. I think we're going to be dragged over the cliff by China, India, and slow action here, but I'll try to dig my nails in on the way (especially since I can live better and healthier by doing it...)

    •  China may surprise us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      It is hard to tell, and their idea of solutions can sometimes be worse than the problem, but I get the feeling China has a better sense of needing to prevent the impacts of global warming than America does and may well take the lead. Of course they also have become the biggest carbon emitter, so will it happen fast enough, I don't know. And will they use good solutions if I am right and they will start focusing on this? But it wouldn't surprise me if within a few years China is doing more than America to stop global warming.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:31:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tend to agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mole333, adrianrf

        China deals with problems - witness the 1-child rule.

        We'll see how they handle this.

        And we need to remember that the US is responsible for much more of the warming to this point than China is. We should cut them a little slack.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 06:48:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and yet they need to keep 1.3 billion souls alive (0+ / 0-)

        and believe you me they are going to burn another lump of coal or 2 if it comes down to brass tacks. Plus we've all modeled a wasteful western life style to them and now they are getting to the point where they want the bells an whistles: cars, bigger houses, western meat-centered diets. India is also verging on this

  •  At its core, the problem is simply too many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dallasdunlap

    people.

    So, in that vein, throughout my lifetime I have been proud to sponsor (via my tax dollars) the deaths of close to 10 million people through the actions of this country's fine Armed Forces.

    I suppose, on the downside, these actions themselves took on a fairly large carbon footprint that may have negated all the good that was done wrt to the lowered population.

    But heck, we have to try, don't we?

    •  Yes...and no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, billmosby

      I basically agree. But the equation is roughly people multiplied by an impact factor and in some places with fewer people the impact factor makes that country worse than an overpopulated place. You need both to be addressed. I support family planning programs worldwide, particularly ones that integrate women's health, literacy and empowerment into the mix (the most effective programs). But even with zero population growth the growth of energy demand will still push us past the tipping point, so diet and energy production are critical particularly in the short run.

      The suggestions I make focus on what people in America and Western Europe can do and they are more what will help in the short to medium term. For medium to long term I think we need reforestation (if done right) and better family planning programs (ones that empower women as well).

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:35:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People around the world are working night and day (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mole333

        to increase their impact factors. A number of them journey halfway around the world hoping to get a huge boost in their impact factors.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 07:05:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hell (0+ / 0-)

          If paid enough I might as well...Yeah...but I think  the counter trend has its advocates who can prevail for genuine market reasons.

          But time will tell.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:00:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a chance. (0+ / 0-)

            Living standards "raising" has gone viral, that's the market these days. There is essentially no market for long-range thinking, and tipping points notwithstanding nobody sees any of this as anything other than a problem for their grandchildren. Especially in the parts of the world that are developing so rapidly.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:34:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  What is the basis ... (0+ / 0-)

    for saying PIOMAS predicts an ice-free Arctic by 2015?

    Looking at the animation of their summer projections (mpg file) available on the Polar Science Center site, it looks liek they project an ice-free Arctic in the 2040 to 2050 timeframe.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 06:58:20 AM PDT

    •  Look at the linked BBC article (0+ / 0-)

      The graph is there.

      I have never been able to do pictures on DKos, but the graph is at the BBC link I reference.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:01:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  BBC offers no provenance for that graph (0+ / 0-)

        and the only place I can find a similar curve fitted to the PIOMAS data is at the conservative "skeptic" blog real-science.com.  It appears the intent is to discredit Arctic sea-ice projections by exaggerating them.

        Please consider revising your diary to reflect the actual Polar Science Center projection.

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 12:12:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Correction ... (0+ / 0-)

        the source appears to be Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University.  I skimmed too fast, I guess ...

        Nonetheless, I think you ought to indicate that the people who actually do the PIOMAS modeling don't agree with such a short timeframe.  (Although to my mind 2040 - 2050 is plenty bad enough.)

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 12:25:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jrooth

          Was about to berate you on missing the Cambridge, etc link.

          I admit I took the BBC article at face value (and it takes the graph at face value) to introduce stuff that is more established.

          I personally a.) take all dates with a huge grain of salt, and b.) think the Arctic ice and related methane release is happening REALLY fast based on every piece of data I have seen over the past few years. Maybe the Cambridge stuff is closer that they intend it to be??

          I can run it by my wife. She would know the up to date stuff better than I do.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:16:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One very important omission re Hansen's opinions (0+ / 0-)

    Hansen: Why America Needs Nuclear Energy

    Presently, nuclear power plants burn less than 1 percent of the energy in the nuclear fuel. Fourth-generation nuclear power allows the neutrons to move faster, so it can burn all of the fuel. Furthermore, it can burn nuclear waste, so it can solve the nuclear waste problem. And the United States is still the technology leader in fourth-generation nuclear power. In 1994, Argonne National Laboratory, now called Idaho National Laboratory, was ready to build a fourth-generation nuclear power plant, but the Clinton-Gore administration canceled that research because of the antinuclear sentiments in the Democratic Party. Well, we still have the best expertise in that technology, and we should develop it because it's something we could also sell to China and India, because they're going to need nuclear power. They are not going to be able to get all of their energy from the sun and from the wind.
    But in addition, there are renewable energies: solar energy, wind energy. And I think that nuclear power has to be part of the solution, because at this time it's the only alternative to coal for base-load electrical power. And we do now have the technology for much safer and more efficient nuclear power, as compared to the old versions that were used in the past several decades.
    We CANNOT tackle a problem of this magnitude leaving the most concentrated, powerful source of emissions-free energy known off the table.  Anti-nuclear sentiment, such as what enabled Clinton to stop the Integral Fast Reactor from going to commercial demonstration and  effectively killing it, did more harm to the environment than we can ever know.  If the nuclear plant build continued through the 80s, as it did in France, we wouldn't be burning coal today.  Talk about unintended consequences of so-called green activism...  

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 07:12:10 AM PDT

    •  Open to it except... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      I have found nuclear advocates to be so misleading and condescending that I have given up working with them. They can come back to me if they want to start using more solid facts and a better attitude. The IPCC report doesn't mention nuclear from what I saw and neither did some articles in Nature about a year ago or so on these issues. From what I can tell scientists are not so keep on the nuclear option (but have by no means abandoned it) and the nuclear advocates are so corporate and misleading I can't trust them. They have to earn my trust at this point before I accept their role. Before I was pretty willing to see a nuclear role within a wider green approach but not now.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:04:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, mole333, adrianrf

    I try to keep my meat intake down (generally never cook it), I don't own a car, and, weather permitting, I hang-dry my laundry.

    Hang dry your laundry - that's an easy step in certain climates to reduce your footprint quite a bit.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 07:38:07 AM PDT

    •  Laundry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dirkster42

      When I lived alone, I hung much of my laundry. Now with a family in close quarters that doesn't work so well. My wife does the laundry and she does everything in cold water and I negotiated more efficient machines with the company our building works with.

      If I could only get our building doing rooftop solar I'd feel I was doing something really critical. But so far no.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:14:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent summation & resource list (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Ferguson, mole333, adrianrf

    I am busy now at the local level fighting fracking in Triassic Basins in NC. They literally have come to my back yard. I was reviewing a 400 page report last night for a meeting tomorrow evening. I'm glad you stepped up on climate change.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:26:21 AM PDT

  •  K.I.S.S. Version? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333

    Is what I eat the #1 action item?

    Is there a prioritized list?

    I was thinking when I saw the diary title that I should turn off the computer.

    what really are the most important things for us to do?

    And what are the best 'levers' to push? What really works?

    •  Even if you did everything, even if ... (0+ / 0-)

      everyone in the world did everything, even if everyone in the world just stood still and never consumed anything ever again, it would not make any difference. If might take the edge of the momentum of change, but change we are going to have. It is simply too late.

      •  If it is too late, then what? (0+ / 0-)

        Is there a Plan B for dealing with the results?

        And who is in charge, anyhow?

        Who are the best leaders about global warming, climate change, and the effects?

        •  then what? who's in charge? (0+ / 0-)

          Doing anything about it means expending even more carbon to go do it. So that's not an option. Unless you want to speed things along.

          As for who's in charge, that depends of when you're talking about. If you mean in the present, then nobody is in charge of responsibly dealing with the aftermath of human-caused environmental degradation on a massive scale. If you mean in the near future, say 20 years down the road, then nobody again, except the person that's knocking at your door with a gun in hand looking for provisions. If you mean 50 years down the road, then nobody at all.

      •  Well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth, adrianrf

        Since the climate scientists are still recommending these actions, I intend to listen to them.

        It is too late to STOP global warming, but there is NO REASON to think it is too late to make a difference.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

        by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:19:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well yeah, we're going to have change (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        adrianrf

        But whether and by how much we change our behavior over the next few decades is going to make a huge difference in terms of how much change we get and how fast it is.  And that in turn will make a huge difference in the future course of the current mass extinction event as well as just how much war/famine/population displacement etc. humans will suffer.

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:32:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have spent the last 150 years (0+ / 0-)

          adding carbon to the environment and the projections for fossil fuel burning are on track to increase in the coming years. These are huge, major, macro, un-doable impacts. Playing around on the margins might make you feel better, and that is a healthy thing, no doubt, but it is a also healthy not to live with delusion. At this point in time you have the largest population on the earth ever - and that's going to increase in the near-term too, using the largest amount of resources ever and demanding more commodities and devastating huge swaths of the environment. You are not going to change these impacts. We are barreling along at break-neck speed. Mitigating any of these impacts is virtually impossible.

          •  Playing around at the margins? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            adrianrf

            If you actually believe that there's no difference between continuing "business as usual" increase in atmospheric greenhouse gasses vs. limiting that increase to, say, double pre-industrial levels (an entirely doable target, I think) let alone reversing it as for instance 350.org hopes to accomplish (very hard to see as doable but still worth fighting for) then you need to look more deeply into the science.

            Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you call "playing around at the margins" but serious as the situation is, just throwing up our hands and saying it's hopeless is really very destructive.

            “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

            by jrooth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 02:27:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't disagree with the science at all. (0+ / 0-)

              I just don't think you can get enough people on board. The world is way too hungry & selfish. People will not be denied.

              Try getting all the rich people out of their private planes. For that matter all, commercial air travel will need to stop. Tell the Indonesians to stop cutting down their forests, and Brazil too. Tell Carnival Cruise Lines etc. to stop operating... and find all of those people jobs that are carbon neutral. Tell all the people in the midwest that lost their homes in all the tornadoes, sorry, we're not cutting down any more trees to build you houses. Tell McDonalds that beef is now off the menu. Tell the Defense Dept. to stop all training exercises. Tell China to stop all construction projects. Tell the entire world that having children has been put on pause indefinitely... and then tell the aging generations that were planning on their generations to pay into plans to fund their retirements they will have no retirements. And a lot fewer doctors and nurses. Because that's what you'd have to do: reduce the world's population dramatically. Life is a ponzi scheme, it turns out, always relying on a fresh and larger supply of new souls to propel it. That was the basis for most civilizations for... ever: have big families, cause a few won't make it and you need several to provide for your old age. Things get tough when you disrupt this pyramiding, look at some small towns in Italy where it's happening: the whole structure begins to fall apart. Who's going to tend to the elderly? Who pays the taxes? Who's maintaining the infrastructure? But that's what we need to do in order to have any chance in the face of what we're looking at.

              My point is, how do you tell 7.3 billion people to stop doing everything, unless they can account for the carbon? You might as well tell them not to breathe.

              •  You're moving the goalposts. (0+ / 0-)

                Earlier you said:

                even if everyone in the world just stood still and never consumed anything ever again, it would not make any difference
                which is absolutely false.

                Now you have fallen back to the argument that it's all just too difficult.  But what you are still missing is that this isn't a binary "stop doing everything" or else it's all completely hopeless situation.  It really does make a big difference if we can mitigate the rate of increase.

                “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

                by jrooth on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 06:04:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Heh... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga, melo, adrianrf

      The answer is YES.

      I find different folks have different things they are willing/able to do. So I present a range of options. The more you can do the better. But no one person has to do everything.

      Most important? I feel that the combined switching to CFLs and signing up for all wind power is the most important thing my family did (given that we live in NYC and so don't have a car to begin with, so eliminate THAT carbon emission).

      Is that your top item? I can't tell you that. The idea is latch on to as many actions as you can, and when you incorporate the first set into your life, look for another action. No magic bullet, no one best action. Just suggestions we all need to try to work on.

      Does that help or muddy the whole thing?

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 12:52:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meh.. as long as progressives are against nuclear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpeedyGonzales

    power as an alternative, all the posturing about green power sources sounds like so much bullshit.

    I will give you an example:

    The Scherer coal power plant in Juliet, GA produces 25.3 million tons of carbon every year.

    Yet, you, dear diarist, are asking us to cut down on beef consumption?  One freakin' coal power plant equals all the carbon output of all the niggling idiotic schemes you listed above.

    So, I suggest we simply build nuclear power plants for the dirtiest coal plants in the country.  Problem solved and I get my burgers and steak and don't have to drive myself insane worrying about the carbon footprint of my burrito?  Ok?

    But, noooooooo.. that's too freakin easy.  Nuclear power is scary!  Really really scary!

    Ok.. so I'll jump off my hyperbolic high horse for a moment..  

    Do you see how hypocritical it looks?  You ask people to modify the littlest things in their lives to make up a very very small change in carbon output, but most progressives are completely unwilling to consider new nuclear plants, which could make a gigantic change in the carbon output of this country.

    And that doesn't mean we cannot continue to move forward with wind and solar.  But wind and solar is going to take another 40 years or more.  And you say we don't have that much time.

    My opinion is:  Get back to me when you want to seriously talk carbon output.  Until then you come across as being an alarmist control freak.

    •  limited need for nuclear (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, adrianrf

      Well, maybe some need, but nuclear isn't the magic pill here.

      The mining and refining of fissile materials still causes a good bit of pollution. Nothing on the scale of coal, but its still there.

      Geothermal might be a great way to go, being as how we've already got nearly a century of R&D and know-how when it comes to digging really deep holes in the ground, then pumping things through them.

      Solar is getting better all the time.

      Wind is amazing when people with agendas aren't blocking the construction of turbines.

      Nuclear in its current form is pretty much anathema to continued human survival. At least, if we continue along the path we're on with huge subsidies to first generation technologies and regulatory capture on a massive scale.

      Now, if we were to fast track the replacement of this horribly out of date non-sense with a huge number of  PBMRs or thorium reactors, maybe. Aneutronic fusion is looking better and better all the time, but even the big boy ITER fusion reactor isn't going to be online for another few decades. Far too long to affect what we're doing now.

    •  oh, and to add (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, adrianrf

      Do you know what the lead time is on a new reactor, even one built with technology and materials we've been using for two decades? It is ten years or more from planning to power generation.

      One does not simply throw together a nuclear power plant.

      •  Yes.. I know.. (0+ / 0-)

        And yet we still don't even have one test plant planned for PBMR or Thorium reactors, especially micro sized reactors.

        If any of the past 5 administrations had been serious about carbon output, we should have had a modular, safe small reactor developed by now that could be fueled by recycled nuclear waste.  A reactor that could be built and put in place in months rather than a decade.

        As it is, we have nothing and are still not even at step 1.

        We invest billions and billion in solar and wind but just pennies in nuclear.

        Personally, I am hoping for a breakthrough in fusion.  The guys at EMC2 went silent once the Navy started pumping money in a few years ago.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.

        •  I'm not totally against nuclear (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerry J, adrianrf

          So I'd be for more R&D and construction in modular, micro, and some of the more exotic fission reactors, and of course fusion.

          Still, I think it is a bit of a mis-characterization to say that we're spending billions on wind and solar but not a penny on nuclear. There are billions upon billions of dollars going to subsidize things like PWRs and BWRs, though if you were talking about straight up R&D and implementation of the better sides of fission, then I can see your point.

          Hell, I'd really love to see all of our nukes move out to space along with the solar. All the free sunshine and radiative cooling you can stand (just not at the same time).

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf
      Yet, you, dear diarist, are asking us to cut down on beef consumption?  One freakin' coal power plant equals all the carbon output of all the niggling idiotic schemes you listed above.
      livestock in america produce about half of our ag sector carbon emissions. beef cattle make up the vast majority of that.

      it aint 'niggling' to point out that vastly reducing beef intake would have a noticeable effect on it.

      So, I suggest we simply build nuclear power plants for the dirtiest coal plants in the country.  Problem solved and I get my burgers and steak and don't have to drive myself insane worrying about the carbon footprint of my burrito?  Ok?
      yes, let's ignore our completely unsustainable agricultural system as long as we build some nuke plants. we'll all be saved!

      honestly, i understand the need for nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions. what i don't understand is why so many pro-nukers have to be so condescending about it and bark at every author who has the gall to not mention nukes in an environmental diary that they're 'not serious'.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:06:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Meh...as long as the nuclear industry lies so much (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      Look. I have never been against the nuclear industry, but I have caught them in so many lies and found them so corporate and condescending that I have given up on trusting them. They have to convince me before I give a rat's ass about them any more. Sorry. The nuclear industry might have a role in all of this but it is damned hard to tell in all the corporate lies that come from that industry.

      Reform the nuclear industry and then come back to me. I am open but not to BS

      NOTE: The IPCC report on energy I quote makes no mention of nuclear. So you are losing the scientists as well from what I can tell.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 11:17:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sadly, because of the infighting between the (0+ / 0-)

    Dems, and Repugs. over this situation I don't expect alot to change. I think its the youong ones of today who will be left to deal with the mess. I does seem likes it been awhile since there has been any major scary headlines regarding climate change, the kind that makes you drop everything and want to reach out and call or contact your Rep. in Congress and what not. Personally I know its bad. I read a great in depth article on how gobal warming/climate change is devastating Australia. It should be mandatory reading for ANYONE. Too bad the oil looby has such a fierce grip on most all of the Repugs, and lot of the Dems too, thats why I expect not much to happen in my lifetime, I am sorry to say.

  •  we've procrastinated too long already (0+ / 0-)

    ...its now politically impossible to do anything.
    Whats required is a 10% per year, year-on-year decline in carbon emissions in the entire first world,

    approximately a 90% decline in emissions in 10 years.  This translates to a roughly 90% pay cut -- for EVERYONE.

    not possible even for the most liberal.

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:10:49 AM PDT

    •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, adrianrf

      I have been fighting this fight for 25 years. SO I full well know the inertia. And saying it is too late is just as unhelpful as denying global warming altogether. Sorry, but you might as well join Rush Limbaugh if you aren't willing to listen to what scientists are telling you you need to do right now. I am quoting the top scientists. I think we should for fucking once LISTEN to what they say, not second guess them.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:24:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As long as by "we all" (0+ / 0-)

    you mean China too. I don't see China backing away from burning carbon anytime ever.

    •  Heh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      I personally think China is already ahead of us in what they are thinking. Now they may do some really stupid things in response, but they currently seem far far more on board when it comes to recognizing the impacts of global warming than America is.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:25:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipping point was a a couple decades ago (0+ / 0-)

    We have tipped.

    •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      Depends. If you mean we are already feeling the impacts of global warming, then yeah. Us scientists have been saying  that for some time.

      If you mean a TRUE tipping point, then you do not have the scientific consensus behind you. We are heading right for it, but we aren't there yet. My wife is in the field and I can recheck with her if you like, but all I read suggests we are up shit creek but still at least have a paddle.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 01:30:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We're really good at turning out lights... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mole333, adrianrf

    ...so when we made the switch to Compact Fluorescents I didn't expect to see a huge effect in our electric bill. I did it all at once (I still have a couple of grocery bags full of incandescent bulbs out in the garage somewhere) so we were able to see the effect immediately, and we were stunned! A real eye-opener as to how much artificial lighting contributes to our overall energy consumption.

    Even if you can only afford to swap them out one at a time, it's worth it. start in areas that are usually lit most often (like the kitchen rather than the bathroom, for instance.) and work your way out as money allows.

    We live in the Pacific Northwest which contains lots 'O darkness in the winter months. Puget Sound Energy offers rebates on CFLs, and I'm sure a lot of other utilities do the same.

    Excellent diary!

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -Abraham Lincoln

    by jexter on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 10:55:10 AM PDT

  •  Good suggestions, but we've tipped (0+ / 0-)

    and the planet is headed for big changes. Still I believe in acting locally and personally.

  •  Winters day and it is 70 degrees in New England (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    is this the new normal?

    •  Not as warm and not as fast (0+ / 0-)

      What is unique to this warming period is both how high it has gone and how fast. Nearly unprecedented speed of warming.

      Plus you ignore the fact that current warming has a definitive signature of CO2 caused global warming: stratospheric cooling within the overall warming trend. This is diagnostic of CO2 driven warming.

      Climate has changed in the past. No one argues that. But what is going on now is pretty damned clear cut and has been for more than a decade now. Any deniers are nothing but flat-earthers. (Which, by the way, does not leave out controversy or debate by any means...the effects of the North Atlantic current and whether it shuts down, for example, are highly controversial).

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

      by mole333 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 01:10:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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