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is the title of this MUST-READ op ed by James Hansen in this morning's New York Times  It comes from the 2nd paragraph.  In the first, Hansen reminds us of the President's words that Canada will develop its oils sands "regardless of what we do."  He then write

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.
Why?  Let me put into bold his very next sentece:  Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.

The implication of fulling using this source of CO2 on top of our current use of carbon-based fuels would be, according to Hansen, that atmospherice CO2 would eventually

reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.
By now I hope you are shocked.  That is blunt, as it needs to be.

On this Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is considered by most reasonable people as our foremost expert on the subject, is providing a clarion call and not for the first time.

Please keep reading.

Hansen reminds us that in 1981 he warned that our continued reliance on carbon-based fuels would eventually lead to a point where the global warning signal would be louder than noise.  Concentrations of atmospheric CO2 have risen "from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years."  The Canadian tar sands, if fully exploited would add another 12o p.p.m.   American tar shale would if similarly exploited add even more.

Hansen argues that it is not YET too late to prevent the coming catastrophe.  He wants to see us impose a gradually rising carbon fee that the government would pass through to the American people to offset the cost of energy, thereby using market forces to discourage further use of carbon-based sources of energy such as those we are about to develop and thereby encourage by making competitive alternative sources of energy that do not add CO2.    This would make fossil fuels pay for their real cost.  Yet instead governments around the world, including our own, continue to subsidize and encourage the development of fossil fuels.

The President has, Hansen acknowledges, talked about a planet in peril.  He wants Obama to provide actions to match that acknowledgement, to provide the leadership necessary to change the outcome.

And his conclusion is blunt, and sobering:  

The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.
avoid the worst - the worst is the destruction of civilization.  We would not have to see sea levels rise by anything close to 50 feet to see major world disruption.  Some island nations would begin disappearing.  Others, including the US, would see their heavily populated coastlines inundated.   The changes in climate and precipitation would totally disrupt agriculture, wipe out species, deprive many populated areas of their sources of water (here think of the disappearance of mountain snows and glaciers, whose melt is the source of many great rivers).  

The science is clear.  To know and not to act immediately is to be immoral.

Some on the political right try to disparage the science, because they economically benefit from the current patterns of energy use.  Too many corporations think only of their own immense - even obscene - profits.  

Here I think of those who attempt to lambast the idea of government stimulus by claiming we are ignoring the long-term debt burden we are passing on to future generations.  They claim that is immoral.   It would be if we did not know that stimulating the economy is the only tool available to prevent economic disaster for nations and for many within our own borders, and that over the long term it means a lesser debt burden for the future.  Besides, had we not done two unfunded wars and continued unfunded and unjustified tranfers to wealth to the already wealthy through abusive tax policy, much of our national debt could already have been paid off.   What we do financially is not irreversible.

What we do to the world may soon be irreversible.

The title of the piece is Game Over for the Climate.  It could as easily be Game Over for Civilization.  

We need to listen to Hansen.

This piece should be required reading for everyone.

Which is why I wrote about this subject today, on a day when another subject may seem of more immediate interest.  What happened yesterday is important.  I wrote about it then.

What Hansen writes about is already almost past critical.  We cannot wait.  We cannot afford to dither, or he will be correct, we will be judged immoral by coming generations -  that is, if we do not make it impossible for there to be coming generations.

Originally posted to teacherken on Thu May 10, 2012 at 03:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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  •  Tip Jar (217+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoebe Loosinhouse, A Siegel, joseph rainmound, dance you monster, ovals49, farmerchuck, markthshark, tonyahky, Dobber, Miss Jones, katiec, rmonroe, NYFM, Shelley99, Margfh, dot farmer, pollwatcher, ask, DuzT, hester, WarrenS, elengul, OLinda, sunny skies, maryabein, rb608, Smoh, bear83, chicagobleu, Randtntx, RJDixon74135, jadt65, Ashaman, run around, Marko the Werelynx, Orinoco, jamess, lungfish, kamarvt, boatwright, Loudoun County Dem, drnononono, Susipsych, Egalitare, petulans, citizen dan, Debbie in ME, Pat K California, One Pissed Off Liberal, mithra666, Getreal1246, evelette, RFK Lives, sngmama, MuskokaGord, G2geek, profh, drofx, temptxan, Carol in San Antonio, Supavash, mudslide, psnyder, MrJayTee, Lady Libertine, PapaChach, zerelda, offred, SallyCat, Siri, Kristina40, S F Hippie, PurpleThistles, On The Bus, dougymi, Russgirl, Old Surgeon, wxorknot, frsbdg, blue aardvark, Craig S, jfromga, Mary Mike, reddbierd, JosephK74, klompendanser, Habitat Vic, OrangeMike, Leftcandid, get the red out, freeport beach PA, Oh Mary Oh, LamontCranston, expatjourno, Steven D, bythesea, lcrp, tidalwave1, hyperstation, greengemini, elziax, RLMiller, The Lesser Gazoo, NMRed, FutureNow, boji, jbob, A Mad Mad World, John Crapper, westyny, Joieau, LucyMO, millwood, blue jersey mom, AaronInSanDiego, codairem, hubcap, bread, dotsright, kevinpdx, quill, opinionated, blueoasis, fiercefilms, Syoho, The grouch, nannyboz, Milly Watt, yawnimawke, Shockwave, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Paul Ferguson, homo neurotic, Suzanne 3, GeorgeXVIII, Ree Zen, FlyingToaster, cpresley, Nica24, alasmoses, fumie, AmericanAnt, Just Bob, chicagoblueohio, Kamakhya, redlum jak, bwintx, tacet, Mayfly, northsylvania, lynneinfla, sockpuppet, ColoTim, roses, Crabby Abbey, CA Nana, 2laneIA, FarWestGirl, MarkInSanFran, helpImdrowning, LABobsterofAnaheim, Senor Unoball, defluxion10, FishOutofWater, Fiona West, bibble, turn blue, chimpy, greenbastard, where4art, asym, Mogolori, splashy, vacantlook, Pescadero Bill, dRefractor, BradyB, cslewis, Gorette, jethrock, offgrid, pgm 01, uciguy30, GreatDane, zenox, Involuntary Exile, Ice Blue, ksp, IndieGuy, glitterscale, cv lurking gf, ceebee7, JanetT in MD, jay23, trumpeter, bluesheep, monkeybrainpolitics, corpsechorus, slowbutsure, Lucy West, BMarshall, Alumbrados, Friend of the court, Mentatmark, outragedinSF, radical simplicity, Karl Rover, M Fox, wayoutinthestix, TheLawnRanger, DeminNewJ, Iron Spider, PeterHug, LaughingPlanet, JayDean, too many people, Earth Bear

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Thu May 10, 2012 at 03:11:38 AM PDT

  •  But ... but ... but ... (66+ / 0-)

    Well, we need to fight to keep gas prices low, no matter what, because that is the short-term crisis and climate change is tomorrow.  Oh, and, well, politically, the President has to support tar sands production because the Chamber of Commerce (and Washington Post editorial page) would attack him if he didn't. And ...

    And, well, the news of the moment is more important than dealing with this.

    And ...

    We have already locked in (and are experiencing) what any reasonable person would have defined as 'catastrophic climate change' considering the already massive (and worsening) extinction rates globally, the locked in sea-level rise that will threaten the homes of (perhaps hundreds) of millions, damage to ecosystems, disrupted weather patterns, ...  With serious effort, we might (MIGHT) have the chance to avert far worse scenarios.  That effort, however, must include efforts to keep the grease in the ground.

    Of course, among the most frustrating is that the economic benefits of smart climate policy would be enormous -- sadly, the Stimulus Package was not nearly strong enough in that regard. And, well, the President's celebratory "All of the Above" is good only in this regard solely in comparison to the Republican's fossil-foolish manias.

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

    by A Siegel on Thu May 10, 2012 at 03:26:54 AM PDT

  •  OMG! Doesn't he know that Charles Manson also (22+ / 0-)

    believes in global warming?! As does Ted Kandinsky. What is this guy? Some egghead liberal tree hugging crybaby? Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli needs to investigate him and see if he has received any public money to further his self-serving, alarmist drivel.

    Such will be the commentary from the right and our corporate overlords who want to distill tar sands and frack away until we can all finish off the meringues on our Baked Alaska simply by turning on the faucet.

    Since the anti-science deniers are out in force, I'm glad that such a dire prediction is front and center in the NYT.

    Where's our leadership on this? Talk about the need for a bully pulpit! Will we just let this occur through our indolence, ignorance, and negligence?

    I'm pinning all my hopes on the younger generation snapping out of it and using their unsought leisure due to the lack of jobs as a time to fight for their own future and that of the planet.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu May 10, 2012 at 03:27:55 AM PDT

  •  I hope you realize (12+ / 0-)

    this is an important diary despite the snark above.

    People do realize the seriousness of this - it's just very difficult to avoid whistling in the dark, yes?

    Are there any actions being taken by our or other governments to discourage Canada from its actions?

  •  The problem with the "game over" image... (6+ / 0-) that it will lead many to think we can just insert another coin and start over from the idyllic beginning.

    Instead, by waiting so long, we need to open the back of the machine and monkey with the innards to make it run backwards with our next coin, and doing everything the reverse of the pattern you've acquired over a lifetime is going to take a lot of retraining of ourselves.  And a lot of coins before we get it right.

    •  The phrase "game over"... (4+ / 0-)

      ...needs to be accompanied by the visual image of a football riot.  Massive destruction, anarchy, loss of life.

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

      by WarrenS on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:26:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  how about Apocalypse? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, WarrenS, LucyMO, ratzo

        it's accurate, and it has resonance with a large chunk of the population.
        Of course, the nuanced point that there won't be a Rapture in a manmade apocalypse will need to be made.

        I agree 100% with your statement. I get furious with the constant sports analogies that trump accurate descriptions of deadly serious issues in our national discourse,
        "spike the football" being the latest such garbage.

        Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

        by kamarvt on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:36:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As someone noted on another thread (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, kamarvt, oldhippie, WarrenS

          people sometimes throw out analogies to the holocaust.  Climate change has the potential to be ten or a hundred holocausts.  And yet we march on.  The banality of evil indeed.

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:18:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Game Over" works because it's chilling. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            katiec, WarrenS

            On a topic like this, from someone like Hansen, it has never for one second struck me as light, or as implying we can just pop in another quarter.  What it implies is:

                    It's over.

            We have to keep pushing the awareness that this is the threat, this is the real possibility we're facing: that we could lose it all.  We, our beloved children and grandchildren, humanity, the web of life on our only planet.

            And at the same time we have to keep pointing out that it's not over yet.  Because when people lose hope, they stop listening and just deal with their own life day to day.  If people lose hope, all the worst possibilities will come to pass.

            --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

            by Fiona West on Thu May 10, 2012 at 01:02:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  "game over" image is correct from a planet viewpt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest, nchristine, FarWestGirl

      First, we are already seeing climate change, it's too late to stop that much. What we're trying to prevent is catastrophic climate change. But catastrophic to who?

      Not to the planet. The planet will be fine. After we stop polluting it, in a few thousand or perhaps a million years tops, the planet will be just peachy. On a planetary time scale this is all just a blip. The planet caught the flu. Bit of a fever. It'll recover soon.

      So, yes, if and when our human game is over (and right now it looks more like when than if) the planet does indeed just reset and start another round. There have been mass extinctions before. This may well be another one.

      If we have another round of that, the planet will be fine. We, though, won't be here to see it. The planet will be fine, but our anthropocentric game will indeed be over.

  •  All the idiots who claim we should do nothing (15+ / 0-)

    about climate change because of economic reasons are fools--because doing nothing will cause so much damage, any short term economic gains will be wiped out. A WPA type of program that would update our electrical grid and convert much of our energy production from fossil fuels, along with a climate change mitigation program, would provide millions of new jobs.

    •  Jobs will be part of the Buffett Rule (0+ / 0-)

      The  Powder River coal leases exploited by POTUS, Buffett, and Gates will create massive rail traffic, new trackage, bottlenecks, and coastal export facilities.  At least six are planned in the NW.  Obama may very well beat the Tar Sands contribution with this gambit.  We are doomed.

    •  I feel that all the idiots (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest, Fiona West

      complaining about "exorbitant" gasoline prices should just shut up and let them rise. Nothing else but painfully expensive energy will make humans turn on the tiny little dime that they now need to toe.

      Sometimes a .sig is just a .sig

      by rhubarb on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:48:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nova replayed 2 programs about tornados. (8+ / 0-)

    The thrust of both programs was that we need better prediction of tornados. There was passing mention that increased incidence of tornados might be linked to climate change, but that amounted to no more than a footnote.
       What good is better prediction for those of us who not only don't have a basement, but don't know anyone in the neighborhood who does have a basement? I feel about as helpless about looming climate change as I do about preparing for a specific storm.

    •  I love NOVA, but they're funded in part by the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dot farmer

      David H. Koch Fund for Science. That's why the discussion of global warming was left to a footnote at the end of the program.

      Have you noticed?
      Politicians who promise LESS government
      only deliver BAD government.

      by jjohnjj on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:09:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wind 'n Solar Fans Are A Match For Climate Deniers (4+ / 0-)

    There are vastly more potent, cheaper and rational alternatives in baseload [always on] renewable energy.

    But we would rather go where the light is brighter, like the light on the locomotive of the train headed toward us in a tunnel.

    It's a wonder humans have survived this long.  Mother Nature is sure taking her sweet old time in starting another round of attempting to evolve an intelligent species.  She has obviously failed miserably this round.

    Best,  Terry

      •  Sure (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, katiec, FarWestGirl, ozsea1

        To date the U.S. state with the most accessible and potent geothermal resources, Alaska, gets only a few hundred kilowatts of power from at a purported 5 cents/kwhr from 165 F degree waters of a hot spring.  Chena Hot Springs Spa hopes to reduce that to 1 cent/kwhr with their "reverse air conditioning."

        Every oil and gas well, depleted or pumping, is a potential energy source with the same techhnology plus numerous other sources spread across the lands despite the false claims that geothermal power is available only in the west.

        It gets tiresome pointing out the power available from such a resource is vast multiples of that now generated worldwide.

        Biomass is not nearly as great a resource (nothing is) but it can provide vehicular fuel, as it does now to a small degree, but would be far cheaper as unconverted biomass.  It has been utilized far longer in external combustion engines than internal combustion engines.  With modern technology much the same as that used in generating power from low temperature geothermal brines, the engines are far less costly and more efficient than current engines.  Only our military is devoted to such development to date.  Biomass can be any type of waste fuel.

        How can you top waste heat as an energy resource?  Even our home furnaces could produce electricity but more pointedly industrial processes that generate substantial heat 24 hrs/day.  Cement factories have been a particular target and even solar is another form of waste heat that may be utilized far more efficiently but not continuously.

        More exotic sources include tidal energy and OTEC (ocean thermal differential) but near baseload wave energy may become a major energy source first.

        Best,  Terry

        •  low temperature geothermal has yet to be (0+ / 0-)

          demonstrated.  Raser Technologies tried and went bankrupt.

          •  Actually Numerous Low Temperature Power Generation (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1, wilderness voice

            installations have been around a very long time.

            Birdsville, an isolated village in Australia, was getting power from such an installation in the 1920's.  The Valhalla of geothermal, Iceland, has had a tiny isolated hamlet supplying most of its power needs with low temperature geothermal waters warmed further with a garbage-burning facility for a couple of decades.  It is not operating at the moment but was sold to an Australian for renovation while a German company is pushing another version of the Kalina cycle.  A third is expected to pump water in the Klamath basin like windmills have done elsewhere.

            Chena Hot Springs Spa in Alaska, whose technology Raser tried to adopt, has been quite successful.

            Helps to know what you're doing.  Raser didn't.

            Best,  Terry

          •  You might note this from the previous link on the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1, wilderness voice

            kalex version of the Kalina cycle:

            News from California, report on a geothermal power project in Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge in California. The project might be the first to utilize a Kalina Cycle binary system for power generation.
            Misinformation is rife on the internet and particularly in less highly pumped fields of endeavor even from many supposedly authoritative sources.  MIT has done a terrible disservice to geothermal power while at least giving it some traction.

            Best,  Terry

  •  This issue is one that the POTUS really (16+ / 0-)

    should be leading on. I am glad that he took the right stand on marriage equality.

    But this is a no-brainer.

    The time is NOW.

    Come on Mr. President, LEAD!

    "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

    by hester on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:23:37 AM PDT

    •  Gays gave POTUS money - Earth only gives life (7+ / 0-)

      The earth is speaking for itself.

      It is crying.

      POTUS positions himself with ....

      I have given up hoping that POTUS will do the right thing and point out that the end of civilization will happen.

      It seems to be too hard to do the right thing.

    •  Doing something about CC costs corporations $$ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest, cslewis

      and we can't have that, now can we?

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:31:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama knows successful leadership (0+ / 0-)

      often means seeing which way the crowd is going and running out front of the parade--and unfortunately the crowd is looking for cheaper, rather than cleaner, power. On the other hand, it's my understanding that the tar sands take a lot of energy to release their oil, so they're not actually all that cheap...and those who think exploiting the tar sands will free us of dependence (and associated price shocks) on Middle East oil are kidding themselves.

      Unfortunately, though, there doesn't seem to be any way to stop development of the tar sands--if Canada (arguably more enlightened than the US) won't take responsibility for climate change, it hard to see how the energy-addicted US is going to. If human beings made decisions based on reason, we would have long ago moved to green energy for a host of reasons, like the advantages of breathing clean air and eating mercury-free fish (and swimming at oil-free beaches). But humans are animals ruled by appetites, and Americans' appetite for energy overrules everything else. If Obama tried to lead us away from the tar sands, he'd find himself in a very lonely place, electorally speaking.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:47:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Carbon tax won't work, we need a better battery (10+ / 0-)

    Hanson needs some political advice.  The right wing propaganda machine has convinced the public to be global warming denialists and that any tax is evil and a carbon tax is the most evil of all.

    The price of solar panels are dropping like a rock.  We are transitioning from coal power plants to NG and that will buy us enough time where the economics of wind/solar will overwhelm even the propaganda from the right wing.  The problem is transportation.  We've got to get a better battery so electric vehicles become more economical than gas.  They are making big progress in gas/diesel engine efficiency which will probably kill hybrids, but if we don't come up with a better battery, they'll dig the tar sands of Canada, and the oil shales all over the world.

    The boiling frog syndrome is too strong.  We have to make ALT-E use more economical than going to the ends of the earth to drill for the last drops of oil.

    •  I've been looking at electric vehicles. Even (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, pollwatcher, G2geek, Odysseus

      though they might not be that great for long trips, or on an interstate where you have to maintain a relatively high speed in order to keep up with the rest of the traffic, they are great for use inside of town. If you're like me, and most of your driving involves short trips to places like the grocery store, your children's school, etc., then an electric car makes a lot of sense.

      The biggest problem I see for most people in owning an electric vehicle is the lack of mechanics who would know how to fix them if something messed up on one of them.

      •  They're much simpler (6+ / 0-)

        than the cars we drive today. Far fewer systems.

        •  I've been looking at (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, tacet, ozsea1

          some innovative equipment for working the land (small tractors, 4-Wheelers, tillers, etc.) that are battery powered, some of which come complete with big solar panel 'sun shades'. Thinking about building your basic glorified golf-cart type EV with aerodynamic faring that would easily get me 40 miles on a charge and which would go fast enough on mountain roads (avoid the interstate) to not be a nuisance. 35 mph top speed would be enough.

          Add the rooftop solar panel and a hood-scoop to a wind-type turbine so both sunshine and simply moving on down the road offer some ongoing charge. When the weather's nice it could go a lot farther on the charge, and still gets partial charge one way or another even if it's raining. Can solar charge in a parking lot while I'm in the grocery store. Etc., etc. I figure that 'trons from the grid would be minimal over the long term. Fun project for 'someday' when I win enough of the lottery to have a few thou to play with.

          Then if I need to go far away, just rent a regular vehicle for the trip. Don't go that far very often these days now that the folks are dead. Besides, we've got livestock... §;o)

          Meanwhile, I'm hoping for some real developments toward better, lighter and longer-lasting batteries for the task.

      •  3 problems with EV's, Cost, Cost, Cost (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tonyahky, NYFM, G2geek, nchristine, LucyMO, Joieau

        We should be taking all the subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry and sink that money into battery research.  I use the word battery loosely, if we can store solar and wind in some form of combustible liquid that would be great, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen.  So once we get a cheap, high energy density battery, we make EV's cheaper, longer lasting, and more practical.

        A better battery saves civilization.

    •  I've had an interesting rapid-fire array (18+ / 0-)

      of emotional responses to your post.

      The first was disbelief:  A better battery?  We're talking about the end of our civilization, mass extinction, and the potential curtain call for the human species.  At some point, this needs to trump petty convenience.  This process promises to be quite inconvenient if we don't get our shit together, and I refuse to wait for a new freaking battery (which might never be invented) to take agressive action.

      Then followed anger:  Hey, how's this for more economical?  RIDE A DAMN BIKE, and while you're at it, PLANT A GARDEN.  There is no part of this that cannot be solved or at least greatly aided with technology that exists right here, right now.  Heck, I live in Japan at the moment and see no reason whatsoever to even own a car.  Americans need to start treating public transportation and human-powered transportation like they're a life ring in a stormy sea.  And that might help with our staggering obesity problem as well.

      Then came resignation:  Pollwatcher is probably right in that most people will no doubt wait for some kind of cheap, convenient, renewable infrastructure, sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus, to be delivered right to their door, allowing them to continue in the lifestyles to which they've become accustomed with no adaptation necessary.

      Which means we're more or less screwed.

      IMHO, Hansen doesn't need political advice as much as we need scientific advice.  If he tells us what we need to do to not die and we ignore him, who really dropped the ball?  He's a scientist doing what scientists do, and doing it very well.  Our citizens and politicians are the ones failing here.

      •  We are not dealing with rationality (5+ / 0-)

        You are absolutely right, we have the tools right NOW to slam the brakes on CO2 emissions.  The power of greed combined with a population that would rather be entertained than informed, makes it impossible to reason with the people who need to change.  Hansen, and many other scientists,  have been trying to reason with people for 30 years and today more people deny Global Warming than except it.

        It is only out of complete frustration that I think we need an approach that will appeal to people's greed rather than their inability to reason.  Maybe we can get the frogs in the pot to turn down the heat without them even knowing they're doing it.

        •  Obama's "war on lightbulbs" (8+ / 0-)

          would be Exhibit A of your argument.
          we are not dealing with rationality.
          i have mostly moved beyond hoping and waiting for general acceptance of the laws of physics on this, and implemented as much as I can on a personal level to shrink my footprint.
          One problem is I'm starting to have trouble with producing my own food, as the climate has increasingly wreaked havoc on my gardens. I expect this to worsen, and I have no Plan B.  

          Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

          by kamarvt on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:44:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  heat, cold, water or bugs? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            •  I'm guessing it's increased uncertainty (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              i.e., not knowing when or how often to expect rain, length of growing season, likelihood of damaging storms, etc.

              "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

              by Alice in Florida on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:52:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  all of the above (5+ / 0-)

              Record heat this March started all the perennials (asparagus, onion, over-winter spinach, etc) too early.
              Followed by an April with a lower average temp than March - froze the perennials and stunted the new seedlings in the greenhouse. Also very difficult to make compost (key to my operation) in wildly fluctuating weather.

              A very dry three weeks followed by soaking rains for days, draining the soil of nutrients and washing away seeds...

              Mosquitoes arrived in March, then vanished. New pests not typical for this climate or time of season are appearing, and the birds and mammals get more creative when their usual food supplies aren't there (read; they go to kamarvt's restaurant).

              And that's just this spring.
              Hailstorms (also not at all common here) decimated a bunch of produce last summer and the year before, and of course there was TS Irene, which still keeps me from  fishing for trout, both because of polluted water and the stress the fish population is under (also the local hatchery got destroyed).

              I always figured it would be a harder chore than it seemed, but the effects are rapidly becoming ubiquitous. I'm still holding back on planting, because late season freezes are more common than before, and last year everything from spinach to corn was stunted.

              Warming is not a smooth change in climate; it comes with spasms that are bad news for all living things, and the effects are not in the future.

              Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

              by kamarvt on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:58:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  sorry for your difficulties (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kamarvt, ozsea1

                And you are right to think that the changing weather will make your goal of greater self-sufficiency harder. But not impossible.

                My wife and I live in Detroit, epicenter of urban ag in the US, Milwaukee and NOLA notwithstanding.

                We part of the Garden Resource Program, a part of the larger transformation project called Greening of Detroit.

                My point is that as very active gardeners (~.3 of an acre, minutes by bike from downtown, no less) who are very active in a community with a great and competent staff, we are able to lean on a large number of people for advice, tools, even space if needed, and this made adapting to changing realities much easier. We attenuate the effects of cold and hot and wet and dry using a combination of row cover and greenhouse plastic. We have probably 30 pounds of spinach, argula, mustard greens, a a lettuce mix thriving under row cover and in hoophouses. And we have aggressively started on hot-weather crops before the traditional Syttende Mai date for frost-free. I think the season has started earlier with little risk of a deep, multi-day freeze, and we have the means to keep the temperature > 0c, if it even comes to that, and we have been planting things that can handle that if it should occur.

                I used to think the revolution would be made on the shop floor. Now I think it will be made in the garden.

                •  you're on the edge of the same zone as me (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm in Vermont; one of the places predicted to become wetter and overall cooler during the first phase of climate change. i have considered using heating in the greenhouse, but so far I can make do without it. I mean, what's the point if i'm going to hog energy to make my own food. So far the grocery stores are pretty well stocked... I am beginning to do some neighborhood bartering; one neighbor has chickens, and that dovetails well with my setup.
                  Good luck to you!

                  Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                  by kamarvt on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:35:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I wish I could rec this 1000 times! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                These are the kinds of problems that I just don't think most people understand.  It isn't about things just getting warmer.  It's the uncertainty.  And who knows how long that will last before we settle into a new stability.

                Thanks for being so specific about your problems.  I'm going to save your description as an excellent explanation for people.  I'm just at my wit's end trying to get people to understand what we're up against.

                •  Good. Use it. Examples tend to get through. (0+ / 0-)

                  The web of life is something that even a country boy like me can take for granted until it begins to break down on the level I am experiencing. It's everything, all at once, and it's accelerating seemingly exponentially.

                  Cracks about buying future beachfront property and pleasant winters in Minnesota drive me nuts; these things mean hundreds of millions of human deaths, and extinction of nearly all the top predators as well as countless other species of plant and animal life, in the acidifying ocean and on land. Complete breakdown of society, economies, all of it. What many would call the end of the world.

                  People really don't get it; if they did there would be revolution. And we can't have that, now.

                  Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                  by kamarvt on Thu May 10, 2012 at 02:35:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I've given up (3+ / 0-)

            on predicting what the weather's going to do year to year. USDA changed my growing season this year, giving me a whole 'extra crop rotation. We had temps in the 80s all through March and half of April. Now it's mid-May and it's miserable chilly. Go figure.

            Some years it rains an inch a day all summer long, half the crops die of mold or just drown. Some years it's dry as a bone, and I'll be damned if I'm going to pump spring water 200' uphill to water them. Though I am planning a ram jet pump on the creek in the bottomland to a pond up top, which would allow a soaker system. Someday...

            So for the past decade or so I've just planted a variety of vegetables. Some need lots of water, some need very little. Some need hot sunshine, some need cool wet weather. That way I get something out of the hard work, no matter what the weather does. It's not the most I could produce if I had all systems in place, but it works.

      •  Not everyone lives in Japan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fiona West, FG

        Not everyone is physically fit enough to walk or bicycle everywhere. It isn't 100% irrationality - there are people who MUST have powered four-wheeled transport of some kind, because of where they live and/or because of how they (don't) function.

        It's going to take thinking in terms of those who aren't young, able-bodied and fit - including way into the "mobility limited" range - to get a real handle on the problem.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:19:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't usually live here, either. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seldom Seen, frostieb, ozsea1

          I come here on two-year assignments for the Navy.  This is my second.  I also spent three years in Europe on the same kind of deal.  My point is that some countries actually take things like public transportation seriously.  Not ours, obviously, but some.  The trains in Japan are amazing, and I can ride a bike without fearing for my life.  Why can't America figure that out?  Many of the biking issues in America are caused by nothing more than drivers being assholes, and you really notice it when you come to a place where that isn't the case.

          As for people who have no choice but to drive everywhere, well, fine.  That isn't most people, though.  Most people could probably be doing a lot more, and they'd get healthier in the process.  It's silly to do nothing just because we can't instantly jump to a zero carbon footprint.  Everyone who can should be doing everything they can now to mitigate the damage we're causing and to practice how to do these things for when we have less choice in the matter.

          •  I too wish we took mass transit seriously (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Don midwest

            but that alone won't be enough. I'm disabled, and I live next door to a group home for teens with multiple ability limitations. Any serious planning has to include people like us, or it's just another example of the Elite planning for the Elite and the devil take the rest.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:59:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This mindset (0+ / 0-)

              is part of why Democrats are such crummy environmentalists.

              Elites planning for elites?  How do people who can ride a bike constitute elites?  I think that demographic subset would actually encompass most people.  At some point, I agree that the entire civilization needs to come along for the ride, and we’ll no doubt be working out details for decades, but most people can be doing quite a bit right now.  For most people to wait until someone drops a fully matured green society into our lap, merely because we can only manage a 75% or even 50% solution, is insane.  Even a 10% reduction in emissions would be a huge leap forward.  Fairness is a great goal and we’ll have to get there for our own sake, but the climate doesn’t care about that.  As far as the climate is concerned, the issue is simply how much carbon dioxide we're putting into the atmosphere.  As far as civilization is concerned, the question if how to reduce that amount to mitigate the catastrophe that’s coming down the pipe whether we’re ready or not.  And as unfair as you may consider me to be here, I promise you the world that’s coming will be a good deal crueler than you can imagine.

              But here’s the thing; you seem to see this as a zero sum game when it is not.  If I ride a bike, or plant a community garden, or go vegetarian, I can drastically cut my own carbon footprint while not diminishing your opportunities in the slightest.  Seriously, how would it negatively impact your life if a town painted better bike lanes on the road or if your neighbors became locavores?  We can make all kinds of progress with most people onboard using technology that already exists.  Come on, riding a bike, using public transportation and even growing some of your own food isn’t an elite thing; it’s what poor people have been doing as a matter of basic survival for decades.  The same can be said of eating less meat, or turning out the lights, or conserving water.  Simply consuming less is a lot of what we need to do, and anyone can do that.

              This is not saying that renewable energy can’t stand to advance, but advances are more likely to come when more people commit to action on this issue; public interest is a great motivator for investment.  And as I mentioned, we can already do a lot with what we have.  Pollwatcher's new battery, or photovoltaic paint, or offshore wind and tidal energy, etc. might all be great things for the future, but waiting around for them to save the day is borderline suicidal.

              •  You. are. not. listening. (0+ / 0-)

                Therefore I have no interest in continuing this discussion.

                If it's
                Not your body,
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                And it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:50:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

                  Yes, I am listening, and agreeing with you in principle.  You're having an argument with the laws of thermodynamics.  I'd wish you luck, but since no individual or civilization ever wins that fight, I don't think luck is what you need.

                  According the Dr. Hansen, whose word I will pretty much take as gospel for the purposes of this post, we need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 6% per year starting now to avoid basically the total collapse of civilization.  If we wait another decade before doing anything, that number jumps to 15% per year, and from there quickly rises to heights which may well be impossible to achieve by any means other than the total collapse of civilization.  We’re talking about widespread famine, drought, wars over remaining resources, a potential body count in the billions before equilibrium is restored, and no guarantee that Earth’s climate will ever again favor clever apes like ourselves.  Not like our fading, beautiful Holocene did.  It goes without saying that the poor, the infirm, the very young and the very old, will be the first ones into the grinder, as they always are.  Even if the U.S. manages to remain relatively solvent (highly optimistic), most of the world will not.  And it will be largely our fault.

                  In the end, how you feel about any of this doesn't really matter unless you have a hotline to God and can get Him to tweak the laws of physics for us.

                  Now, here’s why I think that you’re not listening to me:

                  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 18% of the country suffers from one form of disability or another.  That is the total number, including everything from the severe to the mild, and concentrated heavily among those 65 years of age and older.  Feel free to verify this.  Even if not one person included in that number could make a single lifestyle change to reduce their footprint (probably not true, but even if it were), that still leaves 82% of the population who potentially can.  And we’re not even talking about massive changes!  Half of all oil burned in America goes towards meat production, after all, so just reducing how much cow you eat can be a solid contribution.  Of course the long term solution needs to be holistic and all-encompassing, and I don’t know exactly what that will look like; we’ll have to work many of these things out as we go (like better batteries).  But unless we get that 6% and get it quickly, we won’t even make it that far.  The window will have closed and humanity will be looking at a thousand years or more of completely avoidable suffering, if not outright extinction.  Heck, let’s say only half the country can commit to some kind of action, with only a tenth really doing it hard core, we may still get that 6%.  And even if we fall a bit short and only succeed in buying ourselves a little bit of time, that alone will be worth the effort, because time is not exactly a renewable resource right now.

                  I don’t know, maybe you’re not explaining yourself very well and perhaps I’m just not seeing what you’re saying, but if you really think that we can afford to do nothing until we can do it conveniently and everyone can play, then I must confess that I find your attitude baffling.  There is a gun to our head.  Can you not see it there, in the corner of your eye?

      •  THANK YOU! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        With you I find it a little incredible (understandable but highly disappointing) that so many even on the progressive left see this problem as a technology deficit; if we only invest in the right R&D, this or that new technology/energy source will save us from ourselves. So go ahead and buy that 2nd computer. It is a massive form of self-delusion in most cases, a palliative to soothe one's conscience as they drive to Best Buy for that discounted 52" plasma TV. (I speak hyperbolically for intended effect, if that's not clear, and it should be obvious the harm here is the deception not some particular new technology or method).

        See, the problem is not a technology deficit but over-consumption skewed to the relatively affluent.

        Steady state will return: Our choice is whether that will occur calamitously and precipitously in 30-50 years (or 75 or 100) and at very low levels of aggregate consumption because of overshooting ecological systems OR we relatively affluent humans - me and probably you - agree to start today consuming much less. Much, much, much less. Ride a bike, indeed.

        The single greatest step for the planet any of us could take today would be to recycle our TVs, not because of their energy or materials usage but because they are the gateway drug to an unsatisfying life on the consumption Gerbil wheel. It is how we are persuaded to pursue the chimera of happiness via acquisition of material goods.

        Avoiding steady-state is not an option. Fortunately, we can choose a (bumpy) glide path rather than free-fall over the cliff. Climb down rather than fall down.

        The part that I do not buy is the crisis = positive change. Sometimes. Sometimes it leads to authoritarianism and triage of the ubermenschen. Doesn't a voluntary lifestyle change to focus more on the non-material foundations of a life well-lived sound preferable?

        •  Yes, it does. (0+ / 0-)

          As for the crisis = positive change question, I mentioned something about that here.  I think we're on the same page with that.

        •  single greatest step: not have a child (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ree Zen

          Sorry, that might seem a little out of left field, but from a consumption  / carbon reduction perspective, by far the most impactful way to reduce one's carbon footprint is to have fewer or no children.

          •  My first thought was, aha! my evil twin! (0+ / 0-)

            Then it hit me that I'm the one whose handle includes 'sinister.'  ;-)

            And you make a good point.  Some say there are no viable solutions simply because of our numbers and the resulting strain on the ecosystem.  They might be right; Malthus is well-positioned to have the last laugh.

            •  that's right, my alter-ego is quilldexter (0+ / 0-)

              Interestingly, the bigger problem is 1st world per capita consumption rather than overall population growth, and population growth is expected to start declining.

              It's kinda ironic that a childless Cherokee drivin' red meat eatin redneck couple will burn far far less carbon than a Volt driving recycling conscious bike to workin' progressive family of four. Though, I'd rather hang out with the latter.

      •  You live in Japan. It actually has usable public (0+ / 0-)


        •  That only begs the question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of why we're not howling for these things from our leaders.

          Also, I managed to ride my bike quite a bit in San Diego.  It was a pain in the ass sometimes and I had about a five mile useful radius, ten if I was feeling frisky, but that actually accounted for an astonishing amount of my necessary errands.

          We don't need an all-or-nothing approach.  If all you can do is cut your driving by a quarter or half, hey, that's bloody fantastic!  Make sure to pick up some of your food at the local farmers market for extra credit.  You end up fitter, healthier and with a smaller footprint.

          Where is the bad?

          •  Because we don't know what public transportation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            is. Or don't want to share it with 'these people'. Here a couple of years ago an additional sales tax to pay for extra public transportation was on the ballot and failed by a significant margin. People don't want to pay for it.
            I did bike quite a bit when I lived in Southern California as well.

  •  "An Enemy of the People" by Henrik Ibsen (17+ / 0-)

    A play published in 1882. A man tries to point out to the village that water used for a successful public bath is contaminated by chemical waste and causes disease. He is run out of town. The public bath will bring prosperity to the town.

    From wikipedia

    "An Enemy of the People addresses the irrational tendencies of the masses, and the hypocritical and corrupt nature of the political system that they support. It is the story of one brave man's struggle to do the right thing and speak the truth in the face of extreme social intolerance."
    Our political system is corrupt.

    James Hansen is the leading US climate scientist.

    He has been arrested protesting mountain top removal and the tar sands pipeline.

    Photos of him in handcuffs say that he is "An Enemy of The People."

    Lets fact it. The political parties work for the 1%. They are concerned about the price of gas, not the future of the planet.

    The public is ignorant and uninformed and proud of it.

  •  maybe you didn't catch this: (6+ / 0-)

    Chrysler skips summer shutdown of factory to keep up with Grand Cherokee demand

    a piece marie wrote about here

    the point? ordinary consumers do NOT believe this.

    and those of us who do? simply haven't put the work into a better way to discuss this and get people THINKING and looking into the consequences of our decisions... one car, millions of them ... we can't scale our thinking to understand the impact we have.

    people smoke. regardless of what they are told about the consequences. people drink when told it will kill them. people shoot up drugs, do all sorts of things REGARDLESS of consequence and what they are TOLD.

    seems to me we haven't addressed this tendency in ourselves in order to save the species... you can TELL people all you want. you can threaten. blah blah blah. doesn't work.

    getting people to think? priceless . . .

    •  One Person Acting Alone (10+ / 0-)

      Can't make an impact on how humans are producing climate change. This is the problem. So, people just do what they will, knowing that they have no power to change this.

      Addressing climate change means collective action.

      We once had a mechanism for organizing people for collective: Government.

      But government really doesn't play that role anymore. We drowned it in the bathtub.

      So -- people will continue to buy Grand Cherokees, buy plastic crap that they don't even really want, and run the air conditioning with the windows open.

      Celebrate America.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:39:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  don't agree with your premise . . . (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, maryabein, Supavash, katiec, mkor7

        the only power we have is in acting alone, on our principles and core beliefs. if we were to come up with some retooled rhetoric that might inspire/incite people to think and believe their actions create consequences in the world at large, in a manner not dis similar to Buddha or Mohammed or Jesus, then it might get better.

        the reason the fringe seems to be prevailing? because they don't veer off the few targets (marriage, prolife) as guided by one overarching thing issue: god/religion directing civic life. they've plugged into right narrative that invokes the part of the brain that sticks to that particular path.

        the 1% will not mitigate or solve these problems. they are old and outdated thinkers and leaders. they were very successful as barbarians, but haven't a clue how to manage the complicated and sophisticated system created around them by their underlings, funny enough.

        just an aside: J&J Pharma is run by people with masters in business. they never thought to couple a scientist, business guy/gal, and perhaps someone from the arts to partner in running the company. so decisions are always business based and science doesn't care about blockbusters. not a good model but the barbarians are in charge in the board rooms... the rest of us are happy to have a lab or other venue in which to work.

        we grunts are the ones who need to make the game change. it will not come from Obama, Dems, Rethugs et al... including someone who sounds as sane as Elizabeth Warren... until you read her foreign policy page, spouting top ten hits like:

        Iran is a significant threat to the United States and our allies.  Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, it is an active state sponsor of terrorism...

        wherein one may realize she morphs right into the mold we need to break.
  •  It Seems Very Serious (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WarrenS, mightymouse, soarbird

    I'm afraid that there is no political solution, however. Good luck to all.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:35:02 AM PDT

  •  I think it's game over for a different reason. (7+ / 0-)

    At least for the time being.

    With half the people in the civilized world not knowing if they and their family will be living in a tent under a bridge next month I think the climate would not be the first things on their minds.

  •  Thanks dubya (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, bear83, pollwatcher

    and the morons who brought you in.

  •  Environmental Movement has been an abject (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leftcandid, John Coctostin

    failure. We/they have failed on the biggest issue of the day. Time to try a different method than yelling at people and telling everyone how horrid we are while tooling around in jets and SUVs.

    “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:51:54 AM PDT

    •  Thanks!! Blame the scientists and grass roots (16+ / 0-)

      No blame for the corporate coup d'etat that has successfully killed the issue for decades.

      And the economic thinking that has successfully turned citizens into shoppers.

      •  His point is that we have yet to effectively (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nchristine, zmom, ban nock, John Coctostin

        message the public in a way that defeats corporatist messaging.  It's true that yelling at people shuts them off.  Only respectful engagement that treats even our most dedicated ideological foes as adults has any chance of working.  

        It's also true that environmentalist messaging isn't unified in the most critical respects.  In Lakoff terms it often fails to centralize morals/values & proceed from there to educate people about resulting issues.

        It isn't blaming anyone, but rather taking responsibility for one reason for our lack of success.

        Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

        by Leftcandid on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:32:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  exactly, I'm part of the "new environmentalists" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          John Coctostin, Leftcandid

          we're into getting things done.

          “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

          by ban nock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 03:58:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't blame them, I blame you and your ilk for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        driving people away in droves, who in the heck would want to call themselves an environmentalist when that word is synonymous with self righteous nutjob.

        “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:01:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Blame the moderates for going along with (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      profewalt, Don midwest, oldhippie, pgm 01

      the industrialists and right-wingers, whether it is because they agree that the "science isn't in", "effective" policies wouldn't be practical or there's just no point in ever getting into a tizzy over anything.

      As usual, the moderates cast the tie-breaking vote for the 1% and the wingnuts.

      The only reason that change is so hard is that the moderates on "our" side are Tories who support the aristocracy.

      by Words In Action on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:33:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blame whomever you please and keep on losing (0+ / 0-)

        “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 03:56:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hansen says build nuclear plants, stop eating meat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Perhaps a change in diet (significantly cutting GHG emissions), will give us energy to fight this insanity before it really does cook our tofu for good.

    China is on its own tar sands path, and overall meat (not beef) consumption is double the US.

    I wait for good news.

    “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

    by the fan man on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:00:23 AM PDT

    •  What Hansen says about Nuclear plants (11+ / 0-)
      The (“3rd generation”) nuclear technology ready to replace the aging 2nd generation reactors in the United States and other counties is inherently safer than existing nuclear power, which already has an exemplary safety record – however, it still burns less than one percent of the nuclear fuel and leaves a long-lived nuclear waste pile. Hansen recommends initiating urgent development of a fourth-generation nuclear power plant. These “fast” nuclear reactors utilize more than 99 percent of the fuel and can “burn” nuclear waste, thus solving the nuclear waste problem that concerns so many.

      From his book "Storms of My Grandchildren"

      •  Also Molten Salt Reactors (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leftcandid, Don midwest, bryfry

        are inherently safe (control rods aren't required as the process is naturally load following by virtue of mobility of a liquid core), many times more fuel efficient, and cheaper to build as they operate at atmospheric pressure.  There are many more features that improve safety, reduce cost and offer sustainability.  This technology is a game changer along with 4th Gen IFR that Hansen is referring to above.

        WE MUST ACT ON PUSHING NUCLEAR INNOVATION FORWARD TO RID THE WORLD OF FOSSIL FUELS, while providing the energy we need to maintain prosperity.  Nuclear innovation has been smothered by government fiat.  It is time to change that.

        The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

        by mojo workin on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:21:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Safe nuclear is an oxymoron and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        John Coctostin

        it is economically dead in the water unless governments subsidize.  Fukushima is a stake through the heart of this industry.  

        If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

        by John Crapper on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:42:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fukushima (4+ / 0-)

          ...does not represent some inherently existential hazard to nuclear power.  The Fukushima reactors are generations-old technology, were constructed with a minimal regard for safety and disaster hardiness even by period standards, and were operated by an organization with a mendacious disregard for honesty and proactive action.

          If one company operating substandard equipment in a substandard manner and with willful disregard for safety meant that the entire industry was written off as unsalvageable, then I suppose we should also have wound down modern aviation on account of ValuJet.  And most assuredly, we'd've stopped making automobiles by now.

          "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

          by Serpents Choice on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:38:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Disingenuous response. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            John Coctostin, John Crapper

            The problem is not that there's "one company operating substandard equipment" etc.  It's that one company with all those flaws can still be running installations powerful enough, and toxic enough, to poison land and people in Japan for generations, to further poison life-cycles in the ocean to a degree we haven't begun to measure yet, to send radioactive plumes floating gently toward the west coast of the US where my beloved tiny grand-neice lives, etc.  And the waste material will be with us for tens of thousands of years.

            There will always be some incompetent organizations and operators in any large industry.  The things that can go wrong will go wrong.  We've actually been lucky with nuclear power so far, partly; and partly we just don't know what we've done.  (THink about France paying impoverished African nations to store radioactive wastes, which have been leaking into the water systems for years and will eventually be shared by us all.)

            What Hansen says about fourth generation technology is of interest to me.  But I also feel damned wary, and that's reality-based.  All nuclear technology is new and improved and gleamingly safe when it's being sold to us.  Blowing off Fukushima doesn't add to your credibility.

            --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

            by Fiona West on Thu May 10, 2012 at 01:39:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yet no one has been killed by radiation (0+ / 0-)

          and nor is anyone likely to be either.  That this is the outcome of one of the worst possible accident scenarios for that old style of N-plant says a lot IN FAVOR of it.  You are believing what you want to believe, not what evidence and science says about the true dangers of a minor increase in background radiation resulting from that plant failure.  

          The fires of radio-phobia have been well stoked since the Cold War - we need to apply rationality to this debate.

          The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

          by mojo workin on Thu May 10, 2012 at 12:14:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Note to self - get geologic survey maps, start (9+ / 0-)

    buying up all the 'new' coastlines at 51ft above sealevel.

    (h/t Lex Luthor, first Christopher Reeves Superman movie.)

  •  The ONLY thing we are able to do is to (9+ / 0-)

    lead by example.  We cannot force Canada to stop the tar sands extraction.  We cannot force the rest of the world to stop using oil.

    We can only do it ourselves and hope the rest of the world follows.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:09:57 AM PDT

    •  We CAN do other things: Incentives, embargos (0+ / 0-)

      United States has a big influence on Canada. We cannot force them, but we can make carbon-neutrallity very attractive and carbon pollution very painful.

      The best way to get their cooperation is for a global price on carbon pollution. Then, the market will do the work for us.

      There are ways the oil companies can exploit the tar sands without pumping the carbon into the air (see my blog at, but only if there is a profit motive for it.

  •  The science is irrelevant (18+ / 0-)

    The overwhelming scientific consensus for at least the past 20 years among those most in position to know (e.g. climatologists) is that global warming is a threat to the ecological and social viability of human civilization along with other beings on the planet. Similarly, there has been a consensus that humans are the prime driver of the recent period of change (over and above the much- ballyhooed "natural" climate changes). Finally, the causes - CO2 and other greenhouse gases - are known as the pollution by-products of our energy, agriculture, and transportation sectors. All that is clear and Hansen knows it. He is one of the main people making all these points over the last generation.

    Those are the broad points which elicit 98% support in the scientific community with only ranges, onset, etc. discussed at the margins. There is no scientific debate. There is no need to claim the "science is clear", as so many do, as if that argument alone will work when used for the thousandth time.

    So our problem is not that the science is unclear or misunderstood. It is not that we have been inadequately persuasive and strategic in our attempts to educate and persuade climate deniers.

    No. This debate no longer has anything to do with science and I think it is a monumental strategic error for those of us who wish to  address climate change to proceed that way.

    It is no longer a problem of ignorance. It is a problem of greed and institutional power.

    Let me repeat: Our problem is NOT a failure to win a scientific debate. It is failing to frame this problem adequately as a moral and economic crisis of capitalism/myopic industrialism.

    The climate deniers are not challenging the science and should not be counterattacked or corrected on that argumentative plane.

    The energy CEOs, the Kochs and others funding climate denialists are - it is time for the debate to move systematically and unshakably in this direction - selfish monsters who would toss your ailing grandmother onto a burning pile of wooden spikes if it netted them $1.50 off their stake tartare. I mean that literally and clinically (almost).

    This is not a scientific difference of opinion and we should desist refighting debates that have been "won" (i.e. proven via the scientific method) where the mere fact of engaging in the debate lends a patina of credibility to the existence of some kind of real debate.

    Instead we should do everything in our power to personally tarnish, discredit, humiliate, impoverish, and destroy the Kochs of the world. By any non-violent means necessary.

    You would stop them from throwing your grandmother on a pile of burning stakes, right? Would you for your kids and grandkids?

    •  The same greed buys a megaphone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Kochs have the money to have the biggest megaphone in the debate.  The lies and misinformation constantly rains down upon the uninformed/misinformed public.

      So how do we fight them?

    •  First you'll need to convince the moderates (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftcandid, Don midwest, nchristine, ratzo

      to fight for this cause in a way they've never fought for anything. The 1%ers and the wingnuts depend on the moderates for the cover of complacency, laziness and self-fullfilling defeatism. You can't isolate and defeat the Right without engaging the center, which has essentially conceded the future to the minority for the unforeseeable future.

      The only reason that change is so hard is that the moderates on "our" side are Tories who support the aristocracy.

      by Words In Action on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:39:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're right that there is no scientific debate. (0+ / 0-)

      There is, however, uncertainty in a significant part of the population, because they have been lied to effectively.

      The Koch Brothers, Exxon, etc., didn't spend all those millions to create a climate denial industry (think tanks, conferences, journals, medial outlets) just for fun, but because undermining the public's sense of what's really happening does in fact undermine political action.

      So there has to be continuing education on climate change, and especially increased outrage and pressure to force the MSM to start treating established science as truth, not just as one side of the debate.  

      But this has to be COMBINED with the kind of political assault you're describing -- attacking and discrediting Exxon Mobile and the other Lords of Denial.  We have to attack them on exactly the kind of grounds you're laying out -- that they are barbaric, inhuman, willing to see human beings suffer and die so they can rake in another percentage point of profit.  We have to communicate to people in a visceral way that Exxon and their ilk are willing to harm our children in order to line their pockets, and that their victims now include the whole world.

      --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

      by Fiona West on Thu May 10, 2012 at 02:16:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's already Game Over (9+ / 0-)

    because most people don't care,

    about what will happen to future generations.

    don't care, or don't believe it,

    or think it's beyond my pay grade.

    I wish on Obama grandchildren

    that Obama would LEAD on this historic issue too.

    thanks teacherken,

    for the clarion call.  

    Science and Scientists should be respected, again.

    And then seriously listened to.

    Opportunity is fading, and the GOP couldn't be happier about it.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:23:53 AM PDT

  •  REALLY inconvenient truth (6+ / 0-)

    This subject needs to move to the top of the list.  I know it's hard to imagine a future catastrophe of this magnitude when there is so much else to worry about today.  However, if you love your children and care about the planet you need to know that there is growing agreement that all of the dire reports we have already heard and largely ignored were a BEST CASE SCENARIO.  

    The rapidly developing situation indicates that we may have as little as 10 or 20 years before the climate reaches a critical tipping point from which human civilization will not recover.

    I also recommend:

    Dan Miller - A REALLY Inconvenient Truth

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:28:18 AM PDT

  •  I look at it a bit differently. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, soarbird

    I see civilization in the long run as an infection and warming as Earth's response to it.  The Earth will do just fine.  It will get over this disease.  

    •  What You Probably Don't Appreciate Is That the (3+ / 0-)

      disease isn't humanity, it's the masses of humanity that ownership is temporarily lugging around.

      Human civilization and the planet can get along just fine without the rabble. Everything about current leadership is consistent with that being the plan.

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

      by Gooserock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:38:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hope this isn't as unfeeling as it sounds. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John Coctostin

      I Know the image has been used many times -- humanity is just an infection on the Earth.  BUt is that actually the way you feel about humanity -- that it's a disease?  That the people who are making the destructive decisions now, expanding carbon-based energy, lying to the public, corrupting our political system, undermining green energy -- they're just curing an infection, cheers for them?

      Millions or billions of human deaths, widespread degradation of the enviroment, thousands of species driven to extinction -- this is not a immune response by the Earth. It's the tragic result of arrogance and blind malicious greed-driven abuse of power by a small sector of humanity.

      Yeah, in the long run, the Earth itself will do okay without humans.  Also without gorillas, Bengal tigers, wood thrushes, coral reefs, pintail ducks, elephants, and all the other casualties.  But what's happening (unless we stop it) is a tragedy of massive proportions, not a recovery from a disease.

      --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

      by Fiona West on Thu May 10, 2012 at 02:39:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  'Civilization' needs to end. (0+ / 0-)

    Endless war and exploitation.  Destroying the climate, driving species to extinction.


    What we call civilization is slow suicide.

    I'm ready for a reboot.  And yes, I know what this means.

    Humans will suffer in the extreme, no matter which course we choose.

    The only difference is whether there's anything left afterwards.

    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

    by No one gets out alive on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:35:36 AM PDT

    •  at least you are true to your handle (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      campionrules, John Coctostin, FG

      Personally I think human civilizations - plural - are worth saving and I think it profoundly unjust to condemn many of them and their members to death because of couple of thousand plutocrats ruling the globe. We are civilization, they are not, at least not all of it.

      What you condemn are aspects of some civilizations and in the ultimate desperation Hail Mary you appear to be willing to cast all of them aside hoping somehow a much deeper crisis will cause us to get rid of the plutocrats. Given that massive dieoff and ecocide is the first step of your reboot plan, you better be very, very confident the remedy will materialize as you hope.

      Or are you making the much more disturbing claim than most humans, whatever their power, culpability, nationality, and economic status, will need to be sacrificed so we can "reboot"?

      •  It's nothing I wish for (0+ / 0-)

        I just think we're not likely to escape the consequences of our ( in ) actions.

        I think we have few choices.  Some are less awful than the others.

        Fun times, Eh?

        The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

        by No one gets out alive on Thu May 10, 2012 at 10:06:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yay! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton, John Coctostin

      I assume that you are first in line?

      Power-Worshipping Fascist

      by campionrules on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:08:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hansen is a Moron. Government Can't Do ANYTHING (5+ / 0-)

    about this.

    This case needs to be put to the fraction of top ownership that's not wedded to big dirty energy. The last government on earth that can do anything about this is the American government.

    The only large one with the structure to do it is China's but it doesn't approach the practical power either.

    For God's sake quit fucking around with democracy and address the damned problem.

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

    by Gooserock on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:37:44 AM PDT

    •  Yikes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And just who exactly is the Neitzchian super-mensch or god you have in mind to save us from ourselves.

      How about Vishnu?: "I am become DEATH - the shatter-er of worlds!"

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:49:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well that's a fantastic idea...not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You know I should have been surprised at a line like this on DKos:

      For God's sake quit fucking around with democracy and address the damned problem.

      But I'm not really. Sigh

      Power-Worshipping Fascist

      by campionrules on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:06:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Buffet, Soros, etc. Have you read Nader's book (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec, HoratioGalt

      about billionaire philanthropy saving us?  I haven't, but there's something to that.  It's a sad fact that evil billionaires are willing to use their resources to leverage government & public discourse in ways that good billionaires apparently find too distasteful.   But I agree that a $1B ad campaign to inform the average TV watching politically nonactive citizen about the grim reality of our fossil fuel usage.  

      Who we REALLY need are Bruce Wayne & Tony Stark...

      Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

      by Leftcandid on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:38:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not especially worried about Canada's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, John Coctostin

    tar sands. The extraction cost, in terms of energy yield, is less than break-even. The extraction cost in terms of dollars is less intractable as oil prices go up, but still formidable.

    Any attempt to systematically extract them for transportation would put such a burden on existing energy supplies (such as coal, which is itself likely at or beyond peak) that they would make alternative energy for static installations even more attractive, and, as a necessary consequence, alternative energy for transportation as well.

    Not that little roadblocks shouldn't be thrown in the tar sands' way at every step.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:22:33 AM PDT

    •  If you understand that much you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, Don midwest

      understand how stupid "Drill baby, drill is".

      Or that we have witnessed the fallacy of markets correcting themselves.

      Those should be additional reasons to the non-environmentalists, because they'd rather make money than destroy the environment. To them if a profit can be made they will make it. Whatever the cost. If there is no money to be made they won't.

      •  Oh, I agree it's stupid as shit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        So stupid I'm saying that it'll self-destruct.

        There's money to be made in it for now, on a small scale - at least the drill-baby-drill idiots think there is.

        The problem is, once you start upscaling an expensive less-than-break-even energy source for transportation, you become increasingly vulnerable to alternative sources. Electric for transportation will ultimately yank the rug out from under this sort of expensive net-energy-loss oil.

        The longer tar sands are stalled, of course, the less damage this extractive industry can do before it crashes under the weight of its own obsolescence, because it gives alternative and cheaper methods more time to become established.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:44:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't the fracking-enabled abundance of natural (0+ / 0-)

      gas the reason these tar sands programs are going aheaad; because that too-cheap-to-sell gas provides affordable tarsands development energy?

      Not saying it's at all worthwhile, but that seems to be the oil industry plan.  Of course, they keep the water use/pollution out of the discussion...

      Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

      by Leftcandid on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:41:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another reason not to be especially worried (3+ / 0-)

      is that the information presented in this diary is just flat out wrong compared to the published literature.

      For example, From Nature:

      Environmentalists and many politicians have called the oil sands a planetary-scale threat as they fight to prevent further development of the resource. Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart, both climate scientists at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, listened to the rhetoric and decided to run some calculations. Because of the energy-intensive process for producing oil from this region, it is true that greenhouse gas emissions are higher than average. But their work underscores evidence that the environmental impacts of producing the oil sands are primarily local rather than global. “We wanted to address the carbon-bomb question,” Weaver says. “And frankly, these numbers aren’t as big as I thought they would be.”

      What are the consequences if Canada pushes forward with development of the oil sands?

      Weaver and Swart tried to answer this question in a recent commentary in Nature Climate Change1. They modelled the effects on global climate of the carbon emissions that would result if all of the oil available in the Alberta reserves were to be burned. Their results suggest that complete development of the sands would boost the average global temperature by roughly 0.36 °C, which is about half of the warming seen over the past century. But that calculation represents an emissions ceiling. In practice, burning every tonne of carbon underground would be virtually impossible.

      So what is the likely impact?

      Restricting the analysis to proven reserves — those believed to be economically viable using present technologies — the duo calculated a temperature increase of 0.02 °C. Taking into account the portion of the reserve that is already under active development, the authors found that the impact was “almost undetectable”. But their analysis did not delve into more subtle comparisons of the overall “life-cycle” greenhouse gas emissions of various fuels


      Really, it's too bad that Dr. Hansen has departed so far from reality in his rhetoric.  He once was a respected scientist

      •  In Hansen's defense, does Weaver & (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest

        Stewart's upper estimate include the carbon emissions from the extraction process? If tar sands were break-even in energy (which they're not) and the bulk of the energy came from coal or gas, then that alone would double the emission.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:27:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, and that is a rather minor component (0+ / 0-)

          of the overall emissions.

          It's measurably/notably higher than conventional oil, but not THAT much of a difference.

          The Europeans have looked into that in some detail, I'll look up the link and post it.

          •  That's hard to believe unless they only included (0+ / 0-)

            the extraction itself, and not the emissions of the energy generation needed to extract and process.

            If it takes 1.1 joules of coal energy to get 1.0 joules of tar sands out of the ground and into oil, there's no way the extraction and processing can be a minor portion of the overall emissions.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:47:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, it doesn't. (0+ / 0-)
              If it takes 1.1 joules of coal energy to get 1.0 joules of tar sands out of the ground and into oil,
              If you see figures like that, you can be assured that somebody pulled it directly out of his or her ass with no factual justification whatsoever.
              •  Maybe I'm mixing up the shale & tar sands (0+ / 0-)

                But I've been reading about the net-energy negative nature of these sources for years.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:53:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  More likely you're thinking of ethanol (0+ / 0-)

                  from corn.

                •  For more information, check out (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Frank Knarf

                  Wikipedia, which contains links to the primary sources (as numbered):

                  The production of bitumen and synthetic crude oil emits more greenhouse gases than the production of conventional crude oil. A 2009 study by the consulting firm IHS CERA estimated that production from Canada's oil sands emits "about 5% to 15% more carbon dioxide, over the "well-to-wheels" lifetime analysis of the fuel, than average crude oil."[72] Author and investigative journalist David Strahan that same year stated that IEA figures show that carbon dioxide emissions from the oil sands are 20% higher than average emissions from the petroleum production.[73]

                  According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Environment Canada the oil sands make up about 5% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, or 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

                   a study by IHS CERA founds that fuels made from Canadian oil sands "result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than many commonly cited estimates... Oil sands products imported to the United States result in GHG emissions that are, on average, six percent higher than the average crude consumed in the country. This level places oil sands on par with other sources of U.S. crude imports, including crudes from Nigeria, Venezuela and some domestically produced oil, the report finds."[78]

                  A 2012 study by Swart and Weaver estimated that if only the economically viable reserve of 170-billion-barrel (27×10^9 m3) oil sands was burnt, the global mean temperature would increase by 0.02 to 0.05°C. If the entire oil-in-place of 1.8 trillion barrels were to be burnt, the predicted global mean temperature increase is 0.24 to 0.50°C[79].

        •  here's the actual numbers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Knarf
          The European Commission had proposed that oil from tar sands should have a greenhouse-gas intensity of 107 grammes of carbon dioxide-equivalent per megajoule of fuel – higher than the 87.5g for conventionally-sourced oil. Other fuels, such as oil shale, would also be given a higher value under the Commission's proposal.

          Campaign groups also welcomed the result. “Now that the tar sands issue is finally in the hands of publicly accountable ministers, we will see who is pulling the strings in Europe,” said Franziska Achterberg of Greenpeace. The green group says oil from tar sands emits 23% more greenhouse-gas emissions than conventional oil.


          In other words, if global oil output is 96 units conventional oil and 4 units tar sands oil, the total carbon emissions would be about 101 units instead of 100 - or about a 1% increase.  yes, that's bad, but in what world is that a "game over" scenario - heck, isn't the 96% "business as usual" part of the pie the real problem?

    •  Another way to look at this matter (4+ / 0-)

      is that the shutdown of Japan's nuclear power plants has increased global carbons emmissions by approximately THE ENTIRE OUTPUT of Alberta's tar sands.

      Yet there have been pitifully few "game over" diaries written about that here at DailyKos!

  •  Moderates throw game to the Right Wing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    Many of them agree with the right that the "science isn't in" or that Hansen is a wacko. Others just can't get worked up over it.

    The industrialists and the rest of the right wing would not stand a chance if moderates had sufficient the intellectual and/or moral discipline to do what is right.

    The only reason that change is so hard is that the moderates on "our" side are Tories who support the aristocracy.

    by Words In Action on Thu May 10, 2012 at 06:27:10 AM PDT

  •  Environmental Agencies (0+ / 0-)

    At some point I think they have begun to depart. I see on a daily basis the affect. The EPA has gone much to far in regulating development to Right Wing (economically) individuals.

    They are fighting cases like Sackett in the SCOTUS (and losing- re a couple in Idaho built home on acre EPA said it's "adjacent wetland to navigable water" you needed permit you owe us $30,000/day and you can't challenge-SCOTUS overturned and strongly admonished the EPA). In my opinion it takes away from what is important about them.

    I am getting more involved in a particular matter of something that is clearly not "wetlands" and would do the city and area a lot of good. But, instead the EPA has fought tooth and nail. It really makes me wonder.  

  •  Fast CAGW v. slow AGW -- but hear me out.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My opinion on this is based on the assumption that people only do the right thing when it is almost too late. I don't know how that got hard coded into our DNA, but I think it did.

    If I'm correct, ominous signs of fast catastrophic anthropogenic global warming will be a nasty slap in the face to hundreds of millions of people, and action will follow. Sure, yes, it will be too late to stop the feedback mechanism, and generations will be in peril.

    However, with slow-moving anthropogenic global warming, mankind will do nothing as the scale slowly tips and then it will be a hundred years or so too late.

    If you think the "debate" over AGW and Deniers was bad, wait until we have the more nuanced "debate" over CAGW and managed-risk long-term AGW. It'll be flat out absurd.

    •  We evolved socially..... (2+ / 0-) respond to immediate danger, the lion in the tall grass if you will, and if our bellies are full to not worry too much about the future.

      Among the progressive political class I see down at the health food store, I notice a smug complacency.  I go because I like to eat some of the stuff they sell that I can't find at the regular super-market.  Many of them seem to believe that they are also saving the planet.

      While there are a few more bikes out front, I notice the parking lot is full, half the packaging is plastic, and the coolers are plugged in to the power grid.

      To the degree that we believe our top of the food chain culture with it's prodigious energy consumption represented by the above will change the situation, we willingly close our eyes to the truth. In short, we are kidding ourselves,  and live as a perverse mirror image parody of the outright denialists.

      Berkenstocks and electric bikes (I ride one myself) are not going to save the planet.  Hard scientific knowledge, engineering miracles, and a bottom up social revolution might.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:04:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the whole idea that if we trade (0+ / 0-)

        one product for another, that we can save the climate is ludicrous. And thats coming from someone who patronizes our local cooperative market.

        These are many of the same people who will go home and mow their lawn- without connecting the dots that it is our everyday way of life that can and must change for us to move forward.

        A Victory Garden documents our experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles.

        by FinchJ on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:11:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's Darwin! (0+ / 0-)

    We have made life on earth too comfortable and easy, we've interfered with our own evolution. But nature will always catch up. It's survival of the fittest, and, sadly, we humans are unfit stewards of this world. The coming chaos will be a horror show, but perhaps it will bring with it the selective pressure necessary to evolve the human species beyond homo sapiens corporatatis.

  •  When large numbers of white people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    get undeniably killed by climate change, then the U.S. political structure might do something.  Maybe.

  •  I don't have much hope on this one (4+ / 0-)

    It's like trying to turn an oil tanker (no pun intended). By the time guys on the bridge of the Exxon Valdez realized they were off course and heading for Bligh Reef, it was too late to turn the ship - the collision was inevitable at that point.

    This feels a lot like that. The only difference with the tar sands would be gunning the motors full speed ahead to hasten the impact. But we're still going to crash. Heck, we're crashing right now.

    Progressives are defined by who they want to help; Conservatives are defined by who they hate.

    by frsbdg on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:10:19 AM PDT

    •  Need to read: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Dead Man, Don midwest

      Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

      by Jarred Diamond

      We are following exactly the same patterns of past human social/ecological failures.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:16:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  morals come and go (2+ / 0-)

    stupid is forever.   This is worse than immoral, it is stupid, stupid at a species suicide level.

  •  OK, other than blocking Keystone XL (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, Leftcandid

    How can we keep Canada from developing their tar sands? Send in the Marines? Canada has warm water ports. If they can't build the pipeline south, they can go east or west - or wait a couple of decades and build a nice tanker port on Hudson Bay.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:12:10 AM PDT

    •  Canada needs to expunge their Tories. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, ratzo

      They almost did this several years ago: all the other parties aligned to declare no confidence in Parliament, & their next step would have been to remove Prime Minister Stephen "Northern Dubya" Harper from his post.  

      However, the Governor General, Michelle Jean, used just about the only nonceremonial power of the office & suspended Parliament, protecting Harper.  Her action will prove to be devastating to Canada & the planet as she also largely preserved tarsands development.

      The political problem in Canada is the decline of the Liberal party & the ascension of the further-left New Democratic Party means that the left is not united.  At least the Bloc Quebecois seems more on board with cooperating with other parties to defeat the Progressive Conservatives, aka Tories.

      Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

      by Leftcandid on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:47:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keystone is more or less moot at this point (0+ / 0-)

      in the meantime, Kindler Morgan is tripling their capacity to move tar sands oil to the West Coast:

      Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) (KMP), the second-biggest U.S. pipeline partnership, is increasing the planned expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline in response to customer demand to move oil across Canada.

      Kinder Morgan will spend $5 billion to bring the pipeline’s capacity to 850,000 barrels a day by 2017, according to a statement today. That’s $2.2 billion more than the company said it was planning to spend on a smaller expansion in January.

      The 1,150-kilometer (714-mile) pipeline system stretches from Alberta to Vancouver, providing the only access for Canadian oil to reach the West Coast, Houston-based Kinder Morgan said. The system is currently capable of carrying 300,000 barrels a day

      link from about 3 weeks ago

      Besides, some well connected Dem-leaning folk stand to benefit mightily if Keystone is blocked:

      On January 23, Bloomberg News reported Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), owned by his lucrative holding company Berkshire Hathaway, stands to benefit greatly from President Barack Obama’s recent cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

      If built, TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline would carry tar sands crude, or bitumen (“dilbit”) from Alberta, B.C. down to Port Arthur, Texas, where it would be sold on the global export market.

      If not built, as revealed recently by DeSmogBlog, the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, and could include increased levels of ecologically hazardous gas flaring in the Bakken Shale, or else many other pipeline routes moving the prized dilbit to crucial global markets.

      Rail is among the most important infrastructure options for ensuring tar sands crude still moves to key global markets, and the industry is pursuing rail actively. But transporting tar sands crude via rail is in many ways a dirtier alternative to the KXL pipeline. “Railroads too present environmental issues. Moving crude on trains produces more global warming gases than a pipeline,” explained Bloomberg.

      A key mover and shaker behind the push for more rail shipments is Warren Buffett, known by some as the “Oracle of Omaha” — of "Buffett Tax" fame — and the third richest man in the world, with a net worth of $39 billion. With or without Keystone XL, Warren Buffett stands to profit enormously from multiple aspects of the Alberta Tar Sands project. He also, importantly, maintains close ties with President Barack Obama.

      Source: Desmogblog (

    •  Or more to the point, it's irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

      whether Canada develops their tarsands or not if the demand for fossil fuels continues unabated.

      The bottom line is that the solution is on the demand, not the supply, side (sheesh, haven't decades of "drug wars" already taught us that?)

  •  Some island nations ALREADY disappearing (0+ / 0-)

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:25:42 AM PDT

  •  Not to be an optimist, but... (4+ / 0-)

    it is still possible to reverse the rush toward catastrophic climate change, judging simply by how much environmental progress has been made here in northern New York State since the 1960s. Back then, municipal sewers and toxic waste emptied straight into the rivers, factories poured out coal smoke, car exhaust was completely uncontrolled, DDT and other pesticides were sprayed with abandon, and acid rain was turning the Adirondack forests yellow. And the results were obvious, even if we didn't make the connections. Several high school friends died of cancer before they were 20. Wildlife was on an extinction course. Beaver and moose were hadn't been seen in a century or more, while sighting a deer was a rare and memorable experence. Hawks simply did not exist. Now, in the exact same region, beavers are once again building lodges, huge numbers of waterfowl are plentiful, deer are so common as to constitute a road hazard and larger predators like coyotes and bobcats visit my back yard.

    What changed was the environmental movement of the 1970s and the federal and state legislation that came with it. It was under Nixon, in fact, that the EPA was initiated and the first important legislation passed. Now, Nixon was just a big a fraud as Romney but the popular will was changing and Nixon, like any politician, didn't want to be left behind.

    So, all I can say is don't lose hope. Keep talking about climate change with everyone you encounter. Turn all those  casual comments on the weather into teachable moments. I know that deep down, people do know something bad is happening and want to know that there are solutions. And maybe, just maybe, the popular will can be shifted toward taking the kind of steps Dr. Hansen says are still possible. But without that shift, few if any politicians will step up.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:39:17 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, teacherken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ree Zen

    This topic trumps horse races, gay marriage and slapstick political shows, for sure.

    Sometimes a .sig is just a .sig

    by rhubarb on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:46:37 AM PDT

  •  Change in hegemony with Canada rising a positive. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    Canadian real estate becomes a prime investment. Would appear to be more beneficial to them and other northern tier civilizations like Russia where Olenek and Siligir regions which have nearly as much tar sands. Migration is integral to human history and we will be seeing in the next few generations more and more to these regions. Why is it presumed that a switch in hegemony will not produce a better civilization?

    O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
    God keep our land glorious and free!

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Thu May 10, 2012 at 07:51:55 AM PDT

  •  so lets see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, Fiona West

    banking crisis still going
    climate change still coming
    Fukushima nuclear disaster still going
    peak oil still coming
    fresh water shortage on the horizon

    yeah, Im think this is going to be one helluva century.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:08:34 AM PDT

  •  You left out, and Obama left out the part (4+ / 0-)

    that informs the Tar Sands and pipelines face FIERCE opposition from the Canadian people. They don't want the pipelines and they don't want one super tanker per day in their inland ports and most of them are against the Tar Sands. The Canadian government is importing workers from all over the world to work in the Tar Sands, fast tracking their VISA's and getting them places to live.

    The opposition is very strong here and it is aided by the top US environmental groups.

    Our right wing government is pushing back on the opposition to its plans to destroy the continent of North America.

    The Tar Sands is owned by all the major oil companies, Exxon, BP, etc.
    The Tar Sands Project is Multinational. It is not "Canadian"

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:22:04 AM PDT

  •  The full report by Hansen, et al. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    I'm not a Republican, but I'm saving up to be one. - Emo Phillips

    by GenXWho on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:27:57 AM PDT

  •  What does it mean to "fully exploit" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida

    the Canadian tar sands resource.  What production rate over what time period?  What percentage of global CO2 emissions from human activity are attributable to this scenario?  Hansen typically is hyperbolic and leaves himself open to easy rebuttal.

    We do need an energy policy that discourages carbon based forms and subsidizes development of alternatives.  But Hansen continues to indulge in panic-mongering that will hinder more than help his cause.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Thu May 10, 2012 at 08:29:18 AM PDT

  •  April CO2 reading at Mauna Loa was 396ppm (5+ / 0-)

    Not 393 as in diary.  You have to keep up.  It changes frequently.  In the wrong direction.

  •  The diarist blockquoted a notable sentence: (0+ / 0-)
    If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.
    We've heard this before, though usually not in relation to the climate. 1938? We do nothing? So Canada is a sovereign nation, last I heard. An Alberta friend of mine told me that the climate deniers are winning elections up there. Everyone knows where the money is. Climate war is inevitable as long as the fuel capitalists can continue to line their pockets with our money.

    Sanctions certainly aren't going to work. They've been proven again and again to be ineffective against entrenched power. So then I guess we just bomb the hell out of them. That's worked before. That solves the "we do nothing" conundrum. Let's see them do tar sand extraction while we're hitting their equipment! Cruise missiles would be effective. Certainly much more moral than allowing them to destroy civilization.

    Write President Obama and Senator Levin now. Stop Canada!

    People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:26:42 AM PDT

    •  Nobody, anywhere, is suggesting war on Canada. (0+ / 0-)

      No way is that going to happen.  (If nothing else, the oil companies wouldn't allow it; they're way to invested in Canada.)

      --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

      by Fiona West on Thu May 10, 2012 at 04:15:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess Canadians like global warming (0+ / 0-)

    I lived there for 2 winters and I can see why.

    But they better wake up because they will have nobody to sell their tar sands oil once global warming destroys the world economy.

    And as the permafrost and Arctic ocean melting release trapped methane (much worse than CO2), this may happen sooner than our worst fears.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

  •  for a so-called rational species (0+ / 0-)

    we sure do act in bafflingly irrational ways.

    why we are so blithe about disrupting the global frickin' climate system is beyond me. how this has for years not been and is still not among our very top priorities, regardless of ideology, will not read well in the history texts of the whatever future the human species may enjoy.

    keep your eyes on the sky. put a dollar in the kitty. don't the moon look pretty. --becker&fagen

    by homo neurotic on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:43:28 AM PDT

    •  Because we're not actually a rational species. (0+ / 0-)

      Our analytical capacities are the most recently evolved and LEAST behavior-driving parts of our brains. Just about everything we do for "rational" reasons is rationalization of what the emotional/visceral parts of us wants to do.

      We are not able really to understand tomorrow's huge downside to today's pleasure-providing goodies, whether it's smoking cigarettes, eating junk food or destroying the atmosphere. We'll take our toys now even though we know we shouldn't.

      Otherwise, none of us would ever get behind the wheel of a car again. But we're not built like that.

  •  Ummmm...Calling All ET's!! (0+ / 0-)

    Now would be a good time to "intervene", if ever you were gonna.   Seems like only extra-terrestrials can help us now.

    I am so glad I don't have any children to worry about their quality of life in the coming decades.  eek.  

    "I'm glad I don't know how it feels to vote to withhold basic human rights from someone else." DavidW-DKos

    by sockpuppet on Thu May 10, 2012 at 11:07:35 AM PDT

  •  So... (0+ / 0-)

    Where do we send the money to buy millions of acres in Brazil and start reforesting? Hmmm? Oh, no one's set up that program? Oh yeah, we're too busy throwing our hands up and declaring it's all hopeless.

    "On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation." William Lloyd Garrison

    by HoratioGalt on Thu May 10, 2012 at 11:36:46 AM PDT

  •  At last! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, the fan man

    The NYT coverage of the Keystone XL Pipeline has focused almost entirely on issues unrelated to climate -- gas prices, fuel exports and the danger to the Ogallala aquifer.   The reason James Hanson and Bill McKibben started the protest was primarily because of the role of Canadian tar sands in catastrophic climate change.  

  •  I'm thinking that the entire Oil-Rush has at most (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Coctostin

    two years left before it collapses because of the descovery of Cellulose-based and Seaweed-Based Ethanol processes that produce very cheap Ethanol and E85 becomes far cheaper than Gasoline and even cheaper Pure Ethanol for vehicles made to run on it and so with more and more vehicles that can run on E85 on the road and the fact that non-E85 vehicles can be retrofitted to handle it though not cheap but doable and with Vehicles being made that runs on pure Ethanol the end of the Gasoline Era will have arrived.Yes I prefer Hydrogen but it's just got to many problems as of now.

  •  Sea level rise (0+ / 0-)

    is not the biggest problem. The loss of predictable weather is. Warmer air means longer and more frequent droughts along with more torrential rainfalls and snowfalls. The disruption of agriculture will actually kill people, by starvation, and this will happen relatively soon.

  •  In the long run we're all dead anyway (0+ / 0-)

    So I'd rather we help people out now by keeping our energy prices low with the currently cheapest form of energy we have available.

  •  Maybe somebody has already done it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie

    but it seems like this might be one of those things that could be done visually. (And how I wish I had that talent!)

    Fukushima will be underwater and with it all of those fuel rods emitting god knows what. Where will all that radioactivity go? San Fran? Seattle? Hawaii? Who will carry that burden?

    What cities will be affected with a 10 foot rise in sea level? 20 feet? 30 feet? 40 feet? 50 feet? Wall street? (Who's street Neptune's street!) Will there be any Florida left? I guess Rick Scott's head will be seen underwater as he already had a rictus look. Will there be San Fran? Will there be Seattle? San Diego? Panama canal will no longer be needed. Where my granddaughter is doing a semester of school, Valparaiso will probably be gone. Galveston will be gone. All of the beach resorts gone. Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica will be mostly gone I suspect as well as a lot of Hawaii. Who's town? It might be your town that is drowned.

    But worst, who's food? No food. Texas is burning up and it has a rice farming bunch down there in Brownsville. Rice doesn't do well with no water. Take a look at where our farming communities are. Will they be able to deal with drought?

    Congress is at 9% approval rating - within the +/- of making herpes more popular than congress! - Webranding

    by glitterscale on Thu May 10, 2012 at 02:41:35 PM PDT

  •  Step # 1 - stop buying SUV's (0+ / 0-)

    That's the easiest thing right off the bat. Once we can "handle" that, we can go to step 2.

  •  If you city if flooded and you might drown (0+ / 0-)

    you're not going to care if ...

    1. you have a job
    2. the bank if repossessing your house
    3. you can marry the person you want
    4. if pot is legal
    5. our schools are failing
    6. or just about anything else

    It's not that these things aren't important, it's that they aren't as important as global warming.  When people are polled on the issues that matter, climate change isn't even on the list.  This should be the number once concern for everybody, but especially for scientifically minded progressives.  

    We seem to feel like we should tackle climate change after the economy is fixed, wall street is reformed, gay marriage becomes law, the drug problem is eliminated, world peace is declared, our schools are tops, etc.  Well that's never going to happen.  We have to start now, even if we do have other problems.

    Build some windmills, eliminate oil subsidies, plant some trees, is it really so hard?

  •  There is absolutely no plausible scenario... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Coctostin

    ... in which climate change destroys human civilisation. Worst case scenario (complete loss of all world ice) would take thousands of years and even then would only raise the world's ocean level by less than 80 meters, which would leave the vast majority of the world's land surface intact.

    Dramatic? Possibly. But game over for human civilisation? Not even close... Nuclear weapons still pose a far greater threat.

    •  The human SPECIES? No. Civilization? Yes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      At the rate polar ice is now being lost, we will see ocean levels rise sufficiently in the next century to inundate the lands where a very large chunk of the world's population lives. Massive refugee crisis.

      Simultaneously, agriculture will begin to fail in a major way with desertification of currently productive areas and wildly unpredictable weather from year to year--which is happening already. Elsewhere, torrential precipitation will regularly destroy infrastructure and wipe out or displace residents near watercourses, creating more refugees.

      As infrastructure is increasingly broken and food supply reliability sharply declines, social calm will break down. It already is in some places. While the 1% may be able to barricade itself in safe areas, business as usual will NOT go on. And war over food-productive and water-bearing lands is certain to follow.

      Nuclear war is a POSSIBILITY. What I just described is an INEVITABILITY. Of the two, the greater threat by far is climate change.

  •  And what exactly can we do if Canada build a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    pipeline in its own territory? Invade it?

    •  Exactly. Hansen's "if" isn't an if. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Harper administration is going to do this whether or not we build a pipeline. That's the Hobson's choice the President is confronted with: block the pipeline due to environmental concerns and end up with all of the most important impacts anyway--and none of the resultant economic stimulus--or let this destructive thing happen on our turf.

      Short of overthrowing the Canadian government, this one is really out of our hands.

      •  It really comes down to possible leaks and I'm (0+ / 0-)

        not sure how strong it really is an argument against it given the huge number of pipelines out there already. You could argue that lack of pipeline in US will delay the transportation of oil from Alberta and may increase the transportation cost slightly.

  •  Tar sands or not, we're screwed. (0+ / 0-)

    Between climate deniers, anti-nukes and political pandering to special interests, I see little chance for any real action.

    Industrialized nations will pat themselves on their backs while pointing to a few expensive wind turbines and solar panels, and a 1% emission reduction, largely accomplished by exporting production to China, India, Vietnam etc.

  •  I recommended this article reluctantly (0+ / 0-)

    because I'm still struggling to figure out how to provide enough base load power and transportation for our cities without producing lots of CO2. Solar and wind power as currently used won't give us enough to do that even if we consume spectacular amounts of real estate.

    Whether we like it or not, our civilization runs on cheap energy, and burning of fossil fuels is our chosen method of getting it; getting away from this dependency will not be easy. So we need to do something else. That something else might be to allow fuel prices to rise until we're forced to come up with something else - and facing the political, social and economic consequences. Riots, anyone?  

    Or we could actually (acquire and) use all that real estate, and harness the resulting energy of the environmentalist and various other communities and their lawyers.

    Or maybe refactor our communities into smaller, more widely distributed settlements (complete with potential for major social leaps backwards),

    Or put our cities under glass and exploit temperature differences to get power (but that suggests that cities get BIG - and I don't want to think about the engineering. Air conditioning would be an issue, but pollution might just take care of itself)

    Or we could (find out how to) do nuclear power more safely. That would get us good power density and reliable power, but may leave us with the associated waste problem, so we need get off our asses and come up with ways to either minimize or contain it properly.  Science, people!

    Or we could look ahead just a bit, and work out how to do nuclear fusion in reasonably-sized packages. Check out Aneutronic fusion. Big power, smaller packages, minimum radiation and waste.

  •  Obama, us, the election and the climate (0+ / 0-)

    James Hansen is absolutely correct, Obama has failed to lead in climate protection, but for a good reason: it would be political suicide. With the election showing all signs of being close, with the economy being the overwhelming concern of Americans, with the Climate coming in at, what, 25th? in terms of the most important issue,he is walking the fence. He doing what he can on environmental issues, and NOT giving the republicans something to grab onto that would jeopardize his re-election.

    What our role must be is to raise the awareness of the climate crisis, or climate disaster.  It is public pressure raising the importance of fixing the climate, of changing our energy economy, that will enable Obama to take big steps.  

    The public responds to fear. Look what happened to nuclear power after Fukushima. The moment the public gets that CO2 is more dangerous than a nuclear fallout, the tide will turn.

    IMHO, we must change our rhetoric to the most extreme language , because it is justified scientifically -- as Hansen put it: apocalyptic. We must use the language of disaster: Thermogeddon, Thermal Hell, Global Roasting, American Sahara, etc.  We must give Obama the political capital to to reverse the course of the most powerful enterprises ever.  The climate is in our hands - Obama will do what he can.

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