Skip to main content

When the CEO of Exxon Mobil recently claimed that society could adapt to the extreme planetary heating caused by burning of global reserves of unconventional oil and gas, climate physicist Marty Hoffert had enough with the bullshit and lies. His epic rant in a blog comment on NYTimes DotEarth, picked up by Joe Romm, lays out why it's Game Over if we burn unconventional stores of carbon.

However welcome the news may be to market economists — and I’m confident Exxon-Mobil and company are licking their chops over continuing our highly profitable to them fossil fuel energy infrastructure — it’s an unmitigated environmental disaster for climate change: “Game Over,” as Jim Hansen rightly says.

Shale gas, shale oil and tar sands don’t fundamentally change estimates of total fossil fuel resources; but these “unconventional” sources, now more cost-effective to extract as fuel for the bottomless pit of world energy demand, will make disastrous climate shifts from the CO2 greenhouse a near-certainly. Forget solar, wind and nuclear fission. They can’t compete costwise now with coal-fired electricity, and unconventional cheap hydrocarbons could become as cheap as coal on a dollars per Joule of energy basis.

The result will be a hothouse planetary climate as different from today’s as the middle Cretaceous a hundred million years ago was, when sea level was a hundred meters higher and both poles were de-glaciated; when dinosaurs roamed a verdant Antarctic continent. This will happen virtually instantaneously from a geological perspective as fossil fuel resources accumulated over hundreds of millions of years are burned in a hundred years or so and CO2 in the atmosphere rises as much as fourfold over pre-industrial values.

The best analogy I can think of is watching the rise of Hitler from an isolationist USA in the late thirties as the threshold for stopping him early enough to matter is passed and a holocaust of some as yet unknown horror becomes inevitable. Optimists might observe that Homo sapiens survived WWII and the subsequent cold war. But the coming inundation of coastal zones and cities along with massive species extinctions will likely be far worse. We will need to burn even more fossil fuel to “adapt” to this change by building seawalls and air conditioning, an option perhaps for rich countries, or mass migration inland and poleward for everyone else. Moreover, any attempts by our descendants to rebuild high tech civilization will be seriously hampered by the depleted state of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon fuels. Maybe they, unlike ourselves, will learn to go straight to solar and controlled fusion power, necessity being the mother of invention. More likely is a feudal agricultural economy in high latitude lands still fertile for crops and habitable in climate; or in the worst case scenario, hunter-gathering capable of supporting perhaps a million or so humans worldwide.

Many climate researchers breathed a sight of relief when Jim Lovelock backed off from nightmare scenarios with humans huddled in polar refugia against a greenhouse-induced waterworld. Too many accept the GOP denialist scam claiming human-induced global warming is a hoax to risk being perceived as alarmists, or worse. We didn’t sign on for this. We went into science and engineering, many of us, not only for the thrill of learning new by mastering objective nature, but to avoid the crazy subjectivity of human behavior. Give us labs and computers and some money and let us be geeks. We make mistakes, but we didn’t sign on for abuse. Thank you Ben Santer, Michael Mann, Jim Hansen, Ken Caldeira and all my other climate/energy colleagues for your courage to speak truth to crazy. The truth is that if we burn identified fossil fuel resources, particularly the so-called unconventional ones now making free marketeers dance with joy, it is only a matter of time before a transition to “hothouse Earth” occurs.
A technology optimist, I like to believe that some genetic evolution of the human genome can produce intelligent Homo superior better adapted to living in a high tech world wrought by scientific revolutions. I hope the spark of self-awareness survives, even if our particular experiment by nature doesn’t adapt and survive.

If, as Carl Sagan speculated, technological civilizations are time bombs triggered by the inability of species evolved in technology-free environments to adapt to the technologies they themselves create, then we may be destined for self-destruction. Short lifetimes of technological civilizations is a reason for the absence of intelligent life in our Milky Way galaxy according to the Drake Equation for computing the number of contemporaneous technological civilizations in a galaxy. Too bad, if true, as we have now discovered that extrasolar planets sound other stars are a dime a dozen, and may discover potentially habitable “other Earths” soon with NASA’s Kepler Planet Finder.

I'm not in the "were doomed" school. Most climate model outputs indicate we still have time to avoid the worst outcomes. Scientists are actively debating how severe climate change will be and how rapidly it will happen. What we know for certain is that spikes of carbon in the geologic record are associated with mass extinction events. We don't want to go there. It is pure folly to think that we can feed anything close to the present number of people if there is a major mass extinction event.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (146+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Gooserock, Ashaman, maryabein, ricklewsive, jwinIL14, G2geek, Knockbally, simaramis, RLMiller, blueoasis, LI Mike, some other george, deha, Wee Mama, IreGyre, gerard w, marleycat, Ohiodem1, Eikyu Saha, cordgrass, jfromga, Mary Mike, T Maysle, Deep Texan, DRo, addisnana, mamamedusa, angry marmot, side pocket, WarrenS, kharma, ontheleftcoast, figbash, jbob, kurious, lineatus, itzadryheat, Azazello, Steven D, Paul Ferguson, SeaTurtle, phonegery, profh, kamarvt, LucyMO, chimpy, blue aardvark, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Only Needs a Beat, Thinking Fella, Siri, northsylvania, Egalitare, Via Chicago, turn blue, pixxer, elengul, Gemina13, 2laneIA, srelar, S F Hippie, muddy boots, nickrud, Ice Blue, Albanius, shaharazade, corncam, Catte Nappe, Pescadero Bill, Mentatmark, parse this, Cedwyn, Eddie L, dradams, Barbara Marquardt, PeterHug, poliwrangler, zerelda, Tinfoil Hat, ParkRanger, bibble, samanthab, Matt Z, tgypsy, gundyj, millwood, artisan, filkertom, martinjedlicka, susakinovember, Loudoun County Dem, Thutmose V, GeorgeXVIII, FutureNow, The Jester, bnasley, Sun Tzu, blonde moment, MarkInSanFran, trumpeter, Lefty Coaster, mofembot, DBunn, Sandino, mikeconwell, wilderness voice, myboo, terabytes, marina, pgm 01, rb608, eve, jethrock, Jim R, Friendlystranger, petulans, Involuntary Exile, asym, Marek, elfling, OldDragon, SCFrog, juliesie, Magnifico, maggiejean, left of center, Shockwave, Chirons apprentice, dwahzon, greycat, koNko, fiercefilms, No one gets out alive, happymisanthropy, basquebob, ColoTim, too many people, RunawayRose, deepsouthdoug, bill warnick, SolarMom, Larsstephens, Ginny in CO, Just Bob, cotterperson

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:51:34 AM PDT

  •  The Game Will Continue Just Fine For THEM (26+ / 0-)

    At almost any extreme period in the 1/3 billion years of life on land, a few million technological humans could've lived very successfully.

    Ownership doesn't merely know this, it's planning for it.

    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 Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:58:32 AM PDT

    •  That's a batshit crazy gamble. (45+ / 0-)

      I suspect the problem is that the profit motive and corporate culture has selected out the sociopaths who focus on profits, personal gain and power without regard to the consequences to society.

      However, today's corporate sociopaths are not competitive with the charismatic military leaders that will inevitably arise if society begins to collapse.  

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:27:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  good point, FOW... inevitable rise of military (18+ / 0-)

        and since the religio/fascists are trying to control our military; the thought of an apocalyptic-believing/wanting military doesn't warm my heart..........

        as I understand it, the military is preparing for global warming; is that right?  if they are, why is the public allowed to be lied to and the plutocrats wring every last ounce of profit before the tipping point is reached?

        I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

        by SeaTurtle on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:18:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's the easy meal syndrome (12+ / 0-)

        and the same dynamic that drives the desire of the 1% to amass society's wealth directly. History has shown that empowering the middle class benefits the 1%, but it's not as satisfying, not as direct, not as full of win as an exercise of power in just plain taking it, because you can.
        Those with the money, the science/engineering knowhow, and the infrastructure can be kings of energy in a renewable energy world, but it's more satisfying, direct, and full of win to continue the rampage.
        We are being driven to oblivion (and you and I differ on that) by people who are doing it as a matter of preference, not of necessity.

        Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

        by kamarvt on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:31:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i think you've hit the heart of the problem -- (7+ / 0-)

          it's the self-gratification, stupid (not YOU, of course!) --  those who lack the gene for empathy/altruism (or don't have an adequate complement of eithor or both) naturally strive to gratifiy their need to hoard what they crave (power, included) & deny to others what they want.

          it's mean & petty & cruel, but that's the way the genes shake out sometimes -- & it doesn't mean that the condition these unfortunate (imo) individuals suffer from should be celebrated or even tolerated.

        •  re: (4+ / 0-)
          Those with the money, the science/engineering knowhow, and the infrastructure can be kings of energy in a renewable energy world, but it's more satisfying, direct, and full of win to continue the rampage.
          Me thinks this is a part of what's going on plus mental laziness and hubris and being in a comfort zone.

          But I also suspect that a wind/solar type of renewable energy would be seen as a threat to the oligopolists because of the   diversification of ownership of clean energy sources.
          It may not be as efficient to diversify because location is important to the efficiency of natural power sources, but from the point of view of Big Oil Big Coal Big Nuke, the competing clean sources don't require a massive infrastructure that can be dominated by oligopolies.
          That's why I suspect that they love wasting 10 years building some nuke plant  - no pesky consumers could ever be in control of their own energy sources with that type of power  like they could be with solar panels or a wind turbine.
          "Am I wrong........?" (John Goodman as Walter in the Coen Bros "The Big Lebowski")
           

          Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

          by eve on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:30:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If Solar and Wind became affordable to just (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cotterperson, eve

            about anyone, it would decentralize our source of energy across the board, and would to some degree, negate the need of some grids.

            I am positive I hear anuses slamming shut whenever that thought is broadcast.

            It wouldn't just be a loss of profit, it would be a loss of power.

      •  bingo! we have a winner! (8+ / 0-)

        Too often we assume that the plutocracy is acting in some conspiratorial fashion to deliberately trigger a multi-hundred-Hitler holocaust, wiping out the majority of humanity in order to enslave the rest and live like kings upon the backs of the dwindled masses.

        More likely what we're dealing with here is the impulsiveness, compulsive risk-taking, and excessive gratification-seeking of diagnosable sociopaths.

        It's time to chuck the political/economic model of plutocracy and replace it with a psychiatric model of plutocracy.

        Then we can see these people for what they truly are, and when that point of view becomes sufficiently widespread in the culture, the demand for change will be as inexorable as the law of gravity.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:10:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention (4+ / 0-)

        the fact that we'll all be too busy foraging for food if industrial scale agriculture becomes impossible in light of weather variability.

        Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:15:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the demise of conventional (0+ / 0-)

          agricultural just opens the door for industrial agriculture on a whole new scale.

          For example, hydroponic-grown vegetables in greenhouses in Greenland run by nuclear power plants using desalinated water also provided by the nukes, and plant nutrients provided by evil, evil companies like Monsanto . ..

          Which isn't necessarily a bad thing (or, in the name of purity, should 6 billion people be condemned?), but it will be a change for sure.

          •  that's quite a vision (0+ / 0-)

            And it may well be possible.  i am kind of thinking though that if we can't motivate the political will to create the relatively straightforward transformation of the power system to renewables, how on earth are e going to manage to do the far more complex transition to something like that  at a time when the economy is collapsing (since I expect the strains of climate change are going to create pretty severe negative economic effects).

            Still, I only gots a fuzzy crystal ball.

            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't forget the Robot Bees (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO

              That is quite a vision, thanks for sharing.

              Well that gives me something solid to work against.

              Maybe instead of draining our planet dry, we could oh, I don't know do things like stop letting religious fanatics block birth control, and encourage people to use family planning, and congratulate people who are childless by choice.

              Sustainability will not be achieved without addressing overpopulation, which seems to be primarily driven by sectarian weirdness based on bronze age fears of scattered, vulnerable populations.

              •  Amen, except the psycotic ones would (0+ / 0-)

                do their ugliest to restrict birth control.  Play with this.

                Women create the entire workforce.
                Some 40% of pregnancies in the US were unplanned in '11. That was before all the laws closing clinics, etc.

                So I would love to see American women get behind a better idea than going Galt. It doesn't have to be as much as the 40% that actually refrain from getting pregnant for a year. Some who were planning to could likely hold off a year to leverage a better future for the kids. Since the unplanned ones won't ever be controlled to even 5%. Would a 25 % drop in the pregnancy rate put the fear of anything in them?

                Now, think of what could happen to the BC supply. Condoms, spermicide, diaphragms, implants, pills, IUDs? How far would the psychotic plutocrats go to crush the birth strike? It's not like they could infiltrate the unions since there really wouldn't be any. Unless the plan on denying abortions from rape had a longer range intent. That's a bit too far for me, so I tell myself 'Then don't put it past their depraved minds'.

                It would rely on a similar percentage of the male population becoming very cooperative. I know, hard for some of us to believe. I will go out on that limb because of being able to wield power in a way the plutos ultimately couldn't do a damn thing about.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 01:35:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Would you kind of call that (0+ / 0-)

                  "going lysistrata"?  ;)

                  I'm almost inclined to say that the "birth strike" is what's been happnening in the last 50 years, driving birth rates way down and facilitating women entering the workplace in large numbers.  That's why their so freaked out now.

                  And yes, you'd have at least some significant numbers of men behind that.  Or rather I should say you do have

                  Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                  by Mindful Nature on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 07:48:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  'Societies'... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eve

        Will take one of two paths.  Either the people will rise up democratically and expel the sociopaths minions in their governments and demand that the 'owners' start relinquishing their 'ownership' or the society will demand that a 'savior' come and restore 'order'.  I don't hold out much hope that America will be in the former category.

        'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

        by RichM on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:32:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Did you see the reviews for Steve Coll's "Private (5+ / 0-)

        Empire, a comprhensive look at Exxon Mobile:" http://www.nytimes.com/...

        I'm not sure if I have the stomach for it, but it looks like a fabulous book. Steve Coll has won a Pulitzer for every book he's written so far.

        •  Couldn't get the NYT link to load (0+ / 0-)

          Found the Amazon page  which has a lot of media reviews, look inside and reader reviews. Sounds like a really good read.

          Been wanting to read Ghost Wars for a long time. The reading list never gets shorter...

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 02:04:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They may be seriously overestimating (16+ / 0-)

      the docility of the machines and slaves necessary to maintain the technology necessary for their maintenance . . .

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

      by Deward Hastings on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:32:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is exactly true. One has to just consider how (5+ / 0-)

        much food production takes place either on flood plains near rivers that have been relatively docile these last few millennia which will in the near future be pushed beyond their banks regularly by new climate rain patterns, or on barely arable land relying heavily on dwindling aquifers or reservoirs for water.

        Case in point: California's Central Valley. Prone to both cataclysmic floods and/or a failing snow pack water shortages.

        But aye, we can adapt with the help of confiscated oil company profits.

        Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:36:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The whole propagandistic game of confusion (9+ / 0-)

      and inversion of religious, humanitarian, economic and scientific values and principles over the last forty years didn't occur by accident or coincidence any more than global climate change itself has.

      Personally I think our greatest problem and the plutocraty's greatest success has been the creation of fake authorities which has required a great deal of work and money to create and widely and frequently disseminate their key opinions about what constitute truth and reality.

      99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

      by blueoasis on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:53:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I honestly don't think so (12+ / 0-)

      Human idiocy has a far longer and deeper-reaching effect on human history than does human conspiracy. 99.9% of the hyper-rich lives lives so insular and protected they grow up with the sense nothing drastically bad can ever happen to them.

      But when it comes to a reduction of the human population from a level of 7x10^9 to something like 3x10^7 all the penthouse condos in all the toniest cities of the world will be as nothing compared to knowledge of farming and handicrafts.

      These skills are in short supply among the 1% of the 1%. And electronic tallies of wealth on some underwater Cayman Island bank will count for naught.

    •  As FOOW says... (4+ / 0-)

      It's a batshit, crazy gamble.  What does ownership mean without a government to enforce it?  It is just a piece of paper.  Armies to keep the riff-raff out march are their stomach too - and they are human.  IF we saw the CEO's and chief officers of these oil companies and of these banks creating massive citadels in the architect Canada, then I could believe that they are thinking ahead.  But really, what they are doing is continuing to make massive profits in hopes that the future will pretty much be status quo.  The only difference being that they can start their summer vacation in Martha's Vineyard in April instead of June.

      'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

      by RichM on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:29:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who will do the dirty work? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother

      Where do tools, medicines, electronics, etc come from?  Somebody has to make the goodies the rich fuckers want, and they sure can't do it for themselves.

      The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

      by No one gets out alive on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:14:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Need to start talking about extreme consequences (16+ / 0-)

    I think part of the problem is that the scientists aren't getting the message out about the 'worst case' scenarios, which are now also the 'current path' scenarios.

    We need to focus like a laser beam on exactly what happens to agriculture in the US under a 6C warming scenario. We need to discuss the idea that the US goes from a net exporter of food to the world, to a country totally dependent on foreign imports. Yes, our entire supply of corn and wheat will have to come from Canada!

    We need to discuss economic impacts of being as dependent on foreign countries for food as we are currently for oil. We need to discuss the impact on food prices globally as the US sucks up all available surplus around the planet, and billions of people in other countries can't afford to eat.

    And we need to talk about the next century, not the current one, when an additional 6C warming kicks in, and agriculture essentially ends worldwide.

    Yea, it's a dire message, and some people will dismiss it as hysterical overreaction. But there are enough people in the middle who will start to fear those consequences that we may start to shift their willingness to do the obvious thing.

    •  Canada doesn't have fertile land to grow (6+ / 0-)

      all that corn and wheat you allege that they will grow.

      •  Crop Failure, reduced yields worldwide. (15+ / 0-)

        Yea, the glaciers pushed all the good dirt into the US midwest, left a lot of rocks behind. And the sun will be low on the horizon, even if it's warm. And extreme weather will still destroy crops left and right. Everything comes together nicely to reduce crop yields globally. We'll be lucky to have enough food for a billion people, total.

        Which needs to be our message: Agriculture ENDS in a 6C warming scenario. Let the other side try to explain how everything will be fine without agriculture, as long as we have cheap fuel for our cars.

        Polar bears are meaningless, they are essentially already extinct. Even sea level rise is nothing but a nuisance. When ecological collapse arrives, it will instantly mean agricultural collapse, and nothing else will matter. Food and water are always going to be our first priority. (Ok, second priority if you want to count air.)

    •  6degreews? How about 2 degrees? (12+ / 0-)

      There is no almost no way that we can avoid 3 degrees C
      (5.4 degrees F) by the end of the century. We're already seeing extreme weather effects with less than 1 degC of warming. I doubt very much that the global agricultural system can continue working at the level of warming that is almost inevitable.
        Look at the current Midwestern heat wave. What happens if we have those conditions every year?
        The ONLY way we can avert disaster is to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere. That will require CO2 emissions roughly in half. But we are already committed to further temperature increase as well as continued melting of Greenland and Antarctica. We have to stop the process before it becomes self sustaining. It may well be too late for that, though.
         

      •  Once we get motion, 2.5 degrees becomes possible (5+ / 0-)

        Our 'current path' trajectory appears to be a 6C target. Maybe slightly less, if enough people take individual action below the government level.

        But I honestly believe that it won't be that hard to halt the warming at 2.5C, and drop it after that. Once we have the political will to do something, we'll discover that a survivable target is pretty easy to reach.

        So I'm a total pessimist if we continue on our current path, but really quite optimistic if we manage to actually take meaningful action.

        •  But that would require (11+ / 0-)

          overthrowing most of the people now in power; the corporations, their associated media, and their tame governments. Unfortunately, the majority of people buy from the first, believe the second and support the third.
          Swathes of Colorado and Utah are on fire this year. This is partly a function of heat, wind, and lack of precipitation, but it is also caused by plagues of insects that infest the forests in this warmer climate. You would think that the good folks in those states would become born again environmentalists, but they're not.
          Texas was on fire last year, and both last year and this it has been stinking hot, but here's some quotes from the 2012 Texas GOP platform:

          Protection from Extreme Environmentalists – We strongly oppose all efforts of the extreme environmental groups that stymie legitimate business interests.  We strongly oppose those efforts that attempt to use the environmental causes to purposefully disrupt and stop those interests within the oil and gas industry.  We strongly support the immediate repeal of the Endangered Species Act.  We strongly oppose the listing of the dune sage brush lizard either as a threatened or an endangered species.  We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished. [3]
          and
          U.S. Department of Energy – We support the elimination of the Department of Energy.  
          Incandescent Light Bulbs - We support the freedom to continue to use and manufacture incandescent light bulbs.
          Keystone XL Pipeline – We support the immediate approval and construction of the Keystone XL and other pipelines that will reduce our reliance on imported oil and natural gas from unstable or unfriendly countries.
          Deep Water Drilling – We support immediate resumption of deep water drilling and production in the Gulf of Mexico.
          Land Drilling – We support land drilling and production operations including hydraulic fracturing.
          O.K., this is the GOP and the crazy committed arm of it at that, but most people simply don't have a handle on cause and effect.

          "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

          by northsylvania on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:51:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina, left of center, GreenMother

            The last quote was from p. 19, this is from p. 18:

            Government Restrictions – We support immediate removal of government barriers to free market solutions to production and distribution of energy including restrictions on:
            •drilling and production operations on public and private lands and waters
            •refineries
            •electric power generation and distribution
            •federal gas mileage standards (CAFÉ standards) and fuel blends

            "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

            by northsylvania on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:54:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yup... (6+ / 0-)

            Colorado springs was hit by something that can only be described as an 'epic firestorm'.  It has been described as if the earth opened up and revealing 'Hades'.  Years of forest miss-management, global warming induced forest drying and insect infestation, El Paso county's absolute refusal to raise taxes resulting in many services being shutdown, including police, park and fire services. 50 years of forest fire service neglect resulting in a steep drop in tankers.  Federal budgets slashed to feed the war machine.  And who are they blaming in the editorial pages of the Gazette?  Obama.  The most you will get out them is that we are just experiencing a 'natural warming weather cycle'.  

            'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

            by RichM on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:52:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Colorado Springs - Hotbed of Fundie activity? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother

              Why has their god forsaken them?

              ...

              Or has he?

              Karma, Bitchez!

              The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

              by No one gets out alive on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:26:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't want to go there... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                northsylvania

                Because I have a lot of friends that live there.  But it is ironic that a fire was started just outside of Boulder around the same time, yet that fire was quickly controlled and the one in COS was not.

                'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

                by RichM on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:50:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Fucking idiots. Full stop. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            northsylvania

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:14:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We have had those just about every year. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Really? They're not getting their (4+ / 0-)

      message out?!  Have you watched the Discovery channel, et al, doomsday documentaries?  I know I've run across many and that's on Netflix alone!  

      I constantly run across climate news or hear news stories from climatologists even on the radio and I live in RURAL MISSOURI!  The message is out, it's being ignored because no one knows what the solution is and the only ones being floated around are way too scary and unconvincing - so... people ignore it.  If I don't know how to fix it, and it's not messing up my life right now... I have way too many other things to worry about like how to pay for a full tank of gas to get to work or how to make a $50 grocery budget last 2 weeks! People are stressed and when the solution isn't clear and promising, it's easier to worry about other things and wait until it all comes.  Every time a solution comes out, we find out how NOT perfect it is and how in fact, we're really not sure if there is an answer!  Wind power might change the weather if we went full scale, hydrogen power could be dangerous, ethanol takes more gas to make than it creates, solar power is not currently cost effective, batteries for electric cars can have a HUGE carbon footprint, nuclear energy is dangerous and has a lot of waste.  We don't know exactly how to fix this in a practical way yet.  

      In the past when we have told people what to do to help, they usually do it.  Hybrid car sales went through the roof, energy efficient bulbs are most everywhere now (even at the feed store where I live), recycling has truly improved over the years with offices and schools participating and making it a habit for folks.  These are good, direct things the public was shown could be effective, and lo and behold they did it.  

      People know, people have heard the arguments, the warnings.  You can walk down the street and ask 10 people about global warming and every one of them will have an opion.  It's NOT a secret, and I'm so tired of this argument I keep running into that scientists aren't getting the message out.  It's out!!!  

      We need a central leader, be it a group or a political person whatever that has a real solution that people can understand and see how it would work.  Until that day, the problem will just continue to get bigger.

      Be still when you have nothing to say; when geniune passion moves you, say what you've got to say... and say it hot. - D. H. Lawrence

      by LucyMO on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:44:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 2C message is out, the 6C one isn't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        left of center, too many people

        No, I don't watch the Discovery channel anymore, they have too many shows about BigFoot and Ancient Aliens and UFOs.

        But in general, people have gotten the message about the 2C warming scenario. They understand more extreme weather, rising oceans, loss of biodiversity. They may not believe all the consequences are gonna be real, but they know what they are.

        What most people don't know about is how much worse it'll be if we go all the way to 6C warming this century. They don't understand mass extinctions, and how loss of biodiversity and environmental stress will cause a collapse of our agricultural system. People talk about economic damages, but nobody is talking about a collapse of our food supply.

        •  You are thinking of 'The History Channel' (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FishOutofWater, MGross, GreenMother

          It has become some sort of tabloid show about Mayan predictions.  Discovery Channel has become the 'gun' channel.  I think they have like 3 series of 'yehaw' gun makers.

          'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

          by RichM on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:58:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Discovery is no better, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ashaman, GreenMother

            The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

            by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:37:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even National Geographic has become (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lotlizard

              the Promotional Channel for the Military Industrial Complex, Border Wars, Locked up Abroad, all kinds of ride along cops knock offs, etc., and so on.

              I hardly see any more animal or environmental shows on NG any more.

              And actually, ever notice that Basic Cable is almost primarily Sports and Talibangical Channels?

              You have to pay extra to get the Science Channel, or any of the good Discovery Channels. So all the people who get basic cable--it's all Football and Bible Beating.

              And we wonder why they won't sell channels Ala Carte--I wonder how much TBN and CBN and other channels pay for that not to happen.

        •  Maybe so... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GreenMother

          when I hear the farmers around here though they seem to know how bad it is - they are suffering more from the effects than anyone else, they just don't know how they can fix it and still survive day to day in the mean time.  

          Be still when you have nothing to say; when geniune passion moves you, say what you've got to say... and say it hot. - D. H. Lawrence

          by LucyMO on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:32:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Scientist... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishOutofWater, left of center

      By nature, are 'conservative' people.  A good scientist will not stand behind something unless they can repeatedly prove something, their peers can prove it, and it is accepted by their field.  They may make claims or engage in scenarios of logical extremes, but most will not put their reputation on the line unless they can prove something with certainty.  All climate change models are conservative by nature.  Only the most likely scenarios are offered.

      It is not the responsibility of the scientist to be more aggressive.  There simply is no debate in all (but one) scientific community on several key points: global warming is happening, it is caused by humans digging up carbon in the earth and dumping it into the atmosphere, it will continue to happen even if we reduce our carbon footprint to 0 (there is still carbon in in pipeline) and the consequences are catastrophic.  You want to blame someone?  Blame those who ignore science and fill the populace with doubt.

      'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

      by RichM on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:44:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rich, we are way beyond that. (0+ / 0-)

        What's that saying? The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

        It is not the responsibility of the scientist to be more aggressive.
        That's not working. It never has worked. Their silence is interpreted as the following:

        Compliance,
        Wimpiness,
        Arrogance,
        Apathy.

        Note that none of those qualities are positive or productive in terms of starting or sustaining productive dialogue.

    •  When the carrying capacity of North America sinks (0+ / 0-)

      … to the carrying capacity of present-day Australia, which is by and large only inhabitable and arable along its coasts . . .

      The message isn't getting out. Aren't heads over at, say, Texas A & M worried about climate change making the "A" part a thing of the past?

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 09:03:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It seems like the climate physicist (4+ / 0-)

    agrees with Exxon Mobil's CEO, who says:

    When the CEO of Exxon Mobil recently claimed that society could adapt to the extreme planetary heating caused by burning of global reserves of unconventional oil and gas,
    Climate physicist mostly agrees:
    Shale gas, shale oil and tar sands don’t fundamentally change estimates of total fossil fuel resources;
    and then goes off in a strange denial of what he just wrote.

    The bottom line is that coal is the 900 pound gorrilla in the climate change room that none of this addresses.

    Society could completely stop burning all (not the non-conventional, but ALL) oil and gas and it would make no difference if coal continues to leap ahead like it's been doing.

  •  the scope of the holocaust: (17+ / 0-)

    Hitler's concentration camps:  approx. 10 million.

    Climate catastrophe: 2 - 4 billion.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:14:50 AM PDT

  •  "...put your bodies upon the gears..." (9+ / 0-)

    From a famous speech by Mario Savio, Berkeley California, 1964:

    "...There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all...."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/...

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:17:28 AM PDT

  •  "the "we're doomed" school." (15+ / 0-)

    There's at least 1.5-2 degrees C rise already baked into the system. With that we have Dust Bowl conditions throughout the midwest up to Alberta, chronic drought (and fire) in the southwest and west, little to no Sierra snowpack in California, and even the wet northwest gets hotter and drier. And there's no certainty it'll stop at 2C.

    Time to avoid the worst conditions? Less time every day, and the problem is there's no political will to do anything meaningful in the little time remaining. See Rio+20, lack of action.

    What does "doomed" look like to you?

  •  The one horrifying event that is left out (14+ / 0-)

    of most scenarios is a real World War III as nations try to protect their resources or go after another nation's resources.  Most of humanity will probably die sooner or later from starvation or lack of water in the grim scenarios but there are a lot of nations out there that will fight when it comes right down to sharing (or not) its resources.  Factor in a full scale nuclear war down the road and all bets are off as to the survival of the human race.

    •  nuclear war would be a humane alternative. (3+ / 0-)

      Consider a nuclear war amongst major industrial powers that account for most of the fossil fuel consumption.

      It will wipe out the most consumptive members of the species.

      It will do so quickly, which is preferable to the slow lingering torture of death by disease and hunger.

      And it will toss a large quantity of fine particulate matter into the upper atmosphere, to block incoming sunlight for a time.

      Thereby preventing the larger holocaust that appears to be otherwise inevitable.

      Now who would have thought that by the first decade of the 21st century, the worst horror of the 20th would come to be seen as comparatively humane?

      GOTV as if the survival of the human race depends on it.  Because it does.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That Game Over comment from Dr Hansen is really (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    not helpful, imo.  

    Think about it...Is he saying we should give up if the line is crossed?  

    Because it surely will be crossed.  That tar in Canada will be sold & burned, Keystone or not.  Disgusting and dangerous, yes, but fatal?  No more so than the rest of the suicidal carbon economy.  It's all fatal if you want to look at it that way.

    We should fight as hard as we can, and eventually we'll either win or die, but please, no premature threats of Game Over.

    •  depends on how you read it (6+ / 0-)

      If you read his statement as 'give up', then you're right, it's not very helpful.

      But if you look at it from another angle, he's saying that this is the path to collapsing civilization, it's the path to 6C warming and the end of agriculture, it's the path to a complete and total disaster. Humanity loses big time. And I think that's a message that isn't getting out. People aren't looking at the real consequences of 6C warming, and they need to.

      Scientists are warning about the consequences of 2C warming, and trying to avoid 2.5C, but nobody is drawing a clear picture of what happens at 6C and beyond. And fully exploiting our existing fossil fuel resources, conventional and unconventional, make 6C a virtual certainty. We need to discuss the actual consequences of the 'current path', rather than the consequences of 'getting sane sometime soon'.

    •  It is most troubling how he's used the term (0+ / 0-)

      i.e., focussed on the tar sands.

      Sure, they are really, really stupid and should be stopped in a sane world - but OTOH they are negligible contributors compared to everything to global greenhouse gases.  

      By engaging in such hyperbole over such minutia, he's essentially lost all credibility.

      •  In your opinion. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't have access to Nature so I can't do it but we need to examine the climate sensitivity values in those papers and the inputs and assumptions.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:16:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, it's not my opinion, it's simple math (4+ / 0-)

          at most, the tar sands are responsible for 3% of petroleum based emissions, which - according to our previous discussion in this thread - are 1/3 of overall global carbon emission.

          Therefore, the tarsands are responsible for about 1% of global carbon emissions - thus how is 100% apparently OK (i.e. w/o the tar sands) but when the emission reach 101%, that's suddenly "game over"?

          That totally strains credibility.

          Another way to look at this is via the figures you are currently disputing where total non-conventional oil provides (according to Nature publication) a 0.36 C increase in temperature compared to 15 C for coal.

          Sure, due to the factors you raise, maybe that should actually be 1 degree C?   Fair enough, but in that case coal would give rise to an even more disastrous 45 C increase in temperature.   Again, the contributions of oil are rather minimal compared to coal.

          For the life of me I don't know why we are so timid as to attack a minor, minor part of the problem.  In this regard we could totally learn something from the Karl Rove types  who - exemplified by his strategy against Kerry - don't dilly dally around the edges but go straight for the jugular.

          Why can't/don't we do that?

          •  Hansen has calculated the total amount of carbon (4+ / 0-)

            in the tar sands. I agree that the present rate of exploitation makes tar sands a small percentage of total GHG emissions.

            We're trying to keep it from growing.

            You're right that coal is the biggest problem. That deceptive figure, which truncates coal, so as to make it initially appear smaller, shows that coal is the elephant in the room.

            I appreciate your main point here.

            We need to stop coal export even more than we need to stop the XL Pipeline.

            look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

            by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:54:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And it's not just coal, the whole thing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              left of center, hooper

              has a whack-a-mole aspect to it - e.g., coal may decrease slightly but only because cheap natural gas is flooding the market (which domestically, is great - for example it is providing a huge bolus of investment in domestic petrochemical industry that has long thought to be totally lost to this continent).

              OTOH, James Hansen's going to the mat with crazy statement about the Alberta tar sands (especially wrt the Keystone pipeline) remain baffling headscratchingly strange.  In particular, in the last couple of years the entire capacity of Keystone has been filled by new production from the Bakken, which is being moved by rail of all things.  Again, the whack-a-mole aspect at play.

              Seriously, this problem will NEVER be solved at the production level, although it's an easy target to rant about, the much more difficult issue of demand must be addressed for long term solutions.

    •  I find it very helpful framing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, Matt Z, FishOutofWater

      because it reinforces the notion that basically hadn't been popularized that we are very much with our backs against the wall.  
      "Running out of tiem" is not nearly as effective as "time is almost up" or "the end is here NOW"

      I think that it communicates the sense of a threshold well that, given human pyschology, is what is required.  A slow moving crisis gets ignored.

      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:20:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I'm not "doomed" . . . (3+ / 0-)

    I'm far too old for that . . . I'll probably outlive Summer ice in the Arctic, but not the Antarctic ice cap.  Neither is the planet doomed . . . "the Earth abideth forever" (more or less, viewed from a human time scale).  But it is going to be a very different world from the one of the history books, or of our own experience.  Generations to come will see whatever world they grow up in as "normal", and wonder how we managed to survive in the crazy world the passing of which we now lament.

    But spare me the false optimism that we can somehow "stop it", that the "tipping point" is still tomorrow, rather than yesterday.  Our world is over . . .

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

    by Deward Hastings on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:47:30 AM PDT

  •  Exxon no longer denying global warming... (8+ / 0-)

    ...now they're just switching to the "Yeah, but it's no big deal" defense?

    While the global warming vs. natural climate variances debate continues on in other quarters, it seems significant that one of the major contributors to global warming:  Exxon Mobile, has apparently decided that they aren't even going to bother to deny their adverse impact on the climate any more.  

    They've now shifted their strategy from "No we don't" cause global warming" to "Well, we probably do, but so what?  People adapt, right?"

    As approx 20-30 states face yet another day of record-breaking heat in June;  as other areas face another season of droughts or increased tropical storms; as Europe faced another severe winter--record-breaking in some areas--Exxon's CEO dismissively minimizes the human consequences of these events.  

    But then, with all the profits he'll generate,  he will be able to minimize his own consequences from any damage that he causes the rest of the world, so it's all good right?  

  •  Is this really constructive? (0+ / 0-)

    "Rant" is certainly the correct word.

    NASA’s James Hansen, who is in the second category, has made a similar point to Hoffert’s for a similar reason, though he believes 500 ppm is the cut-off for climaticide:
    Historical data has roughly 0.3 C of temperature increase for a 50 ppm increase in CO2.
    •  MGross (0+ / 0-)

      The UAH data shows a trend of 0.013 degrees C per year, for a total of .442 degrees C (in the lower troposphere) since satellite measurements began in 1978. The CO2 concentrations since that time have increased by 62 ppm.
        GISSTEMP shows 0.0157 deg C per year, or more than .5 degrees C since 1978. That is a lot of warming.
        Over the last decade, we've added 24 ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere. Unless there are some major changes in the world economy, that rate of increase will almost certainly accelerate.

      •  You can make a number of reasonable linear fits... (0+ / 0-)

        ...through the data in question.  Let's just take yours since you supplied it:

        0.442 C for 62 ppm, or 0.007 C/ppm compared to 0.3 C for 50 ppm, or 0.006 C/ppm.

        That still doesn't get us anywhere close to climaticide at 500 ppm from the historical data.

    •  Well, historic data have huge lags (6+ / 0-)

      and lack the amplification that will certainly take place when the albedo of the Arctic drops with the loss of summer sea ice. The Arctic will take up more heat with the ice gone and the sun up.

      And warmed, open, Arctic ocean will evaporate more heat trapping water vapor.

      The release of methane and CO2 from Arctic carbon stores are another amplifier that's hard to quantify precisely.
      ....

      But, yes, it is a rant.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:03:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ecologists are slandered as "tree-huggers" (6+ / 0-)

    That's quite ironic, as the message of doom is for the human species.

    Earth and terrestrial life will get along just fine without us. The green message is not about saving Earth. It is about saving your daughter and your neighbor's grandson.

  •  We are doomed (5+ / 0-)

    Any non-doom scenario presumes that we will do something about climate change within the next decade or so.

    This. Isn't. Gonna. Happen.

    London and Manhattan need to be submerged before the West will get its head out of its ass, and by then it will be far too late. All we'll be doing is trying to limit the damage.

    Nope. We're fucked.

    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." - William Blake

    by Tod Westlake on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:03:01 AM PDT

    •  Oh, I dunno. I sort of think that when Wall (3+ / 0-)

      Street gets sea water in the street and the Stock Exchange building has it's basement full of salty wetness, there will be a change.  Probably not until then.  The stock market part of Wall Street is only 30 feet above sea level, and where it ends at the waterfront it's only 10 ft.  It wouldn't take much of a hurricane to push the ocean up that high and get 'em wet.  

      Of course, by the time things get that bad, it will be inevitable that Manhattan will be submerged eventually.

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:51:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was thinking after reading that quote from the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, left of center

    Exxon Mobil CEO that in order for him to be right, the government will have to tax every last dollar Exxon Mobil makes from now till it's bankrupt in order to pay for this 'adaptation'.

    Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

    by Pescadero Bill on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:17:08 AM PDT

  •  I tend to fall into we're doomed camp because of (3+ / 0-)

    my understanding of human behavior. Fossil fuels do not burn themselves, we burn them to achieve our goals. And the reason we have not solved this problem is very likely a lack of will. Technological solutions only come about after people work on them. And there is very little support for this research. We should have started on the research path in the mid 70s. We ignored research then and we ignore it now. And by the time it gets really bad it will be too late. You can argue 2C or 6C but without any real attempts to do the engineering needed to forestall the problem we are screwed.

    •  If only President Carter had had Mikhail Gorbachev (0+ / 0-)

      … as his opposite number, some superpower summit agreements might have been hammered out to the long-term benefit of humanity as a whole. One of the areas Carter tried to spearhead was alternative energy.

      As things happened, the fall of the Berlin Wall was quickly followed by "ethnic cleansing" and NATO intervention in former Yugoslavia, and no so-called "peace dividend" ever materialized.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 09:36:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ask us in Colorado if we're ADAPTING!! (8+ / 0-)

    In the month of June we've lost over 600 homes to raging out of control fires from historical extreme drought and heat.  2 Weeks ago a fire in northern Colorado smashed the record for the most houses ever destroyed by a forest fire, and that record was smashed again a few days ago.  About 85% of the biggest forest fires in Colorado history have occurred in the last 15 years.

    I would love to see that moron CEO come to Colorado and tell all the people not to worry because they'll "adapt".

  •  Well, at least I'll be around to watch.... (5+ / 0-)

    ... the world burn. Given that the pace to disaster is accelerating fast enough to occur while I'm still around.

    Worldwide Republicanism is the number one existential threat to mankind.

    •  Yeah, I'm 61 and expect to live (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      too many people

      to see a lot of it.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:53:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm only 6 years older & happy to be older (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, too many people

        Calamity - I turned 67 in January & expect not to out-live the worst of the climate calamities (pun?) coming.

        My husband turned 77 in May. We both are quite happy to be as old as we are so we won't be around as things deteriorate on planet earth.

        Fuck the world leaders for what they did NOT DO in Rio! I wonder what event will be the tipping point when they finally wake up to our reality. By then, like everyone else says, it will be too late.

        We must be the change we wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

        by left of center on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:51:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          too many people
          Fuck the world leaders for what they did NOT DO in Rio!
          Three or four times.  Hard.  With no lubricants.  
          I wonder what event will be the tipping point when they finally wake up to our reality.
          Either an iceless Arctic Ocean (which will probably happen by September 2020) or sea water in the street and basements of Wall Street.  Maybe.  

          Renewable energy brings national global security.     

          by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:21:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Curent conditions: (4+ / 0-)

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:41:43 AM PDT

    •  Sea ice is running at near record lows (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terabytes, left of center

      or record lows depending on the methodology.

      Global sea level is a lagging indicator.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:06:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Time lags are an interesting topic. (0+ / 0-)

        Which empirical data series lag various modeled forcings by how much?  Curve fitting is troublesome enough with the short histories we have, and gets really crazy when time lag windows are sliding around.

        It's good to have statisticians around to warn about threats to significance.  It's even better when models actually contain physics for all the theoretical constructs rather than relying on parameter fitting.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:40:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nuclear fission won't kill 7 billion people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fearlessfred14

    But it sounds like coal and oil will.

    Japan is restarting their nuclear reactors now, one at a time as they are checked.  That will let them bring their C02 emissions down even further as they use nuclear again for baseload and continue the renewables boom.

    50% nuclear, 50% renewables.  Then push for 30% nuclear and 70% renewables.  That is the path forward.  It's very simple.  We have nuclear power and 7 billion live, or we continue burning coal, and 7 billion die.

    Everyone who lobbies for a nuclear plant shutdown that keeps the coal burning will have blood on their hands.  And you don't have to take my word for it...

  •  Interesting thing about virtually all predictions (0+ / 0-)

    is that they ignore the existence of nuclear weapons.  

    As societies disintigrate, they have less to lose.  At some point a threshold is reached, past which probability of nuclear weapons deployment nears 100%.

    What happens when agricultural production areas shift so far north that civilization in the US, Europe, and Russia begins to collapse?  Are the warlords who rise to power going to view nukes the way we now do?  Even in developed nations, keeping nukes locked down is a challenge, imagine a society in which people's outlook extends into the future no further than their next meal.  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:00:24 AM PDT

    •  why destroy valuable farmland? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      left of center

      You raise an interesting point, but I think this is a problem that solves itself. If we are having wars over scarce resources like usable farmland and fresh water, why are we going to use weapons that indiscriminately destroy farmland and fresh water? It's far better to occupy the enemies land, so you can take his water and food.

      There will be wars, no question, but I think infantry will be the dominant tool.

    •  See the post just above. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother Shipper

      Like it or not, some kind of 'nuclear option' (pardon the pun) will be needed to provide a carbon free form of energy with technology available today.

      It's understood that there are risks in operation and storage of spent fuel but we have invested next to nothing in bringing forward cleaner, safer and more efficient nuclear fission technology (forget about fusion for now).

      Nuclear weapons may in fact by necessity be  beaten into plowshares, i.e. their fissile materiel converted into nuclear reactor fuel.  Fissile uranium and plutonium are not inexhaustible but can serve as a bridge to a full renewable energy infrastructure that minimizes carbon use.

  •  I think the issue is a disconnect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center

    namely that people aren't quite convinced that the current warming is due to CO2. As nasty as the weather is now, I think we probably have at least close to enough shock. What we need, and what Exxon et. al. are trying to prevent us having, is some clarity on how the greenhouse effect works. Just like when the oil companies spread FUD, it's necessary to say repeatedly that more oil and coal burning means, at best, more of what we have now.

    Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

    by fearlessfred14 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:00:05 AM PDT

  •  We have a NEW treatment for morphine addiction! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people, lotlizard

    Here...try this heroin...... we refined the morphine to make it non-addictive.......

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:23:50 AM PDT

  •  The limits of adaptation are finite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people

    “We can adapt.” Is a road we can travel for a while, but that road eventually ends at the edge of a cliff.

    I recently watched a TED lecture by David Roberts. He spoke about what a 6 degree (celsius, mind you) increase would mean. Under those conditions, peak surface temperatures on the surface of the earth could reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t adapt to that; you go outside and cook to death.

    The “adapt” crowd is peddling the lie that we can keep on doing what we’re doing and just turn up the air conditioning. Not true. Large swathes of the earth will be either underwater or too hot to sustain human life. The people living in those places aren’t going to sit there and die; they are going to try to move. Imagine a global refugee crisis with many millions of displaced people – it would be unlike anything the earth has ever seen.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:27:45 PM PDT

  •  I am of the "we're doomed" school (0+ / 0-)

    Some climate models may suggest we have time to avoid the worst outcomes - but that's if we start now.  We are so far away from that I don't see it happening even within the next few decades, by which point it will be way past too late.  As China and India and other developing countries continue to accelerate the rate of increase of their energy use we will hit the point of no return very soon.

    Also, climate models from a decade or more ago have been proving again and again to have been too optimistic, as we are regularly hitting or surpassing all their worst predictions.  Personally I believe it will be as bad or worse than even the worst case predictions today.

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 01:30:14 PM PDT

    •  Me too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother

      Year after year most important indicators are worse than the worst case scenario. We must cap things now, but instead the changes are accelerating. North Carolina can outlaw nonlinear projections, but Nature will ignore human laws. The only questions are how bad and how fast.

      There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

      by too many people on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 02:59:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am not in the "We are Doomed", that belongs (0+ / 0-)

      to those people over there--But I am not looking forward to dealing with them when the food and fuel shortages come.

  •  $26.00 a gallon biofuel for the Green Fleet? (0+ / 0-)

    Whose asinine idea was this?  

    Bunker diesel is around $4.00 a gallon.  Idiots.  

    You don't need to firebomb Dresden to prove that you can fly the plane.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:30:34 AM PDT

a gilas girl, Marek, northsylvania, filkertom, jam, samizdat, left of center, Gooserock, PeterHug, RunawayRose, Shockwave, simaramis, Pescadero Bill, billlaurelMD, cotterperson, SanJoseLady, elfling, MarkInSanFran, opinionated, Babsnc, Wee Mama, otto, Cedwyn, pollwatcher, kharma, figbash, 2laneIA, laughingriver, BMarshall, dwahzon, Chirons apprentice, Catte Nappe, zerelda, Steven D, Albanius, eve, xxdr zombiexx, G2geek, Tinfoil Hat, gerard w, basquebob, juliesie, FutureNow, Beetwasher, Sun Tzu, Ice Blue, Sandino, Ginny in CO, Oye Sancho, Jim R, Paul Ferguson, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, koNko, deha, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, DarkestHour, Ashaman, lao hong han, profh, shaharazade, kurious, Eikyu Saha, DBunn, ammasdarling, pgm 01, out of left field, Loudoun County Dem, tgypsy, profewalt, Mary Mike, some other george, Via Chicago, terabytes, coloradocomet, bnasley, artisan, SeaTurtle, millwood, jwinIL14, gundyj, mamamedusa, Involuntary Exile, LI Mike, treesrock, Dancing Frog, mofembot, Gemina13, petulans, SolarMom, maggiejean, nchristine, maryabein, Ohiodem1, asym, IreGyre, Thutmose V, jfromga, astral66, Larsstephens, Just Bob, rb137, The Jester, jethrock, cordgrass, samanthab, pixxer, addisnana, elengul, fiercefilms, slice, Barbara Marquardt, afisher, trumpeter, marleycat, muddy boots, poliwrangler, Friendlystranger, RLMiller, DRo, Mentatmark, ParkRanger, Only Needs a Beat, OldDragon, angry marmot, Mindful Nature, Siri, S F Hippie, orpurple, Deep Texan, martinjedlicka, ricklewsive, Artandscience, GreenMother, Dont Just Sit There DO SOMETHING

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site