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I have a PhD in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, and have been thinking about climate pretty constantly since about the time of Hansen's infamous congressional testimony in a heat wave in 1989. I have a semi-famous blog about it which you can find if you look for my name, Michael Tobis.  

I have a Climate Change SOS item I'd like to throw in the hopper. I realize I'm backing into it endlessly with these introductory paragraphs, but I still have this PhD and still in some sense represent science, so understand that this caveat is necessary for me to keep my union card. But other than this preliminary hemming and hawing, it is only one sentence, and that is something I deeply recommend that everyone interested in the climate problem understand and keep in mind.

The sentence is only approximately true. There are a bunch of caveats and hems and haws attached to this as a statement from a scientist. But it IS approximately true, and as you plan what to do you need to act as if it were pretty much true, because it is. So without further caveats:

The only game in town is the Last Ton game, where the lower the amount of fossil fuels burnt before the last ton is burnt, the better the ultimate result is for humanity and pretty much all other species.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good point (2+ / 0-)

    I'm too depressed to think of anything else to say.

    there must be some kinda way outta here.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 03:11:59 PM PDT

  •  With carbon @ 390 PPM already (6+ / 0-)

    we cannot, at current technology levels, merely reverse course, and stop Global Climate Change.

    But we still have the ability to start making changes, in how we produce Energy (petroluem-based and otherwise, too), how we manage solid waste, how we raise crops and food-animals, and last (but hardly least) how we address transportation from global to local.

    These are all major contributors to Global Climate Change which we, as Humans, all have the opportunity to affect (and hopefully, for the future of the Species, change significantly).

    I like your analysis, it speaks to the reptile brain in all of us, by activating both fear and hope simultaneously.

    Write on!

    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 03:28:22 PM PDT

  •  Yes But Governments Around the World Are Acting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people, mightymouse, atana

    in opposition to 50% , 70%, 90% preferences of their peoples. There's no reason to expect any level of popular support for climate action to either convince the representatives we have, nor to be able to elect enough sane representatives in the near to medium future.

    Governments everywhere have given their answer on this issue, one that for our purposes is their final answer given how soon we need them to change course drastically.

    Of course we need to educate the citizens but not for the purposes of getting governments to act. The citizens don't have that kind of influence, and they won't have it at any foreseeable time.

    This issue has to be approached some other way.

    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 Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 03:54:31 PM PDT

    •  this one reminded me of you, GR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      too many people

      Why Climate Action Won't be Like Civil Rights

      I agreed with the title somewhat but was more skeptical about the actual article.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 04:13:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting article. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse
        The good news is that something like this happened before in human history, when a revolution emerged not through a grassroots explosion but by the actions of a mighty few. Once, a small group of smart and powerful people (they were sexy too, I guess, at least to me) set out to reform society and advance knowledge. They changed the way we looked at the world; improved lives with new ideas and political innovation, replacing superstition with science; weakened abuses of power by church
        Those great minds still exist, but they have to fight powerful multinational corporations that control both government and the msm.

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

        by too many people on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 05:14:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. How likely is it that a government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      atana

      beholden to the interests of corporations and very rich people will act in the interests of anything but profits? Even Buffet and Gates, generous though they may be, won't be found on the frontlines of this fight. Add to this a media also beholden to corporate money, and you end up right where we are. The ice cap is $&@! melting!

      It is time to panic. The planet has already changed and all we have seen is the tip of the melting iceberg. Instead of trying to navigate this peril, we are on an accelerating collision course with some very nasty consequences.

      We must educate, but the facts run counter to the world view held by many in this country. The solutions also run counter to the values of so many.

      I still do my best to minimize my footprint, but I am afraid it only helps if it is done on a vast and overwhelming scale. As the shit hits the fan nations and individuals will do what is necessary to survive. That won't include leaving valuable oil in the ground.

      I fear we will eventually suck out and burn all easily accessible fossil fuel energy. It won't be pretty.

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

      by too many people on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 04:25:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  News flash (0+ / 0-)

      Majority preferences only matter in a democracy.

      We gave up democracy in order to save ourselves from communism... wasn't that the propaganda? Actually we gave it up in order to save the Koch brothers from democracy.

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