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Earth, Blue Marble, Earth as seen from Apollo 17
Nicholas Stern has been a lecturer at the University of Oxford, a professor of Economics at the University of Warwick and the London School of Economics, chief economist and special counsellor to the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank chief economist, second permanent secretary at H.M. Treasury, and head of Britain's Government Economic Service. Since 2008 he has been chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, and in July he will become president of the British Academy. In that curious British tradition, he also has been made a baron, and therefore is referred to as a lord.

In 2005, the British government asked Stern to lead a team of economists in preparing a review of the economic impacts of climate change. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is the seminal work on the issue, and it is an overwhelming read. But he now says it is dated. He now says it underestimated the dangers and the damages. Last week, he succinctly summarized his new understanding of the depth and intensity of the climate crisis:

It is increasingly likely that hundreds of millions of people will be displaced from their homelands in the near future as a result of global warming.
More specifically:
"When temperatures rise to that level, we will have disrupted weather patterns and spreading deserts," he said. "Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homelands because their crops and animals will have died. The trouble will come when they try to migrate into new lands, however. That will bring them into armed conflict with people already living there. Nor will it be an occasional occurrence. It could become a permanent feature of life on Earth."
Almost two years ago, I wrote that climate change is the most important issue humanity has ever faced. As Stern's words make clear, the crisis has only grown worse. The research and reports come in almost daily.

On Monday, a British newspaper reported on America's first climate refugees. That same day, British and Australian scientists announced that without climate mitigation, more than half of all plant species and one third of all animal species will lose more than half of their climatic range by 2080, with biodiversity declining almost everywhere. On Wednesday, came news that after a year that saw privately insured property losses of $35 billion, which is $11 billion and almost 50 percent above the past decade's average, the insurance industry accepts the scientific reality that by burning fossil fuels humans are causing climate change, which the industry expects to get worse. On Wednesday, we also had this:

“We are in the midst of dramatic assault on the security of the food supply,” said Dr. Robert S. Lawrence, director of the Center for a Livable Future, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The group promotes ecological research into the nexus of diet, food production, environment and human health.

The primary culprit of all this menu mayhem is climate change, which is choking off certain crops already weakened by both genetic tinkering and chemically based farming, some experts contend.

A couple weeks ago, the World Meteorological Organization announced that 2012 was the ninth hottest year on record, and the years 2001-2012 were among the hottest thirteen on record. That same week, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography reported that atmospheric carbon dioxide had reached levels not seen since before humans existed, a time when the Arctic was a stunning 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is now.

And the climate crisis is growing worse.

Join me below the fold to find out more.

The scientists are sounding the alarm:

"I wish it weren't true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat," said Scripps geochemist Ralph Keeling, who has taken over the Keeling Curve measurement from his late father. "At this pace we'll hit 450 ppm within a few decades."

And the scientists are sounding alarmed:

"This is another global emissions target that we've blown past without doing anything," said Jim Butler, director of global monitoring at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory. "Stronger storms, droughts, rising seas. We are already seeing the impacts of increased CO2 in the atmosphere ... How much further can we really go?"

Because the scientific evidence is alarming:

"The next big emissions target is 450 ppm," Butler said. "That's the one the IPCC [The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] warns we really don't want to rise above. Based on our current rate of emissions, we could be there in 25 years. That's a scary prospect."
That global warming and climate change are happening, and that people are causing it, long has been settled science. Over a year ago, I compiled a list of the national and international scientific bodies that were on the record verifying this scientific reality:
National Academies of Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Society, Geological Society of America, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Science Academies of the G8+5 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Australian Institute of Physics, and International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
And this week, the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted of the peer-reviewed scientific literature on global warming revealed that of those works that rendered an opinion, 97 percent agreed with the consensus that humans are causing it. As Greg Laden summarized:
This is not the first study to look at this question, but it is the most thorough effort. This should, however, be the last paper to report this kind of research because, really, we’re there; climate scientists are in very strong agreement about this issue and with this landmark study further demonstration of this fact is superfluous.
There is no legitimate debate. The science is conclusive. The traditional media continue to ignore and distort and obfuscate to a degree that no longer can be dismissed as mere incompetence, and increasingly suggests something much worse, but the science is conclusive. There is no legitimate debate.

As the 2005 Stern Review explicitly delineated, the impacts of climate change will be devastating. And given that we are talking about literally the entire planet, those impacts encompass and include all other issues. All other issues cannot even begin to be resolved without first placing them in the context of a potentially disastrously changing climate. The bullet points make clear that climate issues include all issues.

Poverty and wealth disparity?

All countries will be affected by climate change, but the poorest countries will suffer earliest and most.
Immigration, emigration, refugees and human rights?
By the middle of the century 200 million may be permanently displaced due to rising sea levels, heavier floods and drought.
And of course, that includes all the international security issues involved in hundreds of millions of people needing new places to live. It includes the massive potential for the spread of pandemic diseases, and incomprehensible burdens on health care systems and other basic infrastructures. It includes traditionally privileged populations and demographics taking advantage of their traditional privileges to best survive what the traditionally dispossessed will most suffer.

National security?

In March, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, and former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa, offered his perspective:

America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change.

Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, in an interview at a Cambridge hotel Friday after he met with scholars at Harvard and Tufts universities, said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’

“People are surprised sometimes,” he added, describing the reaction to his assessment. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”

And the Stern Review also included the economic consequences of the climate crisis:

Unabated climate change could cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year; if more dramatic predictions come to pass, the cost could be more than 20% of GDP.
In a nutshell:
Climate change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.
Of course, actually facing up to the climate crisis could have the opposite effect:
Shifting the world onto a low-carbon path could eventually benefit the economy by $2.5 trillion a year.
And Stern already had addressed the risk to biodiversity, plants and animals:
Warming of 2C could leave 15-40% species facing extinction.
As I explained in March, the climate itself is migrating. But in January, Stern admitted his famous Review had been wrong:
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then."

The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise."

There is no scientific debate about anthropogenic climate change, but there is political debate. Part of that is due to the failures and complicity of the traditional media. Most of it is due to the failures and corruptions of the world's economic and political systems. Climate change should be something the entire world is working on together, to address and mitigate. But it isn't. In the United States, the Republican Party is at war on science itself, which is beginning to cause a war within the Republican Party itself. But that means there is an enormous political opportunity for the Democrats, if they truly took the lead by following where the science leads.

Climate change is scientific reality. It is an unprecedented global crisis. It shouldn't be political, but it is. And that means that by doing the right thing, by doing what is necessary, by doing what the scientific facts demand, by doing what the health of the planet demands, the Democratic Party could reap unimaginable political rewards. But not to do so would mean much worse than political failure. Because in addressing this crisis, without excuse or compromise, all of humanity cannot afford to fail.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Not if resources wars lead to nuclear wars (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, unclebucky, The Marti, soarbird

      then Mother Gaia is finished too.

    •  Are we really a cancer?....n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4CasandChlo, The Marti, jm214, orlbucfan

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:47:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A parasite: (8+ / 0-)

        The analogy to a cancer has some appeal, part of one's own self attacking - but, a parasite is probably more accurate. Mindlessly attacking the host with no concern whatsoever that at some point the host will die and be unable to support the colony.

        Of course, the parasite is a very lose analogy also, and a parasite's species can continue on another host - us. . .?

        Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

        by 4CasandChlo on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:58:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cancer is like a parasite (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214, freelunch, 4CasandChlo

          At least that's the way I think about it (as a cancer survivor). And the first rule of parasites is: DO NOT KILL HOST!

          "Parasite" is just another way of saying that our bodies and the bodies of all other living beings, plant, animal, algae, bacteria, whatever, are interrelated and interdependent. The fantasy that humans can outlive the biosphere (perhaps by migrating to Mars or another galaxy somewhere) is seductive but dangerous. (Not to mention the amount of fossil fuel that would have to be burned to do all the experiments to try to achieve it.)

          •  No parasites don't care if they kill the (7+ / 0-)

            host...what you are describing further on is symbiosis where we each get what we need and give to other what they need. Hence the whole oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle, weather systems, etc.

            •  Cancer is not an independent organism, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4CasandChlo, orlbucfan, DSPS owl

              as much as many cancer victims like to think of it as something foreign -- it's certainly not under the control of the person who has cancer -- but that's also true of a large number of other diseases. True, some cancers are caused by viruses, but cancer is truly a breakdown in normal cellular control.

              OTOH, our species seems to have outlived our capacity to adapt. Our instinctive need to acquire (which certainly, up to a point, confers survival advantage), when unchecked by sufficient negative feedback or external restrictions, becomes highly destructive greed. Perhaps it's a meter of our intelligence not evolving as fast as our ability to develop tools and technology. We appear to be reaching the stage of a breakdown in the ability of our species intelligence to save ourselves.

              So, we are literally destroying ourselves as a species, and taking a huge number of others species with us over the cliff, because we are stubbornly resistant to putting any restrictions on unchecked greed.

              Maybe calling ourselves parasitic is a useful metaphor. But it hardly helps to solve the problem. Mitt Romney is a supreme parasite, and maybe that recognition helped to keep him out of office, but Barack Obama is still possibly poised to approve KXL.

              Somehow I suspect that even when we are dying prematurely by the tens or hundreds of millions because of famine and lack of safe water and rampant disease -- all of which may come to pass within the lifetimes of those already living -- the richest and most powerful will never willingly relinquish their prerogative to destroy for personal gain.

          •  Yes, you are describing symbiosis, but. . . (0+ / 0-)

            We are getting to the point of semantics, the fact is that humans look a lot like any variety of systems were one species acts mindlessly in perceived self-interest without thinking long term.

            It IS very dangerous for society to assume that technology can "fix" this problem or that if all else fails a very very very few can get off this world, stupid.

            I am glad to hear that you got through your run in with cancer and wish you health into the future.

            Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

            by 4CasandChlo on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:13:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  We are part of the system not from outside (0+ / 0-)

          therefore we are not parasites.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:50:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have often argued that a technological level of (12+ / 0-)

        intelligence is actually a path to evolutionary failure.  Sure, we've managed to occupy every inch of the entire planet like a colony of rats or virii, but in the process we are killing our host. That is an evolutionary dead end.

        I used to have a t-shirt that read, "Earth First! We'll destroy the other planets later!"


        •  This may explain the Fermi Paradox (11+ / 0-)

          Any intelligence able to make itself known across interstellar distances is also pretty much capable of destroying itself.

          And there are so many ways to go wrong...

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

          by xaxnar on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:13:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Biologically, the key is regulation (6+ / 0-)

            that bete noir of conservatives. Living things don't destroy themselves because they have evolved regulatory systems, feedback controls, for all their life processes. These regulations aren't perfect; sometimes they break down, as in cancerous growth. But they work well enough to permit life to exist.

            Humans have not yet evolved these sorts of controls to prevent planetary overgrowth. Any technological civilization that lasts long enough to make itself known over interstellar distances must have evolved such regulation without going extinct in the process. Perhaps none exist in nearby. Or perhaps the kind of regulation needed makes them unwilling to help those who haven't evolved such regulation.

            •  Good point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              flitedocnm, too many people

              There aren't any other technological civilizations nearby. Of course it depends on your definition of nearby. I'm talking about thousands or millions of light years.

              There is absolutely a possiblity of other technological civilizations in our galaxy. Have they advanced further than we have in 2 or 3 million years? Possibly. Have they been here? possibly. The tin foil hatters say they are violent, meat eaters who feast on any kind of protein available and they are looking for planets like ours to use as industrial food farms.

              The tin foil hatters should take off the tin foil hats because the industrial food farms are already here to make profits for the monsantos and krafts of the world.

              Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

              by harris stein on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:55:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That's why we never hear from othe civilizations (0+ / 0-)

          on other planets. To be able to do what we have done, they would need a vast supply of really cheap energy. If they do, they wipe themselves out like we are. If there is intelligent life on other planets, it isn't very technological.

          Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

          by Anne Elk on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:14:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  the grassroots wants ofa to (14+ / 0-)

      we will see how ofa responds.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:34:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keystone XL is one of 3 fuses to the Carbon Bomb (24+ / 0-)

      the Canadian Tar Sands. There are three fuses:

      1. Keystone XL: An expansion of the existing Keystone pipeline from Canada, through the central US to Port Arthur, Texas, where the crude oil can be refined or loaded onto oil tankers for the global market.

      2. Enbridge pipeline: A proposed route over the Rocky Mountains, across Canadian boreal forests, wild watersheds, and indigenous territory to the marine port at Kitimat, British Columbia for export. And:

      3. Kinder-Morgan TMX Trans-Mountain pipeline: Also over the Rocky Mountains, into the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. This pipeline/tanker route is already operating and Kinder Morgan has applied for an expansion. In 2010, 71 large oil tankers shipped tar sands crude oil through the Port of Vancouver and the Georgia Strait to global markets.

      The World's Biggest Carbon Bomb

      From Bill McKibben:
      Tar sands mining has wrecked native land in Alberta; endangers farms, wild areas, and aquifers along its prospective route; and poses a danger to the whole planet. Keystone XL is one of three pipeline routes that lead back to the world’s biggest carbon bomb, so we’re working in solidarity with the indigenous people and other citizens in Canada.”
      And I was told I was "lying and spreading misinformation" here on this blog because I wrote that 54,000 square miles of boreal forest were being destroyed.

      To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:43:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perfect example of "winners" vs "losers": (5+ / 0-)

        There was a great article in the Atlantic a year ago or so about the fact that one of the hardest things to overcome inaction concerning climate change is the fact that there are "winners" with a changing climate - namely the already rich countries (though debatable) and the northern  Canada, Scandinavia, Russia.

        There is no question there will be far more "losers" and that humanity as a whole will "lose" but it is just added difficulty when a few see global warming as a "win."

        Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

        by 4CasandChlo on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:01:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "winning" is temporary and delusional (10+ / 0-)

          There are countries and corporations that will make a lot of money along the way -- but in the longer run we all rely on the same interconnected systems, and can't outlive the biosphere we depend on. Australia, for example, can make a lot of money right now selling coal to China -- but is being consumed by wildfires driven by drought and temperature increases. That's not an especially appealing trade-off, IMO.

          •  Yes, you put it better than I (5+ / 0-)

            As I re-read my comment, it does sound like I am stating that there will be countries benefitting into the distant future.

            I was unclear about 2 things. The article was not talking about those that can make a fortune based upon selling carbon based crap - though they are the biggest impediment - it was only listing countries that benefit by a warmer world, the best example (that they conclude) is Canada and Scandinavia where the open water ports to the north will allow quicker trans-oceanic routes and will have increased land available for farming and such.

            And, I was unclear in that I don't agree that even those countries will is a "win", never mind the rest of the world. There are lots of complex considerations that the simple supposition that trade/increased ag do not take into account. One of which is pointed out by Lawrence and that is the military conflicts that might well ensue against a country like Canada that has previously enjoyed a relatively stable existence in its isolated geography.

            Anyway, thought I would kind of clear up the point I was making, that some countries truly believe they are "winners" in a warmer world - I don't, the planet's impact cannot be predicted so simply and that doesn't even take into account the volatility of humans, and desperate humans at that.

            Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

            by 4CasandChlo on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:06:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Every day, or thereabouts... (14+ / 0-)

        ...someone here says there's nothing we can do to stop Keystone XL and we shouldn't even try because we need the oil and that, besides, it's just a drop in the bucket compared with all the sources (oil from elsewhere included) of CO2.

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

        by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:20:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oppprtunities are everywhere, even in making a (0+ / 0-)

          killing in killing the human-livable planet

          In addition to all the people who are invested in just doing more of the same combusto-consumption, there are a lot of people who are seeing great investment opportunities in various aspects of what even they are calling "climate change," out of one side of their mouths at least.

          For those who have that prudent careful wise $5 to invest every week and are young enough to expect decades of compound interest and growth of "capital" to comfort their declining years, here are a few places to start looking for opportunities:

          I guess until the last dehydrated, hyperthermic human drops and dies, it will always be a case that "it is an ill wind indeed that blows no man good..."

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:52:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  In propaganda, that's what is (5+ / 0-)

          "stating that the loss is inevitable." It's used all the time to discourage opponents.

          An example is when the anti-war demonstrators came to DC to protest the invasion of Iraq, before March 19, 2003, a Senator said "that train has left the station."

          To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:18:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "We need the oil"? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Agathena, Calamity Jean, Albanius

          That statement is wrong on so many levels.

          We need more clean energy, not more oil.

          The Keystone XL pipeline "oil" is, first of all, not oil, and second, not for us.  It will be refined (more pollution) in and around Port Arthur and sold on the world market.  The U.S. may buy it, but it won't be cheap - we will have paid for it many times over.  Most probably, though, it will be shipped overseas.

          Wrong, wrong, wrong.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Sun May 19, 2013 at 04:44:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  the problem with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DSPS owl

        identifying Canadian tar sands as "the biggest carbon bomb" is that, as a practical matter, it's not true.  Over the next 20 years (which is really all that matters now . . . if we're not already past the point of no return now we certainly will be in 20 years) Canadian tar sands will be at worst a minor contributor to global CO2 emissions.  Coal is, and will remain, #1 . . . and world oil consumption/supply will not be diminished in the slightest even if the entire tar sands operation is shut down completely.

        Tar sand extraction is incredibly "dirty", especially as it is practiced now, and should be stopped for that reason alone.  But its impact on the global warming crisis is essentially zero.  Focusing on it as some sort of "cure" is a distracting side show that will only delay facing up to what really needs to be done.

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

        by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:23:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "facing up to what really needs to be done." Which (6+ / 0-)


          Now that we are reassured that digging and burning that bitumen is really no big deal, that reassurance coming from many points including the wonderful prime minister of Canada...

          That reassurance that tar sands combusto-consumption's "impact on the global warming crisis is essentially zero" is borne out in what bits of scholarship, again? Would love to be able to satisfy myself that there's no need to worry about it or oppose XL and lose sleep and peace over all that emotional stuff that gets in the way of MOREism...

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:59:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The comment "coal is worse" often comes up in (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jm214, Don midwest

            discussions of the tar sands.

            To thine ownself be true

            by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:27:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the numbers tell the whole story, (0+ / 0-)

            and as someone (presumably) concerned about global warming you will already be aware of what the major contributors to CO2 emissions are (and that tar sands barely makes the long list).

            It is not that there are no reasons to oppose Keystone or tar sand oil production . . . but you should know what they are, and are not.

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

            by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:00:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Once again, sir -- and thanks for the snide aside (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Don midwest, divineorder

              about my (presumably) being concerned about global warming -- how about being so generous as to let the rest of us ignorami in on that list that we should all know about and have engraved on our hearts?

              It's all complicated, of course. Do pipelines matter or don't they?

              "And that's decades, with a capital “s”. Oh, and can I have another pipeline, please?"


              "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

              by jm214 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:32:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  strange that you missed it, (0+ / 0-)

                since you found the other "reality" diary . . . but here again is where the problem is:


                "Tar sand" is that little (too small to see, so they didn't bother to label it) line at the bottom of "oil".  Tar sand could go away completely and it would make no difference regarding global warming.

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

                by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 02:24:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The US demand for oil is declining (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean, Albanius

                  either they are doing something right or it's the economy, probably both. The US is not a good market for the Tar Sands bitumen that's why there is the urgent need for 3 pipelines to get it to the rest of the world. It's going especially to countries that don't have pollution controls.

                  If the 3 pipelines go through, Canada will be #3 oil producer after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

                  To thine ownself be true

                  by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 06:39:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Hello, tar sands is not a big contributor YET (0+ / 0-)

                  That's why we need to stop it from being extracted.

                  It is a monstrous deposit of very dirty fossil fuel, which is a top priority to leave in the ground (along with new coal and frackable, leakable methane).  

                  There is already several times more fossil fuel in identified, proven reserves than would suffice to cook our collective goose.

                  There's no such thing as a free market!

                  by Albanius on Mon May 20, 2013 at 05:57:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Do you have any links to support the statement (4+ / 0-)

          that the Tar Sands is a minor contributor to global CO2?

          I mean the project from start to finish, the destruction of the landscape, which is a carbon sink and source of fresh water, the carbon cost of mining surface or in situ, the carbon cost of upgrading, the carbon cost of polluted rivers and lakes from tailings ponds?

          To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:25:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  tar sand production (0+ / 0-)

            is running somewhere around 1.5 million barrels/day, while world oil production is around 90 million.  There is sufficient "excess capacity" and capacity growth in the rest of the supply universe to completely replace tar sand production.  The "pollution penalty" for tar sand production is certainly higher than for other sources, but it is by no means a "game changer" in terms of global warming.

            I'm not arguing for tar sand production, but this is a diary about global warming, and in that regard the tar sands are a minor footnote.

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

            by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:55:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not a minor footnote to Greenpeace and I imagine (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aliasalias, JesseCW, divineorder

              they know what they are talking about. You are leaving out the environmental destruction of a carbon sink and a source of fresh water. You only discuss the supply and "pollution penalty."

              Of the total 168.7 billion barrels of proven bitumen reserves, about 80 percent is considered recoverable by in-situ methods and 20 percent by surface mining methods.  Oil sands within 75 meters of the surface can be mined; whereas, oil sands below this threshold must be extracted using in-situ methods.
              In 2011, Alberta's production of crude bitumen reached over 1.7 million bbl/d; of this surface mining accounted for 51 percent and in-situ for 49 percent.  In 2011, about 57 percent of crude bitumen production was sent for upgrading to SCO in the province.
              Global warming covers any issue that increases it.

              To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:40:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  A note about Kinder Morgan (5+ / 0-)

        Mr. Kinder and Mr. Morgan are ex-Enron executives who invested their "severance" pay into pipelines. They are now billionaires.

        To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:31:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  True laurence.. (19+ / 0-)

    The economic fairness issues I care so deeply about (like health care, jobs, poverty) will be impossible to address without a stable climate.

    So this really is the top priority. I wish we could solve both the environmental issues and unemployment with the same dollars - a big massive green jobs bill.

    As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

    by joedemocrat on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:34:45 AM PDT

  •  Nothing will be done (11+ / 0-)

    Until there is no food to buy.

  •  excellent report. climate change intersects (17+ / 0-)

    with all issues, something i wish people would get. not here at DK, we get it. but the public.

    human rights, economy, jobs, national security, water, food, etc.

    saw study few years ago, how access to potable water connects to whether country's gdp was good or sucked. we already have droughts that climate change is worsening and the straws sucking from decreasing supplies keep increasing.

    "It is in the shelter of each other that people live." Irish Proverb

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:39:41 AM PDT

  •  agree the #1 issue is the climate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, wonmug, 4Freedom, aliasalias

    and both parties now serve the 1% who are making money on exploiting resources

    the only answer is go get to the streets

    with demonstrations with millions around the country

    there is no turning back from this issue

    i made a connection between climate and politics in another comment

    namely, that the earth is the ultimate whistle blower

    cannot use social pressure or law or murder to silence nature

    you probably recall that on 9/11/2001 the Republicans had scheduled a hearing on eco terrorism. Something else happened that day so they didn't have the hearing.

    the people have to represent the earth - people become politicians when the political class is corrupt

    i don't expect Obama to do the right thing

    he may do somethings around the margin, but not to do what is needed because he has shown his true colors in protecting the oligarchy

    •  obama has stepped his rhetoric on climate change (7+ / 0-)

      keystone will define his legacy on it. and we need to make sure he understands that.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:46:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is a mistake. (0+ / 0-)

        Keystone is a distraction . . . whether it gets built or not will have very close to no effect on world CO2 emissions over the next 20 years.  Oil production will shift to (or remain at) somewhat "cleaner" sources, but it won't go down, and it's at most a few refineries worth of production.  Refineries scheduled to process tar sand oil will take Indonesian or Orinoco (Venezuelan) heavy instead, and remain in full production.  The only advantage gained is avoiding the energy-of-extraction of tar sand . . . and that is a drop in the bucket of worldwide production.

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

        by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:39:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Deward - so you disagree with James Hansen (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4Freedom, aliasalias, Calamity Jean

          the #1 expert on climate change in US

          Burning Tar Sands = 'Unsolvable' Climate Crisis: Hansen
          We have a 'tremendously chaotic' climate on the way, climate expert warns

          “If we introduce the tar shale and the tar sands as a source and exploit those resources to a significant extent, then the problem becomes unsolvable.”

          •  the statement "on the face of it' (0+ / 0-)

            is true . . . but it is purely "political".  There is no chance of "exploiting those resources to a significant extent" (relative to world energy production) over the next twenty years . . . and that's really all that matters.  Stopping tar sand production accomplishes nothing if other, and far larger, sources of fossil carbon continue to be consumed.

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

            by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:05:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  purely "political" you say - yea (0+ / 0-)

              and we have to get the attention of the politicians to take the drastic action needed for the whole area

              KXL is one piece of the puzzle

              and the politicians have to tell the truth

              since that is a pipe dream, time to get to the street and protest the energy extraction

              can't wait until no longer can get stuff out of the ground

              need to stop it

              and need to hold Obama's feet to the fire about the destruction of the earth

              which is a bigger deal than the Republican obstruction

              •  Get Dr. Hansen away from the cameras (0+ / 0-)

                and ask what the problem is, and what (if any) the solutions are, and I doubt that he will even mention Keystone.  Yes, it's a "piece of the puzzle", but it's a small and inconsequential piece.  The extent to which people (even in this thread) think it's important only tells how little they understand the full extent of the problem.  Hansen is trying to use it as a "teaching moment", but the lesson is getting lost in the noise . . .

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

                by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 02:34:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It has to start somewhere, and Keystone is it (0+ / 0-)

                  There has to be a moment at which one project, just one appendage, one more (just one more!) addition to the Great Big Happy Miracle Giant Growth Stuff Machine gets stopped.

                  What'a a good place to start stopping?  I'd suggest Keystone XL.  Going after "The Oil Industry" or "Big Energy" won't work - too diffuse, too many targets, too many disparate interests, and the lift is just too damned heavy.

                  Keystone's going to be shipping the most carbon-intensive synthetic crude in the world, and doing so with the assistance of ample flow rates of benzene and other goodies needed to keep things liquid.  If we collectively can't stop a monstrosity like that, and then move on the the next thing, then let's just give up now, and see what's on cable.

                  Yes, yes, a meaningless gesture, I'm sure - kind of like John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry, or Gandhi going to the ocean to make salt.

  •  Permanent armed conflict (7+ / 0-)

    is exactly what the Repubs. want. There's huge profit there.

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:45:41 AM PDT

  •  I may take refuge in Buddhism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    "Nothing is important" including the biosphere?

    Yeast in a Petri-dish, or a species worthy of continuing?

    Climate change is the only issue that matters.

    Suspend disbelief. It's gonna get confusing as hell soon enough.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:46:03 AM PDT

  •  Wow. (9+ / 0-)

    Thoughtful. Informative. Well researched. Cogent. Compelling.

    Thanks for your great work on this issue.

  •  For more information (4+ / 0-)

    For daily information on Global Warming see:

    and the Climate Denial Crock of the Week series on You Tube:

  •  Your last blockquote is key. (11+ / 0-)

    450 ppm in 25 years? Don't be surprised if we reach it in 10. There's just not enough of us who are aware of what's coming.

    The 1% don't care. They think they can buy their way out of the imminent suffering.

    Half of Americans don't even accept reality as basic as evolution, so they're looking forward to Jesus coming back. Add their religious counterparts around the world and you have maybe a majority of people on Earth that would just as soon blow the whole thing up because they think their god will save them.

    Poachers, polluters and habitat destroyers just want to make a quick buck.

    That leaves scientists and people like us. This is not to say we should give up, because our descendants depend on us not to, but we should prepare for things to get a LOT worse.

  •  I'm glad to see you are writing (0+ / 0-)

    about extremely important issues instead of beating up on Obama for his gamesmanship in dealing with a bunch of know nothing racists.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

    by harris stein on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:02:16 AM PDT

    •  This news is particularly damning to Obama (3+ / 0-)

      since he SHOULD be turning this data into action instead of actively working against it to appease his 1% masters.

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just who is it that is damning Obama? (0+ / 0-)

        Just because he is a bought and paid for stooge for the Wall St. elites doesn't mean that progressives and left of center voters should be persecuting him also.

        This is a good article but I'm still trying to sift through this word salad;

        Climate change is scientific reality. It is an unprecedented global crisis. It shouldn't be political, but it is. And that means that by doing the right thing, by doing what is necessary, by doing what the scientific facts demand, by doing what the health of the planet demands, the Democratic Party could reap unimaginable political rewards. But not to do so would mean much worse than political failure. Because in addressing this crisis, without excuse or compromise, all of humanity cannot afford to fail.
        Let's see.

        Democratic party with a capital D and a capital P. That doesn't exist any more. Just like the republican party with a capital R and capital P. Any time people capitalize the first letters of political parties I get scared.

        Let's See.

        without excuse or compromise, all of humanity cannot afford to fail.
        This sounds like a tea party manifesto.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

        by harris stein on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:12:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One huge problem with accepting the notion (0+ / 0-)

    Of climate change, is that the PTB have a whole arsenal of items they want to bring to the public - and those things will be labelled as "good for the planet" even if they re insidious. Those of us who fear being banned for bringing up one such topic, can only say, "When you look up at the sky, what if those plumes are not about reducing greenhouse gasses or deflecting the sun's heat, but about Monsanto having the patent for plants that are resistant to aluminum?"

    So many people around me accept really bad shit because it gets labelled "Green." One such item is the mercury containing light bulbs, in which we all re expected to pay X amount more for a light bulb. Industry wins in several ways - we pay more (They are NOT more expensive to produce) and then industry also gets to dump the mercury into that product. Sure it is only a tiny amount in each light bulb, but since tens of millions of people have bought into this, industry gets

    One) The profit from each  bulb
    Two) They avoid having to put the mercury into super fund containers and ship it off to Superfund sites, an expensive proposition.

    Already a  "scientifically done" study in England "proved" that these metal monstrosities produce more carbon dioxide to oxygen conversion than trees, and so there was clamor  in letters to the editor to cut down trees near roadways and put up these metal sculpture thing-ees instead. After all, trees are so damn messy, with their leaves and what not, and they also need to be trimmed. What could possibly go wrong inside  a world where citizens are encouraged to believe trees are evil and metal sculptures are good!

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:02:48 AM PDT

    •  despite the failures and corruptions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orlbucfan, Calamity Jean

      of the traditional media, polls already show strong support for climate action. if the democrats made it the priority it should be, the support for it and for them would be overwhelming.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:09:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Waste management (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The "Owners" have never wanted to be held to account for any waste or by-product stream. Whether the instance is nuclear waste, water used from industrial process, exhaust from any source or ordinary residential trash, we tend to grossly undervalue the benefit of proper waste stream management. The Private Sector largely sees no benefit to waste management if disposal is the cheapest option from the perspective of their profit margins.

      Every once in a while waste becomes a commodity: gasoline was a nuisance by product of the refining process for decades after crude displaced whale oil. But more often than not, proper and sufficient waste management has to be imposed.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:54:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post highlighting the totally (5+ / 0-)

    permeating importance of this issue.  We must go beyond politics to address it.'s divestment movement is the best hope for doing an end-around on our log jammed political system.  Attack the money flow. Big business listens to money flow and like it or not they are the ones policiticians are listening to.  

    There is a revolution coming but it will change the political structure only as its final act.  Unfortunately, since this site is mainly enthused about politics rather than the most important issue facing us,  the Daily Kos community will likely not play a major role in bringing forth this revolution. Most of us will continue to be diverted from this crtical issue and focus our efforts on the daily tug of war between the Democrats and Republicans.    You can count me out in this regard.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:06:32 AM PDT

  •  The stupid, it burns - the planet (2+ / 0-)

    This really comes back to one thing: the have-mores versus everybody else.

    The people making money from cooking the planet aren't going to stop, and they're rich enough to buy and sell governments, media, etc.

    And just like the morality play of inequality, just like the war on science, they don't see themselves as the problem. They've told themselves they deserve what they have because they worked harder than everyone else, they're smarter than everyone else - so they can't possibly be the problem.

    We're looking at a planetary murder - suicide case here if these people aren't pried loose from their grip on the controls.

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

    by xaxnar on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:11:18 AM PDT

  •  Most people I know just shrug it off. They think (6+ / 0-)

    of climate change as an esoteric, airy-fairy issue, not as something they cause, not as something that affects them.  The idea of turning down their air conditioners or driving less would be ridiculous to them.  It is wild that they don't care about the mess they are leaving their kids or grandkids. The ignorance is mind-blowing.

    Where's the education?  Maybe the biggest crime is that the government isn't explaining climate change as a major public health problem.  Perhaps the government doesn't want an educated public to push for legislation that Wall Street doesn't like.  

  •  IF Keystone is approved, on to Thermogeddon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Calamity Jean

    It will be a very convincing demonstration that no one in Washington gets it yet.

    We're headed for a point where humans will not be able to survive on some parts of the earth. Thermogeddon.

    IT IS the late 23rd century. Houston, Tel Aviv, Shanghai and many other once-bustling cities are ghost towns. No one lives in Louisiana or Florida anymore, and vast swathes of Africa, China, Brazil, India and Australia are no-go zones, too. That’s because in all of these places it gets hot and humid enough to kill anyone who cannot find an air-conditioned shelter.

    This is the nightmare scenario outlined in a study published earlier this year. If we carry on as we are, it claimed, in as little as a century a few small areas might start to get so hot in summer that no one could survive without air conditioning. Three centuries from now, up to half of the land where people live today would regularly exceed this limit.

    “I knew just from basic physics that there would be a point at which heat and humidity would become intolerable, and it didn’t seem that anyone had looked at that from a climate change perspective,” says Steven Sherwood, an atmospheric scientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. “When you look at the data, it becomes pretty clear that it wouldn’t take as much climate change as people seem to think to hit this.”

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

    by xaxnar on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:18:07 AM PDT

  •  Stern: Carbon capture ‘not a conspiracy against (0+ / 0-)


    'Clean coal' is not an oxymoron if it has carbon sequestration. There are 594 conventional coal fired central power stations in the US if the US replaced one station per week in 12 years (rate China is adding coal plants) we would reduce emissions by 25% (1.5 billion tons
    of CO2).
    We need a top down program of replacing coal fired power
    with CCS as soon as possible.
    Once the US adopts this technology(and not before) China and India will adopt it.

    •  stern has not embraced that myth (9+ / 0-)

      he does take the approach that we need to try all clean technologies, but his views are evolving, as he realizes that things are worse than he had anticipated.

      there is no such thing as "clean" coal. like natural gas, there are ways of making coal a less dirty fossil fuel, but there is no way to make it clean. and we don't have time for half-measures or an all-of-the-above approach. we need to end use of coal.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:33:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right on! Can't waste time chasing silver (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, Egalitare


        If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

        by John Crapper on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:48:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Asfar as I know Stern is still supporting coal CCS (0+ / 0-)

        If you end coal you must replace it with something in
        the next 25 years and please don't say nukes. Wind is 4% with a top end of 20%, solar is under 1%.
        I see a lot of posturing, sloganeering but few proposals.
        Surprise me!

        •  he never supported it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          he said he we needed to try anything. there is a difference. and that was before his even more ramped up sense of urgency.

          given the time, money, and environmental costs, we can't afford any more coal. solar and wind have been growing exponentially. imagine if they and conservation had the full backing of governments, with manhattan project urgency.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:55:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That old industry straw-man? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          Why exactly is it relevant to point out that solar is at 1%? That's more than CCS is currently providing.

          It doesn't matter where solar is now. What matters is how much and how quickly we can build more. The answer is that we can build it faster and for less money than it would take to implement CCS on a large scale.

          We already cut emissions dramatically by reducing consumption and switching nearly half of coal production to natural gas. We could shut down at least 1/3 of the dirtiest coal plants in America this year and no one would notice the difference. Part of the problem for renewables is that we have excess generating capacity from highly polluting coal plants generating power at low prices. Those aging don't need to be equipped with outrageously expensive CCS. They need to be shut down now to make room in the market for more wind and solar. That could be done through aggressive EPA enforcement without a price on carbon.

    •  491 existing coal plants. And the sequestration.. (9+ / 0-)

      ...part of CCS over the long haul is still being tested at the pilot scale. So a massive program of CCS right now is out of the question.

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

      by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:46:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. It isn't being supported cause it is expensive (0+ / 0-)

        not because the technology doesn't work. You put
        a $100 per ton tax on carbon and I guarrantee you will see
        a lot more happening.

        •  No? You're telling me that the technology... (5+ / 0-)

          ...has been fully tested and is ready for commercialization? That will be news to the National Energy Testing Lab, which is projecting 2020 as the first time an operating carbon storage system that can be scaled up will be ready for operation. I agree about carbon taxing, however, because that will spur OTHER developments which will vastly reduce the need for carbon storage.

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

          by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:08:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Most initial CS will be initially thru EOR (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eric Nelson

            like Kemper pipelines to Louisiana and current Dakota Gasification
            pipelines to Canada, IMO and one reason for that is that oil recovery pays for itself(money again).
            I don't have a link to NETL stuff you are refering to.
            Are you saying CO2 EOR which has been going on for 20 years doesn't work?

            •  Of course, EOR works. In fact, where EOR... (3+ / 0-)

              ...has been used, it has sequestered about 25% more CO2 than is emitted when the oil it pressures out of the ground is burned.

              But even if every relevant oil formation in the U.S. used EOR, it would, experts like Kinder Morgan estimate, only absorb 4 percent of CO2 being released.

              With coal there is far more CO2 released per ton by burning it and no evidence that there are enough geologically useful formations to store it. Plus, leakage, plus the energy penalty (takes about 25%-40% more energy to store CO2 than when you don't. Sources vary widely on the cost of energy to the consumer of electricity where carbon storage is applied:  At the low end, the EIA projects 2018 levelized cost for a CCS-operated coal plant at about 60 percent more than for on-shore wind. And that is assuming all the issues can be worked out.

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

              by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:19:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't price compare CCS to wind but to nuclear (0+ / 0-)

                As I remember the US government optimistically projected only 20% wind  electricity in 2030, 7 years before we exceed 450 ppm?

                A lot of nuclear plants are reaching the ends of their life spans(decommissioning cost?), should those be replaced with more nukes?


                Also according to DOE sequestration storage atlas there is storage for 248 billion tons of CO2 in oil and gas fields alone while the US produces 3.3 billion tons of CO2 from stationary sources. That doesn't include storage in unmineable coal seams, saline aquifers and even shales.


                If things are really as bad as predicted, I don't see how you can rule out CCS.

                •  No problem. (3+ / 0-)

                  Coal is under 40% of US energy production and falling
                  In the future 20% will be wind. Get solar to 15%. Another 5%-10% through reducing consumption and coal is done. No CCS required.

                  What CCS proponents often ignore is the astronomical cost of building a pipeline network criss-crossing the country from hundreds of coal plants to only a few reliable locations to store carbon. You could build far more wind and solar (or even nuclear) for far less than the billions it would take to build the pipeline network alone. You might as well flush $10 billion down the toilet.

      •  OTOH, I like sequestration (0+ / 0-)

        It adds 50% to the cost, which would incentivize just going to clean power.  And I don't really care if it lasts 1000 years or only 100, it buys enough time.

    •  The big bust with carbon sequestration is: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris, Deward Hastings

      Carbon capture and sequestration is hugely energy intensive.  And the production of this energy produces more CO2 (since the energy is produced by that power plant).  So the big question is: When you capture and sequester a pound of CO2, are you actually generating a net increase in overall CO2?  And unfortunately the answer to this is often YES.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:01:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  CCS takes 25% more coal than pulverized coal (0+ / 0-)

        but it produces 10% of PV coal emissions. You must add
        in the price of pollution for a fair comparison.

      •  what i don't understand about carbon sequester (0+ / 0-)

        and maybe i'm hopelessly naive, but don't we are already have something that does that? forests? if carbon sequester was the answer, wouldn't all we need to do is stop deforestation and begin reforestation. seriously, isn't the device people are hoping to invent just a tree? not an expert on this stuff, but i seem to remember learning that in grade school science...

        "Today is who you are" - my wife

        by I Lurked For Years on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:47:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Forests grow very slowly compared to fossil fuel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          production. An acre of trees sequesters about 3 tons of
          CO2, which is the equivalent of burning 1.5 tons of coal,
          a 4 foot cube of coal.

          •  But they are SOLAR powered sequestration (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The people that think we can capture CO2 and use fossil fuel power to re-sequester that carbon need to take a thermodynamics refresher course.  

            Had deforestation not occurred hand in hand with increasing fossil fuel use, we might not be in the fix we are in now.  Had massive reforestation projects been initiated to reclaim the Sahara and the Great Australian desert, turn coastal deserts into mangrove forests, we might have been able to offset all the fossil fuels we took out of the ground.  

            But as you rightly point out, we've dug the fossil fuel hole so deep that we can't see any daylight at this point.  

            •  Joe Romm wants to co-fire coal plants with trees (0+ / 0-)

              to reduce the CO2 a tad.
              I like a lot of what Joe Romm has to say but that's silly.
              You actually could reduce CO2 levels(carbon negative) if you burnt only trees
              and then sequestered the CO2 underground.
              But you need hundreds of square miles of trees.

              •  Which we have (0+ / 0-)

                Hundreds of square miles of dead trees, courtesy of the pine bark beetle.  

                There could be a government program to cut down all these dead trees, convert them to biochar, and use it to amend soils.  That way, all that biomass would not turn into the next decade's CO2 emissions.  But that might require increasing the Forest Service's budget, not cutting it, so scratch that idea.


    •  Tell that to coal mining communities. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, bartcopfan

      Tell it to the people whose water supplies are poisoned with heavy metals and carcinogens. Tell it to Appalachia, where mountaintop removal is America's most shameful environmental crime of the century. No, there's no such thing as clean coal.

      Coal carbon sequestration is the most expensive way of dealing with CO2 emissions. There's a reason no one in industry wants to invest private dollars in building new plants. There's a reason the few that have been built resulted in huge rate increases. It's a completely moronic non-solution. It makes no environmental or economic sense whatsoever.

  •  It seems our politicians would rather pretend (3+ / 0-)

    that climate change isn't happening than prepare for the environmental catastrophe it will bring and try to mitigate the damage.  Let alone trying to cut back on emissions and reduce the catastrophe in the first place.

  •  I want to know what to do. I have spent years (9+ / 0-)

    writing letters, attending protests, calling those in Congress, reducing my own carbon footprint....what else can we do?  We only have a few years before this might be unstoppable.  We are preaching to the choir here.  What will make a difference?

    •  kxl is the key, right now (10+ / 0-)

      we must keep up the pressure. if obama rejects kxl, it will be a major turning point. and it also is important that we all assess our own lifestyles, and do what we can to cut our own carbon footprints.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:36:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  stop thinking activism, think JOBS (0+ / 0-)

        Fear isn't going to shift votes. Fear isn't going to put a green majority in the House. The way to work on this issue is to start fighting it as a jobs issue. We have to beat the Chinese or we're falling dangerously behind in the JOBS war. This is a clear and present danger.

        The choir has been singing DOOOOOM or ACT NOW since the 70s. I dispute none of the urgency but I don't think the strategy is going to work.

        I just rambled in a down stream post. I doubt the echo chamber has much interest. But if anyone cares to dispute my theory hopefully you can show me how Keystone activism presents a path towards retaking the House. Because even stopping Keystone, which would be awesome, would be like building a sand castle on the beach because of the overall US and global industrial footprint. The tide of the bill for the industrial revolution is coming in. But we're the movement that's been crying wolf since The Population Bomb and we aren't going to shift any votes with this. It has to be JOBS.

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:24:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As someone who has been raising the issue... (9+ / 0-)

          ...of green jobs since around mid-1978 and was pushing the issue here before Barack Obama was a household name, and wrote a couple of dozen pieces like Green public investment should be a key prt of America's industrial policy and Our future depends on green public investment and Making It in America: Building the New Economy.

          So I think you could say I get it.

          But creating millions of such jobs will take some time (the economy already has produced a significant number of green jobs in the past few years) and the decision on Keystone XL is going to be announced in the next eight or nine months. Defeating it, even though victory is unlikely, must be a focus right now.

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

          by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:59:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  two things at once (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades

            (site keeps crashing on submit so if there are multiple identical replies apologies)
            I've followed your work here and you definitely get it. However I don't think we (by which I mean the overall activist community) are making a lot of progress in breaking down the tribal barriers involved. The choir does not need preaching to on this issue, we also get it.

            I also think that two things can be done at once. And that the overall Democratic Party, from the Clinton/Obama centrists to the left of center, have to start presenting a way forward rather than the politics of fear. We - and here I mean the greens and for what it's worth I was selling the Whole Earth Catalog over the counter during the Nixon Administration (under aged at the time cough ...) - aren't getting much electoral mileage out of "we're not the other psychos." People want/need to work for something. See: 2008 though all they/we ended up working for was rhetoric. The outside of echo chamber vast majority don't turn out for an inside game of inches (see: 2010).

            Their side uses fear to great effect. Our side has been predicting doooom within the next few years since the 70s - I was guilty of this in the 70s. Now doooom may be upon us but we aren't going to retake the House by making that argument. By making the JOBS FOR THE FUTURE argument we may have a chance. We can and should continue to fight Keystone and it would be great to beat it. But turning the great ship industrial revolution towards a sustainable future can't be sold to the voter through fear. We're the movement that cried wolf. The rest of the voters barely listen (and I'd lovelovelove to be wrong about this)

            We can do two things at once. Strategically fear isn't going to work. Tactically everyone who gets it is already here.

            If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

            by jgnyc on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:25:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Two things: 1) I agree that fear per se... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jgnyc, Laurence Lewis

              ...won't sell what needs to be sold. That doesn't mean the reasons for fear aren't real. 2) The problem is that not enough people who are on our side on most issue do get it. We see evidence here of that every day.

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

              by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:22:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the fear is too $##@ real. (0+ / 0-)

                > 2) The problem is that not enough people who are on our side on most issue do get it.

                That's "a" problem. Another problem is the voters who are basically tribally against whatever we're for because ... [fill in rant about current crazy GOP] ... are against this because they don't want to give the hippies another win. We saw that with Clinton, we're seeing that with Obama. See Kos's stuff on the electric car.

                We need a movement that can crumble some of these barriers and I think jobs is the only one that might have legs. Tactically, fight it. Figure some House districts and target.

                Keep up the good work BTW. The front page in these parts is welcome literate sanity.

                If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

                by jgnyc on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:51:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think the divestment movement (6+ / 0-)

      being pushed by is an effective place to put efforts.  We need to attack the money flow into fossil foolish projects.  They is why KXL has taken on so much importance.  It is one huge step down the road to foolish investment into infrastructure that should be diverted into renewable infrastructure.  

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

      by John Crapper on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:42:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  your activism that shines through in your diaries (7+ / 0-)

    is VERY much appreciated. Excellent summary.

  •  The Biggest Issue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, paradise50, DSPS owl, TomFromNJ

    IMO, climate change is not the biggest issue! It is only a huge aspect of the larger issue of population growth!

    •  They're interrelated. (5+ / 0-)

      I was moved by the final chapter in Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, where he makes a persuasive case that human survival becomes much easier to envision if our numbers dropped down to 1.6 billion by 2100, rather than increasing (as currently projected) to 9 million. Whether this happens by voluntarily curtailing births, by incentives that encourage curtailing births, or by increased deaths through starvation, drought, disease, and warfare, some sort of population crash seems inevitable. How it happens depends on human choices.

      That said, my experience is that many people (mostly affluent highly educated white males) who advocate "population control" rather than choice often end up advocating some pretty weird, top-down, authoritarian policies that I can't endorse. I don't have an easy answer to that dilemma, other than educating girls around the world (which demonstrably lowers birth rates), making birth control and early abortion cheap and available (but not mandatory), and dis-incentivizing the high-tech baby-making industry.

      •  And yet the idiot Pro-life group is ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        targeting birth control now!

        I consider myself to not be pro-abortion, but when abortion and birth control are freely available the abortion rate goes down!  I'm into results, not punishment, which seems to drive the so-called "pro-life" group.

        At least women should have some choice in the matter!  Maybe then the population would at least stabilize!

      •  The resources exist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        land, water, for humanity to exist comfortably on Earth at double the current population. All it takes is an understanding that neoliberal economics is destroying the planet. Neoliberal economics demands that progress be measured. Our fault lies in how we measure progress. We measure it in the size of the economic pie. We need to forget about the size of the pie.

        Neoliberal economists have been feeding us a load of bull about resources and growing the pie. We need a neo-neoliberal view that the economic pie must be shared by the entire planet, not just a few wealthy nations. Once we understand that there won't be any limits to providing the entire Earth's population with the resources to live comfortably.

        The problem exists with the politicians telling us, especially in the US that "green" is equivalent with having to live a spartan lifestyle. We allow ourselves to be duped into believing this nonsense. Green means understanding that resources are finite and "deus ex machina" won't save us.

        We might have to establish colonies on the moon and Mars but once we do we will be able to use the resources there in a judicious manner.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

        by harris stein on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:51:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure you're considering the natural world (0+ / 0-)

          in these calculations. We do have to live in a spartan lifestyle. Too many people; too much consumption. When we've solved those issues, we can start to live big again.

          Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. -Carl Sagan

          by howardfromUSA on Mon May 20, 2013 at 12:12:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ...hope you comment more... (0+ / 0-)
      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. (Click on orange text to go to linked content.) Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences.

      by paradise50 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 02:38:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

      The carbon footprint of most of the world is pretty low. The energy intensive high-polluting lifestyle of Americans and a few other countries is more significant.
      I think one of the barriers to effective action is that too much of the movement wants to view all issues through the same lens as they did 30 years ago. It's not helpful.

  •  Yet many on the left don't see it as THE issue. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgnyc, Tony Situ

    If they did, they would get behind the commercialization of safer nuclear technologies.  Preferably, commercializing LFTR style technologies to replace our current crop of dangerous dinosaurs. But even without thorium cycle development, there are newer uranium plant designs that replace the dangerous pump-based cooling systems of old with more "Fail-Safe" passive cooling systems. (yeah, I put fail safe in quotes for a reason. Nothing is truly fail safe).  

    Sorry, but renewables can't do it ALL. We must balance our risks. And the possibility of nuclear accidents seems like a smaller risk than the CERTAINTY of global warming disaster if we do nothing.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:54:27 AM PDT

    •  good point - wear a helmet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ

      I'm negative on nuclear for various what I call methadone reasons - too long to build, just shifts the consumption problem - but understand your argument and think there's a case to be made. That's not going to go well in these comment threads but I suspect you know that.

      If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

      by jgnyc on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:17:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      Too bad the nuclear power and electric power industries don't agree with you. They are wedded to the pressurized water reactor because that is the infrastructure they have built up over the years.

      Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

      by harris stein on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:25:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am not diehard anti-nuclear, but ... (4+ / 0-)

      ...until we ramp up conservation (there is still a huge amount of "negawatts" to be generated with vigorous effort on this front) and an all-out push on renewables combined with an upgrading of the transmission grid to stop wasting so much of the power that we're generating, there is no need to go nuclear. If somebody wants to build a half dozen of those "fail-safe" units, including thorium-cycle plants, you'll get no objections-on-the-concept from me.

      Currently, there are 30 applications for new nuclear reactors in the U.S., one-third of which are based on passive technology that is NRC-approved but has never operated at commercial scale anywhere in the world and about which some critics have major concerns. The other two-thirds are for pump-based reactors.

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

      by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:41:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When there's a demo plant running (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that doesn't take 6 years and $6000/kw investment to build, then we can talk.

    •  sorry (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, JesseCW

      but nukes can't and won't work as part of any solution.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:07:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Take a lesson from France.... (0+ / 0-)

    Regulate Safety!

    Nuclear Power has to be part of the answer, period.

    You usually get what you paid for.

    by IowaMike on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:05:18 AM PDT

  •  fear don't sell "we have met the enemy ..." (0+ / 0-)

    "and they is us" (many will get that ref around here)

    If we could blame climate and carbon on the "other" it could have some political weight. China is a problem. If saber rattling at Beijing were worked in it might get traction. It won't work, of course, because the USA is a big part of the problem and has no current interest in being part of the solution.

    My point is above litany of doooooom isn't going to work. The green movement has been saying DOOOOOOM since the late 60s early 70s. Like the austerity crew with their economic collapse under the weight of welfare queens ecological disaster has been at a "tipping point act now or it'll be too late!!!" for 40+ years in the USA. Now one can easily make the argument that "this time it's real" but that's not going to shift a single vote.

    Fear won't work. Fear of Republican psychos isn't going to get us back the House in 2014 or beyond (except on immigration?). Fear of worse hurricanes is not going to get through to outside the echo chamber voters who have to worry about putting gas in their car and paying the rent involved in living in a suburban environment which was designed around unlimited personal transportation.

    Histrionic posts on the front page of Daily Kos - please note I dispute none of the assertions and personally believe we're heading over the falls in a barrel (and find ocean acidity the near term scariest nightmare) - are not going to shift a single vote. Without shifting votes we can't do anything. That's what it's like.

    A program has to be sold as JOBS and fighting back because the CHINESE ARE WINNING THE SOLAR RACE. There is a missile technology gap and we're losing. If we fall far enough behind then we won't be able to catch up (post) industrially. And the is a CLEAR AND PRESENT **ECONOMIC DANGER ** if we don't get started now! FDR beat the Nazis! If you don't sign up to move America and American JOBS forward then maybe you hate America.

    Justifiable panic over impending ecological tipping points is going to get us nowhere. It won't shift a single vote. It's like the PRESIDENT IS BLACK panic votes on the GOP racist front. Everyone who is aware of the ecological issues already votes. This issue isn't going to shift elections unless it is sold not as fear of impending collapse but as a forward looking path towards more perfect high tech 21st century American JOBS.

    And if we don't start radically shifting elections we won't be able to do anything about climate or ecological issues. And this time we may actually be doooomed.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:15:38 AM PDT

  •  when snow is melting on Mt. Everest, (0+ / 0-)

    its time for serious action!!!

  •  But what can we do as individuals? (3+ / 0-)

    Is there anything we can do?  It's useless to tell us to elect the correct politicians--we did that on the national level, and with what result?  A permanently obstructive House and a recalcitrant Senate.

    Should we form a group that asks each individual member or household to reduce its carbon footprint by xx amount?

    I don't know whether or not that would help.  If it were a nationwide effort, such as occurred both here and in Great Britain during WWII--I'm thinking of such things as "Victory Gardens," saving tinfoil and scrap metal, and so on--reducing the carbon footprint might be accomplished.

    But it certainly won't be while we've got a meek and mild POTUS and the kind of Congress mentioned previously.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:57:48 AM PDT

  •  I've been reducing my carbon footprint (2+ / 0-)

    ever since I was in my late teens. The reason is simple: it made economic and common sense. Still does and probably even more now. But, folks like me are a minority. Good diary--T and R!!

    Some people make u want to change species! --ulookarmless, quoted w/his permission: RIP good man.

    by orlbucfan on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:04:13 PM PDT

  •  Congress has it's head shoved up it's ass (0+ / 0-)

    Economic externalities for fossil fuel must be priced. We need a stable, profitable market for sustainables or they will not be developed. That is the current environment. We have a totally nutty mix of regulations currently for getting wind farms permitted. It takes 5 years or more to get an offshore wind farm permitted in US waters. Local regulations vary all over the map.

    We are at 400ppm of CO2 and rising at the rate of almost 3 ppm per year. That's an increase of 50 ppm in 16+ years. However the second derivative is positive and the rate of increase is increasing. Everything about climate change seems to be the same story, we are exceeding worst case predictions. Does anyone think that we will not cruise through 450, 500, 550ppm and more without even hesitation? Congress needs to formulate a strategy based on physical goals and fund sustainable development and deployment. The only justification for using fossil fuels is that sustainables are not ready to power the nation. There is no other justification.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

  •  we can see the end (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomFromNJ, jayden

    and some still don't care, religion and conservatism will be the death of civilization as we know it, when future inhabitants read the bible they will marvel at the ignorance of our time.

  •  So do we still oppose nuclear power? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings

    If climate change is THE issue, that means it trumps every other issue, including the downsides of nuclear power.

    •  nuclear power (4+ / 0-)

      is no solution.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:00:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  then there is (0+ / 0-)

        no solution.

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

        by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 03:21:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jayden, Calamity Jean

          we got to the moon in ten years, with '60s technology. if the government makes the effort, we can get where we need to be with conservation, solar, and wind.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 03:48:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not a chance . . . (0+ / 0-)

            the numbers don't even come close . . .

            And it's a particularly strange claim juxtaposed against your assertion that we "can't" build enough nuclear reactors (any more) to replace coal fired boilers in new power plants and retrofit old ones.


            Not all those plants will get built . . . some will end up burning fracked natural gas instead, and a few even may be displaced by wind and solar (where intermittency isn't a problem.)  But the notion that wind and solar will stop even the growth of coal burning, let alone replace existing, is . . . irrationally optimistic.  The more time that gets wasted on that non-solution the worse things get . . .

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

            by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:01:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sorry (0+ / 0-)

              a thousand plants over 50 years is not an answer.


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

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:23:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  no, they would have to be (0+ / 0-)

                built much faster than that and if they're not then global warming to the disaster point is certain.

                Climate change is the issue . . . and the course you propose guarantees the worst of it.  A few windmills and solar panels are not going to provide the energy needs of 7 billion people, so say "hello" to 450ppm, and 500 soon to follow.

                It will be an interesting world . . . but I doubt that, looking back, they'll be thanking you for it.

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

                by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:44:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  wrong again (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean

                  no one is talking a few anything. and building a thousand nuclear plants is absurd on multiple levels, including the environmental and energy costs of construction, and that we still have no permanent storage for the waste we have.

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

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 06:32:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you clearly don't think (0+ / 0-)

                    that global warming is as serious a problem as I think it is.

                    Either that, or you believe that we're already past the point of no return, so doing nothing about it really doesn't matter.  Which may be the actual truth . . . in which case I'd have to agree . . . continuing to burn coal and build more coal power plants (rather than switch to nuclear) doesn't matter.

                    How many windmills and solar farms, and at what environmental and energy costs of construction, would have to be built to match the continuous output of 1000 nuclear power plants?  And what is the chance that they all will get built in the next 10-20 years?  If the answer is as close to zero as I think it is . . . well . . . game over.
                    If it's not already.

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

                    by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:13:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you clearly (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Calamity Jean

                      haven't considered the energy costs and wastes of 1000 nuclear plants.

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

                      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:55:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

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

                        both are less than coal.  Especially since the whole "waste" issue is a "problem" manufactured by the anti-nuke movement, nuclear "waste" is less than that from expensive to manufacture "renewables" also.

                        But it is telling that you don't regard CO2 from coal and gas to be "waste".  Or a landscape littered with derelict windmills or solar panels and the batteries necessary to make them work, either.

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

                        by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:25:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  um (0+ / 0-)

                          it's not nukes vs. coal. get it?

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

                          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:50:42 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  wrong again (0+ / 0-)

                            it is nuclear vs. coal, and you who doesn't "get it".  Coal is where energy, and CO2, are coming from now. Coal accounts for the majority of new capacity being installed as well.  There is zero chance of that being replaced by "renewables" soon enough to do any good.

                            There is at least a chance that coal could be supplanted by nuclear in time to do some good (and it certainly wouldn't hurt to throw some "renewables" into the pot as well).  If it isn't, if we keep burning coal and oil and natural gas for another 20 years at the present (or higher) rate, then it's game over for global warming and the resulting climate change.  The whole planet transitions to "the other" stable climate regimen, and stays there . . . probably for millions of years (that's how long it lasted last time).  When that happens "switching to renewables" will not transition it back.  All your solar panels and then some will be doing nothing but running air conditioning for the survivors.

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

                            by Deward Hastings on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:59:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  wrong again (0+ / 0-)

                            there is zero chance we could build 1000 nuclear plants in a short time frame. i realize that the nuclear industry and its advocates are trying to use the climate crisis to rationalize their failed technology, but no serious person could take such a scenario seriously.

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

                            by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 20, 2013 at 12:44:02 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  there are plans (0+ / 0-)

                            to built a thousand coal or gas fired plants . . . with no sense of urgency whatever.  Why can't they be built as nuclear instead, with the urgency of saving the planet to drive the effort?  We've got a command-driven trillion dollar a year "military" organization (and budget) that could be diverted to the task with ease.

                            It would be a whole lot easier (and less expensive) than matching that generating capacity with windmills or solar . . . both intermittent (so lots of "excess capacity" is required) and both demanding of a complete infrastructure re-design and re-build as well (to get power from where it happens to be being generated at the moment to where it is needed).

                            By advocating for delay you are in effect advocating for global warming . . . against that fundamental difference I don't see us reaching any agreement (until I give up and agree that it's too late, and nothing can be done except the "hail mary" of some massive geo-engineering attempt).

                            have a nice hot future . . .

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

                            by Deward Hastings on Mon May 20, 2013 at 07:46:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Then what is? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tony Situ

                Equivalent generation while achieving a 20% reduction in 1990 emission levels would require 70,000 10-MW solar thermal plants or 275,000 2.5-MW wind turbines -- if there was no increase in US energy consumption beyond 2008 levels.  I don't see upwards of 5,000 solar thermal plants or 20,000 wind turbines installed per year.  And in order to stay anywhere near 400ppm CO2 concentration, a 20% reduction won't cut it.  We're no likelier to witness 300,000 solar thermal plants or 1,200,000 wind turbines by 2050 in the US than we are 1,000 nuclear plants.

                The recent decrease back to mid-1990s emission rates in the US is a one-time accomplishment brought about by a confluence of factors.  Do most climate scientists understand the magnitude of this energy-emissions reality?  It's one thing to say that passing 400ppm without action is not a good thing.  It's quite another to grasp the breadth and depth of the commitment required to stay below 450ppm or 500ppm or higher.

                The amount of resources that we will require to research, develop, and deploy non-fossil and non-nuclear energy generation, transmission, and storage infrastructure to reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% or more of 1990 levels dwarfs the Apollo project, regardless of the time-scale involved.  To begin with, it requires very different policies than we have now.

      •  Your earlier diary didn't prove much of anything. (0+ / 0-)

        I used to be against nuclear power like most progressives.  I now realize I was wrong.  Nuclear power has to be PART of the solution to climate change.  It will take too long to ramp up the other technologies.  And it's too bad that progressives like me put the kibosh on nuclear power expansion years ago, or we wouldn't be in this mess now.

        IMO, those who are still on the nuclear power zero-tolerance kick are the ones not serious about climate change.

        •  it proved plenty (0+ / 0-)

          it proved that nukes can't be part of any solution, because we would need too many of them too fast, which would incur plenty of problems on its own, and there is no solution to the current waste problem, which would be greatly exacerbated.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:08:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Confirm Gina McCarthy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomFromNJ, Calamity Jean

    EPA adiministrator. That is the first order of business. You can't have environmental laws without someone to implement them. It will take some GOP Senators to let it happen.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Sun May 19, 2013 at 02:40:38 PM PDT

  •  "Cool It" - See It (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    If you haven't seen the documentary "Cool It" which may well be on demand for free if you have premium cable channels, which is where I saw it a few months back, be sure to check it out. I have followed the "sustainable development movement" since pitching the idea to SONY of covering the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 to make an interactive documentary for it's planned CD-based "edutainment" platform called CD-I. I attended all the preparatory conferences and saw Al Gore address the UN in '92 on the subject. In the "Cool It" documentary, is how the movement has gone 20 years into it and the documentary centers around Bjorn Lomborg's efforts to get much more radical and seemingly effective treatments for climate change going rather than wasting time and money as we are.

    "Education Is Not the Filling of a Pail, But the Lighting of a Fire" W.B. Yeats

    by RareBird0 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 04:06:31 PM PDT

  •  It's not much use only looking in hindsight (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    The scientists have been reluctant to speak up about the seriousness of climate change and now the cat is going to be let out of the bag. People are going to be ultra pissed they were not respected enough to be told the truth.  The news media was more than culpable. But the entire economy lures people to do these selfish things. Now we are going to need an economy based on sequestering CO2 and conserving water as well as resources; polluters pay, restorers get the rewards and incentives. We can remanufacture already-used materials and leave the remaining resources in the ground. Whole new industries will be created and the economy can benefit everyone not just the few. This is where we're at right now.  We cannot rely on the current establishment that covered this up for their own enrichment. Health and equality should be the major drivers.

  •  Too many people; too much consumption. (0+ / 0-)

    That's the meme we need on the tip of everyone's thoughts constantly.

    Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. -Carl Sagan

    by howardfromUSA on Mon May 20, 2013 at 09:16:11 AM PDT

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