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Getting action on climate change has for the past 25 years been obstructed by global warming deniers and delayers. The deniers say it isn't happening or isn't a big deal or it doesn't matter because we can't do anything about it anyway. The delayers concede that it is happening, is a big deal, will matter very much to billions of people and other species, and agree that something should be done to avert utter catastrophe. But they won't get off their asses to really do it.

On Friday, a new category debuted: the despairer. In a piece in Vox headlined 7 reasons America will fail on climate change, a very smart guy, Ezra Klein, explained in detail why he is a self-described climate pessimist. I urge everyone to read it. The essay is filled with truths about what climate change might mean as well what it almost certainly will mean given the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

Klein laments our failure to act long ago and, in essence, says it's too late now, we're screwed, headed for a temperature rise of far more than the 2°C that scientists say we could adjust to. He points out that the U.S. is not politically designed to act fast, that we are plagued by obstructionists hostile toward acting at all, that we aren't willing to make the sacrifices needed to energize the world cleanly, that international cooperation on an unprecedented (and scarcely imaginable) scale is required to overcome the crisis and that entrenched right-wingers are intractably obstructionist on climate change policies.

Grim and hopeless.

Klein concedes that it's worth working for a future where the average temperature doesn't rise more than 3°C. And in his concluding paragraphs, there's even a hint that his is a guilty pessimism.

Any climate activist or climate scientist or avid reader on the subject or just someone who occasionally catches news about megadrought and melting Antarctic ice shelves will recognize that sense of despair Klein exudes. And no wonder. Big changes are clearly on the way, the first wave already striking us, and even if we figured out this afternoon how to keep from adding one more carbon dioxide molecule to the atmosphere, we would have to make massive adaptations because of changes already set into motion.

Realizing how much power is arrayed against us by the economic behemoths who want to dump even more  CO2 into the atmosphere, and having seen the decades of damage done by their fossil fool-fueled propaganda against alternative energy sources, despair is not a surprising destination for anyone whose eyes are open.

But despair creates apathy, which generates inaction. It's a black hole. And like all black holes, it sucks in everything within its reach. Spreading defeatism in time of crisis sucks people into inaction and only serves to justify the do-nothing approach of the deniers and the do-little-and-don't-do-it-today approach of the delayers. Despair is a detour. We don't have time for that.

Look below the fold for more.

On episode nine of the fabulous "Cosmos", Neil deGrasse Tyson said:

We just can’t seem to break our addiction to the kinds of fuel that will bring back a climate last seen by the dinosaurs, a climate that will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves. All the while, the glorious sun pours immaculate free energy down upon us, more than we will ever need. Why can’t we summon the ingenuity and courage of the generations that came before us? The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What’s our excuse?
Suppose for a moment that the scenario so many bad movies have been made about came true. That tomorrow, a searcher for such things discovers an asteroid twice the size of Manhattan Island with an orbit that will mean a collision with planet earth exactly 20 years from now. Suppose subsequent investigation verifies the searcher's conclusions. Yikes and a half, right?

Would we sit on our hands? Would we listen to the people who suggest that we wait 10 years to make sure the asteroid is really and truly going to clobber us? Would we allow the people who say avoiding obliteration is too expensive to be the ones dictating public policy? Would we let ourselves be led by those who claim other things are more important to take care of than shifting that asteroid off course in the speediest possible timeframe even if it reduces gross world product by a few points for a few years?

I don't think we would.

I think any politician or pundit or plutocrat who denied or delayed or despaired in the face of such a crisis would quickly find themselves to be deeply unpopular, ridiculed and toppled from authority. Anyone who counseled inaction by saying the asteroid was a liberal invention, or demanded a tax offset before agreeing to approve an asteroid-shifting budget, or otherwise stood in the path of making sure the space rock missed us would soon be in no position to influence others or make crucial decisions about our direction as a civilization.  

I think we—that is, we the human race—would get it together in a way we never have before and do whatever it took to redirect that asteroid. Not because we wanted to. Because we had to. Because we couldn't deny, we couldn't delay and despair would mean extinction. I think we would stand up to meet the challenge and I think we'd succeed in dodging the rock.

Our "asteroid," the climate change we humans have made, is not tumbling toward us through space. But it most certainly will devastate us if we don't deal with it as if it were as lethal to our species and the planet's eco-systems as the rock that finished off the dinosaurs. Klein obviously doesn't think we will get our shit together.

Over at Climate Progress, Joe Romm has written a bullseye point-by-point reply to Klein. I urge you to read it, too.

Romm quotes from an email he received from climatologist Michael Mann:

Defeatist framing is not helpful and threatens serving as self-fulfilling prophecy. We all grew up reading the “The Little Engine that Could,” not “The Little Engine that Couldn’t.” The only real obstacle to averting dangerous climate change is lack of willpower and imagination. We must avoid messaging that seems to condone that, as the title of the Vox piece unfortunately does.
Indeed. As Romm says:
The choice is not between inaction now and inaction forever. Aggressive action will always be the best action. If we did it starting now, we could avoid the worst consequences. If we start 10 years from now, we’d be stuck with many serious consequences—but we could prevent even worse ones happening. And so on.

But asserting “America will fail on climate change,” is to imply climate change is binary— and that we are headed for a single state of failure.

Romm points out that, unlike Klein's claims, international cooperation with China on climate change is taking a turn for the better, the cost of avoiding the worst aspects of climate change are phenomenally cheap compared with the economic output of the world and the climate-change obstructionists in Congress won't be there forever.

Almost every public mention of what needs to be done about climate change misses the fact that the spending needed to transform our energy system is actually an investment. Outfitting the world in clean, renewable sources of energy while cutting carbon dioxide emissions to zero will generate millions of jobs, sustainable jobs, trillions of dollars worth of jobs.

That's a story that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

The longer we wait, the closer our imagined asteroid gets and the harder and more expensive deflection becomes, with greater chance of failure. Likewise with climate change. Except it is not imagined. Preventing even worse effects than are already in the climate change pipeline—"unstoppable" effects in the words of the scientists evaluating the melting of the Antarctic ice shelves—demands that we not wait 10 years or 15 to start taking action.

How do we get effective action on climate change from our leaders? The same way we get action on any matter—by engaging in action ourselves. One good aspect of action is that it undermines despair.

If we had an asteroid headed our way, would we be pussyfooting around, hesitating to demand that our leaders—oligarchs and elected representatives alike—do everything in their power to keep that asteroid from striking us? Would we not be in the board-rooms and in the streets demanding changes and ensuring that we had choices on the ballot who would take action? Would we not be trying our dangedest to bring down the fellows and institutions that blocked taking that action?

Journalist Mark Hertsgaard learned in an interview with John Podesta shortly before he became President Obama's senior adviser that the president's aides in his first term didn't spend much time pondering climate change:

The aides’ attitudes about climate change, Podesta recalled, were dismissive at best: “Yeah, fine, fine, fine, but it’s ninth on our list of eight really important problems.”
Clearly, if we expect to effectively deal with climate change, that attitude, in the White House or wherever it exists, has to be crushed. We can't do that if we're in despair.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Gulf Watchers Group, DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, and Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Defeatism is just the phase that comes (8+ / 0-)

      after denialism.

      It's true that we probably can't stop shift to a new climate equilibrium.   But the rate at which the shift occurs matters a great deal, especially to the vulnerable human populations.  It also buys us time in which we can preserve much that would otherwise be lost.

      The denialists have been arguing in so many alternatives, we can actually use some of their positions to take heart. It's true that in the grand scheme of things it won't matter if the Earth is a few degrees warmer.  The key is to remember that it makes a huge difference how quickly we get there.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:44:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Klein's huge fallacies (13+ / 0-)

        1) "The pain of doing something serious about the problem is upfront. But the worst effects of global warming won't be visible, even in America, for a long time to come. The true crisis is abstract while the sacrifice required to prevent it is tangible."

        Rapidly phasing in renewable energy will not be painful, but beneficial in the time frame of normal investment.  
        Joe Romm explains:
        'In May, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued yet another major report, “Energy Technology Perspectives 2014,” that said keeping global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2°C (their 2DS scenario) would require investment in clean energy of only about 1% of global GDP per year — but be astoundingly cost-effective: “The $44 trillion additional investment needed to decarbonise the energy system in line with the 2DS by 2050 is more than offset by over $115 trillion in fuel savings – resulting in net savings of $71 trillion.”'

        2) "the hope is that India will continue to develop and Indonesia will continue to develop and Brazil will continue to develop and Sub-Saharan Africa will see growth surge. All that development is carbon intensive, at least using current technologies. If all goes well for the world's poor it's going to go very badly for the planet."

        This fallacy is known as "affirming the consequent" ie assuming the conclusion, implicitly or explicitly.  Technology has hardly remained static since the industrial revolution. Furthermore, current technology includes cost effective renewable supply; in the US, most new electric generation in recent years has been from renewables. Electric cars, which can use renewably generated electricity, are improving in performance and plummeting in cost.  They will be competitive in the mass market this decade, especially considering avoided fuel costs, which can and should be taken into account in auto financing.  

        For India, Brazil, Africa etc, industrialization with fossil fool infrastructure can be skipped; renewable based infrastructure can be deployed directly.  China is choking on the local pollution from coal plants; they have a strong economic incentive to put all their new investment into renewables, and shut down the coal plants ASAP.

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:37:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We need a War on Carbon. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, ypochris, G2geek, Creosote

          We could begin by seizing the assets of anyone dealing carbon or caught either with the substance in their possession or having the paraphernalia to burn it.

          That might mean no more commuting to and from work in POV's with a single passenger. That would be inconvenient for some of us.

          Probably not as inconvenient or as costly as trying to relocate 100 East coast cities with populations over 100,000 and their suburbs to high ground.

          Some people might complain about the cost. Imagine the same people in a mugging getting shot rather than turn over their wallet.

          Next a mandatory minimum sentence of fifty to life for robbery and the attempted murder of 8 million people in the commission of the crime.

          When they got out either the world would be carbon free and temps held to 2°C or at the very least we would have bought some time to move our cities to higher ground.

          "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

          by rktect on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:14:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It would be painful for those currently in power. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean, G2geek

          I.e. the Kochs, CEOs of Exxon, BP, etc.

          To these people there is no such thing as "fuel savings" ... just lost revenue.

          "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

          by nosleep4u on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 05:11:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  well thought out (26+ / 0-)

    It needs to be done. Probably it all hinges on the leadership of the next President. Obama seems to have come around, but it needs to be ramped up massively.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:27:32 AM PDT

    •  It hinges, I believe, (31+ / 0-)

      on moving the Overton Window so that discussion is no longer about the NEED to move from a fossil fuel-driven economy (and the inevitable debate about that need) to a focus on  how that is actively being done and implemented.

      Of course, flamboyant and triumphant leadership that comes in a rollout package of a 21st Century Manhattan or "Man to the Moon" project is one spectacular way that could happen, but even something along those lines has accepted and established models of flack and pushback to slow it.

      So, I'm not certain that your assertion is correct.

      ;-)

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:38:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   (7+ / 0-)

        400,000 people occupying k street, mass arrests and blood in the streets.

        while the arctic ice caps collapse and food/fuel prices explode.

        Be the change that you want to see in the world

        by New Minas on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:44:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm also not sure that this very (12+ / 0-)

          specific crisis is one that the "400,000 people in the street" type solutions apply.

          But that's a different diary, so I'll not hijack.

          I guess what I'm trying to get at is that this problem not only calls for new and imaginative solutions, it may also call for a new kind of activism.

          One I know there are folks in this community who are equipped to imagine.  

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:56:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It will take 400,000 (6+ / 0-)

            to repeal citizen's united and replace it with a move to amend the constitution, define all campaign spending under the public domain and redefine the term "corporate personhood".

            Only then will we be able to create the domestic economic environment where offshore tax loopholes are non-existent and the top-tier tax rate is returned to a just and reasonable 65%.

            Only then will we be able to rewrite/remove the TPP and TTIP so that carbon emissions are included as a tariff.  Only then will we be able to include recent science understandings of West Antarctic sea level rise in our Social Cost of Carbon values (hint: at a 1.5% discount rate - where the value of your grandchildren's life at age 30 is only 40% of your life's value at age 30 today) will be around $250 dollars per ton in today's dollars increasing to over $500 per ton by 2040.  (current Obama admin values are around $25.00)

            Once these situational environments are in place, only then can we begin to allocate public funds away from the military domain and produce a response to the war on emissions.  Reducing our national emissions profile by 80% in 20 years. (from 2012 emission values)

            Even with this action, working on a global scale, we will not be able to save the arctic ice cap from melting in 2025, the radical drought and weather pattern changes that will result from it, the increase in average temperatures over 2.5C above what they were in pre-industrial average and the relocation of southwestern desert cities and agriculture centers in California.

            This is the optimistic outlook.

            I believe that it can happen.  But it will take 400,000 people to occupy K street for about a year, probably with a national support network.

            the IPCC has understated the effects of climate change by a very wide degree.

            Be the change that you want to see in the world

            by New Minas on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:40:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It will take more than that (9+ / 0-)

              in that we will have to flood the mainstream media outlets as well with protests.

              ALL of our institutions have been hollowed out by the greed ethos. There are none left with heart intact or souls for that matter. So the zombie is all around us - me

              by glitterscale on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:49:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  As a resident of a neighborhood (10+ / 0-)

              that's not very far from K street, I do not believe that occupying it is the answer. This is not a community that responds to people in the streets the way everyone else does.

              This has been a personal button for me for quite a while, so I won't hijack the discussion any more than I already have, but the jury's still out (in evidence terms, I mean) as to whether or not this is the most effective way to move TPTB who have had as many years of fighting grassroots activism and organizing and those doing the activism and organizing have had improving on it.

              Sometimes, its not just despair that is a detour, sometimes its formulaic forms of protest that are, too.

              Just a thought.

               

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:51:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it was the WWI veterans demanding their pensions (3+ / 0-)

                in D.C. that spurred the new deal.

                it will take a similar mobilization to enact a similar response.

                This is absolutely on topic with the diary.  This is about response and initiating the necessary changes.

                I don't care if the "people" on k street don't react to people on the street like "other" people do.

                If D.C. has failed the public then D.C. will have to change.

                Be the change that you want to see in the world

                by New Minas on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:59:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes that's true (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek, Creosote, SGA, qofdisks

                  but that was 83 some odd years ago in a very different media and political climate when the establishment had a fear of people in the street.

                  But the media is different now, the cultural context is different now, the political culture is a dramatically different one and the establishment not only has no fear of people in the street, they have proven techniques to fight against, terrorize, minimize and or ridicule people in the street.

                  (And even then, it depended very much on which people were in the street).

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 06:04:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  yes, I understand those hurdles (0+ / 0-)

                    not to mention, confusion, complacency and outright economic paralysis of the middle class.

                    All of these things work against a populist movement overthrowing the fossil fuel cartel that is working so hard to kill our children.  I mean this literally.  They want to suppress real action to maintain a profit.  The suppression of real action over the last 20 years has led us to an arctic tipping point.  

                    Do you have a better solution?  If so I would love to hear your ideas!

                    Be the change that you want to see in the world

                    by New Minas on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 10:07:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  but what they can't stop is... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... something that looks like "business as usual," by which is meant a few thousand people in "proper business attire" who descend on Congress looking like nothing unusual ...and then peacefully occupy and refuse to budge until the police give the order.

                    Repeat on random days closely spaced to make the message clear.  

                    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                    by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:46:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  We're trying to move TPTB? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ypochris, New Minas, Creosote

                The only way I think that's feasible is to send small groups of people who wear the right clothes, talk the right talk, send all the right signals that their allegiances are correct, to talk to certain targeted members of the 1% and try to persuade them to fight and stop their sociopathic counterparts. I guess it's worth trying, but I have the queasy feeling that that's what we've been trying to do for the last 25 years in the big NGO environmental movement.

                The only other thing we might do is attempt to drop out of their economy and build our own--in other words, challenge fossil fuel by moving our money out of it, putting ourselves onto other forms of energy, and making it less profitable. Unfortunately, the world's militaries are still gulping the stuff down regardless, so I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a chance.

                There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:41:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  yes, that's the risk alright. (0+ / 0-)

          If we don't succeed at this, we will see exploding food prices and blood in the streets.  And that will be the least of our worries.

          However it would take far fewer than 400,000 people to occupy Congress, with substantial effect if it was done right.  That means peaceful and persistent, not a flash in the pan and not a riot in disguise.  

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:43:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and (28+ / 0-)

        so that the discussion includes this:

        Outfitting the world in clean, renewable sources of energy while cutting carbon dioxide emissions to zero will generate millions of jobs, sustainable jobs, trillions of dollars worth of jobs.
        The idea that what needs to be done is some kind of nasty medicine that must be swallowed has worked like a charm for people who base their fortunes on wrecking the climate. That needs to change.


        Shop Kos Katalogue ❧ Help Okiciyap at Cheyenne River reservation.

        by belinda ridgewood on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:44:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  See also: Solar Roadways (12+ / 0-)

          They're made out of recycled materials and are more than just roadways, but also stormwater channellers and electrical and phone cable corridors:

          https://www.indiegogo.com/...

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:32:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Solar Roadway is a superb metaphor (15+ / 0-)

            … but it is not just symbolic: the technology has established credibility with major institutions.

            From the website
            https://www.indiegogo.com/...

            "Solar Roadways has received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for research and development of a paving system that will pay for itself over its lifespan. We are about to wrap up our Phase II contract (to build a prototype parking lot) and now need to raise funding for production.

            "Our glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing, and impact resistance testing in civil engineering laboratories around the country, and exceeded all requirements.

            "Solar Roadways is a modular system that will modernize our aging infrastructure with an intelligent system that can become the new Smart Grid. We won the Community Award of $50,000 by getting the most votes in GE's Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Grid" in 2010. We had the most votes again in their 2011 Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Home".

            "On August 21, 2013, Solar Roadways was selected by their peers as a Finalist in the World Technology Award For Energy, presented in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, and Science.

            "Solar Roadways was chosen by Google to be one of their Moonshots in May of 2013."

            There's no such thing as a free market!

            by Albanius on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:01:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What I love most about it: Its footprint (6+ / 0-)

              And not just in terms of its use of recyclable materials.

              I mean its actual, physical footprint.

              It doesn't need to take up any more acres than have already been paved.  Just replace the asphalt and concrete with these panels.

              At one stroke, NIMBY issues and wilderness issues associated with conventional solar and wind farms are... no longer issues.  

              This isn't to say that there won't be a place for conventional solar or wind farms.  (I myself think that repurposing old offshore oil drilling rigs for wind and solar farms would make a lot of sense.)  But there won't need to be quite as many of them, once Solar Roadways takes off.

              Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

              by Phoenix Woman on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:13:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Most existing roads are going to be underwater. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1, a gilas girl, ypochris, qofdisks

                That's what we already have locked into the system so as I see it here are the choices.

                1. Stop burning carbon. Stop now cold turkey.  Make it a Federal crime with a penalty equivalent to the consequences the rest of us will face if carbon burners aren't stopped.

                2. Relocate 100 East Cost cities with populations that can't be saved with sea walls and levees back 100 miles from the ocean regardless of the cost, which would be more than our gross GNP for the next century.

                3. Do nothing. The problem is anthropogenic and therefore self correcting.

                "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                by rktect on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:29:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sadly, I think it will be an attempt at all three. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  qofdisks

                  We'll cut carbon consumption, but far too little and far too late. The wealthy who own ocean and riverfront homes, the first to go, will be relocated at public expense, but by the time the water reaches the middle class homes a bit further back we will have "found" that this approach is too expensive. Eventually we will realize that there is nothing we can do; we should have acted in the early 21st century at the latest. And the problem will "correct" itself as zoo-plankton dissolve in the acidic seas and the ecosystems which support us totally collapse.

                  And me? I switched to solar in 1980, but my grandchildren are still going to pay the price for this obscene greed.

                •  Roads in Montana will be underwater? (0+ / 0-)

                  Or Wisconsin?

                  Or Arizona?

                  Or Tennessee?

                  Um, I don't think so.

                  Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

                  by Phoenix Woman on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 09:09:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  About 90% of roads are in ciies and suburbs (0+ / 0-)

                    about 90% of world population is located in cities near coasts. The reason is that before we had cars running on asphalt and concrete we had rivers and river mouths where the first and now the largest cities originated.

                    There are 100 East coast cities with populations greater than 100,000. How many can you name that are far enough inland?

                    Wisconsin probably will still be recovering from its own internal civil war in 2050, Nashville will be in decline since its musicians won't have any place to play.

                    Cities like Phoenix and Vegas will have their own especially nasty problems to deal with such as temperatures, running out of water in every source presently supplying them, a general breakdown in distribution networks that begin with bulk cargo's being shipped to port cities and their rail heads.

                    The purpose of a road is to go from one place to another. If not physically underwater in Tennessee, being cut off from the cities that are physically underwater at the other end of the road tends to leave you with a road to nowhere.

                    "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                    by rktect on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:50:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  90%? I'd like to see the facts behind this claim. (0+ / 0-)

                      I see that 39% of the US population lives in counties that border an ocean.

                      From the NOAA here

                      With a quick web search, I find that about 50% of the world population lives withing 50 miles of a coast.

                      Where does the next 40-50% live that you foresee as "underwater?"

                      And the 100 cities over 100,000 - how many can you name that "are not far enough inland" (as if you know what that figure is, anyways)

                      I agree that there is a problem, but making up 90%* of your statistics doesn't help your stance in the least.

                      * - results may vary

                      There is no "path" to choose. The path is what is behind you that led you to today. What lies in front of you is not a fork in the road - a choice of paths to take, but rather an empty field for you to blaze your own direction.

                      by cbabob on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:50:46 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Where coastlines are now is subject to change (0+ / 0-)

                        Try moving the east coast back 100 miles to where sea levels will be at when they finish rising. All of that population needs to move

                        global sea level rise map.

                        "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                        by rktect on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:24:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  "Will be" (0+ / 0-)

                          Again, you don't have any clue where they will be when they finish rising, because no one does. Your link is simply a "what it would look like if" scenario builder.

                          It could rise 3 feet, 1 foot, or 30. When will it hit these levels? 50 years? 100 years? 150?

                          To not build these roads based on an unknown effect an unknown number of years down the line is not exactly good policy.

                          How long do you expect roads to last? Our superhighway system is not even 60 years old. Has it been worth the investment?

                          There is no "path" to choose. The path is what is behind you that led you to today. What lies in front of you is not a fork in the road - a choice of paths to take, but rather an empty field for you to blaze your own direction.

                          by cbabob on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:28:05 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Look at the global sea level rise map (0+ / 0-)

                            in the link above. consider that sea levels are expected to rise 2 feet by 2050 and 4 feet by 2100. They don't stop there.

                            Sea levels will rise with temperature.

                            By 2125 temps are off the chart. Ultimately sea levels reach 60 m above present day levels. If the IPCC Report V is true to form by the next report its worst case will be exceeded. You can compare where the other earlier reports projected it would be and when.

                            Its stupid to invest billions in putting infrastructure where as the Boston "Big Dig" study has show its in the flood plain insurance map cat V and can't get affordable flood insurance.

                            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                            by rktect on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 01:49:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Re: How long do I expect roads to last (0+ / 0-)

                            US Route 1 was built along the East Coast from Maine to Florida connecting pieces of road that predate the American revolution, so I'm going to answer your question with "until they are widened and turned into bigger roads".

                            Now in places such as Boston US route 1 had been elevated so in "the Big Dig" it got lowered and run under the city instead of over it. In sections it became known as route 95.  

                            Now the reason Boston was anxious about the road being elevated was it cut neighborhoods such as "the North End" off from the rest of the city which in the 50's had been through Urban renewal which took the old "Scully Square" out to build "Government Center and the old "Combat Zone out to build a new "Downtown"

                            Along with the various parcels of depressed roadway there were also subways moved and renovated at North and South Station and all along the Red Line, parts of the Green and Blue Line and along the Orange line with a New Silver Line added to get you to new infrastructure on filled land east and south of the old Boston. There were major changes to South Boston, Chinatown, the South end all facilitating the connection with 19 parcels of new buildings over what had been the old roadway.

                            Charlestown, Somerville, Cambridge, and other inner belt cities adjacent to Boston saw their feeder roads and bridges into the city massively reworked.

                            That project ran from the Tobin bridge between Chelsea and Charlestown south as far as Quincy, a distance of perhaps 15 miles North - South and perhaps affecting other areas within a mile East West.

                            I'll submit to you that its planning and coordination with airports, seaports, railroads, and everything built in Boston since 1945 when the planning for Eisenhower's National Defense Highway System got started was a pretty big project.

                            All of that along with the rest of the Bos Wash Corridor, Boston, New York, Washington DC, plus tributaries like Portland Me south to Boston and Washington south to Norfolk, VA as lone long strip city is now expected to sink beneath the waves between 2035 and 2050. Throw in the State of Delaware, the Jersey coast and the eastern half of every state south of Norfolk as well as the state of Florida. all needing to be relocated back to the Appalachians while the Gulf coast moves north almost as far as Oklahoma.

                            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                            by rktect on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 05:35:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The East and Gulf coasts of the US at 60 M SLR (0+ / 0-)

                            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                            by rktect on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 05:47:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  shut down coal and telecommute. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rktect

                  Coal fired power generation is responsible for 30% of our carbon output, and should be our #1 target.

                  Replacing coal with renewables & nuclear is the fastest way to get ahead of the problem sufficiently to give us room for longer-term technology transitions.  The idea that an offshore wind farm takes 10 years to get approved because some 1%ers think they own "the view" is absurd.  The idea that a nuclear reactor takes 10 years to get approved is equally absurd.  These red-tape delays can be shrunk to a year or at most two, and gigawatts can go online in 5 years.

                  The fastest way to get cars off the road is with telecommuting.  Anyone whose job consists of using a telephone and computer all day, and meeting with coworkers, and does not have to put their physical hands on products, is a candidate for telework.  This is a no-brainer and it also increases productivity and saves companies the cost of needless office space.  

                  Telecommuting should be mandatory, backed up by strong carrots and sticks.

                  And all those newly-empty highrises can be converted to housing, thereby solving for both homelessness and affordability.

                  We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                  by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:00:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes telecommuting is a good alternative (0+ / 0-)

                    If what you do all day is spend your day in meetings, For many people electronic communications mean never really having to go outside at all.

                    Some people haven't as yet learned that machines should do the work and people should think but Asia has.

                    If in addition to telecommuting (for me that means doing Cad drawings at home at emailing them to an employer) you think its important for the people doing the work in India, China, the Philippines or Columbia to work at a rate  that makes it possible for Americans also to make a living telecommuting you should make sure to have some language to that effect in the TPP.

                    "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                    by rktect on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:58:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  a general tax on offshored work... (0+ / 0-)

                      ... should solve that.  

                      But realistically what we need to do is undo the whole globalization thing, which has only been useful for labor arbitrage on a global scale.

                      BTW, I telecommute most days, as I can do almost all of my work from my home office desk.  Total mileage on my vehicle is about 1/2 of USA average, and fuel consumption is about 1/4 of average.  (I use an aftermarket MPG meter called "Scan Gauge" to optimize my driving efficiency.)

                      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                      by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:50:53 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  i'm highly skeptical. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SGA, qofdisks

            Glass pavement, subjected to heavy traffic and winter maintenance with snow plows and grit spreaders?  

            BTW, "snow melting" is absurd: the energy requirement to phase-change solid water to liquid water is prohibitive.  This has been tried before and failed for that reason, which cannot be overcome: it will always take X BTUs of energy to melt Y grams of snow/ice, that will not change, and the energy input is too large to be practical regardless of energy source.

            So we're stuck with snow plows and gritters, will will destroy a glass road surface.

            Put the photovoltaics alongside the verges of the highways, where there is sufficient open space to do the job.  No gimmicks needed.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:53:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I think it hinges on (10+ / 0-)

        leadership that fully understands the magnitude of this crisis.

        Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

        by Bob Love on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:40:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You mean if they act who pays for their campaign? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, a gilas girl

          Its a basic "Your Money or your Life" scenario.

          Politicians expect the Koch brothers to keep the money flowing if and only if they keep denying climate change, evolution, and science, while suppressing the vote.

          "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

          by rktect on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:33:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It depends on taking the House and outlawing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          voter suppression and gerrymanders. The public already understands the problem, but has not been allowed to vote for Representatives who would actually represent them.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:49:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  12/12 and 9/11. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, qofdisks, Bob Love

          We almost had that leadership in the person of Al Gore, President of the United States.

          But on 12/12/2000, the US Supreme Court "decided" and gave us "the decider."

          Had Gore been in office, he also would have taken the CIA reports on Al Qaeda seriously: Gore was already cozy with the US Intelligence Community, as his support of NSA crypto policies during the Clinton Administration makes clear.

          Thus it's highly likely that Gore would have reacted properly to the CIA warnings, and the 9/11 attack would have been thwarted.  

          Minus 9/11, also minus the post-9/11 recession, minus the "stimulus program" to undo that recession, thus also minus the housing bubble and the 2008 crash, where would we be today?

          A whole different timeline into a whole different future.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:04:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Zumrum13

            Al Gore single-handedly would have kept the dot.com bubble from bursting in 2001?  Really?

            And, explain again how Super-Al would have avoided the housing/finance bubble of the 2000's,...and it's subsequent collapse in 2008?  Oh, wait, he wasn't part of the sleezy Clinton-Wall Street-Deregulation-NAFTA economy of the 1990's,...or was he?

            The only thing that would have been different if Al Gore had gotten more votes than GWB in Florida (and we'll never really know if he did) is that the economy would have collapsed in 2008 on a Democrat's watch.  That's assuming he was re-elected in 2004, which is a big stretch, because without the Iraq war, it's unlikely Bush would have been re-elected.  And, President Palin would be denying climate change as we speak.

            •  gore got the total vote in Florida (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Love, Eric Nelson

              Propagating rightwing squawking points risks the donut.

              "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

              by ozsea1 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:50:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Gore would have appointed Roberts Chief Justice? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eric Nelson, ozsea1
              The only thing that would have been different if Al Gore had gotten more votes than GWB in Florida (and we'll never really know if he did) is that the economy ...
              You also omit the fact that a full recount of the votes in Florida revealed that whether any chads were counted or not, Gore won by anywhere from several hundred to 20,000+ votes.

              For someone who doesn't know shit, how is it you're so full of it?

              Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

              by Bob Love on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:03:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  People need an incentive to make a tough choice (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, a gilas girl

        Right now we are as a planet all thoroughly addicted to cheap fossil fuel energy. I can't even exclude indigenous tribes located in jungles using chain saws and bulldozers to clear forests so they can plant palm oil trees.  

        Our lives revolve around cheap fossil fuels. If they were to become scares we would probably kill to have them.

        That's why we need to make burning carbon a zero tolerance mandated federal crime and begin putting all the people who can't get their lives straight without burning carbon in FEMA camps located at sea level.

        "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

        by rktect on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:22:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Having been to a number of those jungles, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, rktect

          it isn't the indigenous people clearing the forests for palm oil. It is the one percenters who claim to own their land.

          •  Ultimately its the 1%er demand (0+ / 0-)

            and the locals going into state parks and preserves doing what is necessary to their forest in India, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Thailand or if you prefer Briazil, Columbia, Ecuador, or Somalia, Kenya, Mali, Tansania, Botswana, and all the rest trying to get by day by day.

            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

            by rktect on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:30:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  nice rhetoric but... (0+ / 0-)

          ... when can I buy an electric tradesman's van with 120 mile range?  

          For that matter, tell us how you're going to power heavy construction equipment of any kind that has to operate full-time on job sites without external power, including the trucks that deliver the building materials.

          "Zero tolerance" is nonsense.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:09:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Easy Peasy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks

            We find a working balance between the convenience of cheap fossil fuel energy and the global death of everything that walks or crawls, swims or flies in a pre industrial revolution technological civilization of nation states rather than global empires.

            1. Prior to the last couple of centuries there were no gas powered vehicles, things like roads and bridges, cathedrals and public buildings still got erected.

            2. We work local, or telecommute; get used to a world where people no longer use POV vehicles or commute 120 miles to work in cities, they work closer to home using hand tools they can transport in a bicycle driven hand cart.

            3. Mobile Heavy equipment can work off batteries like submarines.

            4. Large industrial facilities and the battery charging stations can be water powered, or use geothermal. Germany already gets most of its power from solar and wind. There are lots of possible alternative energy sources for large projects requiring large equipment.

            5. How about trucks no longer deliver building materials. Instead they are delivered by barges on rivers to your town, where you go get them with your bicycle powered cart that has a trailer on the back.

            Its conceivable that for a heavy load you need a cart powered by more than one bike so your entire construction crew goes with you ganged up on their bikes like several teams of oxen.

            We could even use oxen if we maintain our diversity of species and put a break on species extinctions, although maintaining them would require that we don't make the family farm go extinct as well.

            As for zero tolerance of carbon burning, it beats the alternative...

            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

            by rktect on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:23:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  oh my, that's funny. (0+ / 0-)

              Pardon me for being harsh while I tear your arguements to shreds.  Really: if you're serious about dealing with climate change, you're going to have to do better than this, because you would be laughed out of any gathering of real tradespeople for what you said.  

              0)  You're showing your stripes as someone who does his job on a computer and has never built anything substantial with his own hands.  (I also work on a computer or two, but I'm an infrastructure freak and I've studied a wide range of this stuff in detail, and built enough stuff with my hands to know better.)

              1)  Prior to the last century, there was also no sewage disposal or other public sanitation, and people lived to about age 48.  "Prior to the last century" = failed arguement.  "Prior to the last couple of centuries" takes us back to endemic cholera, typhoid, etc. etc.  Try shitting in a bucket and dumping it in the street for a month or until the public health inspector pays you a visit, whichever comes first.

              2a)  Telecommute works for people such as ourselves who spend our work day on the computer and telephone.  It should be mandatory for all such workers, but it does not solve for workers who have to put hands on products.

              2b)  Commuting by car at those distances will price itself out of the market, so that problem is self-solving.

              2c)  Work closer to home using hand tools they can transport in a bicycle cart:   Dude, what are you smoking and where can I get some?  That is downright hallucinatory.

              I actually did this for a while (PBX engineer here, commercial telephone systems) as one of my hardcore sustainability experiments.  The result was that it is simply not possible given the quantity of material needed on job sites.  But if you can tell me how to transport a PBX cabinet and 120 telephones in a hand cart, or cable crew supplies including 8' ladders, I'll give you a box of chocolates.  And this is an "easy" trade compared to construction or some others that involve large heavy bulky materials.

              As for "hand tools," I dare you to dig a basement and pour a foundation using only hand tools.  Really: you should try it some day, and let us know how it goes.  As a matter of fact, I know exactly how to do this with the absolute minimum of "technology" and power consumption, but I'm not going to give away the details, you'll have to find them for yourself.  

              3)  "Mobile heavy equipment can work off batteries" is also a full-on demonstration of complete ignorance of how these things work.  Submarines have all the space they need for batteries.  Heavy equipment does not.

              In fact there is a way to run on-site equipment with electricity, using flexible cables to the power supplies.  This has already been demonstrated for excavators in open-pit mining operations, going back to the early mid 20th century (keyword search "electric mining shovel") and continuing to the present.  It was also demonstrated for haul trucks in mining operations, using trolly systems for power since the trucks ran fixed routes  (keyword search "trolly trucks").  

              In fact, a certain amount of truck traffic in cities can operate on a trolly system (think of San Francisco Muni buses), and some examples have been built and put into regular service.  But those trucks also need backup power to get to destinations off the trolly lines, and for that, batteries are not sufficient.  

              Batteries work for municipal vehicles: buses and refuse collectors were so powered in France, the UK, and other countries in Europe from about the 1930s through the 1980s.  Very often the power came from the refuse incinerators, which were used to generate electricity for this purpose and to feed into the grid.

              However this does not get us power for equipment that has to move around a large site, such as for wind turbine erection or solar farm construction, much less for agriculture.  Tell us, how are we going to harvest grain...?  

              4)  Water powered or geothermal:  Utility scale hydroelectric is already tapped out, there is no more to go around.  Geothermal is experimental and not ready for commercial deployment probably for another 20 years.  What we have right now are wind, solar, and nuclear.  

              5)  No more trucks, and "barges on rivers to you town, go get them (building materials) with your bicycle powered cart."  That's absurd to the point of being beneath contempt.  More than anything else, this says loud & clear that you've never built anything in your life.

              5.1)  Materials for concrete and masonry weigh 1-1/2 to 2 tons per cubic yard.  I dare you to try to haul a few sacks of Quick Mix concrete on a bicycle trailer for a few miles.  Clue: one cubic foot of concrete is two 80 pound sacks, and it takes the equivalent of about 864 of those sacks to put in a small house foundation.

              5.2)  Long span dimensional timber, plywood, sheetrock, large window glass, doors, plumbing pipe:  the sizes of all of these materials exceed anything that can reasonably be carried by bike trailer.  Try carrying a few sheets of plywood or sheetrock on a bike trailer, and let us know how it goes.  Really, please do it.

              5.3)  "...your entire construction crew goes with you ganged up on their bikes like several teams of oxen."  That gets two "not even wrong" awards:  One for total fail on the issue of carrying large bulky items such as dimensional timber, sheetrock, and plywood.  The other for failing to think of the obvious solution in the form of multiple-person pedal powered vehicles with 6- or 8-wheel chassis, even if these would be highly inefficient for other reasons.

              5.4)  "... we could even use oxen...."  So tell me, how are we going to clean the ox shit off the streets?  I know the actual low-tech answer to this one in detail too, so don't try to BS it (hint: it's not guys with hand brooms).

              Clue: in most cities where horses were the major mode of transport, horse shit was up to a foot deep in the streets until the early 20th century.  Knee-high boots weren't a fashion accessory, they were a practical necessity for wading through the shit.  

              On dry days the shit turned to dust and caused respiratory diseases.  On wet days it turned to mud.  Every day it bred clouds of flies that landed on food and transmitted additional dangerous diseases that way.  When the automobile was first invented, it was recognized as a major boon for public health because it would do away with the megatons of horse shit in the streets, and the stench, and the swarming clouds of flies, and the diseases they carried.

              ---

              Really: before you spout stuff about a total ban on combustion, you need to do your reading or you'll look like a complete fool.  

              In fact there is a sustainable level of combustion, far below the present level, but sufficient to handle essential needs such as transport of heavy goods and materials.  

              Here's another clue:  Next time you eat, think about where your plate came from and where your eating utensils came from.  The moment you pick up a spoon, you've bought the entire industrial infrastructure that was used to produce it.  Think about that spoon.  Think about the pipes that deliver your water.  Next time you see a fire engine, go home and read up on what it takes to make firefighting and fire apparatus work.  

              Your passion for sustainability is admirable.  Once you understand infrastructure, it might get you somewhere.  Until then please do us the favor of reading up rather than spouting off on subjects about which you haven't a clue.

              And again, apologies for being harsh, but you really need to know this if you expect to be active for sustainability.  Not just for your sake, but for the sake of being able to effectively persuade undecideds.  

              We got the future back. Uh-oh.

              by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:54:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  He who laughs last (0+ / 0-)

                I'm 68. I have worked with my hands all my life, mostly in construction but also fishing, farming and boat building.

                As an architect and engineer I have some experience building new cities from scratch. This one was designed to service the new southern oil fields in 1993 and I supervised the construction on site.

                Hawtah Saudia Arabia

                When I first showed up on this site there wasn't even a road to it, No sub station for power

                The decline of Ghwar

                "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                by rktect on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:39:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK, so apologies for my assumptions... (0+ / 0-)

                  .... but really, indulge me in the answers to some of these questions:

                  A house foundation's worth of concrete via bicycle trailer?

                  Mixed & placed how, exactly?

                  Not to mention, all the rebar, all the dimensional timber, plywood & sheetrock, doors & windows?

                  Really: Please do operationalize the variables, because if you can demonstrate how barges & bike trailers, plus other human-powered and animal-powered tech, can replace all or even most of the trucks and power tools in America, you'll be up for a MacArthur Genius Grant.  Between now & then, I'll remain skeptical.

                  We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                  by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:55:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Try and imagine no carbon burning (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    G2geek

                    No lime burning for concrete.Stone foundations.

                    I live in a place surrounded by the cutting edge lime burning technology of 1825, so I'm aware of its importance. Indeed my farm could transition back to an earlier time but methinks I'm just not tough enough to pull it off.

                    I might have a few years left to figure out what to do. If the wife and I live too long doubtful that we can get down the mountain to a store and back, or out to Camden where my wife's healthcare is or Augusta where my health care is on a bike or using skis or snowshoes in winter.

                    I possibly could go to the equine rescue and ask to take care of an abused horse; then substitute horses and maybe even oxen  to pull my loads but to be honest the amount of veterinary care a horse or an ox needs is way out of my league as would be scything their hay, fencing in the land and keeping them out of the apple orchard because too much sugar from apples is not good for them.

                    Lets allow it won't be easy for me either. In addition to my pickup I have chain saws, lawn tractors, cultivators, trimmers, leaf blowers the outboard on my boat; all gas powered. After that a slew of electric or battery powered tools. I can imagine an alternative energy source for the electricity but how do I replace the battery packs after there are no more stores? It might be possible to convert all the power tools  to run on some other fuel or energy source, I haven't found it yet.

                    That means using a wheelbarrow instead of a cart, or a yard cart with large bicycle tires. Pulling heavy loads like trees uphill with a come along. Cutting wood with an axe. Gardening with a hoe, its tough at my age now and just gets harder as the years pass.

                    Eventually we get to where there is no electricity except from wind and solar. If you invest in them while you are young and still working that's wise. Eventually its no longer an option and you just hope to run the clock out and be gone by 2050.

                    "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                    by rktect on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:10:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  stone foundations? earthquake much? (0+ / 0-)

                      Stone foundations = unreinforced masonry, say "byebye" in an earthquake of more than about magnitude 4.

                      I see we have at least one link in common, as I read "low-tech magazine" also, and there you'll find the article on trolly trucks and a few other things.

                      Roman concrete used pozzolanic cement in higher proportion than we use portland today.  They also apparently used a very low w/c ratio: this I infer from a) they carried their concrete to the work in containers that would not hold a high-slump wet mix, and b) they pounded it into the forms in a manner analogous to early 20th century reinforced concrete practice.  If per Low Tech Mag, Roman underwater placements used pozzolanic ash + lime, the description sounds like "neat cement mortar," which we don't use today due to cracking under freeze/thaw cycles (not a problem in a Mediterranean climate).

                      --

                      "Not tough enough to pull it off" means that under your "zero tolerance" proposal, you die, slowly and miserably, or quickly via choosing the time/manner of your exit.  (I know of a painless way to do that, but I do not publicize it.)  But the point is, declining life expectancy is a non-starter as far as policy acceptance goes.  

                      I have a ferocious dislike for "consumer culture," but one has to be careful how one goes about putting that in the mix for sustainability policy, lest one scare off enough votes to lose the whole thing.  

                      Horses & oxen were, in their day, only for the relatively wealthy or those with younger people to care for them.  Internal combustion was a vast equalizer in every society that used it.  The need for new power sources should not produce a return to medievalism.

                      Scything as a method of harvest entails either a return to a full-on agrarian society or slavery.  The "combination harvester-thresher" aka "the combine" was another great liberator, see also some pretty awesome photos of 1920s combines pulled by teams of 60 or so horses, where the working mechanisms were driven by gearing from the wheels.  This may actually be viable to bring back, and of course in rural areas the manure can be returned to the soil rather than causing a huge sanitation problem as it would in the city.

                      Lawn tractors and leaf blowers: sounds like your lifestyle is far more energy-intensive than mine, as lawns are a huge resource-sink for inedible ornamentation.  I also don't use battery-powered tools: batteries should be limited to applications for which there are no substitutes.  

                      The way I approach this is by a technological and moral decision matrix that is based on necessity.  For example one can cut dimensional timber with a hand saw, but use a power saw for cutting plywood; in general electric motors are justified where the work exceeds about a 200 watt steady load that is the limit for humans who are not athletes.

                      Motor vehicles are justified for hauling heavy or bulky loads, but not for carrying people in applications where telecoms can perform the task (e.g. telecommuting for office work).  I invented a key enabling technology for telecommuting in 1998 that went global in 2004.

                      Wheelbarrows are obsolete; see also "Ransome concrete cart," whereby one person could move 6 cubic feet (nearly a half ton) over a hard level surface such as planks on a work site, on muscle power alone.  The same principle (two large wheels with axle at load center of gravity) can be adopted to other types of heavy or bulky loads.  Come-alongs are also obsolete: a worm-gear-driven winch connected to a pedal-power frame will do the trick.  Axes for splitting wood are obsoleted by hand-powered hydraulic wedges.  Chain saws are justified for cutting down trees and cutting up the wood into logs that can be handled by hand labor.

                      Anyway, "the sustainable morality of necessity" also gets us a highly spartan lifestyle (no lawns, no video games, no big TVs, no consumer foof in general, no exotic travel, no commuting to office jobs, no Christmas or birthday buying sprees, etc.), but allows use of resources for accessibility such as additional motors for people who can't use muscles for whatever-tasks including transportation.  

                      Being gone by 2050 is not an option for GenX or the Millennials, nor the as-yet unnamed generations that follow.  

                      The persistence of a scientifically and technologically capable civilization for another half billion years on Earth, and trillions of years in the galaxy at-large, is the goal.  

                      My standards and plans for sustainability, including spartan lifestyle and the morality of necessity, are based on that goal.

                      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                      by G2geek on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 03:12:08 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Stone masonry built the pyramids (0+ / 0-)

                        and quite a bit of the polygonal masonry of the megalithic broch's or round houses is still around as well.

                        Modern seismic codes find the height of modern buildings is what allows the seismic waves to shake them to pieces. Stone foundations surrounded by earth generally do OK.

                        Roman concrete used light weight volcanic ash as an aggregate mixed with lime cement, sand, and water making it waterproof.

                        We used them in my area to haul lime casks in hay wagons, 100 casks to the wagon and a double team over my mountain to the ports where the lime mortar and cement was shipped in coasting schooners to New York to build the stone infrastructure that is still there today.

                        As for not being tough enough, usually that just means I have to be smarter.

                        Wheel barrows aren't obsolete on rough ground where you are repairing a stone foundation under a barn at the top of a retaining wall.


                        My barn had a tree behind it whose roots heaved the foundation wall which sits on a separate retaining wall that is about twenty feet wide.

                        The truck rims support for the staging were all excavated from the old road that went up the hill past the barn with oxen pulling wagons full of lime casks.

                        Back in 1825 nothing was excavated for the barn foundation, or the house foundation, or the dug wells or the road everything was built up from grade and then bermed.

                        I used a wheelbarrow for this project because you can put stones in it or blocks of wood and a heavy jack and hammer.and run it along a plank and get to where a backhoe or bulldozer would have more difficulty getting in there to work.

                        The cement held together ok but the coefficient of expansion for the stone and the cement is different.

                        Anyway the wheelbarrow was easier for this job.

                        They have a wider tire than my cart and distribute the load better on just one plank and their pan is good for mixing concrete and pouring it into sono tubes. After you get the whole oak tree framing level.

                        As for the Spartan aspects, at 68 I figure I have a limited window of opportunity to get things that were falling down in better shape. Right now I use electricity for my planner and saws and hand power tools and gasoline for my truck and mobile tools because I'm reasonably pragmatic

                        Come along's, ropes, chains, cables purchases are also not obsolete because they are cheap and lightweight and firm but gentle

                        "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                        by rktect on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 08:12:56 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  That's what the despair meme is trying to do. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, YucatanMan, ypochris

        Making the discussion no longer about the NEED to move from a fossil-fuel-driven economy.

        The despair meme drives the conversation in a different direction than you want it to go, of course.

        But the fact is that the NEED to move off fossil fuels doesn't need to be established anymore. Or, rather, it's been as established as it can be barring the majority of the American people having a direct experience of climate catastrophe, which will happen a bit too late to change things.

        To some extent, we are wrong to focus so completely on the climate deniers, as if they are the only thing between us and winning this fight. That strategy is past its prime. When your enemy starts shifting strategies, (as, in this case, from denial to despair) it's as well to shift your own.

        There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:36:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  People who want to be seen as "cool"... (6+ / 0-)

      ... or "smarter than smart" associate that with a bitter, reflexive cynicism.

      Because actually being smart takes effort, and it's much easier to strike a pose.

      Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

      by Phoenix Woman on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:30:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  right on. (0+ / 0-)

        If anything, bitter reflexive cynicism is an attempt to assert dominance, by people who are, at root, insecure.

        It's time we made that attitude as socially unacceptable as nose-picking at the dinner table.

        Actually being smart entails having actual proposals that are empirically and logically sound.  "Complaints without proposals" should be taken as a sign of less-than-smart.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:12:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Climate change is a much bigger problem (14+ / 0-)

    than asteroids. There isn't a killer asteroid headed our way. We've inventoried all the Earth-crossing asteroids and we are good to go for centuries. (Now a comet, on the other hand, can come from any direction at high speed and with little warning.)

    There are people who want to spend large amounts of money to develop systems to move space rocks around, ostensibly to save Earth from an asteroid. But if safety is the goal, it would be much more rational to spend that money on averting climate change. And if learning about the solar system the goal, there are other missions which would have much large scientific payback.

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

    •  actually there IS a killer asteroid headed our way (12+ / 0-)

      but with advance planning it won't kill many people since we'll know exactly when and where it will hit

      it all depends on how much Apophis is affected by Earth's gravity when it makes its close pass in 2029--15 years from now.  if it is pulled into the "keyhole" it will definitely hit us seven years later in 2036

      i might be dead by then

      we might have figured out how to harness the power of tsunami by then

      there will be enough warning that nobody has to die, but there will be enormously expensive property damage to the multimillion dollar homes on the California coast

      and to homes on the eastern coast of Asia as well

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:22:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We will know well in advance whether Apophis (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, Wood Gas, ozsea1

        will pass through the gravitational keyhole in 2029, and that will give us about decade to tweak its orbit if that is necessary.

        American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

        by atana on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:39:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we'll have seven years (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wood Gas, rktect

          but who knows what advanced technology we'll have then that we don;t have now

          we literally can't even imagine it

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:45:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In 2029 plus 13 years, 2042 our West coast cities (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TrueBlueMajority

            rather than escape the flooding our east coast cities are due for that comes from rising sea levels. Its too bad.

            When the west coast gets to experience the same disasters as the east coast only the pot growers will remain high and dry.

            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

            by rktect on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:50:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  No impact in 2036 according to NASA's (4+ / 0-)

          Near Earth Object Program

          As of May 6, 2013 (April 15, 2013 observation arc), the probability of an impact on April 13, 2036 has been eliminated.
          The next chance for an impact is in 2060. Cf. the chart for all Apophis 99942 impact probabilities until 2105

          http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/...

          All probabilities are of order 10^-7 or less.

          American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

          by atana on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:55:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you, atana!! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TrueBlueMajority, BMScott
            No impact in 2036 according to NASA's

            Near Earth Object Program

                As of May 6, 2013 (April 15, 2013 observation arc), the probability of an impact on April 13, 2036 has been eliminated.

            The next chance for an impact is in 2060. Cf. the chart for all Apophis 99942 impact probabilities until 2105

            http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/....

            All probabilities are of order 10^-7 or less.

            "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

            by thanatokephaloides on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 03:38:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  that's great (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BMScott

            i may have been listening to old NdGT speeches

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 05:50:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  none the less... (0+ / 0-)

            ... that does not alleviate the need for space defense.  Our survey of potentially hazardous objects is highly incomplete at present.  And as with Al Qaeda, we have to be right 100% of the time, and the enemy only has to be right ONCE.  Consider the object that hit Russia, if it had smashed into a major city.

            A truly resilient civilization can ditch its addiction to 19th-century energy sources at the same time as it builds a viable space defense.  Walk and chew gum.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:17:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Apply cost benefit analysis to the problem, (0+ / 0-)

              and no -- it does not make sense to build a multi-billion dollar "space defense system" against Chelyabinsk-sized objects (500 KT). Not when you also consider expenditures for other types of natural disasters.

              The proposal is a thinly-disguised boondoggle for the MIC.

              American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

              by atana on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:51:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Without disagreeing on the relative size... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glitterscale, Wood Gas, G2geek

      ...of the problem, the systems to move space rocks around are also going to benefit the environment. They will be an essential component of mining resources beyond those available on this planet. In addition, the extraction of those resources wouldn't take place within a biosphere that is all too often severely damaged by any mining process.

      The ideal solution would be "and" not "or" - because to really make a worldwide difference with, for example, solar technology would require vast amounts of those increasingly scarce natural resources, as well as the financial and human effort.

      •  YES, though... (0+ / 0-)

        ... space mining does not solve for resource depletion on Earth; that myth was debunked by Meadows et.al. in 1970.

        What space mining does, is facilitate construction of space habitats: colonies on the Moon and on Mars and in Earth orbit, etc.

        Those colonies are in turn not a solution to overpopulation: they can't be built fast enough to absorb net population growth.  The purpose of those colonies is the long-term resilience of Earth-originated life, as we spread outward to other planets and other star systems.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:20:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I do believe we need to be clear... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides, hbk, citisven, G2geek

      ...about the very real difference between Cosmic ELEs which are caused by natural events and Human Created ELEs including, but are not limited to, Nuclear Winter and Climate Change.  

      This distinction is necessary to help us realize that the next phase of evolution is the evolution of consciousness.  Survival mandates that our consciousness / awareness must evolve.  

      "... this is a severe existential threat to the Russian state itself, and has been designed as such." Daniel Patrick Welch

      by dharmasyd on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 03:38:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Make Climate Change the Koch brothers problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      Seize all their assets and put them in prison until the hell they have all of us headed for freezes over.

      "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

      by rktect on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:36:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  viable space defense is inexpensive. (0+ / 0-)

      We can do it with current tech and a few tweaks.

      "Climate OR Space" is a false dichotomy.  We can do BOTH.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:14:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A great excuse to militarize near Earth space, (0+ / 0-)

        keep large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and reanimate zombie Reagan's Star Wars program. And to waste NASA money on missions to move asteroids around -- money that is needed for exploration projects with much larger scientific payoffs: exploring asteroids robotically, sample returns, exploring Europa's surface, and a lander in a lake on Titan.

        We should continue monitoring and studying near Earth objects --  but there aren't any Chicxulubs queued up for the next century.

        We don't need heroics to protect the Earth from space rocks. We do need heroics to protect the Earth from climate change.

        American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

        by atana on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:21:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent. The only framing that matters is (15+ / 0-)

    the ppure,  simple,  unadulterated truth.

    And immediate, collective,  unyielding action.

    Thanks,  MB.

  •  inaction (8+ / 0-)
    Would we sit on our hands? Would we listen to the people who suggest that we wait 10 years to make sure the asteroid is really and truly going to clobber us? Would we allow the people who say avoiding obliteration is too expensive to be the ones dictating public policy? Would we let ourselves be led by those who claim other things are more important to take care of than shifting that asteroid off course in the speediest possible timeframe even if it reduces gross world product by a few points for a few years?

    I don't think we would.

    I don't agree. I think that is EXACTLY what politicians and the public would do.
    •  Well, now they would, but think back (9+ / 0-)

      to a time when a mortal threat faced America. FDR saw that fascism was such a threat and he skillfully and insistently pulled and pushed the country into mobilizing the entire American economy into facing that threat and defeating it. In the process, it's arguable that FDR broke the law in a number of instances. People have argued that trading 50 destroyers for Carribean bases exceeded his Constitutional authority, much along the same lines as Obama is now being attacked over the EPA. Sure, it's a different time now, but the President has to spend the next two years talking about the huge threat carbon emissions represent to our civilization and it has to be couched in terms similar to FDR's approach to mobilizing the country. It has been done before and it can be done again.

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

      by Anne Elk on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:14:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Human threats are a great opportunity to exercise (4+ / 0-)

        control via politics.

        Global threats to climate stability, food security, and water access--well that's going to breed some totalitarian thinking, but in the end, survival during catastrophies like that will win out over political power grabbing.

        And no matter what, it's going to suck for people who are the most vulnerable, poor, and powerless.

        Now is the time to not only decide how we can mitigate the worst of it, but also, who we will let call the shots politically speaking.

        Hint: GOP is a Suicide Cult of Biblical Proportions. Choose Wisely.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:04:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe, if you put the GOP in control (0+ / 0-)

          and let them take over large parts of the world via war, they would accept the challenge of becoming global dictator - so that we could enforce worldwide draconian energy transformation to save the planet.  Like you said, it will suck for the poor and most vulnerable either way, so why not this way?  

          Of course like in communist Russia, the power-elites would live in mansions and eat caviar (and have gas heat and electric lights), while the rest of the world suffered in carbon-free zones.  Any opposition could be sent to the gulags.  

          •  I really hope you are joking (0+ / 0-)

            I have zero sense of humor right now, so you will have to spell it out for me.

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:49:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  A good chunk of the American populace (5+ / 0-)

      would positively rejoice about the imminent arrival of the asteroid and certainly would not want to avoid it. They would name it Wormwood. They'd be delighted that soon they would be lifted bodily up to heaven to meet Jeebus and the evil libtards would be left behind to suffer well-deserved horrors and death following the Rapture.

    •  Certainly the batch we have now are doing that n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wood Gas, thanatokephaloides

      ALL of our institutions have been hollowed out by the greed ethos. There are none left with heart intact or souls for that matter. So the zombie is all around us - me

      by glitterscale on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:01:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ...ah astreroids... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides, BMScott
      Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

      Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

      by paradise50 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:03:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Three cultural changes (12+ / 0-)

    One.  Breed a genuine hatred of utility bills, of anything, indeed, that resembles rent.  It will get people to do the taking of ownership and the capital investing they need to go solar.  Individually at home.  Collectively, as managers and executives at businesses wean themselves from the utility giants.  It might even get politicians to stop subsidizing oil companies.  At 70 cents a watt and falling for solar, we're not only entering uncharted territory with the climate; we're also entering uncharted territory with regard to energy costs and independence.

    Two.  Repeat after me, one kid's usually enough, and three is inevitably too much.  We need an orderly reduction in the planet's population -- and those countries that perceive themselves as being in demographic "crisis" (i.e., they're shrinking), should regard it as an opportunity, not a curse, and if they still feel short-handed, they should open up to immigrants.

    Three.  Real food.  Not processed, genetically modified, antibiotic-laced, immune-system-weakening, herbicide-addled junk.  

    These three things are the challenges of our time.  It's really not that complicated.  The hard part is generating a sense of collective action.  But in the meantime, the more we live out this plan as individuals, the more it will help.

  •  moving in right direction (11+ / 0-)

    I think the failure of leadership - political and moral - is immense, but it does not have to be forever.  I do think the dangers of fossil fuels are becoming more recognized and that there are some baby steps being taken.

     I know it is not enough - my preference would be for an immediate carbon tax set at a level that would cause a massive shift to non-carbon energy; with massive subsidies to all individuals (drivers) who would be subject to higher prices.

    But as fighters - we have to recognize movement even when we think it is too little.

    I think the divestment movement - which is white, college based, and mostly middle-class led; does represent a positive hope.

    In the Unitarian Universalist Association - we managed to get the trustees of the denomination to not oppose  our fossil fuel divestment resolution by compromising on the language - because to us any forward movement is a victory.

    As a result, the National UUA is almost certain to adopt a full fossil fuel divestment strategy at their convention this month in line with the objectives of 350.org and targeting the 200 largest holders of fossil fuel reserves.

    Obviously this is just one step - but symbolic steps tend to shape the moral and political outlook -and it is time to make fossil fuel companies face the same limits as are on tobacco.

    Tobacco, as a killer and recognized health hazard, will bear almost any amount of tax because the less people use it the better.  We want to develop the same cultural attitude towards fossil fuels.

    All radicals are optimists. If we did not believe things could get better, we would not try.

    by tsackton on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:37:10 AM PDT

    •  Wow surprised this hadn't already happened (3+ / 0-)

      As a UU, I am really surprised that we have been investing in fossil fuels up until now.  Thanks for helping to change that!

      The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these O me, O life? Answer. That you are here–that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. - Whitman

      by 350Energy on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:16:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tide seems to be turning (14+ / 0-)

    There are several polls showing more support than in the recent past for action on climate.  
    There are more mentions in the news.  
    The media are making the connection with bad weather, drought etc.  
    The Koch Bros failed to kill the wind program in Kansas and are failing in killing the renewables standard all over the Midwest.
    The GOP is increasingly lame in their opposition with the exception of coal and it supporters.
    Evidence shows the states with the most stringent environmental controls are doing the best economically.  
    And China is saying they will reduce carbon too.

    I have always thought that many people didn't take climate seriously because the gov't and opinion leaders weren't taking it seriously enough, like Obama's people first term.

    But now that is changing and I really think we are at a tipping point in the ability to act.
    We can continue  with activism, support gubernatorial and other candidates that support climate action.  Now is not the time for despair.

    Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

    by Mimikatz on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:37:49 AM PDT

    •  I hate to say it... (2+ / 0-)

      ...but our best hope will come when a Big Bad Event happens.

      There needs to be an unprecedented Bad Event that galvanizes world public opinion in the democracies and scares the s--t out of the dictators.

      Something like:

      - An ice-free Arctic
      - Total loss of a major coastal city
      - Food shortages in a country that has nuclear weapons

      I am confident that humanity will solve the crisis. We just need to feel some pain first.

      •  I would love to see just one community go ' off (0+ / 0-)

        The grid' by providing local, state,fed rebates on all items that reduce energy....such as putting 'cool, reflective corning reflective tile  roofs on every home and business -- affordable, great return on investment-- has saved 50% on our electric bill (since 2007)-- has just about paid for itself...combine with solar or roof top wind turbines...and you get to zero energy....if just ONE town or community could do that in America..I think we could turn things around...the proof is in the pudding...or the results!

        “The only way evil flourishes is for good people to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

        by soaglow on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:22:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We've already had Katrina and Sandy. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ypochris, Calamity Jean

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:56:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the maddening part of inaction or the view of (17+ / 0-)

    ranking issues of importance, is that addressing climate change also addresses many of those other issues. whether it's  economics, jobs, civil  rights, human rights, women's rights, health care, quality of life, government budgets, water and other natural resources, etc.

  •  Agreed. (20+ / 0-)

    Ultimately, I have to confess that I am personally really pessimistic that we will be able to do enough and with enough speed, once we finally have the political will for serious change. I keep many of those thoughts to myself (or occasionally share them with friends, on gloomy nights with beers.)

    I'm one of those few strange people who will do things because they are the best I can do, even if my gloomiest side tells me it's a lost cause. "Hope" is not actually a requirement for me. But I'm a rare bird that way.

    And there isn't cause here to assume that all is lost. Even if the actions of now aren't all we need, these steps may buy us time to get more serious change going. Anything that buys us more time right now, alongside our work for large scale "solution" type change, is helpful.

    We will see major climate shifts in our lifetimes, but there's a vast, vast difference between "hard changes" and "well and truly fucked." There will be hard change here, but we can still work our asses off to minimize it, and that will make a huge difference for the people living through the brunt of it -- me, in old age, I expect, and all of the children we all know now, and beyond.

    Throwing in the towel, I mean, it isn't an option. This is not abstract.

    I think there are dynamics involved for some that aren't exactly genuine despair or loss of hope, though. Changing things is hard. Throwing up hands because "nothing can be done" is a fine way of absolving oneself of a responsibility to act. It usually seems to come on right after denial has finally stopped, for some certain set of folks.

    •  I actually think that this is the proper attitude. (17+ / 0-)

      Do what you can, despite popular opinion or gloomy predictions (even though I think they may be true).  You never know, we may be able to at least mitigate the worst predictions.  However, I prefer to have my eyes wide open while doing do. I therefore am thankful to Klein, especially if he inspires people to act like Scrooge to blot out the writing on the stone.

      I often think that J. R. R. Tolkien was correct in his view expressed in the Lord of the Rings that evil can win, but we have an obligation to oppose it no matter what.

      •  Oooh I really like that. (0+ / 0-)
        I often think that J. R. R. Tolkien was correct in his view expressed in the Lord of the Rings that evil can win, but we have an obligation to oppose it no matter what.
        Yes we do have an obligation to oppose. It's called a principle.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 08:00:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  THIS (is what I deal with a lot) (3+ / 0-)
      Changing things is hard. Throwing up hands because "nothing can be done" is a fine way of absolving oneself of a responsibility to act. It usually seems to come on right after denial has finally stopped, for some certain set of folks.
      Absolving oneself of responsibility--so very very easy for those who lack the skill to live an examined life.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:06:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's my favorite line: (16+ / 0-)

    "Despair is a detour".

    I think you've nailed the issue, but I do wonder how much collective despair we all need to engage in, ritually or psychologically, before we can manifest the energy for social, institutional and structural change.

    You've started me pondering that now, so I'll just go away and do it as to not hijack any discussion threads.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:43:16 AM PDT

  •  I really don't think Klein is a defeatist, (10+ / 0-)

    What Klein is trying to do is draw a fine Klein between despair and hope. In the process he is, I think, trying to shock people into seeing the approaching train.  Lord knows we have ignored the headlights of that train entirely too long. His points are well taken, and verified by the interview with John Podesta, which was far in advance of Klein's article. People were not taking global warming seriously, any more than they were taking population growth, carrying capacity limits, drinkable fresh water, pollution, smog, forest destruction, species extinction, or any of a number of inter-related environmental issues, seriously.  Klein is just saying what is, not what we would like it to be.

    We may be at long last turning this around in public opinion, but I for one am less hopeful than I was a few years ago. I've seen too many of my favorite places burn in horrible forest fires during continuing drought to be as hopeful as I once was. With no rain how are these forests going to regain the splendor they once had?  No amount of wishing is going to return them to their glory days unless we have enough rain to regenerate them.

    No, we should not give up, but wearing rose-colored glasses about what is approaching is not of much use either.  I grew up with a man, my father, who always believed that one day he would strike it rich and it nearly ruined the whole family. It would be nice if people could gain the same sense of cooperation with which we fought World War II, and maybe we will. But it will take a cold water in the face wake up call, like that Klein threw at us, and as Pearl Harbor manifested the breaking storm of war, for any of us to get off our butts and do something, especially those in power.

       

  •  What if an asteroid were headed our way? (7+ / 0-)

    A critical mass of Americans simply wouldn't believe it.

    •  And the chances of stopping it would be zero (0+ / 0-)

      or so close to zero that it would be difficult to do anything useful about it.

      I don't find this an especially useful analogy, because it (the asteroid scenario) isn't one where action is either clear or effective.

      I'm thinking more along the lines of noticing that a few shingles have blown off your roof, and maybe there's a small leak, and you can either shrug and figure it's only a small one (and fixing it would be expensive) so just put a pan under the drip, or you can heed the warnings of the roof guys who tell you that if you don't get it repaired now, the whole roof is likely to give way. And sure, the roof guy has a stake in convincing you of that, but on the other hand, he knows more about roofs than I do so maybe I should listen.

      Or, to use another sad example, like the students on the South Korean ferry who obeyed the instructions to just stay put in the lower inside rooms rather than scrambling up to where they might have been rescued, all the while recording the disaster on their cell phones.

      •  No, we would have decades of advance warning (0+ / 0-)

        and we would be able to mount missions to tweak its orbit enough to miss the Earth.

        The key fact is that Earth-crossing asteroids aren't moving very fact wrt the Earth, so it doesn't take a vast amount of energy to alter the orbit slightly over a period of many years.

        A long-period comet coming in from the Oort cloud would be a different matter. They aren't visible until they reach the inner solar system and start to develop a coma, so you would have at most a couple years of advance warning. And they are moving very fast so changing the trajectory would take a lot of energy. But the chances of such a collision are extremely tiny, much smaller than the chances of a collision with an Earth-crossing asteroid. And there are no large Earth-crossing asteroids that are going to hit us in the next few centuries.

        The best thing for us to do is simply to continue monitoring and studying small solar system bodies.

        American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

        by atana on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:24:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  and another critical mass of Americans (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, raboof, Calamity Jean

      would blame Obama.

    •  A critical mass would welcome it (4+ / 0-)

      as God's judgment on a wicked world.

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

      by Anne Elk on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:16:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Faux Fascist Noise would run denial shows 24/7 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, raboof, Calamity Jean

      ... until we saw the thing bursting into flames as it entered the atmosphere.

      •  Love gifts to the 700 club would spike as people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        tried to buy their way to heaven.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:08:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How would the right wing react (19+ / 0-)

    to an asteroid coming our way if a Democrat was in the White House? Especially a black Democrat?

  •  Denial anywhere is denial everywhere.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells

    There's plenty of blame to go around..... IMHO, no need to drop it of at 1600.....

    IJS.

    I am Joe's Steven......

    by Joes Steven on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:48:44 AM PDT

  •  Our children's grandchildren, should the Earth's (8+ / 0-)

    biosphere still remain habitable by homo sapiens sapiens by that time, will look back on our time and hold nothing but contempt for us.

    As they should.

    Of the terrifying and true things you've written here, for me, this is the most terrible of all, because it's why we should be able to overcome the ostriches of our nation, with their heads firmly buried in whatever shields their beautiful minds from the reality of the future which global climate change IS bringing to us:

    Almost every public mention of what needs to be done about climate change misses the fact that the spending needed to transform our energy system is actually an investment. Outfitting the world in clean, renewable sources of energy while cutting carbon dioxide emissions to zero will generate millions of jobs, sustainable jobs, trillions of dollars worth of jobs.
    Because EVERY obstacle which (mostly) the Republicans throw out to block any attempts to start working on carbon sequestration or simply reduction of greenhouse gas emissions begins with "it will destroy our economy". It is their singular response to any motions which might involve action. "It will destroy the economy".

    So if we only need a good response to their cries of nonsense, we already have it.

    Which begs the question: Why aren't we using that every single day of every single week, to demand that we get some real action on climate change AND the jobs the waning Middle Class so desperately needs?


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:55:22 AM PDT

    •  "It will destroy the economy".... (4+ / 0-)

      ....is within two letters of being true.

      It should be "It will destroy THEIR economy." That's why "they" are trying so hard to delay it. No John D. Rockefeller will ever get a corner on the sun or the wind. If you live for control, that's a terrifying prospect.

      People can be controlled in other ways. The idea that wind turbines and solar panels are somehow going to ensure democracy is puerile. But they will remove one of the ways that someone who only has money but not popular support can exert influence.

      However, I think you're in a distinct minority if you lie awake worrying about what your great-grandchildren will think of you. A lot of people don't give much of a damn about what their parents think of them. A far stronger inducement for change would be to tell people truthfully that the only guarantee that they can continue and expand their materialistic lifestyle lies in carbon-neutral energy and intensive recycling. Then you'd get their attention. Unfortunately, many progressives despise the sort of lifestyle that a very large number of their fellow citizens pursue, to the point that rather than appealing for their support in the terms that would resonate with them, they alienate them with sneering assurances that their days are at an end. Remember: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      This is the landscape that we understand, -
      And till the principle of things takes root,
      How shall examples move us from our calm?

      (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

      by sagesource on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:35:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  UN's Trade and Environment Review 2013 (6+ / 0-)

    Outlines, comprehensively, something that billions of people could be doing (and millions are) at little to no cost: that is, switching from our current agricultural and land use practices to agroecology (including agroforestry).

    TER13, entitled Wake up Before it is Too Late: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate was released on 18 September 2013. More than 60 international experts have contributed their views to a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and the most suitable strategic approaches for dealing holistically with the inter-related problems of hunger and poverty, rural livelihoods, social and gender inequity, poor health and nutrition, and climate change and environmental sustainability - one of the most interesting and challenging subjects of present development discourse.
    The link is here.

    Another thing that seems to slip past so many's radar is the rapid spread of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, which has been reforesting huge swathes- hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of hectares- in developing countries. Simply put, FMNR is the teaching how to identify and cultivate long-lived perennial species that already exist, but have been improperly grazed. The benefits are massive and can be seen from space. World Vision has been a particularly strong supporter.

    In addition, there are huge ecosystem restoration projects ongoing and planned throughout the globe: from China and Iran, to Ethiopia and Rwanda, millions of people are getting along with the program. Heck, even the World Bank has been funding some of these projects...

    What is failing is the dissemination of this information amongst climate activists (see link to a comment I wrote last October with some numbers). I have tried to do my part, but writing takes time and time is money- being a low-income immigrant in a new country, my time is usually best spent getting my roots in the ground. But a few others here have tried to share the word.

    Sadly, even with the great news that human beings have the potential to regenerate entire ecosystems (albeit minus extinct species, of course- which is one principal reason why extinction is so damn scary), those writing about climate change rarely, if ever, mention the broadly applicable, well tested, and insanely cheap methods of restoring functionality to the ecosystems we are destroying.

    It boggles my mind, actually, that these projects- whose numbers only continue to grow- are almost completely ignored by those wishing to turn this ship around. If we want to change people's behavior, promoting regenerative practices that promise a better future- rather than the ho-hum of sustainability- are key.

    I should also mention that that there is a lot of carbon sequestration and ecosystem repair work that we should be doing. After all, research supported by NASA shows us that lawns (of one kind of another) "could be" considered the largest irrigated crop in the country. How many Democrats do you know who have a lawn of some kind? Ever stop to ask if there is something else we could be using that land for? I know there is a huge trend now towards different landscaping, but I would venture a guess as to say that the vast majority of registered Democrats - many of whom say that climate change is a serious issue- have hardly taken any action on their own piece of ground. It is my opinion that those who consider climate change to be the #1 issue facing the planet today should make it abundantly clear in their own land use by abandoning old cultural practices which send carbon into the atmosphere and switch to methods that do the opposite.

  •  Over 100 Years Left to Delay (4+ / 0-)

    As I posted in "Over 100 Years", in the ultimately optimistic diary "Human Extinction - Reputable Scientists now see it on horizon":

    The only climate change we're absolutely committed to is the next 30 years baseline from the Greenhouse condition through today.

    Any lessening of the CO2e concentration starting now slows the extra increases starting now, so delays +7C to after 2125.

    If by 2035 we have cut US emissions by 1/3 from 2005, now the Executive policy (for 2030), our country will have done its nominal share to balance the Greenhouse. If we cut it by 2/3, as is right, just and achievable, we will allow the rest of the Earth to slowly absorb the Greenhouse safely into other sinks.

    Geoengineering is nuts, but not CO2 cracking. If we have enough clean energy we can crack all the extra CO2 out of the atmosphere, and dial in any Greenhouse thickness we want. New research this year (on cheap bismuth catalyst compounds) shows an 80% energy efficient process cracking CO2 to CO, replacing industrial feedstock from petrofuels that can stay safely in the ground.

    We have over 100 years to slow and even reverse the Greenhouse. Within that time I expect plentiful clean energy will be available, and plenty of tech like CO2 cracking systems. We can slow the damage to buy more time, and probably clean the whole thing up at balance.

    But we have to remain optimistic. Pessimism is a self-fulfilling attitude - as is optimism.


    From that diary:
    When I was going to school in the 1950's, we lived with the knowledge that we all might die in a nuclear holocaust.  I remember reading Nevil Shute's On the Beach - a story of the last six months of humanity.  

    [...]

    That sense of possible doom was really present. [...]

    But then I remembered that in the 1950's we just accepted the idea of nuclear annihilation as something we grew up with; that was the way the world was and the number of people who protested - who felt this was an intolerable situation - was very small.

    So, I think we need to add this information about our own extinction to our conversations, and explain the risks and costs of not acting on carbon.

    Humans and our ancestors have survived everything this planet has thrown at us since the world literally began. Including several ice ages lasting a dozen millennia each, several meteor impacts - including one that blasted the Moon out of our molten homeworld - that extincted most of the oceans and even the fearsome giant lizards dominating the place. We are very adaptable. Now that it's throwing at the world, we could prove even more adaptable.

    "But we have to remain optimistic. Pessimism is a self-fulfilling attitude - as is optimism."

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:59:33 AM PDT

    •  We didn't survive those things, (0+ / 0-)

      although life survived some. But the meteor that may have created the moon would have happened before life.

      Humans are a very new species on the planet. We haven't actually shown that we can adapt to much of anything, never having had to face one of these great crises. We just like to think we are so great and talented that of course we will be the last to go. But large species like ourselves are the first to go in these great extinction events.

      •  As Old As The Rest (0+ / 0-)

        Humans are about 11 million years old as a species. That's a long time, though pretty new compared to the 5 billion years the planet's had.

        But our ancestors go back to the beginning of life, like every organism's ancestors do. Our ancestors include the shrewy mammals who survived the dinosaur extinctions - that the dinosaurs didn't.

        Maybe the Moon's creation impact was too far, coming probably well before life was identifiable on the planet. But we have taken everything the planet's thrown at us for as long as every other species still living today.

        And even in just the past few hundred thousand years humans have survived several long and deep glacial period - while many other species did not. We have survived many extinction events. And that was before we were as knowledgeable and powerful as we are now.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 08:11:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I suppose we should do something... (3+ / 0-)

    but don't raise my taxes to do it. I'll do my part by shooting it with my AK-47.

    The United States for All Americans

    by TakeSake on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:00:28 PM PDT

  •  We are beginning to win against the deniers... ... (6+ / 0-)

    We are beginning to win against the deniers... But the delayers permeate the Democratic Party. The Dems are starting to see that climate can be a winning wedge issue. But too many of them and honk that treat climate as just another issue.

    As that asteroid approaches, why are we focusing on short lived outrages du jour like Cliven Bundy?

    We need to vote climate.

  •  You can damn well bet that there will be a faction (5+ / 0-)

    claiming that either "God will save us" or that this is "God's righteous punishment for abortion and teh gay".

    And that they will have propaganda outlets like Fox News and billionaires like the Kochs to obfuscate and delay.

    We will STILL have to battle to save the planet.

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

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Despair directly serves the interests (14+ / 0-)

    of the status quo. Its guardians often foment it on purpose. If you want to keep the masses down, you keep them feeling helpless.

    So action in the face of an impossible-seeming situation, itself, is radical.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:01:49 PM PDT

  •  Kudos to this piece ! (4+ / 0-)

    I want to act but it's hard to know how. Other than on a personal level I don't know what kind of action will force the change upon us that need to me made. These forceful changes would be "authoritarian" in nature and therefore so difficult to suggest or get implemented.

    There are tons of regulations that all undermine personal local actions that would make a difference.

    Your words on fire, bless them.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:05:55 PM PDT

  •  "the U.S. is not politically designed to act fast" (4+ / 0-)

    If money didn't play the role it does we could "act faster".

    Fossil fuel greedy types donate 90% to Repugs.

    If we don't get money out of politics we will all die.

    If I had children I would be thinking beyond desperation.

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

    by Shockwave on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:06:53 PM PDT

    •  Can't get money out of politics (3+ / 0-)

      that's like trying to get the hydrogen out of water -- seriously. Politics is about power, and money and power always go together in some way. It's pure fantasy to think anyone could design a political system in which money and wealthy people did not hold any power.

      What we can do is build popular movements that act as a counter-weight to the power of the moneyed people. That's what the labor movement did, that's what the civil rights movement did, that's what all popular movements do. It's hard work, and risky, but it's at least worth working for.

      •  The rules of the game have to be changed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Desolations Angel

        Citizens United + inequality = plutocracy.

        Overturning Citizens United is a must.

        Money will always be there like violence in some sports like rugby.  But there are rules.  As a former rugby player I understand.  You can tackle the player with the ball but not others.  You can push and shove in a scrum but not punch.  You can trip in a line out but not elbow and so on.

        With Citizens United all rules are gone.  Might as well play rugby with brass knuckles.

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

        by Shockwave on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:22:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The whole series has been terrific... (4+ / 0-)

    but last week's "Cosmos" should be required viewing for every American.

    Dr. Tyson did a magnificent job of laying out the problem and what we need to do so that we don't become dinosaurs.

    I fear that most people have reached this conclusion: Meh, even if what scientists say is true, it won't affect me in my lifetime, so to hell with it.

    I have a 13-year-old. If I'm fortunate, someday I may become a grandparent.

    You know what? I may not see my grandchild for another 20 years, but I already love him or her, and I want that child to live on the best Earth we can provide him or her, not some horrifying wasteland straight out of a Hollywood thriller.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:10:25 PM PDT

  •  If climate change inaction was political suicide (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, memiller

    like advocating for reduced Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans benefits is political suicide, then some real energy might be applied to the problem.  

    Unfortunately, climate change is not really important to the public majority on election day. We are much too shallow minded to make it a political priority any time soon, if ever.

  •  Earth is not a sacred planet. (12+ / 0-)

    it is a demonstration planet which has possibilities.
    photosynthesis is some hint of its higher purpose.
    whether that's literal or metaphorical, I don't know.
    the Sun is a high ranking intelligence and power we can practically ponder. the laws of life and natural balance are vital to respect. being oppressively rich or destructive is nothing to celebrate.
    care taking is a good mission. we can be high and get along better. but we can't afford the obstacle people screwing up solutions or taking advantage or arranging crises threatening universal health. the united states is its own worst menace now; controlled and corrupted by professional saboteurs.
    no justice. no compassion. no trust. no pride. no knowledge. no integrity.  no excuse for wrong actions nor inactions nor failure to redress a lengthening list of crimes and betrayals, lies and threats. we gotta start winning these fights. compromises aren't gonna be enough to settle for.
    things work or they don't. the padded bill, the payoff percent, the trough of misappropriated public money, the feudal governors insulting our expectations of representative governance, congress and clients' pack opulence and indifference to regular need; they are the dooms that toll in gloom. as we organize and rise against the sick souls stuck in stupid collusion, choking the world; the tide will turn. the messages will be understood and acted upon.
    for me, equality, peace, justice, opportunity, energy, solvency and rainbow respect are all part in the same fight.
    the climate is changing and so must we too.

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:14:17 PM PDT

  •  The cumulative power of small steps: (4+ / 0-)
    Iowa is a leading U.S. state in wind power generation with 27.4% of the state's electricity generation coming from wind in 2013. At the end of 2013, wind power in Iowa had 5,137 megawatts (MW) of capacity, third only to Texas and California.

    Nearly $10 billion has been invested in Iowa's wind power projects and manufacturing facilities.

    In addition to federal programs, the state of Iowa encourages development of renewable electricity sources through a 1 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit. Also, generation equipment and facilities receive property tax breaks, and generation equipment is exempt from sales tax.

    The development of wind power in Iowa began with the enactment in 1983 of a state law that required investor-owned utilities in the state to buy a total of 105 MW of power from wind generated electricity, one of first renewable electricity portfolio standards. This provided assurance to those building wind power installations that there would be a market for the electricity they produced.

    WIkipedia article

    Truly, we are paralyzed and incapable on the federal level.  State action, once the Kochs are taken out of the equation, is still significant.

    "To conjugate in a future imperfect : will have been ongoing, once" -- Andrew Zawacki

    by Rikon Snow on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:14:33 PM PDT

  •  If a killer asteroid was discovered, teabaggers... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    engine17, foresterbob, Calamity Jean

    ... would demand cuts in social security, medicaid, and unemployment insurance to pay for the space program needed to stop it.

    And of course no tax increases would be allowed.

  •  It isn't a matter of accepting defeat.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist

    It is just a realization that the longer we wait before we get serious the more desperate and costly the struggle will be to come up with effective solutions.

    I'm convinced that if we tilted a lot of resources at this and we worked to find real science based solutions anything is possible.  

    But how much would it cost?

    A NASA scientist spoke at an event I went to, and someone said:  "Why isn't there a base on the moon?"  And the scientist said:  "Do you have maybe a trillion dollars?   Because if you can give me a trillion dollars, I can get the people and we can absolutely put a base on the moon."

    And there it was.   It isn't a matter of 'it's not possible' it was: how much commitment are we willing to put in?

    On the real survival of humanity, that number may be  high.  But why not buy in now, while we can rather than put off that expense until it is desperate?  That is the question.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:15:30 PM PDT

    •  Not even the cost of a cup of coffee (0+ / 0-)

      each morning at Starbucks, apparently. Because that is the doom and gloom scenario that has caused many to oppose action on catastrophic climate change. That it might cost us a few dollars a day to address it.

      Might cost.

  •  it's another form of denial (4+ / 0-)

    it's not happening...

    it's happening, but we're not causing it...

    it's happening and we're causing it, but the consequences are no big deal...

    it's happening and we're causing it, but the consequences are a big deal, but a good deal...

    it's happening, we're causing it, the consequences are a big deal, and a bad deal, but there's nothing we can do about it...

    therefore, carry on, business as usual, let's keep drilling and mining and fracking and deforesting. we all gotta go, some time.

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:16:08 PM PDT

  •  Some enjoy the thrill..... (4+ / 0-)

    .....of delivering bad news to others. If you put a person into mindless fear, you have exerted power over him or her.

    We saw a lot of that a few decades ago. I lost count of how many times I was told that a nuclear war was inevitable, rather than merely possible. Before that, in the 1930s, people were assured that conventional air attack could bring the end of civilization. Some people with a grudge against the world or addicted to cheap thrills relish the idea of extinction, just as some with a pet cause will be found slipping that cause into the list of must-dos to avert disaster.

    I'm too old and ill now to do much other than vote for the most progressive candidates in elections, but I think if I were younger, the situation might even be exciting. The energy supply of the whole world has to be put on new foundations, and in many areas, vastly expanded. Fortunately, that is quite possible. Energy from the sun and wind is not only very cheap to harvest, it is virtually inexhaustible and virtually omnipresent.

    Want an investment tip? Buy garbage dumps. They're going to be mined in the future, perhaps several times in a row, the way we mine gold deposits now, and whoever owns them will be rolling in money.

    In twenty or thirty years, presuming I'm still around, I will be cackling loudly if civilization is even more technological and people are even more materialistic than they are now. Why not? With immense amounts of electrical energy all but free for the taking, there will be very few things that are technologically impossible and very little waste that is not completely recyclable.

    The greatest problem in getting support for a switch to fully renewable energy is that so many of its proponents present that sort of future as dreary, even monastic. People are naturally reluctant to believe that they will be forced to live in a perpetual Zen retreat. And if renewables are fully developed and spread across the world, they won't be. They'll be able to live in a vulgar parody of Las Vegas if they please, pointing searchlights into the sky and leaving the doors and windows open without turning off the air conditioning. Or virtually any other materialist nightmare you can conceive of.

    You don't think there will be enough energy available? Do the math; there's more than enough, even at present efficiencies, and those efficiencies have been climbing year by year. You know that there would be enough, but you still wouldn't allow such displays? Then admit that you're exploiting this crisis to force your lifestyle onto others, and remember that in the process, you're almost guaranteeing that people will reject not only your cold water and brown rice dream of the future, but renewable energy and 100% recycling as well. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

    This is the landscape that we understand, -
    And till the principle of things takes root,
    How shall examples move us from our calm?

    (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

    by sagesource on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:16:46 PM PDT

    •  Man did you nail it sagesource; exactly what.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      ..we Dems could and should be stressing:

      The greatest problem in getting support for a switch to fully renewable energy is that so many of its proponents present that sort of future as dreary, even monastic. People are naturally reluctant to believe that they will be forced to live in a perpetual Zen retreat. And if renewables are fully developed and spread across the world, they won't be.
      It amazes me how much possibility there is for us Dems to take hold of this message. Imagine if we could spread the word that every person would get all of their electricity virtually for free some day if we didn't dig it out of the ground and burn it.

      And it's clean by any measurable standard.

      Because, the amount of untapped energy all around us is more than we would ever need. Digging out energy out of the ground is almost prehistoric thinking.

      And this:

      You don't think there will be enough energy available? Do the math; there's more than enough, even at present efficiencies, and those efficiencies have been climbing year by year.
      From jamess  Every year  each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. Multiplying by the area of deserts worldwide, this is several hundred times as much energy as the world uses in a year
      It's true we are way behind developing known
      ..tech that could replace a huge percentage  of our use of....carbon based energy
      Every year, each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. Multiplying by the area of deserts worldwide, this is several hundred times as much energy as the world uses in a year.
      jamess has been putting together the science on this

      It takes both knowing (all of us) that carbon based energy sources are dangerous and knowing that there are clean choices.

      And clean high paying jobs just waiting to be done

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Thx again MB excellent Diary and discussion - imo

  •  Merchants of doubt fall back to despair (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    350Energy

    When doubt fails, the merchants of doubt move on to despair. Anything, as long as it leads to inaction.

    I don't think Klein is intentionally feeding into this effect, but we should all beware of any path that is demotivating for action.

    Great diary,

  •  Do People in Brazil and India - (0+ / 0-)

    Have the right to a standard of living equivalent to those in developed nations?

    It is an inescapable question - one that fragmented Copenhagen.

  •  Way back in 1968 in QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, wordwraith

    The Prof posits to a colleague, "What would the human race do if it knew it faced certain extinction?
    "Why, nothing at all" was the response."Just carry on with the usual nonsense as always".
    "Ah, but what if we were purely rational beings?"
    And thereby hangs the tale of the rest of the movie.

    Put it down to Brit pessimism, but I think it was pretty insightful.

  •  hmmmm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist

    I happen to think Klein is right, however, don't let my pessimism stop anyone (I also don't think that is what Klein intended.)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:34:08 PM PDT

  •  Obama seems to have treated this as (0+ / 0-)

    another political matter, to be dealt with by cultivating support, building a consensus, and taking measures to nudge things forward.

    This is what he did on gay rights and marriage equality. It's what he's trying to do on immigration policy.

    Unfortunately climate crisis is an immediate, existential issue. It's even more critical than national defense. It needs to be addressed at every level, using every means. Nothing should be left "off the table".

    But no, giving up is obviously not an option. We can still prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Earth's future climate will suck, but there's a difference between a 3° or 4° rise and a rise of  7° or 8°.

    Ezra Klein has botched a bunch of things over the years. This one's a doozy. Show this man the door.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:36:02 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Desert Scientist

      ..."Obama" does not equal "the federal government of the US." If he is "nudging things along," is it perhaps because other parts of the government are trying to stop them cold? Until you have the House of Representatives up to Obama's "nudging" speed, criticizing the executive branch is a waste of time.

      This is the landscape that we understand, -
      And till the principle of things takes root,
      How shall examples move us from our calm?

      (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

      by sagesource on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:42:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He has more power than he's used, and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ypochris

        he hasn't made it his top priority. Case closed.

        We're talking about the habitability of the fucking planet here, and you're talking about nudging the window. I don't think Obama fully understands how serious this is. Do you?

        Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

        by Bob Love on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Win in November (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Eric Nelson

    That's the November 2014 election. That is what is right before us.
    Are you in a campaign for your House member? Remind the campaign staff that climate change is a very important issue.
    Does David Alameel think it is an important issue? Does John Cornyn?

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:37:34 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately the Democrat running .... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

      against Pearce believes that fracking is harmless and that it has been successfully practiced in the Permian Basin for 60 years (true insofar as it goes - but without the current methodology and fracking fluids.) She is good on everything else and she would be an improvement over Pearce in that she would support veterans, woman's rights, and other liberal issues, but an environmentalist she ain't.

  •  You are the most consistent writer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    memiller

    on this blog with the most focused approach imo.

    What if the folks who are looking at the horseraces also put a survival number behind each of the players. People like the okie senator get a -100 for their denialism and obstruction. Same is true for old turtle face. Even if their opponent is not pure progressive, where do their opponents stand on surviving the climate change that is surely coming?

    Could we tout a survival bennie if such and such gets elected? (I would also like to see the same approach for a progressive budget.)

    ALL of our institutions have been hollowed out by the greed ethos. There are none left with heart intact or souls for that matter. So the zombie is all around us - me

    by glitterscale on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:48:26 PM PDT

  •  Despair and inaction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother

    Over an asteroid collision would surely give new meaning to "He who dies with the most toys, wins".

  •  I Can't Believe This Analogy After the Moon Race. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wordwraith, smileycreek, ypochris

    We had an asteroid coming straight at us 50 years ago, it was called the USSR.

    It was going to bounce off the Moon and wipe out the US in 20 years.

    So we spent 8 years testing our nuclear deterrent launch vehicles to become reliable enough to finally become a credible threat in case of a shooting war.

    --By putting men on top of them and thousands of men onto the support and quality control problem of how to make our deterrent credible.

    OH yeah then we also built a civilian launch system and went to the Moon. And as soon as the "asteroid" threat passed, we quit going.

    Today an asteroid coming toward us would require employing our existing defense sector and its financial systems, and maybe developing some new technologies that are closely defense related.

    So apart from the nuisance fact that a 50 mile wide asteroid would be about a billion times cheaper threat to nudge out of the way over a year or two than permanently changing the entire atmosphere on an 8,000 mile wide planet, we would address the asteroid by making some of our richest and most powerful factions richer and more powerful.

    This is what human civilization is built to do, from the plow up.

    Addressing climate change is what human civilization is designed to prevent, from the plow up.

    It requires reducing rather than expanding some kinds of growth, and it requires wholesale pillaging of factions that are the most powerful in selecting and guiding our leaders.

    I'm not a pessimist that humanity can't deal with such problems; after all, as animals and along with our traditional cultures, we evolved for a million years coping with regular shortages and hard limitations. There are few things the human organism and older cultural heritage are better adapted to dealing with than environmental limits.

    It's our civilization that's the problem, evolved almost purely for huge surpluses (especially over the past millennium) and for addressing shortages almost exclusively by obliterating them with new surpluses by any means necessary.

    Civilization's ways and values are so integral to our thinking that even people with seriously different cultural backgrounds will regularly lapse into ideas based on some of the elements of civilization that are maladaptive to this kind of crisis.

    One of the least recognized ways is that our public square and our wisdom figures are conceived as susceptible to threats coming only from government, and so with our most precious values we formally cede our dominant meeting spaces and conversation to the very forces we must defeat to address this problem. And that's why serious conversations are found everywhere except in the mainstream.

    There simply is not the time to adapt our system to addressing this challenge. Our system can't do it, it'll take 10's of times longer to rework government than science says we have, so we're going to have to accomplish it some other way and yesterday is the time to get our best and brightest minds to realize that.

    There are other ways. But the prescription we need is seriously off-label.

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

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:52:22 PM PDT

  •  Seeking truth is not defeatist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, maryabein, 6ZONite

    I'm not going to parse Klein's points or Romm's, but I think two things are important to note about MeteorBlade's diary.  By the way, I agree with Klein on many points and wish Romm was right in all of his.  

    I recently posted another in the never-ending series of articles about the certainty and threat of climate change to my Facebook page.  A friend answered with what seemed a naïve but hopeful response.  I told him I appreciated it because a large part of the reason I post doom and gloom about climate change is because I'm trying to say what I think I see - i.e., we're F-ed - but hope that someone will tell me why I'm wrong.  I want people to tell me facts that convince me not to despair, or at least point me I the direction of actions that might bring about meaningful change.  I want real hope, not cheerful delusion.  

    So I don't see Klein as defeatist.  He doesn't want to give up.  He want to identify the stumbling blocks in as realistic and clear eyed a way as possible so that he and others can come up with solutions.  He was begging for Romm and others to tell him why he's wrong - indeed, I'm guessing he's hoping like hell that he is wrong.  That's not defeat, that's trying to see reality, so that we can deal with reality, and hopeful shape a new one as we careen forward in time.

    Second, climate change is not analogous to an looming asteroid in any meaningful way other than that both represent existential threats.  A looming asteroid is a much easier threat to assess and verify.  The math of size, speed, and trajectory will tell us the magnitude of the damage and even the precise day of the impact.  Unfortunately, climate change less amenable to damage quantification and timing.  There are many analogies one might draw: climate change denial is like a young smoker warned of cancer, but unable to quit; climate change denial is like a morbidly obese young person who refuses to diet or get surgery etc. despite the health consequences later in life, and on and on.  These rhetorical devices may help some to reach folks here and there or make a particular point, but, in the end, climate change is climate change, not something else.

    •  Speaking truth is not defeatist but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

      Giving up on thinking outside of the box, giving up on organizing others to also think and outside that box IS Defeatist.

      Not raking the companies involved over fear of retaliation is defeatist because one is giving those companies permission and shoring up their attempts to deny the part they played.

      This problem will be so big, so multifaceted and so varied, that we have infinite opportunities to come up with innovative strategies to adapt, overcome and mitigate change.

      The only limits are the ones we impose on our imagination. And the first step to that, is acting like one is already dead.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:13:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't Happy, Be Wormwood.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10
    Calvin, when in his Spaceman Spiff persona, will usually imagine Miss Wormwood as a slimy, often dictatorial alien.
    In the Book of Revelation chapter 8 there is a description of what appears to be a comet or asteroid hitting earth, and the resulting wordwide destruction:
    "8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
    8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
    9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
    10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
    11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
    12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:57:46 PM PDT

  •  If a killer asteroid approaches, take the House... (0+ / 0-)

    and put the entire House of Representatives Republican leadership, accompanied by the Tea-faction, in its path. Nothing will pass (except a few more bills to repeal "Obamacare" and investigate Benghazi-IRS-whatever-gate.)

    As for there is no one single point-source that we can fix, all at once, like the asteroid scenario. But we need to turn that problem into a source of hope, by engaging more people, and making many smaller changes in many places, as well as trying for the big solution. Every successful local or state or regional investment in renewable energy, efficiency, and conservation is a demonstration that it can be done, and an inspiration to others to try. It's also a push for the smart businesses to try to jump into the market as it grows. Even Big Oil is trying to hedge their bets by investing in solar and wind.

    I would love to have the Koch-world, which seems to have put all its eggs in the troglodytic basket to swim up Denial, see all its stocks and markets dwindle to nothing in the face of the New Economy. Sort of the modern day equivalent of the hoop skirt and corset makers, or the stagecoach manufacturers, or the adding machine. Bye-bye, Koch billions! (well, we can dream, no?)

  •  Defeatists are just Deniers (0+ / 0-)

    that want to deliberately run out the clock and don't want to be perceived as having been wrong. From the "End Times are a comin' so why even try" crowd to the "Hasten the Apocalypse" team. They are so miserable that they don't see any point to any one else hanging around either. Even if it's 500 or 1000 years down the road, a mass extinction would suit them just fine.

    None of these people are even worth five words. If they don't want to be part of the solution, and they don't want to be part of the discussion, then they can sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. The jeering from the sidelines really isn't helpful - and it gets on my nerves.

  •  Elon Musk is working on plan B. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not talking electric cars.

    Reusable rockets with exceptionally fast turn-around time.

    Goal?

    Put humans on Mars.

  •  Yes, but gawd it's tough to slog on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, dsb, Eric Nelson

    I was the 1st client that had gone to my therapist battling depression due to climate change (funny the things you can be willing to share online). But over the months, others started to come as well. I felt a bit of second-hand commeradery in knowing that there were others out there that cared so much about this...eventually, she became a vegan herself.

    The point is, you are right and there is time if we work fast.  Some days, I think "hey, we can do this", but admittedly there are other days where it seems impossible.

    And keeping positive is hard.  I do find some solace from actions - helping start a community garden in inner-city Greenville, sharing ideas with others on conservation (and doing it), teaching my kids about the work we all need to do...

    Also, fwiw, coming here has been a big help in the last 2 years, and reading posts like yours, MB.

    The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these O me, O life? Answer. That you are here–that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. - Whitman

    by 350Energy on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:08:10 PM PDT

  •  Dear MB - - (0+ / 0-)

    There are many asteroids in the universe.

    Far greater environmental damage will occur far sooner -
    Due to human population growth and increased consumption.

    A generation ago, people in China and India only consumed a fraction of what Europeans and Americans did on a per capita basis. That gap has narrowed considerably. And to suggest that billions of people in the world remain at an underdeveloped level - as if such were some sort of moral advantage - is neocolonialist, at best.

    You are free to believe that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity. I do not concur. I do not discount it outright, but believe that other issues are far more pressing and will trump any political action by climate activists.

    There is a basic materialist understanding that climate activists seem to miss for the most part. And in so doing, they subject themselves and the political parties with which they affiliate to populist backlash. One can see that backlash from Australia to France to Canada. Not only are climate policies sidelined when center-right and far-right parties win, but an entire host of other critical progressive goals are set aside, as well.

    Call me whatever names you will - - but I will continue to call you on this issue. Thus, I repeat - -

    There are many asteroids in the universe.

    •  You can call me out on this issue all you... (5+ / 0-)

      ...like, but in the future you might try to do so without twisting my words.

      And to suggest that billions of people in the world remain at an underdeveloped level - as if such were some sort of moral advantage - is neocolonialist, at best.
      Nowhere did I suggest, hint, imply or state that billions of people, or even thousands, should remain at an undeveloped level. I said we need to change how we fuel that development.

      Those who say we don't need to do that and do it quickly are the ones who are condemning billions of Earthlings to underdevelopment and far worse.

      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 Jun 08, 2014 at 01:17:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To Remove Carbon-Based Fuel Sources - (0+ / 0-)

        Is tantamount to short-circuited development.

        Even in the U.S., only 6% of electricity comes from wind and solar after a decade of significant tax breaks. Considering total energy use - it is half that.

        Germany has seen an upsurge in its lignite use - one of the worst coal sources - since its decision to phase out nuclear.  I'm not keen on nuclear, but I see little reason to scrap facilities in place - provided that safety and security are not compromised.

        Similarly, to scrap current fossil-based generation - especially recently-constructed simply is not plausible unless you wish to add exorbitant costs and/or significant reductions in production.

        <<<>>>

        On this issue, an "All or Nothing" approach is more likely to yield the latter.
         

        •  I know you think we can keep... (4+ / 0-)

          ...extracting and burning great gobs of coal, oil, and gas because the climate change induced by this burning won't be a big deal.

          I don't agree with you. And neither do many thousands of scientists—the vast, vast majority with relevant credentials.

          You claim you don't discount climate change. But you are deep into delay, if not outright denial.

          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 Jun 08, 2014 at 02:05:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  60% of India's Electricity - (0+ / 0-)

            Comes from coal.
            33% of Indians have no electricity, 33% have sporadic access.

            Your form of denial is to pretend that your objectives can be achieved without profound impacts - limiting basic development rights of hundreds of millions of people.

            We aren't talking about luxuries - we're talking about essential access.

            <<<>>>

            If you can come up with a plan that includes production, distribution, and costs that can be politically implemented - then fine. But in the meantime, I believe a gradualist approach and mitigation of impacts are more likely to produce real results and to include the greatest component of developmental justice.

            That is where we disagree.

            •  So why should India waste time, material, labor, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JeffW, Mokurai
              33% of Indians have no electricity, 33% have sporadic access.
              money, land, etc. building the infrastructure required to get all Indians electricity generated by fossil fuels, only to turn around and re-do the whole thing using renewables?  Why not jump straight to renewable energy?  

              "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

              by Calamity Jean on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 07:59:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Some Factors - (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Calamity Jean

                India has significant coal reserves and it is cheapest in the short term.
                Much of the Ganges Valley has limited wind potential.
                The monsoon cycle means poor insolation during the rainy season.

                Still, India has a pretty impressive renewables program.

        •  so, you would continue pollution deaths? (4+ / 0-)
          Pollution prompted a travel company in Henan province to promote fresh air brought down from the mountains by letting people breathe bags of it. An eight-month pregnant woman tested it out.

          "I just breathed and the baby moved!" she said.

          Pollution is blamed for up to half a million early deaths each year in China. An article in the British medical journal The Lancet explains lowered life expectancy is primarily due to heart and respiratory diseases.

          •  Basic Refrigeration - (0+ / 0-)

            Saves more lives and prevents more illnesses.

            So, you would consign half the world's population to living without electricity?

            •  No, we would consign them to not paying a bill (0+ / 0-)

              to a central generating plant, because they have solar panels on their roof.

              •  Right - (0+ / 0-)

                Do you know what capital resources these village have?
                What about storage capacity? Load?
                How will the monsoon cycle impact villages off grid?

                Diesel backup generators will be necessary for refrigeration.

                •  With rooftop solar being cheaper than new (0+ / 0-)

                  fossil fuel energy in many, if not most, parts of the world, whatever resources you imagine would be devoted to new fossil generation could be dedicated to solar instead, with greater effect.

                  You also overlook the fact that a large part of the cost of expanding electrical service in underdeveloped countries is the cost of the grid, making central generation schemes far more expensive. Just as Latin America (and I suspect much of the rest of the world) went directly to cell towers instead of trying to put in phone lines to every home, parts of the world that do not have an electrical grid will find it is far cheaper to go directly to rooftop solar rather than trying to expand the grid. Even in Hawai'i, for example, HELCO charges over two thousand dollars for each pole needed to reach your home, so if you live a few poles away from the existing grid, you can buy a decent solar system for less than the cost of hooking up to the grid, let alone the monthly power bill you avoid.

                  As for refrigeration, having lived without it for most of my life, i consider it highly overrated - particularly for vegetarians, meaning much of the population of India. Clinics need it for medication, true, but electrical refrigeration is inefficient and expensive. Most people living off the grid, or in poor countries, use gas. Refrigeration can also use direct solar as a heat source, far more efficient than creating electricity to drive a compressor. These systems have existed for decades; widespread use will make them economical - as if cost should even be a consideration when extinction, or at a minimum societal collapse, is the likely alternative.

                  Those of us who have actually lived off the grid for decades know that it is not only possible, but that it is cheaper. Those like yourself who think it can't be done are, quite simply, uninformed.

  •  action! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    350Energy, ypochris, Eric Nelson

    I bought* an electric car last week.  A Nissan Leaf, not a Tesla for rich people.  ;)  
    No more gas needed for at least one car.  It will cost more in short term, no doubt.  It's a cost worth bearing.

    If I can manage this, most of you can too.  It's time, now, no more delay or waiting for the batteries to get better.  They are good enough NOW.

    3,000 sold last month- it needs to be ten times that.  Go, buy one for yourself immediately.  Or the iMiev.  Or the Ford.  Or the Smart.  That's four good options, pick one now and git 'er done.

    *signed up for an expensive loan

    **If you want to argue that one is better from the other, you'd better have one sitting in your driveway.

    •  I do have 2 in the driveway... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      memiller, ypochris

      And I left them both there to get groceries on my bike today. It's a small step, but it felt good. Plus, the Prii aren't as good as the all-electric cars you mentioned. So taking either of them would have meant at least some gas being used.

      There are so many ways to make some impact.  If you can't buy a Prius or a Leaf, get an electric-assist bike. It avoids some car trips, helps you get some exercise, and has enough support power to let you get those groceries over the hill, or down the street, etc.

      The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these O me, O life? Answer. That you are here–that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. - Whitman

      by 350Energy on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:48:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, Eric Nelson

    How is it that the fossil fuel companies who are causing global warming don't realize that they are going to perish along with everybody else? Even if they are somehow able to build an environment-proof fortress to protect themselves, if all of their customers are eliminated, isn't that bad for business? I mean, if they do any kind of long-range planning aside from figuring out where to get fossil fuels -- and they are not stupid, insane or in deep, deep denial -- don't they understand that their goose -- or that of their children, grandchildren, etc -- is just as surely going to cooked as that of everybody else who they don't give a damn about?

    The asteroid doesn't separate rich from poor, it just smashes everybody.

  •  What if an asteroid were headed our way? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eggplantfl, atana, raboof, dsb

    It all depends on who was president. If a Democrat were in office republicans would either deny it was happening or deny that it was a problem. If a republican was in office they would invade Peru.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:19:30 PM PDT

  •  This was a fine piece of writing Meteor Blades. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wood Gas, dharmasyd, dsb, Eric Nelson
  •  On other news sites comment threads, I tire fro... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, Eric Nelson

    On other news sites comment threads, I tire from hearing the delayer arguments of "well, it's too late so what's the point?" We should ALWAYS try to do better with the environment. Like Meteor Blades said, it is a great investment and will create many jobs for years to come. Great article. Thank you.

  •  If the Koch brothers can make money....... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist

    ......on asteroid impacts we would really be screwed. Fox would hire "alternative"astronomers who would claim it wasn't going to happen and if it did it would be good for us.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means

    by shoeguy on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:31:05 PM PDT

  •  smog isn't as "tangible" as an asteroid (0+ / 0-)

     Growing up in one of the (then) smoggiest cities in CA, we used to joke that the smog was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  But I think one reason so many people have a problem grasping the reality of climate change is the discussion of greenhouse "gases."  It's harder for them to understand the impact of something they can't really see or touch  as opposed to something solid and tangible like an asteroid.  
      We need to keep pounding public and politicians with more projections of the tangible effects - such as pictures of flooded cities, wildfire or insect ravaged inland areas, lists of low supply foods (when they can no longer be cultivated.)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:53:24 PM PDT

  •  I think Meteor Blades misses the point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samson141, ypochris

    If an article like Ezra Klein's spreads despair, I don't think that's its purpose, and I don't think MB does a service by renouncing it.

    I think Ezra Klein wants to apprise people of how hard combating global warming is going to be and how we can't afford to take half-measures or easy-fixes. If some politician tries to assure us that the problem is under control, we must make sure we never fool ourselves about it. That's a message one could take from the article rather than despair.

    This is a problem where we can't afford to take only the good news that allows us to easily avoid despair.

    Global warming is not like an asteroid headed for the world. The latter is a one-shot thing. You have to come up with a deflection system. Global warming is more like going on a diet to save your life. You've got to stay on it for good.

    However, I do wonder if people would as paralyzed about the asteroid as we are about this. We watched the Deep Horizon oil hemorrhage and did nothing. We watched the Fukishima Diachi meltdown, and also did nothing. Earlier than that, we let the military industrial complex nearly blow up the world three different times.

    Maybe we're not capable of the cooperation shown in that old movie When Worlds Collide.

    Well, we're going to have to improvise that capability soon.

  •  Old metaphors never die..... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, 6ZONite, dsb, Eric Nelson

    Here is my diary about Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06), and his new-found climate denialism, written in March, 2011:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    ...which began:

    Suppose there is a giant asteroid heading towards Earth, which will pasteurize the planet if we don't do something. (I'm sure you've seen one of the movies). And I go to my Congressman, and tell him, "Please co-sponsor the Giant Asteroid Impact Prevention Act". And he says, "I've seen the polling on this, and people just don't care about the giant asteroid. They're concerned about jobs. Doing anything on the asteroid will cost jobs." And I say, "I guess you didn't hear me the first time. There's a GIANT ASTEROID heading toward Earth, and it's going to sterilize the planet unless we stop it."

    Well, there isn't a giant asteroid. But there is global warming, which, if you get into what the consequences look like 100 years down the road, amounts to about the same thing in slow motion. I hate to be so melodramatic - it tends to make people look at you as if you are a fanatic - but that is what the science is telling us.

    I don't claim to have originated the metaphor, but then I can't recall having seen it elsewhere before I wrote this, either. Can anyone cite an earlier example?

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:00:44 PM PDT

    •  never mind.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6ZONite, dsb

      Found this:

      Of all the analogies and metaphors that have been offered to explain the threat of global warming, the one clearest to me is that global warming is like an asteroid, or perhaps a swarm of asteroids. We are already getting hit by some of the smaller ones that are showing up as hotter weather, more violent storms and mega-droughts, but there is a really big one out there headed our way.
      ...in a Truthout article from 2007.

      Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

      by memiller on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:16:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Congress were to find out that ... (0+ / 0-)

    an asteroid was heading towards Earth they'd be calling for the impeachment of Obama.


    How do you tell your pet slug that you had escargot for dinner?

    by glb3 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:07:19 PM PDT

  •  Focusing on climate change is too narrow a view (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6ZONite

    to succeed.  The solution is a mass understanding that climate change, a shitty economy, the student loan problem, the "too big to fail" banks, our crumbling education & infra-structure, the perversion of our Democracy by big money,... all come from a central source & have a relatively simple solution. Tax the crap out of the 1% & use the money to start fixing things.
    Or as Elizabeth Warren says, "Fight back."
    As long as we allow the Kochs, Waltons, Chevrons, BPs, etc. to run roughshod over the 99.9% of us, things will just keep getting worse. When it finally gets bad enough, things will change--but the HRC's of the world are part of the problem, not the solution.

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:15:58 PM PDT

  •  If (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TakeSake, RonK, ypochris

    it were only 1980 now, we would have a fair chance of solving this with incremental and simple measures.

    taxing the hell out of fossil fuels
    a massive renewable energy program
    99% recycling of extracted raw materials
    outlawing of private vehicles

    but, too little too late

    The tech fix still has a chance, and I don't include natural gas as anything positive, the escapement of methane from production wells and fracking has made the situation worse.

    possible tech ameliorations

    White out the deserts with limestone dust
    orbital reflective chaff
    possibly, upper atmosphere modification by reflective aerosols
    a massive and immediate renewable energy program
    a drastic cut in domestic and industrial energy usage
    air conditioners have a lower limit of 85* +
    heating systems limited to 50* -
    all of this must be worldwide

    If the deep ocean methane hydrates turn over, it's goodby Charley. I hope what comes next to replace us has intelligence and has foresight.

    With luck and dedication we can probably save some of the higher lifeforms on this rock, including a few of us. Not to say we shouldn't keep an eye on those asteroids, and keep smiling and loving, what's a lifetime for?

    I support application of Common Core Standards to Congressmen.

    by Wood Gas on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:16:20 PM PDT

  •  If an asteroid were headed our way (0+ / 0-)

    the Republicans would immediately call for a huge tax cut for the 1%.  Isn't that their solution to all problems?

  •  How to get something done (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris

    It's posed as an environmental problem.

    In the American political system as mediated by the Beltway Serious People, "climate change" is an "environmental problem."  Like everything else, there are always two sides and only two sides.  And the side in favor of dealing with the problem is on the "liberal" side.  As such, it's categorized as worth doing something about, but much less so than ensuring "fiscal discipline."

    The objective is to reposition this as nasty space aliens imposing their will on Earth.  (If that fails, there are plenty of terrestrial enemies, real or imagined, who could also be used.)  Basically, you sell this with (a) fear, (b) a sense of imminence (it would take several centuries before we're all inundated by the Antarctic glaciers, but the average exurban couch potato can't figure that out), and most importantly, (c) an identifiable bad guy.  I personally like aliens (we can recategorize the space program, most sustainable energy investments, and a lot of other scientific research as "anti-terrorist spending."  Don't laugh.   40% of Americans still think that Iraq was behind 9/11.  

    We don't do this because we tend to make arguments that are supportable by evidence but that don't have much media appeal.  Perhaps it's time to make some arguments that are utter nonsense but that sound convincing on TV.  A lot of Americans believe that we're being visited by extraterrestrials.  A few Air Force denials about carbon-unneutral aliens captured in Area 51 (or should we invent a new one, Area 52?) and everyone will believe it.  Perhaps we can convince them that the aliens are already among us and impersonating human beings (the Koch brothers look kind of bug eyed and they have funny little fingers -- coincidence?  Hardly!

    The issue here is that we've made an argument based on facts.  It's about time to make an argument based on jingoism and fear mongering.  Perhaps at the end, we can consume most of the world's nuclear arsenal in the process of disposing of an imaginary space-alien mothership (aliens always have these, right?)

  •  The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonK

    If there were an asteroid coming our way Republicans would call it an evil Liberal plot, blame Obama, piss themselves & buy more guns.

  •  ...despair is not an option for true humans... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonK

    Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

    by paradise50 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 03:29:13 PM PDT

  •  I think we should be taking names of the deniers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6ZONite, Eric Nelson

    and obstructionists, including those who funded them (e.g. Kochs). There should be a registry accessible by all, particularly for the future generations who will have to live these evil peoples' actions and inactions now. In the same way we have war memorials, we should have memorials of infamy about those who began to destroy the planet, watched it happen, denied it, and did nothing to help, all for the sake of money, power, and/or reelection.

    The long tem effects of climate change, even if we are able abate its affects or reverse it at some future time will likely be more devastating than any holocaust yet and that is saying something as we've had some pretty bad actors.

    "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

    by RonK on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:28:38 PM PDT

  •  We should nationalize the fossil fuel industries. (4+ / 0-)

    Seize all their assets, and use those assets to convert to a carbon free economy as soon as feasible. If we don't, Ezra Klein may be right.

    Phase out coal first; it is the worst offender. Oil next. If we don't lead, no other nation can. Hire every able-bodied person to help convert to wind and solar.The alternative is to ruin the planet.

    The average person has no idea how dire this emergency is. We must educate them. Much world suffering is already dialed in; every year that we do nothing makes the outcome worse. We must lead; we must act.

    Primo pro nummata vini [First of all it is to the wine-merchant] (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 04:47:37 PM PDT

  •  Thank You MB (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    I have read both articles !

    I'm currently helping remodel a building making it just over 5,00 square feet.

    2013-06-20_06-48-58_711

    Untitled

    we are in the process of getting it insulated, it will most likely be sprayed & be a r-21 rating.

    I'm trying to make it as energy efficient as possible.
    I often tell the boss spend it now & it will save you down the road.

    Untitled

    the unit is 2 stage 15 ton, when it get's the building cooled or heated it goes to a 1 stage 7 1/2 ton mode.

    Thanks for all you do to promote clean energy

  •  It seems to me that of Ezra Kleins 7 points.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven

    ..some of which are spot on (and his presentation is very well laid  out - imo), he relies heavily on Chris Hayes (who does not reach the same conclusions of doom that Ezra Klein Does) and points out that..

    [Forcing change will mean] forcing fossil fuel companies to give up at least $10 trillion in wealth.
    .. which is what happened with slavery.

    And that :

    As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” What the climate justice movement is demanding is the ultimate abolition of fossil fuels. And our fates all depend on whether they succeed

     - Chris Hayes

    There are ways we can and will demand change. It's already happening.

    But also too: Ezra Klein does not give nearly enough weight to both what has been posted in this Diary above.

    Trillions of dollars of clean high paying jobs are on the line.

     Many of these jobs would replace the black lung jobs of the Appalachia - something which is very promotable.

    I'd bet there are many wives, daughters and husbands who would jump at a chance, traditions aside, to work a job that didn't threaten their very health an lives - imo - make new traditions besides mining and drilling and fracking in those states that rely on extracting energy out of the ground (and oceans)

    And this:

    IEA: Decarbonising the economy will save $71 trillion by 2050 - By Sophie Yeo | Mat 12, 2014

    Replacing fossil fuels with renewables as the world’s primary source of energy will not only save the planet from dangerous levels of warming – it will also save the global economy US$ 71trillion by 2050. This is the finding of a report, Energy Technology Perspectives 2014, released today by the International Energy Agency, which looks at the direction of the energy sector over the next 40 years.
    No matter how uber-rich those fighting renewable energy are. No matter how invested they are, this is a BFD.

    trillions in jobs coupled with trillions in savings (?) not even the Koch corpo types who couldn't care less about anyone's future but their own can fight those facts.

    Thx MB

  •  We're Just Looking in the Wrong Place (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dsb

    The country has decided our "leaders", our government, is incompetent. They believe private enterprise is the only way to get things done.

    So, I suggest President Obama call in the heads of Exxon-Mobile, Shell, BP, Chevron, Duke Energy and a few other large fossil fuel companies and ask them:

    What's your plan? How do you plan to get carbon levels down to 350 ppm?
    And he should demand an answer on our behalf until he gets one. He should put their faces on the screen and in the paper every day until he gets an answer. What's their plan, here? It's clearly their job to solve the problem. What's their plan? They're running the country, so let's have it What is their plan? How do they plan to do this?

    Or, as us liberals would have it, let's have some effective government action.

  •  Thank you for this important diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry I missed it earlier. It needed to be said.

    Dem leaders have hesitated to move global warming mitigation front and center where it belongs.

    Their hesitancy has had a cooling effect (irony intended) on the global warming discussion among Dem party militants -- who wish to stay on message and defend the Dem hierarchy before all else.  

    Despair and confusion are common, even on DailyKos. Far too often we hear uneasy talk of "adapting" to the unadaptable, like just rolling along with using up all fossil fuel reserves worldwide. Because it's inevitable, so the sweet talk says...

    Fossil fuel use can and must be phased out as fast as possible.

    We need to re-double our efforts to convince both regular folks and world leaders that the time to act is now.

  •  There r 7 billion of us going (0+ / 0-)

    into 9 billion. Game over.

  •  Oh--I KNOW this one! Cartoonist Tom Toles had an (0+ / 0-)
    What if an asteroid were headed our way?/blockquote>excellent 'toon years ago which gave the answer: Republicans would continue to call for tax cuts (for the wealthy)!

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:33:46 AM PDT

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