Climate Catastrophe: Too Late For Action? Or Just Trapped by a Dangerous Ideology?

(Above video by Democracy Now. Please also take a look at a related video at : Huffington Post Live)

*****

Hopeless.

That’s the state of many environmentalists and ecologists these days when faced with the growing ravages of human-caused climate change and a when confronted with a society that has ignored their pleas for rational societal response for decades.

And who can blame them?

They were the ones who acted first. Who took on vegan diets. Who stopped driving cars. Who stopped using airplanes. Built solar and carbon neutral homes. Who blockaded pipelines and coal plants. Who threw themselves bodily into the ocean in front of massive oil tankers in an attempt to halt their operations.

These individuals acted, they fought, they set the example. And who listened? Who followed in their footsteps? Who understood the cause — the most important of all things — they were fighting for?

Is it any wonder that collections of severely depressed persons crop up with greater and greater frequency? That blogs and whole web communities are dedicated to the notion of coping with what many see to be an inevitable near term human extinction?

Why did so many people turn deaf ears to those fighting for climate action over the long years? And why have so many of us now succumbed to hopelessness?

Perhaps it is well a sign of the terrible time in which we live. A time in which individualism rose to ascendency and crowded out all other views. A time in which any collective action was disparaged to the point that the term collectivism itself became a bad word. We were seen as responsible for only ourselves — but not for each other.

We became members of the church of selfishness and so many of us became blind to the impact of that all too narrow view on the world around us. On our communities, our churches, our cities, indeed our civilizations and ultimately our world.

We thought that by taking on selfishness that we would grow stronger. But, instead, we gave up an essential human strength. We gave up the ability to effectively work together.

But climate change is a problem that no individual alone can solve. A problem that requires the strength of individuals collected together and acting as one.

A raindrop cannot fill a creek bed. But a rainstorm can.

If we are to deal with climate change we must cast off the old constraints and the old views that have trapped us for so long. We must learn to act, not as individuals, but as members of a larger union. As a group that multiplies the strength of our parts. We much collect. We must gather. And we must focus our energies.

In this, Naomi Klein is absolutely correct —

We must first learn to believe that we are worth saving. And, in doing so, to understand that working collectively to halt climate catastrophe is now the most good and needed of things.

(Hat tip to Colorado Bob)

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180 Comments

  1. Kevin Jones

     /  September 25, 2014

    Well said, Robert.

    Reply
  2. beautiful post… i am i the USA for the first visit in three years, and seeing the huge autos and i am sobered as i watch the ‘mayberry’ crowd driving gas guzzling autos that dart in different directions all day, even to go two blocks to the corner store…

    this post is quite timely, and though i am guilty of taking one of those jets from south america to the usa, i am relieved to live a very holistic lifestyle the rest of the time. yes, these are sobering times, and thank you for your paul revere role. we can hope that the others will awaken soon and pay attention to your warnings….

    z

    ________________________________

    Reply
    • It would be helpful if societies worked to provide modes of transportation that are not so harmful. We have responsibility as individuals, but we must work to change the system to provide ourselves with less harmful options if we’re going to get through this. We can make these changes through policy and public investment, as Naomi points out. Do we have the will?

      Reply
      • many of us do have the will, and it’s our duty to speak up. where i live in ecuador, many people rely on walking or old fashioned bicycles, but there are also many who use modern vehicles. public buses are the most-used form of travel for a large majority of the people where i live.

        here in the usa where i am visiting, i marvel at how many people are sleep walking through routines and are not aware of what’s happening, from the deforesting of our planet to blanket spraying chemicals over crops to gmo in diet and the jet ‘trails’ in the sky… msg and aspartame in their foods and high sugar – especially for ‘breakfast…’ i want to shake them and scream, ‘WAKE UP!’

        with tact, i try to point out some of those details one person at a time. like a chain smoker seeing teh sobering death sentence of a chest xray, i fear that it will take a shocking graphic example to awaken them.

        remember the long-ago billboards that showed the indian with the tear rolling down his cheek? hmmmm.

        thank you again for nudging us to do our part.

        Reply
  3. Kevin Jones

     /  September 25, 2014

    Slow food slow travel. Return to sail. Ground ALL bombers and winged buses…..Could start with Air Force One, as a good example. (I’m serious as the situation)

    Reply
    • We should be looking at zero carbon transport and funding it. A broad array of forms. The carbon based transport needs to go. If we want Jet aircraft, they need to run on carbon neutral biofuel. Sail is very elegant. I’ve always wondered about solar/sail dirigibles that run up to Jet Stream level and then ride the upper level winds by sail.

      Reply
  4. Kevin Jones

     /  September 25, 2014

    Creativity and innovation could even be fun…. Imagine!

    Reply
    • I think it’s one of the few happy necessities of our time.

      Crisis = opportunity. There are some who say that the 21st century could be the best of centuries if we work together to do what’s needed.

      As a progressive and a creative person, you’ll have to beat me to a bloody pulp to rip that vision away🙂

      Reply
  5. Kevin Jones

     /  September 25, 2014

    My suspicion, Robert, is that you’d beat me to a bloody pulp in a game of go!

    Reply
  6. Robert, thank you for this wonderfullythoughtful blog. Humanity faces many huge challenges on our finite planet right now. Climate change is by far the most dangerous one and if we do not tackle that, the rest does not need solving. I have been in New York for the People’s Climate March and I have been contemplating what I saw that day and on the Climate Summit. In fact I am waiting for my flight from JFK (carbon credits bought for the flight, yes). Actually it is pretty simple: individuals changing lifestyle voluntarily helps but not enough. The window to halt climate chaos is closing fast (if it hasn’t already). I will do my insignificant bit to try and push and pull unto Paris December 2015 for a carbon tax (preferably as carbon fee and dividend). If no real substantial deal is made including the major GHG emitters, two options remain: start to blow up the system or retreat to your hide out and live your life for the ones you love until human society will start to unravel or a magic technical breakthrough will get us back to 350 ppm. My hide out is in the mountains in Brazil, surrounded by rain forest, it will hold out for a while. will keep it for now.

    Reply
    • I’m with Hedges for a growing large-scale revolt. If the powers that be don’t move we give ’em a fight worth the kind of world’s end they’re locking us into.

      Thank you for your work and efforts!

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  September 25, 2014

        “If the powers that be don’t move we give ‘em a fight worth the kind of world’s end they’re locking us into”. Excellent and it brings up powerful images.

        Reply
  7. Yes, we are tired and we have figured it out. If you read your own posts, you would get it too. People are not going to change, they are not going to “work together” it is simply not in our genes. I was not depressed this summer, for the first time in many years, until the climate parade happened … now OMG.

    All we need to do is change a few lightbulbs, buy the new Prius, install a few renewables (made using coal), and presto the economy will GROW and we will be fine. 300,000 people think so, and you (at some level) and i, know it’s bullshit. I waited for someone to throw a rock thru a window on Wall St. – to provide a response somewhere close to the crime being committed – nothing.

    How would one sell a truly useful set of policies like:
    1. Ban all imports from anywhere.
    2. cut military spending by 98% after getting all our military and diplomatic people home.
    3. eliminate QE, and raise interest rates to 5%
    4. Use the military budget money saved to feed people with no work and no land while encouraging them to find a place to grow their own food.
    5.

    Selling a lie a Klein and others are trying to do is not helping.

    “… they need to run on carbon neutral biofuel” Yes, if one is ever invented. There are biofuels, but i watch them being grown near my home, and they are NOT carbon neutral – give me a break. 160 acres of blooming canola is great for my honey bees though! 🙂

    “… dirigibles …” – filled with helium that was separated from the conventional natural gas as all our commercial supply of helium is? Really?

    OK, I’ll leave you in peace for a while. Keep that hope alive!

    Reply
    • And speaking of the hopeless…

      Just a note, Pin. Dirigibles run on hydrogen, not helium. So this post carries a fossil fuel centric world-view warning with big red flashing lights!

      Reply
    • I maintain the position that the greatest changes will come not from human behavior, but from engineering that channels the aspects of human nature that got us into this situation in the first place toward a neutral rather than negative outcome.

      Consider the artificial sweetener. Rather than cutting sugar out of our diets to the benefit of our health, many of us instead choose to load up on sucralose, aspartame, or Ace-K. Science has provided us with (what seems on the surface) a viable alternative allows us to indulge our urges while avoiding certain unwanted outcomes. The same could be said for, say, birth control, or video games.

      History says to me, we will not take millions of vehicles off the road or stop the hundreds of flights and shipments that drive modern society in any sort of timeframe. The desire for a status quo of “grow, fast, now” is too strong.

      Biofuels will not be the ultimate answer to climate change, but they will be the essential first step. If we can’t come up with a viable hydrocarbon-based alternative to fossil fuels, we are toast.

      Reply
    • Jesse

       /  September 28, 2014

      “I waited for someone to throw a rock thru a window on Wall St. ”
      What the hell were you waiting for. I know rocks can fly, I have seen them fly through bank windows. (Mayday, somewhere in the US, some years ago) We pushed our way onto Wallstreet at Wall & Broad, Many of us were up against the barricades, the cops were upset enough to use pepper spray (which Amy Goodman mistakenly refered to as tear gas). We made a point, it was all symbolic, but then so are rocks.

      Yeah, I’m one of the peaple who stopped driving, way back in 91 after the first gulf war. Left my main stream job in 2004 to fight this battle. You want rocks to fly make them fly, the physics is simple, anyone can do it, even you.

      Reply
  8. Kevin Jones

     /  September 25, 2014

    Whoa, pintada: whether cop or coal miner, soldier or scientist, rice farmer or fruit picker, people have always worked together. It’s all about what we do, not that we can’t.

    Reply
    • Pin apparently gets most of her information from the oil industry, the Wall Street Journal, and various other rather odd and questionable sources. Which is why she can’t stand climate marches, apparently doesn’t understand facts about how biofuels work (absorb carbon when grown, emit it when burned = net neutral in most cases), and disparages any solution that doesn’t sink the global economy to the point that the result is mass starvation.

      That said, the bit about shifting military spending to something more worthwhile is definitely a positive (if, somehow, we could manage without getting bullied by outside threats which would require much more global cooperation and trust than we’ve seen thus far). So a ray of light in an otherwise gloomy and distorted outlook.

      Reply
  9. Reblogged this on dtlange2 and commented:
    Serious Questions of Survival Raised

    Reply
  10. Ken Barrows

     /  September 25, 2014

    What’s the goal here? I say at least 5% global emissions reductions of CO2 per year, indefinitely. If tech gets us there, super. If it doesn’t, we’ll have to do a lot more than tech. Maybe even go to an agrarian/permaculture society–a big challenge.

    Reply
    • 5% annual would be a good start. How we achieve that could well be a mix of tech and consumption reduction. Ag based society is probably not the best solution due to inherent population pressures. But changing ag is probably much needed. In any case, we can’t achieve this sort of thing without wide-scale policy and public investment. Just telling individuals not to fly or drive cars won’t work — just as it hasn’t for all these many years.

      Reply
      • I think this is important.

        The dominance of individualist logic is seen even in the environmental movement, which often seems to focus on changing individual behavior (Drive less, eat less meat, install low energy lightbulbs, etc..). This is very appealing on an emotional level, but the problem is that it’s just not enough. And we hit diminishing returns very quickly.. we go from cheap and relatively effective steps like better lightbulbs, to more and more expensive or inconvenient steps (turn the heating down dramatically, install solar panels, buy an EV..). So fewer people do it.

        The net result is that total emissions barely shift, but a lot of people are doing as much as they think they should do. Effectively, all your political capital is spent but you haven’t gone far to fix the problem.

        Reply
        • Exactly. It’s just poor strategy to aim for individual action only. We need to shoot for the moon and that involves the strongest policy objectives possible. If we can make a strong enough push for it, even our opponents will have to make concessions based on the force of public perception. In a crisis situation and we are in a crisis situation a well managed campaign will generate political capital by pushing for ambitious goals and by asking for larger societal and not individual sacrifices.

          In essence, if the sacrifice and effort is society based we are all involved in the project together. We all have a stake in its success. The laws and oaths bind us to good action and the regulations ensure to a greater extent that the effort and pain is born more evenly — an not just by those willing to give up the most to help us out of this mess.

  11. james cole

     /  September 25, 2014

    She makes a brilliant point, and I can confirm it as I was old enough in the 1980’s to be able to grasp global warming and world politics. And she is correct, the science burst on the scene before politics and industry could mount a counter attack. Media and science journals were filled with the exploding science of fossil fuel induced global warming. But, at that exact instant in the 80’s when science exposed the looming danger, the Neoliberal economics burst on the scene, home based in the Chicago School of Economics, as it was called then. Led by the wildly popular Reagan and Thatcher, they sold people on government as the focus of evil and enemy that must be slapped down, this to free up financial capital to remake the world. In individual nations, collective government action was simply put back into it’s box, where it was in 1920. So, at just the instant in history that government was most needed to guide the new energy economy, it was just destroyed by the popular new economics model, a model now proved totally false, a story for an economics blog, not a climate one.
    So yes, she is right, these two forces exploded on the scene and Government intervention in the politics of energy was shelved and forgotten. Industry and a peculiar right wing economic false god took hold and led to the 2008 financial disaster, still totally in play, and the giant rise in CO2 now apparent for all to see.
    It is 2014, and we have come nowhere since 1980 to any solutions. We lost 40 years, the 40 years that may spell doom for our kids and grand kids.
    By the way, Her Theory of “Disaster Capitalism” is one of the last 100 years most brilliant economic theories, proven now ,by evidence of it’s practice across the globe and at home.

    Reply
    • Disaster Capitalism —

      In this case the destructive economic systems are linked to the ongoing climate catastrophe. One feeds the other.

      I agree, James. Naomi nails it. And, yes, we’ve mostly lost 40 years due to the ideology the current system is based on.

      And you’re right — we’re locked in a 1920s mindset and mode of governance. The Economic Royalists are killing us and our grandchildren.

      So do we give up our right and imperative to collective action and simply let them just do it? Or do we reaffirm our strength as a collective political force and start the clock moving forward again and hope to god it’s not too late.

      Reply
      • Danabanana

         /  September 26, 2014

        “And, yes, we’ve mostly lost 40 years due to the ideology the current system is based on. ”

        So for 40 years the Fossil Fuel industry has not lobbyied/influenced government decisions? Carter spoke of the CO2 risk, Reagan about the risk to the environment, Clinton about Global Warming, even Bush threw a line with regards to GW on one of his speeches. Now Obama joins in with the talk. All these presidents were aware of the science but chose to support (with public money) the Fossil Fuel industry instead, why?

        Naomi doesn’t impress me by implying that Homo Sapiens can be a very big 7bn happy family when we’re not wired for that. We’re territorial and look after our patch first and foremost so for a total unity of action, like Reagan said, an invasion from outter space would be required. As it stands half the population think that AGW is for real with another half either denying the science, God’s will, Conspiracies like HAARP and so on.

        It is wrong for Klein to assume that all humans have the capacity to understand the complexity of the issue at hand when in reality very, very few have connected all the available dots. Even scientists themselves find it an issue to see the whole picture as there are various disciplines involved. Jason Box started looking at the whole picture recently and his conclusion is no diferent from mine. Alarmist? not sure, but he has been told not to shout out loud the ‘M’ word but the powers that be.

        Reply
        • Of course the fossil fuel industry lobbied for 40 years. You seem to be missing the point that individualist ideology runs lockstep with the oil industry lobbyist messaging. All you have to do is take a look at ALEC. The two view are intrinsically linked.

          As for Box, I wholeheartedly agree.

          So I wonder the cause for this non sequitur?

  12. Bill Goedecke

     /  September 25, 2014

    As always, I enjoy and mostly agree with your posts. Thanks for your work.
    As regards Ms. Klein, I heard her on a recent Democracy Now! show – Amy Goodman asked her about her effort to have a baby and Ms. Klein talked about the difficulties and how these difficulties reminded her of the biological limits. Apparently she continued with these efforts and was successful in having a baby despite these limits. I have difficulty with this especially if one is seriously considering the kind of future that is coming. It is only because she is in a presently wealthy country where she has the means to do so is she able to have the child. This is not living within limits. And any child born today is going to be experiencing some very hard times.

    Reply
    • From an interview with Klein —

      I asked about her decision to have a baby, in spite of everything she knows.

      She got quiet. “For a long time,” she told me, “I just couldn’t see a future for a child that wasn’t some, like, Mad Max climate-warrior thing.”

      Somehow, though, her engagement in the climate movement seems to have changed that. Another future seemed possible. She and Lewis decided to have a child, but struggled with infertility. Then, having given up, surprise: along came Toma.

      If anything, the experience has made Klein all the more a fighter. She now believes that denying her desire to have a child, because of the mess being made by those willing to destroy the planet for profit, would be a form of surrender.

      “I guess what I want to say is, I don’t want to give them that power,” she told me. “I’d rather fight like hell than give these evil motherfuckers the power to extinguish the desire to create life.”

      *****
      One child per set of parents is certainly not a problem. I’d say that’s responsible. And, yeah, giving people a reason to fight for a good future. That’s responsible too.

      Reply
      • Zero children is much better than one and more coherent with Klein’s own knowledge about the present and future. Let’s be honest and say that she probably simply succumbed to a deep, irrational genetic drive embedded in most humans, entirely unsuited to the present circumstances, and pasted it over with rationalizing. We can criticize her for that and praise her for her ideological work and writing.

        A common theme with any possible approach to realistically dig ourselves out of the climate hole is that we will have to bring to bear more rationality than ever before seen in the history of humans, and also more self-denial.

        This is why I am very pessimistic.

        Reply
  13. ah, where to start. here perhaps, which i also posted to a repost of this very robrrtscribbler blog. we must remember how far we HAVE come. we must think beyond our own pumy chsnges. yes BE the chsnge, but WHAT change to be? little , atomistic changes or massive ones? lets go masdive. as out mil industry is this nations grestest polutet as we are in a most divisive “war” right now, we are at that point of adisasterous opportunity. time to go far beyond our comfort zones get out of our skins… http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26398-what-the-movement-against-mass-incarceration-can-learn-from-the-struggle-for-climate-justice

    Reply
  14. Kevin Jones

     /  September 25, 2014

    Bill Goedecke: I’ve posted too much today but wish to respond: I know of more than 20 young couples I’ve strenuously tried to get to consider having: ‘maybe not even one’. Out of fairness to that child and themselves. I love children and that is precisely why I’ve had none. None of them listened to the science that was the source of my concerns. Most went on to have two….three. It is a heart-breaker. And they were almost all faith-based peace activists……

    Reply
    • My wife and I are on the zero child track. 0-2 I think is responsible (the replacement rate in this country is 2.2). Beyond that, I think it’s too much.

      People do love having children and we are built to continue life. But our population does need restraint. And serious restraint at that.

      Reply
  15. its often said the way to tackle big projects is to break it into smaller steps or parts. perhaps we fight top much and build too little? or perhaps we focus on winning the war at the expense of (not) winning the victories that bring us to the wars end. I just saw this, about moores law, alt energy and the brighter side. my suggestion is that these singular battles and the projects involved might be a better route than “winning over” the obstructionists. MAKE HASTE SLOWLY is s lesson we may have cast aside as we move to fear and a fixation on our immediate extinction.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/09/19/the-coming-era-of-unlimited-and-free-clean-energy/

    Reply
    • Laissez Faire doesn’t get us there fast enough. We’re still building coal and gas plants. We’re still working to tap new fossil fuel sources. We need to stop that and start shutting these projects down very rapidly. Without policy, it’s not going to happen fast enough.

      Reply
    • WaltInSeattle –

      Energy is not computers.

      If anything, the IT/Telecoms industry is an exception, not a rule. Moore’s law is in fact highly specific and based on the continuing, near-linear shrinkage of feature size on integrated circuits. It does not really extend from there; indeed, the whole startup culture of Silicon Valley, fine though it is, is based on anomalous conditions (Extremely low startup costs, practically free worldwide distribution, exponential growth in storage and CPU power..) A lot of these guys have gone into green energy startups and suddenly found that the same rules don’t apply.

      Take solar panels. You can get the cost of a panel down to zero.. but you still have to have a certain area (even if efficiency hit the physics-derived maximum). If you want fully backed up, dispatchable solar power then you’ll be buying the batteries, inverters, the lot. Already, non-panel costs will total half the cost of an installation, so even dropping panel cost to zero only cuts prices by 50%.

      And many aspects of energy use have the same problem. You want to heat water.. that takes 4.1813 J/g/K, and no innovation in the world is going to change that. You want to freeze it;same rules apply. Heating and cooling are the things we use most energy for; and while we can do better, there isn’t going to be a silicon-valley-style game changing breakthrough, because the physics says no.

      If you want to fix global warming, there is no substitute for serious, multi-trillion dollar investments in large scale plant and infrastructure. Replace coal with nuclear power. Build a terawatt of wind farms (put solar on every roof, sure – but don’t expect it to solve everything). Replace oil refineries with synthetic fuel production. Upgrade the electric grid so that people can heat their homes with electricity instead of oil or gas, and charge their EVs. This would solve the problem. But don’t fool yourself that individual action or lassiez-faire will ever get us there – it needs a couple of decades of sustained central government action.

      Reply
      • I find much I can agree with here, especially with regards to the broad action statements.

        Nuclear, unfortunately, is high risk, a high cost, and a tough sell politically. I wish this was not the case as the carbon impacts of nuclear are far less than coal (primarily construction and concrete). As for synthetic fuel — I suppose you mean feedstock based synthetic biofuel?

        Going zero carbon based energy infrastructure doesn’t solve the whole problem. But it does take a huge chunk out. Add in a few ccs biofuel plants together with changes in land use, agriculture, meat consumption and you could be net carbon negative.

        My opinion is we’ll probably need to be net carbon negative by mid to late century.

        Reply
      • there are no magic billets, period. not hereor elsewhere. although these “small” changes wont finish the job they are as robert noted a way to make the rest less of a big project. decentralized inputs are valuable and effivient. although moores law is more software than hardware the line blurs when new basic technology disperses fast thru the same invedyot networks accumulating due to doftware. rlom musk mihht make a good exsmple of this interplay, wheras MR Virgin Aire offers a cautionary.

        Reply
  16. utoutback

     /  September 25, 2014

    As someone who was appalled when Ronald Reagan removed the solar panels from the roof of the White House and have always viewed him and most of the Republicans who followed as social criminals, I have been depressed by the response to global warming/climate change for years. My wife and I have built 3 passive solar homes and have no offspring.
    I live in an area where a response from local citizens to the suggestion of have a “dark skies” community is “You are trying to take away our freedom!” I’m on the Town council of a community of just about 200 residents and with have difficulty agreeing on street signs.
    Yes, I’ll admit to a sense of hopelessness when I view a world with over 7 billion humans who spend more on the means to kill one another than on coping with our “closed system” planetary environment.
    My dealings in local government haven’t helped. “As above, so below.” If I can’t even get people to agree in a small community, how will we ever come to global agreement. Much more likely the weapons will be used in the last gasp of fighting over the limited resources of a small planet. I think of Jimi Hendrix singing all along the watchtower:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJV81mdj1ic
    Still, I use my clothes line, limit my energy use and hope.

    Reply
  17. A superbly poignant essay. I’m not sure if the following personal anecdote is indicative of what we’re up against, but I’ll share it anyway:

    One of my nephews is a married Millennial with a young child. He is very liberal (though not really a progressive), environmentally conscious, and adamantly opposed to conservative ideology, social regressivism, etc. He is probably quite representative of the youthful demographic which could and should tip the political scales towards climate change mitigation. Yet, he has a great dislike of politics, democracy, activism, and collective participation in institutional society. Furthermore, he holds the unsubstantiated opinion that all our problems will resolve themselves naturally with time. Not only does he refuse to acknowledge the very real short-term and long-term threats we face as a civilization, he also doesn’t appear to feel part of anything larger than himself and his immediate surroundings.

    I’ve had countless discussions with him about all this and more. Despite my concerted attempts to enlighten this otherwise intelligent and aware young man, his stubbornness persists. For example, he will only vote if polling suggests a Republican candidate might win; and, that scenario doesn’t happen very often in his blue state residence.

    It depresses me because without people power I don’t see a viable solution on the horizon.

    Reply
  18. bill shockley

     /  September 25, 2014

    As in many life situations, if you don’t provide a solution, a solution will be provided for you.
    This man thinks economic collapse will happen before climate catastrophe. The climate has been around much longer. Dmitri Orlov meets Richard Heinberg.
    Youtube: A 50 Year Plan for Surviving Climate Change

    From another view, I read in Chomsky that, contrary to popular belief, the bad economy of the 30’s was not righted by WWII, but before that, by a huge worker’s revolt, led mainly by the Communist Party, that forced the government to do the right thing, or else. My history is lousy, so I can’t provide any particulars.

    A grim note from Chomsky:
    “It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.”
    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26000-owl-of-minervas-view-isis-and-our-times

    A desperate plea delivered serenely by a man who is now on the Oden (Swerus-C3).
    Youtube: Peter Wadhams For The Motion opt

    Paraphrase: 2C of warming is baked in. If we stop all carbon emissions today, the CO2 already in the atmosphere will take us to 2C by the end of the century.

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  September 26, 2014

      Yes, but perhaps 4 to 6 C of warming is not YET baked in, and therein lies some room for rapid mobilization on curtailing emissions, though I admit I’m not hopeful that humanity will do enough in time. Obama’s 30% by 2030 is the best anyone in power has put forth yet, but most climate scientists don’t believe that’ll cut it, even if it were realized in practice.

      Still, it’s worth fighting for – “better to fight on your feet than die on your knees”, or however that one goes…

      Reply
      • I’ve got 1.8 C short term and 3.6 C long term. Bad. But nowhere near as bad as things will look by mid century under BAU. We should be pushing for 100 percent emissions reductions and then going for net carbon negative.

        New York City is pushing for 80 percent reductions by 2050. That’s better.

        My opinion is we should be pushing for global 80 percent reductions by 2035ish and net negative for the second half of the century.

        Reply
      • Spike

         /  September 26, 2014

        Somewhat encouraging that the UK’s opposition leader is talking of the need to decarbonise UK power supply by 2030 and creating a million new green jobs. Being slated for it of course by the usual suspects as hopelessly idealistic/impossible, but as a former Energy/Climate Change Secretary he has been exposed to the science.

        Off topic but this article on sea level rise and ice sheets has some fascinating research details in it:

        http://theconversation.com/why-ice-sheets-will-keep-melting-for-centuries-to-come-32171

        Reply
        • Good to see!

        • We’ve already locked in at least 15 feet of sea level rise long term due to the glaciers that are now in irreversible collapse. If we hit the 2 C mark we might well be looking at 75 feet + long term due to the factors that set off glacial destabilization.

  19. “We must first learn to believe that we (Humankind only?) are worth saving ” Robert you have in the latest and best post for a while managed to capture the essence of our ongoing and increasingly difficult,fractious and divisive dilemma(paraphrasing R.M Pirsig @ the art of—–)On the one hand we need to move forward -whilst at the same time we need to move backwards in terms of “Western ” living standards for a world that is currently yomping (U K term-galloping for you) towards an unsustainable 12 Billion (2050*approx) population.On the other hand the touchstone of fossil fuels will pay for everything mantra (with respect to the idol of individuality–I exist ,I can do what I like regardless of the costs to the existing and future generations are totally mutually incompatible .Collective action is required as per the Klein article quoted,but also further individual actions as per Pintada’s post are required.In the absence of these there is only the recourse to individual and immediate family hunkering down memes .In effect we are going to have to RE-ALIGN.RE-EDUCATE @RE ACQUIRE Sustainable Skills in order that there will Be a World of which we ( Human Beings) will be (Fingers Crossed) a part of.

    Reply
  20. I have a question.

    At present we have a global temperature increase of .8C and yet we have all the climate effects you chronicle so well. It is my understanding that there is a lag time in seeing the effects of greenhouse gasses so that what we are seeing today is the effect of emissions of some years ago. We are not even starting to see the effects of what we are putting into the atmosphere today in record quantities.

    It seems that we have future increases in temperature (to what level I do not know) already ‘baked into the cake’ whatever we do (and there is no sign of even the political will to do anything unless you believe Obama’s rhetoric, rather than his actions).

    Despite that we seem to have set off the methane clathrate gun as well as a good number of positive, self-reinforcing feedbacks.

    Am I not supposed to feel slightly hopeless?

    Or is there something that I have missed in all this?

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  September 26, 2014

      As the cellist Pablo Casals said: “The situation is hopeless; we must now take the next step.”

      History offers many examples where human beings have found courage in seemingly hopeless situations. It is this deep human quality that we need to collectively summon again, so contrary to the selfish individualism of our times.

      Even if it is almost too late to prevent a 2°C rise in temperature there is still much we can do, and any success in reducing emissions will greatly improve the survival odds of communities and ecosystems around the world. That’s what keeps me fighting. It’s a rescue mission.

      Reply
    • 1. The lag is probably about 20 years for most transient impacts.
      2. There’s about a 1 century lag for so called equilibrium effects (kind of an artificial measure accounting for about half the total warming impact).
      3. There’s a multi-century lag to get the full effect (total Earth Systems Sensitivity).

      So, yes, there’s a lot baked in that we’re not seeing now.

      Overall, at 481 CO2e, we’ve probably locked in about 1.8 C warming this century and 3.6 C warming long-term. This warming is probably enough to set off some methane response which may have a range of effects from preventing atomospheric carbon draw down to the point that high levels of ghg remain in the atmosphere to adding minor to moderate additional warming. The current forcing is less likely to set off a runaway, but these risks grow as the Earth approaches an initial greenhouse gas forcing of 550 to 600 ppm CO2e.

      (It’s important to note that due to aerosol damping, the total forcing is actually in the range of 425 to 430 ppm CO2e now. But the aerosol negative feedback is transient unless maintained by some means [A number of fossil fuel cheer leaders have ludicrously suggested that this is a reason for the continued burning of coal! This, of course, just keeps making the situation worse. But geo-engineering maintenance of the aerosol shield may be a future choice taken if we keep pushing ghg much higher — however unsavory this prospect looks. There’s a limit to how much you can rationally dampen in this way — about 2-3 watts per meter squared.])

      There are a number of scientists who believe that the 6 C threshold is what sets off a major clathrate response leading to hothouse conditions of 10 C or greater (Hence the 550 to 600 ppm CO2e danger zone threshold).

      Though we already have some methane feedback baked in, it’s not likely that the total effect, currently, is enough to result in hothouse conditions over the short or long term unless the Earth System is far more sensitive than we observe in paleoclimate or unless the current high velocity of the human forcing is enough to overwhelm tipping points in a manner that has no context in paleoclimate.

      This is my best understanding of a science that still appears to be rapidly evolving.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  September 26, 2014

        Thanks for these summaries that you’ve provided several times now in the comments section. Have you done a lead article on your best estimate, as above, as to likely future warming? Perhaps you have over the last few months, but my memory escapes me.

        I think it would attract a lot of attention and links thereto. Just a thought…

        Reply
        • I have within the past year. It’s basically included in ‘A Faustian Bargain On The Short Road to Hell.’ Although I could probably do with an update.

  21. Phil

     /  September 26, 2014

    Unfortunately, I do not see anything meaningful happening until change is forced from the bottom up. That will only occur when things get bad enough to force the current generation to act and force the change. Even though things are getting worse (both in terms of weather, climate and economic impacts), they are not bad enough yet to probably force this type of change which has to be primarily political.

    Unfortunately, forget about the impact on future generations, the impacts will have to be largely contemporaneous and affecting the current generation to get the change required. This discounting of future generations is another consequence of the ruling economic/political/social ideology that dominates today.

    Of course, people can adopt there own actions but the problem and threat does require a global and systematic response.

    Reply
    • I think we have a potential for things to get bad enough over the coming two decades. In any case, the 400K climate march was a massive outpouring of support for action and provided a major new support base for currently ongoing efforts like divestment, pipeline blockage, coal plant blockage and many more.

      That said, it’s still a vocal minority effort.

      My opinion is that the world food system is struggling somewhat. And though there’s quite a bit of action ongoing to mitigate impacts already underway we can get into a sudden shock situation given the nature of the currently building extreme weather events. If these events are linked to climate change, as they should be, in the public mind, then you end up with far more wide-spread impetus for change.

      Reply
  22. Andy Heninger

     /  September 26, 2014

    I completely concur that better public policy and collective action are essential for moving the country and world off of the current disastrous path.

    The question I keep pondering is, what can I, as an individual, do to help push things along? Beyond voting and fairly regular mails to members of congress and the administration, it’s not at all obvious what might be effective, and that’s incredibly frustrating. Individual behavior – driving less, flying less, eating less meat, etc. – is insufficient; it does nothing to drive policy.

    There are so many things that we could be doing, yet so little is being done, leaving the world on a disastrous path.

    How do we break the political backs of the fossil fuel trusts and get progress unblocked? It’s their money, their protection of trillions of dollars of “assets” that need to be abandoned in the ground, that are at the root of the difficulties.

    Changes will come eventually when climate damage hits harder and big losers (coastal property owners after a price crash?) look about for someone to blame and to pay. How can we speed up the process? Divestment? Risk disclosures. Noisy coastal planning processes? Lawyers and lawsuits?

    Reply
    • I would put every weapon on the table now except for violent action. Do everything you’re able to as an individual. Vote. But, most importantly, coordinate with others who are doing the same thing. Form communities. Help each other transition to zero-carbon living. Work to help your communities do the same.

      RE hitting the fossil fuel interests where it hurts, Divestment/Investment is a good start. IF you add investment to the equation, you fund the fossil fuel compeditors and this makes their dominance far more tenuous.

      Lawsuits, I think are a next step. A strong angle of attack is at government policy-makers for violating the public trust. But I would also go for the fossil fuel companies directly for endangering public health and welfare through their actively funded climate change denial and political lobbying efforts. My opinion is that this second set of potential lawsuits cut to the marrow of the issue as it won’t be hard at all to uncover such active endangerment efforts through the various agencies fossil fuel companies support and the tactics they use — including active attacks on climate scientists — to protect their interests.

      Included in such efforts could be both the government — who is now paying a growing amount of money through FEMA to mitigate flood damage that can now be linked to sea level rise. As time goes by and more properties along the coast flood due to rising tides, this group of potential plaintiffs will grow larger.

      I’d add to this number farmers and communities in western states. We are increasingly able to link climate change to severe drought. As such, endangerment of public health, wealth and welfare lawsuits are certainly a potential. How much more money, for example, is California having to spend to ensure water security now? And how much less would they have had to spend if the fossil fuel companies hadn’t led an active effort to obstruct action on climate change?

      It’s complex legal field, but one that is rife with opportunity once certain precedents are established. And it is immense and growing size of assets lost that makes this a wide field of play. I’d think the ACLU, for one, would be all over this now as public health and welfare are a central driver for ACLU action. However, there are a massive number of environmental law firms playing the field and public endangerment has got to have a number of related laws and statutes on the books or in the court systems.

      In general, I would consider that every option is now on the table with the exception of violent action. At some point, we may need to look at bringing civil disobedience to the level where sections of fossil fuel infrastructure are targets for active dismantlement — as dangers to health, human, and living beings welfare. But I wouldn’t take that more extreme measure yet — just hold it out as a potential if politicians keep playing their silly games.

      Finally, we need an avenue to affect political change in rural communities. The current gridlock in Congress is primarily due to gerrymandering where even a majority of liberal votes is not enough to provide a liberal majority in the US House of representatives. So you have to do some tough work. I’d look at setting up climate missions to rural areas through the faith-based community. Rural residents will tend to balk if they’re approached by environmentalists. But if the appeal is faith-based, I believe it is much more likely to take root. Most faiths have an inherent imperative to protect and husband creation, so I would push church missions into rural regions with the express goal of spreading the ‘protect creation’ news.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  September 26, 2014

        Yep, the legal side of things is a promising angle. My fear is that the deniers and there backers will get away with there actions once things go pear shaped. I want them to be held accountable, bankrupted (which might happen if the carbon bubble bursts), and tried for the damages they will ave caused and jailed. Not sure how likely that will be however.

        Reply
  23. The day I lost hope was when I watched Democracy Now! coverage of COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 (?) and saw the talking heads agree to do nothing and the pleas of island states disregarded, NGO’s refused entry, delegates made to wait in the snow and demonstrators facing violent police suppression. Our own NZ minister of climate change negotiations, Tim Grosser, blamed the leaders of Pacific Islands, for “torpedoing” the negotiations.

    Not that that is going to force me into depressed inaction.

    I believe Chris Hedges’ admonition for resistance.

    However, if you listen, Hedges says he is not naive enough to believe that such resistance can be successful.

    Doing the right thing irrespective of the outcome is the only way

    Reply
    • I have to agree with this sentiment. At this point, the point where strong active resistance becomes necessary, the outcome is a crap shoot. But even if there is a small chance of success, we must act.

      Reply
  24. Heartfelt blog.

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    Climate Change Destroying Rocky Mountain Forests, Report Says

    Climate change – and its resultant wildfires and insect infestations – is killing off large portions of the forests in the Rocky Mountains, according to a new report.

    A joint report by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, warns that hundreds of millions of acres are projected to die in national parks and national forests alone by 2027.

    Link

    Reply
    • God does this hurt. What would John Muir say?

      Someone should put together a national lawsuit against the fossil fuel companies for enforcing the destruction of US natural lands.

      Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    California’s fire season has been going nonstop for 18 months, and there’s no end in sight

    In an interview, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott said his agency has fought almost 5,000 fires this year, a thousand more than the five-year average. Over the last five years, CalFire has battled an average of 3,951 fires between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20. This year, the agency has fought 4,974 fires throughout the state.

    In truth, the dry conditions mean fire season never stops. State fire fighters started the year fighting a 330-acre fire in Humboldt County, one of the wettest counties in the continental United States.

    Link

    Reply
    • Some rain this week and an eastward shift in the block. We might be seeing the end. Or it could be just another brief hiatus.

      That hot pool of water in the NE Pacific is a real kicker. If it remains, the block will tend to re-establish over that zone without some rather powerful atmospheric dynamic to stop it.

      Reply
  27. Robert – The question is whether or not the current population is too large for the earth to support without the use of fossil fuels. Our current economic situation in the states is an economy that is based on the outsourcing of labor to China – where goods once produced in the US are now produced using coal in China. And in a situation where we have exhausted our soils – without the use of artificial fertilizers produced through use of fossil fuels which mask the issue – these soils will collapse. We are able to ship food and water all around due to fossil fuels so as to ameliorate local resource limits. However we need to immediately and drastically cut use of fossil fuels since we are approaching a severe and species threatening climate crisis which is caused in large part by use of these fossil fuels. If we immediately cut use of fossil fuels we would be immediately confronted by local resource limits and would have an economic crash. With an economic crash we won’t have the money to transition to a more benign energy mix. This would be followed by a population crash.

    I have friends who have kids and I support them all the way. But when I look at local resources I do not see means to support the population at large.

    Reply
    • The question you should be asking is:

      Is it possible to feed the world without burning fossil fuels and dumping carbon into the atmosphere?

      And the short answer to that question is — absolutely yes.

      *****

      What are the most important elements of energy based fossil fuel burning to food?

      1. Mechanized farming.

      So the question is can we feed the world without fossil fuel used in tractors etc?

      Since you can run machinery on things other than fossil fuel, then the short answer is yes.

      What are the other important elements to farming that fossil fuels provide? Fertilizer and pesticides — primarily.

      Can we glean these materials from fossil resources without burning them wholesale for energy? Absolutely. And since the raw materials element of the fossil fuel production is well less than 10% of its use as energy, I think it likely that we can certainly keep gaining these materials without using fossil fuels as a larger energy source.

      In any case, many of the same chemical compounds can be derived from other, renewable sources through synthetic alteration of the molecules in much the same way that fossil fuels are chemically altered to produce these materials now.

      Moreover, the current land use and ag system is a major resource hog due to bloated meat production. If we were to cut meat consumption/production by 80% we could more than double the amount of people fed (while also greatly reducing agriculture based greenhouse gasses). And this action greatly reduces impacts on resources like fossil feedstocks, forests, and phosphate based fertilizers.

      So, yes, we can feed the world without fossil fuel based energy and even many fossil fuel based materials if we change the way we feed the world, the way we use energy, which energy sources we use for mechanization, and how we manage the resource intensity of food. production,

      Reply
      • Thank you for the reply. Those kind of questions – regarding methods – are engineering questions. There may be methods/means for doing many of the things we can do with fossil fuels with other fuels. My point of view is that we cannot just assume that we can replace oil supply. Oil is a very unique substance and it has many qualities such as portability. I have not seen another substance that has such energy potential right out of the ground. What I am saying is that, yes there are many potential solutions, but one cannot dismiss our dependence on the current methods and means we use to survive. I have seen graphs that show population growth along with oil use and there certainly looked correlated. Use of the current mix of alternative energies have much less energy potential in them. It is my view that we need to slow down, contract economies purposefully and work at reducing our populations in order to meet this slower energy regime. This is very much true with agriculture, where we do have serious problems with our soils,which have been over-exploited. There is no doubt that agriculture can be done using other methods, but there is going to be a problem with recovery of soils which have been destroyed by our current aggressive methods. Just simply looking at the fisheries, one can simply see the trend which is without a doubt towards depletion. Things will take time to recover and we need to reduce our need to exploit whatever resources that are at hand. And, also, we need the funds for doing these things, especially if we are enmeshed in capitalist economic structures. If we draw out our dependence on fossil fuels till it is not possible to use them anymore, there will be no money when that source is empty for whatever reason.

        Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    Study finds global sea levels rose up to five meters per century at the end of the last five ice age cycles

    Land-ice decay at the end of the last five ice-ages caused global sea-levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 metres per century, according to a new study.
    An international team of researchers developed a 500,000-year record of sea-level variability, to provide the first account of how quickly sea-level changed during the last five ice-age cycles.

    The results, published in the latest issue of Nature Communications, also found that more than 100 smaller events of sea-level rise took place in between the five major events.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
    • .. in response to a much slower temperature rise.

      Although to balance that, we had huge ice sheets much further south than nowadays. It basically depends if ice sheet loss transitions from ‘melting in place’ – which is intrinsically fairly slow, to ‘physical disintegration’, where – as an example – a marine-grounded ice sheet undergoes gravitational collapse and turns into icebergs in a matter of years or decades.

      .

      Reply
      • Spike

         /  September 26, 2014

        Ooops I posted the link to an article in The Conversation above before getting this far – apologies for duplication.

        In the article I posted the author states that with ice sheets at the current volume maximal sea rise was 1 to 1.5m per century. I did think the same as Andrew – that modern forcings are an order of magnitude quicker so it might be questioned if those limits still apply.

        Reply
      • It is the nature of Earth System warming due to greenhouse gas overburden that the greatest amount of heat forcing goes to the poles. In addition, the velocity of human-caused heating is more than 20 times faster than at the end of the last ice age currently and could be 50-100+ times faster by the end of this century.

        This physical distribution of heat and this very rapid heating velocity has likely stark consequences with regards to potential rates of sea level rise.

        IF we are on track for the RCP 8.5 scenario, it is very likely that IPCC sea level rise predictions are quite conservative. My personal opinion is that we will see between 3-9 feet this century under all scenarios with the caveat being that the higher level scenarios risk quite catastrophic results that are difficult to predict given the extreme velocity of temperature change.

        In addition, there are many physical dynamics which push for ice sheet disintegration — increased flow size, increased glacial speed, melt water flooding of the glacier base, basal heating of the ice sheet through ocean contact, perforation of ice sheet surface and interior through melt ponding and historic pocketing by previous melt pond formation, melt ponding through the ice sheet surface and interior, melt dam formation and outburst flood mechanism, melt pond over-topping at the surface and subsequent flooding and cascading over-topping of down elevation melt ponds, and increasing instances of heavy rainfall precipitation events over ice sheets — just to name a few.

        Reply
    • Glacial megaflood…

      Reply
  29. I believe we have the skills and capability to fix this planet. I unfortunately believe that we will not do so. From a spirited discussion with Apneman in another thread he said (paraphrased) “we will fight to the death in order to be the one to burn that gallon of gasoline”. I think he had summarized the human condition in that one statement.

    This is like watching “The Lorax” as a real time horror thriller.

    “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss

    Reply
    • “we will fight to the death in order to be the one to burn that last gallon of gasoline”

      (missed “last” – in the paraphrased quote. It really puts things into context)

      Reply
  30. It is cold comfort indeed to have fought the good fight all this time on climate only to find out that in the end, we couldn’t persuade our fellow ‘clever apes’ that the status quo was unsustainable. I’m sensing burnout in a variety of causes–there is no longer any American peace movement to speak of, for example. I try to get people to sign on to anti-nuclear power causes and there are the activists who know, and the great majority of the rest of the population who do not want to know. One has to look at the fringie-est of websites for any acknowledgement of the ongoing disaster at Fukushima, for example. And today is Nuclear Weapons abolition day, which calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Big in Europe, nobody’s heard of it here (we’re busy fighting over salutes and lattes.

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    With few data, Arctic carbon models lack consensus

    As climate change grips the Arctic, how much carbon is leaving its thawing soil and adding to Earth’s greenhouse effect? The question has long been debated by scientists. A new study conducted as part of NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) shows just how much work still needs to be done to reach a conclusion on this and other basic questions about the region where global warming is hitting hardest.

    Lead author Josh Fisher of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, analyzed 40 computer models of the amounts and flows of carbon in the Alaskan Arctic and boreal ecosystems. His team found wide disagreement among the models, highlighting the urgent need for more measurements from the region.

    Models represent scientists’ integrated understanding of Earth processes and systems. They are used both to test that understanding, by comparing their results with real-world observations, and to gain insight into how current trends may affect our planet’s future.

    “We all knew there were big uncertainties in our understanding, and we wanted to quantify their extent,” said Fisher. That extent proved to be greater than almost anyone expected. “The results were shocking to most people,” he said.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140926101859.htm

    Reply
    • It’s nice to have a voice of sanity in the wilderness.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  September 26, 2014

        I think that is one of the biggest issue confronting this science – not enough measurement devices. We need more objective data from these regions including satellite as well as station based data. Until we have this, we do not really know what is happening with a high degree of coinfidence.

        Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    26 September 2014

    Although not designed to map changes in Earth’s gravity over time, ESA’s extraordinary satellite has shown that the ice lost from West Antarctica over the last few years has left its signature.

    From the link –

    ESA’s CryoSat satellite, which carries a radar altimeter, has recently shown that since 2009 the rate at which ice is been lost from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet every year has increased by a factor of three.

    And, between 2011 and 2014, Antarctica as a whole has been shrinking in volume by 125 cubic kilometres a year.
    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/GOCE/GOCE_reveals_gravity_dip_from_ice_loss

    Reply
  33. 0926 2014 Field Report PNW Portland OR:
    The squirrels are gathering and storing nuts like they were getting ready for a severe winter — but the House Sparrrows outside my window seem to be debating whether to start their third nest of the season. Who knows?

    – But in the News:
    Pacific Northwest wildfire season: Oregon and Washington topped nation in acres burned
    Oregon’s 2014 fire season
    Through Sept. 22, 2014, Oregon has had 1,934 fires that burned across 957,000 acres of state, federal and private lands. Combined with wildfires in Washington state, the Pacific Northwest region led the nation with 3,270 fires that burned across 1.3 million acres of timber, grass and rangeland.
    … ” The Pacific Northwest set a record of 43 days as the nation’s No. 1 priority for resources across the country…”

    http://www.oregonlive.com/wildfires/index.ssf/2014/09/pacific_northwest_wildfire_sea.html

    Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    Following Customer Backlash, Wyoming Utility Withdraws Proposed Solar Surcharge

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/26/3572392/black-hills-power-distributed-solar-wyoming/

    Reply
    • Have you been tracking the conflict between utilities and solar generators in Hawaii? I think that’s a model for what we’ll be seeing on a broader scale as time move forward.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  September 26, 2014

        I have not, but now that you mention it hauling carbon to Hawaii must have wonderful markup. And they could go solar very fast .

        This all reminds me of what the buggy whip makers were saying over 110 years ago. I’ll love to see an article, about what the horse infrastructure was saying about the rise of the automobile. There’s a great metaphor there , as one world over turned another.
        And I gotta think the harness makers fought tooth and nail.

        Reply
        • Most of the power plants in Hawaii run on diesel. So, with the cost of liquid fuel high, it’s about 2-3 times cheaper just to install solar. When people started doing it, utilities started to attempt to apply feeds. People balked and now utilities are required to rapidly phase in more solar and cut power rates.

          Great suggestion. I do know that a common saying to early automobile adopters was — ‘get a horse!’

  35. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    8 Surprising, Depressing, and Hopeful Findings From Global Survey of Environmental Attitudes
    Not everyone is finding it easy to be green

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140926-greendex-national-geographic-survey-environmental-attitudes/?google_editors_picks=true

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 26, 2014

      3. More people trust science.

      Respondents in 11 of 18 countries show growing acceptance—68 percent—of the idea that human activity is the cause of climate change. But skepticism abounds in the industrial world. Japanese, British, and Australian consumers are dubious about the human link to global warming, and Americans bring up the rear as the most disbelieving.

      That “doesn’t surprise me, given the disinformation that we’ve seen” in the U.S. media, Whan says. “It’s depressing that where the greatest per capita consumption happens, there seems to be the least willingness to change, adapt, and carry one’s share of the load.”

      Reply
  36. How can people visualize a Conservation Civilization when they have not dealt with the Consumption Civilization? http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/921/1/

    Reply
  37. “Bangledeshie & Inuit brown trash.”? There is but one human race, a scientific fact even if not in your heart.

    Reply
  38. Kevin Jones

     /  September 26, 2014

    Monday, Colorado Bob, I shall return to do rot replacement on a Thatcher loving , Ayn Rand following 80 yr old Irishman’s rural ‘estate’. Not listening to Regan’s nose , he lost his to too much UV. The poison’s the dose, I long said to him. Now he (a brilliant electronics engineer), is working on a tidal wave harnessing/co2 neutral machine. It looks promising and the prototype is underway… Even saw a copy of The Betrayal of Science & Reason on his bookshelf. He loves opera. We love his evening whiskey. Ain’t over till the fat mama sings!

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    An op – ed from Forbes That quotes Trotsky :

    I’m approaching the topic with a quote attributed to Trotsky in the back of my mind: “You might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

    Profit From Global Warming Even If You Don’t Believe In It

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2014/09/26/profit-from-global-warming-even-if-you-dont-believe-in-it/

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    A line from the forest die-off link above.

    Piñon pines (Pinus edulis) – severe drought and exceptional heat. Between 2002 and 2003, a catastrophic die-off wiped out 90 percent of the piñon pines in Mesa Verde National Park–which the park says could take 400 years to regenerate.

    These are the toughest trees the Rockies grow , in the southern range from around Mesa Verde, to Salida, to Pueblo, and south. To see an entire forest collapse all the way down the west side of the divide into New Mexico. They made the biggest fires in New Mexico history when they burnt down. This entire forest has been gone for over 10 years.

    And like the White Bark Pine to the north, the Piñon pines were a valuable source of nuts to creatures great an small.

    Kit Carson walked in among these trees. They warmed him and fed him . Now that entire forest is dead.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 26, 2014

      When all these trees burned –

      After tripling in size over the weekend, the fire in Mesa Verde National Park grew from 17,000 acres to 20,000. Fire crews today fought the blaze in southwestern Colorado with the help of archaeologists who walked along in front to pinpoint ancient sites that need special protection.

      The nearly 500 firefighters toiled in 90-degree temperatures against a blaze that sent flames 200 feet in the air and created plumes of smoke that were visible for miles.

      “That smoke plume that you see there is not just a plume going up into the sky. It is extreme energy. This is awesome power that we’re looking at,” said fire management team spokesman Justin Dombrowski. “If you put somebody in front of those 200-foot flames, they are going to die. If you dump slurry on it, you’ve just wasted your retardant because there’s nothing you can do to slow the fire.”

      Link

      Reply
  41. Kevin Jones

     /  September 26, 2014

    A NYT photographer took a telescopic photo of me and the six other federal prisoners I led up the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution ‘s 176 foot tall water tower during a protest against our nation’s…my country’s genocidal non-stop imperial war . April ’72. The article describing this 48 hour protest included comments from the war-weary prison officials: “they read the newspapers, like everyone else…” said the acting warden. The policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace which began before the day I was born: The National Security Act of 1947. enacted 1948. I may well be an idiot, dear Colorado, but I hope I’m not stupid. I’ve ALWAYS been interested in war…Since Nixon ordered me to it on 23rd July, 1970, and I said simply, humbly, sincerely, and patriotically : no (as in no fucking way) What has happened to the children of this day? Come on kids. This is your lives! (no techno-narcissistic excuses) And so much more importantly than that: Where is your support from your parents ,teachers ,friends, and leaders….

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 26, 2014

      Kevin Jones
      Both of us should be dead. , here we are bitching 40 years later.

      Insert smiley face here.

      Reply
    • vardarac

       /  September 27, 2014

      My life is too short to waste it on impotent acts of defiance. It’s not techno, but it is narcissistic. I’m just honest about it.

      When I have enough legs to stand on and see the chinks in the armor, you’d better believe I’ll push, but it just ain’t happening right now. Especially not as another blade of astroturf.

      Reply
  42. Kevin Jones

     /  September 26, 2014

    🙂 as you wish, CB

    Reply
  43. Colorado Bob

     /  September 26, 2014

    Speaking of the Stones and our grim subject,

    Reply
  44. Colorado Bob

     /  September 27, 2014

    Kevin Jones

    When was a young punk I placed my Sears speakers next to my head and listened to this over and over.

    The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

    Reply
  45. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    Dear friends. Try some very early Joan Baez. Bob Dylan Gordon Lightfoot & never forget Emmylou Harris & Dolly Parton……And Johnny CASH…. Leonard Cohen,…. & never ever ever forger Neil Young ’cause he is here still, & with us yet….. o-h-i-o

    Reply
  46. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    ” in the early mornin’ rain…..’ ‘far between sundown’s finish, & midnight’s broken toe….’ etc:

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  September 27, 2014

      When you gonna wake up? When you gonna wake up? When you gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain.”
      Sometimes I just can’t get Dylan out of my head. His words fit then, and they sure do fit now.

      Reply
      • I don’t know about Bobby D. anymore. Not since he spoke, “… zoom, roar, and thrust.” This, in his Super Bowl commercial about cars — American cars and their drivers. Yes, those fossil fuel burners among us that are sending the world to an early grave. Bobby D. can go park his tour bus back to Minnesota and himself inside. http://vimeo.com/90288737

        Reply
  47. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    “If today was not a lonesome highway

    if tonight was not a crooked trail

    if tomorrow wasn’t such a long time” thanks for yours, Griffin

    Reply
  48. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    vardarac:if it is an act of defiance, how can it possibly be impotent?

    Reply
    • vardarac

       /  September 28, 2014

      The better word might be “ineffectual.”

      Reply
      • The civil rights demonstrations of the 1950s and 1960s had an effect. So did the Viet Nam War protests. Gay rights also. These all started slowly enough, and in the early days may have seemed ineffectual. There is nothing more important than the survival of the human species. If we fail at this, then none of the other matters are of any import.

        I am not optimistic that we will collectively do the right thing. But those of us who are informed must struggle against the darkness while we can, not because we think we will win, but because it is the right thing to do.

        Reply
  49. Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River in the Sierra Nevada is having their troubles there days.
    I married my first wife at South Lake Tahoe in Sept. 1971. She then sponsored me for Landed Immigrant status in BC, Canada. Before then, I had been living in BC illegally for almost a year. Anyways. I remember a full Lake Tahoe and a raging Truckee — in Sept.

    – Now in 092014:
    ‘… Meanwhile, a diminished Truckee River – the Reno area’s primary source of drinking water continues to drop. River flows at Farad, Calif., Thursday were measured at 104 cubic feet per second compared to normal flows this time of year of 500 cfs.
    Most of the water now in the river consists of drought reserves owned by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority coming from Donner Lake, said Chad Blanchard, federal water master. Flows from the river’s largest reservoir, Lake Tahoe, are expected to halt altogether in late September when Tahoe drops below its natural rim.’

    Good photos here: http://www.rgj.com/picture-gallery/news/2014/09/25/the-truckee-is-now-just-a-trickle/16233767/

    Reply
    • I spent 13 years in BC in exile as a war resistor. Good times. Got involved right away in effort to halt the nuclear testing in Amchitka. Yeah, helping out at dockside and seeing the Edgewater Fortune off to take the place of the faltering Phyllis Cormack/Greenpeace.
      There was always something to do. There still is. A lot of improvising, no instruction manuals, etc.

      – I came across this 2011 BC news item. It shows some of the great people that rise to the occasion (I see some some of them here at RS), the luck- good or bad…

      ‘Valley resident Don Maclean sailed into history 40 years ago when he formed part of the crew of one of the first Greenpeace protest ships.

      It was all part of the “Don’t Make a Wave” campaign against the U.S. testing nuclear bombs by exploding them under water off the coast of Alaska at Amchitka.

      Maclean, who at that time lived in Vancouver, was one of the crew on board the Edgewater Fortune which sailed under the flag of the “Greenpeace Too” back in the late fall of 1971.

      It followed the first Greenpeace ship, the Phyllis Cormack, which had been forced to return as the blast was delayed…

      One man nearly didn’t join the group.

      “They’d said they already had a full complement but discovered that this guy had been a navigator on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo harbour when the Americans took the surrender. They hauled him on board,” Maclean said.

      The original ship, the Phyllis Cormack, was small and was unable to remain at Amchitka.

      “They had to come back to Vancouver and when they came back public sentiment was enough to fund the next ship, which was bigger. There was a lot of support even among the fishermen when we got to Alaska. And the Phyllis Cormack had been stopped by a submarine on the high seas and the crew gave them a note saying they were on their side.”
      – cowichanvalleycitizen

      Reply
      • Ps:photo caption: Don Maclean shows off an old newspaper that featured him as part of one of first Greenpeace protests back in 1971.

        Reply
  50. Colorado Bob

     /  September 27, 2014

    A $60 trillion global-warming gamble in a $75 trillion GDP world

    Yes, global warming is a $60 trillion bet in a world where the total GDP of all nations is only $75 trillion, where the climate mess is already a catastrophe. And yet … we keep gambling … never enough … going all-in at the global high-stakes casino … blindly addicted to capitalism’s promise of perpetual growth … gambling away future generations … the few risking everybody’s future for more personal wealth for today … making an irreversible $60 trillion global warming bet where the odds of losing mean GDP collapsing below 1% by 2100.

    Can this high-risk trend be stopped? Maybe not. Taxpayers’ cost: Last year a Scientific American research study estimated $60 trillion. And the costs, risks, fears just keep inflating. London’s Guardian called this a ticking “economic time bomb” that could “undermine the global financial system.” Yes, kill economic growth worldwide, destroy America’s future, end civilization as we know it. And still, we keep gambling away the future, trading everything for greater wealth today.

    Link

    Reply
  51. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    National Weather Service Air Quality shows smoke coming south to cover NH today…all the way from the Pacific Northwest.

    Reply
  52. utoutback

     /  September 27, 2014

    This is an article that must be read to truly understand the whole scope of humanity’s problem.

    http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  September 27, 2014

      This was a gift from you to me. I cannot thank you enough, this made my whole weekend. As depressing as it may be in its perfect accuracy, I nonetheless found it to be hilarious. I was grinning from ear to ear for the the entire article. I think this may be the finest piece on humanity ever written!!!

      Reply
  53. 09272014 AVERAGE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE PER CLIMATEREANALYZER

    Reply
  54. 09272014 ANOMALY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE PER CLIMATEREANALYZER

    Reply
  55. Colorado Bob

     /  September 27, 2014

    Jakarta, Indonesia Observes its Hottest Temperature on Record

    While on the topic of heat records, it is worth noting that Maximiliano Herrera has informed me that Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city, measured a temperature of 37.0°C (98.6°F) on September 24th at the Jakarta Observatory. This is the hottest temperature ever recorded at this site and ties the record from any of the city’s various other official weather stations (for any date of the year).

    Christopher C. Burt
    Weather Historian

    Reply
  56. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    dtlange: Thanks for the story(s). I remember Don Maclean’s work. Ya. That super bowl ad made me almost spew my ‘cheetos’

    Reply
  57. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    Colorado Bob: is it still true Miami has yet to hit 100F? Surprised me 20 years ago when I learned it hadn’t happened there yet. Back when i rode them, i changed planes there in ’86 in November and the heat/humidity knocked me off my feet. p.s. thanks for the Friday Night Concert!

    Reply
  58. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    dtlange: On the off chance you and others perhaps are unaware, Naomi Klein (only slightly less perfect than myself) was born four days after Kent State, the Canadian daughter of US exiles from the Viet-Nam war who moved there in ’67. The Treason of the Elites is the only reason this Long Strange Trip is never ending. They are so few & somehow, we must become so many. Viva Gritty Love! aka: resistance

    Reply
    • Thanks Kevin, I knew Ms. Klein was Canadian but not of her exile lineage. She will be coming to KBOO radio, our local community FM station Monday Oct, 01 to kick off our fall fundraiser. I volunteer in the News Dept. writing news pieces and doing phone interviews. Air pollution and climate change are my beats.
      Yeah, and those people like Don MacLean, Bob Hunter, and Paul Watson just jumped right into the thick of things.

      Ps: the feds dropped my S/S indictment in “76 for various reasons. I moved back to the US in ’83 on a personal quest. Am here til the end — trying to defend the homeland (Earth) from the fossil fuel barbarians.
      Part of the reason these criminals got so much power was because so many of us were either off fighting wars of empire, or resisting them. There weren’t enough of us to defend the homeland — an insidious byproduct of these wars in foreign lands.
      – AMF

      Reply
  59. Kevin Jones

     /  September 27, 2014

    Robert. Thought as an ex-cop you might enjoy. I’m walkin’ down Central Park West & notice a familiar face. Wearing his uniform. Being interviewed. I, smiling, extend my hand and say “May I shake yours?” Ray Lewis, the former Philly Capt. who joined Occupy at Wall Street. One of those so many fine fine moments….Reminded me of Howard Zinn’s final hope: The Coming Revolt of the Guards

    Reply
  60. bassman

     /  September 28, 2014

    Basic article about Jennifer Francis research and fair caution by Gavin Schmidt.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26278-crazy-weather-traced-to-arctics-impact-on-jet-stream.html#.VCdcatm9LCR

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  September 28, 2014

      Schmidt says that over decadal timescales or longer, the jet stream is very variable, so the correlations drawn with ice cover might yet be down to chance, he says.

      That would be one hell of a coincidence. I have been around for 5 decades and I don’t recall anything like what we are seeing. Maybe he is talking about a decade in another millennium. Is it just me or do Jennifer Francis and Natalia Shakhova get more criticism then others? I have to check my bias- I kinda have a thing for Natalia😉

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  September 28, 2014

        Its not just you. In an interview with Peter Sinclair a while back, Dr. Kevin Treberth was asked about Dr. Francis and her hypothesis of the link between ice loss and jet stream changes. He made it a point to refer to her as “Jennifer” while explaining that her ideas really were not accepted by the main body of scientists. I have no idea about the level of relationship they share but his rebuttal sure did come across as condescending.
        Debate is essential to the collective minds reaching a better understanding, but it is usually done within a framework of professionalism. Obviously the desire to keep a reputation as an authoritative opinion on the subject of our changing planet has allowed some scientists to occasionally find their remarks to be a little out of bounds.

        Reply
    • Kevin Trenberths (He’s a Kiwi) point was that he thought that the Pacific had a much higher heat content than the Arctic and therefore it was the Pacific which was causing the blocking high. Neither of them doubted that it was happening and it could be that both of them are right.

      Reply
  61. 09272014 JET STREAM PER CLIMATEREANALYZER
    (Segments of it seem to be linking up. Keep your fingers crossed.)

    Reply
  62. 09272014 CLIMATEREANALYZER
    (That mass of high pressure in the eastern Pacific is still holding its own.)

    Reply
  63. Hi Andy in SD. Hope you are well.

    ‘The National Weather Service says San Diego’s temperatures will rise above the seasonal average of 75 degrees through Wednesday, then spike sharply through the weekend, hitting a high of 87 degrees on Saturday. Inland valleys and foothills will come close to 100 degrees on Saturday. And that’s not the worst of it; forecasters say that high pressure will build in the Great Basin later this week…

    The average monthly temperature Sept. 1-26 was 76.3 degrees, which is 5.5 degrees above normal. Lindbergh Field has recorded above average temperatures every month since last November.
    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/27/more90-sandiego-heat/

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  September 28, 2014

      Sounds warm – those inland valleys sound like a place to avoid. We’re also having “Indian Summer” up here in New England today too, with a forecast high of 84 F for later this afternoon. I’d best do the yard work I have to do now before it gets too hot. And to think last week we were below normal with a frost advisory.

      Reply
    • Hi dt,

      Yesterday and today are around 80-85, but the weather is calling for this huge warmup this week. It has been above average here since roughly June, with some horrible spikes lasting weeks. The ocean is still around 70 to 75 degrees and we are getting these ugly “stalls” where there is no wind at all, just heat. I live about 4 miles from the ocean, and normally get a nice ocean breeze. Not this year. We get these week plus long stretches, no ocean breeze at all (morning, day, evening, night). It is just static immobile stifling heat.

      The last one ended 2 weeks ago and ran for 2-3 weeks. It was horrid. 4 miles from the ocean, no breeze, 97 degrees (105 degrees heat index). Inland it must have been unbelievable. Places like Ramona were 100 to 110, then calculate heat index.

      I am not looking forward to more.

      Reply
  64. Tom

     /  September 28, 2014

    Speaking of Jumping Jack Flash

    from http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/

    2014-09-26 – Nine children experience neurological damage, muscle weakness or paralysis in Colorado, unknown cause:
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00370.asp
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MED_CHILDREN_VIRUS_PARALYSIS

    2014-09-26 – Seventeen soldiers sicken during field training exercise near Fairbanks (Alaska), blamed on carbon monoxide:
    http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/site/index.php?pageid=event_desc&edis_id=HZ-20140926-45422-USA
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/17-soldiers-return-to-duty-after-co-exposure/2014/09/26/235da7b6-45be-11e4-8042-aaff1640082e_story.html

    Note: The symptoms are all possible symptoms of hydrogen sulfide exposure too. Carbon monoxide doesn’t make sense. It was a field training exercise, so they were outdoors. Carbon monoxide is a lighter-than-air gas, which is why detectors go on ceilings. Outdoors the ceiling is the sky – carbon monoxide doesn’t accumulate at ground level. If it did, everyone in every major city where people drive cars would already be dead from all the cars spewing carbon monoxide. So a large-scale carbon monoxide incident outdoors doesn’t seem plausible, but I guess they have to tell the people something other than the truth, and at least the symptoms match, so people, being generally clueless, will probably buy this story…

    Every day there’s more evidence we’re on course for extinction and nothing is going to stop it now that we’ve triggered major methane releases.

    Reply
  65. Colorado Bob

     /  September 28, 2014

    If trees could talk: Forest research network reveals global change effects

    Permafrost thaw drives forest loss in Canada, while drought has killed trees in Panama, southern India and Borneo. In the U.S., in Virginia, over-abundant deer eat trees before they reach maturity, while nitrogen pollution has changed soil chemistry in Canada and Panama. Continents apart, these changes have all been documented by the Smithsonian-led Center for Tropical Forest Science-Forest Global Earth Observatory, CTFS-ForestGEO, which released a new report revealing how forests are changing worldwide.

    “With 107 collaborators we’ve published a major overview of what 59 forests in 24 countries, where we monitor nearly 6 million trees teach us about forest responses to global change,” said Kristina Anderson-Teixeira, first author of the report and CTFS-ForestGEO and ecosystem ecologist based at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

    Many of the changes occurring in forests worldwide are attributable to human impacts on climate, atmospheric chemistry, land use and animal populations that are so pervasive as to warrant classification of a new geologic period in Earth’s history — the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans.

    Link

    Reply
    • Thanks, CB.
      I can only speak for the urban trees and foliage I have come into contact with. Trees react more to aerosol ‘atmospheric chemistry’ (air pollution) through their leaves, etc. than they do from the soil. They suffer horribly, in plain sight. One does need a vast array of finely calibrated techno-instruments to see this.
      These trees will never talk, they lost their lips, they are disfigured, they are ashamed. So am I. But I will speak-scream for them.
      The heavier, denser components of air pollution, and some of the lighter gases, kills children, trees, oceans etc. The lighter elements rise higher in the atmosphere and destroys the climate.
      Oh well, something like that…

      But I leave with some words of the late Reverend Morrison:

      “Before I sink into the big sleep
      I want to hear, I want to hear
      The scream of the butterfly

      Come back baby, back into my arm
      We’re gettin’ tired of hangin’ around
      Waitin’ around with our heads to the ground

      I hear a very gentle sound
      Very near yet very far
      Very soft, yeah, very clear
      Come today, come today

      What have they done to the earth?
      What have they done to our fair sister?
      Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
      Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
      And tied her with fences and dragged her down

      I hear a very gentle sound
      With your ear down to the ground
      We want the world and we want it
      We want the world and we want it now
      Now, now…”

      Reply
  66. Colorado Bob

     /  September 28, 2014

    Young sea stars suffer more from ocean acidification than adults

    Date:
    September 26, 2014
    Source:
    Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
    Summary:
    Young sea stars from the Baltic Sea suffer more from the effects of ocean acidification than adults. In a laboratory experiment, scientists showed that younger animals already eat less and grow more slowly at only slightly elevated carbon dioxide concentrations.

    Link

    Reply
    • Right CB, just as air pollution harms children, the elderly, and the infirm before it does the rest of us. This is a very nasty part of our fossil fuel culture that way too many of us have tolerated — parents especially.

      Reply
  67. Colorado Bob

     /  September 28, 2014

    Experts call for widening the debate on climate change
    Date:
    September 26, 2014
    Source:
    Manchester University
    Summary:
    Environmental scientists are being urged to broaden the advice they give on global climate change, say experts who are also frustrated that decision makers are not taking enough action.

    Link

    Reply
  68. Colorado Bob

     /  September 28, 2014

    Insurers, after White House meeting, emerged worried about more ‘extreme weather’ events

    Five insurance trade groups are promoting stronger building decisions to help counter a sharp rise in losses from extreme weather, prompted by a meeting on climate change between senior White House officials and industry leaders in June.

    The groups, whose memberships represent a large share of U.S. insurance companies, released a position statement yesterday that expresses their concern about climbing damage from weather events like hurricanes, floods, downpours and wildfires.

    It does not mention climate change explicitly, making some observers bristle, but instead emphasizes an ambitious transition toward damage prevention by improving land-use policies, strengthening building codes and funding stronger construction methods. The statement’s subtext takes aim at federal policies that the insurance industry has long said contribute to poor development decisions that increase losses

    Link

    Reply
  69. Colorado Bob

     /  September 28, 2014

    Wikipedia’s geography problem: There are more articles about Antarctica than Egypt

    But if these two factors were the only important ones, it’d mean Wikipedia represented the world pretty perfectly. The reason it doesn’t is a third factor: each country’s degree of broadband internet access. Wikipedia’s geographic disparities are simply a reflection of the world’s digital divide.

    People in poorer countries are less likely to have access to computers, smartphones, or the internet. The correlation is so high, in fact, that researchers sometimes use internet and smartphone penetration as a proxy measure of a country’s overall development.

    Link

    Reply
  70. The Naomi Klein? — Youtube at the top of this post is no longer available. But here is a good ‘Addicted to Risk’ (refers to oil & techno fix-capitalism, not to herself) TedTalk (plus a few graphics) she gave in 2010 just after the BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. She ends her speech with the Canadian Tar Sands. In between, she covers many good points about climate change and its culprits. She is a great speaker with a huge heart and mind.

    Reply
  71. Colorado Bob

     /  September 28, 2014

    The Call – The Walls Came Down

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 28, 2014

      Garth Brooks playing with the Call , he lied to parents to be in Bob Dylan’s back-up band at Newport. They were so conservative , playing with Bob was being a music porn star.
      They were called the Band later on.
      As old rock songs go this is a gem. It’s got bible metaphors in it.

      Reply
    • Love this song…

      Reply
  72. Kevin Jones

     /  September 28, 2014

    Thanks dtlange, Colorado Bob, the whole great team: all i offer at this moment is let us please not get “lost in a roman wilderness of pain”

    Reply
  73. Kevin Jones

     /  September 29, 2014

    Neil Young-Sugar Mountain-You Tube

    Reply
  74. Kevin Jones

     /  September 29, 2014

    I mean the one when he’s very,very Young and begins onstage singing on his knees! Pure humility. pure Grace. i just saw it for the very first time….

    Reply
  75. Many of us, as individuals do our bit but we are up against very powerful vested interests. Almost the entire newspaper industry and much of the TV are in the fossil fuel camp. At least we have the internet and can make an impression there. As much as I can I post comments on right wing newspapers. They dont like it but they still read the message and ultimately the tide will turn. Its important to keep going. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/blog/how-cheap-is-coal-as-a-fuel

    Reply
  76. Having grown up listening to Alvin Lee, you have no idea how pleased I was last week to find out my daughter (17 yrs old) knows who Alvin Lee is, and listens to 10
    Years After. She also eats almost no meat, is serious about recycling, watches her consumption (has a disgust towards conspicuous consumption) and is concerned about the environment. She wants to move to BC (from Cali).

    Also, I remember McLean et al from the 70’s having living/grown up in Vancouver. Many of my friends were members since then. Also knew Paul Watson’s folks at that time. Paul endangered the lives of others without a care at that time, one of my friends almost died in 1981 protesting the wolf cull in northern BC as Paul didn’t mention to him it’s kind of cold there, the guy went up with sneakers and a wind breaker (it was 30+ below up there at that time).

    For all of everyone pasting tunes, alway been a fan of Alvin Lee (and he passed away this year):

    Reply
  77. Stern Review referenced in this piece. Lord Stern pulled no punches in his observations. He respects the laws of physics and common sense (seems pretty uncommon lately). Sadly, if you follow the links, his paper is iced, way buried in the UK govt archives.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/22/lord-stern-global-warming-billions-climate-refugees

    Reply
  78. Got my plans, my beans and my bullets – nothing to be depressed about here?

    For as long as people have imagination and determination, this fight is on, even in the face of collapse.

    Sure, a lot of the existing population goes to the wall – but in a very real sense most of the affluent ones are making that as a choice, by not becoming engaged or involved, and not changing their ways. A pity for the populations that didn’t create these problems though, many of whom are more initially vulnerable.

    Reply
  79. Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/uoc-gis092614.php

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 29, 2014

      That seems like an important article, tgi. Here are the parts that seemed most relevant to me:
      “…the new model also takes into account the role that the soft, spongy ground beneath the ice sheet plays in its changing dynamics…

      “When these large ice sheets melt, whether that’s due to seasonal change or a warming climate, they don’t melt like an ice cube,” said Dr Marion Bougamont of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, who led the research.

      “Instead, there are two sources of net ice loss: melting on the surface and increased flow of the ice itself, and there is a connection between these two mechanisms which we don’t fully understand and isn’t taken into account by standard ice sheet models.”

      Whereas other models of the Greenland Ice Sheet typically assume the ice slides over hard and impermeable bedrock – an assumption which is largely practical and based on lack of constraints – this study incorporates new evidence from ground-based surveys, which show soft and porous sediments at the bed of the ice sheet, more like the soft and muddy bottom of a lake than a sheet of solid rock. The new study specifically identifies the intake and temporal storage of water by weak sediment beneath the ice sheet as a crucial process in governing the ice flow.

      “Not only is the ice sheet sensitive to a changing climate, but extreme meteorological events, such as heavy rainfall and heat waves, can also have a large effect on the rate of ice loss,” said Dr Christoffersen. “The soft sediment gets weaker as it tries to soak up more water, making it less resistant, so that the ice above moves faster. The Greenland Ice Sheet is not nearly as stable as we think.”

      While complete loss of all ice in Greenland is judged to be extremely unlikely during this century, the record extent of surface melting in the past decade clearly shows that the ice sheet is responding to Earth’s changing climate.”

      Reply
    • The ice sheets sit on mud which can become saturated with melt water funneling to the glacial base. This, in turn, speeds glacier motion.

      Overall, the Greenland sheet is more sensitive to warming than previously thought…

      Reply
  80. RWood

     /  September 29, 2014

    Teetering in the dump pool:
    this:
    Philosopher Frantz Fanon notes in “The Wretched of the Earth”, that in populations ravaged by political uncertainty and social change, reliance on mysticism often surges as people seek to rationalise forces that lie outside their ability to control.
    Via Al Jazeera English, a thoughtful opinion piece by Nanjala Nyabola: Fear and loathing on Ebola’s front-line.
    Leads to this:
    http://www.gotsci.org , (get your sticker to promote science instead of superstition)
    and this (shoe-horned) adjuration:
    Misinformation is hampering efforts to tackle the Ebola outbreak in west Africa as rumours and speculation exacerbate the epidemic. In such a climate, local media can help to save lives.
    i.e., keep supporting science in local media and street art!

    Reply

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