Norway, India and Netherlands May Ban Fossil Fuel Driven Vehicles by 2025-2030

New national policy proposals from the four ruling parties of Norway spurred a flurry of headlines this week as leaders explored the possibility of banning all fossil fuel based vehicle sales by 2025.

The country, which already has a 24 percent national all-electric vehicle sales rate — is pursuing ways to ensure that number grows to 100 percent in very short order. Note that these vehicles are of the all-electric, battery-driven variety and do not include hybrids or plug in hybrids like the Chevy Volt.

Norway’s Push Implies a Big Shift for Fossil Fuel Exporter

Leaders from both parties within Norway were considering the ban which, if enacted, would dramatically reduce Norway’s vehicle fleet carbon emissions. Fully 90 percent of Norway’s electricity is generated by renewable hydro-electric power. And hooking vehicles up to this energy source would push their use and chain of fuel emissions to zero.

Tesla Model S Supercharger

(A Tesla Model S recharges its battery at a solar powered electrical station. A combination that provides a clear path out of a transportation-based hothouse gas emissions trap. Enabled by this technology, a number of countries are considering a complete ban on fossil fuel use for vehicle transport from 2025 through 2030. Image source: Green Car Reports.)

A fossil fuel exporter, about 20 percent of Norway’s GDP comes from the sale of oil to the rest of the world. And this represents a bit of an irony in Norway’s policies. But Norway, for its part, appears to be very serious about transitioning away from fossil fuels and setting an example for the rest of the world. A challenge it will necessarily have to meet by diversifying its economy as global fossil fuel demand falls.

Norway May Be Signalling Global Transition Away From Fossil Fuel Powered Automobiles

Norway’s 5 million populace switching to all electric vehicles wouldn’t put a huge dent in global oil demand. But if other countries start to follow Norway’s lead, then a strong global trend could assert. Already, both the Netherlands and India are exploring similar policies — with the Netherlands looking to enact a 100 percent non fossil fuel vehicle fleet standard by 2025 and India exploring a similar option for 2030.

Increasing electric vehicle capabilities, lower battery prices, and expanding electric vehicle production are now allowing countries like Norway to consider the possibility of fossil-fuel free automobile fleets. By 2017, both Tesla and GM will be offering 200 mile range electric vehicles from a price of under 35,000 US dollars. Sales of these two vehicles alone are expected to top 150,000 in 2017 and with Tesla seeing nearly half a million preorders for the Model 3, production is likely to continue to ramp up.

Following expected trends, it appears that range performance and cost for the battery + electric motor combo will hit parity with fossil fuel driven vehicles by the early 2020s. Other measures of performance such as engine efficiency, noise, horsepower, particulate emissions, carbon emissions, and torque are all already superior in electric vehicles.

Rapid Ramp Toward Catastrophic Climate Change Provides a Sense of Urgency

From the standpoint of climate change, a shift to electric vehicles and away from internal combustion engines provides a number of systemic benefits. The electric engine is 2-3 times as efficient as an internal combustion engine and so it takes less energy power overall.

NOAA global temperature anomalies

(Global temperatures have been nearly 1.5 C hotter than 1880s averages during the first four months of 2016. By end of year, temperatures should fall in a range that is about 1.25 to 1.3 C hotter. A level very close to the dangerous 1.5 C climate threshold and far too close for comfort to the 2 C threshold. If we are to have much hope of avoiding temperature ranges well above these danger zones, the rate of carbon emissions reduction from human civilizations around the globe will have to be extraordinarily swift. Image source: NOAA.)

This increased efficiency alone results in a net, large-scale conservation across the fuel chain. Secondly, electric vehicles have the option of powering their engines using wind, solar, or hydro. And in doing so, vehicle use and fuel based emissions both drop to zero. The only remaining factor of emissions related to electric vehicles are found in the materials used to construct EVs and in the supply chains used to transport vehicles components and finished products. And since transport emissions figure heavily in this aspect, a large-scale shift away from fossil fuel based transport will cut this number down as well.

With many nations considering 100 percent fossil fuel based vehicle bans and with EV production and quality rapidly ramping up, it appears that there’s a possibility that a big chunk of modern transportation could be shifted away from fossil fuels over the next 15 years. And that event couldn’t come sooner — as the effects of catastrophic climate change appear to already be howling at the door.

Links:

Norway Considers Ban of Gas Fueled Vehicles by 2025

Norway May Become First Country to Ban the Use of Gas Powered Cars

Green Car Reports

NOAA

Hat tip to Cate

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221 Comments

  1. Spike

     /  June 6, 2016

    Norway may be able to use some of its superb wind resource as well to power this EV fleet. They seem to have woken up to that recently with plans for a huge wind farm as explained here.

    http://www.gizmag.com/fosen-vind-largest-wind-power-project-europe/42059/

    Reply
    • +1 – if Norway connects that wind farm to its pumped hydro storage system, which I’m assuming is part of the plan, then they won’t have to sell excess power at a discount on windy days either, because they’ll just be able to store it and then sell it to the rest of Europe when prices are higher.

      Reply
    • They appear to be planning to overcome some of their FF revenue loss with an ability to export electricity to Europe.

      Reply
    • entropicman

       /  June 6, 2016

      62 mile range is not much use for cross-counry work. Put in enough battery capacity for 600 miles and it badly reduces payload. An electric semi may not be appropriate technology. Perhaps we should go back to railways for long-distance freight.

      Reply
  2. Long range freight trucks might not be available yet, but that’ll happen eventually. It also makes much more sense to convert urban use heavy vehicles first, ones that spend most of their time at lower and stop-and-go speeds, like buses, garbage trucks, local delivery trucks. These are already becoming viable, and it’s now a matter of the companies that build them to overcome the change averse inertia of fleet managers.

    That’s quite an inertia, however, and fleet managers are often up against short term budgets, so even if an EV saves money over the long term, they might not be able to get the higher upfront capital costs under their budgets.

    And that’s where Musk’s brilliance comes in, recognizing that adoption of new tech snowballs if it’s compelling, and if it is, rich people will pay a premium for it. (See Apple + Smartphones) So the Roadster pays for the Model S and X development, and then the Model S and X early adopters pay a premium to have the coolest tech on the road that also happens to have high green cred, and then that premium pays for the Model 3 development, and Bob’s yer Uncle, you’ve got affordable electric cars. This has forced battery prices down already, and will continue to force other automakers to try to catch up, forcing battery prices down more.

    I think some of them still think they can compete with concept cars and vapourware, but EVs aren’t a fad, and they will replace gas mobiles much the same way cell phones have replaced landlines.

    Electrified long distance freight is only a matter of time after that, since batteries and charging tech will keep coming down in price.

    Reply
  3. Genomik

     /  June 6, 2016

    I posted this before but its very appropriate here as its a TV show about Norway phasing out oil production! Its about the most well written show I have ever seen. Riffs on a world trying to wean away from oil but Europe needs oil still as middle east oil has been disrupted. Very profound in its details of how policies emerge and are negotiated.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okkupert

    Trailer here
    https://netflixtvshowsreview.com/2016/01/occupied-tv-series-norways-political-thriller-on-netflix/

    Reply
    • Genomik, I like this show a lot, and I agree it’s really well done. I do have a problem with the initial premise though, in that I doubt that if the Middle Eastern supply of oil were cut off to Europe, that Russia would seek to restart the Norwegian pumps. Instead, they would have Europe over a barrel, and would be able to charge exorbitant amounts for their Russian oil, so I doubt they’d see any value in adding extra supply to Europe.

      Reply
      • Genomik

         /  June 7, 2016

        Marcel, good point about plausibility. One thing thats really left an impression on me is how the polarization happens in the society where a few radicals sort of hijack the movements and soon average folks jump in. I think that is a good lens to understand the middle east and refugee issues in Europe.

        Its also realistic in its portrayal of energy in that there are so many who are interested in maintaining status quo. But its also not a conspiracy show either, its more about how people, acting in their own interests and seem reasonable can make bad decisions. Theres no conspiracy against Thorium its just not as convenient and immediate as oil which has legacy inertia.

        Lastly as far as plausibility its hard to say as I thought Trump was not very plausible and hillary was plausable but hillary is sure getting a lot of grief

        Reply
        • Republicans have spent two decades character assassinating her. I call it the Al Gore effect. Now pretty much everyone has been conditioned to fear defending her.

          She’s not as good on policy as Bernie. But she’s shifted to the left and has some seriously bad-ass people on the teams she put together. If elected, I think she’ll be good at getting things done. We need to ensure she sticks to the progressive line and that we push through as big a wave as possible in the legislature.

      • xmiller

         /  June 7, 2016

        Today, I heard on one of the right wing radio stations here in Ohio( not by choice, either, because they seem to have programmed their listeners to subject other people to their crap by tuning every available radio to these stations) that they have now set out to character assassinate her daughter . It seems quite peculiar that two nimrod radio station deejays would suddenly start subjecting Chelsea Clinton to the Karl Rove style Benghazzzzi/Al Gore/Swift boat BS. It’s probably a continuation of the 20 year Republican all-media campaign against any person seen as having political potential on behalf of Democrats. It’s exactly what they would be doing to Robert Kennedy Jr. today if he hadn’t died in that mysterious plane crash.
        It demonstrates just how low Republican media owners will go trying to corrupt the political process by using fake entertainment and news shows to spread their awful political agenda.
        I try to do my part against this by changing the station to one that just plays music and isn’t a part of the Republican machine.

        Reply
  4. Cate

     /  June 6, 2016

    Thanks for the recent hat tips, Robert.😀

    Going OT now—-

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/fruit-vegetable-prices-1.3617744

    A big bee in my climate change bonnet is the coming effects on our food supply, which will become most immediately noticeable in prices. Produce prices in Canada are skyrocketing, as we import much of our fruit and veggie supply.

    This piece from CBC on a study about the soaring costs of produce *amazingly* refers specifically to climate change as an increasing factor in food costs. Increases will affect mainly folks who are low income, less educated, or young. Reductions in consumption of fresh produce will have predictable and well-known knock-on effects in health, of course.

    >>>>>Produce price increases are unlikely to go away. “Because of climate change, we are expecting vegetable and fruit prices to become much more volatile than they have ever been in recent decades,” he said.<<<<

    Reply
    • +1 Every little bit helps Cate, and if CBC reporters can get mentions in more regularly, more and more people are going to realize that the problem isn’t going to go away on its own.

      Reply
    • – Sidebar: The US, Canada, and Mexico are all in the NAFTA loop. Much food and produce involved. Prices and supplies fluctuate.
      Keep in mind that prices at point of purchase have been artificially low due mass produced fossil fuel extravagant truck farm agro business practices.
      Most western consumers have not paid the true cost of food, gas, and oil. Prices have been diluted in the distribution/transportation hub.
      – A severely degraded climate regime is reflected in current ‘true prices’.

      Reply
      • CORRECTION:
        “A severely degraded climate regime is the ‘true price.”

        Reply
      • – US/North American food distribution in times of drought, 2016:

        I’ve been studying the ‘country of origin’ of produce stocked by some local markets/supermarkets.
        Mexico is growing and shipping quite a bit. But I wonder about the water used to grow the food.

        In reference to the drying Colorado River — with Mexico getting its allotment:
        I wonder if the US is buying back some of its CR water when it buys the produce.
        – Just something I ponder in an interconnected world.
        OUT

        Reply
        • So we use quite a lot of water for lawns and landscaping. I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to simply just design edible urban and suburban landscapes. I think edible landscaping companies could do pretty well when combined with a food delivery service. That and vertical farming could combine to open up more land for forest regrowth.

        • phil s

           /  June 7, 2016

          These guys give their smoothies the street names where the fruit is grown as street trees. They even have a map on the wall with the (local) streets highlighted.

          The Hungry Feel kitchen garden in Buderim is supplying peas, carrots, beans, beetroot, radish, rocket, turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. Our association with Urban Food Street gives us a generous supply of honey, bananas, citrus and an assortment of other foraged goodies. Food steps not food miles!

          http://www.hungryfeel.com.au/about-us

      • Cate

         /  June 6, 2016

        This cloud has a green lining for sure: for those of us who live out at the very end of supply lines, growing our own and purchasing locally when possible become much more attractive options. My community is this year initiating, at long last, a collective gardens program to encourage folks to grow more food–taking advantage of the longer summers climate change is delivering! And of course, in remote parts of Canada, we have access to game, fish, and all sorts of berries and other foraged foods anyway–as long as that lasts…..

        Reply
      • phil s

         /  June 6, 2016

        “Keep in mind that prices at point of purchase have been artificially low due mass produced fossil fuel extravagant truck farm agro business practices.
        Most western consumers have not paid the true cost of food, gas, and oil. Prices have been diluted in the distribution/transportation hub”

        Well said DT.
        Market gardeners and orchardists in SE Qld aren’t getting much more than they were 30 years ago for their produce. I believe it’s a similar story in many cases around the globe. There’s lots of other issues involved, but industrialization and ‘cheap’ fossil fuels are at the heart of it.
        Locally we’ve got 2 mega supermarket chains that monopolise the market and conduct price wars. Growers are collateral damage. Milk is the big one currently.

        Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  June 6, 2016

        Here in Nova Scotia when I was growing up through the sixties we produced 90% of the food that was ate in the province. Now it is about 10%. The population hasn’t changed much our biggest export has always been our youth looking for work. We have however managed to cover a lot of our farmland with subdivisions and in the more remote areas just abandoned it to grow back to forest. Not original Acadian forest however. This is the east coast of North America most of the original forest was cut down and shipped back to Europe for ship building by the nineteenth century. We need to get people growing” victory gardens” again to help off set the rising cost of feeding ourselves. Even patio gardens on condo balconies can help. I know I’m preaching to the choir on this blog but I can’t help saying it.

        Reply
      • My wife, brother, and I have been working on this for our house. We put in around 40 dwarf fruit trees, and my wife is using a lot of our yard for food plants. Fresh ripened stuff tastes really good!

        So short term, it’s a success, and should start reaching its full potential with the fruit trees in 2-5 years. So far, though, the outlay of money has been considerable, because our soil is really bad and everything has to be grown in vertical boxes on the fence or in raised beds.

        But long term, I’m worried that our hard well water will build up salts in the soil from drip irrigation. So, we will likely start catching rainwater, and buy a big polyethylene tank that we will likely paint with an opaque paint to protect it from the sunlight. Polyethylene barrels are another possibility.

        I would guess maybe half of our produce is grown this way. We hope to do better in the future.

        Our solar cells produce most of our electricity, but not all of it. I recently bought a Kill-a-Watt meter to measure electrical consumption by various appliances, and the ducts under the house need work. By the time we’re done with the efficiency improvements, we hope to be closer to break even.

        Then we start on solar space heating and water heating, is the plan.

        Reply
        • A friend living sustainably in Austin uses a big cistern to catch all her water for home use and growing. She says it’s pretty economical. She also grows potatoes, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, blueberries, raspberries, and dates. Potatoes apparently are quite prolific.

          This seems like a huge individual effort RE producing your own food. Do you know how long it will take to get a return on investment?

      • Hi Robert-

        Yes, a lot of effort. Also a lot of money. We haven’t even calculated the return on investment, but I would guess it will take maybe 5-10 years, mostly because our soil is so bad, and the initial investment on the raised beds. A lot of that will depend on how much we are able to home can (in glass jars, of course) during upcoming fruit and vegetable seasons. Tomatoes were great last year, potatoes a disappointment. Potatoes look better, this year (at least above ground). Nectarines were great last year, but we have peach leaf curl on that tree and they will be a disappointment this year. Most of the new trees, grown from bare root seedlings, will not start to produce until next year. Plums will be good this year.

        Mulching the weeds with cardboard and wood chips saved a lot of work – that’s a success so far. The redwood fence boxes were a success, although they certainly haven’t paid themselves off.

        Long term, I worry about salt buildup from the drip irrigation. That could really affect the return on investment, I think. Maybe a solar still to produce distilled water might help?

        My take on it is that gardening is a good activity for my wife, who does all the planning and a lot of the light work. It’s a healthy hobby, and something she likes to do. We have a tiny pond, and feeding the fish is really soothing, as is setting in the swing, reading and listening to the wind chimes.

        Reply
        • I think it’s an extraordinarily healthy activity. My grandmother is 93 and has been gardening for most of her adult life.

      • phil s

         /  June 7, 2016

        Return on investment can be difficult to quantify when eating seasonal, local, home grown food. Less susceptibility to disease and sickness, more energy, better concentration, lower carbon footprint, more enjoyment of the food you eat, personal satisfaction of creating your own food, a greater sense of community….

        How do you put all of that into dollars and cents?

        Reply
      • Hi phil s-

        The difference between a supermarket nectarine and a naturally ripened one…

        It’s the difference between barely edible and just delicious, most often.

        You’re right, we’re less worried about ROI than we maybe should be. People with poor soil might consider community gardening on better land, with better water, if they are worried about ROI. Still, we will probably break even eventually, and it should get better year by year so long as we keep it up. Like the solar cells, it’s an investment in the future.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  June 8, 2016

        And there are ‘food forests’, too, a feature of permaculture. Some trees can produce a ton of comestibles, if you can keep the flying dinosaurs at bay!

        Reply
    • We’re seeing rising food prices globally in 2016. Not quite as bad as early 2015 yet and nowhere near what set off the Arab Spring. However, there’s a lot of uncertainty this year due to weather and impacts related to human-caused climate change.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 7, 2016

        Thought I would mention this since everyone is discussing gardening and watering…Colorado recently changed the law regarding rainwater buckets. Until recently (the new law is not yet in effect) it had been illegal to capture rainwater, even on your own property.

        https://www.cpr.org/news/story/new-colorado-law-brings-rain-barrel-owners-out-shadows

        Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  June 7, 2016

        http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2013/

        “To protect profits threatened by a lawsuit over its controversial herbicide atrazine, Syngenta Crop Protection launched an aggressive multi-million dollar campaign that included hiring a detective agency to investigate scientists on a federal advisory panel, looking into the personal life of a judge and commissioning a psychological profile of a leading scientist critical of atrazine.” Sound familiar, good grief!

        Reply
      • Ailsa

         /  June 7, 2016

        Potatoes are a ‘hungry crop’ – give them plenty of feed, maybe Farm Yard Manure (FYM). Tomatoes will love your ground up egg shells. Build soil, rather than thinking feeding your crops. Loads of organic matter in the soil will make it retain moisture and feed the soil organisms which leads to a ‘live’ soil which makes lots of lovely nutrients for your crops.

        Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  June 6, 2016

    With about 68.4mm in the past day, Sydney has had just over 226.2mm of rain since Friday.

    That’s easily more than a typical June for the city, which is just under 132mm, and far more than for the previous two months.

    Sydney had 162.2mm in April and May, with last month alone the fifth driest May on record with just 7.2mm at Observatory Hill, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/80779997/three-dead-houses-destroyed-as-king-tide-wild-weather-lash-australias-east-coast

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 6, 2016

      Sydney storm: East coast lows to become fewer but more intense, scientists say

      Events like this weekend’s super storm that smashed into eastern Australia are likely to become fewer in frequency in a warming world but pack more intensity when they hit, climate scientists say.

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/sydney-storm-east-coast-lows-to-become-fewer-but-more-intense-scientists-say-20160606-gpcdom.html#ixzz4ApZdRqAA

      Reply
      • phil s

         /  June 6, 2016

        http://theconversation.com/the-role-of-climate-change-in-eastern-australias-wild-storms-60552

        Our results also found East Coast Lows are expected to become less frequent during the cool months May-October, which is when they currently happen most often.

        But there is no clear picture of what will happen during the warm season. Some models even suggest East Coast Lows may become more frequent in the warmer months.

        And increases are most likely for lows right next to the east coast – just the ones that have the biggest impacts where people live

        Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  June 7, 2016

      Bob, I was lucky enough to be waiting for the train in the Blue Mountains near Sydney on Saturday when the storm hit. The rain was horizontal, and very intense, and, fortunately, in the interest of ‘customer’ comfort the ‘authorities’ had closed and locked the waiting-room. The sign attached to the door promising that it was ‘Warm and cosy inside’, was too much, so I tore it off, to the other wet and bedraggled ‘customers’ approval.

      Reply
  6. Jay M

     /  June 6, 2016

    FL in the moisture cross hair. Quite an arc of moisture up to Newfoundland. TX has hardly any clouds for the first time in a while.

    Reply
  7. If designing vehicles from a clean sheet today, in our most addled nightmare would we design ones running on toxic, flammable, carcinogenic, nonrenewable liquid fuel extracted from deep underground and then expensively transported and refined, vehicles weighing 1500 to 2500 kg with 200-400 kg metal motors operating by controlled combustion with mixed gas intake using a crude mechanical transmission to the drive wheels, running the combustion byproducts through crude filters and partial catalysts and then exhausting them to the atmosphere? And would we equip them with manual control systems ensuring the driver has to be alert and in full control almost every second of the operation, at risk of injury or death? And all of this costing a substantial part of an individual or family’s disposable income, spending most of its lifetime expensively parked and losing value, and with a maintenance-hungry operating lifespan of only a few thousand hours, and killing and disabling over 10 million people per year through collisions and air pollution?

    I really doubt it.

    Reply
    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  June 7, 2016

      You do not have to buy new or suffer much depreciation to get a car that goes like stink and can be occassionally enjoyable to drive. However, the downsides of congestion, noise, human suffering from accidents and pollution are huge. We should really be moving away from owning personal cars, invest in public transport and give rides away for free. Rent vehicles for longer journeys.

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 7, 2016

      Absolutely we wouldn’t, but the car manufacturers are notoriously conservative. Companies that have tried innovative solutions have generally suffered. An example of this is the rotary engine.

      Audi is an amalgamation of several car companies, one of which was NSU. What forced NSU to merge was this innovative and beautiful car, the Ro80 from 1967, a hugely influential design.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSU_Ro_80

      Sadly the unusual and super-smooth rotary engine was too advanced for the materials technology of the time, and by the time that had been sorted the Oil Crisis of 73 hit, making the relatively fuel inefficient motor a dead end. My Dad had one fitted with a Ford V4, which was a common aftermarket conversion.

      Mazda nearly went the same way with the rotary engine, but just about hung on.
      These stories are well known by CEO’s of the big manufacturers, and the lessons learnt stifled innovation for decades.

      If it wasn’t for that conservatism, I think the transition tech would have come earlier, and public acceptance of non-FF energy in general, would have been better.

      We really need to reduce car use as much as we can, but also make the cars we do use near carbon neutral. At least driverless tech holds the prospect of huge efficiency gains, alongside pure electric, hydrogen power and other such improvements.

      Reply
    • Well said.

      The thing that really gets me is that x2 to x3 efficiency advantage of an electric motor. It really helps to bridge the gap RE the energy density problem.

      I would love to see us work to redesign transport from scratch. Bikes, public transport, ride share. As long as it doesn’t become monopolized and then price gouged by some billionaire I’m all for it.

      Reply
      • Craig

         /  June 7, 2016

        The irony about electric cars, solar, and wind is that they have been benefiting from competition. But that competition required research and seed money from the government, mainly federal, but some state tax dollars here and there. FDR hit on it the first time around: partnerships between business and government often work. Without such partnerships, computers and the Internet would have taken decades longer to come along.

        The business people who are not original but good at organizing work tend to work hard to gain monopolistic advantages. Sooner or later, they either squeeze out the creative business people, or creative people who try to lock in their profits for themselves.

        There’s a high risk in the next 30 years that we will need lots of new ideas to beat back global warming. The John Rockefellers and Koch brothers are no longer good models on multiple levels.

        Reply
        • The head of FDR’s National Recovery Administration:

          “There is no choice presented to American Business between intelligently planned and uncontrolled industrial operations and a return to the gold plated anarchy that masqueraded as ‘rugged individualism’ … Unless industry is sufficiently socialized by its private owners and managers so that great essential industries are operated under public obligation appropriate to the public interest in them, the advance of public control over private industry is inevitable.”

          NRA was basically saying — if industries can’t act well and act in the public interest, then it was government’s role to step in and take over. This is quite different from the notion of public-private partnership. Private interest should serve the public good, or it should not exist at all.

  8. Jeremy in Wales

     /  June 7, 2016

    Was lucky enough to spend the last weekend in Hay-on-Wye literature festival (in brilliant summer weather, unlike France) and went to two talks by Monbiot (Guardian writer) and Paul Mason (ex-BBC economics editor). Which while not about the enviroment they both recognise that a changed economic system is needed to deal with the enviromental challenge. It helps put the challenge in context. The links below are to the BBC Hay site, (maybe only available in the UK, although those with the technology skills could find them elsewhere(?))

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03x9lq3
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03xcnxz

    Surprising large number of Americans there but the highlight was finding a Welsh speaking publican and my family holding a conversation in Welsh in front of a rather perplexed German!

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 7, 2016

      Thanks for those links, Jeremy. When we lived in the UK. I enjoyed Paul Mason’s commentaries whenever he appeared on TV. Good to see he is still going stronger than ever.

      Reply
  9. Ryan in New England

     /  June 7, 2016

    So this is an off-topic personal anecdote, but I feel like the people who could understand what I’m feeling more than anyone in the world is Robert and the fellow Scribblers, so I’m sharing my story with you all because I just need to tell someone, anyone, who will feel my frustration.

    A really good friend of mine got married this weekend, and during the reception I found myself in a long conversation with a mutual friend, who I have always liked and respected. He’s a former running coach and presently times road races in the state, and I am an avid runner who usually wins my age group in races, and sometimes win the race, so we’ve gotten to know one another in recent years. We’ve talked many times before, but somehow (probably my fault) this weekend the topic turned to climate change. Within two sentences of me saying that climate change is really starting to have profound effects around the world, he comes out with the “So does that mean you’re voting for Al Gore?” That one stupid remark of his was all I needed to realize exactly where he stands ideologically, exactly where he gets his information and exactly what kind of worn-out denier talking points I was about to be forced to endure.

    Sure enough, he did not disappoint. He came out with all the denier’s greatest hits, but he was unprepared for the well versed and fact based reality check I delivered. It was like I had seen this movie before, and I knew exactly what was coming. I knew his “arguments” better than he did, and I would finish for him each denier meme he would throw my way. It’s natural. It’s cyclical. It’s not humans causing it. What about the sun? What about volcanoes? Why is Antarctica gaining ice? New England had record cold/snow last Winter. Warming is beneficial. We’ll adapt. Al Gore sucks. All the classics that made my head want to freaking explode!

    As everyone here at Robert’s site knows, the pathetic denier’s arguments are nothing but fossil fuel/conservative propaganda. But it was still upsetting to me to see an otherwise intelligent and well educated individual fooled by sophisticated public relations into thinking the greatest threat we face as a species is not worth worrying about. It’s like learning your otherwise normal friend has been brainwashed to join the Nazis, or like watching a friend support Trump😉 I guess it was just very disheartening to be reminded that the thing I’m most passionate about and concerned with is viewed as silly by people I otherwise respect. And even though we have progress and good news like this most recent post by Robert, dealing with such ignorance and apathy reminds me just how much further we still need to go.

    Sorry for the long, drawn out personal tale from the front lines of public opinion. And thanks for reading🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan-

      Very interesting to read, and all too common. There are people I know who I don’t even try to debate with, and I only very occasionally mention global warming on the job.

      So, I’m a chicken, I admit it. I have gotten on the comment sections of Watts up With That and Alex Jone’s Prison Planet – I used to do Prison Planet almost every day. I typed myself blue in the face, so to speak, put in maybe over a thousand hours at it – and how much effect I had was uncertain. So I know how difficult it can be to convince people who don’t want to be convinced.

      So, it’s a terrible problem, when a few million dollars per year spent telling people what they want to hear can protect entrenched special interests from the obvious truth. Will the obvious truth ever become apparent to low information voters, though? What will it take, and will they just fall back to another talking point, like “it will be gradual”?

      Norway is wonderful, though. At last, an appropriate reaction to climate change. Bless their hearts.

      Reply
      • Some people can’t be moved, some people can be moved, and some people move others. I focus on types 2 and 3. Dealing with type 1 is a waste of energy.

        In comments here, I have the same people coming back now, after four years, to reiterate the same tired old yarns. After about a year trying to convince them, I have since treated these comments as spam. Amazingly, people who have had comments deleted and had their URL blocked time and time again continue to return in an effort to keep asserting these myths. So the culture supporting the myths is very well established and obnoxiously persistent.

        As for the myths, they can be boiled down to:

        1. Climate change isn’t real (despite the fact that science proves that it is).
        2. An energy transition can’t help us (despite the fact that the growing portion of renewables has already prevented billions of tons of carbon emissions).
        3. We are all doomed no matter what (despite the fact that we have decades through which to continue to refine and advance our mitigation and response efforts).

        Climate change is the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced. One that will require a swift response now and the endurance and integrity to launch a generational response. Success is not a given. But the primary barriers to our success are the above three myths. If more people believe them, than attempt to act, then we really are done. Then we really and truly are screwed.

        That’s why the fight to face climate change is a fight for hearts and minds more than anything else. And that’s where we have to win the war. We are fighting for life on Earth. But to preserve it, we have to save the soul of the human race.

        Reply
    • Hell of a testimonial there, Ryan. My view is that you’ve become pretty sharp on these issues. I almost feel sorry for the poor climate change denier😉.

      Had a similar experience with my climate change denying cousin recently. He got to the point where he was basically aghast — having to use the words ‘but I’m a smart person, how could I be wrong,’ to defend himself.

      Otherwise smart people can be mislead by societal memes. History is rife with instances of this. It usually happens when a prevailing power base is threatened and the society that depends on it for prosperity generates various myths to defend and justify it. Slavery is a good example. People will still wax poetic about the old south without realizing that the words ‘old south’ are a euphemism for a time when people still owned slaves. 150 years since slavery was overcome in this country and you still have this culture that denies how much it hurt us, divided us, how much harm it did to millions of people, how much it stifled the development of our nation.

      That’s what we’re dealing with RE fossil fuels. A cultural mythology that supports a fossil fuel centered worldview. Some will cling to it simply because they have invested their sense of self worth, their very identity, on the notion that fossil fuel burning is required for prosperity. If you believe that, then climate change can’t exist, because it disproves the fairy tale.

      Reply
      • ‘but I’m a smart person, how could I be wrong,’

        – A truly ‘smart’ person would know, and understand that they can most assuredly be — wrong on occasion.

        The timbre of his arguments tells me me that he willingly surrounds himself in ignorance on the subject.
        Of course he, like may others may, just watch MSM usually lacking in critical detail and context — for news.

        Ps Ryan, did you tell him of the availability of robertscribbler, or any other informative link?
        It’s always good to offer something useful. It may even plant a seed…
        Getting into arguments like this is an exercise in futility. So I say: ‘Give them about 3 minutes of denier talk — and finish by saying something otherwise, and offer a useful link.

        – And, glad to hear of your love of running. Even though I rarely run these days — I love to run.
        Mostly I do it just to create my own wind.
        – And I love the wind… when it works.

        OUT

        Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  June 7, 2016

        I read my favorite quote every morning, ” The temptation to deceive is as old as the human race, as is the inclination to succumb to deception, which is credulity. Joseph Jastrow.” It helps to keep my thinking critical and not turning completely cynical.

        Reply
      • Jack Stanley

         /  June 7, 2016

        Robert, your words ‘…If you believe that, then climate change can’t exist’ are the crux of the problem. This cultural mythology in Aus is swallowed whole by the majority as they suckle the Mainstream Murdoch teat.
        Swimming pools on the beach, denuded mangroves, dying reefs, burning peat forests…just an image, not real, not important…forgotten before the elimination is over on tonights reality TV show.

        Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  June 7, 2016

      Ryan, by definition half the population is of below median intelligence. But many of them imagine themselves very clever ie the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon. Argument is superfluous, because admitting error, even though one learns that way, is too much for their hypertrophied, yet delicate, egos.

      Reply
      • dnem

         /  June 7, 2016

        I’m not sure this is really a question of intelligence, below or above the median. It is a matter of world view. There are plenty of people of above median intelligence that do not take a rational, data and information based view of the world. And there are plenty of below that can follow a reason-based argument and act accordingly.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  June 8, 2016

        dnem, my experience is that most denialists I have encountered are stupid, ignorant and egotistic. The cleverer ones have been persuaded, over time, by reality. It’s a large sample, too, because I work in public hospitals and like a chat. I always drop in an observation about the weather, to feel the public pulse.

        Reply
    • Mark from OZ

       /  June 8, 2016

      Hey Ryan
      Folks like ‘that’ arc up with all that bs as they have yet to honestly address their ‘own’ role and contribution to where we are today. Most, have never given any thought to the long line of waste and destruction that trails behind them for miles; keeping them in the lifestyle that they have grown to expect / deserve.
      But, beneath the contrived façade of disbelief and corresponding apathy, they are human beings and therefore, insecure, worried and searching for honest answers- same as everyone else. Their once large and expansive ‘denier’ territory, where many fled in ignorance, is also shrinking and receding same as the ice sheets. What was once occasional challenges to their thinking and therefore easily reconciled, is now happening with an almost daily rhythm and the volume is increasing to where it’s nearly impossible for them to ignore it any longer.
      What they will accept and appreciate (though you won’t always notice) is that enthusiastic, academic and sincere people like you are needed to re-org anachronistic thinking and behaviour first. Once the ‘path’ appears, you’ll be amazed at how many will be interested in where it leads.
      P.S. Every shot on goal in ice hockey has the potential to score but not all do.
      PPS Go the Penguins!

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 8, 2016

        Thank you so much for all of the wonderful thoughts and responses to my story. I feel like you folks know me and understand my perspective better than my own family. I’ve been following the development of climate change research/science pretty much since high school (class of 99) and have witnessed with my own eyes very dramatic and undeniable changes around the globe. I’ve also watched the evidence and computer models become more sophisticated and robust, and every time something new is learned, things appear to be worse than previously expected. So for me, climate change is real, is happening, and is THE greatest threat to face humanity. Sometimes I expect everybody to be as knowledgeable as I am regarding this topic, and when I am exposed to the apathy and ignorance of the general public I can be very discouraged at times.

        Another thing I have learned a lot about is the denier crowd and their motivation for being so stubborn. Here in the US the problem is more acute than pretty much anywhere else in the world (although Australia is pretty bad and Canada is getting worse) and other countries have adult populations that accept reality and science. I used to think that the deniers were an example of Dunning-Kruger, and indeed many are. But lots of research points to ideology being the determining factor in what/why people resist the truth about climate change. Chris Mooney does a good job covering this in The Republican Brain; The Science of Why Republicans Deny Science. He explains that despite what we would expect, the higher the education level of a Republican the more likely they are to be climate deniers. It’s contradictory to what everyone would think, and how Democrats accept evidence. A college educated Republican thinks that because they “know” so much, they can decide what’s true and what isn’t. I have always been open to persuasion by evidence, and in fact have changed my mind on many subjects as new information became available, so it’s difficult for me to relate to this mindset. Here in America our politics have grown more and more divisive, to the point where compromise is seen as unacceptable, and Republicans refuse to work with Democrats on anything. Couple that with sophisticated and pervasive fossil fuel propaganda and you have the perfect conditions for growing and nurturing a denier population.

        Reply
  10. Andy in SD

     /  June 7, 2016

    I found this an interesting read.

    There’s basically no landscape on Earth that humans haven’t altered

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/06/06/theres-basically-no-landscape-on-earth-that-hasnt-been-altered-by-humans-scientists-say/

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 7, 2016

      We have come to dominant the natural and geological forces of the planet. It’s obvious to anybody who actually looks, which is why I despise the stupid meme that “man is too small to have an effect on climate.”

      Reply
  11. Reply
  12. Incredible article posted at the Guardian:
    “The Great Barrier Reef: A Catastrophe Laid Bare”
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/07/the-great-barrier-reef-a-catastrophe-laid-bare

    Ryan…maybe you should send a copy of this article to your “intelligent” denier acquaintance?

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 7, 2016

      Absolutely Suzanne! I’ve flooded his email with links to legitimate articles and science-based information. I also told him to look through Skeptical Science and Wunderground’s sites. They both have extensive sections dealing with the “skeptics” arguments and why they are all wrong.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 7, 2016

      That was a great and very extensive article, by the way. Extremely upsetting, but well done. Thanks for that🙂

      Reply
      • You are welcome, Ryan….And hang in there with the deniers in your orbit, remembering that you are not alone. You can always vent here at our safe haven, where most of us have experienced what you did over the weekend. I know I could completely relate your story. 🙂

        Reply
  13. redskylite

     /  June 7, 2016

    Thanks for a great article, well narrated and it is very heartening to see various countries seriously planning to implement 100% non-fossil fuelled cars in the not too distant future. The Australian media is abuzz today discussing whether climate change was to blame for the recent devastating storms. It’s pretty late in the hour to still be wondering, especially after the damage to the Great Barrier Reef, beats me why people still need to attribute proportions to climate change and natural variation, when we can see the new normal. Why not concentrate on getting the “long lost” natural carbon balance back.

    A study emerged today on mankind’s activities through the last ice age. I’ve long argued that mankind has come through several ice ages intact, to people who argue that an ice age would be catastrophic, and we should be glad that fossils most have prevented the next few glaciation cycles. But mankind has never lived through “hothouse” Earth. He will be surely tested in what is to come.

    “For most of the last ice age, enormous glaciers covered western Canada. And yet people still managed to cross deep into the Americas from their settlements in western Alaska. How did they do it? Archaeologists once thought a narrow strip of land opened up between the glaciers, allowing them passage. But others suspect the migrants hopped down the Pacific coast in boats long before that happened. Now, a new study of bison fossils offers the most precise date yet for the opening of the ice-free corridor: 13,000 years ago. Combined with evidence of earlier occupations in the lower 48, it suggests the corridor could not have been the first route people took into the New World.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/06/humans-didn-t-wait-melting-ice-settle-americas

    Reply
  14. wili

     /  June 7, 2016

    http://mashable.com/2016/06/01/arctic-sea-ice-record-low/#rC2_fxteoEqq

    “Arctic sea ice set a record low every single day in May”

    !!!!

    I know, that’s what the graph says. but somehow putting it that way had an even bigger impact on me. Language. What a thing! ‘-)

    Reply
  15. dnem

     /  June 7, 2016

    Ok, I’m going to tip-toe back out here. Maybe my toes will be stomped on again. I don’t know. I essentially agree with all of Robert’s higher level comments above about deniers, world view, prevailing myths, and so on. I’ll take a little exception with this one:

    “Some will cling to it simply because they have invested their sense of self worth, their very identity, on the notion that fossil fuel burning is required for prosperity.”

    A lot of this declaration depends on how one defines “prosperity.” If, by “prosperity” you mean exactly the status quo, except powered by renewables, I think we have a problem. If by prosperity, you mean everyone living high consumption, busy lives, rushing around in private, battery powered cars, returning to big, comfy homes stocked with all the latest gadgets, running on solar energy, eating food that has been shipped all over the world and grown by who-the-hell-knows-how, I just don’t see it.

    Indeed, there is a lot of talk above about victory gardens, and homesteading ideas and such. These things take work and personal commitment. (Work I personally happen to enjoy and find valuable). I know Robert is a vegan. Taking that step alone would be a huge hit on perceived “prosperity” for many, but we know we can’t possibly provide a meat-centric diet to 7.4 billion.

    On my optimistic days, I envision a society marked by smaller, simpler lives. Less frenetic “work” to fuel consumption and more cooperation and localized economic activity. For many, this world looks like a less prosperous one. Not to me. OF COURSE any simpler, successful, localized, modern world will be powered by renewables. But the notion that we can somehow power up the current, crazed, mad, drunk on consumption, growth-addled and addicted world on renewables is madness itself.

    (Going to put on my steel-toed shoes…)

    Reply
    • My toes are lined up with yours… Is there any definition of ‘prosperity’ that comports with sustainability?

      Reply
      • dnem

         /  June 7, 2016

        Oh, I think so. I’d feel very prosperous if I could wake in the morning and get about the day doing real, productive work in the real world, and then end my day eating real food with family and friends, maybe sitting out for a while under dark skies and starlight, and turning in to a small, comfortable home that has mostly also gone to bed with the sun, getting by on just enough watts to keep my food cold, my house temperate and a couple of LEDs to guide my way to bed. There may be scope for a bit more than that, but it would be enough to make me feel prosperous.

        Line up a long shot maybe try it two times, maybe more,
        Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor,
        Why hold out for more?

        Here comes sunshine, here comes sunshine.
        (Robert Hunter)

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 7, 2016

        It seems to me that prosperity is one of those terms that each of us defines differently according to what we value in life. It’s quite clear to see that in the West generally, though, capitalism has defined prosperity, at least at a national, if not a personal level, for us—although millions probably would personally subscribe to the capitalistic definition, which is:

        prosperity = unlimited growth, driven by unlimited demand and consumption.

        This is why there is such consternation in financial circles when growth falters or fails: the end of growth means the end of prosperity! This is why “Limits to Growth” was never going to cut it, and still doesn’t, in a capitalist context: capitalism admits no limits, and cutting consumption, or restricting demand, is anathema. Prosperity would suffer! How can anyone make money if people don’t consume, and expect to consume, to excess?

        How capitalism defines prosperity explains a lot about our current climate crisis, imo..

        Reply
    • So let’s just put the cart back behind the horse and think of it this way —

      The word growth has come to mean too many things to too many people. In the context of sustainability, people can absolutely have a house (smaller is better, but not necessary), some media devices (TV, computerized phone, computer, tablet, etc), some appliances (fridge, AC, heating, stove, washer/drier, washing machine), a healthy diet, and access to transport (EV, aircraft run on non fossil fuels, train, bike etc) if those things can be provided in a sustainable way that does not wreck the natural world and create harmful externalities.

      Currently, the fabrication, transport, and use of all these things contains in them a big portion of fossil fuel burning and related carbon emissions. This is not now necessary. But it’s the way we do business today. That said, we could manage to run these household items, transport, and produce the food and materials first with dramatically less fossil fuels and then with no fossil fuels at all. If this alteration occurs worldwide, and if industrial use (which is larger than household use and causes more damage) is also changed along with systemic use, then we have solved the problem of carbon emissions. I will argue that this absolutely can be done and, more importantly, it is far easier to do socially than basically convincing a huge majority of people that they will have to live without AC, for example, in a world that will inflict heat injury, kidney failure, or heat death upon them without access to climate control, for example.

      And this point illustrates a glaring flaw in the argument that household consumption is the center of gravity to the growth problem. People use modern technology to survive (in the case of food, climate control, cooking, and refrigeration), to get to work to support their lives (in the case of transport), and to entertain themselves and to save time (in the case of appliances and entertainment devices). The first is needed, the second is needed unless the person can work from home or doesn’t need to work for a living, and the third is desirable. People will fight to keep them and will hate you for attempting to take them away — which is one of the reasons we have climate change denial now. What some folks in the environmental movement have done is to basically tell people to go live in the woods. Not only is that not practical, it is not helpful or sustainable.

      It’s an argument that, at its root, consigns itself to marginalization and failure. Not only due to the notion that it is impossible to get people to accept, but also due to the notion that the supposed solution does not solve the ultimate problem of sustainablility. You don’t throw people out the airlock and call that sustainability.

      And it is at this point where we get back to the issue of unsustainable growth. But before we do, let’s take a good, hard look at what the real sustainability experts have said about growth. And it is this — you cannot grow materials, energy, and labor consumption infinitely in a world with limited materials, labor, and energy. In addition, and this is a key limiter, you cannot use and exploit resources in such a way that ruins the resource base — in other words, the natural wealth of the Earth.

      That’s it. Fin. The growth experts did not say — thou shalt not have AC, or live in a house, or have enough food to eat, or to, God forbid, own an electric vehicle. The growth experts did not say — thou shalt not use minerals mined from the Earth. But that’s what some myth perpetuators are saying.

      OK, so let’s look at another aspect of growth — which is the issue of how economic growth is defined today. Note that economic growth is measured by an abstract GDP that does not necessarily require increased materials, energy, or labor throughput to expand. GDP does not require, for example, an ever-increasing rate of burning fossil fuels, or an ever-increasing rate of dumping pollutants. We know this in theory and we know it in fact because various industrialized nations have been growing GDP for years while reducing rates of fossil fuel burning. And this was particularly true for the world during 2015 when global net use of fossil fuel fell on a btu basis due to coal curtailment despite global economic growth in the GDP abstract.

      So what does real sustainability mean and how do we get there? We get there by increasing prosperity while reducing or keeping within sustainable limits the consumption of materials, human labor, and energy. We get there by switching to materials and energy use (and ironically solar and wind expand base energy resources while reducing externalities) and practices that do not harm the overall resource base — the natural world (removing the harmful burning of fossil fuels gets us a long way there). You get there by leveling off population so that the labor, materials, and energy throughput needed to sustain that population doesn’t destroy the resource base. And you do it by managing economies to favor equality of resource distribution and not the concentration of and hoarding of resources at the top of economic spectra.

      Sustainable growth, therefore, is growth in prosperity which maintains within non-harmful limits energy, materials and labor throughput of global civilization. It is running homes, cars and appliances that first have no net negative impact on the Earth system and eventually works in a way that is net positive. It is providing services to human beings in a way that also provides ecosystem services to the planet. It is the elimination of harmful consumption and replacing it with balanced, helpful consumption.

      What I am saying, Dnem, is that relocalization and dematerialization and increasing the prospects of individual human beings are not incompatible. That the hyper focus on a strawman version of growth is not helpful. We should understand what aspects of growth as we have defined it now are helpful and what aspects of growth are not. And the innovation of technological and systemic processes that use less resources to do the same thing or that switch toward resource bases that are both more plentiful and less harmful are absolutely desirable. In fact, they are the very foundation of sustainable growth. This growth in helpful methods, technologies, and ideas aimed at solving the problems we face now and at improving our relationship with our world is the very avenue to that prosperity and it should absolutely be encouraged and incentivized.

      This is not the perspective of a technocrat. All technology is not created equal and technological advancement in itself is not a virtue if it generates more harm. The push is for rational, benevolent advancement and incentivizing that advancement while laying aside harmful technologies. We should therefore optimize technology for sustainability and for taking care of people and the natural world. In fact, we desperately need to optimize technology in this fashion. I would say that the human race probably can’t make it in the end without just such an optimization.

      Now, one last point and then I am done. I have said time and again that we keep blaming the victim and that this is counter productive. And by the victim, I mean most people living in the industrialized world who live in an apartment or home, own a few appliances, drive a car or occasionally fly an airplane. This person has been demonized and it is some people who claim to support sustainability that are to blame for it. In my view, this person is a captive consumer. This person cannot live or work without the destructive use of resources without taking extraordinary measures equivalent to self-exile. Sure, a person can, as I have, go vegan. A person can, if they own a home, spend thousands or tens of thousands to adds solar panels to the roof. Some have enough resources to access an electric vehicle. Some have enough time and resources and space to grow gardens. Some live close enough to work to ride a bike. Some have access to public transport. But some do not. And, in fact, many do not know their options even if they are fortunate enough to have them.

      These people are not culprits. They are not to blame. These people have been born into a system that limits their options to act in a sustainable manner and provides them with multiple encouragements to act in ways that are harmful.

      Those that are to blame are the super rich who consume the resources equivalent to hundreds or thousands of these individuals. Who have outsized influence over political systems and push those systems to remove people’s ability to choose less harmful and more sustainable behaviors. Who have every opportunity to use their own resources in a sustainable fashion and to choose to curtail their own harmful behavior but do not. Who own private jet airplanes or floating yachts or five or ten homes that require constant heating and cooling each with a heated swimming pool on estates that require continuous lawn watering or own garages with scores of vehicles inside. Now, that is unsustainable — both in the form of a corrupt hoarding of resources and in the form of a deleterious influence upon political systems.

      It’s not the guy living in the apartment scraping to get by, or the family living in the woods who couldn’t buy a solar roof because the utility in the state strong armed the legislature. That is the kind of growth and bad policies and bad actions we should be targeting. And we should be providing the people living in the industrial world with every out possible, with every helpful policy and with every incentive to act sustainably.

      Sustainable prosperity is, boiled down, removing harmful economic activities like fossil fuel burning and harmful wealth hoarding and corruption of political systems while leveraging technology and innovative practices to provide people living in the industrialized world with what they need to survive in a way that removes externalized harm from the system. It’s a process of continuously applied improved practices. It is not setting oneself up for failure by designing, a priori, an overly idealized perfect world scenario, but instead a vision that incentivizes continuous and adaptable improvement while targeting the center of gravity of where the most harm is coming from. It is a process that incentivizes solutions while also holding accountable those who have done wrong. It is a process based on establishing regenerative, self healing, and self improving cooperative methods. One that is not based on a fairy tale, but on adaptive activity and urgent action.

      Reply
      • Witchee

         /  June 7, 2016

        This should be its own blog post.

        Reply
      • marcel_g

         /  June 7, 2016

        This is a fantastic piece Robert, I think it deserves its own post! Thanks! I think that blaming the victim idea is what most people hear when the conversation turns to climate change, and it makes then immediately defensive. We are all partakers in the FF economy whether we like it or not, so ecouragement and empathy will go a long way to transitioning off of FF.

        Reply
      • John McCormnick

         /  June 7, 2016

        Robert, this is a classic. It could be submitted to the New Yorker. We scribblers make our comments and contributions based on some research, gut feelings and emotions. You write the blog themes, monitor the comments and pen commentary as literature. And, yes, we occasionally thank you for your efforts and realize how fortunate we are to share this time and space with you.

        Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  June 7, 2016

        Excellent piece Robert, as usual well thought out. Having spent twenty plus years working a small homestead the commitments can be over whelming at times. A small herd of dairy goats, chickens and gardens require a lot of time. Heritage breeds are always the best choice for small scale gardening/farming. The animals need you twice a day every day and then some on occasion. Kidding time for the does can be stressful but very rewarding. Its not called animal husbandry for nothing.The small herd of Scottish Highland cattle I owned were probably the easiest of all the animals I have had over the years. My personal experience with sustainability is knowing the difference between a need and a want. Growing most of your own food is not a financial plus. However you can have greater control over what you are digesting. We did sell enough food stuffs to cover the cost of the feeds. That said our daughter didn’t find out she was lactose intolerant until she left home for university, goats milk was not a problem. As far as GDP goes it looks good to an economist when the hospitals and prisons are full.That’s a false positive if I ever seen one. For those that are thinking of gardening or a little homesteading here is a link to a small magazine out of Hank Snows home town,Liverpool Nova Scotia, that has a wealth of good info on everything from cooking and canning to looking after your wood lot. http://www.rurallife.ca

        Reply
      • Spike

         /  June 7, 2016

        Spot on Robert. You echo and summarise many of Prof Tim Jackson’s arguments in Prisperity Not Growth. I’d add to your observations the fact that the average citizen of Sweden emits only a third of the CO2 of the average Australian, but few would argue their life is blighted. There is still so much low hanging fruit we could gather if we really wanted to preserve a habitable planet for our kids. And it can be life enhancing to do so, something the established order tries to obfuscate with talk of shivering hungry in caves and other ludicrous hyperbole.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 8, 2016

        Extremely thorough explanation, Robert. I think this subject could be the topic of a post. Too often people are taught to believe that growth/prosperity/fossil fuels are all intertwined. This leads to people thinking that in order to cut emissions we have to be barefoot living in caves, cooking over open fires. Thank you for that lengthy, informative explanation.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  June 8, 2016

        As McKibben put it, most people don’t get up in the morning saying, “I want to emit enough GHG’s to ensure that my kids end up cooking in their skins.” They just want to get to work, heat their houses, and have adequate food and other resources. If they can get those without burning a drop of oil or an ounce of coal, they would be perfectly happy–more so, for most.

        But oil and coal executives do, in fact, have to constantly figure out how they can keep Americans from switching away from their planet-killing products to more benign sources of energy.

        Having worked both on the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign (we were successful in stopping our local proposed coal plant expansion!) and 350.org initiatives, among others, I have not found a lot of environmentalists who want people to head for the hills. I find that consumption issues are either almost completely ignored, or what is discussed is moving away from the kind of hypermaterialism that is pushed on us by relentless advertising. And there I have seen some movement away from some elements of hyperconsumerism, at least locally and anecdotally. My extended family has pretty much stopped gift exchanges (for adults) on Christmas and to and extent on birthdays. And there seems to be a movement around here for kids to not have all their friends bring them gifts for their birthday parties but instead donate the money that would have been used to charity, including sometimes environmental causes.

        Anyway, I join others in thanking robert for this mini-essay, for the main post, and for all his work here. It’s like a place to come home to for me, even if I don’t always participate as fully as some others.

        Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Ryan –
    Wish You Were Here
    Pink Floyd
    So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
    Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?
    Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees?
    Hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change?
    Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

    Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Decades Ago, Robert Kennedy Explained Something That Trump Still Doesn’t Know About The Economy

    Robert F. Kennedy explained why GDP is a useless measure of economic well-being back in the 1960s.

    Robert Kennedy was one of the few national politicians ever to challenge our monomaniacal pursuit of GDP to the exclusion of true economic well-being. In Detroit on May 5, 1967 he pointed out: “Let us be clear at the outset that we will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods.” ……………………….. Here are the key lines:

    Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.

    It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

    It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

    Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

    Joe Romm

    Reply
  18. Greg

     /  June 7, 2016

    Another practical experiment in how we can be living. This New Neighborhood Will Grow Its Own Food, Power Itself, And Handle Its Own Waste:

    Reply
  19. Greg

     /  June 7, 2016

    We need to continue to support the small, the bottom-up and the democratization of the environmental movement. A lengthy scathing analysis of how current environmental philanthropy is misguided is reviewed below. From 2000-2009, grantmakers provided $10 billion for environment and climate work, funding primarily top-down strategies; yet, we have not seen a significant policy win since the 1980s. Our funding strategy is misaligned with the great perils our planet and environment face. All the national studies and reports tend to
    pale in comparison to angry, organized community members.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-montague/green-initiatives_b_1301418.html

    Reply
  20. JPL

     /  June 7, 2016

    Ryan, regarding your anecdote above, your pain and disappointment with your friend’s backward stance on the climate crisis is palpable. But, know that being ahead of the curve and on top of the science on this issue will be to the benefit of everyone you know as time marches forward. Our climate reality will unfold based on our collective actions and as it sets in, some of the folks you know who are currently in ostrich mode will seek you out because they trust you and will feel safe seeking out the information you possess. Chin up, bud! We’re playing the long game.

    John

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 7, 2016

      Well said , JPL, I won’t call you John , Because having the JPL handle is very cool.

      Now back to Ryan’s comment –

      Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

      Reply
      • JPL

         /  June 7, 2016

        Thanks CB. Taught myself to play that Floyd tune one on the guitar. Love it.

        Now, here’s one for you. I’m hearing more and more music acknowledging our role in the climate crisis. This is a track from a new album out by an artist going by Anohni. Heard an interview a few weeks ago on NPR and the artist said that this song was an acknowledgement about the(ir personal) cognitive dissonance that comes from knowing you need to change your comfortable, carbon intensive lifestyle while not actually making any of the necessary changes. Enjoy…?

        It’s only 4 degrees
        It’s only 4 degrees
        I wanna see this world
        I wanna see it boiled
        It’s only 4 degrees
        It’s only 4 degrees
        I wanna hear the dogs crying for water
        I wanna see the fish go belly up in the sea
        And all those lemurs and all those tiny creatures
        I wanna see them burn
        It’s only 4 degrees
        And all those rhynos and all those big mammals
        I wanna see them lying crying in the fields
        I wanna see them burn
        It’s only 4 degrees
        I wanna see them burn
        It’s only 4 degrees
        I wanna burn them
        I wanna burn them
        I wanna burn the sky
        I wanna burn the breeze
        I wanna see the animals die in the trees
        Oh let’s let’s go
        It’s only 4 degrees
        Oh let’s let’s go
        It’s only 4 degrees
        I wanna burn them
        I wanna burn them
        I wanna burn them

        Reply
  21. Jeremy in Wales

     /  June 7, 2016

    A little ray of hope. UK generates more electricity in May from solar, an estimated 1,336 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in May, compared to 893GWh output from coal. Personally find it quite amazing how quickly that capacity has been built up.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/07/solar-sets-british-record-for-may-producing-more-electricity-than-coal
    Plus a conservative think tank is recommending closing the remaining coal plants by 2023, two years in advance of current plans and cancel Hinckley Nuclear new build and replace with renewables.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/07/uk-should-shut-down-all-coal-power-plants-two-years-before-2025-pledge

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    UK weather: Flash floods cause chaos as month’s rain falls in an hour and father and son critically ill after lightning strike

    Forecasters estimated some 40mm of rain fell in just an hour in south London while the average rainfall for the whole of June for that area is only 49mm.

    Link

    Reply
  23. Ameya Amritwar

     /  June 7, 2016

    Great.. I hope all fossil fuel cars are illegal in my lifetime..

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Arctic Death Spiral – another record:
    Average volume for May lowest ever at 20,991km³

    Averages for May:
    2007 23,078
    2008 24,102
    2009 23,851
    2010 22,181
    2011 21,108
    2012 21,677
    2013 21,839
    2014 21,878
    2015 23,000
    2016 20,991

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Obama and India’s Modi pledge future deal on climate and energy

    The leaders of India and the United States on Tuesday vowed to ratify the Paris climate accord this year, pledged to nail down terms for limiting a potent greenhouse gas used as a refrigerant in air conditioners, and set a one-year deadline for concluding a deal for six commercial nuclear power plants.

    Link

    Reply
  26. – USA Air pollution — Color coded map gif 0607 — YELLOW ORANGE RED = Unhealthy levels of OZONE & Pm2.5.

    Reply
    • Jay M

       /  June 8, 2016

      there is a lightning strike fire in the owyhee that may account for the yellow box in southeast oregon
      an area that a certain president should make a national monument (mostly public already)
      arid canyonlands with spectacular geologic markers, already got a reservoir there
      end pander

      Reply
    • Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    As expected remnants of NA snow cover retreating rapidly in the heat:

    Sarat @ The ASI

    Reply
    • Reply
      • – OPB
        A warm spring in the Northwest has taken a toll on the snowpack in Oregon. The federal government’s Natural Resources Conservation Service finds that the snowpack was normal to above normal until temperatures rose during April. Snow melted quickly then, resulting in an unusual loss of snowpack.

        Temperatures in May were more normal, but by then the majority of the snow had melted from most basins.

        The precipitation since October has been around normal, or above. That has filled reservoirs. But officials expect stream flows to be low this summer, especially in Southeast Oregon

        Reply
  28. Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon

    Reply
  30. Spike

     /  June 7, 2016

    Reply
    • – I’m sure it will show up over the PNW.

      Reply
      • Jay M

         /  June 8, 2016

        we will be able to hang our meat in the absurdly hot gaseous atmosphere and smoke it via boreal forest fire air pollution
        ultimate sustainablility

        Reply
  31. Spike

     /  June 7, 2016

    Some better policy beginning to emerge in Alberta and Saskatchewan

    http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/business/alberta-saskatchewan-renewable-energy-wind-solar-1.3612775

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 8, 2016

      It’s happening, slowly. Finally. My own province of Newfoundland and Labrador served notice of imminent new carbon tax legislation as a first move to meet our provincial share of the national targets identified at COP21. Ontario will also be unveiling their climate plan, and that will be important for Canada, as they have one-third of the entire population of the country.

      Alberta is aiming for 30% of its energy from renewables by 2030. I think we can and must go faster than that, but hey, it’s better than nothing.

      I suspect the recent delay in getting these new COP21-compliant policies out there may have been occasioned by the corporatist interests’ needing time to work out how they are going to get their fair share of this nice juicy pie—-as hinted, mischievously perhaps, in this sentence in the linked CBC story:

      “More than 400 renewable energy business leaders and bankers are in the city trying to figure how to get some of the billions governments will soon spend on renewable energy.”

      Reply
      • Yup, it is happening, even if slowly. These new provincial plans are definitely a step in the right direction. I just hope the govts introducing them survive their next elections, esp. since Wynne & the ON libs are taking ownership of this issue, which is great, but ON voters get tired of the same party in power for too long.

        If their plan is set up to stimulate business and create jobs and actually reduces emissions, then I’m all for RE businesses making money from this. As long as it isn’t a corporate giveaway, and I doubt it’s going to be, because Wynne can’t go into the next election without being able to show something tangible, she’ll have to have projects and jobs to show off for people to get on board with it.

        Also, thanks for your kind words about my paintings on the other thread, Cate. Much appreciated.

        Reply
  32. Spike

     /  June 7, 2016

    Astonishing time lapse of coastal erosion in Australia

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 7, 2016

      The waves along NSW were 13 meters, With a King tide.

      Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Anyone who thinks the past is lens to the future , needs a new telescope.

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  June 8, 2016

      Unless you look back more than many million years😉

      Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    I am struck by how ” Dark Side” saw the future.

    Reply
  35. Reply
  36. – Check out the text in the ORANGE box:

    Reply
  37. – US – Nitrates in the atmosphere impact streams

    Drought periods followed by rainfall caused nitrate levels to increase to the highest ever measured in some Midwest streams during a 2013 study, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report published today in the Journal of Environmental Quality.

    http://phys.org/news/2016-06-rainfall-drought-linked-historic-nitrate.html

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Time for blues once again .
    Howlin’ Wolf – The Red Rooster

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Muddy Waters – Eletric Mud (1968) Full Album [HQ]

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  June 7, 2016

    Enjoy the past. Because Muddy Waters is as dead as boot.

    Reply
  41. Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe 23m23 minutes ago

    It has definitely been a warm first week in June across the West Coast with parts of #ORwx/#WAwx >12°F above normal

    Reply
  42. Snowpack, “one of the most pure forms of a #climate indicator,”

    Reply
  43. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2016

    This grim work will grind our bones, if we don’t lay down once and every now then, and remember just how ibright we are.

    Reply
  44. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2016

    Fools din”t write the Blues.

    Reply
  45. Jay M

     /  June 8, 2016

    Not trying to be negative, reacting to the comments that have been made. Have to be aware of the overwhelming aspect of the current civilization reality as experienced by a NA citizen. Affluent enough to buy gas, own a home, not get spectacularly in debt. There is a hardness and reality to the gas station and driving up in your car to pay with a plastic card that is hard to deny. Also supermarket. So far, disaster is sporadic and often dealt out by a military superior to your own nation, if not nature. Not saying change has to come from the top, but most routines are designed keep the lower orders in line.

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2016

    Lone Watie

    Reply
  47. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2016

    Lone Wati –
    Endeavor to preserver/

    Reply
  48. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2016

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  June 8, 2016

    \PALE RIDER AXE HANDLE SCENE

    Reply
  50. – Atmospheric CO2 — No surprise here but maybe it will gain traction — WaPo.

    Reply
  51. FOUR DAYS:

    Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  June 8, 2016

      I am in the Almeria desert of southern Spain today and you would be amazed at the amount of solar panels and wind turbines that are spinning round here. It does not surprise me a bit that the Portuguese have run on renewables alone.
      Meanwhile its abut 8/C or 17/F above normal here for the time of year at the moment with temps up to touching 40/C here today, with a strong south east wind.

      Reply
  52. redskylite

     /  June 8, 2016

    Growing in a 60’s era full of peace and hope, two world wars ended and the musical “Hair” in it’s stride with the song about “The Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in”, end of bussing and apartheid soon to end, many wrongs slowly beginning to come right. Now I’m older and have more time to read about world events, it sadly seems we are in an age of extinction, rather than Aquarius. Academic reports pretty much confirm it, species are declining.

    This joint study by the University of Chicago and Southampton University, highlights that mammals were around and prospering at the same time as dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and also experienced the superbolide that is believed to have caused the dinosaurs demise.

    Chilling reminder at the end, that many knowledgeable biology/ecology academics have accepted as fact already.

    Lead author David Grossnickle, a PHD candidate at the University of Chicago, said the study was particularly relevant in light of the mass extinction the earth was currently undergoing.
    He said: “The types of survivors that made it across the mass extinction 66 million years ago, mostly generalists, might be indicative of what will survive in the next hundred years, the next thousand.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-36471746

    Reply
  53. Spike

     /  June 8, 2016

    More positive news from Norway

    Reply
  54. redskylite

     /  June 8, 2016

    I have to comment in reply to this “Conversation” article that Robert Scribbler makes Climate Change interesting, alive and current, like no other, and certainly as a writer of Science Fiction he is a talented artist and writer.

    Thanks Robert for your great time and endeavors, they are appreciated by many.

    It’s time for a new age of Enlightenment: why climate change needs 60,000 artists to tell its story .

    In 2013, one of the world’s leading public relations experts, Bob Pickard, cried out to the climate world: “mobilise us!” In a frustrated op-ed, he listed 20 key problems with climate communication. One of them was “story fatigue”: bland stories with “highly repetitive and stale” themes.

    http://theconversation.com/its-time-for-a-new-age-of-enlightenment-why-climate-change-needs-60-000-artists-to-tell-its-story-58774

    Reply
  55. Cate

     /  June 8, 2016

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-36468301

    Scotland’s largest solar farm, which will provide power for more than 3,500 homes, is due to be officially opened.The 13MW scheme, which was constructed on 70 acres of land at Errol Estate in Perthshire and includes 55,000 solar panels, went live in May.

    The farm was installed and will be operated by Canadian Solar—oh the irony, which according to its own website is one of the top three solar companies in the world by revenue, employing almost 9000 people on six continents.

    Not much sign of them across Canada yet, but the key ingredient is still not in place—clear, unequivocal leadership from government. The Scottish developer pointed out that “reducing installation costs, and a climate of support from Scottish government” contributes to the on-going development of solar in cloudy old Scotland.

    We’ll keep looking for that essential “climate of support from govt” for renewable energy development in Canada, where pipelines still rule our energy policies.

    Reply
    • mlparrish

       /  June 9, 2016

      Cate
      In 1987 I spent September in Wester Ross, on the west coast of Scotland, where I don’t remember enough sun to run a muffin oven. But we could power the entire US on solar from a corner of the Nevada desert, and Nevada has outlawed solar power. My head is about to explode.

      Reply
  56. June

     /  June 8, 2016

    Former SEC commissioner trying to add a new tool in the divestment movement. And he has a track record. He points out that if you invest in fossil fuels today, you are betting against the Paris accords, and the world.

    “Will This Retired Lawyer Open the Floodgates of Divestment From Fossil Fuels?”

    “His proposal calls for a legal reinterpretation of what constitutes prudent management of institutional funds now that the investment landscape is filled with new risks for fossil fuel investors…
    To that end, he’s working channels to convince various attorneys general to spell out those risks in an “interpretive release,” and offer guidance on how to handle them. He thinks the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts and California will be most receptive to his proposal…The efficiency of an interpretive release rather than trying to go sue somebody is immense.”

    Reply
  57. – USA | Air Pollution
    – Rain soaked fossil fuel Houston, TX forecast = RED ozone.

    Reply
    • – Congressional Republicans and ozone standards.

      Threat of Delaying Anti-Pollution Upgrades Brings House to a Boil

      WASHINGTON (CN) – Efforts to delay implementation of federal ozone requirements before an upcoming vote sharply divided members of a House committee Tuesday.
      Though the new ozone regulations took effect back in December, Republicans have been pushing the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 to give states an eight-year extension on compliance.
      A group of nine states, all red, called it “impossible” this past April for the Environmental Protection Agency to expect that they will meet the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, down from 75 to 70 parts per billion.
      http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/06/08/threat-of-delaying-anti-pollution-upgrades-brings-house-to-a-boil.htm

      Reply
    • Jay M

       /  June 9, 2016

      Terrible air in Houston.

      Reply
  58. Parts of Europe getting hit by rain.

    Reply
  59. USA – California – SF Bay Are – Marsh restoration in a time of SLR.

    Reply
    • Jay M

       /  June 9, 2016

      They need to make the wetlands a wide berm against the level rise of SF Bay.
      Still, I don’t get it if the need is to drain the land quickly as well, seem to need places to put the water. Need to pump up the aquifers

      Reply
    • Genomik

       /  June 9, 2016

      I voted for this as I grew up on the bay near the tidal flats and it’s good but I often wonder how many environmental initiatives are rendered moot by climate change.

      In the SF Bay I imagine they will have to build a dam in golden gate to prevent massive flooding. If they don’t do that they will have to build massive levies and truck mud in for this kind of thing. They will probably build levies first as they wont admit the GG needs a dam.

      Overall I wonder what % of environmental initiatives are becoming irrelevant. I suppose we still need to do them but it’s sort of ironic our best efforts are probably to slow down co2 emissions. If we fail at that environmental protection is moot.

      And further irony is GOP will probably say “see we don’t need to protect the environment since its hosed anyways”!

      Great Barrier Reef is a great example.

      Reply
  60. Reply
  61. On the link between Barents-Kara sea ice variability and European blocking
    First published: 31 May 2016

    Abstract

    This study examines the connection between the variability of sea ice concentration in the Barents and Kara (B-K) seas and winter European weather on an intraseasonal time scale. Low sea ice regimes in autumn and early winter over the B-K seas are shown to affect the strength and position of the polar vortex, and increase the frequency of blocking regimes over the Euro-Atlantic sector in late winter…
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JD024021/full

    Reply
  62. In the meantime, here in the U.S. we still have to beg Obama to do the right thing. Yes, I know Robert that sounds snarky but really . . why do we have to petition him for this???? Can’t blame the repubs for this one.
    Let’s hope he puts an end to new offshore drilling. We should not have to ask . . . . really.

    From the 350.org team today:

    “In 2015, the Obama administration unveiled a 5-year offshore drilling plan, opening new areas for oil and gas extraction in the Arctic, off the Atlantic coast, and in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Earlier this year, the Atlantic was removed from the draft plan, but the Arctic and the Gulf are still at risk. Meanwhile, both of these regions are heavily impacted by both our changing climate and fossil fuel extraction. They’re experiencing some of the most rapid sea-level rise and land loss on the planet, and have been subject to devastating oil spills.
    If drilling is unsafe in the Atlantic, then it’s unsafe on all our coasts. It’s time to end offshore drilling everywhere.
    The offshore drilling plan is still being finalized, and public comments are due next week. Sign on now, and we’ll make sure your message calling for zero new offshore drilling is delivered.
    Impacted communities in both the Gulf and the Arctic are standing together and fighting back. If President Obama wants to be seen as a climate leader, then he needs to be accountable to communities like mine on the front lines of climate impacts. Coastal communities know exactly what’s at stake if drilling continues in the Arctic and the Gulf — their cultures, land, and livelihoods.

    President Obama has the power to stop new offshore drilling without interference from Congress. Click here to stand with coastal communities and tell the President to stop all new offshore drilling.
    Climate change touches all of us. Let’s make sure offshore oil and gas stays where it belongs — deep under ground.”

    http://act.350.org/sign/offshore-drilling-plan/?akid=14030.581357.bLEmNh&rd=1&t=3&utm_medium=email

    Reply
    • He’s on our side. He’s put in more positive climate policies than all the other presidents combined. Fossil fuel influence is endemic. You’re not going to be able to flip a switch and have it go away overnight.

      And no, we shouldn’t gripe about holding him accountable. That’s our duty. It’s our duty as a free people and responsible citizens to hold the leaders we elect accountable. Which is one reason why organizations like 350.org are so important.

      We need to look at the problem as one that involves necessary action from us and includes multiple stakeholders. Not as an issue where one leader is a perfect snowflake and all our hopes are crushed if he/she doesn’t do everything right and backslides occassionally. What we really only need is leaders we can influence. I mean, a perfect leader on climate change would be great. But I’d take Obama — who’s heading in the right direction overall and who was elected on a precedent to act responsibly (which enables us to hold him accountable) — over republicans any day.

      So yeah, the offshore drilling expansion is backsliding. Which is why we need 350.org to step in. It’s kinda like the keystone issue. And, in my view, our action here gives Obama the excuse to do the right thing. In a perfect world, should he need an excuse? Should he need nudging? Should we have a leader, that considering the terrible imminent impacts of climate change is still leaving open the door to expanded fossil fuel access in certain areas? Absolutely not. But this is the world we live in and we’ve got to act like adults to keep him on track.

      Reply
  63. Cate

     /  June 8, 2016

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/wynne-climate-change-1.3621658

    Dateline: Ontario, Canada

    >>>>>>>>>>The province will spend up to $8.3 billion on a range of programs to encourage people and companies to switch to more energy-efficient heating systems, buy electric or hybrid cars, convert big trucks to natural gas, add more bio-fuel to gasoline, and help the agriculture and industrial sectors adopt low-carbon technologies.
    Most of the money is expected to come from a cap-and-trade program for industrial polluters that the Liberal government expects will raise $1.9 billion a year. All of the cap-and-trade money will go into a dedicated fund for lowering Ontario’s carbon footprint.
    Details on rebates for home retrofits will come later, but Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray said no one will have to get rid of their natural gas furnace or old car until they’re ready.
    “We’re not forcing anyone to do this. The incentives are quite generous because it’s not revenue neutral,” he said. “We want people to avoid the carbon price in the future, and the way you do that is to use very low or non-carbon emitting fuels and technologies in your homes and transportation systems.”<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Reply
    • Cate —

      Just letting you know that I took down the Forbes article by Robert Rapier. Bad source. This guy has been putting out misinformation for years, is a Fox News consultant, and is a former oil industry researcher. To me all these things represent a serious conflict of interest on his part. I checked the math in his article — and there are a number of inconsistencies with the BP report, which is sadly not surprising.

      You may want to look at this version of the BP report by Carbon Brief instead:

      http://www.carbonbrief.org/bp-global-coal-use-fell-by-largest-recorded-margin-in-2015

      The BP report is worth digging into. But considering that source, we also have a bit of a conflict of interest. The oil industry has a habit of coloring information in a light that degrades the impact of renewables, often creating an impression that is contrary to what’s actually going on in the global energy market.

      That said, according to BP, the drop in coal use by 1.8 percent globally (not 1 percent as Robert Rapier states) is extraordinarily significant. That’s a loss of 71 million tons of oil equivalent worth of fossil fuel burning.

      I do need to double check my math on my early comment indicating a net fall in global fossil fuel use on a btu basis. If BP is correct, we have a total increase in oil and gas consumption by 134 million tons of oil equivalent. Subtracting coal’s 71 million mtoe loss, we get a net 63 mtoe gain for all fossil fuels (not the 127 million tons of oil equivalent cited by Robert Rapier). This is still a net gain and if it bears out, then my btu statement earlier down thread was premature.

      However, a 63 mtoe increase is a very fine line when you consider the vast size of the global energy pie. It represents just 0.05 percent of global energy use. Given such a fine line, we’ll need to wait for the other energy reports to come out (IEA etc) to get a more concise picture.

      It becomes very hard to justify the notion that economic growth is dependent on fossil fuel use growth when fossil fuel use growth is at best 0.05 percent and when global economic growth by comparison in 2015 was 2.7 percent.

      economist growth

      That said, we have numerous national contexts in which net fossil fuel use is falling and economic growth is continuing in the GDP measure. Some of the highlights in the BP report also somewhat contradict information coming out of the REN 21 report. So these are worth considering as well. But we should be very clear that this is not a rosey report for fossil fuels. And coming from a stakeholder in oil, this is a rather significant point.

      We should also be very clear that the fossil fuel industry is entirely invested in perpetuating the myth that fossil fuels are required to continue global economic growth. And they’ll fight for this continued perception with everything they have because their continued existence as an energy source is in many ways predicated on pro-growthers believing that they’re, at this point, the only option for continued economic growth.

      First, the notion that global economic growth is dependent upon fossil fuels is untrue. And, second, the notion of growth as it currently stands is something that is not an element of a global economy that fosters security, stability, or the long-term health of global civilization. Curtailment of the growth of fossil fuel consumption, especially when considering the issue of climate change, is necessary for civilization survival. And it is this fact that fossil fuel centric thinkers like Rapier tend to fight with everything they’ve got.

      Reply
  64. Ryan in New England

     /  June 8, 2016

    Some encouraging news…

    An almost two-century-old technology with virtually no market penetration just six years ago is now on track to become a cornerstone solution in the fight to avoid catastrophic climate change, the International Energy Agency (the IEA) reported this month. If that isn’t an energy miracle, what is?

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/07/3785440/deployment-miracle-electric-vehicles-climate/

    Reply
    • We’ve always had a number alternative energy solutions in hand — EVs, hemp to biofuels and what is essentially a carbon absorbing material, home-grown ethanol in the US. Monopolization by fossil fuel industry and corporate influence over the government snuffed the last two out. With EVs, it just took scaling up lithium based battery production to drive down cost and a decent amount of innovation to increase energy storage density.

      Reply
  65. Ryan in New England

     /  June 8, 2016

    To balance out the good news…

    Last month saw the biggest year-over-year jump in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide on record — 3.76 parts per million. And that, reports NOAA, took May 2016 to the highest monthly levels of CO2 in the air ever measured — 407.7 ppm.

    At the same time, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports the warming-driven death spiral of Arctic sea ice hit a staggering new May low (see figure). May 2016 saw Arctic sea ice extent drop “about 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) below any previous year in the 38-year satellite record.”

    “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” explained NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “It’s way below the previous record, very far below it, and we’re something like almost a month ahead of where we were in 2012.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/08/3785940/co2-levels-arctic-sea-ice-record/

    Reply
  66. – Smoke plume as it exits Kamchatka wildfires.

    Reply
  67. Reply
  68. NA – Wildfires
    – 0608 – Arizona — 19 ‘Hotshots’ were lost in June, 2013 while on duty at Yarnell.

    Reply
  69. Jay M

     /  June 9, 2016

    Observe moisture in Mexico, below the recent storm pattern https://www.dropbox.com/s/p8mpcs8xq4rl0p3/Screenshot%202016-06-08%2019.15.16.png?dl=0

    Reply
  70. NASA Studies Details of a Greening Arctic

    Published on Jun 2, 2016

    NASA scientists used almost 30 years of data from the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat satellites to track changes in vegetation in Alaska and Canada. Of the more than 4 million square miles, 30 percent had increases in vegetation (greening) while only 3 percent had decreases (browning).

    This is the first study to produce a continent-scale map while still providing detailed information at the human scale. “It shows the climate impact on vegetation in the high latitudes…”

    Reply
  71. Ryan in New England

     /  June 9, 2016

    Arctic sea ice fell off a cliff in May, and it looks like the melt season is about a month ahead of the record smashing 2012 season. A blue ocean is certainly a possibility this year, more than ever. But then again, what the heck do I know😉

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/08/arctic-sea-ice-falls-to-record-low

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/248e54ac7d0bf95a19a4ae4e181e9cf2aa23f818/0_0_3300_2550/master/3300.png?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=fe8214bcf81d6b90a6d4edcb93bf789f

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 9, 2016

      And I think June is the traditional “cliff” month for Arctic sea ice? So a month early any way you look at it. Off the charts already.

      Reply
  72. Ryan in New England

     /  June 9, 2016

    Arctic sea ice fell off a cliff in May, and is about a month ahead of the record smashing 2012 season. Might this year be the first blue ocean?

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/08/arctic-sea-ice-falls-to-record-low

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 9, 2016

      Oops, I thought that was going to display the image. Sorry y’all! It’s the graph of Arctic sea ice extent for May.

      Reply
    • Henri

       /  June 9, 2016

      Notice how both the 2012 (lowest September extent) and 2007 (2nd lowest) May extents were doing relatively fine compared to their nearby years and the second lowest May extent of 2004 doesn’t even feature in top ten lowest September minimums. As such, the may extent doesn’t seem to be a good indicator for the September minimum. Also as the y-axis is from 11.5 to 14.5 the seemingly quick dive isn’t as alarming as it seems at a quick glance. Now i am not trying to push some denialist agenda here. The situation is bad and it’s hardly a secret to anyone here where we are heading in mid to long term.

      This June we seem to be blessed with cloudy arctic and the melt ponds aren’t as widely spread as in 2012. Thus far a rapid June melt has been important part of reaching a minimum and with continuing luck with the weather it might be avoided. The good folk at the arctic sea ice forum are quite divided on the issue but the majority there thinks we will avoid record minimum this summer.

      Reply
      • We’re still in record low ranges. I’d say we’re still on track for a new record low. If we miss the 2012 break and a typical ramp up in mid June melt coming soon, then I’d change my assessment. Despite the clouds and storms, June is still coming in as warmer than average.

        Kara, Baffin, and Hudson Bay are hitting melt tipping points now. Laptev and ESAS are a concern. The lows prevent compaction in the Beaufort and Chukchi. But there’s quite a lot of thinning nonetheless.

        In any case, we’d have less melt ponds due to overall less contiguous ice extent.

        Reply
  73. June

     /  June 9, 2016

    “Whistleblower: EPA Officials Covered Up Toxic Fracking Emissions for Years”

    The cover-up was discovered by NC WARN, the group wrote in its complaint, when it became aware that the very inventor of the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, an engineer named Touché Howard, had been attempting to blow the whistle for years on the crucial instrument’s malfunctioning. The critical failure causes the instrument to under-report methane emissions “up to 100-fold,” the organization wrote.

    http://commondreams.org/news/2016/06/09/whistleblower-epa-officials-covered-toxic-fracking-emissions-years

    Reply
  74. Genomik

     /  June 9, 2016

    Climate change refugees a serious challenge for tropics if/when temps get to 2C. I believe we are already getting a taste of this in Middle East and the tropics the last few months.

    Maybe this is partly why trump wants to build a wall. The GOP knows they screwed up the planet very well and see that all of Central America will try to come north. They might not “believe” in climate change but they will invest in stopping at least one consequence.

    http://news.berkeley.edu/2016/06/09/climate-change-could-trigger-tropical-evacuations-researchers-advise/

    Reply
    • GOP’s “plan” is to create Armageddon and then make it worse by reacting to it in all the wrong ways.

      Edit: I said plan — but it’s really no plan at all. At this point it’s just reacting. The first reaction is to protect a destructive and now unnecessary fossil fuel industry. And the second reaction is to attempt to contain and cover up the problems that dependency is generating.

      Reply
      • Genomik

         /  June 9, 2016

        Seriously I think that’s true. I’m no conspiracy theorist but that’s a possible theory. More likely it’s greed+incompetence exponentially implemented.

        They certainly did this in Middle East. Let’s do everything Osama bin laden wanted us to in his manifestos leading to Armageddon.

        Many in the Middle East and GOP want the apocalypse to arrive. It’s in their religion.

        Reply
        • So the use of the word ‘plan’ was tongue in cheek. I don’t honestly think that’s what they set out to do. But that’s where their policies lead.

  75. marianne

     /  June 9, 2016

    not quite banning fossil fuel vehicles but maybe on the right track:
    https://www.rt.com/news/345540-norway-petrol-cars-report/

    for those with a keen interest in Norway’s transport plan for the future:
    http://www.ntp.dep.no/English

    Reply
    • Looks like policy makers have decided to settle on a big push for electrics but not a total ban for fossil fuel based vehicles. Seems like a very positive move in any case.

      Reply
  76. – These ‘cruise’ ships are just mobile entertainment and disposable income strip malls that could just as well take place on land in one’s own community.
    They create and disperse a tremendous amount of pollution into the marine environment wherever they go.

    – ibtimes.com/c/2016/06/09/cruise-ship-pollution

    Cruise Ship Pollution: Cruise Sewage And Air Pollution A Rising Concern As Ships Sail Toward Northwest Passage

    When the first luxury cruise ships begin traversing the Northwest Passage, a route newly opened by melting Arctic ice, the colossal vessels may also bring sooty diesel emissions and swimming pools of sewage into a long-pristine environment, green groups warn.

    A new report on the global cruise line industry found that these companies are slow to adopt technologies and practices that could reduce harmful fuel emissions and limit water pollution in the areas where they travel and dock. Friends of the Earth, an environmental activist group, graded 17 cruise companies and their 171 ships and concluded that the industry has shown an “ongoing lack of initiative” to address the cruise liners’ environmental impacts.

    Reply
    • At least put sails on the darn things. The could cut their diesel consumption by 60 percent or more. With thin film solar — they could have solar sails, battery storage below decks, and an electric engine powered by the solar sails.

      Reply
    • In any case, I’ve always felt that sailing was a majestic way to travel.

      Reply
  77. JPL

     /  June 9, 2016

    Need a Michael Mann fix?

    Reply
  78. – More elaboration on Arctic amplification and the jet stream, etc.

    ‘The new study analyzes the severe shift in wind patterns last July that transported huge masses of warm, moist air from the Atlantic to the Arctic, dramatically melting the northern reaches of the ice sheet. Never before has the jet stream been seen to intrude so far into the Arctic during the summer, the scientists reported.’

    Wobbly Jet Stream Is Sending the Melting Arctic into ‘Uncharted Territory’

    A shift in weather patterns created a month of extreme melting, prompting scientists’ concern about the impact on long-term climate models.

    Extraordinary melting in Greenland’s ice sheet last summer was linked to warm air delivered by the wandering jet stream, a phenomenon that scientists have increasingly tied to global warming.

    This interplay of climate phenomena, described in a new study in the journal Nature Communications, is more evidence of the complex ways in which the Arctic’s climate is heading for “uncharted territory,” said the study’s lead author, Marco Tedesco.

    The study adds to an emerging theory on the effects of the pronounced warming of the Arctic, where temperatures are rising faster than in more temperate zones, as models have long predicted. Known as “Arctic amplification,” this moderates the normal temperature incline that drives the jet stream. If it makes the jet stream wobble, as some scientists suspect, it would suck warm air up into the Arctic—as was observed in Greenland last year.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/08062016/greenland-arctic-record-melt-jet-stream-wobbly-global-warming-climate-change

    Reply
  79. – Panama Canal – More shipping etc.

    Epic Photos of the New Panama Canal Will Make You Feel Teeny

    Expanding the Panama Canal was almost as Herculean a task as building it in the first place. Some 11,000 workers moved 150 million cubic meters—6.4 million truckloads in all—of earth and rock. They poured 4.4 million cubic meters of concrete and reinforced it with 220,000 tons of steel.

    Roughly 14,000 ships pass through the 50-mile Canal each year; the expansion will increase that by 4,750 vessels after the project wraps up later this month. It’s taken nine years, and photographer Tom Fowlks has followed it from the start.

    Reply
  80. NA USA Warm temps

    Reply
  81. PlazaRed

     /  June 9, 2016

    This is worth a read, about the effects of the jet stream on Greenland’s ice.
    Below is a line I cut out of it:-
    “The number of melt days in the north eastern, western and north western regions, was up to 30-40 days above the 1981-2010 average and setting new records for melt water production and runoff in the north western region.”

    http://www.adn.com/arctic/2016/06/09/weird-jet-stream-behavior-could-be-making-greenlands-melting-even-worse-scientists-say/

    Reply
  82. Cate

     /  June 9, 2016

    Nuuk, Greenland, hit 24C today, while Newfoundland, Canada, continues to shiver at around 10C, on the wrong side of the Omega block.

    Here is the 10-day for Narsarsuaq—temps well above average. God help us.

    https://www.wunderground.com/gl//narsarsuaq/zmw:00000.1.04270

    Reply
  83. Brian#2

     /  June 10, 2016

    I was reading a lot of material up-thread about how the Democrats are the only hope in the coming election. They are certainly better than Trump who is unthinkable as the leader of the worlds most powerful military but I would be interested to hear if people think Hillary will really champion the fight against climate change?

    I hate to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm towards Hillary and the Democrats but unfortunately the two parties are just different branches of the same beast. The Democrats are the corporate wing and the Republicans the military/industrial/borderline sociopathic wing.

    The both have ascribed to Neoliberal economic policy since at least the Reagan administration to a greater or lesser degree and Obama has really carried forward and even advanced many of the most repugnant policies of the Bush Admin including mass surveillance, persecution of whistleblowers and arms sales to some of the most repressive dictatorships on the planet. Don’t forget it was Hillary’s old man who brought in tough on crime legislation which targeted minorities with mass incarceration often for minor and non-violent drug offenses and repealed Glass/Steagall which offered at least some protection for consumers against economic speculation in the banking sector.

    The Democrats talk a more rational policy towards climate change but with Hillary’s well-documented pandering to corporate backers, I wonder if she, like her husband, talks in the language of rational environmental policy while acting in the interests of the entrenched corporate power structure – which may be so powerful it is beyond the ability of any leader to really stop.

    Don’t forget that even Obama approved drilling in Alaska before his dewy speech on climate change action was even off the airwaves in 2015 in the lead-up to Paris.

    Not trying to be a jerk – I’m only saying.

    Reply
  1. Norway, India, & Netherlands May Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles by 2025-2030 | robertscribbler | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
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