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A draft of the National Climate Assessment report has been released
January 13, 2013 7:44 AM   Subscribe

...and the news ain't good: "Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. The sum total of this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming." Overview letter is here, Executive Summary is here, and the full download is here. [WARNING: Full download runs to 147MB).
posted by BillW (195 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
This map is of Australia's ongoing heat wave, courtesy The Economist.
posted by infini at 7:52 AM on January 13, 2013


Yet the temperature eight inches under the sand, where right-wingers keep their heads, has been remarkably constant.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:54 AM on January 13, 2013 [48 favorites]


For a timeline of the Nile.
posted by infini at 7:57 AM on January 13, 2013


The overview letter and executive summary are unsettlingly strongly worded. What's most haunting is how little we're doing about this.
posted by holmesian at 8:00 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Humans will either adapt and evolve, or we won't. The universe won't care.
posted by Ardiril at 8:00 AM on January 13, 2013 [20 favorites]


I hope that public sentiment here in the US is starting to come around to the point where it is at least unfashionable to flat-out deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change. What's crazy is that in the ecological and conservation sciences, we've been treating climate change at the number one emerging threat to biodiversity for well over a decade now. The project I'm involved in for instance (a government-funded project, mind) is looking at ways to pockets of habitat that show the potential to resist climate change, so that we can target them for protection.

The scientific community as a whole is waaaaaay past the "is this happening?" stage and has long since moved on to the "OK, how bad is the damage and what can we do about it?" stage. That we still have to argue the case that this is real just goes to show how disconnected policymakers can get from scientific reality.
posted by Scientist at 8:01 AM on January 13, 2013 [26 favorites]


Yeah, climate change isn't really debated anymore (except by politicians). The real debate is a) how much humans are contributing and b) what, if anything, we should do about it.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:01 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just close your eyes, click your heals together, and keep saying "there's no coal like clean coal, there's no coal like clean coal, there's no coal like clean coal,..."
posted by mondo dentro at 8:12 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The documentary Chasing Ice opened in the past week. Bill and I saw it a couple days ago. Balog's intention of making climate change clearly visible to those who don't want to believe in science is pretty effectively done. Not sure it will change the minds of those so determined to believe that nothing is happening though since they and reality seem to be on different planets. It's a stunning film and worth seeing.

I find the predicted temperature changes in the report linked above to be truly terrifying and far worse in the shorter term than earlier predictions.
posted by leslies at 8:19 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sitting in Columbus OH where it is a terrifying 63 degrees on January 13 (average: 39 degrees). It feels like we're at the beginning of the part in the disaster movie where things start to go really bad, really fast and everyone's powerless to stop it because at this point in time, nothing can be done.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:32 AM on January 13, 2013 [29 favorites]


I remember being a kid in the mid-60s, sitting in a friend's station wagon and hearing his Dad explain the greenhouse effect, and how that's where we were heading. This isn't new stuff, and seems fairly obvious. It is the classic "public commons" issue where what I do won't matter, but what we all do will screw us.

I'm to the point my only question is: How bad off will we get before I die? Will economies collapse? Will my corner of the world become unlivable? Will food be an issue?
posted by cccorlew at 8:33 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Was there a spike upwards since 2000? (hockey stick curve, I believe its called)
posted by infini at 8:43 AM on January 13, 2013


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does an international report every few years to get a global view of all of the studies that have been done and update with new results and information. Included is where they lay out line by line how climate change is affecting different areas of the globe, how this affects water source and quality, habitats, etc., etc., etc.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:50 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're near Toronto and about to walk on errands with no coats on.

Fucked.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:23 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno, my place in Los Angeles may soon be beachfront property. Sweet.
posted by Justinian at 9:24 AM on January 13, 2013


I notice that this is a draft for public comment.

Having participated in the public commenting process on several occasions, I predict that the final product will have very different wording and emphasis. My guess is that this draft reflects the opinions of the scientists who produced the draft. The "public" - which will unfortunately include the carbon extracting industries and their professional PR outlets, as well as the right wing/libertarian free market types - will protest loudly that there is still controversy and uncertainty. The final report will be much more equivocal.

That's just my cynical prediction - but I'd bet some pocket money on it.
posted by natteringnabob at 9:25 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sitting in Columbus OH where it is a terrifying 63 degrees on January 13 (average: 39 degrees). It feels like we're at the beginning of the part in the disaster movie where things start to go really bad, really fast and everyone's powerless to stop it because at this point in time, nothing can be done.

Same thing here in L.A., except with the temps basically reversed: it's regularly been dropping well below freezing at night all over SoCal (average lows are usually in the upper 30s to upper 40s this time of year, with average highs in the 50s-60s), putting the citrus crop at serious risk. And even that may be starting to become typical; we lost over 60% of the citrus crop about 5 or 6 years ago due to the same craziness.

Which is NOT to say "IF THERE'S GLOBAL WARMING WHY AM I WEARING FINGERLESS GLOVES TO TYPE THIS" but rather: oh yes, we're fucked. In a wild variety of ways!
posted by scody at 9:28 AM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


It feels like we're at the beginning of the part in the disaster movie where things start to go really bad, really fast and everyone's powerless to stop it because at this point in time, nothing can be done.

I'm afraid that most Americans assume that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger will just get into a spaceship on a thrilling mission to BLOW UP THE SUN. Problem solved.
posted by mondo dentro at 9:29 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Same thing here in L.A., except with the temps basically reversed: it's regularly been dropping well below freezing at night all over SoCal

So, what you're saying is you should move to Chicago for the weather? We haven't had an inch of snow in over a year.

I joke only to avoid screaming more
posted by eriko at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The next IPCC report! Surely this..

In other news, Obama ‘Seriously Considering’ Hosting Climate Summit.
posted by stbalbach at 9:35 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The worst part of this, I mean aside from the fact that we may be irrevocably screwing up the climate on our home planet, the one we have no escape from, is that the same people who have fought against it and loudly ignored it for years will be the ones going "Heh, if Big Government worked, why didn't it save us from climate change?" once we're truly fucked.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:46 AM on January 13, 2013 [25 favorites]


I find myself preferring to believe that there is more than just one nation on this planet and few others feel as strongly that this isn't happening. I hope I don't have my head in the sand when hoping that the outcome will not be the fated worst case as so many seem to believe based on the comments here.

I don't pick up this doom and gloom elsewhere but that maybe perhaps due to far more policies and behavioural changes already getting into place. Yes, yes, India and China but the actual numbers always seem to belie the relative impact since their mass industrialization is so recent.

And, as a Danish designer once told me after his first trip to Shanghai, he expected them to address the problem for pragmatic reasons of pollution and toxins rather than the more "mission" oriented N. European approach.

Regardless, there seem to be people working and thinking about this everywhere, in all walks of life.

Just imo, only.
posted by infini at 9:56 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I hope that public sentiment here in the US is starting to come around to the point where it is at least unfashionable to flat-out deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change."

Well, for the first time this winter, not a single religious fundamentalist, political conservative, Tea Partier, or libertarian in my facebook feed has said, "Haha, global warming? Yeah, right, then we wouldn't be having this terrible blizzard!" (And not because they're not having blizzards.)

Also all the 60-something senior-level businessmen I know in manufacturing industries are starting to business-plan for it and think that companies that aren't including global warming in their business plans are way behind the curve.

Farmers have known for a decade.

I'm not running into too many people, including those who in the past specifically rejected climate change (in one case because it was impossible for that to be a part of God's plan!), who are still crowing that there's nothing going on. They doesn't mean they're necessarily on board with any proposed line of action, or that they agree with forecasts about how bad it will be, but most seem to have accepted that it's at least going on, and that it's anthropogenic.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:08 AM on January 13, 2013



Yeah, climate change isn't really debated anymore


i wish you were right but aside from the obvious right wing uninformed citizens who've been fooled by oil company propaganda into believing it's a hoax there's also a faction of anarchist/left leaning people who think it's a hoax simply because they don't trust the government, or any authority who brings in the facts on Climate Change. They see it as a scare tactic to enforce more regulations and control over the public. They're so paranoid about the "problem/reaction/solution" scenario carried out by the "elites" so they can't see reality when it's staring them in the face.
It's sad and illogical, and exactly what the oil companies want people to believe.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:24 AM on January 13, 2013


I teach sociology courses at a large Midwestern university. Ten years ago, the topic I covered that was most controversial, and most likely to get me negative reviews from students claiming I was pushing a political agenda instead of "teaching facts," was homophobia. Today, it's climate change. Rather than eroding, I see ideological resistance to the science of climate change to be growing, at least in my region. Unfortunately, no amount of empirical evidence can change the minds of individuals who believe that environmental science is controlled by liberals with a dangerous (if ill-defined) agenda.
posted by DrMew at 10:25 AM on January 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


So, where's the best state in the U.S. to move to to weather the changes and avoid the worst climate-change driven natural disasters? Anyone done the research on it? (I'm serious. I've lived in my hometown all my life, and I love it, but I don't know if I can take yet another record tornado season, or yet another summer than includes month or more of 100 degree temperatures. Or another year being locally ruled over by willfully ignorant conservatives in the state legislature who keep sticking their fingers in their ears and singing hymns and corporate jingles so they can continue to pretend they haven't heard about their backyards being on fire.)
posted by BlueJae at 10:25 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder if there will ever be good climate or environmental news in my lifetime. A story about reforestation, or a previously-endangered species recovering, or a downward-trending climate indicator, or even a downard-trending derivative—something, anything.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:26 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sheeesh. All these serious technical comments. The answer is easy. Buy a gun. And lots of ammunition.
posted by notreally at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry about the snark. But the people who are in denial about climate change art the same who are fearful of not having enough firepower to resist some evil Democratic governmental abolition of the constitution.
posted by notreally at 10:31 AM on January 13, 2013


Regardless, there seem to be people working and thinking about this everywhere, in all walks of life.

This is true, and it will only increase. So that's good.

But here's the problem: in the abstract, our civilization is trying to adapt to a dynamical process in the face of uncertainty, but the trajectory of this process is given by the infamous L-shaped curve. That means that the change is very slow, staying pretty much in the noise until the very end, when the rate of change is almost infinite (on a geological time scale--say, tens or hundreds of years). Given that the "owners" of our society (to use George Carlin's term) have forced us to have effectively zero uncertainty before making appropriate adaptive decisions (e.g., the perpetual claims that "more study is needed", or "what about jobs?"), by the time the climate change dynamics has emerged from the noise, it is likely to be too late. Even for scientists, this signal detection threshold was passed only recently. But socially, we still are not there. So we really have very, very little time.

Given the limited cognitive abilities of the "hive mind" of human civilization, it's hard to see how we will be able to proactively change to avoid a Malthusian calamity. Current models suggest that there is less time than has elapsed since WWII. What chills my blood is that, so far, these models have always proved to be conservative (i.e., to underestimate the threat).

But, it is still possible. The problem is more sociopolitical than technological. So there is hope.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:34 AM on January 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


the perpetual claims that "more study is needed", or "what about jobs?"

Well, the jobs part will shortly be taken care of. We will begin spending more and more of our collective GDP on climate adaptation.

Footnote: Until reading this draft report, I incorrectly used the term "climate change mitigation" to mean building infrastructure to cope with the changing climate. This reports sets me straight on the terminology: "Mitigation" is trying to lessen anthropogenic climate change. "Adaptation" is trying to cope with it.
posted by BillW at 10:44 AM on January 13, 2013


Monckton
posted by flabdablet at 10:52 AM on January 13, 2013


simply because they don't trust the government, or any authority who brings in the facts on Climate Change.

And what about those who point out how ineffective Carbon projects have been with 70% of the funding not actually going for Carbon reduction? How about pointing out how the vulture capitalists get a Euro for every Euro spent on the actual project?

About 30 percent of the funds go into actual projects that reduce emissions, such as a wind farm in a developing nation, reports BBC. The rest of the money goes into the following channels: 30 percent – Investment banks often buy up carbon offsets before a project is up and running, and they take an average 30 percent of the total in profits and operations.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:54 AM on January 13, 2013


What's most haunting is how little we're doing about this.

Speak for yourself there holmesian. I haven't owned a car in a decade and while I am trudging cross town tomorrow, in the snow, with my daughter sitting on the back of my bicycle as I take her to school, I will sneer at every car I pass for being part of the problem. Considering that a car requires as much energy to manufacture as it will use during its lifetime, this has made one hell of a dent in my carbon profile.

Look in the mirror folks. You're the problem. Not the right wingers, not the oil companies, it's you. Stop blaming everyone else for YOUR lifestyle.
posted by three blind mice at 10:55 AM on January 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


Not the right wingers, not the oil companies, it's you. Stop blaming everyone else for YOUR lifestyle.

Well yeah..... but actually it IS greatly the fault of oil companies. They're the ones blockading alternative energies sources so they can keep a grip on the market while knowing it's killing us are they not?
The pushy crack dealer deserves a little blame for the crack addict's dependency.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:02 AM on January 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, where's the best state in the U.S. to move to to weather the changes and avoid the worst climate-change driven natural disasters?

Norcal. But then you have to worry about earthquakes.
posted by Talez at 11:11 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this a lot, and I think I've got a sense for why Climate Change is such a hotly-contested thing in the US, as far as "the scientists are wrong" goes: the scientists were wrong before, in the opposite direction.

Not any "real" scientists, of course; the scientists on the payroll for large companies saying things along the lines of "DDT is fine" and "Ethyl gasoline is harmless" and "hey ladies of the 50s, take this drug and prevent miscarriages " and all that. For better or for worse, corporate science in the US over the last century has created terrible things, and spent an inordinate amount of effort and money trying to convince us that these things were not terrible, all to create and protect a revenue stream.

So, if you are people who have lived through that, or your parents did and told you growing up that the scientists are liars and you shouldn't trust them, then, well: this is what you get. A large portion of the nation simply does not believe what scientists say, and in fact specifically distrusts them, because of what scientists in the past (and/or the corporations they worked for) have lied about, and the damage they've done.

On top of that, consider how modern US media has been shaped by this over the last century: we are all being fed dramatic stories involving scientists, corporations and government lying to us, in particular about things in the environment and the food supply.

Put it all together, and you have a pretty strong rationalization for not believing what scientists say, for eschewing strong, credible research (which you, as a non-scientist, may struggle to distinguish from the other kind) in favor of what you can see in your eyes, and what friends and family and media sources you trust tell you.

From that perspective, the position of "climate change isn't real" may not be as irrational a position as many assume. Do I agree with that rationalization? No, but I can at least get an idea of how someone else could...and I think that's critical to engage in any kind of rational conversation about that.
posted by davejay at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


davejay,
Yep. Like I said several posts up... They're so paranoid about the "problem/reaction/solution" scenario carried out by the "elites" that they can't see reality ( Climate Change)when it's staring them in the face.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:17 AM on January 13, 2013


I predict conservatives in 2013 will largely stop denying that the planet is getting warmer. What I'm starting to see is that they say it's happening but it's not caused by humanity. That will take another couple of years to wash away. Then they will say there is nothing that can be done about it. Minds that don't believe in the scientific method change slowly, but they do change.

In the meantime, I'm doing what three blind mice is proposing: reducing my personal impact as much as possible.
posted by Triplanetary at 11:19 AM on January 13, 2013


Yeah, climate change isn't really debated anymore (except by politicians)--DoubleLune

It certainly is still being denied by Fox News.

I always thought that it was never so much a debate, or even a denial, but a public relations effort by the coal industry, which stands to lose the most (probably hundreds of billions) if we start following policies that would reduce global warming, such as reducing the burning of coal.

I tend to look at Fox News, talk radio, and the modern Republican Party as nothing more than well paid public relation machines (shills) for the coal industry and the extremely wealthy.

It pays well, and gets the job done (for the many gullible).
posted by eye of newt at 11:22 AM on January 13, 2013


When talking about climate change, it's not really helpful to discuss the weather outside the context of long-term trends.

While certainly weather events may be caused by the side effects of possible warming (i.e. the possibility of more and stronger hurricanes), just because it's unseasonably hot/cold/stormy/etc does not provide us evidence for warming in itself. The same arguments can be used to refute climate change.

I used to shudder when the anti folks would say "it's pretty cold out today, take THAT, Al Gore!" We don't really need it from those who are actually sensible about the whole situation and are listening to the science.
posted by autobahn at 11:24 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


...the jobs part will shortly be taken care of. We will begin spending more and more of our collective GDP on climate adaptation.

Renewable energy that you can't put a meter on? Bad investment.

But climate adaptation? Drought-resistant GMO crops you can patent. Medical treatments (not cures) you can sell to victims for the rest of their lives. New housing above the rising waterline you can rent out. Capitalism at is best. It's not just the coal industry that benefits from this mess.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:25 AM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, where's the best state in the U.S. to move to to weather the changes and avoid the worst climate-change driven natural disasters? Anyone done the research on it? (I'm serious. I've lived in my hometown all my life, and I love it, but I don't know if I can take yet another record tornado season, or yet another summer than includes month or more of 100 degree temperatures. Or another year being locally ruled over by willfully ignorant conservatives in the state legislature who keep sticking their fingers in their ears and singing hymns and corporate jingles so they can continue to pretend they haven't heard about their backyards being on fire.)

I second this question - surely there are some of those nutcase survivalists who have been doing the work on food and water supply stability, likely growing seasons, etc., to pick some good candidate spots. three blind mice's completely laughable suggestion that individual action can somehow contribute to a solution* isn't so silly when we're talking about individual action to get the hell out of harm's way. Assuming there are pockets of stability left, of course. What are they? The lower Appalachian mountains might turn out to be pretty nice, unless weather changes enough to fuck up the natural water supply cycle.

*I say this as someone who personally devotes a great deal of resources (over $35k last year alone) in decreasing our energy footprint, but this is purely for ethical reasons. I have no reason to believe it's useful to decreasing global warming. The scales are just too massively imbalanced.
posted by odinsdream at 11:52 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I attended a "debate" last week between the Heartland Institute's Major League Asshole James Taylor and local Dr. Ray Bellamy, who is active in the Citizen's Climate Lobby.

Mr. Taylor put on a very slick presentation, framing the debate in his own terms first thing, and flipping back and forth between his power-point slides very quickly, building an excellent case that Global Warming was not happening, and that if it was happening that it wasn't a bad thing, and that if it was happening and was a bad thing that it was China's fault and Americans couldn't do anything about it.

Dr. Bellamy seemed unorganized, and is not really a debater. He was not well-prepared. He didn't come out sounding very good at all.

So, by many accounts James Taylor "won" the debate. And people who were undecided were swayed by that horrible Heartland Institute prick.

And that's the problem. Global warming isn't caused by the opinion that global warming exists. By agreeing that it was a subject that was debatable, and letting Mr. Taylor set the terms of the debate, Dr. Bellamy lost the debate. But that doesn't make global warming go away. It just lets more people justify their ignorance because they were swayed by a skilled debater and oil-industry shill able to bullshit over a well-meaning activist speaking out on the side of Actual Science.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:56 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm with onswellfoop. Whatever the merits of any of the available solutions, we'll wind up with the one attached to the best business model.
posted by notyou at 12:01 PM on January 13, 2013


Whatever the merits of any of the available solutions, we'll wind up with the one attached to the best business model.

Yeah, unfortunately, that's likely "sell more air conditioners and coal to run them until we're all dead".
posted by junco at 12:04 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever the merits of any of the available solutions, we'll wind up with the one attached to the best business model.

Yeah, unfortunately, that's likely "sell more air conditioners and coal to run them until we're all dead".


This makes me think of Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl.
posted by limeonaire at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Until Americans are better educated and can think more logically, I'd say we're doomed. I run a news website that seems to be attracting more and more crazy people who dominate the conversation and then when others who acknowledge having insufficient information come on, they too often end up persuaded by the lunatics. Two examples:
After the Newtown murders, the crazies--not the normal, sane gun owners--came out and hit every story they could find, arguing that no gun restrictions would work because, after all, we have DWI laws and that doesn't stop EVERYONE from ever driving drunk. The lack of logic is disturbing, to put it mildly.
On the flu outbreak, the level of conspiracy, that doctors are just trying to make money, that THEY know the vaccine actually is designed to make people sick, thus giving doctors more business, etc., is equally scary.
And too many people seem to believe just anything they read on the internet. If I could run the world for a year, the first thing I'd demand is an improvement in critical reading skills.
posted by etaoin at 12:09 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I owned a power company I would be lobbying for mandatory renewable energy so that I could set up something like the baby Bells did with fiber in the 90s.

It's sad that our best hopes for the future all hinge on some sort of sweet spot of corruption or another. At least our tragedy is a very human sort.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:13 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite videos on the climate change "debate." It's basically a scientist vs a politician, with the latter using a lot of politics in his argument, and the scientist using a lot of facts.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


I second this question - surely there are some of those nutcase survivalists who have been doing the work on food and water supply stability, likely growing seasons, etc., to pick some good candidate spots.

I believe there is at least one e-book who's whole goal is to tell you exactly that. Then you have the 'us navy says retire to the ozarks' or the 'why is everything moving to Denver' wings.

But over on the America two point zero list the "Mc-Fear-son" week claims its all over in 5 years with a 6 deg. total rise by 2030. His pick - move to the southern hemisphere and avoid the center of the land.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2013


Whatever the merits of any of the available solutions, we'll wind up with the one attached to the best business model.

I don't mean this with a shred of antagonism, but we really need to examine what we actually mean when we say something like this. Did AIG have a good "business model"? Does Monsanto? Exxon? Boeing? KBR?

We need to face that fact that our ideas of what a "business model" is are mired in a conceptual framework full of literally earth-destroying ideas. For example, the issue of externalization is so implicit it's invisible: good business models must not only exploit its presence, but seek to expand it. Then there's the problem that, by definition, "good business models" are those that embrace the economics of perpetual growth. And the idea that the only real things of societal value are those from which some organization can gain profit.

So, I'm not a fan of this sort of statement. I think the idea that everything hinges on a "business model" will be washed away with everything else, either because we do it intentionally, or because our civilization collapses.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:20 PM on January 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Same thing here in L.A., except with the temps basically reversed

Over the course of five years, I heard heaps of brilliant people speak around the world, from London to Shanghai to San Francisco to Mumbai. Amazing people who have been working in this area for 20+ years. Scientists that did their college internships inputting climate record data into VisiCalc on Apple ]['s.

I managed to get around the doom bell, the politics, Al Gore, the hype, the fraud, carbon trading, and all the rest of the icing. My projects were heavily technology based, so I went to engineering and scientific conferences, meetings, and sessions. I was able to put my ear up to the cake, and hear what the cake had to say.

My take-aways:

1) Whilst the measurements see a very gentle trend toward global warming, the experience will be increasing erratic weather and climate events. Think Columbus, Ohio having a warm winter, and Los Angeles having a cold winter. Think of a hurricane tearing through the middle of New York City. Think of the high sierras receiving record low snowfalls one year and record highs the next.

Part of the challenge of climate change awareness has been it's not directional and constant. It's erratic and random. If the temperature just warmed by 1.5F and that was it, it would be more manageable. But that's not how it works. It's 1.5F averaged across nearly 1/4 of the Earth. Within that area, the result is extreme volatility.

In the 100 years since it's been warming, we've A) built cities, B) moved a lot of people into those cities, and C) optimised the supply chains into those cities. We've spent trillions of dollars and man years creating concrete and steel structures meant to be optimal and efficient. We created long-lasting channels of water in from the mountains. We optimised agriculture and moved all the farmer's children into finance, law, and engineering.

We are now in a state where we have built a very permanent and optimised society in the face of tremendous – and accelerating – climate change. The problem is not strictly warming. It's the case of increasingly volatile of supply in the face of entrenched and inflexible demand.

In 2008, we saw what happened when that hit the global credit markets. Now, it's going to hit things like food, water, power generation, and transportation.

2) To facilitate the adaptation mentioned in the documents (which is awesome to see in print), we need different economic systems.

It's been said that renewables cannot compete with fossil fuels. That is true, giving that fossil fuels are tremendously subsidised and have 150+ year head-start on cost-efficiencies. The reality is quite simply. Combustion from fossil fuels is on average probably 50% efficient. Big power stations are >50%, cars and buses are <50%. 50% goes into doing something useful, and the 50% goes into the atmosphere. That is global warming. That is extra energy being put into the atmosphere by human activities. Done deal.

In economics, that is the externality that is not being accounted for at best, and subsidised at worst. Texas is having problems with a record drought, which is interesting because they're also a state that profits heavily from the creation of the problem.

The solution is very easy. Cut fossil fuel subsidies, and allow market forces to choose energy supplies. That would throw the nation into chaos and disrupt the global economy if it was done instantly, so it has to be done gradually. But it's the only solution. There is no way to combust fuel and not warm the atmosphere.

The only truly sustainable energy source is solar energy, for it's the only energy source that receives input from outside the atmosphere. It's gotten us here so far (plants!) and it's the only way forward. Any other use of energy is a stepping stone, either forward toward the solar future, or backward into certain death.

At one conference, a gentleman from Shanghai compared fossil fuels to cigarette smoking. The result is known, he said. If you do it long enough, you know what will happen. Fossil fuels are the same.

3) Rich and developing nations alike are equally exposed to climate change. Developing nations will adapt to it – because they are still building – whilst developed nations fight it, treating symptoms not causes.

For example, how much money will have been spent on hurricane clean up? Drought management? Travel disruption from early winters. Travel disruption from late winters? Health costs from more intense flu seasons? Increasing incidents of forest fires?

These are small drags on GDP now, but they are new drags. They are new drags that are only going to increase. We pay for them now because they are anomalies, but at some point, we may face them as chronic conditions. Ongoing treatment will be required and that is expensive.

In the meantime, our realisation of these facts will take longer, for we can treat the symptoms for a while. We can rebuild cities, build desalinisation plants, restrict building permits, increase flu vaccinations. That will work until the costs creep up. Then what will we do? We we can no longer to afford to rebuild our cities, we certainly won't be able to pay for moving them.

Norway is an interesting example of this. They pump heaps of oil, and use the profits to create a country that doesn't need very much oil. Future-proofing.

4) The final point, which is that the only solution is to change the way we consume has humans. It has little to do with governments or corporations or the Chinese or Islamic terrorism. It has to do with the choices that each individual makes. All of the other actors can give people better choices, but in the end, it's still people making choices and that has to change.

There was a speaker who said we are literally addicted to our own destruction. The costs of the lifestyles we lead were fine in the 50s when there were fewer people, but today, the reality is that there's too many people to live this way. We now have to live another way. Whenever we use cheap resources like fossil fuel, that is literally coming out of the future. People will suffer more someday because of the gasoline used today. That's the externality.

The only solution is to make better decisions. And until that happens. It's going to get hotter. I mean colder. I mean hotter sometimes, and colder others times.

I don't know what I mean, but it's nice that 20 years after the EU took a strong stand on this, so has the US. And I don't think it's by random chance that it's happened right after Obama's re-election. Research this robust and detailed does not happen in a few months, does it?
posted by nickrussell at 12:22 PM on January 13, 2013 [33 favorites]


It's not too complicated I think: People don't want to believe climate change is real, because it's scary and means we have to change ourselves. That's why the facts don't really get through to them. They're scared to admit it to themselves so they cling to the propaganda that reinforces their delusion.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:22 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


we'll wind up with the one attached to the best business model.

And that business model will be "Use the force of Government to make sure we make a profit."
posted by rough ashlar at 12:23 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Outstanding comment, nickrussell. Your four main points are spot on, and also illustrate why it is politically very difficult to do anything about it. However, as Bill McKibben says, while it may be difficult to change our politics (and social organization), it is impossible to change the physics.

One minor point:

Whilst the measurements see a very gentle trend toward global warming...

The "hockey stick" curve is not "gentle".
posted by mondo dentro at 12:27 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometimes in my classes I'll be all, 'you kids angry at us for breaking the planet?" and I get crickets. I mean, it's not really a funny line and I'm sure I deliver it weirdly, but it still seems odd to me that college kids are not all, You! Over forty lady! Yeah you! Fuck you for breaking the planet!
posted by angrycat at 12:33 PM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


On one hand, the massive Midwest heat wave this past summer put my husband in the hospital with dehydration. On the other hand, when I had to take him to the hospital this time, six months later, I had to drive there in a storm, but at least it was a rainstorm, not a snowstorm as it might normally have been at this time of the year. But then again, the weather being so volatile to begin with may have contributed to his getting sick this time, with wild temperature swings and wind noise keeping us awake every night for the past week.

Illnesses are complex things, but I'm certain we're not the only ones suffering from problems exacerbated or made more dangerous to deal with by these changes in weather patterns.
posted by limeonaire at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2013


Thanks Nick for saying something a bit more eloquent than "We're doomed."

Yes, we're up for a challenging future, but throwing hands up in the air and giving up has never been an option at least in my view.

We "gotta get up and try" even though "there is a flame" and "someone's bound to get burned" (I love that song by Pink).

And a reminder, if the changing climate isn't emitting enough signals to change humanity's course, I think some less productive wells and careful analyses of them should or at least could help (that's an important qualification...).
posted by JoeXIII007 at 12:48 PM on January 13, 2013


Its not just about the business model or the fact that if you screw your eyes tight shut you can't see the Rest of the World (tm) putting those extremely affordable solar power units in. (I worked on extremely low cost solar for most of 2012 meant for rural Africa where the grid has not yet reached hence leapfrog over obsolete and expensive to maintain systems which require a supply of a finite resource)*

Its about changing the global industrial ecosystem. And yes, the EU's policies have made a difference. They are the world's largest market and China now manufactures to meet RoHS and WEEE standards because it doesn't make sense to run two assembly lines if you have to upgrade for one market anyway.

* There's more and it can all be linked to but I need to think about all this further as well. This sentence suddenly reminded me of feeling this same frustration when I first wrote about mobiles in the developing world. It was an FPP in late 2006 or early 2007. Beanplating henceforth.
posted by infini at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it possible to live without petroleum? Sure the cars and gas have a big footprint, and would be difficult to live without, but what about things like plastic bags, electricity, data centers, computers and corn? All those feed off petroleum. How can a person do it?
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 12:53 PM on January 13, 2013


Travel and take a look. Even New Delhi has banned plastic bags and its all biodegradable recycled fibre bags in vogue. And a cursory search will show the number of African cities banning them as well. Forget about cars or affording expensive imported fuel.
posted by infini at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well yeah..... but actually it IS greatly the fault of oil companies. They're the ones blockading alternative energies sources so they can keep a grip on the market while knowing it's killing us are they not?

Not exactly, no. BP is actually one of the most active wind power developers the US: their most recent project, Flat Ridge 2, is the biggest single-build wind facility in the whole country (470 MW nameplace capacity!).

Things are rarely as simple as they seem. I'm no great fan of vertically integrated, multinational mega-corporations, but I'm also wary of the view that oil companies hold sole or primary responsibility for climate change. BP and its ilk don't extract oil because their shareholders love oil; they extract oil because their shareholders love money and there is both sufficient demand for energy and insufficient government regulation to allow them to make enormous sums of money by doing so.

When the policy incentives and technology are such that developing wind and solar makes them vastly more money than extracting oil, you can be sure that that's what they'll do (assuming neoliberal capitalism as usual).
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 1:14 PM on January 13, 2013


BP and its ilk don't extract oil because their shareholders love oil; they extract oil because their shareholders love money...

I'm trying hard to see how you're not saying that unless we all go off the grid, we're as responsible for the current state of affairs as the people who are blocking change because they are making massive profits. At the very least, the thing you're missing in assessing responsibility is the massive corruption of our crony-capitalist system, which these big extraction industries are using to maintain dominance. Just look at the phoney "fiscal cliff" deal that was just struck in the US: even given the supposed (and, in my view, utterly dishonest) concern about deficits, the subsidies to the oil and coal industries remained in place. This is insane.

Of course, we're all responsible at some level. But we Americans are living in a country and at a time in which, as a parallel example, the bankers who made bad loans were rewarded (and their criminality was not prosecuted), whereas the people who took those loans where held "responsible" (even though in many cases there is clear evidence that they were lied to). So, I'm kind of thin skinned regarding comments like yours, however well-intended. One of the most basic ideas of ethics is that those with more power are more responsible.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:31 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Monkey0nCrack: A lot of those things don't need to be based on petroleum. Most of them just need energy, usually electrical, which usually comes from carbon-rich fossil fuels. But if we only used petroleum for chemical feedstocks, and got our energy instead from pixie dust (or wind power or nuclear power) then the climate impact would be a tiny fraction of what it is now.

One of the most basic ideas of ethics is that those with more power are more responsible.

The people, acting as a unified mass with a single goal, are certainly more powerful than any few corporations. And the people demand cheap oil and electricity.
posted by hattifattener at 2:03 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, where's the best state in the U.S. to move to to weather the changes and avoid the worst climate-change driven natural disasters?

The worst of it is going to be economic, and there isn't another global economy to move to. :-(
posted by anonymisc at 2:05 PM on January 13, 2013


One of my favorite videos on the climate change "debate." It's basically a scientist vs a politician, with the latter using a lot of politics in his argument, and the scientist using a lot of facts.

Thanks for that link, DoubleLune - a great little snapshot of the disconnection in basic premises involved in the "debate."

Man, does the denial camp ever love that medieval warming period (which pops up around 4:55 in the linked vid). And it's a great example of why scientists make lousy spokespeople. The estemeed Dr. Richard Alley of Penn St. got thrown a talking point and responded like he was talking to a peer who was willing to consider the actual science involved, and not a House Republican who believes that referring to something is the same as proving its relevance.

It'd be great if, every time it came up, climate scientists were trained to respond immediately to the question of the medieval warming period with a counter-question of their own: "Thanks so much for bringing that up, Representative Scientician. Let me ask you, was the medieval warming period a global or a regional phenomenon? And if the latter, how is that different, categorically speaking, from anthropogenic climate change? I'll just flip through this peer-reviewed journal here while you formulate your answer."
posted by gompa at 2:13 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm trying hard to see how you're not saying that unless we all go off the grid, we're as responsible for the current state of affairs as the people who are blocking change

Speaking as a huge fan of solar power, I'd just like to make a pedantic note - going off-grid is worse than doing nothing and using a dirty grid, because at that point it doesn't matter how clean your supply becomes, it can't compensate for the extra resources you're going to expend redundantly compensating for grid functions. If you want to be cleaner, you build your clean power, but you keep it on the grid, (which is also making the grid cleaner for everyone). For example, you would buy solar panels and simply grid-tie them instead of wasting resources on consumables like battery arrays.
(If you're twenty miles from the nearest bit of grid, obviously that's different.)
posted by anonymisc at 2:16 PM on January 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I will sneer at every car I pass for being part of the problem. Considering that a car requires as much energy to manufacture as it will use during its lifetime, this has made one hell of a dent in my carbon profile.

Look in the mirror folks. You're the problem. Not the right wingers, not the oil companies, it's you. Stop blaming everyone else for YOUR lifestyle.


Fashionable asceticism is not a viable solution to our world's resource predicament. If you are an American, you'd have to decrease your oil usage five-fold to approach the usage of practically anyone else on earth. The reasons are precisely because of the amount of governance done in the name of corporations in the United States. Our transportation infrastructure is centered around an oil economy. Nearly our entire food supply is dependent on oil for transportation, fertilizer, and pesticides. I mean, America overthrew the governments of Iraq, Iran, and made the attempt in 2002 in Venezuela. But, according to your judgement, I am supposed to whip myself for having the indecency of being born in Florida in the early eighties.

And what about oil companies? Historically, entrenched business interests use their largess to delay any change in the economy that makes them less money. In the case of fossil fuels, any technology that could replace them is a target for massive propaganda efforts. At the turn of the century it was one robber baron telling everyone that electricity was a fire hazard and a dangerous replacement for safe kerosene lamps. Today the robber barons are smarter and they jointly own media and Congress.

I don't remember voting to invade Iraq. I don't remember voting to allow Monsanto to sue other farmers for their own failures to contain genetic mutations in their corn crops. I don't remember voting yes for the Keystone pipeline. But once trillions of dollars go to subsidize something, working class people are going to buy it. They're going to save up to buy a Corolla if that means they get to see their kids for two more hours per day. They're going to buy cheap processed food if they don't have the time to cook while working two jobs. So you're going to blame the working class instead of the corrupt organizations that orchestrated the subsidy system?

Here's something that may shock you: if the people you're sneering at were on their way to bust their ass at a sustainable enterprise -- even if they drive cars to get there -- they are probably doing more than you are, not less. But you'll never know, because instead of engaging in a dialogue with people in your community, you'd rather judge them. That's a confusing set of priorities right there.

But I'm willing to engage in dialogue if you can tell me how you envision changing the world by sneering at people from your bicycle.
posted by tripping daisy at 2:22 PM on January 13, 2013 [26 favorites]


The people, acting as a unified mass with a single goal, are certainly more powerful than any few corporations. And the people demand cheap oil and electricity.

The causal claim you're making seems dubious to me. Is it "the people acting as a unified mass" who are causing the oil to be produced? Or is it the producers causing the "people acting as a unified mass" to want (really, to need) the oil? What options does this unified mass golem have?

While I do agree that in principle the people are more powerful than any few corporations (that's at the core of exhortations to mass activism), the effective power is extremely nonuniformly distributed.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:23 PM on January 13, 2013


I wonder if there will ever be good climate or environmental news in my lifetime. A story about reforestation, or a previously-endangered species recovering, or a downward-trending climate indicator, or even a downard-trending derivative—something, anything.

HOw about human replacement rate falling?

How about the black footed ferret, peregine falcon, wolf, california condor?

I can't find a good link, but forestry practices in US have been getting better and better, more scientifically based and closer and closer to a sustainable state (at least in public lands) with better grazing practices (night and day since I was kid-it is very noticeable when I am out camping/hunting), huge increases in conservation easements and non-developable urban fringe and green space areas, reintroduction of fire where needed and use of harvesting practices to mimic fires where possible.

Modern farming practices stress controlling erosion and it seems that farmers and ranchers are both starting to pay more attention to soil health as they discover huge amounts of fertilizer are expensive and destroy soil long term.

Rivers and surface water is sooo much cleaner now since the clean water act was passed. Now instead of industrial pollution making the rivers toxic the current problem is silt and agricultural fertilizer runoff (which are real problems but not nearly as bad as poison being dumped in the water supply).

Overall and Per capita CO2 emissions are on a downward trend in the us. From several factors heading in a good direction-less coal used for power as natural gas supplies are cheaper and abundant and produce way less CO2 for the same power generation. Less miles driven on more fuel efficient cars (to the point the gas tax can't pay for road maintenance anymore) and a long standing overall increase in how much energy is used creating GDP (this means an overall increase in efficiency for the economy).

Lots and lots of good news and good trends.


In the 100 years since it's been warming, we've A) built cities, B) moved a lot of people into those cities, and C) optimised the supply chains into those cities. We've spent trillions of dollars and man years creating concrete and steel structures meant to be optimal and efficient. We created long-lasting channels of water in from the mountains. We optimised agriculture and moved all the farmer's children into finance, law, and engineering.

Actually the current warming started about 200 years ago from about 1816 or so (the year without a summer). At the time the Hudson river around Manhattan froze as did the Thames through London and the canals of Holland (Hans brinker and his silver skates anyone?). When was the last time that happened? There is no possible way to disupute that the climate has warmed in the last 200 years. And the REAL warming trend started about 20k years ago at the end of the last glacial maximum. At which time is probably the start of human domestic life/agricultural as we now know it.

Which isn't to say that human activity isn't haven't an effect on the climate. It is and we are likely to not like a lot of the effects we are probably driving with more CO2 forcing in the atmosphere. But it is NOT all doom and gloom. Humans are tough, adaptable and ingenious. We will either come out of this or not, my money is on coming out of this just fine and with new society's as well. Just like the last round of climate changes as done for mankind.
posted by bartonlong at 2:34 PM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I haven't owned a car in a decade and while I am trudging cross town tomorrow, in the snow, with my daughter sitting on the back of my bicycle as I take her to school, I will sneer at every car I pass for being part of the problem.

Maybe they're sneering right back at you for making one of largest possible contributions to your carbon footprint, most likely far outweighing any other impact you will make in your lifetime. Did you mean to include that along with your condemnation of others' choices or did you do it by accident because your decisions are obviously beyond judgment?
posted by ODiV at 3:02 PM on January 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's been, on average, 5 degrees Celsius cooler this winter here in the south of South Korea than it has in the last decade that I've lived here. Snow on the ground for a month, in this particular part of the country, is very odd indeed.

I know this is because the changes to the climate mean more extreme weather, along all axes, rather than just necessarily warmer local weather wherever local is for the person in question.

But I think for the great number of, er, low-information folks out there, people who are concerned about the situation need to try and use language that doesn't imply to, er, limited-science folks that global warming doesn't have to mean that the weather will simply get warmer wherever they are (though that may be the case).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:44 PM on January 13, 2013


50% goes into doing something useful, and the 50% goes into the atmosphere. That is global warming. That is extra energy being put into the atmosphere by human activities. Done deal.

This part is actually not correct - the direct warming caused by waste heat from power generation/use is minimal/unimportant to the global climate. It's the atmospheric blanket effect of the CO2 being thrown into the air by burning fossil fuel, and to a lesser extent methane and other greenhouse gases. But CO2 is a specific problem because it stays in the atmosphere for a long, long time, so the effect we're seeing is essentially cumulative from all modern fossil fuel use.
posted by crayz at 4:07 PM on January 13, 2013 [5 favorites]



I haven't owned a car in a decade and while I am trudging cross town tomorrow, in the snow, with my daughter sitting on the back of my bicycle as I take her to school, I will sneer at every car I pass for being part of the problem.


And we childless people will sneer at you for breeding more consumers.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:44 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]




I haven't owned a car in a decade and while I am trudging cross town tomorrow, in the snow, with my daughter sitting on the back of my bicycle as I take her to school, I will sneer at every car I pass for being part of the problem.

And we childless people will sneer at you for breeding more consumers.



Asceticism is not the answer. It doesn't solve the problem. It just lets you try to wash your hands of it.

Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus.

And Jesus was still crucified.
posted by ocschwar at 4:56 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Autobahn: "While certainly weather events may be caused by the side effects of possible warming (i.e. the possibility of more and stronger hurricanes), just because it's unseasonably hot/cold/stormy/etc does not provide us evidence for warming in itself. The same arguments can be used to refute climate change."

When this 63 degree day is coupled with unseasonably warm temperatures and low snowfall across the midwest and east, in conjunction with unseasonable cold in other parts of the US and the work, and we're looking at a rapid increase in the number of droughts and floods, and unusually severe wildfires have burned their way across the West and Australia and the Amazon, and so on and so forth, I can be pretty fucking freaked out by yet another day significantly above average temeratures, thanks.

Caution: it is vitally important not to make connections.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:56 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did not express what I really meant. What I was trying to say is that we're all in this together and we are all at some level of fault. It does no good to blame each other. I am sure many MeFites are living well below the average American carbon footprint.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 5:01 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I picture the last two humans alive on Earth, baking in humid 140F temperatures while the withered husks of dead plants lie dessicated about them, and one of them turns to the other and says, "Stop complaining, you know that we can't point to any single weather event as being caused by climate change!"
posted by Justinian at 5:28 PM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


while I am trudging cross town tomorrow, in the snow, with my daughter sitting on the back of my bicycle as I take her to school, I will sneer at every car I pass for being part of the problem.

Oh get off your high horse.

You saw the writing on the wall and chose not to drive. I saw the writing on the wall and chose not to reproduce. How is it any more useful for you to sneer at my car than it would be for me to sneer at your daughter?

Choosing to huddle together in our own little Tribes of the Self-Righteous is only going to hurt, not help, the kind of collective purpose we need to maintain in order to drive the necessary change. Whose opinion do you really think you're going to change by sneering?

If you want your personal example to be of any use at all, you need to find a way to do your snow-trudging with emulation-inspiring joy, not with alienating resentment.
posted by flabdablet at 6:31 PM on January 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Humans will either adapt and evolve, or we won't. The universe won't care."

Or maybe we wipe ourselves out.

That's bad, dontcha think?
posted by bardic at 6:54 PM on January 13, 2013


It's a party of sneering.
posted by angrycat at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2013


If you want your personal example to be of any use at all, you need to find a way to do your snow-trudging with emulation-inspiring joy, not with alienating resentment.

If we, the collective planetary inhabitants we, are going to be able to make any difference at all, then this is the place where we need to be, in order to begin.

Almost 6 years ago, I was still living in San Francisco when I went over to stay with a friend in the north of England for a few weeks (for an unrelated reason). She lives a minimal footprint lifestyle as a matter of personal choice and belief and even her business was all about organic eco baby stuff (bamboo nappies instead of disposable diapers anyone?? that takes commitment me thinks)

That trip was an epiphany for me even though I was already living in SF/Northern California. Here's a longish snippet:


I didn’t set out to go green and I’m not wholly sure where what my outlook is on this topic as yet. There’s a sense of something much bigger than just design or a product or material or whatever here. Its almost as though we – the global we of humanity – are poised at an inflexion point. Is it a precipice sloping down towards utter disaster as some might argue and there is no point doing anything about it? Or are we instead reaching some a point on a natural trend curve that signals the end of an era – one based on massive growth, consumption and the pinnacle of the industrial revolution? Either way, it leaves me feeling like an ant contemplating the proverbial brickwall.

The first inklings of a greater shift in outlook and perspective came during a visit earlier this year to the north of England. For a little more than two weeks, I was a houseguest in an English home in a small village, with a family whose lifestyle choices and purchasing decisions were as diametrically different from any I’d ever seen, in all my continent hopping life. My hostess chose locally produced organic milk sold in containers made from recyclable plastic though it was not as easy to find in the local supermarket which also sold organic milk that was cheaper. Her reasons were logical and manifold – from helping local producers who received a fair price to the fact that supermarket milk came in packaging that wasn’t as easy to recycle. She used cotton nappies on principle, washing them each night in eco-friendly detergent and then choosing to air dry them over the convenience of the clothes dryer or the simplicity of disposable diapers. Every scrap of organic kitchen waste was composted – even her choice of location to purchase vegetables was based on the fact that they provided compostable plastic packaging. Fair trade and sustainability over convenience and cost, each decision could be rationally justified and defended. My eyes were opened.

While intellectually aware of the problems facing the environment, the issues of poverty and quality of life at the bottom of the pyramid and the link between design and a sustainable future – all topics I’d written extensively about – I’d never been exposed to an entire way of life based on these principles – in a developed country.

That fact was crucial in opening my eyes to the extent that the design of systems play a part in the challenges facing the earth’s future.

[...]

Who would want to go back to scrimping and saving, if they had a choice?

My friend in England would and did. And we had long talks about her reasons for doing so, especially when – to my eyes – she didn’t have to be as stringent in her lifestyle as she undoubtedly was. It was this new awareness that suddenly opened my eyes to the systems around me.

You could call it the global industrial ecosystem, but basically its all that goes into producing, making, creating and doing to support and sustain our lives in the manner to which we are accustomed – those of us who can afford it.

It was a system designed for consumption, and to a certain degree, waste. It is a system based on the principle of abundance. Availability. Choice. It is a system whose future is untenable at most, precarious at best.

posted by infini at 7:22 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]



I wonder if there will ever be good climate or environmental news in my lifetime.
There is plenty of good news on the environment. Remember the hole in the Ozone layer? It stopped growing. Remember Acid rain? It's mostly gone. Smog in the US has been greatly reduced. U.S. CO2 emissions are actually dropping (mainly due to using natural gas instead of coal) Germany's up to 6% energy generation from solar, up from 3.2% at the beginning of the year, up from 1% the year before.
So, if you are people who have lived through that, or your parents did and told you growing up that the scientists are liars and you shouldn't trust them, then, well: this is what you get. A large portion of the nation simply does not believe what scientists say, and in fact specifically distrusts them, because of what scientists in the past (and/or the corporations they worked for) have lied about, and the damage they've done.
I think the whole creationism thing is a much bigger factor then DDT. Also, I mean, how do you think people learned that DDT and lead-ethyl gasoline was bad in the first place? Science is how we know those things were bad.
Renewable energy that you can't put a meter on? Bad investment.
Um, yes you can? And it's actually a very good investment at this point in time. Perhaps not as cost efficient as building a coal or natural gas plant today, but it's very cheap.
Is it possible to live without petroleum? Sure the cars and gas have a big footprint, and would be difficult to live without, but what about things like plastic bags, electricity, data centers, computers and corn? All those feed off petroleum. How can a person do it?
Plastic bags don't generate CO2 unless you burn them for fuel. Data centers and computers run on electricity, which can be generated in many ways. So can the energy used to make fertilizer.
Things are rarely as simple as they seem. I'm no great fan of vertically integrated, multinational mega-corporations, but I'm also wary of the view that oil companies hold sole or primary responsibility for climate change.
Of course they are. Who do you think is paying for all the lobbyists and disinformation campaigns? If it wasn't for the well funded opposition to doing anything about global warming, it would have happened already.
When the policy incentives and technology are such that developing wind and solar makes them vastly more money than extracting oil, you can be sure that that's what they'll do
Right... and who do you think is paying to prevent that from happening?
Asceticism is not the answer. It doesn't solve the problem. It just lets you try to wash your hands of it.
Yes. There are a lot of people who seem more interested in feeling superior to everyone else then actually solving the problem for real. And of course, by not being part of the solution, they actually end up being part of the problem. At least in one respect. By arguing people need to give up whatever, they are scaring people away or making them less likely to believe it. In reality, unless you work for an Oil company, you still get all the same stuff - or in some cases better stuff. Look at the Tesla model S, for example. Zero-60 in 4 seconds, and Tesla has charging stations around California (and soon the country) where you can charge it up in thirty minutes for free, all from solar power. You buy the car, you never have to pay for gas at all. That's an improvement in quality of life.

You get energy efficient insulation for your house, you don't have to pay for heating oil or natural gas. That's an improvement. You get solar, you never have to pay for electricity if you don't go over what you produce. Another improvement.

Telling people they need to sacrifice, give up things, it's stupid. We should be telling people how much better their lives can be. It's politically better, but more importantly it's true.

Trading material goods for smug self-righteousness on an individual won't do anything.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 PM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


You saw the writing on the wall and chose not to drive. I saw the writing on the wall and chose not to reproduce. How is it any more useful for you to sneer at my car than it would be for me to sneer at your daughter?

Comparing a car with a child is a fallacy. You are right that when it comes to having children we should all choose freely without outside pressure. However when it comes to pollution that affects all of us, shaming people to make behavioral changes in their choice of technology is fair game.
posted by stbalbach at 11:31 PM on January 13, 2013


Pragmatic measures?

Beijing was blanketed in a thick, foul-smelling layer of hazardous smog over the weekend that pushed air quality readings well off the charts and prompted environmentalists to call it the worst air pollution on record in the city.
[...]
At its worst on Saturday night the volume of harmful particulates in the air was 36 times the level recommended as safe by World Health Organisation guidelines.[...]
As part of emergency measures launched on Sunday, construction at 28 sites was suspended, and students in areas hit hardest by the smog were ordered not to play outside until Tuesday, according to Xinhua, China’s official news agency. Beijing Hyundai Motor Company shut down its production for one day, the agency said.
FT link depending on how many articles you've read

That is, there's more in that article on what's going on about this but I can't get back in #$$%% to cutnpaste the next para
posted by infini at 11:36 PM on January 13, 2013


Comparing a car with a child is a fallacy.

Here are two options:

(a) Avoid driving a car for ten years.

(b) Avoid creating countless descendants, some of whom could reasonably be expected to drive cars for at least ten years each.

Which option avoids more emissions and/or energy consumption?
posted by flabdablet at 12:24 AM on January 14, 2013


Here's a third:

(c) Have kids. Massively reduce your carbon consumption. Teach your kids to do the same.

PS: sneer
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:35 AM on January 14, 2013


And a fourth:

(d) Don't reproduce. Pursue a loving, low-energy, low-consumption, non-envy-based way of life that shows not only your foster children but everybody who knows you that doing so can keep a person healthy and happy.

In my lifetime the global human population has doubled from three and a half billion people to seven billion, I've seen the effects of needing to make room for more people everywhere I've ever been, and on the whole those effects are unpleasant.

We and our associated food animals and crops and mines and dams are just pushing everything else out of the way. Our sheer numbers make it much, much harder to rein in our collective carbon emissions than it would have been to do so fifty years ago when my parents made me.

It seems to me that once we've cleaned up our energy act, it ought to be possible to sustain a global population of maybe five billion people without causing ongoing deterioration in the rest of the biosphere. But there are many more of us than that already, and by the time I'm old and feeble I'm expecting there will be about ten billion.

VHEMT would class me as a Supporter, not a Volunteer; I think that a bunch of us choosing non-reproduction - even a large bunch, which seems unlikely in itself - is vanishingly unlikely to lead to the extinction of H. Sapiens. Quite the contrary, in fact: I'd much, much rather live through a gentle population decline due to natural attrition and voluntary non-replacement than a global Easter Island crash.

There are many examples of indigenous cultures from all over the world proving that a sustainable population of us can coexist with other local species quite successfully for long periods. But there are also countless examples of local resource depletion due to overcrowding.

The new thing is that there are now so many of us that global resource effects are beginning to dominate. We can no longer migrate our way out of trouble, as has been our fallback method for aeons. So, one way or another our population is going to shrink. The only question in my mind is whether that's going to happen gently, which should be relatively easy to deal with, or suddenly, which will most likely be all kinds of horrible.

PS: sneer

I'd really rather not, if it's all the same to you.
posted by flabdablet at 3:17 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Look in the mirror folks. You're the problem. Not the right wingers, not the oil companies, it's you. Stop blaming everyone else for YOUR lifestyle.

One of the hallmarks of liberalism, from a leftist perspective, is the inane insistence on individualism; there is no systemic problem caused by systemic causes that a liberal will not insist cannot be overcome by the moral purity of individuals.

Your moral purity is shit. There are seven billion of us. You don't matter, not nearly as much as you've been encouraged to believe that you do.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:51 AM on January 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Your moral purity is shit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:51 PM on January 14 [+] [!]


Well played, sir.
posted by flabdablet at 4:54 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can I spouse you all?

I took my decision in my early teens and never really wavered. That I had been born in Calcutta perhaps only underscored my determination not to bring forth yet another mouth to feed. I have waited 3 decades to reach this point of peace where the fertility and its urges have begun to subside. But damn, that climatic change is making me sweat.
posted by infini at 5:32 AM on January 14, 2013


I think the most important thing is that we all give each other a hard time about each other's choices, so that the relationship becomes one of antagonism and defensiveness rather than any kind of genuine coordinated progress.
posted by davejay at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Here are two options:
(a) Avoid driving a car for ten years.
(b) Avoid creating countless descendants, some of whom could reasonably be expected to drive cars for at least ten years each.


No, really. A human being is not a car. Comparing them as being equivocal is simply wrong and non-humanist. One is a behavioral choice on what technology to employ in your life. The other is a fundamental human right. Anyone who tries to stop you from procreating is a dictator and tyrant. If 3 blind mice chooses to have a child, it's none of your business and you should not try to shame him about it. However, it is fair game for 3 blind mice to shame people about driving cars by the use of the sneer. If someone were smoking a cigarette around me, I'd have no problem sneering at them. On the other hand, I do not sneer at people for having children - do you?

The other problem is, the argument that descendants will produce as much pollution as their parents is flawed. It very well may be we "solve" the CO2 problem with new technology within .. 50 year or something. Over time, our descendants will produce less CO2 then we have (or we are all doomed anyway). Also, our descendants may be will be part of the solution to global warming, inventing new technologies or working to solve the problem. Without them, there is no future. The solution to global warming is predicated on someone having children, why did you pick out 3 blind mice as being part of the problem, and not part of the solution? As you can see, a child is not a car, they are not the same thing.
posted by stbalbach at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2013


A human being is not a car.

Never attempted to say they were. The things I'm comparing are not children and cars per se, but the emissions and resource consumptions that flow from my choice to have descendants or my choice to drive a car. Those, it seems to me, clearly are comparable and I still don't understand why you seem to privilege one of those choices over the other.

...a fundamental human right. Anyone who tries to stop you from procreating is a dictator and tyrant.

I would never attempt to stop anybody else from procreating, nor advocate that anybody else do so. However, in a world with seven billion people and rising (or even the five billion that were around when I got the snip) it seems to me that if there's any fundamental human right here it's the right to make a reasoned choice about reproduction, not an absolute right to reproduce - which in any case strikes me as unsound, as it takes no account of the conditions of life for children resulting from the exercise of any such right.

I do not sneer at people for having children - do you?

Go back and re-read the remarks I originally addressed to tbm on the subject of sneering. I'm agin it.

Over time, our descendants will produce less CO2 then we have (or we are all doomed anyway).

Not sure where you're getting that from. As economic development continues in newly industrializing nations, we're collectively producing way more CO2 than we ever have before, even in misleading per-capita terms. That fact alone makes me inclined to consider your "all doomed" option as the rather more likely one, which is another good reason for choosing not to subject any of my non-existent descendants to the resulting conditions.

Also, our descendants may be will be part of the solution to global warming, inventing new technologies or working to solve the problem. Without them, there is no future.

I come back to the facts that (a) there are SEVEN BILLION of us and (b) only very few of us are choosing not to reproduce. H. Sapiens looks like a good bet for very late arrival on any endangered species list. So I'm not sure where you're getting that "no future" stuff from. Might pay you to think through the relative likelihoods of a good future and a totally shitty one, though.

The solution to global warming is predicated on someone having children

If you're talking about human-created global warming, it would clearly disappear along with us if we did indeed all choose not to reproduce. So whatever you're actually arguing there, I think you're going at it a bit circular. Are you perhaps trying to make the point that for a solution to be acceptable, there needs to be somebody still around to accept it?

why did you pick out 3 blind mice as being part of the problem, and not part of the solution?

Because he apparently prefers to sneer at drivers than to inspire them to follow his or any other lead on lowering global carbon emissions, an attitude that strikes me as absolutely counter-productive. Apart from being petty, self-righteous and rude, it completely fails to take into account other emission-reducing choices those sneered-at drivers might have made, some of which might well be even more effective than those made by tbm himself.
posted by flabdablet at 10:35 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


>The solution to global warming is predicated on someone having children

>>global warming, it would clearly disappear along with us if we did indeed all choose not to reproduce.

Apparently you have an answer for everything.
posted by stbalbach at 11:27 AM on January 14, 2013


> You saw the writing on the wall and chose not to drive. I saw the writing on the wall and chose
> not to reproduce. How is it any more useful for you to sneer at my car than it would be for me
> to sneer at your daughter?

Flabdablet, I don't think any sort of sneering is useful. But there is this one difference--that if we all follow your example the motivation to care about the future of the human race after we are gone drops to zero.
posted by jfuller at 12:46 PM on January 14, 2013


How about this encouraging talk discussing how most predictions do not include any positive feedbacks, and that there are some suggesting we could reach 6 degrees of warming by 2020? Watched it last week, and it was terrifying.

6 degrees. 2020. If this is correct, humanity is not long for this planet.

(Around 2040, suggests this talk)
posted by evilangela at 1:24 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's time to start planning for the giant space mirror? Bonus: doubles as a death ray.
posted by Justinian at 1:28 PM on January 14, 2013


Or maybe we wipe ourselves out. That's bad, dontcha think?

Not particularly. This planet has already incubated life, and short of nuclear holocaust, humans are unlikely to erase all that through our own extinction. We will leave behind enough artifacts to jump-start another potentially intelligent species that hopefully won't share the imperfections of humans.

If not, so it goes.
posted by Ardiril at 1:32 PM on January 14, 2013


How about this encouraging talk discussing how most predictions do not include any positive feedbacks, and that there are some suggesting we could reach 6 degrees of warming by 2020? Watched it last week, and it was terrifying.

6 degrees. 2020. If this is correct, humanity is not long for this planet.

(Around 2040, suggests this talk)


to with my above positive trend post here is another alternative view to the hottest year ever

and a take on some positive aspects of a warmer world.


I have said before in other threads about this, it appears this is the lefts version of the 'doomsday prepper' mentality. All the world is going to end because of woe is me and much doom to be said, tears to be shed and gnashing of teeth. The comments toward the end of this thread really, really read like the comments on survivalblog. The world has been hotter and colder than it is now, their has been much higher amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere than now, the world is going to be just fine. Current human civilization might not survive the warming (although my money is the other way-of course, I am a human) but it is NOT the end of the world. The earth, like the dude, abides.
posted by bartonlong at 2:47 PM on January 14, 2013


However when it comes to pollution that affects all of us, shaming people to make behavioral changes in their choice of technology is fair game.
Hitting yourself in the head with a big rock is "fair game" as well. That doesn't mean you should do it.

The only way to solve a problem is to do things that actually work shaming people over personal choices isn't going to do anything - we need major regulation and government investment in renewable energy.

Shaming people is just about making yourself feel better, while doing nothing to actually help solve the problem (in fact, possibly making it worse)
posted by delmoi at 3:36 PM on January 14, 2013


All the world is going to end because of woe is me and much doom to be said, tears to be shed and gnashing of teeth. .... Current human civilization might not survive the warming
You might want to try reading what you just wrote. "Current human civilization" "not surviving" is the doomsday scenario that doomsday preparers are preparing for.

And what is this "the world will still be here" stuff? Who cares about "the world"? - people care about civilization, and are concerned about it's continued existence. "the world" is just one space-rock out of an endless universe -- there are at least 100 billion planets in this galaxy alone.

And anyway, it's not even true. The earth is going to be consumed by the sun as it converts into a red giant in a few billion years - and will be destroyed completely.
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on January 14, 2013


You might want to try reading what you just wrote. "Current human civilization" "not surviving" is the doomsday scenario that doomsday preparers are preparing for.

sorry, I didn't finish that thought properly. I mean to finish current human civilization, but we will probably just invent a new kind of civilization or at least move the current centers of civilization should it be necessary.

And the data to date shows no evidence that Arrhenius original calcuation of a 1 deg C increase for every doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere to be not true. It is holding up pretty well.
posted by bartonlong at 4:53 PM on January 14, 2013


All this is so much easier than actually talking about the kinds of changes required, on a massive scale, isn't it?
posted by infini at 5:47 PM on January 14, 2013


shaming people to make behavioral changes in their choice of technology is fair game

I agree that it's fair game, but is it actually useful? I've never seen any evidence that making people feel bad is what gets them to change their behaviour. Usually it just makes them dig their heels in or freeze up in inaction. I don't bother shaming people for being less eco-friendly than me, because in my experience it's a waste of time.
posted by harriet vane at 6:52 PM on January 14, 2013


Flabdablet, I don't think any sort of sneering is useful. But there is this one difference--that if we all follow your example the motivation to care about the future of the human race after we are gone drops to zero.

There's an implicit assumption there that the only people whose futures we really care about, or perhaps even properly should care about, are our own personal descendants. That view strikes me as a fairly crude form of tribalism rather than the basis for any kind of enduring global civilisation. I think it needs to change, because the "I got mine" attitude underlying it is exactly what's driving the ongoing tragedy of the global warming commons.

I didn't suddenly stop caring about people once I'd chosen surgery that commits me to not making any more. Quite the contrary, in fact. Hell, I share 99% of my DNA with any randomly selected chimpanzee. How much do I need to share with another human being to view them as a blood relative?

If that is in fact not the basis for your argument, and if in fact all you're saying is that if at some point everybody in the world became a VHEMT Volunteer then nobody would care about the future of the human race: well, I guess at that point the human race, in and of itself, would have quite a short future. But the only reason we'd do that is if we'd all come around to viewing the entire biosphere in the same light as most of us now view humanity, which would make our own short futures an expression of how much we cared about the future health of life as a whole.

There are already people who think that way but I really don't think the slope is anywhere near as slippery as you seem to imply. And stbalbach's argument from incredulity notwithstanding, I remain quite convinced that in a world of seven billion people and rising, the choice of whether or not to reproduce really does have the single biggest effect on emissions of any personal lifestyle choice.

Which brings me back to my original point: sneering at drivers* purely on the basis of one's own personal lifestyle choices is quite unjustifiable.

*or anybody else who has apparently not made similar personal lifestyle choices to oneself, obviously.
posted by flabdablet at 7:26 PM on January 14, 2013


we will probably just invent a new kind of civilization or at least move the current centers of civilization should it be necessary.

This kind of misses the point that since the issue on the table is one that threatens the viability of existing civilisations across the entire planet, and since this is the only planet the overwhelming majority of us will ever have, there's nowhere else to move the "current centers of civilization" to.

And anthropogenic global warming is also by no means the only global threat to the continued viability of civilization.

All of these trends have been obvious to me for at least thirty years. One of the things I started wondering about at the age of twenty was just how bad stuff would need to get before most people started to take the population issue seriously. And the older I get, the more it seems that the answer to that is always going to be "worse than this, at any rate".

So at this point I'm more about the wailing and rending of garments than the gnashing of teeth and the sneering. Fuck knows what sort of a shitpile my kids are going to inherit. I can only hope I'm raising them resilient enough to cope.
posted by flabdablet at 7:46 PM on January 14, 2013


Sorry, that wasn't very joyful or inspiring.

Find the happy place. Find the happy place. Find the happy place.
posted by flabdablet at 7:54 PM on January 14, 2013


After my "epiphany" I discovered that living where the system was so focused on waste that it was painful and expensive to conserve or sustain in any way was not conducive to seeking solutions. I moved out about 2 months after that trip. A way to the happy place I discovered for me personally was by aligning my values to my work i.e. where and how I chose to apply energy, time and effort and also by taking a big picture perspective (eg the systems level) in order to stop feeling like an ant. This thread has reminded me of where I might have wandered off the path.
posted by infini at 8:26 PM on January 14, 2013


My favorite message on the subject.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:20 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The UK Met Climate Change Office has just released a revision to their prior dooms day Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) predictions. it turns out the globe has not warmed for 16 years. CO2 has gone up, however global temperatures have remained flat for 16 years. Since they and other so called climate scientists have pinned the blame on CO2 as being the prime driver of Global Warming this real world data of (no rise in temps for 16 years) should put the AGW theory into the dustbin of history.

So why do the authors of this report still cling to the bogus AGW theory? Especially when their draconian recommendations of higher fossil fuel energy costs (via taxes and anti coal and oil edicts that would limit supply) would hurt the poor the most. Moreover renewable energy sources like bird killing wind turbines and bio fuels (which would raise food prices) are very inefficient and costly sources of energy that would further harm the poor. Are the authors of this report and the politicians that support their work conducting a war on the poor?

Moreover, ocean levels have risen only 3mm/year (showing little or no trend of extreme rises in ocean levels) it is difficult to believe the claim by the authors of the report that future trends will be "worse than we thought". Such vague statements of possible doom throughout the report are very unscientific.

The facts are there is nothing in the report to substantiate the numerous fussy claims that the temperature, severe weather, ocean rising etc, etc. will all be "worse than we thought" unless we all do penance and flog our selves for the sin of "destroying the planet ". Coal, oil and Natural Gas are are all natural energy sources found throughout the earth that has elevated the standard of living of billions of people. Plants cannot live without the by product, CO2, that coal, oil and natural gas produce. Earth would be a lifeless black (not green) planet without CO2. This makes the authors of the report sound like just another end of the world death cult who have declared war on humans (especially the poor) for the sin of making use of the vast natural energy resources in the planet to improve their lives.
posted by People First at 11:04 PM on January 14, 2013


Cite, please.
posted by flabdablet at 11:14 PM on January 14, 2013


Here is the link on the Uk Met Office revised Climate report for anyone interested.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261577/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-Met-Office-report-reveals-MoS-got-right-warming--deniers-now.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

I will provide the link on ocean level rises shortly.
posted by People First at 11:23 PM on January 14, 2013


Here is the reference on sea level http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/13/sea-level-acceleration-not-so-fast-recently/
posted by People First at 11:31 PM on January 14, 2013


it turns out the globe has not warmed for 16 years

[link to Daily Mail site]
Let's all go cherry-picking!

[link to wattsupwiththat]
Oh, you've made my day.

Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arguments left.
posted by flabdablet at 11:44 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


(technically that was a guffaw, not a sneer)
posted by flabdablet at 11:59 PM on January 14, 2013


If you want to know what the UK Met Climate Change Office thinks or predicts, why are you looking at the Daily Mail and weirdo blogs? Just because they tell you what you want to hear, doesn't mean they're right.
posted by harriet vane at 12:13 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the Daily Mail does get peer reviewed.
posted by flabdablet at 12:16 AM on January 15, 2013


I am not a peer of the Daily Mail.

the vast natural energy resources in the planet

In 2013, cite please, with estimates of remaining resources.


onefellswoop, your favourite message rocks big time!
posted by infini at 12:45 AM on January 15, 2013


From Ugandan women,

Fridges in a country where electricity is scarce, expensive and fickle, a collective of women came up with an idea to use charcoal for something more than just cooking supper. The cordless fridge weighs about 70lb but can be built for less than $20. The bottom consists of a metal sheet, while the walls and the lid are filled with charcoal, kept in place by a wire-mesh.
[...]
...a happy, let alone economical, marriage between the traditional way of cooking on coals and stones, and the modern range. Using the charcoal stove – designed by women as well – it looks like you can cook a meal for a family of 15 at a single go. Apparently some foods, like the ubiquitous matoke (mashed plantains) can only be properly prepared by slowly steaming it over charcoal,


Note: Yes, charcoal bad for environment but when there is no other fuel, greater efficiency > waste and smoke, yes?
posted by infini at 1:38 AM on January 15, 2013


Debunking the Denial: '16 Years of No Global Warming'
I'll note that climate change deniers are still going on about climate scientists manipulating data. They're even trying to cast doubt on the measurements showing 2012 is the hottest year on record in the US! Which it was. The irony is rich; it's a common tactic for deniers to accuse actual scientists of the very tactics the denialists use. It's a level of chutzpah so high that even Yiddish can't do it justice.
Skeptical Science: 16 More Years Of Global Warming

New account, three comments, can't link, can't write - verdict: LURK MOAR.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:13 AM on January 15, 2013


Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
Paul R. Ehrlich†⇓ and Anne H. Ehrlich
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Abstract

Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears likely. Overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich and poor choices of technologies are major drivers; dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity.


Rest of the article.
posted by infini at 6:04 AM on January 15, 2013


People First: death cult projectionist.
posted by mondo dentro at 6:23 AM on January 15, 2013


Putting People First: a not so bad blog
posted by infini at 6:35 AM on January 15, 2013


In response to the above replies to my critique of the National Science Climate Assessment Report, virtually all the replies use ad hominem attacks rather than logic or reason. This form of attack on the facts cited in my critique actually serves to prove my case that the followers of the AGW theory do not have any scientific basis for their beliefs. If they do have some empirical data to support their disagreements about global temperatures stalling for 16 years and minuscule sea level rise, why not cite them?

In truth, they sound much like Medieval Inquisitors who forbid anyone to disagree with their Totalitarian beliefs in Christianity. In fact, when you compare the two belief ideologies, Medieval Christianity and AGW, the two have much in common.
posted by People First at 8:15 AM on January 15, 2013


*flagellates self*
posted by infini at 8:22 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


why not cite them?

I present, for the sake of absurdity, my comment.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:22 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked my answer better than yours.
posted by infini at 8:23 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK People First - here's your requested rebuttal. Actually the articles linked for the FPP that started this thread cover it nicely too.
posted by leslies at 9:13 AM on January 15, 2013


Below are my links to the Vast Natural Resources we have available to human kind.

Natural Gas

Oil and Natural Gas

World Shale Gas

In addition I would like to add some thought to the anti human Malthusian sentiments expressed in some of the critiques to my prior post. In general as income and standard of living rise, birth rates decline. to the point that in Europe there is a fear of under population and women are being encouraged to have more children. The very commodity that the AGW believers condemn, cheap fossil fuel energy, has been responsible for making possible the rise in the standard of living in Europe that led to a lowering of birth rates. So why deny third world Nations the same opportunity to raise their standard of living via cheap and plentiful fossil fuel when it meets the goals of lower birth rates?

Typically, Rothbard gets to the bottom of this absurdity:

It is true that if the American continent had never been populated many millions of miles of square forest would remain intact. But so what? Which are more important, people or trees? For if a flourishing conservation lobby in 1600 had insisted that the existing wilderness would remain intact, the American continent would not have had room for more than a handful of fur trappers. If man had not been allowed to use these forests, then these resources would have been truly wasted, because they could not be used. What good are resources if man is barred from using them to achieve his ends?
Then there is the common argument that at any time a natural resource is used, any time a tree is chopped down, we are depriving future generations of its use. And yet this argument proves far too much. For if we are to be prohibited from felling a tree because some future generation is deprived of doing so, then this future generation, when it becomes "present," also cannot use the tree for fear of itsfuture generations, and so on to prove that the resource can never be used by man at all―surely a profoundly "anti-human" thesis, since man in general is kept in subservience to a resource which he can never use.[9)

So the real goal of the anti human Malthusian believers seems to be that in order to preserve a bucolic natural paradise on earth humans must all go back to the Stone Age when life was short and brutal. I invite all who believe in this anti human ideology to do us all a favor and live your life in a cave with no modern conveniences. Just don't burn down the forest around you to keep warm like the Greeks are doing due to the high energy costs imposed on them by folks like you in their governmemt.
posted by People First at 10:07 AM on January 15, 2013


If they do have some empirical data to support their disagreements about global temperatures stalling for 16 years and minuscule sea level rise, why not cite them?

You want a straight point-by-point rebuttal? OK, I have ten minutes.

Standard climate change denier claim #44: there's no empirical evidence.

The UK Met Climate Change Office has just released a revision to their prior dooms day Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) predictions. it turns out the globe has not warmed for 16 years. CO2 has gone up, however global temperatures have remained flat for 16 years. Since they and other so called climate scientists have pinned the blame on CO2 as being the prime driver of Global Warming this real world data of (no rise in temps for 16 years) should put the AGW theory into the dustbin of history.

This nonsensical claim has been adequately dealt with above.

So why do the authors of this report still cling to the bogus AGW theory?

Standard climate change denier claim #38: it's not happening.

Especially when their draconian recommendations of higher fossil fuel energy costs (via taxes and anti coal and oil edicts that would limit supply) would hurt the poor the most.

Standard climate change denier claim #37: fixing it would cost a lot and hurt the poor.

Moreover renewable energy sources like bird killing wind turbines and bio fuels (which would raise food prices) are very inefficient and costly sources of energy that would further harm the poor.

Standard climate change denier claim #66: no, really, fixing it would hurt the poor.

Are the authors of this report and the politicians that support their work conducting a war on the poor?

No. That would be fossil fuel company executives, the politicians in their pockets, the shills they pay to build their disinformation campaigns, and the deluded nitwits who believe uncritically in all the crap they spew.

Moreover, ocean levels have risen only 3mm/year (showing little or no trend of extreme rises in ocean levels) it is difficult to believe the claim by the authors of the report that future trends will be "worse than we thought". Such vague statements of possible doom throughout the report are very unscientific.

Standard climate change denier claim #68: sea level rise predictions are exaggerated.

The facts are there is nothing in the report to substantiate the numerous fussy claims that the temperature, severe weather, ocean rising etc, etc. will all be "worse than we thought" unless we all do penance and flog our selves for the sin of "destroying the planet ".

Standard climate change denier tactic: frame a non-argument in pseudo-religious language to distract attention from the complete failure to grasp the science.

Coal, oil and Natural Gas are are all natural energy sources found throughout the earth

Like any other fuel, these are natural energy stores, not sources, and they're being replenished at an absolutely negligible fraction of the rate at which we're drawing them down.

that has elevated the standard of living of billions of people.

This is true, and not in dispute. However, we now have a range of technologies quite capable of continuing to do that, cost-competitively and without contributing further to global warming.

The living standards of billions of people are certainly not helped by public policy that continues to subsidize fossil fuel extraction.

Plants cannot live without the by product, CO2, that coal, oil and natural gas produce. Earth would be a lifeless black (not green) planet without CO2.

The implication that burning coal, oil and natural gas is somehow necessary to supply plants with the CO2 that they (indisputably) need is a laughably crude piece of misdirection. Plants were living off water, CO2 and sunlight for billions of years before we started burning fossil fuels. The stuff was never in short supply, and it's by no means clear that more is better.

This makes the authors of the report sound like just another end of the world death cult who have declared war on humans (especially the poor) for the sin of making use of the vast natural energy resources in the planet to improve their lives.

You've done your best to paint the authors of the report in that light but your best is not, frankly, up to much.

If anybody deserves the "end of the world death cult" label, it's the tiny minority of obscenely rich and shortsighted nuff-nuffs doing everything in their power to make sure that civilization cooks itself to death around them.
posted by flabdablet at 10:14 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I invite all who believe that burning more carbon is the answer to do us all a favour and live your life in a sealed garage with a carbon-burning fire in it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:17 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


... anti human Malthusian believers ... preserve a bucolic natural paradise ... humans must all go back to the Stone Age ... short and brutal ... live your life in a cave ...

Oh, man. Those straw men were already thoroughly worn out when I was a kid.

If that's really all you have to contribute, it really isn't worth wasting any further time reading your ramblings.
posted by flabdablet at 10:19 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


People First: death cult and anti-human and ad hominem projector.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:52 AM on January 15, 2013


Above Flat Earth believer your rebuttal links are inaccurate. Facts are facts. Global temperatures have been flat for 16 years and even NASA is now reporting the Globe may be in for a period of global cooling not warming. So put that in your hat and smoke it.

Another Global temperatures are flat reference. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130115_Temperature2012.pdf

Hadcrut Temperature chart illustrating Global flat temperature trend http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/offset:14/plot/gistemp/compress:12/offset:13.885/detrend:-0.02/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend/offset:-0.42/detrend:-0.23/offset:14/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend/offset:14.1/detrend:-0.23/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:17/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/to:2010/trend/offset:14/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:9

NASA says Globe will be cooling not warming as AGW believers wrongly predicted http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/01/nasa-we-may-be-on-the-verge-of-a-mini-maunder-minimum.html

I guess your main point being the "insanely rich" of the world should all be vilified as greedy destroyers of the earth but you can bask in the luxury of 1st world high living standards while the rest of the world is denied the same resources we have here in the West to raise their standard of living. All made possible by fossil fuel by the way.
posted by People First at 11:00 AM on January 15, 2013


Facts are facts.

Can't go wrong with that one, PF.

I guess your main point being the "insanely rich" of the world should all be vilified as greedy destroyers of the earth...

Yes. That is my main point. I'm sticking with my main man Jesus on that one.

...but you can bask in the luxury of 1st world high living standards while the rest of the world is denied the same resources we have here in the West to raise their standard of living.

Right. Because the only possible way to raise the world's standard of living while tolerating medieval levels of income inequality is to let the rich get even richer.

All made possible by fossil fuel by the way.

You're a very confused dude(tte). Like, DUH, PF. We got rich using fossil fuels. We also got rich by exterminating indigenous peoples and stealing their shit. That doesn't mean it's virtuous to continue both.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:10 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you registered for a site not because you think it's a cool site but for the purpose of pushing a particular viewpoint, you're probably bad for the site.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:14 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another Global temperatures are flat reference.

I don't know why I'm even joining in the pile-on, People First, but did you even read this link?
Are you that stupid? Do you think we're that stupid? Do you even know where you are? Bullshit talking points and links to references that refute your own assertions won't fly here. You gotta bring your "A" game, pal. This is MetaFilter.
posted by Floydd at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


None of my links "refuted" any of my points. Typical of the left, when they don't like what they hear about the real world impact on poor people of their anti human ideology they want to censor whoever challenges them.
posted by People First at 1:26 PM on January 15, 2013


The only ideology that is anti-human is not taking climate change seriously. Humans prospered thanks to a stable climate.
posted by perhapses at 1:31 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I'm sure one day even Anthony Watts will have his Charles Johnson moment.
posted by perhapses at 1:36 PM on January 15, 2013


None of my links "refuted" any of my points.
Ah, that's what I thought, you didn't read 'em.

Typical of the left, when they don't like what they hear about the real world impact on poor people of their anti human ideology they want to censor whoever challenges them.

Bwah, bwah, BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAH! *gasp*
GOOD ONE! You had me going there for a minute! I thought you were serious! Heh heh.
posted by Floydd at 1:52 PM on January 15, 2013


Typical of the left...

PF, you made a mistake. For maximum rhetorical effect inside your epistemic bubble, you must always phrase it as "typical of the far left".
posted by mondo dentro at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Update to prior comments.

Another big lie eased in the climate Change Assessment Report.

Link showing no increased US flooding with rising CO2.

I did read the referenced link by the way. Your just too illiterate to interpret them.
Also a link to more charts showing the illiteracy of AGW believers.

Is it even possible that man can cause global warming? It is not possible in e.g., the White Mountains of California temperature records show there has been no global warming for 100 years. Like wise in the snow-covered counryside of France where there has been no global warming over the last 70 years. However, if you place enough thermometers on the swept tarmac in jet exhaust at a US airports it is a different story. See linkw. Only in the warped mind of someone who believes humanity is destroying the Earth does it seem possible that the best way to save the world is to deny as many people as possible from modernity even if it means using bogus temperature reading to achieve their goals.
posted by People First at 3:00 PM on January 15, 2013


Awesome. Remember when the climate change skeptic Richard Muller created the BEST study (funded in part by a Koch brother) and Anthony Watts said that "I'm prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong."

What ever came of that?
posted by perhapses at 3:42 PM on January 15, 2013


Well the words shill and troll both come to mind at this point.
posted by leslies at 3:54 PM on January 15, 2013


I think shill. He has an endless string of links to denier pages designed to confuse, sound pseudo-scientific, and introduce simplified arguments that are designed to be shiny-looking.

Wonder how deep his notebook of arguments is?
posted by BillW at 4:11 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seems their notebooks are getting thinner by the day, especially when they start referring to some bucolic snow-covered French countryside as part of their argument.
posted by perhapses at 4:18 PM on January 15, 2013


so you know on itunes when you hit your keyboard by mistake and change the radio station? Whatever hell hound that lives just north or south of WNYC on itunes had some guy talking about the latest worldwide temperature reports. It was something like, '2012 almost didn't make one of the ten top warmest years on record! The average worldwide temperature was 58 degrees!'
posted by angrycat at 4:55 PM on January 15, 2013


the White Mountains of California temperature records show there has been no global warming for 100 years. Like wise in the snow-covered counryside of France where there has been no global warming over the last 70 years

You, you do understand what the word... global... means, right?
posted by odinsdream at 5:24 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only in the warped mind of someone who believes humanity is destroying the Earth does it seem possible that the best way to save the world is to deny as many people as possible from modernity even if it means using bogus temperature reading to achieve their goals.

Strained syntax aside, this is one of the single dumbest sentences I have seen on Metafilter in more than 10 years. It's fractally disingenuous, but almost cunning in a way, because in order to respond to it (which I'm certainly not going to take the time to do, because someone is wrong on the internet oh no!), one would need to unpack the dullardry down about 4 levels deep and then refute at each level as you climb back up towards the sunlight.

But arguing with true believers is always like that. It's usually best to just walk away.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those people interested in climate data, here is a link to the best climate data trove I've found: http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/
posted by BillW at 5:45 PM on January 15, 2013


Oh and btw, in re White Mountains in California, they have shown temperature change: "This study suggests that the temperatures at tree lines today are similar to the temperatures that pine trees 150 meters below the demarcator were exposed to several decades ago, Salzer says. And because trees at the tree line are no longer living in the coldest thermal extreme they can withstand, he predicts that the tree line could be shifting higher."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=great-basin-bristlecone-pine-growth-rate-tree-line
posted by BillW at 5:48 PM on January 15, 2013


Your just too illiterate to interpret them.

So apparently are youze.

Now, about this "Left" and those poor denizens of the former third world... permit me speak up. This is a global website and members are left, right, center and not guaranteed to be American. Your 5$ is wasted.

So why deny third world Nations the same opportunity to raise their standard of living via cheap and plentiful fossil fuel when it meets the goals of lower birth rates?

of 1st world high living standards while the rest of the world is denied the same resources we have here in the West to raise their standard of living.

Typical of the left, when they don't like what they hear about the real world impact on poor people of their anti human ideology they want to censor whoever challenges them.


Do you know anything about these so called poor you throw around and where and how they live? Have you any idea of the cost of petroleum derived fossil fuels? Can you link to an indepth study of household consumer behaviour on energy usage in rural Africa? No, because its under an NDA and tucked in the other hard drive.

Please... before you begin arguing on the behalf of us poor people from the third world, do some homework on the alternate energy investment taking place from hydropower to solar as well as the efforts on cleaning up the environment, first.

Petrol (gas to you) is one of the most expensive items in the monthly shopping budget outside of the highly distorted pricing available on your continent.
posted by infini at 6:04 PM on January 15, 2013


Typical of the left, when they don't like what they hear about the real world impact on poor people of their anti human ideology they want to censor whoever challenges them.

As opposed to the lunar right, who prefer to censor the sensors and censure the sensible.
posted by flabdablet at 6:21 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is nothing "simplified" by the fact that Global temperatures have not risen for 16 years contrary to the predictions of the AGW shysters who predicted that as CO2 rises so do the temperatures. Bottom line they were wronge. Deal with it.

More over, the Hadcrut3 chart I referenced in a prior post didn't much look like the famous hockey stick chart did it? The tempature trend in the chart look pretty flat to me. Did any of you see a hockey stick sudden rise in temperatures in the chart? I didn't. If you did,you are more delusional than I thought.

Again, ad hominom attacks are used to disparage the fact that there has been no global warming for 16 years despite the rise in co2. Than there is this. Temperature data has been manipulated by the government to lower past temperatures and increase current temperatures in line with the rise in CO2. Without this manipulation of temperature data there would be no indication of AGW what so ever. None. Problem for the AGW loons is that the Globe is starting to get cooler, not warmer, so manipulating temperature data starts to become pretty obvious.

As to how can I possibly know how a person in the third world would like to live. Just look at China. China is not sacrificing the progress of their people on the alter of the AGW theory. They are building new coal plants every week to provide their people with a better standard of living. The restrictions we have in the West for clean coal power is not standing in their way. Which means that even if the US did everything the AGW loons demanded, it would not make a dent in CO2 emissions. In other words great pain for no gain.
posted by People First at 7:18 PM on January 15, 2013


[Moderator here. People First, you are coming on pretty strong in this thread; you've made your points, now please dial it back some.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:44 PM on January 15, 2013


Just look at China. China is not sacrificing the progress of their people on the alter of the AGW theory. They are building new coal plants every week to provide their people with a better standard of living. The restrictions we have in the West for clean coal power is not standing in their way.

Much of China, and in particular northern China, is becoming a nightmare hellscape of environmental degradation, and of illness and death as a result of pollution of air and water and soil. Here in Korea, agricultural products imported from China are regularly found to be toxic, and regularly banned. Desertification continues apace, and every spring the huang-sa, or yellow sand, full of heavy metals, pesticides, and a lung-scraping grit, darkens the skies every spring, and gets worse every year, even here, something like 2000km east of the Gobi, and the plume stretches these days across most of the Pacific. Just in the last few days, there have been pictures all over the news sites showing how bad things get even in Beijing.

Using China as a positive example in any discussion of environmental impact makes it awfully easy to ignore everything else you say.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:52 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, at a leading Australian newspaper, we get two views of sea-level rise at once. The in-house columnist flatly contradicts the AAP article. Why bother with facts when you can just make shit up whenever it suits you?
posted by harriet vane at 9:55 PM on January 15, 2013


Given that earlier in the thread comments and links touching upon most of these points have already been raised and discussed, including the state of Beijing's smog problem, anyone who is able to raise these issues in this way with a straight face is obviously just doing a hit and run posting and not participating in the actual conversation.
posted by infini at 1:37 AM on January 16, 2013


Why even bother making shit up when you can just copy and paste a load of shit somebody else made up for that exact purpose?

And heaven forbid you actually do the minimal Googling required to find out why the HadCRUT3 data should be read with care.

... fractally disingenuous, but almost cunning in a way, because in order to respond to it ... one would need to unpack the dullardry down about 4 levels deep and then refute at each level as you climb back up towards the sunlight ... But arguing with true believers is always like that. It's usually best to just walk away.

That kind of depends on the purpose of the argument.

If you're trying to convince the true believer, then yes, you're just trying to teach a pig to sing*. The trouble with not bothering to rebut their nonsense in public, though, is that the true believers end up dominating the public discourse, making their low-grade made-up garbage look like actual controversy to the uninformed observer.

It seems to me that the deniers' demonstrable success in delaying effective public policy responses to AGW (None Shall Pass!) is due in quite large part to their sheer volume of Wrong On The Internet, and the well-honed trolling skills they bring to its presentation. Sites like Skeptical Science and RealClimate are invaluable but neither turns up on the first page of a a Google search for "Global Warming" while at least one bullshit site does.

*All this does is waste your time and annoy the pig.
Thanks are due to People First for reminding me to slip another $100 to SkS.
posted by flabdablet at 1:44 AM on January 16, 2013


[Aaaaand, to follow-up on Lobster_Mitten's comment, it would be great for everyone not to make the entire rest of this thread about one person who's already been asked to do the same; there's a lot more to discuss here. ]
posted by taz at 2:07 AM on January 16, 2013


Warming World [newscientistapps.com], developed by Chris Amico and Peter Aldhous for the New Scientist, shows the distribution of ambient temperatures around the world, ranging from 1951 to now. The graphs and maps highlight the changes relative to the average temperatures measured between 1951 to 1980.
posted by infini at 3:48 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's amazing, infini. Thanks! It's strange to find something simultaneously so cool and terrifying. This provides some answers to those above asking about where one might consider moving.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:13 AM on January 16, 2013


Debunking the Denial: “16 Years of No Global Warming”


16 years of no global warming? Yeah, right


No, Global Warming Hasn't 'Stopped'
posted by stbalbach at 9:48 AM on January 16, 2013


>shaming people to make behavioral changes in their choice of technology is fair game

>>I agree that it's fair game, but is it actually useful? I've never seen any evidence that making people feel bad is what gets them to change their behaviour.


Well actually I'm not even sure "sneering" at a car from a bicycle is anything but internal, from the outside at 40mph and 20 yards away it probably looks like nothing, no ones going to notice or care. And though I used "shame" it might be the wrong word. More accurate might be to isolate. Human nature is a strong desire to belong and be an accepted part of the group, and the way we as a species maintain social controls is to isolate those who act out of bounds. Prison is the most blatant example, but if someone is acting like a jerk we ignore them (the standard procedure for trolls). It's just how humans work - those who do good gets lots of love and attention, those who do bad get isolated and excluded. That is one way we create and maintain social norms. It's really no big deal, I think the reaction in this thread to 3BM's sneer is more telling about those reacting then about 3BM. It's also perhaps telling that 3BM ignored and didn't honor them with a response.
posted by stbalbach at 10:01 AM on January 16, 2013


So what did my reaction say about me, since it was apparently pretty telling?

I was aiming for a, "Hey, you might want to run those numbers again before criticizing others." vibe.

What prompted me to comment was that I see people everywhere focusing with laser precision on certain things that they do (recycle, eschew a personal automobile, grow their own vegetables) and then criticizing others who don't do the same, while completely blind to actions of theirs that have much more of an impact.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it because of where I am and the choices I've made. Every time I feel myself starting to get self-righteous about the fact that I recycle, run a fairly economical vehicle, or whatever, I remember that I also live in an extreme climate in a house built in the 1970s that I heat with oil, I remember that food doesn't grow around here so it's all trucked (or flown!) from places is does grow, I remember that the local economy is being held afloat by cosmetic diamond mining, and I remember that I have a wonderful daughter. All of this definitively wipes out any bit of self-righteousness I could have. I suspect if we ran the numbers I would probably have one of the largest carbon footprints on MetaFilter.

Now I'm kinda depressed.

Anyway, the only choice I was attempting to criticize of three blind mice's was his choice to criticize without knowing the circumstances of others first. To pick one issue and "sneer" about it isn't that cool.
posted by ODiV at 1:27 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


More Than 3,500 U.S. Weather Records Smashed in 2012
Interactive map shows extreme temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, floods, wildfires and droughts
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2013


Slamming the climate skeptic scam

Unequivocal: Today’s Right is Overwhelmingly More Anti-Science Than Today's Left

Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility - In One Pie Chart
posted by flabdablet at 5:56 PM on January 16, 2013


flabdablet's last link only serves to underscore the disparity of the mindsets perceived. I've been in and out reasonably long stays in northern EU since I left SF and denial isn't even something anyone sane is expected to do. The tasks and the mindset is towards "Ok, now what do we do and how do we mitigate etc" as change being accepted is the default starting point. From this perspective, the statements used by deniers to make their arguments feel almost laughable if they didn't have such a big impact on global issues. And its not just the EU, back in 2009-2010 I was part of a large initiative to help find solutions for lower income residents of ASEAN islands (Philippines, Indonesia etc) to deal with the impact of climate change

tl;dr Its like "Dude, WTF?" we discovered the planet was round 500 years ago.

The reason I bring this up is not to harass the mods so much as reflect on the disparity and the perception of obsoletion in the demonstrated thinking. Its scary to have such a very large nation so very backward and this thread in particular, in 2013, made it so clear.
posted by infini at 6:11 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's time to break up with dirty energy
posted by flabdablet at 6:18 PM on January 16, 2013


Winning the Oil Endgame
posted by flabdablet at 6:19 PM on January 16, 2013


Zero Carbon Australia Project
posted by flabdablet at 6:27 PM on January 16, 2013


Australian Sustainable Energy - by the numbers

The book is Creative Commons licensed and downloadable (PDF).
posted by flabdablet at 6:31 PM on January 16, 2013


Maybe that is the value this thread can offer. Sharing current day thinking on this topic from around the world.
posted by infini at 6:47 PM on January 16, 2013


Starting from page 188 Chapter 6: Innovations in Climate Change Adaptation are the highlighted projects (my work is in a different chapter) I mean if anyone wants to know how real poor people are really attempting to deal with this in the real world.
posted by infini at 6:53 PM on January 16, 2013


More overview on the ASEAN's work on Climate Change Adaptation, this time for the Denmark conference in 2009, because:

Researchers now point to the need for an equitable or pro-poor program for climate change adaptation that focuses on supporting the assets of the poor communities so they can develop mechanisms to cope with the impacts


Training on Sustainable Transport and Climate Change - their current work in Metro Manila
posted by infini at 7:00 PM on January 16, 2013


stbalbach, you raise a good point. But 3bm brought his sneering here and directed it at the general MeFi audience (which includes several environmental activists), so it's not suprising he got pushback on that.
posted by harriet vane at 9:50 PM on January 16, 2013


An Earth-friendly future for French wine could include disease-resistant grapes, solar-powered robots, and lighter packaging, as vintners innovate to slash their environmental footprint. pardon the host
posted by infini at 5:38 AM on January 17, 2013


Arg! Forgot to make link to climate data active.
posted by BillW at 7:11 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The network is also actively brokering South-South technology transfer through a virtual platform and a network of partners, including potentially linking East African SMEs to technology and business partners globally. Further, they are in the process of developing a long-term Business Plan and a model for scaling up and sustainability.

In a speech read on behalf by his Permanent Secretary Dr. Edward Sambili, the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Wycliffe A. Oparanya lauded the initiative by showing the steps being taken by the government “in 2010, we launched the “National Climate Response Strategy and we are currently working on the “Kenya Climate Change Action Plan” which has eight subcomponents including long term low carbon strategy, an enabling policy framework, a national adaptation plan, mitigation strategies, new technology for response to climate change, measurement of progress, finance and policy coordination. I am also glad to hear that Kenya CIC is expected to support up to 70 sustainable climate technology ventures in the first 5 years and is set to generate 4,600 direct and over 24,000 jobs within 10 years.
Via
posted by infini at 7:01 AM on January 18, 2013


Mind you, Kenya is also currently the world's 2nd largest market by both install base and growth rate for solar home systems (SHS), after China.
posted by infini at 7:02 AM on January 18, 2013


Recent developments in renewable energies might overthrow the diesel generator as the technology of choice for off-grid mobile base stations.
posted by infini at 1:06 AM on January 19, 2013


Powering African homes with Biogas
posted by infini at 11:40 PM on January 19, 2013


Obama stalls for time after Nebraska approves Keystone XL oil pipeline: President's spokesman says action on climate change is 'one of a host of priorities' as critics demand meaningful action
posted by homunculus at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2013


Beijing adopts EU-level fuel standards to fix its toxic smog stew
posted by infini at 10:59 PM on January 23, 2013


bEIJING – According to new estimates that will be presented at this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, $100 trillion is needed by 2030 to finance infrastructure needs worldwide. This investment needs to be greened – its design and use must rely on less carbon and fewer natural resources – if we are to avoid an unsustainable increase in global temperatures of four degrees Celsius or more in the coming decades.

At least in the short term, green investment costs more than business-as-usual investment – about $700 million a year worldwide, according to the G-20-inspired Green Growth Action Alliance, chaired by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Additional outlays of $140 billion annually are required just to green the estimated $15 trillion investment in energy generation needed by 2020.

These incremental costs are insignificant compared to the economic and other damage – including, for example, rising and volatile commodity and food prices – implied by unrestrained climate change. But someone still needs to put up the extra money.

Investment in clean energy has increased, with global spending on renewable energy rising six-fold since 2004. But the total remains far too small. While active government support remains crucial to advancing green investment at scale, widespread fiscal weakness is pulling in the opposite direction. Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain, for example, have reduced their rates for solar photovoltaic feed-in tariffs, while the expiration of the United States’ federal production tax credit for renewable energy has undermined investment in wind installations there. The slowdown in long-term infrastructure investment is also an unintended consequence of tough new banking regulations adopted in the wake of the recent global financial crisis.

posted by infini at 1:28 AM on January 24, 2013


Why Greenland's Melting Could Be the Biggest Climate Disaster of All
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:10 AM on January 24, 2013


So this is what it's like to be a microbe in a petri dish just before the last of the agar is eaten.

"uh... guys?"
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:22 AM on January 24, 2013


This world is enough - "For the first time in history we could end poverty while protecting the global environment. But do we have the will?"
The ultimate barriers to achieving a good life for all, free of the lash of financial necessity, are neither technological nor environmental. They are in our beliefs, values and social institutions. If we collectively prefer to stay on the treadmill, chasing bigger and better consumption goods, we can do that, at least until we hit the limits of sustainability. But if we choose to use the opportunities given to us by technology to eliminate poverty and drudgery, and to protect and restore the environment, that choice is equally open to us. The world can’t sustain the current consumption patterns of one billion rich people, let alone 10 billion. Yet everyone could have a better life right now with less energy use, more leisure, and drastically lower emissions of greenhouse gases.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:11 AM on January 25, 2013



Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science
Audit trail reveals that donors linked to fossil fuel industry are backing global warming sceptics

posted by infini at 7:58 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


KiOR has started making cellulosic (non-food) biofuel at commercial scale (via RMI)
posted by flabdablet at 3:46 AM on January 27, 2013


Humans Have Already Set in Motion 69 Feet of Sea Level Rise
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:24 AM on January 31, 2013


For the first time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has publicly released a draft plan on how the department’s programmes will adapt to global warming, in a move that could lay additional groundwork for important new emissions rulemaking the agency may announce in coming months.
posted by infini at 4:49 AM on February 12, 2013


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