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Home > Politics
Global Warming: The Carbon Bathtub
by Bob Powell, 4/23/15
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What's called "common sense" is inadequate to deal with dynamically complex problems.

"Common sense is a bundle of prejudices we develop before the age of 18." Albert Einstein

This presentation (3 minutes) on global warming to the Colorado Springs Utilities Board on 4/22/15 (Earth Day) explains the physics of the system: why global warming is happening, why humans are causing it, and why stopping the increase in emissions is not enough ... we must cut them in half. And it addresses common false objections to addressing the problem.

Jump to presentation

A global warming denier told me, a Ph.D. in physics, to stick to physics and stay out of politics. Never mind that an understanding of the physics of the system is the most salient aspect of the issue.

"Physics is a very poor negotiating partner. It does not compromise and it is uninterested in battleground states. What it is interested in is how much carbon and how much methane we are going to pour into the atmosphere." - Bill McKibben 
Bill McKibben on Climate Change at the Democratic Platform Hearing (video)

Global warming is an existential threat to life on earth. All life. Even without global warming humans are devastating the earth. With it, it's total disaster ... billions of people and countless species will die.

The Sixth Great Extinction Is Underway—and We’re to Blame by Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 7/25/14
The Earth has been stripped of up to 90% of its species five times before in the past 450 million years. Now it's happening again—and this time there's no rogue asteroid responsible.

Stephen Hawking: Humankind is still greedy, stupid and greatest threat to Earth, by Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY Network,6/28/16

Physicist Stephen Hawking says pollution coupled with human greed and stupidity are still the biggest threats to humankind.

During an interview on Larry King Now, the science superstar told King that in the six years since he's spoken with the talk show host people haven't cleaned up their act.

"We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid," Hawking said. "The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100."

He noted that the massive problem of pollution has only grown in the last five years.

"Air pollution has increased over the past five years," he said. "More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution."

When asked what the biggest problem facing the world is, Hawking said climate change.

Hawking told King he wonders if we are past the point of no return. "Will we be too late to avoid dangerous levels of global warming?" ...

If anyone tells you that, "Well, it won't do us any good to cut our CO2 emissions because China won't.", make it clear that China's CO2 pollution is our CO2 pollution because corporations have offshored the production of products we buy to China ... and we've offshored slavery as well. Don't believe me? Well, try to find something in a "big box" store that isn't Made in China.

What that “Made in China” label really means. by JOSH GELERNTER, The National Review, 12/13/14 [The National Review is an extreme "conservative" source.]

There was big news last week: that China had overtaken the U.S. as the world’s largest economy; the People’s Republic is on track to produce $17.6 trillion of goods and services this year, $200 billion ahead of the U.S. A lot of acrimony has been heaped on Mr. Obama’s economics, which seem to have sludged our growth to a crawl. And a lot of credit has been laid at the feet of Communist China’s march toward capitalism.

This chart is used to lie about what's happening. It purports to show that the warming now is unimportant compared to the past. It's nonsense. Here's why from Confusing Greenland warming vs global warming:

This argument is based on the work of Don Easterbrook who relies on temperatures at the top of the Greenland ice sheet as a proxy for global temperatures. That’s a fatal flaw, before we even begin to examine the use of the ice core data. A single regional record cannot stand in for the global record — local variability will be higher than the global, plus we have evidence that Antarctic temperatures swing in the opposite direction to Arctic changes. Richard Alley discussed that in some detail at Dot Earth last year, and it’s well worth reading his comments. Easterbrook, however, is content to ignore someone who has worked in this field, and relies entirely on Greenland data to make his case.

What's more, this, from the same source, says it well and is similar to what I write below.

The last word goes to Richard Alley, who points out that however interesting the study of past climate may be, it doesn’t help us where we’re heading:

"Whether temperatures have been warmer or colder in the past is largely irrelevant to the impacts of the ongoing warming. If you don’t care about humans and the other species here, global warming may not be all that important; nature has caused warmer and colder times in the past, and life survived. But, those warmer and colder times did not come when there were almost seven billion people living as we do. The best science says that if our warming becomes large, its influences on us will be primarily negative, and the temperature of the Holocene or the Cretaceous has no bearing on that. Furthermore, the existence of warmer and colder times in the past does not remove our fingerprints from the current warming, any more than the existence of natural fires would remove an arsonist’s fingerprints from a can of flammable liquid. If anything, nature has been pushing to cool the climate over the last few decades, but warming has occurred."

 

But there’s an element missing from the discussion. An economy is bound to grow when it’s got one billion, three hundred and fifty-seven million people available for slave labor. A hundred and fifty years ago, the United States finally stamped out its scourge of slavery. Most of the civilized world either had beaten us to the punch or would follow soon after. China has officially abolished slavery several times — in the 14th century, in the 18th, and again in the 20th. But it never really took: China’s Communist dictators operate more than a thousand 1,000 slave-labor camps. ... [bolding added]

The artilcle says "Communist dictators", but it could have as well said "Capitalist dictators".

If aliens were doing to the planet what the fossil fuel corporations are doing, we'd be out to kill every damn one of them and their collaborators.

Jump to presentation

Added 12/2/16

Climate change escalating so fast it is 'beyond point of no return' by Peter Walker, The Independent, 12/1/16

New study rewrites two decades of research and author says we are 'beyond point of no return'

Global warming is beyond the "point of no return", according to the lead scientist behind a ground-breaking climate change study.

The full impact of climate change has been underestimated because scientists haven't taken into account a major source of carbon in the environment.

Dr Thomas Crowther's report has concluded that carbon emitted from soil was speeding up global warming.

The findings, which say temperatures will increase by 1C by 2050, are already being adopted by the United Nations.Dr Crowther, speaking to The Independent, branded Donald Trump's sceptical stance on climate change as "catastrophic for humanity".

"It's fair to say we have passed the point of no return on global warming and we can't reverse the effects, but certainly we can dampen them," said the biodiversity expert.

"Climate change may be considerably more rapid than we thought it was." ...
It found that the majority of the Earth's terrestrial store of carbon was in soil, and that as the atmosphere warms up, increasing amounts are emitted in what is a vicious cycle of "positive feedbacks".

The study found that 55bn tonnes in carbon, not previously accounted for by scientists, will be emitted into the atmosphere by 2050. ...

"Uncertainty is nothing like a reason enough to suggest climate change isn't happening. There's a nice analogy; if you step in front of an oncoming bus, no doctor in the world can tell you how damaging the impact is going to be.

"But we do know the damage is going to be huge. This alone should be enough information to persuade us to avoid the bus."

Added 12/2/16

This article by Mike Adams is a blatant lie about Global Warming citing data that does not show what he purports it to show and taking at least one statement by James Hansen out of context. Posting here to explain why later. Natural News has the distinction of being included in a list of Fake News sites. It was cited in an exchange on Facebook.

The author writes in 1014, taking selected data from this article from 1999 and cites sentences out of context: Whither U.S. Climate? By James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Jay Glascoe and Makiko Sato - August 1999

Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, Natural News, 6/23/14

Added 10/21/16

Why I know but don't believe by Carter T. Butts, Science Vol. 354, Issue 6310, pp. 286-287, 10/21/16

Despite extensive efforts at public science education, polling over the past 30 years has consistently shown that about 40 to 45% of Americans believe that humans were supernaturally created in the past 10,000 years (1). A natural interpretation of this finding is that U.S. science education is failing to reach nearly half of the population, and that widespread belief in recent human origins reflects basic scientific illiteracy. However, the reality is more complex (2): Many of those who reject evolutionary theory are aware of the scientific consensus on the subject, and such rejection is not always associated with low scientific literacy. Similar results have been found for beliefs regarding anthropogenic climate change (3). On page 321 of this issue, Friedkin et al. (4) provide a key step toward understanding this phenomenon by introducing a simple family of models for social influence among individuals with multiple, interdependent beliefs.

Capitalism is unsustainable in its current form. (Credit: ZINIYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/Getty Images)
Added 9/8/16. Capitalism is Unsustainable!

Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050 by Drew Hansen, Forbes, 2/9/16

Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it's devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.

• Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years (see Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School).

• Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That's 14,826,322 acres, or just less than the entire state of West Virginia (see the 2010 assessment by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN).

• Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20% (see U.S. Census).

• The world's population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 (see United Nations' projections).

How do we expect to feed that many people while we exhaust the resources that remain?

Human activities are behind the extinction crisis. Commercial agriculture, timber extraction, and infrastructure development are causing habitat loss and our reliance on fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change.

Public corporations are responding to consumer demand and pressure from Wall Street. Professors Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg published Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations last fall, arguing that businesses are locked in a cycle of exploiting the world's resources in ever more creative ways.

"Our book shows how large corporations are able to continue engaging in increasingly environmentally exploitative behaviour by obscuring the link between endless economic growth and worsening environmental destruction," they wrote.

Yale sociologist Justin Farrell studied 20 years of corporate funding and found that "corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views [of climate change] and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists."

Corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health. ...

 

An aerial photograph of Baton Rouge, Louisiana after historic flooding destroyed much of the city, August 18, 2016. (Photo: Thomas Cizauskas/cc/flickr)

'The Mother of All Risks': Insurance Giants Call on G20 to Stop Bankrolling Fossil Fuels by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, 8/29/16
Multinational firms managing $1.2tn in assets declare subsidies for coal, oil, and gas 'simply unsustainable'

... Multi-national insurance giants Aviva, Aegon, and Amlin, which together manage $1.2tn in assets, released a statement Tuesday calling on the leaders of the world's biggest economies to commit to ending coal, oil, and gas subsidies within four years.

"Climate change in particular represents the mother of all risks-to business and to society as a whole. And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market," said Aviva CEO Mark Wilson. "These subsidies are simply unsustainable." ...

 

Added 9/6/16: Insurance corporations know global warming is a problem.

Insurance funds worth $1.2tn tell G20 to stop funding fossil fuels by 2020 by Karl Mathiesen, Climate Change News, 8/29/16
Climate change is the "mother of all risks" says Aviva CEO, and hundreds of billions in annual government assistance to oil, gas and coal is "simply unsustainable"

... These three companies [multinational insurers Aviva, Aegon and Amlin] manage $1.2tn in assets. Aviva CEO Mark Wilson said: "Climate change in particular represents the mother of all risks - to business and to society as a whole. And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market. These subsidies are simply unsustainable."

Estimates of fossil fuel subsidies vary widely depending on the definition of a subsidy. The OECD reports that its member states contribute $160-200bn each year to the production of coal, oil and gas. But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said this neglects to account for the damage to the environment and human health for which governments carry the cost. The IMF estimates this to amount to a staggering $5.3tn a year, or $10m per minute.

"We're calling on governments to kick away these carbon crutches, reveal the true impact to society of fossil fuels and take into account the price we will pay in the future for relying on them," said Wilson. ...

Added 9/2/16: Pope calls for urgent action on climate change. What's happening is a sin.

Pope Francis says destroying the environment is a sin, Josephine McKenna, The Guardian, 9/1/16
Pontiff says humans are turning planet into ‘wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth' in call for urgent action on climate change

... The pope said the faithful should use the Holy Year of Mercy throughout 2016 to ask forgiveness for sins committed against the environment and our "selfish" system motivated by "profit at any price".

He called for care for the environment to be added to the seven spiritual works of mercy outlined in the Gospel that the faithful are asked to perform throughout the pope's year of mercy in 2016.

"We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behaviour," he said. "Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence ... We have no such right." ...

Added 9/2/16: The Holocene era is so over ... it's now the Anthropocene era

Scientists have concluded: It really is the end of the world as we know it by By Ari Phillips, Fusion, 8/29/16

The 1950s. To many Americans, the decade signifies a sort of "Pleasantville"-era jam packed with nostalgic notions of pies and drive-ins. Americana at its peak. But now, according to a group of experts, the brief period should also signify something else: The start of an entirely new geologic era defined by humankind's impact on the planet.

On Monday, the scientists recommended to the International Geological Congress, meeting this year in Cape Town, that the 11,700-year-old geological epoch known as the Holocene be cut short and replaced by the Anthropocene.Most other geologic epochs, which are defined by world-changing events such as mass extinctions, have lasted millions of years or even tens of millions of years. But humans have found a way to disrupt the Earth's natural patterns, and many geologists think it's high time this impact be made official.

"In a single lifetime humanity has become a planetary-scale geological force." ...

 

Added 8/17/16: Global warming deniers working hard to make the planet uninhabitable.

Climate-exodus expected in the Middle East and North Africa, Max Planck Society
5/2/16

The number of climate refugees could increase dramatically in future. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia have calculated that the Middle East and North Africa could become so hot that human habitability is compromised. The goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, agreed at the recent UN climate summit in Paris, will not be sufficient to prevent this scenario.

The temperature during summer in the already very hot Middle East and North Africa will increase more than two times faster compared to the average global warming. This means that during hot days temperatures south of the Mediterranean will reach around 46 degrees Celsius (approximately 114 degrees Fahrenheit) by mid-century. Such extremely hot days will occur five times more often than was the case at the turn of the millennium. In combination with increasing air pollution by windblown desert dust, the environmental conditions could become intolerable and may force people to migrate.

From the movie, Human Extinction By 2030 -Climate Disruption The Movie. A 2030 projection for extinction is probably early, but it's coming! Coming not only to humans, but to life on earth.

Global warming deniers criticize Al Gore, but minor changes in market forces are totally inadequate to address the coming catastrophe.

I explain why in the presentation based on John Sterman's work at MIT.

Added 8/5/16: This video highlights the overwhelming scientific information pointing to the extinction of life on earth. I don't believe humans will be extinct by 2030, but billions will be dying. Denial is widespread.

Human Extinction By 2030 -Climate Disruption The Movie (video).

Mass Extinction Is Closer Than You Know (video) Thom Hartmann, 3/24/16

Climate change is real, of course, but two new scientific papers out this past week say that it's happening a hell of a lot faster, and in a more dangerous direction, than scientists were even considering as a worst-case scenario just a few years ago. We need a rapid worldwide shift away from fossil fuels now - not even a decade from now, but today - and if we don't get started, we, too, may go the way of the dinosaurs.

Added 7/19/16: Humans are causing warming

What's Really Warming the World? Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise by Eric Roston, Blacki Migliozzi, Bloomberg

Researchers who study the Earth's climate create models to test their assumptions about the causes and trajectory of global warming. Around the world there are 28 or so research groups in more than a dozen countries who have written 61 climate models. Each takes a slightly different approach to the elements of the climate system, such as ice, oceans, or atmospheric chemistry.

The computer model that generated the results for this graphic is called "ModelE2," and was created by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which has been a leader in climate projections for a generation. ModelE2 contains something on the order of 500,000 lines of code, and is run on a supercomputer at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation in Greenbelt, Maryland.

A Global Research Project, GISS produced the results shown here in 2012, as part of its contribution to an international climate-science research initiative called the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase Five. Let's just call it "Phase-5.

Phase-5 is designed both to see how well models replicate known climate history and to make projections about where the world's temperature is headed. Initial results from Phase-5 were used in the 2013 scientific tome published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

There are more than 30 different kinds of experiments included in Phase-5 research. These tests address questions like, what would happen to the Earth's temperature if atmospheric carbon dioxide suddenly quadrupled? Or, what would the world's climate be like through 2300 if we keep burning fossil fuels at the current rate?

Phase-5 calls for a suite of "historical" experiments. Research groups were asked to see how well they could reproduce what's known about the climate from 1850-2005. They were also asked to estimate how the various climate factors -- or "forcings" -- contribute to those temperatures. That's why this graphic stops in 2005, even though the GISS observed temperature data is up-to-date. The years 2005-2012 were not a part of the Phase-5 "historical" experiment.

Added 7/10/16: Bush fixed facts around policy on global warming, too.

Ex-Bush Official: I Fixed The Facts Around The Policy BY THINKPROGRESS, 3/20/07

Philip Cooney is the former chief of staff to President Bush's Council on Environmental Quality who made hundreds of edits to government climate reports in ways that played down links between human activity and global warming. He worked for the American Petroleum Institute before coming to the Bush administration, and left the White House for Exxon shortly after his edits were revealed.

Cooney appeared yesterday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) told Cooney he wanted to determine whether what is "driving the policy of this administration on global warming and climate change is the science or whether it's something called the politically correct science."

Cooney admitted it was the latter: "My objective was to align these communications with the administration's stated policy" of climate skepticism. Watch it [Transcript of the hearing is at the link.]

If Cooney's line of fixing facts around policy sounds familiar, it's because it is a Bush administration classic, made famous by the Downing Street Memo on the White House's pre-war planning:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. ...

Added 6/5/16: Anti Life-on-Earth Republicans oppose science and knowing what the hell is going on.

U.S. Congress Aims to Cut Climate Science By Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Scientific American ClimateWire 6/2/16
Proposed cuts to NOAA and NASA target climate change research in particular

The spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee last week allocates $128 million for NOAA’s climate research, a 20 percent cut from the previous year. The bill allocates $1.7 billion for NASA’s earth science division, a 12 percent cut from 2016.

Republican appropriators termed climate and ocean services research “lower-priority,” which earned them a rebuke from Democrats.

Added 6/3/16: CBO reports global warming, and the accompanying climate change, is going to be expensive!

The Congressional Budget Office has issued a report outlining the broad and potentially devastating threat posed to America’s economy by climate change, including a more than 50 percent increase in spending to recover from hurricanes. Unfortunately, the report will be received by a Congress in which both houses are run by a party that rejects climate science, and past efforts have proved useless at changing their minds.

Added 5/31/16: Climate Reality video showing the dwindling of old, think ice in the Arctic ... it's pretty much gone!

Dwindling of Arctic's Oldest Ice (Since 1990)

Added 5/30/16: The violence of global warming denial

Let Them Drown - The Violence of Othering in a Warming World by Naomi Klein, London Review of Books, Vol. 38 No. 11, 6/2/16

Added 5/30/16. "... their ideological network that funds global warming denial is known as the Kochtopus."

Covert Operations BY JANE MAYER, The New Yorker, 8/30/10
The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

... In a study released this spring [of 2010], the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups.

Added 5/24/16: Of course they knew and those spreading doubt for cash know. Spreading doubt for cash about the existential threat to life on earth should be a criminal offense.

Oil Company Exxon Knew About The Scientific Reality Of Climate Change In 1981 BY JOE ROMM, 7/10/15

"Pope Francis blasts global warming deniers," the Washington Post wrote last month. The Pope’s climate encyclical focused on the immorality of climate inaction — which makes the immorality of knowingly spreading disinformation for the purpose of delaying action all the more base.

Now the Union of Concerned Scientists has disclosed an email revealing that Exxon understood the scientific reality of climate change as far back as 1981. “Other companies, such as Mobil, only became aware of the issue in 1988, when it first became a political issue,” Exxon’s former in-house climate expert, chemical engineerLeonard S. Bernstein wrote last year. The 30-year veteran of Mobil and Exxon explained:

Exxon first got interested in climate change in 1981 because it was seeking to develop the Natuna gas field off Indonesia. This is an immense reserve of natural gas, but it is 70% CO2. That CO2 would have to be separated to make the natural gas usable.

And yet despite a growing understanding of the scientific reality of climate change in the 1980s and 1990s, Exxon became one of the biggest funders of scientists and think tanks and others who do little but deny and cast doubt on the scientific understanding of human-caused global warming.

As recently as February 2015, a New York Times exposé revealed that a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who routinely casts doubt on widely accepted climate science had “accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers.” This included funding from ExxonMobil and "at least $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation." ...

Note: 5/16/16: OMG!

Bill Gates: Only Socialism Can Save the Climate, ‘The Private Sector is Inept' by Tom Cahill, 10/26/15
Bill Gates explains why the climate crisis will not be solved by the free market.

"There’s no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today’s and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what’s tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems," Gates said. "Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch."

Gates even tacked to the left and uttered words that few other billionaire investors would dare to say: government R&D is far more effective and efficient than anything the private sector could do.

"Since World War II, U.S.-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area,” Gates said. “The private sector is in general inept."

Naomi Klein Explains Why Clinton's "Corporate Worldview" Cannot Be Ignored by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, 4/07/16
Clinton's historically "pro-corporate ideology" shows she does not have the willingness to take on "fossil fuel companies and the banks that finance them."

Klein writes: While Clinton is great at warring with Republicans, taking on powerful corporations goes against her entire worldview, against everything she's built, and everything she stands for. The real issue, in other words, isn't Clinton's corporate cash, it's her deeply pro-corporate ideology: one that makes taking money from lobbyists and accepting exorbitant speech fees from banks seem so natural that the candidate is openly struggling to see why any of this has blown up at all.

Note: 5/16/16: What "conservatives" cannot stand is that a collective response is required. OMG, she used the word, "collective".

'Death sentence': Climate crisis driving global conflict, poverty & racism – Naomi Klein, 5/5/16

Climate change is driving inequality, conflict and racism as self-serving individuals and actors undercut the potential for a collective response to the crisis, journalist and author Naomi Klein has said. ...

Addressing the audience, Klein said the rise of poverty, discrimination and conflict as climate change intensifies is aggravated by greed and individualism.

“It is not about things getting hotter and wetter but things getting meaner and uglier,” she said.

Klein went on to argue a collective response is required to change "corrosive values that are pitting people against each other."

“Fossil fuels, which are the principal driver of climate change, require the sacrifice of whole regions and people. Sacrificial zones like the Niger delta and the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, dot the world,” she said. ...

"There is no clean, safe way to run an economy built on fossil fuels. There is no peaceful way to do it... If nations and people are regarded as [the] other, it’s easier to wage wars and stage coups," she said. ...

Note 5/15/16: Warning of flooding of Florida homes and ditched mortgages. Oh, never mind.

Freddie Mac Economist Warns of Housing Crisis Caused by Sea Level Rise BY JESS SWANSON, 5/12/16

By 2045, the sea level is expected to rise at least a foot. In South Florida, where most land sits five feet above current sea level, homes and roads are expected to start flooding more frequently. It’s only a matter of time, scientists and economists warn, before it becomes so unbearable that people will pick up and leave—ditching their mortgages and devastating the economy.

In an April "Insight" report by Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored home loan agency, its chief economist warned of sea levels and flooding reaching a point where properties becomes uninsurable and unmarketable, causing homeowners to begin defaulting on their mortgages. This would instigate another housing crisis—except this time, it'd be unlikely that housing prices ever recover.  ...

Note 5/13/16: pinning this here to respond to later.

'97% Of Climate Scientists Agree' Is 100% Wrong by Alex Epstein, CONTRIBUTOR, Forbes, 1/6/15

Note 5/11/16:

Queensland academic wins climate award: Four climate myths busted by Jorge Branco, Sydney Morning Herald, 5/11/16

UQ's Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute shared the simplest way to combat four common climate change myths with Fairfax Media. [They are:]

-- There's no scientific consensus on climate change
-- Climate has changed in the past. What's happening now must be natural as well
-- The sun is causing global warming
-- Global warming stopped about two decades ago

 

Note 5/6/16:

"The right conflates the First Amendment argument with its cuckoo belief that climate change is a hoax, ..."

Note to Exxon: Lying About Climate Change Isn’t Free Speech—It’s Fraud By Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation, 5/5/16
Facing hundreds of billions of dollars in potential damages, the fossil-fuel giant is trying to change the subject.

... Outraged that 16 other state attorneys general had pledged action against the fossil-fuel industry, Washington Post columnist George Will charged that the law-enforcement officials were trying "to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly 'settled' conclusions of climate science." Fox News accused the AGs of "collusion" with activists, citing a meeting that a member of Schneiderman’s staff had with a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The right-wing chorus predictably glided past the fact that, as a matter of law, the First Amendment is no shield for fraud. And telling one thing to investors while privately knowing the opposite to be true, as Big Tobacco once did, is plainly fraud. But now, it was all about Exxon as the victim, with the usual left-wing villains—overreaching government and environmental extremists—trampling the oil company’s free-speech rights because it had dared to take an unconventional position on climate change. Exxon even used the same law firm that defended Big Tobacco—Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison—to file its countersuit. ...

Framing Exxon as a victim isn’t an easy sell beyond the right-wing echo chamber. Nor is climate denial. The vast majority of voters and policy-makers now understand that climate change is a real and growing danger. And most people have little trouble believing that Exxon knew full well about this danger, even as it spent decades and tens of millions of dollars portraying climate change as a “premise that defies…common sense,” to quote former CEO Lee Raymond.

My Note: What's called "common sense" very often fails when dealing with dynamically-complex issues like global warming. Despite flawed "common sense" thinking used by global warming deniers, global warming is an existential threat to life on earth. Billions will die, more species extinct. The physics of the system tells us that waiting for "direct, incontrovertible" proof sufficient to convince deniers is not an option.

"Common sense is a bundle of prejudices we develop before the age of 18." Albert Einstein

What’s more, by enabling increased global warming, Exxon’s alleged lying has damaged many people around the world. Crucially, the victims include investors and business owners. The poor suffer first and worst from climate change, but they rarely file—much less win—lawsuits against polluters. But when people of means are damaged, they don’t hesitate to sue for compensation.

Exxon’s exposure on this front is immense. If the allegations are true, the oil giant has in effect transferred massive amounts of risk and loss onto the rest of the market and virtually every business enterprise in it. By confusing the debate, Exxon helped delay government action against climate change. The company made buckets of money, but the resulting higher temperatures and extreme weather events have cost investors, governments, businesses, and ordinary people many billions, with much larger costs ahead. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned that as climate change intensifies, “parties who have suffered loss or damage [may] seek compensation from those they hold responsible.”

Nor is the right’s cheerleading without its complications for Exxon. The right conflates the First Amendment argument with its cuckoo belief that climate change is a hoax, but Exxon has a different goal: to protect its public image. Exxon needs to be perceived as a good corporate citizen, and in 2016 a good corporate citizen doesn’t deny climate change. ...

Note 4/19/16:

What we’re doing to the Earth has no parallel in 66 million years, scientists say By Chris Mooney 3/21/16

If you dig deep enough into the Earth’s climate change archives, you hear about the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. And then you get scared.

This is a time period, about 56 million years ago, when something mysterious happened — there are many ideas as to what — that suddenly caused concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to spike, far higher than they are right now. The planet proceeded to warm rapidly, at least in geologic terms, and major die-offs of some marine organisms followed due to strong acidification of the oceans. ...

"If you look over the entire Cenozoic, the last 66 million years, the only event that we know of at the moment, that has a massive carbon release, and happens over a relatively short period of time, is the PETM," says Zeebe. "We actually have to go back to relatively old periods, because in the more recent past, we don’t see anything comparable to what humans are currently doing." ...

That means, the authors estimate, that while a gigantic volume of carbon entered the atmosphere during the PETM — between 2,000 and 4,500 billion tons — it played out over some 4,000 years. So only about 1 billion tons of carbon were emitted per year. In contrast, humans are now emitting about 10 billion tons annually — changing the planet much more rapidly.

"The anthropogenic release outpaces carbon release during the most extreme global warming event of the past 66 million years, by at least an order of magnitude," writes Peter Stassen, an Earth and environmental scientist at KU Leuven, in Belgium, in an accompanying commentary on the new study. ...

This is evidence that we're currently in the process of Overshoot & Collapse.

Note 2/9/16:

Sea-level rise 'could last twice as long as human history' by Damian Carrington, 2/8/16
Research warns of the long timescale of climate change impacts unless urgent action is taken to cut emissions drastically

Huge sea-level rises caused by climate change will last far longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date, according to new research, unless the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades is used to cut carbon emissions drastically.

Even if global warming is capped at governments’ target of 2C - which is already seen as difficult - 20% of the world’s population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts swamped by rising oceans. Cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta and Shanghai would all be submerged. ...

The research shows that even with climate change limited to 2C by tough emissions cuts, sea level would rise by 25 metres over the next 2,000 years or so and remain there for at least 10,000 years - twice as long as human history. If today’s burning of coal, oil and gas is not curbed, the sea would rise by 50m, completely changing the map of the world. ...

... Oh, never mind, say the deniers ... they are existential threats to life on earth.


A global warming denier posted this in an attempt to rebut my article on Global Warming Denial and this article. There's a big difference between what's good for a plant and what's good for life on earth. Plants are not the planet. Amazing how people can be fooled, misunderstand, and rationalize their denial of science.

Yes, plants can grow faster with more CO2, but that same higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere causes even more heat to be absorbed than is reflected, the planet heats up with disastrous consequences.

When climate changes rapidly because of global warming, plants like trees that can thrive in one environment cannot up and walk to another place; forests die. When more CO2 causes the ice caps to melt and coastal areas to disappear underwater, oh, too bad. When there are droughts as the planet heats up and people lose their livelihoods, oh, too bad. When hurricanes and tornadoes become more destructive with more loss of life and property damage because of more water in the atmosphere, oh, too bad. When billions are dislocated and die because of global warming, oh, too bad.

Note 12/14/15:  Yes, we humans are responsible for global warming

Study concludes there is a 99.999% chance of global warming being caused by humans by MIHAI 9/04/14

... It’s much more a debate between TV shows and regular Joes than it is between scientists – you could basically call it a consensus by now, with over 99.83% of all climate change peer reviewed articles concluding that global warming is happening; and if you had any doubts that it is us who are actually causing it, you can toss them away – time and time again, peer reviewed study (as opposed to pseudoscientific claims the media still continues to highlight) has shown that we are the main cause.

Now, a new study published in Climate Risk Management concluded that climate change can be linked to human activities with a close to certain probability: 99.999%.

“The results of our statistical analysis would suggest that it is highly likely (99.999 percent) that the 304 consecutive months of anomalously warm global temperatures to June 2010 is directly attributable to the accumulation of global greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The corollary is that it is extremely unlikely (0.001 percent) that the observed anomalous warming is not associated with anthropogenic GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions. Solar radiation was found to be an insignificant contributor to global warming over the last century, which is consistent with the earlier findings of Allen et al. (2000).”, they write in the study.

To give you a sense of perspective, July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month in which both global land and ocean average surface temperature exceeded the 20th-century monthly average. That’s almost 30 consecutive years, or put in a different way – it means that nobody born after February 1985 has lived a single month where the global temperature was below the long-term average for that month. ...

Note 7/27/15. James Hansen on sea level rise 5M to 9M higher ...

Climate researcher blasts global warming target as 'highly dangerous' By Carolyn Gramling 7/21/2015

Climate scientist James Hansen has fired a new salvo in the climate wars. In a new paper, Hansen and colleagues warn that the current international plan to limit global warming isn’t going to be nearly enough to avert disasters like runaway ice-sheet melting and consequent sea-level rise. ...

The researchers make their case in part by describing paleoclimate data from the Eemian, an interglacial (warm) period that lasted from about 130,000 to 115,000 years ago. During that time, temperatures were less than 1°C warmer than they are today, but sea level stood about 5 to 9 meters higher due to large-scale ice sheet melt. The end of the period experienced powerful storms as well ...

Note 6/8/15:

Those who call themselves, "conservative," have asserted, "So it's global warming again? Will you liberals make up your minds!", complaining that, supposedly, liberals changed it to "climate change".

But the fact is that it's both: the globe is warming as a whole *and* local climates are changing because of that. That's so confusing to "conservatives".

Global warming vs climate change, Skeptical Science -- Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism, 10/26/16

There have long been claims that some unspecificed "they" has "changed the name from 'global warming' to 'climate change'". In reality, the two terms mean different things, have both been used for decades, and the only individual to have specifically advocated changing the name in this fashion is a global warming 'skeptic'.

The only individual to actually advocate changing the term from 'global warming' to 'climate change', is Republican political strategist Frank Luntz in a controversial memo advising conservative politicians on communicating about the environment. In the memo:

It’s time for us to start talking about “climate change” instead of global warming and “conservation” instead of preservation.

"Climate change" is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change "sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale." While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.

James E. Lovelock on the global warming crisis:

"I find it sad, but all too human, that there are vast bureaucracies concerned about nuclear waste, huge organizations devoted to decommissioning nuclear power stations, but nothing comparable to deal with that truly malign waste, carbon dioxide."
― James E. Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & the Fate of Humanity

 

Skepticism is healthy doubt when faced with lack of credible evidence. Denial is willful doubt in the face of overwhelming credible evidence.


For those who have children, or other young people they care about, this should be a vitally important issue.

Those who deny the problem condemn their children to a dystopian future.


Global warming is an existential threat to life on earth!

Brief PowerPoint presentation (3 minutes) on global warming to the Colorado Springs Utilities Board on 4/22/15 (Earth Day) on The Carbon Bathtub

It explains the physics of the system (described briefly below):

  • why global warming is happening,
  • why humans are causing it, and
  • why stopping the increase in emissions is not enough ... we must cut them in half.

This presentation describes the dynamics of global warming using a bathtub-atmosphere analogy based on work at MIT. This version contains several links added since the presentation, otherwise it is the same.

Download "The Carbon Bathtub" presentation: PowerPoint (2.92 Mb), PDF (4 slides/page, 1.88 Mb)

The Physics of the System:
Why global warming is happening, why humans are causing it, and why humans must cut CO2 emissions in half:

  • Forget whether the damn models are exactly correct. That's irrelevant because whether they're exact or not (they're exact enough) does not affect the reality of the physics of the system.
  • Global warming is happening because, at current levels of CO2 (and other greenhouse gasses) in the atmosphere, more heat is absorbed by the atmosphere than goes back into space.
  • Humans increased CO2 in the atmosphere to make it the case that more heat is absorbed by the atmosphere than goes back into space.
  • Humans emit twice as much CO2 into the atmosphere than is absorbed by plants and the ocean ... so we are not only causing global warming, what we're doing is accelerating the warming.
  • Because Humans emit twice as much CO2 into the atmosphere than is absorbed, simply stopping the increase in human emissions is not enough; we must cut emissions in half.

Physics does not negotiate! Physics just does.
Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is quoted on drilling in the Arctic. This applies to the use of fossil fuels in general:

You can't negotiate with Physics by ...and Then There's Physics, 9/4/15

They think the relevant negotiation is between the people who want to drill and the people who don't. But actually, this negotiation is between people and physics. And therefore it's not really a negotiation.

Because physics doesn't negotiate. Physics just does.

This presentation also addresses common objections:
  • CO2 has been higher in the far past. Those that mention this don't talk about what sea level was at the time or how many species were going extinct. It shows what happens to the U.S. coastline if all the ice melts and sea level is on the order of 200' higher. Florida and much of the U.S. coast is under water ... gone.
  • From NASA: How is Today's Warming Different from the Past?

    As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

    As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

    What about China? That's actually a U.S. problem because much of what we buy is from China because so many U.S. jobs have been offshored. We need "balanced trade", not "free trade".
  • Global Cooling is happening ... the data shows, no, it's not.
  • NASA: As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

Added 9/13/16: A Timeline of Earth's Average Temperature Since the Last Ice Age Glaciation 20,000 BCE to present.

References:
The Carbon Bathtub, by Professors John Sterman (MIT) and David Archer (U of Chicago)
Understanding complacency about climate change, John Sterman, director of the Systems Dynamics Group at MIT Sloan, and Linda Booth Sweeney, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
John Sterman on UN climate change negotiations 11/10/15, MIT Sloan School of Management

 

 

See my solar installation on my roof.


"Science is no longer the bottleneck. The challenge is political and social."

From: John Sterman on UN climate change negotiations 11/10/15, MIT Sloan School of Management






Global Warming denial is all the rage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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