Leftist Environmentalism and Global Warming: An Honest Inquiry...

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Unlike most of the threads I create, I am not interested in making a huge case up front on my own beliefs on this subject. I do have definite beliefs regarding the environment and global warming but I am honestly asking for clarification of the leftist position on global warming because I find it to be a little hard to understand.

I don't think any of us can deny that the focus on global warming and environmental issues has taken a major backseat politically for both parties since the economic crash of 2008. It is obvious why that is the case. But of course the subject is merely on the backburner for now, and I am sure it will come up again as the Democrats propose some kind of "solution" or plan to address the problem at some junxion in the near future.

The focus of leftists that I see on the subject is an insistence that all politicians and media figures of importance "accept the IPCC scientific consensus on global warming".

That consensus, as far as I can see, is that global warming is happening and humans contribute to it.

I am not disputing any of that. However, it is usually granted without questioning that there is some grand policy or plan in the wings that will address and solve the problem and reduce global temperatures by an appreciable amount over the next couple of decades.

That assumption is never called into question. I don't see any detailed critiques by any mainstream source of any of these plans, whether its Cap and Trade or some other plan.

It seems to start and end with the pressure to enforce a scientific dogma among academia and the public and criticize those that deviate in any way from the presumed consensus.

There are some things I don't understand about the case for global warming legislation. For the leftists on this site, please answer these questions for me.

1. Why is it important to focus on the macro phenomenon of global temperatures rather than on the micro events of real substance to actual humans? I, as a libertarian have very definite views on how we can protect the environment through property rights and local governments working on local problems. If I live in Los Angeles, I am aware of the smog and polution levels. And activists in that city have done a great deal to reduce the levels of polution. The air is cleaner than it used to be. When a company polutes my property or air, I feel justified in saying legal action should be taken against them for the act of aggression on my person or property.

Furthermore, when I see events like the gulf oil spill or the Fukashima nuclear meltdown, I see the environmental damage and the need for corrective steps to be taken to clean up the damage and prevent such events from happening in the future. I think local activity can go a long way towards solving environmental problems.

But the conventional rhetoric about global warming seems to circumvent all this and instead focus on the abstract, regarding rising global temperatures.

The bad results of not cleaning up the Gulf oil spill or having another oil spill are obvious. What is less obvious are the results of global temperatures rising a couple of degrees over the next hundred years.

I happen to study climate science and I read as much as I can. The varying factors that determine global temperatures are numerous and complicated. The climate is constantly changing and temperatures have varied significantly over our history.

The worst case scenario I have heard about with global warming is that the sea will rise a couple of inches over a hundred plus years. Some areas will be flooded.

But what would be the consequences if we chose adaptation and decided to adapt to higher temperatures globally as a species as we have done so many times in the past?

Because, even if I accept everything that is being said about human contribution to global warming, I understand government and the idea that our politicians and central planners could devise a grand plan to lower world temperatures over decades is absurd to me. They can't even do small, simple things well.

So, suppose we address major environmental problems like oil spills and regard pollution as aggression and protect the environment with a better understanding of property rights.

And whether or not all the science on global warming is entirely sound or not, and whether humans contribute significantly, or not much, why don't we merely choose to adapt to a changing climate as we always have?

2. Why is the left so adament about everyone accepting science or certain scientific beliefs? In a free society it would not matter if one person disagreed with global warming. It would be irrelevent if another person did not believe in evolution.

In any field as monumentally complex as climate science, not to mention the difficulty in predicting global temperatures in the future, there is never a complete consensus of opinion among scientists. The real debate is far more complex than the media is letting on.

I actually have read a number of studies and scientific journals on the subject. I know more than most about the range of scientific opinion that exists on this subject.

I just think that it is absolutely contrary to science and an honest search for truth to harass or target people who don't "tow the line" or accept what a majority accept. If your opinion is valid and worthwhile, it will be self evident. The suppression of opinion is one of the worst things that responsible individuals can do.

Everyone should be heard and given a voice without intimidation. The best theories and arguments will win the day based on their merits, not because power centers effectively suppressed minority opinions.

3. What do you think of companies that stand to make huge profits from the emerging "green" technology market? Let me say that I have absolutely nothing against companies coming out with more environmentally safe products that pollute less. That is terrific. But when these companies do not have to compete fairly in a market economy and are instead granted a monopoly through legislation as is proposed by many government solutions to global warming, it is merely cronyism and it renders suspect the whole global warming agenda.

It is not correct to assume that big money is against global warming legislation. At least as much influence is being pushed for legislation granting favored companies monopolies and special benefits that they haven't earned.

4. Do you understand the suspicion some of us have about the political agenda of control that has been couched in environmentalist language? It has been a common occurance over many decades for governments to latch on to legitimate issues but use them to advance other goals, such as gaining more central control over the economy.

That is why I have always said that government is not a good tool for advancing progressive ends. There are almost always ulterior motives behind the central planners and profitteers that make money on government legislation.

So please inform me of a more detailed view of the leftist stance on global warming and exactly what you expect government to do to fix the problem. I really am interested in hearing the responses to the questions I have posed, because there are many aspects to this debate that I don't see being addressed or explored at all.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
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Oct. 15, 2011 1:24 am

Comments

I think your spectrum is part of the problem. Rather than speak from "the Left," I would prefer to talk about your questions themselves.

l. Environmentalism is locality based and would love to have the people who had to pay for the environmental crimes of corporations able to hold their abusers accountable. Were local authorites and local economies not subject to the leverage of big money, this approach would be more than part of the solution. We also see big environmental effects, as pollution drifts wtih the winds and flows with the water. It is hard to keep the problem local when it is about an interactive system.

Sum: Local involvement and participation in clean environments is what macro standards and laws to apply should provide. Because all corruption is local too, having a global or even national consciousness helps with peer accountability at the macro. Black people in Mississippi needed a Federal Voting Rights Act. Local communities need to know that there is a cop to back them up when they challenge the corporate employers to run a clean business.

2. What defenders of science object to is the corporate purchase of credentialed opinion and control of research grants/bribes to universities and "research institutes." We all remember the Tobacco Science that tried to convince us that smoking had no health problems. It is laughable to think that there is a ton of money ready to take down Big Oil and end the Petro-Empire and established money creating fake environmental science. It has been obvious that biostitutes have been telling Congress what their Corporate Pimps demand. Some have even been able to convince themselves that they were radically honest holdouts against the "consensus."

The rewards go to the deniers, not to the prophets. Entropy rules the roost until reality overwhelms the illusion. The visciousness and violence of the attacks on science belie a deep concern in PetroWorld that the jig may just be up. Orthodoxy and jobs to pay the mortgage do not raise "inconvenient truths." They tell the reigning monarch that he is God's Gift to the world. That's the banksters and oilogarchs, not Obama. Praising and reassuring established power pays well until it is all over.

Sum: Corporate has its orthodoxy. Science may have a consensus, and those who raise good questions about it are part of the scientific community. But, to presume that the consensus is a dogma or backed by rewards that can keep it in line apart from its intellectual integrity is to go too far. The money is all against the science that questions just about everything we are doing.

3. There is every reason to invest in green alternatives, sustainable and efficiencies ASAP without any added motivation from "global warming." The pollution of petroleum is enough to end our use of it as a fuel. I am amused that conservatives criticize public investments in private businesses establishing a new technology and market where it would clearly serve the public interest. Should we just have national automobile industries, or maybe just impose mass transit and outlaw cars? So, I have very little problem with the profit motive helping produce a real value-added result. I think we can do almost as well or maybe better with an emphasis on the value-added and less about what any particular person is paid. Creating things or services that really do make the world better is a gas.

I am not familiar with monopoly rights, although large energy infrastructure does require a unity of ownership and governance. In general, government incentives have inspired and made possible a competition that would have been much harder to generate from immediate profits. Even the best investment capital of the private sector applied with wisdom and insight cannot do some of the big things that need to be done.

But, greenies are all about local, indigenous, ownership and artisanal nature friendly technology and systems rather than mega-corporate-industrial profit generators. Energy belongs to the Commons, and we should never have allowed oil magnates to become our royalty, taking our resources and making us pay for them. Those profits should have come back to the people in our infrastructure and benefits, as with Norway's use of its oil.

Sum: We are not avoiding the use of capitalism to address the energy future. Government stimulus to get us ahead of the curve is no problem, although we might want to talk about more public ownership of energy and its delivery. Getting alternative fuel vehicles on our roads and fixing our buildings for efficiency would be totally in the collective interest even if some got more than others. The concern about an unequal playing field is bogus. If it really did not pay off to get this change made, there would be no incentives. You would leave an inertia incentive in place.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Your fourth part deserves a separate answer. We have heard a lot of fantasy and paranoia about mad scientists controlling the world. We have enough bureaucratic nightmares and technocratic drone images of the mass hive to allow for suspicion of just about every important and to the bone issue and its advocates. Further, good intentions are no safeguard. Far from it, the worst is always done with the best intentions even when psychotic and sociopathic. Had Hitler been content to be a penny ante dictator of industrialized Germany and stayed away from Pogrom and Aryan Supremacy, he would have been a small time killer at worst.

Professional criminals operate within a very practical range of cost/benefit analysis. They take the long view rather than the quick cash. They avoid anything spectacular or attention getting. They do not confuse their motives or their business with any grand morality. They may well see it as a tradition of necessity with its own code of honor and mission to protect "the family." But they send their kids to Business School so they can steal big legally.

If there ever was any star quality and career assurance in challenging the Big Money in Oil and Nukes or Coal, that day has passed. Surely you do not think that scientists who are honestly convinced that there are big and consequential changes we could prevent or lessen in impact are doing it for the money? Or the fame? Or the threats to themselves and their families and lost funding for their positions? What unites the scientific consensus is the craven shilling of the biostitutes, not some dogmatic cult rules of belief. If the Koch Bros. have nothing to fear from the science, why do they spend so much money undermining what gets in the way of their businesses? Why not let the facts speak?

Let us note that during the late 19th and early 20th Century, many Liberals shared a utopian fantasy about the social sciences opening up the laws of society to human manipulation just as natural science had led the way in agriculture and industry. They had not dealt with the downsides of their progress and were intoxicated by the idea of Destiny too. Being able to find the secrets of life and how to govern was like finding the healthy diet or key to producing abundance. The Social Gospel even reflects this kind of liberal dream of enlightened Progress. It leads to the Secular Gospel in Realism and demythologizing religion (and culture).

Reform movements could also predicate their campaigns on the certainty of evolved fitness. Just as pilgrims could march to the New Jerusalem of an America that realizes the sociological equivalent of Protestant social ethical realism, peace advocates could presume that world peace could be established in their generation. Techniques and technologies to do amazing things were popular fantasies for understandable reason.

We have learned a lot about reform movements in this industrial age. We have seen some big winners that inspire hope in race, gender and orientation social ethics. There has been significant cultural evolution as well, although the reaction has stiffened and become more shrill. Reaction has been common and has yet to yield to thought for the most part. Reform takes a long time, like "intergenerational." People don't change their minds so much as move on generationally. But sometimes generations grab the nostalgia and beat up on the change that upsets them. We have been through that, and may have to suffer a relapse to get the addiction out of our system.

This is a long way around saying that while I can imagine that you have a fear of an environmental mad science or messianic misinformed individual being used by evil forces. Why not? We have stories projecting the possibility of all sorts of threats to us. Even "Community Organizers" turn out to be some kind of Marxist Secret Agent who can overturn everything with their super powers. Some of the best Hitchcock used the mild mannered assassin or nut case. Psycho made motel management scary. However, there really is nothing close to the New World Order of the WTO in any environmental cooperation discussed.

Cap and Trade is a conservative, market-based approach to what ought to be a matter of essential public security. There is far more credibility in the science of climate change and what it will cost us than there is in the war theology that supports our global militarism. There you could find a consensus of deep ideological rigidity to any sensible questions. You could also find the primary reason why we will not allow energy and environmental reality to get in the way of our empire in our military thirst for petroleum. Were the Pentagon leading the way in the development of alternative fuels and the need for infrastructure updates at home, the money would flow. The design would probably be far from optimal, but we would find the money.

I think the conspiracies to worry about are the ones running the show.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

We should clarify that "Global Warming" is separate from the "Greenhouse Effect." Global warming is a naturally-occurring phenomenon, while the Greenhouse Effect is widely considered to be man-made, caused by the combination of burning fossil fuels and global deforestation. The Greenhouse Effect adds to global warming, so natural temperature fluctuations are exaggerated by human industry.

There is much involved to properly answer these questions. Number one- why do we focus on the bigger issue instead of smaller incidents? The truth is that we focus on all of it. We know that a series of smaller emergencies and disasters points to a much larger problem that stands to do more than just raise ocean levels 3 inches. Estimates are more like two feet by the end of this century, but that is possibly an underestimation.

The majority of the world's ice is on land. A common explanation of rising sea levels is if you put ice cubes in a glass and then fill it with water, the water level doesn't rise when the ice melts because its volume is already compensated for. However, if you fill the same glass with water and then put in ice cubes, the water level rises and the glass overflows because the volume of the ice is added to an already full glass.

Antarctica is the largest continent on Earth and it is covered in ice. When that ice melts and enters the ocean, the ocean levels will rise like an already-full glass. With ocean levels rising two feet vertically from their current level, every coastal city on Earth would be flooded, and then even more land further in from the coast would be susceptible to storm incursion. San Francisco, Hong Kong, Venice, London, New York, etc., all flooded. On the plus side, a romantic boat ride through Times Square might appeal to some.

One theory is that the melting ice from Antarctica will eventually transfer to another continent in some freak onset of a new ice age, and this could shift the weight distribution of the Earth, forcing it off its current axis and flipping the globe in space. The theory was posed as a ping-pong ball in a cup of water. The weight of the ice was represented by a thumb tack stuck in the ball. The weight of the tack (ice) forced it down to the bottom. If that tack (ice) were moved to another area, that new area would drop to the bottom. So a heavy ice sheet forming over Asia or North America would make them become the new South pole and Ireland would be a tropical equatorial island, that sort of thing. I don't personally know if that's plausible, or even scientifically possible, but its a much worse scenario that I've heard than ocean levels rising three inches.

Why do we not simply adapt to this change? Because this change would be catastrophic, the majority of human society would be destroyed and the entire scenario is completely avoidable. The scientific community is agreed that the past 100 years of rampantly burning fossil fuels and clearcutting rainforests and use of non-biodegradable plastics have created a situation where the Earth cannot clean all of our pollution fast enough and it is building up at ever-increasing rates, causing more and more problems throughout the ecosystem.

The contention that American property rights will counterbalance the environmental degradation caused by the entire planet's addiction to fossil fuels is admirable but unrealistic. Certain acts of social responsibility in the US might reduce our own nation's carbon footprint, but India and China are emerging powerhouses, and rightly so, but they use more petroleum and coal than any other nations. China alone is expected to account for 76% of near-future increases in world coal use. Our property rights aren't going to have the least effect on their pollution output.

Also, the American corporate media doesn't give much attention to other disasters around the world. Ecuador just hit Chevron with a $19B settlement for Amazonian environmental destruction but we hardly hear about that. Again, these are ongoing issues that American individual responsibility and property rights will have very little impact on. To have a global impact on reversing the Greenhouse Effect, we have to end the world's dependence on oil, coal and natural gas.

Question 2- Why do environmentalists want people to listen to science? Because it carries more weight than religious dogma and fairy-tale half-truths. Why should we submit and do nothing to correct the problems when we know the problems and the solution? "The best theories and arguments will win the day based on their merits, not because power centers effectively suppressed minority opinions." If this were true, marijuana would have been legalized in 1972 and we wouldn't be having this discussion. Hell, "Marihuana" never would have been outlawed in the first place if the best arguments were listened to.

Which brings us to question 3, which seems to be about wealth consolidation in a green economy. So far, the debate has excluded marijuana legalization. The fortunes of the few companies that could make out like bandits in a green economy for having a good invention will be nothing compared to the fortunes consolidated by fossil fuel corporations now. The transfer of wealth from monopolized fossil fuels to rurally-produced biomass fuels derived from hemp will be a fairer global economy than a constant string of underhanded deals between Exxon, Shell, BP and corrupt fundamentalist dictatorships that ultimately create more pollution and add to the Greenhouse Effect.

Question 4- It's not exactly clear what this question is. Should we rely on government to pass laws that enforce environmental protection? What do we expect the government to do about the Greenhouse Effect? Why should we wait for the government to act to correct these problems? We all have an understandable distrust of government, but that doesn't mean we disband government altogether. In the case of environmental issues and how to use government to advance a green agenda, we simply demand that marijuana be legalized again. The free market will take care of the rest.

In 1938, Popular Mechanics magazine ran an article about Cannabis hemp titled "New Billion-Dollar Crop". It was the first time in American history that the term "Billion-Dollar" was used to describe an agricultural commodity. It is explained in the article that a machine called the Decorticator, invented in 1919 by a German immigrant named GW Schlichten, had been developed to a point that it could remove more of the strong fibers from the stalk while simultaneously leaving more of the woody pulp of the stalk called hemp 'hurds' which can be used to make everything from paper to plastic, even dynamite. This machine would revolutionize the hemp industry like never before in the entire span of human history. That was when "Marihuana" was outlawed.

Despite a brief period during World War II when "Marihuana" was legalized to save American freedom and democracy, Cannabis hemp has remained the most illegal thing in American society. This amazing machine from the early 1900s has not been allowed to be used to its full potential, which today stands to reorganize the entire global energy market and redistribute the astonishing amounts of wealth on Earth back to the farmers, rural communities and the world's working poor.

We can expand on these ideas as the discussion continues. For now, this might be enough of a response to get the debate moving.

JTaylor's picture
JTaylor
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Mar. 19, 2012 1:04 pm

It's a geologic crisis which drives the climate change you see.

That said, burning oil or coal when hydrogen fuel cell technology, stolen by our own military, is possible, is crazy.

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

It seems to start and end with the pressure to enforce a scientific dogma among academia and the public and criticize those that deviate in any way from the presumed consensus.

Dogma is a belief based, science is fact based. Your premise is flawed. If I pull the battery cables off the battery and try to start my car, my dogma, the power of prayer, and good intentions will not create enough amps to get the car started.

1- Local action is great, but how do my local actions in Arizona change the fact that across the Pacific at Fukushima, an uncontrolled nuclear meltdown will be throwing off radiactive material for the next 25,000 years or so? How does local action around the Grand Canyon convince California to stop burning coal that pollutes the Grand Canyon? I cannot use local govt to affect Japan, we need collective action through govt and intergovernmental agencies.

The sea rise issue, what I have read, Greenland alone melting will add 23' to the sea levels. Each foot will claim between 3/4's to 1 mile of horizontal land on the US East coast. A 3' rise displaces 1/2 the population from Boston, Mass to Key West, FL. If 40 million people all locally choose to relocate to an area near you, what will be your local solution?

2-3, blah blah...

4- How much control will people have in a mass evacuation of Philadelphia, PA? How well did we handle Katrina in New Orleans? What was the name of the bridge where the local sheriff's department were murdering people who had the nerve to walk across the bridge to seek help?

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Quote anonymous green:

It's a geologic crisis which drives the climate change you see.

That said, burning oil or coal when hydrogen fuel cell technology, stolen by our own military, is possible, is crazy.

Do you know how to make hydrogen? The reaction is methane plus water goes to hydrogen and (gulp) CO2! So yes the hydrogen fuel cell does not give off CO2, but the production of hydrogen certainly does.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2
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Jul. 27, 2012 6:24 am

So make carbon fiber out of it.

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

Thom,

This is not a 'leftist' response or a 'rightist' response or a 'centrist' response. This reflects all that I have read in the peer-reviewed climate change literature, supplemented by my intuition and technical experience.

I came across some interesting papers that do an excellent job of combining the science and necessary policy for climate change. Anyone interested in a realistic assessment of the probability of serious climate change would do well to read the author's papers or see his presentations. Kevin Anderson, ex-Director of the Tyndall Centre, Britain's leading climate research institute, and presently a Professor at University of Manchester, wrote some recent papers and gave the following presentation

(http://137.205.102.156/Ms%20S%20J%20Pain/20111124/Kevin_Anderson_-_Flash_(Medium)_-_20111124_05.26.31PM.html)

laying out what needs to be done to possibly dodge the climate change bullet. David Roberts wrote a more readable two part series to summarize Anderson's main points

(http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/)

(http://grist.org/climate-policy/2011-12-08-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change-mitigation/).

The main thrust of the analysis is to identify the allowable temperature increases over pre-industrial values for life on Earth to survive with some sembance of where it is today, and then identify CO2 emission reductions required to maintain the temperature limits. Years ago, a temperature increase of four degrees C was considered a reasonable target to dodge the major climate change bullet. While there would still be serious impacts from such a substantial temperature increase, it was believed that such an increase could be maintained stably, and not lead to runaway temperature increases due to synergistic positive feedback loops.

In the first decade of this century, two degrees was considered a more reasonable target, as four degrees now appeared to lead to almost guaranteed runaway temperature increases from positive feedback loops. Science in the last few years has questioned whether two degrees can be maintained stably, and has shown that one degree is perhaps a better target to avoid serious consequences. We are now approaching one degree, and are already seeing some ominous consequences, especially in the Arctic. Increasing methane releases may signify the start of a positive feedback loop: (1) increased methane releases due to higher temperatures 2) increase methane concentration in atmosphere, which 3) traps more heat, 4) raises temperatures higher, and 5) releases more methane, ad infinitum).

Diplomacy does not always keep pace with technology. Because international agreements are still fixated on the two degree target, Anderson looked at carbon emissions reductions required to limit the temperature increase to two degrees. He initially examined uniform global emission reductions, then later assigned different emission rate reductions to advanced countries and developing countries. He looked at emission reduction rates as a function of emission peak years; we stay on our present trajectory of emissions to year x, then reduce emissions thereafter. For example, if the peak year for CO2 emissions is 2020, then the world would have to reduce carbon emissions on the order of ten percent per year for decades.

Roberts places this level of carbon emissions reduction in context, as follows:

"Just to give you a sense of scale: The only thing that’s ever pushed emissions reductions above 1 percent a year is, in the words of the Stern Report, “recession or upheaval.” The total collapse of the USSR knocked 5 percent off its emissions. So 10 percent a year is like … well, it’s not like anything in the history of human civilization.

This, then, is the brutal logic of climate change: With immediate, concerted action at global scale, we have a slim chance to halt climate change at the extremely dangerous level of 2 degrees C. If we delay even a decade — waiting for better technology or a more amenable political situation or whatever — we will have no chance."

Given that most of the economies in the world today are in trouble, and the remedy they all seek is enhanced economic growth, how consistent is that with the level of carbon emissions required to maintain two degree temperature increase? To paraphrase Anderson, 'the developed nations need to exchange economic growth for planned austerity'.

I see absolutely no way the politicians would recommend reducing economic growth in the time frame of interest and adopting austerity. I see no way the fossil fuel resource owners (read, energy companies) would write off the 80% of the ~thirty trillion dollars of fossil fuel reserves (that are on their books) necessary to keep the CO2 emissions constrained, as McKibbon said is required in a recent article. I see no way that most of the electorate would support the austerity and economic depression that would accompany this level of reduced fossil fuel use, or that most of the electorate would be willing to make the personal lifestyle sacrifices that huge intensive energy use reduction requires to achieve the desired emission rate reductions. It completely goes against historical trends; we have been increasing CO2 emissions for many decades, and presently are hovering about 5% annual global increase. Anderson's realistic assessment implies there is no credible way out of a climate catastrophe, other than the emergence of a miracle.

I also have the uneasy feeling that the situation is even more dire than described above. The governing process is driven by nonlinear dynamics, where many of the drivers are part of positive feedback loops, and essentially all of these loops are synergistic in one direction only. In nonlinear dynamical systems, small changes in the spatial and temporal boundary conditions can result in large changes in the solution space. From what I have read, the fully integrated models don't contain all the known phenomena, like the methane feedback, or many others I have seen mentioned. How can we forecast the magnitude of the changes if critical terms are omitted from the nonlinear models, and we know these omitted terms are only driving the results in one direction? Is even a one degree increase maintainable?

So, the predictions I have seen are, in my estimation, very conservative. Now, maybe the researchers are 'gun-shy' after years of assault from the 'denier' community, and are only willing to offer the most conservative and unassailable predictions. Or, maybe they and the government sponsors and the politicians are concerned about what would happen if the hard truth were to be released to the public. Bottom Line - We are approaching a cliff at full speed. While in theory it may be possible to stop before we reach the cliff, I see no credible roadmap for doing so. Our addiction to intensive fossil fuel energy use is stronger than any medicine we are willing to take.

Superman's picture
Superman
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Aug. 18, 2012 5:00 pm

You seem to fail to mention, as the Science flies, any survival programs we might use tax dollars to prepare.

It's all about controlling CO2, which eventually science will say was only a symptom, not the disease, or the cure.

There is no cure for geology-driven climate change.

There is only survival.

Why do you think the rich stole everything, while we were fiddling with our CO2ometers?

They think they'll survive and a horde of the poor won't strip their gated community to the bones, for leaving them to die out here.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

Fear of "economic dislocation" is what makes me laugh. It is very real, but compared to the VERY REAL, it is absurdly trivial.

What makes me sad about this line is the "planned austerity" instead of "planned response." The presumption that the "loss" of this economic system will be a terrible deprivation from our pleasures and conveniences, leaving us with a mean and 'austere' survivalism is not true. It will be the loss of a load of crap and a release into a more plearsuable and humane future if we plan the response instead of presuming that it has to be moralistic or "hard" in that sense.

It is a big change, and hard in that sense. It does mean figuring out how to take care of people and managed the transitions, which is likely to mean some violent resistance from those who stand to lose because they are part of the problem. The more we can build the future vision, the easier it will be to overcome the fear factor. When the change is the hope that is real, facing reality will be a good thing rather than bad. It may be like going into the lifeboats for the journey to land, but getting off this sinking ship is all to the good.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc2:Fear of "economic dislocation" is what makes me laugh. It is very real, but compared to the [currently] VERY REAL ['new normal'], it is absurdly trivial.

What makes me sad about this line is the "planned austerity" instead of "planned response." The presumption that the "loss" of this economic system will be a terrible deprivation from our pleasures and conveniences, leaving us with a mean and 'austere' survivalism is not true.

Thank you very much drc.

The choice between "economic growth" and "permanent austerity" is a false dichotomy. The real choice is between a system based on competition and consumption versus one based on cooperation and sustainability. The latter - cooperation and sustainability - actually produces a more secure future while our current system relies on predation and the consequent insecurity about the future to maintain its economic, social and psychological drivers.

It seems daunting that the Tech No Logic Industrial Mining civilization is totally Koyaanisquaatsi (Life Out Of Balance). From regimented and segmented work (elevating money from means to end over human life) through centralized energy production and distribution (environmentally destructive and inherently wasteful) to even the way money is created as privately held debt (unconstitutional on its face) and more (commodification of knowledge and Mother Earth)... it can easily appear hopeless to change.

However, I see the necessary transformation as actually just one simple clarification of thought. If enough people can recognize that the idea that 'life is a competition' rules us only because we agree to cooperate within the space defined by that meme, then all people will see that we are 'forced' to compete only because we agree to compete.

Everyone please note: Our current competitive system is a cooperative human venture.

The PTB are correctly nervous about the fact that cooperation is the actual, natural underlying context of human activity given that we are social animals created by and embedded in the web of life on this planet. The underlying fact that we produce and distribute all of our goods and services by cooperating can not help but come to light eventually. In the meantime, my fellow frogs, expect the metaphorical/psychological/economic temperature to continue to rise in the attempt to keep us climbing on each other's backs in the fruitless attempt to escape alone.

We have already destroyed the best carbon sinks on land (American prairie and Russian steppe) through industrial farmng and overgrazing. The biggest threat of increasing CO2 is an impending collapse of ocean biosystems through acidification - already corals and crustaceans are beginning to struggle to simply exist. Consider that reduction and collapse or saturation of the carbon fixing capacity of the ocean may well be underway. It is highly unlikely that even an abrupt change of course will avoid the release of methane clathrates trapped under the permafrost, especially now that we are about to start madly poking holes in it. I now expect the Arctic Ocean to be essentially ice free (remnant floes - no pack) in the Northern Hemisphere summer within a couple decades.

Life is flexible and generally bountiful. We need the biosphere - it certainly does not need us. One way or another this darkness got to give.

LeMoyne's picture
LeMoyne
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote LeMoyne:

The biggest threat of increasing CO2 is an impending collapse of ocean biosystems through acidification - already corals and crustaceans are beginning to struggle to simply exist. Consider that reduction and collapse or saturation of the carbon fixing capacity of the ocean may well be underway. It is highly unlikely that even an abrupt change of course will avoid the release of methane clathrates trapped under the permafrost, especially now that we are about to start madly poking holes in it. I now expect the Arctic Ocean to be essentially ice free (remnant floes - no pack) in the Northern Hemisphere summer within a couple decades.

Life is flexible and generally bountiful. We need the biosphere - it certainly does not need us. One way or another this darkness got to give.

Your post make a lot of sense, but you discount the flexibility of life while celebrating it.

Given that climate change has happened many times on Earth, everything would be dead if your dire predictions were accurate.

CO2 is heavier than air. It falls down; it can't rise up.

The rain washes CO2 out of the air, and into the ocean. The carbonates created by this cycle are used by shellfish to make shells.

The acidity of the ocean may kill one species, while another survives.

People didn't cause this. We poisoned our oceans, lakes and streams with mercury and plastic and pesticides and oil, but we did not cause the climate to change.

Look at a chart of earthquake and volcanic activity over the last 4,000 years.

We live in a time of geologic crisis, and the most important thing to do is use our resources in order to survive as a nation.

It would be a good idea to localize energy production and food production, so that communities are not cut off because of tragedy elsewhere.

Austerity programs protect the wealthy from being expected to spend their stash on the greater good.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am
Quote anonymous green:

They think they'll survive and a horde of the poor won't strip their gated community to the bones, for leaving them to die out here.

Your stupid comments are what make Smith & Wesson a thriving corporation. Thank you, from a stockholder and owner.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp

+88.76% year to date

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

A better option for all

http://www.jillstein.org/

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am
Quote anonymous green:

Why do you think the rich stole everything, while we were fiddling with our CO2ometers?

You need to become a wolves not the sheep that you are. Stop fiddling with your CO2ometers and join the ranks of the Green Party.

A better option

http://www.jillstein.org/

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

Only a fool would listen to you, fool.

Go practice shooting the hordes of the poor with your little gun. Pretend you're in a zombie movie and they won't seem human.

Protect your investments.

Check with your Green Party about their stand on gun control, but since you wouldn't yourself vote for Jill Stein, forget everything you find out.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

“Like Sergeant Rivera of the Holy Lake County Sheriff Department, who kidnapped me two years ago with his friend Officer K, lied to a doctor and told him I was insane”

Like I said, some people have been saying that for a long time.”

A much better option for ditchweed farmers

http://www.jillstein.org/

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

Redwing, your binary and reactionary thinking does not fit your Green label. The alternative to being sheep is not limited to being wolves. That is just the binary response to being victimized where we decide to be on the other side from then on. It does nothing about the evil that has been done unto you as a sheep. It just keeps you from being served for dinner. Which is something.

Those of us who are concerned about the "innocence" of the Liberals and the naivete that has become associated with taking peace and justice seriously are not talking about sheep behavior. The submissive position no longer provides much protection from the predators. We are all strong warriors now, and the Randian ego is honored with the laurels of hero. Altruism is the false hope, the deflection from real moral endeavor and glory. It is the Makers against the Takers, and the losers are on their own.

We understand that non-violence will be met with police brutality and media complicity. Unlike the Green Party and other "third party" protests, that which threatens the powers that be will get slapped around. Please do not misunderstand me to dis the Green Party. It does what it does about as well as it can in this lousy system. It does more at local and regional than it can do at the higher ticket offices; but that is also its strength.

It just makes the vote for Jill Stein a strategic choice for those whose votes don't really count because of the electoral college. It does not make a Green protest vote that costs Obama the election and allows Romney and Ryan to crush anything left of democracy or the New Deal a good idea. What we have joined is the Environmental (Green) Movement and will be glad to be part of anything you Green Party activist/builders bring where it makes sense. We will be glad for you to use the party strategy as effectively as you can as part of the larger Movement, but we will not make membership in the Green Party or voting for your candidates an obligation.

If you build a strong Green Party from the bottom up, you will be in a great position to grab the disaffected Progressive side of the Democratic Party. Or, you might bring the new "Democratic Green" to them and take over the Democratic Party from the DLC Corporates. If all you do is recruit the Progressive Caucus to join the Greens incrementally, you will have triangulated the Left to serve the Right.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote Redwing:

“Like Sergeant Rivera of the Holy Lake County Sheriff Department, who kidnapped me two years ago with his friend Officer K, lied to a doctor and told him I was insane”

Like I said, some people have been saying that for a long time.”

A much better option for ditchweed farmers

http://www.jillstein.org/

Poor Christopher Rivera, retired. If my post didn't flag him, your continued posting of his name, etched here on the internet, certainly will.

You're a fool wrapped in an idiot.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am
Quote drc2:

It just makes the vote for Jill Stein a strategic choice for those whose votes don't really count because of the electoral college. It does not make a Green protest vote that costs Obama the election and allows Romney and Ryan to crush anything left of democracy or the New Deal a good idea. What we have joined is the Environmental (Green) Movement and will be glad to be part of anything you Green Party activist/builders bring where it makes sense. We will be glad for you to use the party strategy as effectively as you can as part of the larger Movement, but we will not make membership in the Green Party or voting for your candidates an obligation.

If you build a strong Green Party from the bottom up, you will be in a great position to grab the disaffected Progressive side of the Democratic Party. Or, you might bring the new "Democratic Green" to them and take over the Democratic Party from the DLC Corporates. If all you do is recruit the Progressive Caucus to join the Greens incrementally, you will have triangulated the Left to serve the Right.

It can't be done?

The progressives said the exact same thing about the Tea Party three short years ago and now they have Hartmann talking to his pajama buttons every night.

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

If you want to front for some imaginary billionaire of the Left as the Tea Party does for the real ones on the Right, fine.

I am sorry you feel put down, but what I said is merely that when you present a national ticket that can win, we will dance with you in the streets. That is the Movement part.

What I won't do now is be distracted from the issues that exist in the Presidential election while I am interested in Green alternatives to corporate dems and Righties. If you can run down ticket and win, fine. If you just keep Democrats from winning, re-think the best way to get what you want.

The Third Party approach in America is a long shot. Third Parties can contribute to building a movement, but they can also distract the movement into electoral agendas and strategies of their own. Using the Green Party brand wisely matters.

We do not have the backers who see their donations as investments in their future wealth. The Right does. Beware of protest votes for which others pay the dues.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Redwing wouldn't vote Green.

His game is psy-ops.

He's a liar wrapped in a fool's cloth, pretending to be an idiot.

Right, Red?

Spit it out man, come clean before Jesus.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

Currently Chatting

The Death of the Middle Class was by Design...

Even in the face of the so-called Recovery, poverty and inequality are getting worse in our country, and more wealth and power is flowing straight to the top. According to Paul Buchheit over at Alternet, this is the end result of winner-take-all capitalism, and this destruction of the working class has all been by design.

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