Climate

Energy and Global Warming News for July 13: 6,700-page report by world leaders concludes that climate change means “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse”

http://ichigoichie.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/roadwarrior_l.jpgA new report may put The Big Question — “How likely is it that Global Warming will destroy human civilization within the next century?” — back on the front pages:

The planet’s future: Climate change ‘will cause civilisation to collapse’

An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission that sent men to the Moon is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse”.

This is the stark warning from the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet – obtained by The Independent on Sunday ahead of its official publication next month. Backed by a diverse range of leading organizations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the US army and the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2009 State of the Future report runs to 6,700 pages and draws on contributions from 2,700 experts around the globe. Its findings are described by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, as providing “invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society.”

Still not the worst-case scenario for homo “sapiens” sapiens (see “Lovelock warns climate war could kill nearly all of us, leaving survivors in the Stone Age“).  The story notes:

The effects of climate change are worsening – by 2025 there could be three billion people without adequate water as the population rises still further. And massive urbanisation, increased encroachment on animal territory, and concentrated livestock production could trigger new pandemics.

Although government and business leaders are responding more seriously to the global environmental situation, it continues to get worse, according to the report. It calls on governments to work to 10-year plans to tackle growing threats to human survival, targeting particularly the US and China, which need to apply the sort of effort and resources that put men on the Moon.

Right diagnosis, but wrong treatment.  The Apollo program was far, far too tiny an effort to serve as an analogy for what global warming requires.  Also, it was about developing new non-commercial technology for the government.  We need a WWII-scale effort (see “Advice to a young climate blogger: Always use WWII metaphors“) — massive deployment of existing and near-term technology for the public and businesses.

Chinese-American cabinet officials to prod China on climate change

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visit their ancestral homeland this week to press China to join with the United States in stepped-up efforts to fight global warming.

The two Chinese-American cabinet officials arrive in Beijing on Tuesday to talk with senior Chinese leaders and highlight how working together to cut greenhouse gas emissions would benefit both countries and the entire planet.

The trip also sets the stage for a visit by President Barack Obama to China later this year that many environmental experts hope will focus on the need for joint U.S.-China action before a meeting in Copenhagen in December to try to forge a global deal on reducing the emissions….

“The potential is very large and the need is very serious,” said Kenneth Lieberthal, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute, a U.S. think tank. “It’s not one of those things where one side benefits and the other side pays”…

Chu, a Nobel physicist who has devoted years to climate change issues, is expected to make the case for U.S. and Chinese action to rein in rising global temperatures in a speech on Wednesday at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

“We face an unprecedented threat to our very way of life from climate change,” Chu told U.S. senators last week, warning the world could experience a climatic shift as profound as the last Ice Age but in the opposite direction.

Locke, a former governor from the export-oriented state of Washington, is eager to showcase opportunities for China to reduce carbon dioxide emissions using U.S. solar, wind, water and other renewable technology.

“There’s a huge need in China which creates huge market opportunities for our companies. At the same time, there are big challenges,” a Commerce Department official said.

Eastern Aral Sea has shrunk by 80% since 2006: ESA

The eastern lobe of the disaster-struck Aral Sea seems to have shrunk by four-fifths in just three years, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday.

It released an overlay of photographs taken by one of its Earth observation satellites, Envisat, on July 1 2006 and July 6 2009.

Once the world’s fourth-largest inland body of water but now a byword for ecological calamity, the Aral Sea has been retreating over the last half-century after rivers that fed it were diverted for Soviet cotton irrigation projects.

India prays for rain as water wars break out

In Bhopal, and across much of northern India, a late monsoon and the driest June for 83 years are exacerbating the effects of a widespread drought and setting neighbour against neighbour in a desperate fight for survival.

India’s vast farming economy is on the verge of crisis. The lack of rain has hit northern areas most, but even in Mumbai, which has experienced heavy rainfall and flooding, authorities were forced to cut the water supply by 30% last week as levels in the lakes serving the city ran perilously low.

Henry Waxman’s book reveals lessons learned

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is this year’s man of the hour. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he has been at the center of both health care and climate change legislation, in addition to being a political fixture who has kept K Street and Capitol Hill scrambling for three decades.

His new book, “The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works,” written with The Atlantic’s Joshua Green, offers meaty “” though at times self-serving “” advice for people who want to get things done on the Hill.

In climate change debate, all eyes on Sen. Bayh

On top of Sen. Evan Bayh’s desk is a Congressional Research Service chart that color-codes states with the most carbon emissions per capita in varying shades of red.

His home state of Indiana is fire-engine red.

That helps explain why Bayh is becoming “” for lobbyists, greens and even some anxious House Democrats “” the man to watch as the Senate turns to the issue of climate change.

Bayh is among a handful of Democrats who hail from industrial and coal states who are airing big concerns about the idea of creating a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions.

Storing Nuclear Waste Above Ground May Be Most Viable Solution

Storing nuclear waste above ground at atomic power plants for as long as six decades may be the best temporary solution in the U.S. for the dangerous refuse, university researchers say.

Leaving spent fuel on the site after the stations close may be the most viable and “safe, short-term option,” University of Michigan researcher Rodney Ewing and Princeton University’s Frank von Hippel wrote in Science. In the longer term, the U.S. will need several geological dumps, von Hippel said in yesterday’s report.

Radioactive waste, which is dangerous for thousands of years, is stored temporarily near the reactors that generate it in countries including Spain. There is no permanent solution in sight. In U.S., which has about 60,000 tons of spent waste from power plants and weapons and produces an additional 2,000 tons each year, the material is now spread among more than 120 sites in 39 states, according to the Energy Department.

A Turning Point for the Shipping Industry?

A meeting this week in London is expected to determine how quickly the global shipping industry will tackle greenhouse gas emissions from tankers, cargo ships and cruise liners that crisscross the oceans.

What is unclear is if the plan will be robust enough to be accepted as part of a broader United Nations climate pact to be presented in December in Copenhagen.

One problem for the International Maritime Organization, which is overseeing the talks in London, is that developing countries within the organization have said they should not be penalized as heavily as rich nations.

Energy policy ‘too wind focused’

The UK must invest more in nuclear and clean coal energy and put less emphasis on wind power if it wants a secure low-carbon future, business leaders say.

The CBI says government energy policy is “disjointed” and it is urging a “more balanced” energy mix.

The current approach means the UK might miss climate change targets, it added.

The government said putting in place a balanced mix of renewables, new nuclear and cleaner fossil fuels was at the heart of its energy policy.

A Solar Land Rush

The Department of the Interior’s move last month to accelerate development of large-scale solar power plants on federal land in six Western states could give an edge to companies that have already staked lease claims in 24 new “solar energy study areas.”

The initiative covers 670,000 acres overseen by the department’s Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. During the solar land rush of the past two years, scores of developers large and small have sought the best solar sites, and the bureau is currently reviewing 158 lease applications for solar projects covering 1.8 million acres.

Study urged on water demands of next-generation feedstocks

Extensive studies are needed to understand the water needs of biofuel production from cellulosic feedstocks or other next-generation sources, federal auditors said in a preliminary report released yesterday.

The effects of corn-based ethanol production on water quantity and quality are well understood, the Government Accountability Office report says, but less is known about next-generation feedstocks that have not been grown on a commercial scale.

“There is little information on the cumulative water, nutrient and pesticide needs of these crops, and it is not yet known what agricultural practices will actually be used to cultivate these feedstocks on a commercial scale,” the report says.

The Challenge for Green Energy: How To Store Excess Electricity (report)

For decades, “grid parity” has been the Holy Grail for alternative energy. The rap from critics was that technologies like wind and solar could not compete, dollar-for-dollar, with conventional electricity sources, such as coal and nuclear, without large government tax breaks or direct subsidies. But suddenly, with rapid technological advances and growing economies of manufacturing scale, wind power is now nearly at grid parity “” meaning it costs roughly the same to generate electricity from wind as it does from coal. And the days when solar power attains grid parity may be only a half-decade away.

So with grid parity now looming, finding ways to store millions of watts of excess electricity for times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine is the new Holy Grail. And there are signs that this goal “” the day when large-scale energy storage becomes practical and cost-effective “” might be within reach, as well. Some technologies that can store sizeable amounts of intermittent power are already deployed. Others, including at least a few with great promise, lie somewhere over the technological horizon.

Climate Change May Spell Demise Of Key Salt Marsh Constituent

Global warming may exact a toll on salt marshes in New England, but new research shows that one key constituent of marshes may be especially endangered.

Pannes are waterlogged, low-oxygen zones of salt marshes. Despite the stresses associated with global warming, pannes are “plant diversity hotspots,” according to Keryn Gedan, a graduate student and salt marsh expert at Brown University. At least a dozen species of plants known as forbs inhabit these natural depressions, Gedan said. The species include the purple flower-tipped plants Limonium nashii (sea lavender), the edible plant Salicornia europaea (pickleweed) and Triglochin maritima, a popular food for Brent and Canada geese as well as ducks and other migratory waterfowl.

23 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for July 13: 6,700-page report by world leaders concludes that climate change means “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse”

  1. paulm says:

    Duh!

    (and there is peak oil too!)

  2. Civilization triage.

  3. “Another idea is to create a network of small, energy-dense batteries in tens of millions of homes. Under such a “distributed storage” scheme, utility computers could coordinate electricity flows over a “smart grid” that continually communicates with — and adjusts the flow of power to and from — local batteries. This would even include batteries in future plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles.”

    Note that they are talking about batteries without cars wrapped around them as well as batteries with cars wrapped around them. So which is better:

    – keep our current level of auto-dependency, store the power in our car batteries, use most of the power to run our cars, pull power from the grid to run our appliances and lighting.

    – reduce our level of auto-dependency by shifting to more energy-efficient forms of transportation, store the power in batteries in our basements, so we pull less power from the grid to run our appliances and lighting.

    If we could get our automobile use down to European levels, it would free up huge amounts of energy for more useful purposes than driving.

  4. Jeff Huggins says:

    SIX of SEVEN, and The Media

    As someone helpfully pointed out yesterday here, according to the latest Fortune list, SIX of the seven largest companies in the world are international oil companies!

    SIX of seven!

    (As a side note, in the past, I’ve had job offers from three of them, including the largest two, and I worked for number five. Exxon wanted me to work in its “Prudhoe Bay Unit Project Management Group” — ring a bell? — and Shell wanted me to work for them in New Orleans.)

    In any case, the media need to be MUCH more responsible in focusing on this, i.e., on global warming, and on the SIX of SEVEN thing, and on closely-related matters, period.

    It is CLEAR that The New York Times itself is doing an incredibly insufficient and irresponsible job on this issue, given the issue’s importance and urgency.

    If they don’t change, and fast, it will be time to start using the word “shame” with fully appropriate clarity and confidence, based in fact, as in “shame on you, New York Times.”

    The word does have meaning, and important meaning, and (in this case) it can be supported by plentiful facts. I don’t use it lightly. But, it’s just about time to use it.

    So, please please people, DO SOMETHING.

    Jeff

  5. paulm says:

    CanWill develop nations weather the climate chaos?

    Cracked soil and cloudless skies have fuelled fears that 2009 could become etched in the minds of farmers as one of the worst recorded droughts in recent history.
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/07/06/f-prairies-drought.html

    Even more troubling is the fact that a severe dry spell could follow so closely after the last drought, in 2001-02, that cost the Canadian economy $5.8 billion and was one of Canada’s most expensive natural disasters.

    …two major droughts in a decade is a “disconcerting” indication that climate change prediction models could be right – that the worst is yet to come.

    Six of the top 10 costliest disasters in Canadian history have been droughts, and their effects spread far beyond the agricultural sector. It can take decades for the land to fully recover.

    “In addition to that, you start to lose your infrastructure, your truckers and feed mills and auction marts and what not,”

    “Of course, there’s only so much you can do with a lack of water. Nobody can cope very well without water,” he notes wryly.

  6. Rick Covert says:

    I’ve seen World War II metaphors backfire. I’m in favor of them because that is the level of activity that is called for. It has been turned against Al Gore in one article from the LA Times titled, “Al Gore Likens Global Warming to Nazi Threat.” http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/07/al-gore-likens-global-warming-to-nazi-threat.html

    There was a link to YouTube of a Faux News link. Of course they couldn’t resist the urge to repeat the mantra, “…but some scientsits we’ve air’d claim the earth is on a cooling trend,” or something to that effect.

  7. Rick Covert says:

    Maybe that last line should have been written, “…but some scientists we erred..”

  8. M Ryan Hess says:

    I fully agree with your criticism of the Apollo Project analogy. As with you, my first thought was, “no, this has to be more like WWII.” The government needs to insert itself into the economy and retool industry like FDR did to turn a pacifist nation into a victorious military power.

    More on my blog: http://tenminuteactivist.com/wordpress

  9. Mike#22 says:

    Chapter 9 of State of the Future 2009 is on line here:

    http://www.millennium-project.org/SOF-2009/Chapter%209_1-ES-scanning.pdf

    From page 7 of 852 pages:

    Weather pattern changes observed now in some parts of the world were not expected until 2020, and “worst case” scenarios are already becoming reality. There is high agreement that it is “unlikely” the world would manage to limit warming to 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels. Most experts estimate a temperature rise of 3–4°C (5.4–7.2°F) by the end of the century, while an average 6°C (10.8°F) is not ruled out. Due to the physiological limits of the human body, temperature rise by 7°C (12.6°F) over pre-industrial levels would render many parts of the globe uninhabitable, a 5°C (9°F) global warming over present values might reduce human population to 1 billion, while 10°C (18°F) would encompass most of today’s population.

  10. lizardo says:

    First, I have been muttering about the need to have grid charged (as well as PV etc charged) batteries for the individual customer. For some remote applications it might be cheaper for the utility to come and swap out the batteries than to run new lines???

    But Joe, there was a recent news story that blew me away that I haven’t seen you mention, or seen in the news round ups, or in fact in the news, period. This is about the new study saying the amount of frozen carbon/methane etc. in the permafrost may be/is twice what previously estimated.

    “We now estimate the deposits contain over 1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere,” said Charles Tarnocai of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the study’s lead author.

    [if current = 385 ppm, 3 X = 1155!! and that’s just the carbon, the methane is even more potent, so if it all melted and emitted, that alone gets us to 6 or 7 degrees C or more??]

    Original story
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090630132005.htm

    Via google news I only found hits to this story on something called softpedia, and on redorbit.
    Yes, NY Times, shame on you. Too bad.

  11. paulm says:

    Sounds like Lovelock wrote that!

    We are so screwed!

  12. paulm says:

    Some people just don’t get it!

    We will protect air travel for the masses
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/13/miliband-air-travel-emissions

    Miliband said the government was determined to ensure that airline travel remains affordable for ordinary people.

    “Where I disagree with other people on aviation is if you did 80% cuts across the board, as some people have called for on aviation, you would go back to 1974 levels of flying,” he said. “I don’t want to have a situation where only rich people can afford to fly.”

  13. Mike#22 says:

    Paulm writes: “Sounds like Lovelock wrote that! We are so screwed”

    If you were referring to the Millineum Project report, then, I say, NOT.

    We drive out of this swamp. Starting with W-M in 2009/2010.

  14. paulm says:

    Yes, I was referring to your post #7, mike.

    The problem is we are seeing major climate chaos well before 2C. By the time we get there this world is going to be a very different place.

    If for instance the North American wheat farms collapse due to drought (just look at Canada now) and when the water situation in Asia worsens, which is already happening at an accelerated pace, then it looks like Lovelock is the more like outcome.

  15. Leland Palmer says:

    The main problem with our current technology is that most industrial and social activities are carbon positive, to a greater or lesser degree.

    “Clean energy” technologies seek to become carbon neutral, but in practice are somewhat carbon positive.

    We need carbon negative energy generation, such as combining biofuels with carbon capture and sequestration. Done on a massive enough scale, for example by seizing and retrofitting every coal fired power plant in the world, we could become a worldwide carbon negative society and start putting billions of tons of carbon from the industrial revolution back underground. Combined with massive replanting and reforestation efforts, perhaps by bombardment from the air, it looks like we could be back to preindustrial levels of CO2 by 2050 or so.

    “Clean coal” is also somewhat carbon positive. If the technology of “clean coal” was applied to biofuels, “clean coal” power plants could become carbon negative power plants.

    Carbon negative energy processes can have a huge synergistic effect on the whole climate problem, because they simultaneously displace fossil fuel use, put carbon back underground, generate useful electricity, dispose of organic wastes before they can decay and produce methane or CO2, and can be managed to minimize the impact of wildfires.

    One embodiment of a carbon negative energy system would be to retrofit existing coal plants to biochar fuel, oxyfuel combustion, a topping cycle like HIPPS, and deep injection of the resulting nearly pure stream of CO2 into deep saline aquifers or basalt deposits, for storage or mineral carbonation. The enhanced efficiency from the higher temperature oxyfuel combustion and the topping cycle could pay for the energy required to cryogenically separate oxygen from air and for the compression of the CO2 for deep injection.

    Most coal fired power plants are located on rivers. Indiana, for example, has numerous large coal plants located on large rivers such as the Ohio and Wabash rivers. Indiana is also hugely endowed with waste biomass from crop residues. Crop residues could be carbonized into biochar and part of the biochar returned to the soil to build soil carbon while more biochar is transported by truck or rail to the coal plants, or taken down to the rivers and floated down to the coal fired power plants on barges.

    Transforming biomass to pelletized biochar (aka biocarbon or biocoal) makes it as energy dense and transportable as coal, but much cleaner. Biochar could be transported by truck, by rail, or by river barge to its final destination. Because coal fired power plants are generally located on rivers (for cooling water), the entire river tributary system upstream of the coal plant becomes a natural biochar transport network, and all of the land area upstream within driving distance of a navigable tributary becomes potential biochar collection area for the coal plant.

    Biochar can be burned as a 100% replacement for coal in existing coal plants, and could also be burned as a 100% replacement for coal in coal plants retrofitted for oxyfuel combustion, enhanced efficiency via a topping cycle, and deep injection of CO2.

    We should not be satisfied with “clean energy”, IMO. We need carbon negative energy technologies.

    If we do this, we can go back to driving our plug in hybrid SUVs, IMO, and stop worrying.

    If we don’t go massively carbon negative, we are likely toast, IMO.

  16. Leland Palmer says:

    In Situ Carbonation of Perodotite:

    Peridotite carbonation can be accelerated via
    drilling, hydraulic fracture, input of purified CO2 at elevated pressure,
    and, in particular, increased temperature at depth. After an
    initial heating step, CO2 pumped at 25 or 30 °C can be heated by
    exothermic carbonation reactions that sustain high temperature
    and rapid reaction rates at depth with little expenditure of energy.
    In situ carbonation of peridotite could consume >1 billion tons of
    CO2 per year in Oman alone, affording a low-cost, safe, and
    permanent method to capture and store atmospheric CO2.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/45/17295.full.pdf+html

  17. Leland Palmer says:

    Carbon Dioxide Sequestration in Deep Sea Basalt:

    Injection into deep-sea basalt formations
    provides unique and significant advantages over other potential
    geological storage options, including (i) vast reservoir
    capacities sufficient to accommodate centuries-long U.S. production
    of fossil fuel CO2 at locations within pipeline distances to
    populated areas and CO2 sources along the U.S. west coast; (ii)
    sufficiently closed water-rock circulation pathways for the chemical
    reaction of CO2 with basalt to produce stable and nontoxic
    (Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+)CO3 infilling minerals, and (iii) significant risk
    reduction for post-injection leakage by geological, gravitational,
    and hydrate-trapping mechanisms. CO2 sequestration in established
    sediment-covered basalt aquifers on the Juan de Fuca plate
    offer promising locations to securely accommodate more than a
    century of future U.S. emissions, warranting energized scientific
    research, technological assessment, and economic evaluation to
    establish a viable pilot injection program in the future.

  18. Gail says:

    Yes, paulm, and Alaska is burning. Sarah left it in flames, literally.

  19. Leland Palmer says:

    Lovelock’s scenario is often spoken of as the ultimate bad news scenario.

    I don’t think it is, and neither does Stephen Hawking.

    Hawking, in the documentary “The Eleventh Hour” speaks of a methane catastrophe which could overturn the self-regulating properties of the whole climate system, and result in returning the surface of the earth to a condition resembling the surface of Venus, with a huge atmosphere full of carbon in the form of methane and CO2, no free oxygen, and surface of temperatures of hundreds of degrees C.

    Lovelock himself pointed out, in his work for NASA, that the atmosphere of the earth is far from thermodynamic equilibrium, and that this is due to the presence of life. This thermodynamic anomaly, due to the effects of life on the atmosphere, is a signal that life is present, potentially detectable spectroscopically at astronomical distances. Take away the effects of life, and the atmosphere would revert to a state resembling the surface of Venus.

    Lovelock was soft-pedaling the truth, IMO. The truth is, we may have already ignited a vicious cycle of positive feedback effects that may eventually destroy the biosphere, and all life on Earth, within a couple of centuries.

    With luck, we may be on the path to Lovelock’s second stable state of the Earth’s climate, with temperatures of 15 degrees C or so higher than today. With luck, this is the case.

    Without luck, with a sufficiently large and fast methane catastrophe, we are screwed, the climate system will sail right through Lovelock’s second stable state, and go on to Venusian conditions. Without luck, we are screwed and it is already too late to do anything about it.

    We need to go to carbon negative energy generation ASAP, and hope desperately this is enough. :(

    http://11thhouraction.com/node/2090

    “One of the most serious consequences of our actions is global warming brought about by raising levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels,” explains Stephen Hawking, the revered Cambridge professor of Mathematics, theoretical physicist, and author. “The danger is that the temperature increase might become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already. Drought and deforestation are reducing the amount of carbon dioxide recycled into the atmosphere and the warming of the seas may trigger the release of large quantities of CO2 trapped on the ocean floor. In addition, the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets will reduce the amount of solar energy reflected back into space and so increase the temperature further. We don’t know where the global warming will stop, but the worst case scenario is that earth would become like its sister planet, Venus, with a temperature of 250 centigrade, and raining sulfuric acid. The human race could not survive in those conditions.”

  20. lizardo says:

    My comment: Re the UK thing. As a British expat (as they say) I have to say that to ask them to give up cheap flights at this point would be like making Americans give up their cars or air conditioning. The fact is that for European destinations they could get their a lot more easily by train etc. than Americans could take train vacations, but with periodic summers of virtually no sunshine the British have become accustomed to not only sun-filled vacations by air, but frequent ones (get more vacation time) and you don’t have to be in the highest paying job to have a second house in Spain, or Italy or wherever. Plus now it’s routine for Brits to take vacations in ever more exotic spots, the Maldives, Thailand, Australia, you name it.

    Any political party that tried to deprive the British of this indulgence would be IMO out of power for a half century at least. I think that the only thing that they could do is to gradually increase a carbon tariff and to develop a viable offset program IN ADDITION.

    While we feel here that our political system tends to lag behind public opinion (e.g. climate action, health care), in Britain the problem is that the political system is overly sensitive to public opinion, and periodic special elections due to death, and other factors, plus local elections are all seen as a referendum on how the guv in general (and prime minister in particular) are doing at any given moment in time.

  21. Jon Houghton says:

    It saddens me to leave a critical comment in this first letter. Nevertheless, the headline “…world leaders conclude that climate change ‘will cause civilization to collapse” approaches GW Bush levels for scientific clarity. But true to Climate Progress’ purpose, the misconstrued headline quote appears just below: “The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, ‘billions will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse.'” Perhaps a sabbath day of rest?

    Blesings,
    Brother Jon

    [JR: Your comment is a bit too cryptic for me to understand. I think the intern just took the headline from the article. Your weblink is broken.]

  22. Jon Houghton says:

    Joe,

    Cryptic? Sorry. I used the article quote from below your interns’ altered headline to demonstrate that the report’s deleted words “much of” matter. The US Army, etc, did NOT approve a 6,700 page report saying all human civilization shall soon collapse, as CP encourages its readers to believe. Indeed, such Bush-style exaggeration makes the report estimate of two billion people dying almost sound trivial.

    Hope this makes my comment clear. Oh, a Sabbath day of rest suggests that perhaps the CP crew could not work on Saturday or Sunday. That might help editors to detect intern misquotes; we loyal readers could also use one complete day to review your week’s news and reports.

    Thank you for producing such an inspired blog,

    Jon Houghton

    [JR: Thanks, I think. But I can’t fault the interns for using the same exact headline as the UK’s Independent newspaper. I don’t think the headline is Bush-style exaggeration. It could have been better, yes — and I’ll even fix it. But I really think the distance between “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse” and “Climate change ‘will cause civilisation to collapse’ ” is far smaller than the distance between the latter statement and what the majority of the public, media, opinion makers, and policymakers understand climate change means.

    And your blog link doesn’t exist!]