Weekend Open Thread

What should Climate Hawks do now?

Here’s a topic for this weekend’s open thread:  What should Climate Hawks do now that it’s clear serious federal action on either climate or clean energy is unlikely to happen for years if not a decade or more?

Can that grim forecast be changed?  If not, what are the useful messages and actions at the national and local level.  I’ll do at least one post on this next week with my thoughts, but I’d like to hear yours first.

As always, please post links to interesting weekend news/links.  Or opine on whatever else is on your mind.  Or suggest topical topics that CP should cover in the coming week.  Or link to some jokes and cartoons — we need those more than ever now.

214 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. Sorry, no joke to begin with (will look for something later): October CO2 in the atmosphere (387.18 ppm), measured at Mauna Loa, shows rapid year-on-year growth: (+2.80 ppm):

  2. David Smith says:

    Last week I commented and got some responses to a variation on a boycott. I personally think this approach might be easier to implement and more effective.During the week I gave it some thought and did a little research and following is an update;

    Concept – Rather than picking a single company as the target of a boycott in the environment where all players are mostly bad, pick a single company that is least offensive to the cause of abatement of AGW and purchase all products from that company. If one focuses on the supermajors (6 companies) this effort would punish five and support one. A successful effort might be able to have impact on the target company in terms of environmental policies and decisions. We could communicate with the company and explain why we are doing what we are doing and what are expectations of their behavior is and that if that behavior does not occur we will remove our support after a set period of time and move to number 2 on the list.

    Which company to target is a difficult decision and I am open to suggestions but it seemed to be between Chevron and Dutch Royal Shell. They seem to be equally less bad. I prefer Chevron as an American company. I considered small independent companies but decided that a single large company would be more appropriate for a national effort. I am assuming that there would be a Chevron outlet in easy reach of a majority of the population. I just discovered that there are no Chevron outlets in Raleigh, NC where I live. (For me, Shell would be a better choice) This is a work in progress.

    It would work like this;

    1. Assemble small group with diverse skills, 5 persons, to form the core of the effort and direct its progress. This is strictly grassroots.
    2. Begin public promotion of the effort
    3. Each participant signs a pledge of participation.
    4. When 100,000 persons pledge, begin action and communicate with Target Company.
    5. Participation target; 1,000,000 persons by month 6
    6. With each purchase of fuel, send record of purchase transaction to effort headquarters and copy to supermajors company of choice.
    7. Monthly review of progress.
    8. 6 month evaluation of company response with potential re-target.
    9. Repeat 6 & 7 above.

    1,000,000 persons participating generate approximately $200,000,000 of purchasing per month. That’s something; More for our target, a loss for their competitors.

    Ideas? Suggestions? Support? This doesn’t solve all problems. Just the one that, for now, we still need to by gas and other petroleum products for transportation. I am just trying to help move things forward. I am willing to participate in accomplishing this boycott. Questions and support to

  3. Dan says:

    What should climate hawks do now? Mr. Romm’s question is timely. Climate hawks must recognize that the approach of the past two decades has been a failure. The policy of seeking a global master solution covering all causes of greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., the Kyoto Protocol and its hoped for successors)has not worked. Either countries did not join up (e.g. USA), or they ignored their obligations (e.g. Canada). What are the solutions going forward? No one knows the answer, but several approaches have been suggested. Example: Instead of treating the causes of GHG emissions together in one single international treaty, approach each cause separately in a separate international treaty. Land use practice policies are fundamentally different from policies controlling CO2 emissions from industrial sources, so they need to be dealt with using different policy mechanisms. Treaties focusing on single causes may be more politically possible. Example: If an international treaty is not possible, regional agreements may be a better way to move forward. Example: Above all, a penalty mechanism is needed to penalize GHG “free riders” (probably the greatest shortcoming of the Kyoto Protocol). One possible penalty mechanism is a carbon import tariff which punishes GHG free riders in the international export market. If a carbon import tariff mechanism was widespread, countries like Canada, the USA, and China would rush to lower their GHG emissions in order to make their export industries more competitive in the global marketplace.

  4. What should we do? We should do what Gandhi and his fellow Indians did, what Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers did, what Lec Walesa and the Poles and so many other courageous people around the world did: nonviolent direct action. Not to the exclusion of other political and personal action, but we must take bolder and more forthright action to create a political tipping point sufficient to match the ecological tipping points we are fast approaching. What was that definition of insanity Einstein gave us?

  5. Lore says:

    It’s an interesting question. The fight must always go on, but if we were to believe the warnings of more than half a decade ago that we only had ten years to make serious strides in mitigation, it may now be time to start including some posts on serious solutions towards adaptation.

  6. Doug M. says:

    Here’s an idea that just popped into my head yesterday: what if the major cities of the U.S., individually, passed requirements that everyone votes, like Australia has? Or, rather, levy a new tax that is waived or refunded when one votes.

    Not sure how the collection of that tax would work, but if it’s possible, it would greatly increase voter turnout. Higher turnout already favors progressives in general, but if only major cities like SF, NY, LA etc. enact such a tax, it gives an even greater advantage. Conservative areas will naturally resist any new tax for quite some time, too…

  7. Bob Doublin says:

    We are talking about the very livability of the one and only planet we have available to us.

    Reread our Malcolm X: By any means necessary.
    Feb,2011 publication date: Deep Green Resistance.
    The denizens of the Beltway ARE NOT the default position for humanity
    We are talking about the very livability (for all species) of the one and only planet we have available to us.

  8. BB says:

    I think a lot of those folks are going to simply change tacks and join the lucrative world of lobbying. If they know that nothing ‘real’ is going to happen for a decade or more, might as well hit K-street and make some major cash trying to do the same thing (advance climate legislation).

    Kerry’s main climate guru has already decided to do just that.

  9. John C says:

    I think the key is to keep the emphasis on energy independence, jobs, and the true cost of dirty energy. If climate change is seen as the issue, then it is susceptible to denial, obfuscation and postponement.

    For instance, for every oil executive that testifies that EPA restrictions are ruining his business, there should be a wind farmer extolling the virtues of turning and earning.

    There should be an accounting of the true total cost of the BP oil spill. With emphasis that the people that bore the brunt of the cost beyond the BP payments were businesses and state and local tax payers.

    Focus on the benefits of conservation. Insulation installed in your home creates demand for products (insulation, windows, etc), jobs (installers), increases the value of the home, and provides long term cost savings, while keeping money out the hands of those who would do us harm (Iran, Venezuela, Canada :) ) , and C02 out of the air.

    I’m afraid in the short term there will have to be compromise in Government. I think we can still move forward, albeit slowly, but Climate Hawks will have to dig in if there are moves to roll things back.

  10. Doug M. says:

    BB: problem with that is that the really major cash won’t support the kinds of lobbyists we’re hoping for…

  11. Dave Romm says:

    Conservatives believe lies and don’t believe the truth. So to stir them to action, let’s start a few rumors:

    Shari’a Law requires the burning of coal.

    George Soros made his money in offshore oil drilling.

    Illegal immigrants are against solar power, since they want to steal our jobs.

    It’s harder to hide illegal immigrants in hybrid or electric cars, since the heat signature is different.

    China is leading the world in new environmental technology and will soon replace the US as the world leader in science and job creation. (Oh wait, that’s true… won’t fly…)

  12. David Smith says:

    Lore @ #4 – Respectfully The problem with adaption as an active principle is that you can’t adapt before you know to what you are adapting. Trying to adapt to even the 10 greatest risks is impossible. To me adaption is code for stop worrying about the cause while buying into the principle that our wonderful technology can solve all problems. Our wonderful technology is the cause of this problem.

  13. Tom Carlson says:

    As the Maryland campaign director at the Chesapeake Climate Action network, I work with a coalition of climate hawks poised to move strongly forward at the state level as we determine the best next steps nationally.

    Since this year’s failure to pass comprehensive climate legislation in the senate, a number of groups and individuals have discussed the need for state level action ( At the state level, we can make real gains in renewable energy, emissions reductions, and tangibly show that climate solutions work. Thank God California’s AB 32 law will continue.

    In Maryland, we also have strong climate laws on the books, including a 20% RPS by 2022 and an emissions reduction goal of 25% below 2006 levels by 2020.

    To meet these goals, action is still needed.

    As an ocean state, offshore wind power currently has the highest potential for us to generate clean, renewable energy. That’s why we’re part of a strong coalition calling on the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation that will bring us offshore wind parks as early as 2015. Offshore wind will bring Maryland reliable jobs (thousands in construction, operations, and maintenance), reliable energy (Europe’s had offshore wind working since 1991 and we could get a third of our power in the region from the resource), reliable prices (we can lock in the price over 25 years as unlike fossil fuels, the wind is free), and a more reliable climate (reducing heat-trapping energy generation). It’s understandable why the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the National Wildlife Federation, Environment Maryland, The Sierra Club, the Maryland LCV, AND the United Steelworkers in Maryland are calling together for offshore wind power!

    If you live in Maryland or in the area, here are two ways you can help us win:

    1)Attend Wind Vision 2010 in Annapolis on December 4th: a Maryland citizen’s conference on offshore wind. We’ll hear from inspiring leaders (like Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, John Passacantando, former director of Greenpeace USA, and CCAN’s inspiring leader, Mike Tidwell), and discuss how we can all help make it happen for Maryland in 2011. RSVP today (at!
    2)Take a photo for our “Maryland: Got Wind?” Photo petition! We’ll be sharing them with your state representatives. Find out how to do it at our website ( and check out Maryland’s own super-hero, Wonder Wind, fighting for wind all over the state (!

    On the national level, while things look bleak, we must find a way forward. There is a glimmer of hope for compromise that must at least be explored. Tom Daschle talks about the need for congressional compromise in an op-ed today and mentions climate change as one of the national challenges we must address ( We must also look to innovative solutions. CCAN has endorsed the cap and dividend model (, which has bipartisan support. While Joe has criticized this proposal, he did encourage parts of it to be included in a comprehensive bill (see the last sentence: “I suggest those three figure out how to take the good things in the CLEAR Act and incorporate them in into a final bipartisan climate and clean energy bill” at We must continue to develop innovative policy solutions that may garner bipartisan support; cap and dividend could be part of a new solution.

    Finally, it is clear that we must do more on the grassroots. We clearly cannot rely on our elected leaders or the media to carry the entire load in terms of creating a national debate on climate ( Climate hawk groups and individuals must put in the grassroots organizing that is necessary ( I look forward to discussing and being part of this movement as we move forward.

  14. Leif says:

    My approach is to start focusing on the advantages of renewable energy in the National energy portfolio. Tie it in with all the other resource shortages where possible. The National Security issues as specified by the Military. After all there are a number of issues that may well rear their ugly head before climatic disruption manifests itself in the deniers eyes. Fresh Water shortages. Food distribution and shortages. Economic survival in a shrinking economy. Etc. All things that can be addressed within the “comfort zone” of the anti-science folks and whose real solution is sustainable energy and climatic mitigation in the long run. As pragmatist we like to “cut to the bone” but it is too big a bite for a segment of society.

    As I write this it begins to look like Obama’s adjenda. What can we agree on and let’s solve that.

    Force the FOX Folks to come up with a whole new set of “Facts”

  15. Anne says:

    If you ascribe to the practice of working with what you got, I’d say it’s pretty much all up to the states now. We have regional cap and trade programs either up and running or in the works, RGGI being the best example. We have ARRA money in the states that is still subsidizing low-carbon energy sources, but it’s running out fast. Generally speaking, Governors and Mayors are out ahead of the feds on the climate issue, and until we have a more functional cast of characters in the White House and on the Hill, we’ll have to work on the patchwork quilt of local and state and regional initiatives. Grassroots! Power to the people. For now, it’s what’s working, even if not perfectly.

  16. Greg Gorman says:

    I am going to rephrase your question: What should climate hawks do to invigorate federal action to move to a “Clean Energy Economy”?

    1. We need to continue to emphasize benefits of energy efficiency and sustainability in terms of producing jobs; cost reductions for families, businesses, and governments; and improved health and safety of our citizens. Recall, U.S. National Academies’ “Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use”. October 19, 2009 found fossil fuel emissions in the United States resulted in over $120 Billion of health costs. It recommended policies to reduce fossil fuel emissions with are estimated health benefits averages $49 per ton of carbon dioxide versus the cost of $30 per ton. health cost savings alone justifies consideration of Climate-Energy legislation.

    2. Let the Science speak for itself. The key conclusions of the US Global Climate Change Research Program: Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow Crop and livestock production will be challenged and threats to human health will increase. Recognize that first stage in change implementation is denial that there is a need for change. The anticipated investigations are an opportunity to educate. Let the American public discern the truth.

    3. Take what they give us. There seems to be support for continued research in energy fields as well as support for deployment of energy efficiency measures. Research alone will not solve the problem, but it will develop a book shelf of solutions and alternative paths. Efficiency measures and incentives may be sufficient to meet short term carbon reduction objectives.

    4. Emphasize the dangers of continued reliance on fossil fuel economy. While everyone was watching the disaster in the Gulf, it seemed overlooked that there were major infrastructure failures along many oil and gas pipelines. When you consider a price rise of oil in the past 10 years, why isn’t anybody citing this as the reason for the recession? The prices for coal, oil, and gas will continue to rise as we approach peak production.

  17. Jonah says:

    Start moving north and inland.

  18. Jeff Huggins says:

    Positive Societal Change

    As always, I’ll try to mention several (or more) ideas as the weekend progresses.

    For one thing, humans are very social beings (in the scientific sense of the phrase, i.e., not necessarily meaning that we’re always nice, outgoing, and so forth), and we DO gain a very great deal of our “deepest”, or at least our most motivating, understanding from seeing what other people do and say, and in particular from what we see people do and say IN PERSON — in good-old-fashion three dimensions.

    What I mean is this: If I send you a written letter, e-mail message, or blog comment expressing deep concern over something, then depending on what your state-of-mind already is, my letter or message or comment may have very little impact on you, or it may only have modest impact. It will only “sink in” so much, if at all. If it hits a nerve such that you agree with me deeply, that probably means that you were already thinking somewhat the same way, or that we were already “in tune” in some sense.

    In contrast (at least in terms of degree), if you see me in person, deeply concerned about the same matter, and you see my anxious or concerned face and hear my voice as I speak, and if I look you in the eyes, and if you see my gestures, and if you realize that I must really think the matter is important, because I’m standing with you (or taking to the streets) to talk about it rather than merely writing a message, THEN my “overall communication” will sink much deeper and be much more likely to have a genuine impact on you. A GREAT DEAL of the overall communication comes from things other than the words (as if they were printed) themselves. And that’s not only true in terms of substance. It’s true — and even more true — in terms of how “important” the receiver interprets the point to be, how sincere, and so forth; and thus the experience influences how well and how deeply the receiver “digests” the overall point.

    In other words, as helpful as they are, the internet and e-mail and magazine articles can only go so far, and they are good for some aspects of the movement but not at all good, or sufficient, for others. They are helpful and (in these modern times) often necessary, but they are NOT NEARLY SUFFICIENT.

    Indeed, other than for matters of pure “information and education” (e.g., conveying some understanding about climate change, some information about a potential solution, etc.), and other than serving as a communications tool among people already in a network (sharing information about events, times, and dates, plans, and helping them keep connected), the internet is less effective for many or most other uses relative to the regular efforts of people in three dimensions, i.e., in the real-life physical world. So, the internet can help me learn something about climate change, and that’s important. It can help me connect with people, most of whom are already like-minded. It can help us plan to meet in front of the White House, or in front of ExxonMobil headquarters, at a given date and time. But it CAN’T do anything to replace, or stand in for, the effectiveness of actually demonstrating in front of the White House or in front of ExxonMobil headquarters. Or the effectiveness of actually talking to people about climate change IN PERSON, in your neighborhood. Human communication, and motivation, simply don’t work that way.

    It’s a bit like this: You can’t have genuine sex with a person over the internet, or conceive and have a child over the internet. And you typically can’t convince someone to marry you over the internet (at least not someone of any depth) unless they already know you well from 3-D life. You might agree to meet up and go on a first date, but not get married based on mere messages. And we won’t be able to change society by using the internet only or even by mainly using the internet.

    Things learned and communicated on the internet can’t merely stay on the internet and in our heads and typing fingers. If they’re going to have an impact on politicians, ExxonMobil, and the views of most people in the public, the things we learn and communicate on the internet will have to manifest themselves in the form of real actions — and Big Ones! — in 3-D life, i.e., on the streets, in the neighborhoods, in front of the headquarters of companies we dislike, and so forth. When it comes to societal change, Action speaks far louder than words. Indeed, in some senses, life IS action.

    I don’t mean to hurt the feelings of people who think that the internet is God’s gift to modern life and that it can handle all tasks and cure all ills. But thinking that the internet, as a tool and medium, can (or should be able to) accomplish the whole task is probably even more misinformed than thinking that “the invisible hand” of the “free marketplace, without any government involvement, will cure all ills and tuck us in at night. Let’s get BOTH of those ideas out of our heads. The internet is not THE answer. Instead, it is a great way to share learning and to agree to meet, in person, for a demonstration on Tuesday, or to agree on a company to boycott and a plan to achieve the boycott.

    This is another way of saying that we will all have to get off our “butts” and keyboards, for a sizable portion of our efforts, if we’re going to be effective. I’m not using the word critically. People on this blog have generally not been lazy, I’m sure, and have been doing a great job. My only point is one about the medium. Just as we can’t expect that the invisible hand will cure all ills, we also can’t expect that societal change can be accomplished only, or even mainly, via the internet. It just won’t happen. IF, two years from now, we can still only manage to accomplish events that draw 300 or 400 people to any single location, that will be one sure sign that we will have failed.

    OK, that’s it for now. More later. I look forward to seeing all the ideas.



  19. Lore says:

    David Smith #9:

    …“Respectfully The problem with adaption as an active principle is that you can’t adapt before you know to what you are adapting.”….

    I believe we have plenty of studies and projections on what the effects of future warming will be, not only as to how much, but also as to where.

    …“To me adaption is code for stop worrying about the cause while buying into the principle that our wonderful technology can solve all problems. Our wonderful technology is the cause of this problem.”…

    I think what you’re saying here is that somehow this would be buying into a Bjorn Lomborg version of adaptation. I’m not suggesting the same attitude at all and climate engineering is certainly the last solution we want to fall back on. However, by not preparing for the what may end up being inevitable, given the present trend and time, then we become no better then the deniers we criticize and possibly doom many more to an unpleasant future.

  20. Wally says:

    Let your elected officials know, even the ones in denial, that you want something done about climate change and you want it NOW!

    the “Fee and Dividend” approach is the nation’s best shot – consider:

    1. Money in the hands of the American people
    2. An easy transition away from coal and oil
    3. A real step toward Energy independence
    4. Lots of jobs
    5. An end to the recession
    6. America can reassert its leadership in the world of clean energy (China and Germany are three furlongs ahead of us at the moment)
    7. A future for the kids

    None of the above will happen if America doesn’t act NOW –

    Many aspects of the status quo are disgraceful – poverty, pollution, the loss of civility in public discourse, dreadful television programming in general and the absence of useful, factual information specifically – and the future, at the moment, is something to be feared. All this needs to change – and We , not Obama, are the agents of the change needed.

  21. Scrooge says:

    I think we have to start picking our battles. Not just the battle between America and the kochheads teabags. We know that co2 is the problem but that’s to complex for conservatives to understand. We know eventually New Orleans, Miami. Cocoa Beach, etc will be under water but that could take 100 years so its to long for conservatives to grasp. Hurricanes would change some minds but with the burmuda high setting up further north the southern states may be spared. I think that with wet bulb temps increasing we will have deaths in the deep south but that to will be intermittent. My opinion is that droughts. food shortages, famine, will start within the next 25 years in the US and Europe. I hope I’m wrong but that’s what I get looking at NCAR drought models So let’s build more fences around AZ OK and NM. Conservatives understand fences.

  22. Adrian says:

    Unfortunately, owing to the effects we are already seeing, adaptation for resilience (not further tampering) must go hand in hand with other response components such as community organizing, education, and direct non-violent action.

    I posted this yesterday, in response to the Karl Rove thing, but I’ll post it again here, because it chimes in with what Anne #11 and Jeff H. #14 are saying about getting away from the electronic media and doing what we can where we are.

    Many of us are doing something–response to climate change is gaining mass, I believe.

    I went to the Chicago Wilderness Conference yesterday and it was heartening to listen to the scientists, educators and ecologists discuss climate change data, and more importantly, to hear of the education and ecosystem projects going on in the Chicago region. People going into the neighborhoods and schools, working through community centers and with policymakers. The atmosphere was one of “the debate is settled, this is what’s working, we haven’t much time, let’s do more.”

    Then in the evening I went to the first big meeting in my town (partnering with another town) for our citizen-created sustainability plan which explicitly includes reducing emissions, planning landscaping to act as a carbon sink, reducing car use, managing water, accessing alternative energy and so on–all the things we need to be doing. And the village governments are on board with this.

    We can’t wait for our legislature: real change must come from the ground up.

    And I agree with Rick #2: direct non-violent action is called for–but to do that there must be a lot of strong ties and face-to-face networking to help give people the courage to engage in these actions. How about a Climate Change/Energy Policy march on Washington?

  23. Michael T says:

    The General Public: Why Such Resistance?

    “(February 25, 2010) Ben Santer, a research scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, discusses the recent problems with the use of the freedom of information act for non-US citizens to demand complete records, including emails, on scientific research projects. Santer posits that this is a dangerous dilemma that will ultimately inhibit scientific research.”

  24. Erik Ramberg says:

    The event that will have the most dramatic effect for changing the minds of skeptics is the nearly complete melting of the polar ice cap during summer months. This is a consequence of global climate change that you can bank on, and it is very likely to happen on a short time scale (before 2020). The dramatic visual effect will be incontrivertible and anybody who clings to skepticism in the face of this evidence will seem childish.

    Given this, I would highly recommend that there be a coordinated effort from scientists and climate activists to get the message out that climate science is putting up a firm prediction about polar ice volume (don’t use area extent-that isn’t the true measure). If we can’t rally around something so simple to understand, so important in it’s consequences, and so firmly backed up by science, then we should not be in the business of advocacy.

    Explain that this is an inevitability, but that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is not, if we act now. Don’t get tied in knots over paleoclimate reconstruction. That is too complicated and controversial. Explain what is happening NOW.

  25. BB says:


    I’m not exactly sure what you’re getting at here…but it unfortunately strikes me as a bit militant.


    [JR: This was a pretty blatant misrepresentation of what was actually written.]

  26. greg says:

    Improved voting mechanisms could help a lot. The successes of the tea party on November 2 are but a few examples of evidence that third party conservatism may not be as damaging to the republicans as is third party progressivism to the democrats. Convert but a fraction of Nader’s Florida votes to Gore in 2000, and we would had the best president on climate we could ever have hoped for. Why should anyone have to convert their votes? They shouldn’t.

    Instant Runoff Voting (see should be implemented across all elections nationwide. Please read more and spread the word. Support the cause financially. Vote for IRV. The potential to inspire greens to vote without threatening democratic candidates is significant.

  27. Joe says:

    Not sure how many of you know about it, but the “Climate One” podcast (available at the itunes store) is worth checking out, they have extensive archived episodes with some good discussions.

  28. Raul M. says:

    Fla. Had an amazing question on the last
    ballot about the fed defect of a balanced
    buget and taxes. Of course, we all know
    that somehow the gov. Should be at the
    beck and call of wealthy ones who are
    able to pay some heavily so that they
    won’t have to pay much tax for all that
    beck and call. Let’s see somehow we
    were counted as being for a war so
    we could steal oil, yet we beck and call
    to gov. when it happens at the local
    gas station and then we try to say with
    our vote that we shouldn’d be in debt
    anyway. Sorry I’m having trouble with
    this one plus one situation problem.

  29. Lore says:

    “Explain what is happening NOW.”

    If you’ve already have done this, like I have, and get blank stares in return, you soon realize that people and persons in general are not currently in the mood for any further self sacrifice. The recent elections confirm that. They are waiting for their problems to deal with them rather then deal with their problems.

    I think most of what has been suggested so far has already been tried. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    What we need is the “Flintstone” equivalent to aspirin. Where you know, something that is good for you tastes bad and in order to get you to take your medicine you need to make it more palatable.

  30. Yoram Bauman says:

    In Washington State we’re working on a 2011 ballot initiative campaign to adopt a B.C.-style carbon tax:

    More generally, it’s time to experiment and try a variety of different approaches now that federal legislation is dead. More in this post I wrote back in June.

    Good luck to us all!
    Yoram Bauman (“the stand-up economist”)

  31. Jeff Huggins says:

    Positive Societal Change: Three Ingredients — Plus Sweat and Tears!

    In this comment, I’d just like to point out three vital ingredients in “the argument” — the solid intellectual war-chest — that tie together quite well and that are all deeply grounded. In my view, we should all understand ALL of these and how they link together. In particular, the leaders of the movements should understand them.

    First of all, there’s the realization that climate change is real, is mainly caused by human activity, is problematic, and will be increasingly problematic (harmful) as time goes on, if we don’t address the problem quick. No need to go into all that here: Most folks here understand these points well. I’ll call this the reality, or science, of the matter. And of course, 97+ percent of the relevant scientists agree, and virtually ALL of the main, bona fide scientific organizations agree. Indeed, many joint statements have been released to that effect.

    Second of all, there is a VERY important point that is often overlooked and not well understood (but only at first) by most people, but it is plain and obvious once it’s pointed out. In other words, people CAN and DO connect with the reality of this point, when it’s brought to their attention. For lack of a better name, I’ll refer to it here as the “Donald Brown ethics” point. It is this: The fact that it is, or may be, more expensive to stop doing things that harm other people, than to keep doing those things that harm other people, is NOT AT ALL a valid justification or valid excuse to keep doing them. In other words, if I travel from Point A to Point B each day and unjustly step on your toes ten times during the journey, and if it would cost me a dollar more each day to follow a different path (from Point A to Point B) that would not involve stepping on your toes, it’s NOT a valid argument for me to say that I’ll stick to the first path (and continue stepping on your toes) because it would cost me a dollar more each day to change my path. I do not have a right to step on your toes, no matter whether it would cost me a dollar a day more to stop doing so, or ten dollars a day more. My economic calculations do NOT give me a right to harm you, period. Donald Brown has better ways to illustrate the point, and it can be illustrated in all sorts of everyday ways. This is a KEY point to understand in overcoming the many economic arguments that mix up ethical points or overlook very basic ethical points entirely.

    Third of all, there is the point about the cases in which government involvement in “free markets” is justified and necessary, such as in the case of “neighborhood effects” as it’s put in a great passage by Milton Friedman (I quote him because he is the icon economist favored by so many of the people on the “other side” these days):

    The passage is from Friedman’s old and classic book, “Capitalism and Freedom”. In Chapter II, which Friedman titled, “The Role of Government in a Free Society”, in the section called, “Action Through Government on Grounds of Technical Monopoly and Neighborhood Effects”, Friedman writes briefly but clearly about the types of economic problems that DO justify and (in many cases) necessitate government action. In other words, he notes these problems that “free markets”, by themselves, can’t deal with without regulation or firm guidance. Here’s the great passage:

    “A second general class of cases in which strictly voluntary exchange is impossible arises when actions of individuals have effects on other individuals for which it is not feasible to charge or recompense them. This is the problem of ‘neighborhood effects’. An obvious example is the pollution of a stream. The man who pollutes a stream is in effect forcing others to exchange good water for bad. These others might be willing to make the exchange at a price. But it is not feasible for them, acting individually, to avoid the exchange or to enforce appropriate compensation.”

    THESE THREE POINTS fit together very well and can serve to address a great deal of the nonsensical arguments from our opponents, so to speak. The first point is about the reality and the science. The second point is a basic, and vital, point of ethics that allows one to demolish any blind reliance on purely economic calculations that would presume to exclude basic ethical considerations. The third point involves “the man himself” (to our opponents), Milton Friedman, pointing out that government involvement IS both justified and (often) necessary in the case of situations involving “neighborhood effects”. The context in which the quote occurs can be readily understood by looking at the titles of the section of the book, or (better yet, of course) by reading the book. But either way, the point is clear. Friedman is explaining why, in the case of “neighborhood effects”, an unregulated free market cannot handle the task, and public (government) involvement is justified and necessary.

    In addition to these three points, of course, we’ll need the responsible street action and the “sweat and tears”, so to speak. The reasoning and argument alone, while necessary, can’t replace actual action. All ingredients necessary. All hands on deck. All voices in the choir.



  32. dp says:


    1. identify the most job-starved areas.
    2. make a list of big, cheap, specific project proposals like that can put people to work quickly in those troubled areas.
    3. find the money to make the projects happen w/o congress. YESTERDAY.
    4. tell the public big & loud you would have asked congress for the money but getting us back to work building the country’s future is too urgent to let a pack of job-killing polluter lackeys delay it.


    1. assemble all the assessments of the economic & safety threats global warming represents, and the ways fighting it can help us where it counts.
    2. mobilize volunteers by the thousands — as big as a presidential campaign. equip them with the facts & the skills. don’t just memorize, learn to the bone. be ready against every possible objection & insult.
    3. leave no corner of america unaware that fast cuts in carbon pollution are the safer, cheaper choice and a source of new jobs.
    4. don’t be boring.


    1. raise the cash for a big push in detailed building energy audits & basic cheap improvements.
    2. train thousands to do the work WELL.
    3. set up the web site, phone number, and dispatching center needed to handle the volume of interest.
    4. save people money.
    5. make sure it was done right.
    6. store the info on the more costly building improvements for when there’s money to make them happen.

    OPTION D (yeah go for it!)

    1. make a list of all the common myths & mistakes about going green.
    2. prioritize the ones where the facts would save people money or make people money, personally or as a community.
    3. hunt those myths down! be merciless, make them cry! make them history!


    1. build AND EQUIP a network to make every town & business sector ready for life in 2030.
    2. DON’T get bogged down, focus on key cost effective changes and make them happen.
    3. DO make wish lists of work that could be done w/ a little more time, money, or help than you have.
    4. elect representatives who understand your local & regional plans and will do their part.

    it’s time to scale up.

  33. Mossy says:

    This is the great question that we’re all pondering endlessly. I have a number of ideas.

    1. The National Academies of Science was established by Lincoln to inform the Congress and President of issues of a scientific nature. So — Why can’t our President issue an executive order that ALL Congressmen must listen to a presentation by the Academy? Why can’t there be some mandatory requirement? (I’ve brought this up to several politicians, including Ed Markey. His retort, “That will never happen. Most of the Republicans in Washington don’t even believe in evolution.”)But still, I say: This is a good idea. Why not?

    2. Regarding Jeff’s ideas concerning scientific meetings, that would include our legislators: Symposiums abound now, but why aren’t our Congressmen attending? I think that whenever we see a good lecture in our area, we should, as much in advance as possible, call the Congressmen’s office in the area and request their attendance. Case in point: there’s an upcoming “pricing carbon” seminar at Weslyan U in Conn. As a MA resident, I called Senator Brown’s office and sent him an email about this conference to urge him, or a legislative aide, to attend. (Note there is a Republican, Bob Inglis, SC, on the program, as will as a Democrat, Jim Dermott, WV.)

    3. Doctors have been surprisingly mute on this subject, despite their scientific background and the negative effects on health with AGW. Kim Knowlton of the NRDC told me about a new “Climate and Health Literacy Consortium, a collaboration of the leading health organizations around the country working to educate the public about the health effects of climate change.” Among others, the AMA, Am. Nurses Assoc., and Physicians for Social Responsibility have signed on. But — that’s all it is — a sign-on, and it’s not DOING anything. We should all be contacting the local branches of these organizations, asking for a sit-down meeting, and asking them to speak out publicly in any forum possible. As someone commented last night, we should say, “Detachment from the political process where CC is concerned is a luxury we can no longer afford.”

    4. Greenpeace has a new 30-year campaign to shut down coal, starting with the dirtiest. Everyone reading this blog should get in touch with their local GP leader, and see what they can do to help. Here in MA, GP is coordinating with the Sierra Club, the Conservation Law Foundation, Health Link, SAFE, and others, to shut down the dirtiest plant, in Salem. Here’s a tie-in to my above #3 as well — we need to get local doctors and medical organizations specifically speaking out about the negative health effects of coal-fired electricity, and it can be specifically for THAT coal plant.

  34. Mimikatz says:

    (1) Protect the rioght pof the states to go their own way in e3nacting more climate legislation so long as emiossions are not less stringent than federal. Let CA and the Northeast and MD and a ferw others show what can be done in a positive way and how it contributes to economic growth. This can be done with an appeal to “states’ rights” whioch conservatives always profess to support.

    (2) Organize/support a defense of climate scientists who are subpoenaed and have counter forums to explain issues to the public and press. Enlist the help of the ACLU. This could become a turning point like the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954 if done right.

    (3) Some street demonstrations would be good. An organization called Kids for Global Warming is pointing towards a youth march or marches on May 8, Mother’s Day.


  35. Roger says:

    This is a GREAT question! I’m working on an idea. More later today.

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Jonah 18# says “Start moving north and inland.”

    That won’t help against methane eruptions or more frequent volcanism. Or plaques and collapse of the balanced environment.


  37. Wes Rolley says:

    If it does get to the point of having hearings, don’t count on having a fair one. Congressional staffs are very adept at the art of making sure that only the voices they want to hear are given the chance to speak. I can easily envision a hearing on climate science where the scientists on the panel are Dyson, Singer, et. al.

    The deck is stacked.

  38. Mimikatz says:

    Sorry that posted before it was proofread or completed.

    (4) More talking to friends, relatives and neighbors and other associates on the need for action while it is still possible. Be positive even if it isn’t necessarily warranted yet. I think we are at least on the right trajectory on transportation with stricter standards in the pipeline, and these need to be defended. The real need is power generation, specifically getting off coal. Can we split big coal from big oil? It needs to be stressed that we don’t need drastic changes if we make smaller changes now, like improving the grid, promoting renewables and above all increasing efficiency. Waiting will mean drastic changes forced by nature and by desperation. Stress that we are all in this together and together we can make the changes that are needed. The votes in California and Colorado show that many people do accept the reality of climate change. Don’t assume everyone is as venal and pathological as the GOP leadership.

    (5) Many companies have made great strides in efficiency and conservation, Wal-Mart among them. It needs to be stressed to local business people or companies in which one is a shareholder that conservation boosts profits while lagging behind costs money.

    (6) Be ready to capitalize on anything that reinforces the reality of global warming, such as news from Antarctica this spring that the glaciers are melting faster, droughts in the summer, extreme weather etc.

    If we are right about the science, and I believe we are, then signs will begin to be unmistakeable. I just hope it isn’t too late.

  39. Tim L. says:

    Read “Merchants of Doubt” and give no/NO quarter to the corporate b.s. artists that have framed the debate for far too long. Let the Repugs convene their witch hunts and call them out for the lying bastards they are. Yes, let’s fight fiction with cold, hard facts, but voters respond to gut instincts and “values.” So, connect the deniers to the same unprincipled liars who fought to prevent the regulation of tobacco, acid rain, and ozone-depleting substances. Keep framing this as an issue of security and competitiveness and don’t let Big Oil and their lying minions in their b.s. “think tanks” off the hook. Call them out on each and every lie. Show them for what they are: narrow-minded, greedy bastards who are selling their kids and grandkids on the altar of free market fundamentalism. Show the voters where their true self-interest lies.

  40. Only 3 weeks to the COP16 climate change conference in Cancún; let’s not accept failure this time! Official site:

  41. Mimikatz says:

    On the issue of hearings. These will be well covered because the media loves theater. This means opportunities for counter forums and for street theater explaining the issues. And don’t count the Dems out because there are opportunities for questions by Dem representatives too. They can hold a counter-hearing if needed. It just takes creativity and a little daring.

  42. DRT says:

    Excellent points #30, Jeff. Here is a corollary to the second point. Call it ‘Clean Up After Yourself’ or ‘Do What Your Mother Taught You’, or ‘If You Make A Mess, Clean It Up’. We, people of the industrialized world, have treated the atmosphere as a garbage dump. So we did not understand that when we started but its understood now. Now that we know we have made a mess of the atmosphere, climate, planet, and are continuing to make that mess, we should stop making the mess and start cleaning up after ourselves…. like our mother’s taught us.



  43. HC says:

    Unfortunately, no matter what the make up of Congress is, we will need to raise awareness among the general public so that most voters feel it is a top priority to address climate change in a bold manner.
    Sweeping climate legislation that actually makes a difference will need to make some pretty substantial changes to our economy. Those kinds of changes will not happen with just a lobbying effort — it will require a grassroots movement as well.
    Such a groundswell will require years and a lot of resources to help facilitate.
    One idea might be to create climate event swat teams. Every time there is a flood, a wildfire, a drought, a nor’easter etc there would be a team to tie the event to climate change. They would connect local voices with local media, bring in climate experts and climate talking heads, organize letters to the editor and if it is a large enough event pehaps run local TV ads.
    The idea would be that there will be many teachable moments on climate and it is time we use them.

  44. DRT says:

    oops, In post #39 I meant to refer to post #31.

  45. Kevin Norman says:

    1) Reach out to people. Focus on what is happening now. Dying forests throughout the Rocky Mountains, melting Arctic Ice, droughts and floods all over the world. Dead trees don’t lie.
    2) Push Carbon Tax and Dividend.
    3) Obama must go. The man has no more spine than a gunny sack. If he is going to follow the same climate policy as Sarah Palin, what is the point.
    There was less Wind Power installed in 2010 than in 2007. For the first time in several years, there was more new coal fired generating capacity built than wind.
    4) Remember California. WE resoundingly defeated prop 23 and all the climate liars.

  46. dp says:

    dave romm @ 11: ouch, i sprained a gut muscle on that, your lawyer will hear from me

  47. Mike says:

    The right wing attack on climate research funding has already started:

    Defending scientists from smear campaigns and defending their research funding need to be priorities. The public needs to have a better idea of how research money is spent. It does not line scientists’ pockets. It goes for equipment (from computers to satellites), grad students, and trips to desolate places.

    Also climate research is not just about long term climate change. It helps us to better understand everything from storms to droughts, from plankton to coral reefs, public health and national security. For example, will the U.S. and Canada need more naval ships to patrol the Arctic Ocean?

    Another priority, which some here may take issue with, is to promote the expansion of nuclear power. Conservative deniers may support this.

  48. David Smith says:

    I do not believe we need to spend much time trying to convince skeptics and deniers to join the cause. This wastes the time and energy of those who engage. Deniers and skeptics are a really small, but laud and well orchestrated, minority. Time and energy that could be used to advantage elsewhere.

    An effort that would bear more fruit would be to unify those who accept the science and the impending threats. And from that group, encourage people towards action; the silent 77% polled. Even among the commenters hear at CP, there is lots of talk but no unified action. The enemy that we can impact is that part of ourselves that resists action.

    Rather than relying on others to take steps (which many comments suggest) we, right here can agree on an action to take that others will be willing to take as well, A simple action. The first purpose is to rally the troups.

  49. Mike Roddy says:

    David, #2, Chevron is very bad news, and Shell is not very less bad, either. Go to the Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace sites for info on both. Evil people run and own all of the oil and coal companies.

    I see three tasks:

    1. Draw a line on upcoming attacks on EPA, especially the CO2 endangerment finding enforcement. Now that the oil companies have purchased Congress, they will be going full speed ahead after regulations, including buying judges.

    2. The Dirty Dozen Congressmen have historically experienced high rates of reelection defeat. The Democrats don’t spend enough time exploiting this issue, and outsource it to small green organizations- maybe because some Democrats (like Ben Nelson) are no better. Everybody needs to even go after even more of them, including people like Joe Barton. He’s in a safe seat, but the world needs to know in detail who he and others like him work for.

    3. Yep, more humor. I’m working on the sequel to this:
    People like Mitch McConnell and Stewart Wegman are pretty ripe targets for satire, especially through portrait art.

  50. Jeff Huggins says:

    Regarding Mossy’s Comment (Comment 32), and also FEEDBACK

    Yes, the President should do whatever is possible — whatever can be done given the full powers of his post, and not a bit of shyness! — to ensure that all Reps and Senators have attended excellent full-length seminars and presentations on climate change. AND, IN ADDITION TO what the President can do to require or strongly encourage attendance, the main scientific bodies should group together and offer such seminars in such a way that there would be no reasonable excuse for not attending one.

    Also, this is the sort of idea, or plan, that calls for serious consideration and feedback. There is no good reason not to do this sort of thing. So, the leaders of the climate movements, and the leaders in our government, will risk (and DO risk) losing support and effort if they don’t DO these sorts of things and if they don’t ACKNOWLEDGE that they are reading and considering these things. For how much longer, really, can we all be expected to post well-thought-out comments and ideas if there are no signals that leaders in the movements are even reading them? Here, to be clear, I don’t mean that Joe should have to spend time acknowledging ideas. Instead, what I mean is this: The people running and managing the movements — IF they know how to lead and how to solicit ideas and keep folks on board — had better learn how to provide feedback to people, otherwise people will stop providing ideas, stop writing on blogs, stop showing up at events, and so forth. And that includes me! So, here we have Mossy and myself (and others as well) suggesting an excellent, comprehensive, no-holds-barred, no-reasonable-excuses effort on the part of the President and, also, on the part of the nation’s scientific organizations to do whatever is necessary to ensure that 99.9 percent of our Reps and Sens have received excellent climate change education and opportunities to have questions asked and answered. What about it? Is anyone reading? Who’ll do it? Anyone out there from 350 or 1Sky or the AAAS or NAS or ACS or etc. etc.?

    I’ll write a comment later this weekend about the Weekend Open Thread and about the role of feedback in movements. Again, I’m not talking about Joe or about CAP. Instead, I’m talking about the senior leaders, mid-level leaders, or junior leaders of the organizations that claim to be leading and helping the movement. Are you here? Are you reading? How can we know? I’m waiting.

    Be Well,


  51. shannon says:

    What to do? Kiss your ass goodbye.

    Seriously, I’ve been really depressed for the last few days as it sank in that the likelihood of anything other than business as usual is extremely unlikely.

    My personal strategy is to drive less than 50 miles per week; shop at the farmer’s market (yeah, I know, not necessarily better); buy almost nothing; fly as little as possible; grow as much food as possible; retire as early as possible to my farm in order to “get ready”. Getting ready means saving seeds for both extremely dry summers and extremely wet summers (my farm is in the southeast); start growing some fibers like cotton; get some kind of water filter; and try to get my neighbors in a cooperative mood for when The Shit Hits The Fan.

  52. John Mason says:

    Jeff (currently #19) – I’d go along with that.

    There are several of us who are regulars here who spend a lot of time on various forums arguing with the most stubborn of the deniers. The arguments are circular and they never change or achieve much. You score a few points and next thread, next day the same person is there shouting “hoax”. I am thinking that it is a waste of time that could be put to better use. We are already committed to things getting pretty bad and once that occurs there will be a public backlash against the worst deniers in any case.

    Get out there, face to face with friends, family, neighbours etc. There are far, far more people who are unsure of their climate science than there are who preach outright denial on a day to day basis. Get people to read sites like Skeptical Science – or better still use the excellent explanations available there to raise awareness based on the science. Get organised – join your local Transition Initiative, for example. Lobby your government representatives. Network with other like-minded people around the world – I firmly believe the vast majority of Mankind do NOT want to see severe climate destabilisation and if a million loudmouths are currently making all the noise in the media, that makes them in reality a tiny minority and events will in time serve to completely demolish any credibility that they may have had. The fact that likely little or no climate-related legislation will take place this coming 1.5 Presidential terms makes that all the more likely. Believe me, even if we all went away, events will catch up with those guys.

    Cheers – John

  53. Matto says:

    Spend less time in front of the computer and more time out in the climate enjoying the beautiful world in which we live (seeing as time is running out after all).

  54. pete best says:

    A political battle is now required that pits the strategic needs of the USA against its vested interests mainly from fossil fuels companies who know howe to lobby, how to fund it and how to get results whereas alternative renewable energy companies must rely on government strategic requirements and the threat of ACC being believed.

    Coal needs to be phased out globally (as CCS is presently non existant) first and its the easiest to be replaced. However its not so easy as coal has its advantages such as energy security (available locally globally) and in large quantities with a 250 year industry behind it. Coal is the easiest fuel to replace though with soalr baseload and wind and nuclear able to step in and do the same job.

    All we need to do is find and economically viable way of achieving this aim. However coal companies do not do solar, nuclear or wind so its a political battle.

  55. Daron says:

    We need to start a focus at the state level, the county level and the city level. Even the neighborhood level would be a great start.

    We put all of our effort into passing some sort of nationwide price on carbon. The problem is that it was a all or nothing deal. Essentially we put all of our eggs in one basket and then watched in horror as that basket got dumped over.

    California proved that we can win on climate change at the smaller levels. Sure we won’t win in every state or in every city but a loss also won’t be the end of the game.

    So what do individual climate hawks need to do? We need to start being climate hawks in our own neighborhoods. We need to ask our selves do our neighbors know that we are a climate hawk? Does my city council rep know that I’m a climate hawk?

    If the answer is no then we are not being real climate hawks. Lets refocus our vision a little more locally and perhaps we can build the foundation for a wave of climate hawks to take the US Congress in the future.

  56. Dave E says:

    How about boycotting all companies that advertise on Fox News?

  57. Ziyu says:

    Here’s what laws should be passed and have a chance of passing with bipartisan support.

    -Give truck companies incentives to convert fleets to hybrid, electric, natural gas, or bio fuel.
    -End all subsidies for coal, oil, and gas. (The UN said this alone would reduce emissions 18% by 2050)
    -Extend the alternative renewable energy grant program.
    -More R&D funding for electric cars.
    -Incentives for people to make their homes and appliances more energy efficient.
    -15% renewable energy standard by 2020 and 40-50% by 2050 but include certain new nuclear reactors like breeders and thorium.
    -Tariffs on foreign oil.
    -Natural gas fracking fluid disclosure.
    -An expedited special approval process for renewables. The current system has too much red tape against renewables.
    -Fuel efficiency standards for new cars. 35mpg by 2016. 43 mpg by 2020. 50 mpg by 2025.

    This will probably only reduce emissions 40-50% by 2050 (about 70-80% is needed) but it’s a start and somewhat possible in this political climate.

  58. Richard L says:

    Someone asked in an earlier thread about a ‘climate-hawk-in-chief’ and I nominate Warren Buffett to get the attention of the business community, or how about Ted Turner or Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson. Make some commercials and air them everywhere. Anyone have access to these super-wealthy men?

  59. Richard L says:

    or Michael Bloomberg?

  60. Bill Waterhouse says:

    #2 – Chevron backed Cal Prop 26 which makes it much harder to tax CO2 emissions in Cal.

  61. Adam R. says:

    As long as the majority is comprised of voters who either doubt or deny climate change is something to worry about, Rove is absolutely right: climate is dead as an issue. The war for hearts and minds is over, for now, and absent a series of events worthy of a Hollywood disaster flick (and no, the melt-out of Arctic sea ice wouldn’t qualify), the public will continue to snooze on global warming. Teaching the science hasn’t worked.

    Oil price increases are coming, which will spur the search for alternatives, but that won’t keep any coal or natural gas in the ground; quite the reverse, in fact. A big, obvious economic incentive to keep carbon out of the atmosphere simply doesn’t exist, so there’s no easy lesson for voters there, either.

    The answer, I believe, is a new, more energetic coalition of progressives to resist the reactionary, know-nothing movement fostered by American right wing plutocrats. This coalition has to address health care, education, transportation, the environment, old age security, and reproductive and sexual rights in an aggressively populist manner. The first target of this coalition must be the Democrats, who with their Republican-Lite approach simply do not inspire young people to get out and vote, and discourage older progressives. They must be made to understand the “lesser of two evils” vote is no longer theirs by default. Only candidates willing to stand up to the Republicans and champion real, progressive solutions to important issues will receive support. It is not a moment to soon to start spreading this message and telling the Democrats to shape up or ship out.

  62. Maybe I am prejudiced because I spent the first half of my life in California and the second in New York but if we can not get national action it seems like doing everything we can to get as much progress accomplished within these two states where the politics are positive and the combined economic influence enormous would be very worthwhile.

  63. I think John C #9 is on track: “emphasize energy independence, jobs, and the cost of dirty energy”.

    Mitigating climate change is, of course, our number 1 priority, but, unfortunately, as a rallying cry, turns too many people off.

    Let’s keep the focus on “REDUCING FOSSIL FUEl USE” to prevent oil wars preserve scarce resources, maintain clean air, etc.

  64. Leif says:

    I like the concept mentioned by David Smith, @ 2 of a supportcott for business that we have no alternative to.

    I did a google search on “supportcott” and got zero hits. I just bought “” if I can be of service helping promote this endeavor David. There are many products that even the most determined anti-consumer has to have. The concept to actively promoting the good points of a business gives much more weight to suggestions. I can be reached:

  65. David Smith says:

    Bill Waterhouse @52 & Mike Roddy @44 – The supermajors are hard to distinguish they all have bad in their environmental records. That doesn’t seem to stop us from buying their products. My suggestion was to use the buying power of a concerned group to try to influence the industry instead of just giving them the money as individual buyers, no strings attached. Also to try to find something that a lot of people might be willing to do.

    There are many with environmental concerns. There are far fewer who would consider AGW their primary concern. This smaller group is the one that might take action relative to AGW in the near future.

  66. Mike Roddy says:

    Dave E, #46:

    Great idea!!!

  67. Theodore says:

    Advertise. Make documentaries. Start a climate channel for TV.

  68. Joe1347 says:

    Be realistic regarding your chances of passing anything at the federal level. The Republicans will likely be able to stop anything for at least 4 more years. Probably longer.

    What little progress will be made at the local or state level, with more Prop 23’s or other pressure to come as outside pro-pollution forces continue to try whatever progress does get made. With more Republican Gov’s in place now, of course the number of states where progress can be made is certainly limited. So why not pick a few or even the one state where progessive climate change policy seems to be popular. Of course, I’m talking about California. Since, California is essentially large enough to almost be considered a country in it’s own right.

    So, why not just place ALL of the focus on California and pretty much forget about climate change at the Federal level?

  69. David62 says:

    We have two ways forward:
    California is important-one of the world’s largest economies-keep supporting the implementation of AB32.
    EPA regulations-Republicans will try to block it-support Obama letting EPA do its work.
    We have some mechanisms in place to move forward-let’s make sure they do.

  70. Sailesh Rao says:

    The doctrine of Karma is simple: Actions have consequences. As Krishna said to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Life is about action.” And, no action is ever ignored by the cosmos. Every life matters.

    Until now, and especially over the past 250 years, humans have been behaving as if Life, especially other life forms, don’t matter. In his book, “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth”, Prof. E. O. Wilson estimates that we’re killing off 27000 species every year through our activities and that the rate of species loss is increasing by a factor of 10 every 20 years. There are an estimated total of 20 million species on the planet. It’s easy to do the math on the D-Day for complex life on the planet, but please bear in mind that there are lots of uncertainties that can tip either way.

    We’re the human “asteroid” that’s triggering this mass extinction. The question is why should we have any compassion for the other life forms that we’re torturing and killing off deliberately?

    The answer is: because we’re all connected.

    The scientific revolution began with the notion that the cosmos can be cut up into pieces and studied independently. That it is possible to separate oneself and be a disjoint observer of something in which we’re clearly embedded. And then, we discovered through complex computer simulations that everything is actually all connected, that burning fossil fuels in America has an impact on the climate in India and vice versa. That separation is an illusion. Which is what the Eastern philosophers have been saying for thousands of years. Now, those who were raised on the separation mantra are rejecting the climate scientists because the results of climate science don’t agree with their world view. Perhaps, it isn’t a coincidence that the most vocal rejection of climate science is occurring in America, the bastion of rugged individualism.

    Since we’re all connected, the question is whether I have the right to diminish your right to live through my actions. Can I not act in a way that is conducive to the flourishing of Life on the planet instead of diminishing it with my every act? Can I not use every tool at my disposal, every technology that I have available to help Life regenerate on the planet? If so, can we make that the new paradigm for human existence? For the sake of our own enlightened self-interest, which is the objective function of true Capitalism as Adam Smith postulated.

    The true wealth of the planet is not measured in the GDP of the world, but in the totality and diversity of Life on the planet. For, that is what distinguishes Earth from any other planet that we have examined in the cosmos – it is the only one teeming with Life. The currencies of the world should appropriately be tied to a Carbon standard, instead of the Gold standard or be free floating, for that’s the true measure of the wealth of a country – the amount of carbon sequestered in its land, air and water in the form of Life.

    For what value are the tchotchkes, the gadgets and the entertainment products we create, if we have nothing to eat in a lifeless planet?

  71. Prokaryotes says:

    California Republic

    Republic of Baja California
    On October 16, 1853 with 48 men, filibuster William Walker sailed out from San Francisco on his first filibustering expedition: the conquest of the Mexican territories of Baja California and the state of Occidente. He financed the effort by selling scrip in exchange for promises of land in Sonora.

    Joe1347 says “So, why not just place ALL of the focus on California and pretty much forget about climate change at the Federal level?”

    Well Texas is 2nd with 24 million, but i guess texas will change soon due to the advancement of climate weirding.

  72. Lore says:

    Adam R.

    I believe your assessment is spot on, but the solution concerns me as the right wing is already painting progressives as elitists and out of touch with the average American. The problem is to educate without sounding like your dictating. We’ve spent a great deal of time presenting the evidence, some explaining solutions, but very little in trying to figure out how to get the masses involved positively in a remedy. Getting them to screw a few energy efficient light bulbs into home sockets through mandates is not enough, they have to see some value in sacrifices made, what are the rewards for doing what’s needed. Most people understand that adding more insulation to their homes will save them money, do they also really think about how much that also saves the environment for the future?

    Also, we as a people are not challenged to do what is needed. Had Obama came across with energy/climate as his primary piece of legislation, making American sacrifice for change the equivalent of a WWII effort as FDR did, or as Kennedy made it a matter of pride to send a man to the moon, would things have been different now?

  73. Prokaryotes says:

    Re #60, or Arnold Schwarzennegger?

  74. Gord says:

    Play the game, “Fate of the World”. It will give you a taste of the problems we face on a world wide level. So far I’ve been able to get to the year 2080 on my second try and I think I’m well informed on the issues. How wrong I am!!

    It got me to thinking. I’ve been a computer gamer since the 1980’s when as a developer then I had to design and write my own games if I wanted to use my computer for recreation. I had as a personal computer a Pascal Microengine for those who remember such things.

    The strategy games of today require the player to balance many, many different factors progressing at different rates and more often than not co-dependent in some hidden way. As the player gains experience with the game, the player discovers the relationships and rates of the various parameters, that sometimes number in the hundreds or even thousands.

    Sometime, may times, he never discovers them all but gets a ‘feel’ for the game play.

    I taught school earlier in my life. Pedagogy and the teaching of climate science to kids or for that matter to people in general, would, using the traditional methods of teaching, be a boring time for all concerned. Traditional methods require the course instructor to peal off various topics and teach them as isolates. Much later on in the course the instructor meshes the concept threads together into a fabric which hopefully the student can understand.

    So for these highly integrated and difficult to teach topics why not develop a curriculum that places the student in a game world. The game is designed to be tough and get more difficult as the school term rolls out. But, and here’s the catch, the student can apply the knowledge and insights they learn in class to the game. They see how insight in an area can affect the whole game, increase their points total, and provide a vital context for new facts.

    In this scenario I can see kids begging the instructor to give them more or at least hints as to what’s covered in the next lecture ….. hahahaha …. anyone have enthusiastic students like that today??

    But my point on pedagogy stands. We have the ability to immerse people into a virtual world now and with the breakthroughs in computing, AI and A/V (including virtual reality) we have all the components to provide future students and the general public for that matter, with highly instructive, concept rich educational experiences.

    Let’s use MacroWikinomics theory and take this concept to the next level. We take a very difficult topic with countless parameters and relationships and make a computer simulation game out of it. We offer it free to the public and post prizes for the best scores every few months. Each game played keeps track of the player’s ‘moves’ for that game instance. As we get more information, the game is changed to reflect new insights into the topic. As the prize money flows out, the audit trails of the winning games flow in to be analyzed. As more and more high scores are analysed, the underlying problems imposed by the game have an array of crowd sourced solutions. When so many minds are working on such difficult problems, there will always be something new discovered.

    This solution pathway is new in the history of mankind; enabled entirely by the technology and connectivity we are immersed in. And of course, the education of the public on the issues presented in the game simulation is priceless.

    So what do climate hawks do over the next few years?

    I suggest program we simulations like ‘Fate of the World’, get them out there and thereby educate and learn from a new generation of citizens.

  75. Prokaryotes says:

    Gord, this game looks awesome :) I think i’ll have to check it out. It’s just released …

  76. Prokaryotes says:

    “Fate of the World” game released

    Fate of the Word is a computer game where players do battle with climate change, which has been released today. This game contains information from our climate models, for which we would like to thank our crunchers.

  77. Joojoobees says:

    My suggestion is that people put their energy into educating themselves and their local community on the effects of Global Climate Change (GCC) to their local area. Find out the likely effects of GCC on their locality — in some places that will be drought, in some cases floods, in some cases intense storms. Then push for LOCAL and STATE planning of responses to these impending disasters. Ask your elected and appointed government officials how your community has planned to recover from the next flood (e.g. Nashville, Rhode Island, New Orleans). Force them to set aside extra money now to rebuild after the next storm. For people living in the South West, demand that LOCAL and STATE officials answer questions for how the drinking water will be secured.

    It may be too late to stop runaway GCC, but local action still has a chance to prepare before the suffering grows.

  78. HAP says:

    “Argentine Ants”

    Then two,
    Here they come,
    Floodgates are gushing.
    Goddamn illegal immigrants!

    “Dead Lays”

    Those argentine ants
    Have somehow gotten into
    My potato chips!

  79. Jeff Huggins says:

    Positive Societal Change: Plan Ahead Ladies!

    August 18, 2020 will be the one hundredth anniversary of the passage of The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the (long overdue!) right to vote.

    Although I hope we humans get a lot of improvement and action going well before then, that’s less than ten years away. So, if we humans don’t have our act together before then, then in 2020, every single woman should vote for politicians and policies that will protect and preserve the planet. Women for the world! I’m not joking. Women can celebrate and make the best possible use of their right to vote — a right that was withheld by (we) men for all of human history until then — by casting the most important votes in the history of human civilization. Indeed, women, if they act reasonably together, can pretty much wipe out the political relevance of men until we all get our acts together.

    To me, it seems like this sort of thing may be (and probably will be) necessary. Someone — some grand group — is going to have to help “put humankind in a proper mindset” if we are to respect the natural world, and reconcile ourselves to it, in the way we should.

    “2020 or bust!”

    (Sorry about that: a little humor now and then.)



  80. Fun fact: Number of self-declared “climate hawks” on Twitter rapidly rising, according to Google:

  81. Mobi Warren says:

    I live in Texas so have even more cause to be feeling dismal with Rick Perry’s win. I believe the most effective arena for action now is at city and state levels (and in my case, city)–pushing for and promoting greener transportation choices, community gardens, green job training for our youth, residential solar installations, wind energy, more and safer bike routes, etc. etc. –i.e. creating sustainable, resilient communities. If enough cities/states work aggressively on local initiatives maybe we can shift the denial in our culture. Bravo California for defeating Prop 23 — Valero has lost my business permanently — but then so have most oil companies as I’ve switched to riding the bus, walking, and bicycling as much as possible. I’m a fifth grade teacher (close to retirement age) and my taking the bus plus walking .7 mile from bus stop to school is being noticed by other teachers, students, parents. Hope to generate a ripple effect. Of course we need ripple effects the size of tsunamis in every town in America.

  82. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Mt Marapi, just north (40K) of Yogjakarta looks set for a substantial eruption. Aready 122 dead, more expected. Significant deformation on southern slope. Exclusion zone increased to 20 kilometers.

    Eruption has been declared a national emergency

    The southern bias of the deformation is concerning, Yogjakarta is only 40 Kilometers away. Mt St Helens blast went 30 kilometers in one direction.

  83. Anonymous says:


    How about interfacing “Fate of the World” with the actual global circulation models (GCM) that are used to determine future climate?

    I’m not sure if focusing on the melt of the north pole ice cap will be as productive as hoped. It is not necessarily going to happen very soon or very predictably, in which case, people will get bored waiting. Once it has melted, it may not be as dramatic as hoped because freighters will be traveling through it a bunch because it will shorten shipping routes and adventurers will be sailing through it because they can. Climate may not change dramatically enough to notice. For example, sea levels won’t go up when the north pole icecap melts because the ice is already floating in the sea. The public response may be “is that all there is?”.

    One of the best approaches might be to show the results of laws passed in states like California to reduce global warming to show how it has worked for those states.

  84. Lore says:

    Ryan #83…
    “A chatbot that argues with global warming deniers. More of this, please.”

    Ryan, hello, is that really you, or just another chat box posting?

    I fail to understand how a chat box would give a better answer then the nuanced ones of people like Joe?

  85. paulm says:

    I think the president aught to call a special bipartisan session with the new members, specifically the GOP skeptics. Scientist, strategist, military, economists, insurance bods and risk assessors should all be present with their input.

    They should have a weeks pow-wow where they all sit around and have one on ones, small groups sessions etc and go over the issues and risks. There should be field trips if necessary.

    This is something that the US has to get sorted. Worldwide, everyone else is pretty much convinced – its only really the GOP that are the laggards. But they are essential for any worldwide solution.

    Basically these guys have to be convinced that there is a serious problem before things can happen. So that is what needs to be done right now. The president has to make it so.

  86. Donald Brown says:

    This is a very important question. Although it is initially counter-intuitive why this is so important, I believe we must help Americans not only see why the scientific consensus view is true, why the climate disinformation campaign has been maliciously spreading obvious falsehoods and distortions, but why the US inaction on climate change is now a thirty year deep and tragic moral failure. That is the three decades of American inaction engineered by American fossil fuel corporations is leading to harsh impacts to others some of the poorest people around the world, that is, actually provable current loss of life and destruction of water supplies and natural resources on which life depends. We will never get climate change legislation that we need unless Americans see that they not only have economic interests but duties, responsibilities, and obligations to others. No one in the press nor nor any US politician appears to be aware that Americans can not think of national economic self-interest alone and we must develop national climate change policy in light of what we are doing to others, that no national domestic policy makes sense unless it is implicitly a position on a global atmospheric ghg concentration stabilization goal,and the US fair share of safe global emissions. We must help people see that the climate change policy opponents are guilty of huge moral failures if not a crime against humanity. We must not limit our debate about climate change to harsh costs and impacts to us alone , but we must get people to see their duties to others. We must also help people see that the rest of the world already sees US inaction as a great injustice and that this view is spreading. We must help people understand why it is a moral imperative to act now, even if there is some remaining uncertainty about climate change sensitivity. Every time a US politician says he or she will not support climate change legislation we must put them on the record in regard to whether they are denying that they have duties, responsibilities, and obligations to others. We must help the press understand they must ask politicians questions about the the thirty-year inaction on climate change and why this is not a moral failure. In other words we must turn up the volume on the moral and ethical dimensions of climate change. It is the crucial missing element in the US debate about climate change.

  87. Tim L. says:

    Great statement last night by Bill Maher on climate deniers . . . it’s there. Get outspoken lefties like him to make common cause with the one or two sane Republicans we have left, like former Secretary of State George Shultz, who co-chaired the hugely successful “NO on 23” campaign. Hold the Reichwingers up for the relentless mockery they deserve and force them to eat their own, um, “SHtupIdiTy.””

  88. Answer to question asked by headline:

    (some of this was posted here a few days ago)

    Look for a solution that will be acceptable to both ends of the political spectrum. Well, uh, not quite everybody, but maybe enough to pass.

    Those that absolutely think global warming is a hoax will have none of it and those who think we must not disturb the natural environment in any way will dig in to resist the following:

    The game winning answer to global warming is to create standing forests, where every ton of newly existing forest mass, on a sustaining basis, compensates by CO2 capture for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. Key to this solution is distribution of water in North America on a continental basis.
    I have been dismayed by promotion of electric vehicles with implicit increased use of electricity and the associated increase in CO2. Viable, large scale solutions to this problem have been absent. But I have been shocked by the planning put forward by the US EPA ** regarding ‘carbon’ capture and sequestration (CCS), where the capture cost burden per ton of coal used would be up to $180-$320. This would be for capture of CO2 only, with additional costs for transportation and pumping it into caverns being not addressed, but acknowledged as additional expense.
    Thus motivated, I looked for a better solution, and found that China seems to have taken the lead over our environmentalists in this very practical matter. A year ago, in a speech about how China was planning to react to the global warming problem, President Hu spoke of “forest carbon”. ***
    It is not a big step to think that this kind of solution would be possible in North America, Brazil perhaps, and other places yet to be identified. It is a big step to think big about water distribution that would be needed to accomplish CCS on the needed scale, but in North America this is within reach, with the action of wise government assumed.
    Of course there would be a need for due diligence in protecting Northern ecosystems, as well as due deference to rights of others. The goal of CO2 mitigation is not just our concern, so there would seem to be motivation for Canada to lend their essential support to such a project.
    Every ton of forest mass, that exists on a sustaining basis, sequesters CO2 sufficiently to compensate for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. As it grows, it captures that CO2 from the atmosphere. Mature forests must be maintained and harvested wisely, and new forests must continue to grow. A very rough estimate is that an aquaduct about 3000 miles long with 10 mile branches from each side would enable growth that would permanently store enough CO2 to balance coal fired power plant operations in the USA for about 50 years. That assumes that during that time we work to minimize our inefficiencies and improve our general power production system with better arrangement of our power plants.
    This would involve higher use of natural gas than just burning it in central power plants. I refer specifically to using that superior fuel in cogeneration arrangements, where most of the heat discharged from the heat engine would go to useful purposes that would otherwise require burning of natural gas.
    Using minimally productive land in selected regions, a fifty year project should be possible, where fifty years of coal fired power plant operation would be supported. In this time we would need to solve the problems of nuclear waste, so that there could be an eventual transition to that form of energy. During this fifty years, we would also need to work toward minimizing the amount of energy needed for our vehicles.
    This forest project, along with ancillary agricultural development, would be quickly self supporting. We know about the agricultural results from the latest California Aquaduct project implemented in 1963 through the California Central Valley. The forest part would be something new.
    The immediate benefit of such a project would be high quantity job creation, but up front investment in the permanent forest infrastructure would be repaid over the long term of highly productive operation. A large cadre of trained workers for forest management, a large expansion of agricultural operations, and a long term flow of export products would lift us from our current employment debacle.
    We see this as a public project that should appeal to all political strains, since it would create a backbone infrastructure that would set the stage for use of energy to continue functioning of our developed world without damage to the global environment.
    Implementing such a concept would require much detail in its actual design, but feasibility in general is not in question. This would be a massive federal project that must be handled by government, both in regard to international water negotiations and financial arrangements.
    Is there a political force that can handle such a project?
    ** The announced plan by the EPA is to require ‘best available technology’ and the recent report by them (Sept 2010) said ‘carbon’ capture would cost up to $95 per ton of CO2. Working this out in terms of the burden on the use of a ton of coal shows that the burden for use of a ton of Powder River Basin coal (half the element carbon by weight) will be about $180 per ton of that coal, and higher carbon coal would incur proportionately higher burden, up to around $320 per ton.
    *** President Hu said, “— we will energetically increase forest carbon — we will endeavor to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 2005 levels.” ( This was reported by Joe Romm at his ‘climateprogress’ web site. See – )

  89. Adam R. says:

    @74 Lore says:

    Adam R.

    I believe your assessment is spot on, but the solution concerns me as the right wing is already painting progressives as elitists and out of touch with the average American. The problem is to educate without sounding like your dictating.

    Progressives have got to stop fearing what the right wing says: that’s what Democrat’s do. That’s why I said an aggressive, populist campaign is needed. People have to be enlisted in a movement they see as protecting their interests. Call it something other than “Progressive” if we must, but people of progressive bent must come together to lead it. If we don’t, the wingnuts will continue to roll over us.

  90. Jeff Huggins says:

    Rachel Our Heroine, Fox, MMMM, 1927 and 1934, The Supreme Court, Gullible Irrational Humans, John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, Activism, and the Kitchen Sink

    In relation to Rachel’s point about Fox News and the dangerous closed-loop right-wing Mind-Media-Meld-Meltdown . . . (and how to deal with it) . . .

    If I’m not mistaken, The Radio Act of 1927 requires commercial broadcasters to operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity”. In 1934, a broader act was passed: The Communications Act of 1934 requires a broader range of commercial broadcasters to operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity”.

    (See The Museum of Broadcast Communications website for specifics.)

    Here’s the underlying principle: If a commercial entity wants to use the public airways and broadcast spectra (which are a resource of the American public and cannot be used for commercial purposes without license), then the commercial entity must operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity”. Such commercial entities must not use the broadcast spectra for purposes that could likely harm the public interest, as in the public well-being.

    In other words, Fox News (or any other commercial entity) should not be able to continue to enjoy a license for broadcast activities if such activities violate this principle. Same goes for whatever company broadcasts Rush Limbaugh. Period! And indeed, we are all members of the public, and we have a right to demand that this law be upheld and that the government act to withdraw the license of any commercial broadcaster who doesn’t adhere to it.

    Now, someone might say that the law has been interpreted “liberally” to allow many things to pass as being not harmful to public well-being. But, given present-day activities and issues, such a finding would be entirely nonsensical. It’s one thing – and perfectly fine – to have different opinions about Coke and Pepsi. It’s also fine to have different views, and offer different arguments, as to whether governments should spend or not spend during economic upturns and downturns. But, it’s not fine – and it obviously CAN do great damage to public well-being – if downright lies, about basic and important facts, are circulated and amplified in the echo chamber. One CANNOT reasonably argue that the sorts of things that are going on today are not deeply harmful to the public well-being.

    Repeated lies and misinformation about important facts and important matters — that are repeated without scrutiny, even after the falsehood has been pointed out, merely for partisan political purposes and/or commercial ratings – are harmful BY DEFINITION if they involve important matters. Indeed, they are told and repeated in order to gain political advantage and to influence elections. So, the only way to hold that they don’t matter, and aren’t dangerous, would be to hold that elections don’t matter and that misguided public policy can’t possibly be dangerous. Nonsense.

    The government ought to start upholding the law and start warning (first), and then withdrawing licenses from any broadcasters who recklessly repeat and even invent lies regarding factual matters that can be shown false (the lies, that is).

    Another argument that some might forward is that lies and misinformation on important matters don’t matter, no matter how much they are repeated, because other sources can point out their falsehood and because citizens (human beings) are rational beings who are not gullible and who can distinguish truth from falsehood. So let’s consider that premise: “Citizens (human beings) are rational beings who are not gullible and who can distinguish truth from falsehood, even in the midst of the modern media environment”. If you’d like to hear of a totally nonsensical premise – completely contradicted by scientific understanding and history – that’s one! There is not a modern profession in the world that would hold that premise to be true any more: not life scientists, not psychologists, not psychiatrists, not sociologists, not medical doctors, not neuroscientists, and not even economists or philosophers. And lawyers and legal scholars (such as Supreme Court justices) should be among the very first people to realize that humans are not always, or even mainly, or even normally, “rational” beings who are not gullible and who can distinguish truth from falsehood no matter what information is spewed their way.

    Indeed, the very reason why our government is structured the way it is, is that humans are often not rational, are often gullible, and do often go astray in various human ways. If humans were always rational beings, and not gullible, and were always looking out for the public interest, we wouldn’t need a separation of powers in the first place. Yet this is clearly not the case.

    So we have a big problem (presently) and an opportunity for change: If the broadcast law is enforced, as it should and must be, then we can reduce the outright habitual falsity influencing so much of the public dialogue and politics today. On the other hand, if the law is not sufficiently and strongly enforced, because the Supreme Court thinks that repeated lies and misinformation on important matters are somehow not damaging to public well-being, then the Supreme Court invalidates itself and kills its own credibility. Is the Supreme Court beyond reproach or beyond making rulings that effectively invalidate its own credibility and just authority? No, not at all. John Locke and Thomas Jefferson themselves have argued why governments (including judicial branches!) retain their just authority only so long as they act in ways that secure and further the public good and do not substantially undermine that good. Of course, different matters, mistakes, nuances, and so forth can help or hinder the public good to different degrees, and certainly not everything is a “firing offense”, as in “let’s fire the Supreme Court or ignore it”. But, when a Supreme Court allows corporate money to flow without limit into politics, because corporations supposedly should enjoy the rights of real human beings, and if a Supreme Court were to rule that huge flat-out lies, about important matters, when circulated and re-circulated in the media, do not constitute a harm to the public good and a violation of the requirement to “operate in the public interest”, then such a Supreme Court would indeed invalidate itself. What worse damage could a Supreme Court do to the public interest? Drop a bomb on all of us? Indeed, BIG LIES are like “information bombs”, in some very real senses, and if laws and policies allow those lies to live long lives, to be re-circulated, to be reinforced, and to be used for political and commercial advantage, on a large and loud scale, and using the public’s own airwaves no less, that’s a big problem and a bad and unjust judgment.

    So, these broadcast laws should be pursued and enforced based on a genuine and sensible understanding of what they were ORIGINALLY intended to mean, regardless of what soft and enabling rulings various Supreme Courts may have made about them in more recent years. Then, if such enforcement is challenged (as it will surely be), a forceful and fact-based case should be made, to the Supreme Court AND in public, about the necessity of actually enforcing the laws as they were originally intended. If the Supreme Court then rules against such enforcement, and favors nonsense over sense, and disregards the vital roles of truth and fact in a democracy, and ignores the roles of the modern media, then we’ll know that the Supreme Court does not indeed have the public interest in mind, and we can look to John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and others to try to figure out what to do next.

    I DO think that Rachel-Our-Heroine should press this matter as far as possible, and I think that groups interested in public well-being should file big suits against Fox, and I think that some sensible and honest and courageous law enforcement officers ought to start issuing warnings and, if things don’t change, withdrawing licenses from those who would knowingly, purposefully, and harmfully mislead and lie to the public, using the public’s own airwaves to do so.

    Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, the Kitchen Sink …

    Be Well,


  91. Michael says:

    I am not sure if this is accurate or not (although the recent points are not flagged as erroneous, green pluses), but methane levels at Svalbard have apparently gone through the roof in recent months, increasing from about 1875 to 2025 ppb, an increase of 150 ppb or 8%:


    Also, global CO2 levels have increased at a considerably faster than average rate in recent months, more so than at Mauna Loa (click the global tab):

  92. Ben Lieberman says:

    Thanks for the thread. Many have posted excellent ideas.
    A new strategy imho should include:

    Shaping the climate movement into a cause like the campaigns against slavery or apartheid or the campaign for full suffrage for all–make this a moral cause front and center.

    Recruit truly renowned and feisty climate hawk leaders such as Schwarzenegger, who, whether he uses the label or not, already is a climate hawk.

    Attack, attack, attack: make the consequences of denial and inaction clear for all (many are still in a fog) and make denial and inaction socially unacceptable

    Institute large boycotts and consider taking boycotts to international level

    Create a climate hawk logo (melting earth?) and put it everywhere–sorry 350 just will not work as a visual symbol

    Educate and inform everyone you know

    And finally (because there is a whiff of defeatism in the air) never give up and act now!

  93. Alec Johnson says:

    It’s gratifying to hear from so many active, earnest, and intensely concerned Climate Hawks. I did my best to read all the foregoing, but in the end had to give up and skim what I couldn’t fully read. Still, I did not see this suggestion so I’m going to post it:

    I think the smartest thing to do now is to focus intensely on fomenting Transition Town movements ( everywhere. Before elaborating on why I think this is such a good idea, I should mention that I used to work for Repower America and was intensely involved in the failed effort to raise public awareness, put a price on carbon, and all the rest of the good stuff involved with that national effort. I also worked intensely in Ohio for sane results in the mid-terms too.

    At the risk of straining a metaphor, I think the “grassroots” of today are far more like a “brown field” than someone’s lush lawn. This is a garden that needs to be seriously attended to and without doing so all efforts at the state and federal level will very likely fail. And virtually all of the wonderful suggestions I’ve seen posted won’t be successful either.

    Peak Oil and our need to reduce our carbon footprint dictate that everything will become massively more local than most can imagine. The Transition Town (TT) movement seeks to create communities that are resilient in the face of this reality. I submit that they do far more than that. While there are many contributors I’d like to tip my hat to, let me underscore the remarks made by Jeff, #19, above. I think TTs accomplish much of what Jeff identifies as essential.

    Margaret J. Wheatley in her wonderful “Leadership and the New Science,” observed that the foundation of all matter and energy occurs through relationships. This is likewise true with us humans. Our capacity for getting anything done is a function of our capacity to create and sustain effective relationships.

    What passes for grassroots activism these days is pretty much door-to-door canvassing or phone banking. Every Green organization, big or small, did this, as did both political parties and any candidates with more than two brain cells. It works to a degree, but not a sufficient one because you cannot establish authentic and effective relationships this way.

    Successful Transition Towns are all about creating networks of relationships, aka, authentic communities. TTs are already networked and participants already share values that I believe almost everyone posting here today would also hold. Now imagine the bumper crop of committed Climate Hawks that will self-harvest from a growing network of TT communities. And every step of the way progress in any number of critical areas will be achieved.

    TTs are also fertile ground to accomplish the kind of economic democracy groups like BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) work so hard to promote. TTs can create jobs!

    I’m not suggesting that promoting TTs should be done to the exclusion of anything else, but I will state that as their numbers increase so too will our chances for success in many other areas. I can easily imagine involving people in a TT who may’ve drunk the denialogue kool-aid, yet are far more likely to wake up as they become participants in rebuilding their own communities in resilient fashion. In this environment, working shoulder to shoulder with others, the kind of conversations and connections that Jeff #19 speaks of can truly take place.

  94. Lore says:

    “Fate of the World” game released”

    I’ve been wondering when someone would do this. Seems like WUWT has the typical spin on it, out of fear that it may intentionally indoctrinate the youth of the planet against them. Yet, commenter’s there still advocate bloody games involving Tom Clancy like plots with mercs taking out leftist scientists.

    I guess they prefer the Hogan’s Heroes version;…

  95. peter whitehead says:

    Tell Republicans that Arnie’s birth certificate is fake, and he was actually born in Kansas, but then adopted by Austrians. He can then run for President.

    Actually, adaptation still won’t be enough. Some prediction for global temp rise by 2100 are getting a range of 9-11 degrees. No adaptation possible for that.

  96. UnReal2r says:

    Every significant societal change in recent history – from civil rights to smoking and cancer to gay marriage – has involved the use of the third branch of government – the Courts.

    Sue the bastards.

    Sue them all.

    Stop waiting for a galactic epiphany and recognize that no matter how many demonstrations you hold, how many videos you circulate, how much education you try to impart, how many times you try to twist your Congressman’s arm . . . from the perspective of the pollution plutocracy it’s all about the money.

    Take it away from them. All of it.

  97. Joan Savage says:

    The Q for the weekend: What should Climate Hawks do now that’s its clear serious federal action on either climate or clean energy is unlikely to happen for years if not a decade or more?

    Here’s my two cents:
    Get out there in the media with a positive message about working together for a safer future. Say some inspiring and fact-based statements that give people hope and a vision. Admit it will take some courage, belt-tightening, and change. Laugh with the people. We are in this together.

    Congress is reactive, not proactive, and they count votes, particularly blocs of votes.

  98. Michael T says:

    Communicating Climate Change Science

    “Researchers often come up against the challenge of effectively communicating complex data to an audience beyond academia. In the case of climate-change science, this challenge is a special one. Now a highly politicized issue, climate change has camps of interested parties among specialists, policy makers, and the general public.”

  99. Steve L says:

    This is an historic time. Focus on history. Those who forget are doomed to repeat. It has to be hammered home that the tobacco wars were won, but not before a great amount of extra suffering was incurred. The same people are involved. The same techniques are being used. But this time truth is losing.

  100. MapleLeaf says:

    Climate Hawks need to expose the agenda and ignorance of the likes of Inhofe and other politicians who deny AGW.

    Perhaps they should be hauled up before a congressional hearing.

    And Joe, you really have to check and see what Curry has been up to of late. Absolutely mind boggling!

  101. Wit's End says:

    Sailesh Rao #73 said much, especially most poignantly, this:

    “For what value are the tchotchkes, the gadgets and the entertainment products we create, if we have nothing to eat in a lifeless planet?”

    This is the essential question that climate hawks should ask the climate turkeys, doves, and mocking birds – and each other. We as a loosely associated movement advocating the reduction and ultimately elimination of CO2 emissions and other forms of pollution, are simply dithering if we do not confront the fundamental quandary:

    System Change, Not Climate Change!

  102. Clare says:

    “Keep coal in the hole”
    Peter Whitehead wrote of the importance of keeping ‘our’ statements short & pithy when he gave Richard Somerville’s 6 points a very effective makeover recently.
    Similarly I think this could be an excellent rallying call.
    I am not sure who coined this but I read it here:

  103. Sailesh Rao says:

    Re: #99 UnReal2r: Good points. However, every significant societal shift in recent history has also been about the demolishing of false rights:
    1) the right to hold another human being as a slave,
    2) the right to possess women as property,
    3) the right to exclude people of color from certain establishments,
    4) the right to blow tobacco smoke in other people’s faces,
    5) the right to drive while intoxicated, etc.
    We had to wake up and recognize that all of these rights were actually wrongs. And, society moved on to a new paradigm where the previous right became an abhorrent cultural pillar of a misguided generation and its antecedents.

    I suggest that climate change is no different. In this case, the right to treat Nature, especially other life forms, as a resource pool put on earth for human use and enjoyment is the number one candidate for turning out to be a blatant wrong. Consider the following “rights” that we take for granted today:
    a) the right to confine animals and birds in cramped spaces, raise them industrially and kill 60 billion of them annually for human consumption,
    b) the right to separate calves from their mothers at birth and raise them for veal,
    c) the right to extract all the milk from these mothers for our enjoyment,
    d) the right to kill these mothers when they stop bearing calves and to use their skin for furniture upholstery and shoes,
    e) the right to trap bears alive in crates and drain bile from their livers for “medicinal” purposes,
    f) the right to skin rabbits, foxes, etc. to make fur coats for high society women, and
    g) the right to extract any mineral from the earth irrespective of the well-being of the ecosystem involved.

    Just to name a few. An examination of all such “rights” is well past overdue, for if these are truly “wrongs”, then the human footprint on the planet will vastly diminish leaving future generations with the possibility of achieving a sustainable existence. If we continue to assert these “rights” and more people climb up the development ladder to partake of these “rights”, I suspect that sustainability will become an impossibility. According to Prof. David Pimentel of Cornell, fully two-thirds of humanity are waiting in the wings to partake of these rights.

    If we don’t begin to overturn these rights as wrongs as a society, then perhaps it may not really matter what palliative course we choose to amuse ourselves with in the interim while Nature grinds out her consequences.

  104. Adam R. says:

    System Change, Not Climate Change!

    That message will get you blank looks and jeers from most of the American electorate.

    Yes, system change must happen if civilization is to be spared climate calamity, but it must come from an bottom-up change in the power scene in America. The old, make-nice Democratic Party must go; it must evolve into something willing to fight the right wing for populist supremacy. That fight will be tough and at times ugly, but it cannot be avoided if the goals of the corporatist oligarchy ares to be thwarted.

  105. Adam R. says:

    Every significant societal change in recent history – from civil rights to smoking and cancer to gay marriage – has involved the use of the third branch of government – the Courts.

    Sue the bastards.

    Sue them all.

    That might have some prospects of effectiveness unless a couple more wingnuts are seated on the SCOTUS. If that happens—and the 2012 presidential election is the key—environmental law is entirely in the keeping of capitalist zealots. Comforting, eh?

  106. Brent Roberts says:

    To Peter Whitehead (#98):

    Is that 9-11 degrees celsius or fahrenheit? Just curious.

  107. Ronnie says:

    This blog has repeatedly (and for a long time) made the point that unless significant action to mitigate CO2 emissions is taken RIGHT NOW, then disaster is inevitable.

    You’ve now concluded that significant action is not politically viable in the US for another 5 to 10 years.

    If you are right on both points, isn’t the logical course of action obvious: begin preparing for the worst case outcome. (Isn’t this where Bill McKibben ended up?)

  108. David B. Benson says:

    Inform as many as possible about the coming drought
    unless serious action is taken.

    Divert $500 billion per year from the DoD to removing CO2 and sequestering it. How much CO2 can be stuffed away each year for that amount?

  109. spacermase says:

    A possible model to emulate might be that of March Storm (, created by the space exploration advocacy group ProSpace. From what I’ve been told, it can be highly effective.

  110. Andy says:

    What to do? First write or email NPR and explain to them Roger Pielke Jr. is wrong. There are available off the shelf technologies, they are too costly to implement and Roger is off his nut as is usual.

    “Professor ROGER PIELKE Jr. (Environmental Studies, the University of Colorado): Yeah, I think the iron law of climate policy simply says that while people are willing to bear some cost for environmental objectives, that willingness has its limits. And cap and trade ran up against those limits time and again, and it’s not surprising that it failed.

    SIEGEL: But why was it possible then to use market mechanisms – at least to help reduce levels of lead in gasoline, CFC emissions that were depleting the ozone layer, sulfur dioxide emissions that contributed to acid rain – but not carbon emissions?

    Prof. PIELKE: Yeah, this is a really important point. For each of those cases, there were on-the-shelf technologies or other substitutes that could be switched out to meet the cap. The problem with trying to put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions is there is no readily available technological substitutes at the scale needed. What that means is that in cap and trade, we’re trying to create a price signal that causes economic discomfort that motivates innovation.

    And when you create economic discomfort, people do respond, but it’s usually at the ballot box, not in the laboratory.

    SIEGEL: So if a system, such as cap and trade, runs right up against the country’s interest in economic growth, economic growth will trump the interest in cap and trade, you’re saying?

    Prof. PIELKE: That’s right, and this is one reason why the various forms of cap and trade legislation had around a thousand pages or more. Many of the provisions were efforts to get around the cap. There was no, in fact, no cap in cap and trade.”

  111. Frank Zaski says:

    We need to:
    1. Make a preemptive strike by sending canned global warming story lines to EVERY media in the country. Something writers can modify a bit and publish.
    Issue versions and updates every week. A wise PR executive said you have to feed the media each week or they will start concentrating on the competition. Add versions by state or region for local appeal and more personal impact.
    These articles should address the denier’s favorite claims, one by one and collectively.
    Have a list of articulate climate scientists available who can be quickly answer media requests.

    2. Provide a web site listing the latest climate denial comments by politicians, corporate leaders,etc. For a media example, include the comment, email and phone numbers (if possible) of the person, their management, president and chairman
    Categorize comments by state, political, non-political, etc.
    List our talking points specific to each denial for easy access
    Get thousands of people involved with listing comments and then email, write or call to correct them
    Issue email action alerts
    This process is often done now to contact politicians, but let’s formalizes and expands it to all public climate deniers.

    3. I’m tired of my conservative relatives forwarding canned criticisms of Obama, climate change, etc. We need to develop our own versions – graphic, cute, hard hitting – so we can pass them around.

  112. Frank Zaski says:

    Good ideas #106! Another:

    Climate change bumper sticker campaign:
    1. Have a contest to find the best 5, 6 or 7 words for our messages
    2. Get all the environmental groups, etc. to cooperate. OK, some can have their own message.
    3. Provide the bumper stickers on request to members or just mail them to all members to put on their cars
    4. Have a version for home window

  113. David B. Benson says:

    This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling Figure 11, a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades over the whole United States, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and most of Africa.


  114. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    Climate hawks should fly to Florida for a vacation and fly back Washington in the spring.

  115. Josh says:

    Now is not the time for timidity. No one has ever tried a coordinated nationwide media blitz to put climate science in peoples’ faces. It’s not enough for people to embrace the economic benefits of clean energy– there just aren’t enough “green jobs” yet for people to conceptualize what that looks like, and you can’t just abandon the field to the deniers. People need to understand that global warming is happening all around them and that it is something we need to mobilize to fight. Evoke WWII and patriotism, use the “climate hawk” imagery, tell the proper story about how the gulf oil spill. Good messaging can change minds, at least among the 75% of us who are outside the right wing media bubble. Now is the time. If we try it and it works, it is a storyline that could put climate hawks back in power. If it doesn’t, at least we tried.

  116. J A Turner says:

    1. Donate what you can to groups who will file lawsuits against polluters.
    2. Expose the lunatic fringe for what it is. Climate deniers are too foolish and too dangerous to be trusted with power.
    3. Vote with your dollars: be conscious of how you spend your money, to favor companies that are working towards sustainability and to avoid companies that are tied into the denialist gravy-train.
    4. Make sure that your senators and representatives know where you stand and how you’ll respond to voting the wrong way on environmental issues.

  117. dp says:

    ronnie @ ~108:

    “isn’t the logical course of action obvious: begin preparing for the worst case outcome”

    you want the worst case outcome? no hesitation, no feeling that what we must do what we can to bend the risk curve down?

  118. Prospace Environmentalist says:

    In addition to some good ideas in the comments, science writers and science fiction writers should be enlisted to increase the media noise about the Climate Change catastrophe. Also, bring in sci-fi fans into the mix. If Trekkies love Star Trek’s message of optimism, why are they not out there fighting for a better future?

    The Environmental groups should be tightly coordinated and be engaging in direct messaging – get people to make phone calls or go out in the streets, not sign some damn internet petitions. Phone calls is an effective tactic used by a very small group, Space Access Society

    A very aggressive campaign is called for. Take No Prisoners!

  119. Sailesh Rao says:

    Re: #106 Adam R: I believe you are right. In fact, the American public will probably jeer at Prof. Donald Brown’s position in #90 and he’s just talking about social justice within the human community. But, a true solution most likely requires us to include all Life as the community.

    However, if I don’t spell it out and walk the talk by leading a non-violent, “Ahimsan” lifestyle, I would consider myself less than a Climate Hawk. More of a chickenhawk, perhaps.

  120. Keith says:

    In contrast to your characterization of “Climate Hawks”, perhaps the active opposition are “Climate Cuckoos”.

    A cuckoo exploits other nesting birds, damaging the chances of the other’s offspring, and leaving the health and well-being of its own to the responsibility of those others.

    Alliteration binds the words together, and it may not hurt that the word “cuckoo” hints at someone who seems a little crazy.

  121. UnReal2r says:

    Adam R @ #106:

    With respect, obsessing over how the game is going to be lost before an inning is played as a result of which umpire is calling balls and strikes is symptomatic of the misanthropic mewling that weaves its way through many of these conversations.

    Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954 – 10 years before the Civil Rights Act.

    The bickering over “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” would go on for decades if left to the elected numbnuts at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Courts have rules and time limits that don’t necessarily harmonize with elections and political fashions.

    You don’t need the EPA to sue the pants off Koch. Last year, according to the government’s own accounting, over $2 billion in damage was caused by tropospheric ozone. Somebody owes somebody else $2 billion. Maybe more.

    There are all sorts of theories that might be applied to the harm that is being done by fossil fuel. Particularly since the producers know how harmful their products are. Even more so because they are lying about it.

    Think of it as asbestos or tobacco or exploding Pintos on a grand scale. Sue them. Take their money. Sink their bond ratings. Force them into the pink sheets.

    Have you been harmed by fossil fuel emissions? Call Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe . . .

  122. UnReal2r says:

    A correction:

    I said: “over $2 billion in damage was caused by tropospheric ozone.”

    I meant to say: “over $2 billion in damage to just the soybean crop was caused by tropospheric ozone.”

  123. Fred Teal Jr. says:

    We face the difficulty that the problems that we can see with our minds based on the observable facts of climate change cannot yet be experienced directly in the hearts of most except in limited extreme weather events.

    When M.L. King and M. Ghandi led successful waves of social change, the problems were perfectly obvious to people of good will. The impact of television news from the south was overwhelming. It broke one’s heart to see the graphic results of prejudice and hate.

    The injustice of Climate change impacts will also speak to the hearts of all some day in like manner when the consequences become overwhelming and undeniable. I believe we must all continue to speak of the future that we can clearly see ahead of us. Even though it seems fruitless and triggers constant denial, it will prepare the soil for seeds of belief that we are planting to sprout and grow when the accumulating evidence becomes overwhelming. Change may come suddenly like a “climate Pearl Harbor” only because the seeds have been planted and the soil is fertile.

    We must be patient and continue to “till the soil and plant the seeds”. Our greatest strength is the belief that we can make a difference and that we can have a positive impact. Hope is the greatest route to change.

  124. Bruce says:

    Maine hits 12th straight month of warm temps

    Warm globally, problems locally.
    Make it clear to the public how this is affecting them.
    However, New England has had a marvelous summer, the kind that would give global warming a good name.
    A few more people falling thru the ice over the winter is like just more traffic accidents, in our consciousness.

    I’m not impressed with the weatherman who thinks it’s just luck.

  125. Kelley Meck says:

    Hi all. I think it’s past time we had a less linear and more comment-thread style to how comments post to the site. I’m thinking after the model of another website,, where a simple tabbed format indicates which comments are in the same conversation.

    It’d also be nice to be able to log-in and have ‘new’ comments flagged for me, if I check back in on the same thread. @Joe Romm–check out’s comment structure. Cheers.

  126. Theodore says:

    What to do next? Invest in oil, gas and coal. Make some money. Buy some influence. It works for them, why not for us?

  127. Matto says:


    “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

  128. Edward says:

    As I told you a week ago Joe Romm:

    Obama’s EPA is shutting down Mountaintop Removal coal mining for “environmental” reasons [water pollution].
    Obama’s Department of Labor is shutting down an underground mine because of safety violations and deaths of miners.
    Nothing was done for the previous 30 or more years on either of these situations.

    Obama’s EPA is considering changing the rules so that coal ash will be treated as hazardous waste. It is more correct to say that coal ash is low level radioactive waste, but it must happen one step at a time. Disruptions must be limited to a manageable level. Treating coal ash as hazardous waste puts coal ash within the jurisdiction of the EPA without having to change any laws.

    The engine making the CO2 can be shut off either at the input end or at the exhaust end. Coal ash is the exhaust end. If coal ash cannot be disposed of cheaply or at a profit, burning coal becomes impossible. Electric utilities will be liable for cleaning up the hazardous coal ash that they have already created. WHEN coal ash is admitted to be radioactive waste, burning coal will be impossible and a great controversy will ensue.

    Conclusion: The Obama Administration is taking action at the maximum bureaucratic speed to curb CO2 emissions in the absence of congressional action.

    All 3 of the above actions raise the cost of coal. These 3 actions are the “stealth” strategy for limiting CO2 emissions. They make the alternatives more attractive. Coal is the source of energy that makes the most CO2. In all 3 cases, old laws are enforced for the first time. New laws are not required. All that is required is a president who is determined to do something about CO2.

    We could even say that the Cap & Trade bill was the camouflage or sacrificial distraction or feint attack.

    Obama is very cleverly doing quite a bit to curb greenhouse gas emissions. WHEN coal ash is admitted to be radioactive waste, our CO2 emissions will drop 40%. There will be a great emotional reaction nationwide and worldwide. Coal will become “radioactive” in the emotional sense. This will be a psychological change equal to the change caused by 9/11.

  129. Roger says:

    A bit late getting back to this, but I believe a new, effective, near-term, low risk, high return, actionable answer, as is often the case, may lie right under our noses, or should I say beaks? Forgive me, but I want to run the concept by a few wise climate hawks before deciding if it is better to publish it here on CP or keep things quiet until a trial run is done. An element of surprise may help. Think biomimicry.

  130. Prokaryotes says:

    Theodore says “What to do next? Invest in oil, gas and coal. Make some money. Buy some influence. It works for them, why not for us?”

    Actually it “only works” BECAUSE of subsidies. The Secret is: People just need to switch to renewable and they save money at the same time. Because fossil energy is overall flawed, more prone to error, peakoil (extraction cost skyrocketing) and ultimately with climate change fossil energy security could render transports and storage impossible.

    Renewable energy 7/24/365 decentralized, infinite resource, almost no transport needed – is the holy grail of energy security.

  131. Climate Warrior says:

    Here’s my challenge to American climate hawks to make real change as fast as possible ….

    Ask yourself these questions, and do the research to get the answers:

    1) What kind of local jurisdiction do I live in? A city, town, county, township, parish…?
    2) What is my local form of government? A city council, town council, county council/judge/supervisor…? And don’t forget the school board… and other local officers… water boards…
    3) How many representatives are elected to run my city, town, county, township, parish…?
    4) What are the names of those representatives? Are they affiliated with a party? (many local races are nonpartisan)
    5) How long do they serve?
    6) When is their next election and what is the election cycle?
    7) By how many votes were they elected? How many registered voters live in their districts? What was the voter turnout? (Did I vote in the last local election? If you are like most registered voters, the answer will be no.)
    8) Are the current elected local leaders doing or saying anything about efficient/high performance buildings or transportation?
    9) Does my community have a plan for growth that supports energy efficient lifestyles?
    10) Are local businesses / chamber of commerce / other business groups involved in any green/energy efficiency efforts? (Walmart, PNC Bank, local food movements…)
    11) Are neighborhoods involved in any green/energy efficiency efforts?
    12) Are schools involved in any green/energy efficiency efforts?
    13) Are any local civic organizations, faith based organized, non-profits involved in any green /energy efficiency efforts?
    13) How does my local government interact with the region and with the state? (This is so different across the country — and it’s vital to understand how to get things done.)
    14) What organizations support local climate action and sharing good ideas across the nation with other localities, and what can be done to support them?
    15) How can I find good ideas from other localities and copy them in my hometown?
    16) What are the most promising local actions and what is needed to support them? (Do you know what PACE is and what’s stopping that now? Do you know what your building codes are? What is your hometown’s plan for more efficient transportation?)
    17) Which local elected leaders might influence state and federal leaders and which might run for higher office? (and who are those state and local leaders?)
    18) Who runs the local parties (Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, etc.) and when do they meet?
    19) What are my local media outlets? What newspapers go into neighborhoods across my local jurisdiction? What are the radio stations? What are the TV stations? What are the blogs/web sites/social media (Facebook, etc.) that citizens in my community read?
    20) Who are the key reporters/bloggers/editors that cover the part of local action/politics that impacts my community’s climate action and what is their contact information?
    21) When do my local elected leaders meet and what is on their agenda?
    22) When do they allow the public to talk to them, and is the media present usually?
    23) When is the deadline for letters to the editor?
    24) Does my school have a Safe Routes to School committee (wouldn’t it be great for kids to walk more and get rid of some gas-guzzling busses? And could your locality buy more efficient busses?) This is just one example of a local action that you can support.

    OK, I’ll stop there. Knowing the answers to the questions above empowers citizens to make real change. Once you know the answers — or at least some of them — just a little bit of time speaking up at the local level can start to affect real change. We need you climate hawks engaged at the local level, not just the federal level. We local leaders have great power over buildings, transportation choices, waste dumps, sewage systems, water systems, fleets of school busses, police cars, etc. We are the ones who have to deal with responses to local weather disasters (why isn’t my street plowed? who the heck are you to say I can’t water my lawn?)

    Because of what we have to vote on regularly and what we need to respond to in our communities, I actually think local leaders understand the nuts & bolts of what needs to happen more than most state or federal leaders. Educate local leaders on climate destabilization, energy efficiency, etc. and what needs to change and how fast it needs to change. And then get them to run for higher office (and replace the local positions with climate hawk candidates — make as many races as possible contests between two or more climate hawks — then we won’t lose.)

    And finally, get the local businesses involved; there are many creative ways to this. More and more businesses are seeing the economic opportunity in transforming our country to clean energy, energy efficiency, etc. And many business people are getting worried about weather/climate impacts to their businesses and to their families. All politicians at all levels need to know about this interest in the business community — not just hear the fossil fuel funded business propaganda.

  132. gecko says:

    Currently, both Obama and Bloomberg are in Asia addressing climate change and people issues (jobs).

    Overarching philosophy should be something like:

    Intense investment and restoration of natural capital where human capital is the most important component.

    Cities like New York City have the terrific potential for being engines of environmental, economic, social investment, regeneration, and repair where the New York Metropolitan Area is the center of the world’s third largest economy comprised of 16 million people.

    And NYC is currently in the beginning stages of PlaNYC2030 targeting emissions reductions of 30% by 2030AD. This is not even close and we should be targeting net-zero by 2020 AD which is completely possible if we move on this with military speed.

  133. gecko says:

    Emissions reduction targets should be monthly not decadal for net-zero NYC by 2010 AD.

  134. gecko says:


    Emissions reduction targets should be monthly not decadal for net-zero NYC by 2020 AD.

  135. gecko says:

    @nytimes Obama Invokes Gandhi, Whose Ideal Eludes Modern India Creating the unitive global civilization!

  136. gecko says:

    @NYCMayorsOffice Mayor Bloomberg assumes the chairmanship of the #C40 climate group in Hong Kong

  137. J Bowers says:

    Actually get organised.

    Get a statement from each and every publishing climate scientist on whether AGW is real and dangerous, rather than multiple choice surveys that can be easily “doubted” by the shills.

    Post and argue more in the mainstream news media comments sections, which is where the general public is more likely to be found.

  138. Jeff Huggins says:

    Some Ideas (a list)

    Because time is tight, and because these things can be explained in more detail at another time (and many of them are self-explanatory anyhow), I just wanted to list some ideas quickly for now.

    California: The Clean Climate and Energy Gold Rush – Of course, we should do absolutely everything possible, and be smart about it, to make California a shining, attractive, and compelling example of what can and should be done to move into the future. The point is not just to get California on a fully effective path: It’s also to make California such a shining example that other states and the whole nation will feel compelled to get with it, next time around.

    Youth – All generations should encourage and help the younger generations, whose futures are at stake, to speak out and push society into the future. College students should be insisting on positive change right now, and demanding that it happen.

    Ethics – As Donald Brown and others have said, we should become familiar with the key moral/ethical arguments for addressing climate change, and we should build those arguments (in plain compelling English) into many of the messages of the climate and energy movements. We should put the ethical arguments into everyday English and use everyday illustrations to help people connect with them and see that they are very real aspects of our everyday lives.

    Scientists – Many more scientists should find their guts, and more of us should encourage and help each other do so. As with college students, scientists should be screaming from the windows and roofs by now. Period.

    Sue – Large public-interest organizations, and top law firms, should bring suits (and HUGE ONES) against the chief climate offenders, naming board members and senior execs personally in addition to the companies themselves.

    Education – C’mon Cal and Stanford and Harvard and Princeton and so forth. You can (and should) be doing dramatically much more than you are doing now! Here, I’m talking about the institutions themselves. How is it that we have such great institutions and society is in such a mess, state of scientific denial, and state of alienation from the use of good reasoning itself? And I’m not talking about merely greening campuses. Instead, I’m talking about the institutions becoming a huge part of the voice, and effort, to get society itself on sustainable paths. Period. I’ve attended both Berkeley and Harvard, and although I still love and respect them, my respect will go to nearly nil if they don’t get much more active in helping to bring science, reason, and wisdom back into healthy fashion, to put it one way.

    Star Power – Where are the John Lennons, Jane Fondas, Jane Goodalls, and Joan Baez-es of today? (To be clear, I know that three of these are still “of today”, but we need them all, more like them, and from all generations.) Where is the Timothy Leary of the sustainability movement? (not to imply that he was a great model, but you know what I mean) The Allen Ginsberg? We need folks of all shapes and backgrounds. It’s great that Arnold, and also George Shultz, and more and more others are starting to speak out. But we need many more!

    Social and Societal Change – The movement and its leaders should get much smarter, I think, about how change happens in society. We need to enlist, and listen to, more of the top thinkers in the life sciences, evolutionary psychology, sociology, psychology, and etc.

    Get Smart and Creative – We need to get much smarter and more creative. MUCH more creative! If Walt Disney had been as creative as some organizations in, and aspects of, our movement, Disneyland and Walt Disney World would be used car lots instead of what they are, and The Lion King and Little Mermaid movies would have been like those black-and-white scare movies about atom bombs that we all had to watch in elementary school in the 1960s.

    A No-Excuse Initiative to Educate All Senators and Representatives – The scientific organizations should cooperate (and someone should provide funding) to offer an excellent program of seminars that would really leave “no reasonable excuse” to Senators and Reps to avoid attending. I’ve discussed this elsewhere.

    The Streets – There is no question: We’re going to have to take it to the streets, in civil and responsible ways, of course, yet effective ones.

    Religion – Some people seem to think that God, according to their belief system, would somehow not want us to be responsible humans, good “stewards”, who also care about future generations and other species. Nonsense. The climate and energy movements should partner better with key religious leaders – much better – and the religions and their leaders should step up the plate and use their voices, in no uncertain terms. Does God love black gold, Texas Tea, ExxonMobil, climate disruption, astonishing human arrogance and stupidity, blatant generational selfishness, dishonesty, and a quick buck; or does God love and want responsible and caring humans, a healthy biosphere, genuine intergenerational justice, honesty, empathy, and good thinking? I ask you. Really!

    Naming Names – We’re going to need to name names of those largest culprits who don’t get it and who try to block responsible efforts. And loudly. And often. At this point, off go the soft white gloves.

    The “Should Institutions” – Although I won’t go into detail here, there are many institutions, and very important and influential ones, that are presently riding on the narrow tip of a fragile fence. These are institutions that would “prefer” not to take a strong stand (after all, they might upset some clients or constituents?!) but that define themselves in terms of intellectual rigor, credibility, brilliance, and integrity. Well, when the stakes are this high, you can’t have it both ways. So, the climate and energy movement should do a much better job at reaching out to these organizations and “prompting” them to take responsible stands, or else. This is an important effort. Top-quality firms in the management consulting field fall into this category. These institutions should get with it, for their own long-term good, and light should be shined on them if they don’t.

    The MAHB – Some universities, or members of faculties at universities, are trying to create major and meaningful initiatives that can help society in various ways understand and craft positive pathways into the future. The “MAHB” is one of them that has the potential to be very promising, housed at Stanford. Where it makes sense, initiatives like the MAHB, and the climate movement’s various organizations, should cooperate with each other and help each other.

    Touche! – We need to become totally excellent at using the opposition’s own phrases, tools, and icons (even better than they do) against them! For example, in a quote I’ve posted several times recently, Milton Friedman explains that, in cases where “neighborhood effects” are involved, free markets, by themselves, can’t address the problem, and government involvement in such cases is both justified and (quite often) necessary. When you can quote Milton Friedman against the nonsensical arguments of many of the most fervent (and misguided) believers in the mantra “markets can do no wrong”, it often causes them to pause, at least for a moment, and it certainly undercuts their credibility with others, which is vitally important in winning the broader war. Similarly, when Republicans talk about the importance of science education in relation to American technological competitiveness, it’s a fair question (and necessary) to point out, what do they MEAN by scientific education and leadership, if they themselves don’t understand climate change and don’t respect the view of 97 percent of the scientific community? Are we to suggest to our children “learn science” and then tell them that “those scientists don’t get it, and it’s all a conspiracy”? Nonsense. But my point is this: We need to get very good at using the other side’s own preferred “weapons” and “authorities” against them. And, it’s not hard, because their arguments are superficial and not grounded. It’s easy to poke holes in them, if you’re prepared. So, we need to be prepared. Too often, we aren’t.

    Starbucks – The movement should work with companies like Starbucks to get the word out and do creative and effective things. Starbucks says that it wants to help inspire the public to address climate change. I see the sign nearly every day when I get coffee. So, let’s take Starbucks up on that offer.

    Boycotts, e.g., ExxonMobil — We’re going to need Big Bold Beautiful Boycotts! Money speaks, and the very act of a boycott also sends other signals to the public about the sincerity and seriousness of folks who participate in boycotts. I won’t go into detail here, but if we can’t manage to do large-scale boycotts against the likes of ExxonMobil and a few others, in targeted fashion, we don’t deserve to succeed. Really.

    The Media – The Media Mess is too much to go into here. But we have to try very hard to do something about it, naming names in the process. I have some ideas.

    Meaningful Places to Jump – One of the nice things about the growing numbers of Transition Towns, Eco-Communities, communes, and so forth is that they’ll give more and more people places to go, to find meaningful lives, to live in more sustainable ways, and so forth who want to jump ship from unsustainable industries that are doing damage to the Earth and that want to fire them anyhow. For example, imagine a mid-level scientist at ExxonMobil. Such a person might feel “stuck” in the nonsense and lack of integrity if she or he has nowhere else to go. But, if there are ways to live life outside of an organization that has lost all integrity, such a person can indeed jump ship, safely, and help contribute to a much healthier future.

    Kissing and Hugs – I don’t mean this literally, but we need to cooperate more and give each other more moral support. I don’t mean that we should become “yes people” and not try to encourage and help each other to higher degrees of effectiveness and meaning, but I do mean that we should listen to each other and try to get together, as real people, in 3-D environments, over coffee, as often as possible. Let’s contribute to mutual growth! This online stuff can begin to drive one crazy! (Is it showing?)

    Transition Towns, etc. – Love ‘em. The climate and energy organizations should involve the Transition Town folks, and vice versa, and we should all encourage each other. My impression is that a great deal can be learned from the Transition Town movement and specific Transition Towns.

    Secret Weapon O – I have an idea that I’ll call Secret Weapon O, but if I shared it here, it wouldn’t be secret. So, if one of the movement’s organizations comes out here to the Bay Area, and would be willing to meet with me, I’ll share this idea and also discuss some of the others in more detail, and also others.

    Release My Comment Already – One idea that would be helpful, I think, is for CAP to release my earlier comment about Heroine Rachel, Fox, the Broadcast Acts, and etc. It is still showing “your comment is awaiting moderation” or whatever the phrase is.

    Try Cooperating – We should (and will need to) cooperate more. Although the movement’s organizations don’t always need to cooperate with each other, of course, and many initiatives will be helpful, and cooperation shouldn’t be stifling or stale, nevertheless, we’ll need to become much better at cooperating on big things, to be sure. We should realize that one of the reasons that corporate behemoths are so big, effective, and hard to beat is that they are big machines of cooperation. The 80,000 employees of ExxonMobil cooperate with each other because they are paid to do so, and their jobs and bonuses depend on it. Others cooperate with ExxonMobil because they are paid to do so. The money that ExxonMobil has isn’t just valuable because they can use it to purchase an oil field. Instead, it’s helpful to them because it gains the cooperation and attention of LOTS of folks, including (for example) The New York Times. So, the climate and energy movement’s organizations MUST find ways to cooperate with each other, and to gain more participants, without being able to pay big bucks. How to gain someone’s cooperation without being able to say, “hey, here’s $50,000”? That’s a timeless question. We need to “dig down” and find cooperation, and create meaningful rewards to cooperation, because too much fragmentation will lead to failure.

    OK, that’s it for now. Hopefully some of these are helpful.



  139. Might be that i missed some note about this interesting and short paper by Phil Preston and Paul Gilding.
    The paper is to be found here and the introduction here

    If it would be so, that the tipping point would occur in financial markets rather than in the world of politics or public opinion? Interesting thought!

  140. David Smith says:

    I recommend the book, Plentitude” by Juliet Schor, the new economics of true wealth. On page 76 and following she discusses the models used by economists and their flawed assumptions relative to the environment. There is lots of discussion in denier land about flawed environmental models. I had never considered that modeling the future involved economic modeling as well. These models drive the debate and are the basis for setting business interests against environmental interest. They use some totally eroneuos assumptions. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it is a must read, it sheds a lot of light.

  141. David Smith says:

    I am not going to pick on anyone specifically, but, a through-line from many comments on this site raise an issue for me that I believe is crucial to the success of the movement. Many comments indicate with great commitment what other people should be doing; scientists, politicians, billionaires, celebrities (people of influence). This basically shifts the action from being your and my responsibility to someone else’s responsibility. This is a big mistake.

    There is a lot of concern among the people in this country about global warming that is going unexpressed. How do we activate this concern? I am one of these people. You are one of these people. What are we willing to do? How far are we willing to go to put our buts on the line? If we are slightly above average kinds of people and are willing are willing to step out a little, I bet there are lots of others like us who would be willing to do something similar because they are emboldened by our actions as individuals (not celebrities) by my actions. 2 million people making some sort of public gesture would be a game changer. Bolder action can come later. let it build.

    I created a “Climate Hawk” Symbol. Displaying such a symbol publicly would be a small gesture. Something anyone with concern could do; a baby step, preparation for bigger steps to come. If you are willing to do it, maybe others are willing as well.

    I don’t think we can win the celebrity battle. We get a celebrity scientist, they get a TV network. We lose. Our base for climate action is obviously smaller than we think. Our political power is not our strength. Moving those who share our concerns to action. That is our secret weapon, baby steps.

  142. Joe says:

    115. You mentioned something like a ‘Climate Hawk’ bumper sticker, and while it could be a good way to spread the message, it seems like it’s kind of ironic stuck on the back of a source of carbon emissions. Stickers for street poles, binders, and bikes, perhaps? Maybe a ‘Climate Hawk’ t-shirt campaign?

  143. Adam R. says:

    UnReal2r says:
    Adam R @ #106:

    With respect, obsessing over how the game is going to be lost before an inning is played as a result of which umpire is calling balls and strikes is symptomatic of the misanthropic mewling that weaves its way through many of these conversations.

    “misanthropic mewling”

    I like the phrase, but reject the characterization. I was merely pointing out the critical issue in the 2012 election: which party will determine the majority on the SCOTUS. The milestone case you mentioned succeeded because there was no reactionary supreme court waiting to strike it down. It is difficult to imagine Brown v. Board of Education getting the same decision from a court loaded with Scalias.

    I agree that the courts have been an effective weapon against injustice and I am all for suing the Kochs’ asses off, but that weapon is at extreme risk in 2012. That is why I’m saying it is critical for progressives to stop mewling and get aggressive about politics.

  144. Leif says:

    I would be proud to put a climate hawk sticker on my small fuel efficient car as well as my bike. How about little ones that can go on envelopes like X-mass seals.

  145. John McCormick says:

    RE # 144

    David, the one-on-one, individuals doing what they can are getting nowhere; except maybe in the hearts and minds of those who actually ride bikes, turn off lights, consume less. Well, all that may be a start but we are not in the start mode, are we?

    Perhaps, as you say,

    “I don’t think we can win the celebrity battle. We get a celebrity scientist, they get a TV network. We lose.” Jim Hansen is a saint…a green saint.

    But then you go on and say:

    “Our base for climate action is obviously smaller than we think. Our political power is not our strength. Moving those who share our concerns to action. That is our secret weapon, baby steps.”

    That is a strategy akin to watching paint dry. You know it is happening but it is not exactly an event.

    Look, enviro groups are essentially silent this past week on where to go next. Have you seen any one of the green leaders wading into this blog or any blog (maybe their own) to seek our council; to admit they are clueless what to do next…except to show up in Cancun to accomplish who knows what?

    How about national figures… non enviros… going public to tell us all the frightening consequences of American politicians and world leaders ignoring, avoiding the tough decisions. It sure beats me and my neighbor across the street agreeing to turn off the porch light after midnite.

    David, Winston Churchill did not wait for Brits to haul out their hunting rifles to bring down the German planes. Our President may not have Churchill’s strength of leadership and purpose. But, nationally prominent figures ( I do not include Bruce “the boss” in the lineup) can go public and challenge President Obama with likely better effect…in the next Congress…than we who, as you say, do not have the political strength. I’d like to think I can get Senator Jim Webb to become a climate hawk. To him, I am a nuisance. If Colin Powell asked Webb, that might start a discussion.

    John McCormick

  146. Adam R. says:

    @126 Fred Teal Jr. says:

    The injustice of Climate change impacts will also speak to the hearts of all some day in like manner when the consequences become overwhelming and undeniable. I believe we must all continue to speak of the future that we can clearly see ahead of us. Even though it seems fruitless and triggers constant denial, it will prepare the soil for seeds of belief that we are planting to sprout and grow when the accumulating evidence becomes overwhelming. Change may come suddenly like a “climate Pearl Harbor” only because the seeds have been planted and the soil is fertile.

    We must be patient and continue to “till the soil and plant the seeds”. Our greatest strength is the belief that we can make a difference and that we can have a positive impact. Hope is the greatest route to change.

    Hear, hear. We are facing a political crisis in the U. S. that requires new tactics, but by all means we should keep telling the truth about climate science and the risks of climate change. Now would be a good time for everyone to kick in a little donation to the climate bloggers who work so hard to do just that.

  147. Greg Gorman says:

    In today’s Parade Magazine, an article entitled “The Surprising Link Between Air Pollution & Diabetes” reported on a Boston Children’s Hospital study. The study finds that people in the areas of the highest levels of air pollution have a 20% chance of getting adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes. This supports Ziyu (Comment 59) suggestion to “end all subsidies for coal, oil, and gas.”

    When the President’s FY11 budget included the repeal of tax preferences for oil and coal (projected to raise $38.8B thru FY2020). The Fossil-Fuel Economist argue that abolishing the tax breaks would cost jobs and wreaks havoc with investors to support domestic production. Consider a potential compromise to include a time phased elimination of the subsidies to soften the impact on investors and use the additional revenue to cut businesses taxes to offset job losses. At least this would be a turn toward a Clean Energy Economy.

    A good question for next week- Since American People demand that the politicians work together to solve our problems, where are Climate Hawks willing to compromise?

  148. DRT says:

    David at 144, here is a suggestion for a public gesture. I put this on a previous thread, but I’l repeat it here. Pick some weekly time, I suggest Saturdays at noon east coast time for an hour. For that hour stop or minimize your use of electricity, natural gas, gasoline…. That is, shut off all your circuit breakers, don’t drive anywhere, and maybe go outside for a walk or a bike ride or some other fossil fuel free activity. This would need publicity to build into some kind of a phenomenon. Bill McKibben, does this idea appeal to you? Perhaps I am naively dreaming, but how many weeks of how many households would it take flipping their circuit breakers back on at 1:00 for the power companies and the media to notice.

  149. 1. We need to create political strength on the issue. The most important things to politicians is votes; money is essentially a way to get votes. We have not made our voice clear on the votes. Congress still believes there is no support for carbon pricing; we need to tell them there is, in order to counteract the voices of coal, big oil, and the Koch brothers. Two places to participate in creating a political voice are: and Visit them and sign up TODAY. Share with friends, associates, at church, and online.

    2. Talking about Adaptation is a good way to get people to pay attention to mitigation.

    3. IF we could agree on some talking points it would help to reduce the confusion in the view of the public. For example, look at wildly different numbers about sea level rise projections. So many people still cite the highly misleading minimum of 18 cm from IPCC AR4 — that omits dynamic changes in Greenland.

    4. Using 2100 as the benchmark year is a mistake; 90 years is MUCH too distant. Need to talk about effects by 2050 to have relevance. 40 years away seems real to people — e.g. they recall we recently celebrated 40th anniversary of first moon landing.

  150. Jeff Huggins says:

    To David Smith (Comment 144)

    David, although I think I understand and appreciate what you’re getting at, I think what you’re saying misses a key point and is incorrect, in an important sense anyhow, although it’s possible that I’m misunderstanding you.

    We should all be active, of course. But part of my action can (and often should) involve encouraging others to be active, and even prompting them when that’s necessary and helpful; and part of your action can (and often should) involve encouraging others to be active, and even prompting them when that’s necessary and helpful; and part of THEIR action can (and often should) involve encouraging you and I to be active, and even prompting us when that’s necessary and helpful.

    So, it’s not an EITHER/OR thing. Of course, if someone sits in a couch and yells at others to be active, that’s a problem. But I don’t sense that anyone here is doing that. In fact, almost certainly, anyone serious enough to be writing suggestions and observations here, on Climate Progress, over the weekends, is very likely to be doing all sorts of other things in and for the movement as well.

    There’s a great book on human sociality (to a degree) and cooperation called “The Evolution of Cooperation”, by Robert Axelrod. Although it’s somewhat out of date, it’s a classic and hits key points, and it’s short. There’s another great book — indeed, leaders in the movement should read it — called “Not By Genes Alone: How culture transformed human evolution”, itself a classic, by Peter Richerson (U.C. Davis) and Robert Boyd (UCLA). These two books, among others of course, can help people understand many of the cultural, psychological, and social-moral dynamics that influence people, who are (after all) social beings. I highly recommend them both.

    One thing, though: Even as I suggest that you encourage me, and I encourage you, and we encourage others, and they encourage us, to get involved and be active, encouragement and “prompting”, and/or pleas and requests, and/or insistence, when warranted, all should be accompanied by moral support and so forth. Positive is important. But it’s also true that more people need to get more active, and many disciplines and professions and organizations are not doing nearly enough, especially given their presumed roles. In some cases, we need to say so and (yes) kick their butts. But if they want to get active, we should help them. And when they do get active, we should thank them. And when we’re all back to 350 ppm, we can party together.



  151. John Mason says:

    Brilliant post above by Fred Teal Jr.

    People do want to make change. Last week I nearly got a job as Climate Change Officer with my Local Authority – I called for feedback as you do and apparently it was a very close contest. The pool of applicants was the biggest they have ever had, and I was congratulated for making it to the shortlist for interviews. Although it was a bummer not getting the job, it was encouraging so see so many people jumping at the chance to get something accomplished.

    When we were doing the Awareness Raising in our Transition Initiative, we were getting up to 300 people attending talks. That’s in a town of 2000-odd, which is I think an impressive percentage given our often lousy promotion of events – we were very much feeling our way back then.

    A lot of people – a BIG percentage – do understand the tremendous issues raised by Peak Oil and Climate Change. Let’s keep at it for their sake, and to hell with the cornucopian anti-science fools and their rapacious, short-sighted stupidity! Nature will catch up with them in any case!

    Cheers – John

  152. Kenneth Krieger says:

    Raise $32 billion and buy the publicly traded coal companies. Anti-trust laws would prevent buying all the companies since market concentration would allow price manipulation which is against the law. Therefore,launch a civil suit against the government to overturn the anti-trust laws for coal companies on the basis of a national emergency, and start a campaign to nationalize the coal industry. Impractical? Perhaps, but possible and at the worst would raise the issues at the heart of the matter. BTW, $32 billion is the current market cap of the publicly traded coal companies with Peabody Coal being the largest at $15 billion.

  153. Lenny Dee says:

    We need to show that Americans in local communities all over America are acting on climate. Check out these 16 towns in Kansas that are in a contest to reduce energy costs. We need to have this happening all over America

  154. Lenny Dee says:

    Here is that link

  155. David Smith says:

    Joe @ 145 – I think we have to look past the Irony on the car and not yeild to the opposition. We are in the imperfect places that we are on these issues., and must move forward anyway. The car is an excellent public place for this item. I am not placing it their for the oppositions benefit. It is there to help the climate hawks unit and find each other.

  156. matto says:

    Oooops, my comment #130 was supposed to address comment #129 not 128.

  157. David Smith says:

    John @ #148 – I am not sugesting one on one. I am suggesting that if 1000 people see you go out of your comfort zone and do something, take a risk, maybe a little risk like applying a bumpersticker to your car indicating your position on all of this, maybe a big risk like refusing to pay that portion of your IRS tax commitment that reflects the portion that subsidizes big dirty energy some portion of the 1,000 people will respond positively to what you are doing in a way they will not respond to your talking about it.

    I think changing lightbulbs and turning them off when not in use does more to help energy companies to avoid the costs of peak energy than it does to advance the cause of returning the planet to climate stability. I wish the people who keep saying it will be easy to solve this and it can save you money are hurting the greater cause. To actually fix this is going to cost alot of money and commitment. It will transform our lives in ways that we do not know.

    I read recently that in the united states water use per capita per year was 2,483 meters cubed per person. In the town I live in they calculate water need at 30 gallons per day per person for a houshold. Household use is 1/2 of one percent of the per capita total water use. I did the math. Low flow shower heads and flush toilets help municipalities provide water to their communities but does nothing to curb the overall missuse of drinking water. Back to light bulbs. Energy companies want you to think that changing light bulbs is all you need to do. It doesn’t threaten their industry.

    I think national figures are usefull if you can get them to do something beyond talking. Things that take courage, that will earn respect that don’t involve talking or spending money.

    I am not suggesting that anyone should go out and talk to anyone.

  158. Colorado Bob says:

    Bill Moyers speech at Boston University on October 29, 2010, as a part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series.

    I was honored when you asked me to join in celebrating Howard Zinn’s life and legacy. I was also surprised. I am a journalist, not a historian. The difference between a journalist and an historian is that the historian knows the difference. George Bernard Shaw once complained that journalists are seemingly unable to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.

  159. Harry says:

    Unfortunately there seems to be only one thing we can do and that is to “focus like a laser” on one issue until we accomplish it’s completion.

    The source of all of this evil and disinformation is corporate money. This big lie technique works and they have taken advantage of a highly suspect and deeply flawed Supreme Court ruling that must be reversed.

    The Citizens United ruling is the only thing that matters in the short and long run. As long as the fossil fuel monopolies can control the airwaves with their lies and falsehoods they will win. No meaningful climate legislation will pass when they can bribe and threaten all the politicians and turn them into whores.

    An amendment to the constitution that makes it loud and clear that when the Constitution says people it means living breathing biological people is the only thing that will do the job.

    Nothing else will work at this point besides armed rebellion and I’m not up for that.

  160. Leland Palmer says:

    Well, it doesn’t look like climate change is going away, regardless of what Washington does. Our cause, based as it is on reality, cannot collapse.

    There has been a huge growth in awareness of the problem, in the past few years. Searching on climate change in Google now produces tens of millions of hits, as one small example of this.

    The Republican party is going to look increasingly disconnected and increasingly owned by the fossil fuel industry, as the climate continues to destabilize, and it starts to affect food prices, for example, in the future.

    Many things are happening in solar and alternative energy which I have dreamed about for years- huge decreases in price, huge gains in efficiency.

    With Google and the Internet, each of us is potentially an investigative reporter, too. Investigate, investigate, investigate. Network, network, network.

    So, what to do now?

    Keep doing what we have been doing. Keep invading the websites of the paid denier network, and posting the truth on them. Keep working on the technological approaches to alternative energy research. Keep investigating, keep telling the truth. Support websites like Climate Progress.

    I think that the climate change activist genie is out of the bottle, now, and cannot be put back in, myself.

    One thing I would like to see is more flexibility toward carbon negative energy schemes like Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), and more support for transforming the coal fired power plants to carbon negative BECCS power plants.

    We should base our policies and our debates on facts, not on slogans like “clean coal is an oxymoron”.

    So, self-examination is good, but we should realize that just doing what we have been doing has had a huge effect.

    Our cause cannot collapse- it is based on reality.

    All the deniers can gain is a few more years of fossil fuel profits, at the expense of the majority.

    Alerting that majority to the real costs of climate change, and the real services that a stable climate provides is something we have to continue to do.

    Alerting the majority to the effect of climate change on food prices might be a way to show the majority that the costs of doing nothing are far greater than the costs of doing something.

  161. David Smith says:

    DRT @ #151 – Excellent idea. The simplest solution to all of this is, which is practically imposible, to just stop purchasing dirty energy and demand only energy from clean and renewable sources (100%). Turning off power for one hour a week is a good starting point. If you are going to do it, do it as publically as possible. Let the utility company know…In the future you could expand the number of hours per week. Eventually a no power Saturday . If people used the time to explore opportunities to live with less power, It could have even greater value. Personal sacrifice and risk will be noticed.

  162. Mossy says:

    To add to the list:

    1. Before the election I posted two signs in my yard, “Climate Change is Real” and “Vote Accordingly.” Since we here in MA essentially did that, I reposted on the second “Thank you MA.” So – how about signs in everyone’s yards, apartment windows, etc.? I’ll be changing the second sign again, soon, to “What are you doing?” or maybe “Call Brown. Yes. S3663.

    2. A musician from Vermont, Shyla Nelson, has formed the “Good Earth Singers” with Bill McKibben’s blessing. She wants to get everyone singing about the earth, and has recorded with Pete Seeger and Jim Scott. See: Maybe song will help – join in and spread the word!

  163. David Smith says:

    Jeff @ 153 – I do not dissagree with you. There are all kinds of people doing way more than I am doing for the movement. People should keep doing the things they are doing. I am searching for possible tipping points or little points of strength that can be developed and lead to significant forward movement towards climate stability. There are lots of good ideas. I find it is much more difficult to figure out which are the appropriate ideas to use to accomplish a particular goal. Sometimes, small shifts can make big differences.

    One of the possible pitfalls of approaching already established influencial people is that they already have their systems commitments, deals in place. It may be better in the long run to grow a new set of influential people for our movement.

    I’m trying to respond to every comment posted from my posts today. Some people are probably getting annoyed at me filling up print space. My appoligies.

    Keep up the good work, Jeff. One of the important jobs of writers is to help others understand how to talk about these most important issues. You definitely help me in this way.

  164. sarah says:

    Jeff H. and others are correct that a few visible actions will have a bigger impact than infinite internet debates. So, the challenge is to move climate hawks from the CP blog out into the world. This is not a single or simple step. It has to start by convincing individual people than the climate crisis calls for immediate direct engagement. And that means recruiting a committed core in your neighborhood whose influence will expand into visible actions at local, regional, and national/international levels. This is how anti-slavery, anti-apartheid, civil rights, and other successful campaigns worked. As Ben pointed out (@95) it must be framed as similar moral issue. And as David Smith (#144) said bluntly: we need to act, not tell others what they should be doing.

    Grass roots community organizing is likely out of the comfort zone of many people on this site, but some posters here are very engaged at that level and could teach the rest of us. Make it easy: step-by-step instructions for the inexperienced.

    With my limited organizing experience, I suggest these steps:

    1. Meet with a few strong friends/supporters in your community to make an initial plan.
    At the first meeting:
    Name your group (“the somewhereville climate hawks”)
    Brainstorm about climate issues that would resonate in your area (jobs, business impacts, health effects, costs to local governments, disaster potentials, etc)
    Brainstorm about local actions that could highlight the threats (visit local township meetings, lobby elected officials, art and music events, school events, energy efficiency workshops, group visit to congressperson’s office/town-hall meeting, highlighting local bad actors, etc. Be creative!!) Consider all the ideas in the above posts.
    Use climate warrior’s (@134) great list as a guide to identify local pressure points.
    Identify potential allies. Many groups are interested in “sustainability”; they are allies, but may not have a specific climate focus.
    Maybe a few meetings will be needed to pull your core group together.

    2. Call an open meeting (announced with posters, online, newspapers, radio, local blogs, etc) with a speaker who can present the facts and deflect any deniers who show up. Bring lots of fact sheets. Have a plan of action for the next activity. The goal is to recruit people to do action X on date Y.
    Recruit more supporters for action organizing.
    Get out of your comfort zone and talk with hunters, unions, the rotary club, elks, small business groups, chambers of commerce, your corner bar, sports groups, retirees, veterans, religious groups, women’s groups, men’s groups, scouts, etc. etc.
    Listen to local concerns and ideas.

    3. Do stuff!

    CP could help with a forum like this one for advice from you experienced organizers out there, collecting fact-sheets from various sources (UCS and others), cross-fertilization for action ideas, etc. It could also provide a motivational schedule to get us moving: X people promise to have a first meeting by Dec 15th.

    Posted from the shores of Lake Superior, where I’m sitting outside in the sun, typing without gloves, in November!

  165. Sailesh Rao says:

    The single most important act that a Climate Hawk can do now is to get healthy. And, teach his/her friends and relatives how to get healthy, by the dint of their own example.

    51% of the calories of a typical American diet comes from processed foods. Another 40% comes from animal products. The contribution of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains is a measly 9%. And American food companies are fanning out everywhere promoting this diet, by cleverly marketing their wares to the children of the world. This is the single biggest threat to accelerate environmental catastrophe on the planet.

    Processed foods require energy to produce and processing squeezes out the phytonutrients in the food, replacing them with chemical additives. Animal products have large water and land footprints and these accumulate more industrial toxins in the food through bio-concentration. As this American diet spreads throughout the world, the energy, water and land required to produce food for the planet grows, with the attendant destruction of tropical rain forests and other sources of biodiversity and sequestered carbon. It also raises the amount of chemicals and toxins ingested by each individual resulting in higher incidences of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other diseases of the affluent. Health care costs grow.

    It is all connected. The health of the biosphere is tied to our personal health and to the health of everyone on the planet. Geo-engineering is akin to chemotherapy after the cancer has spread within the body and reached a terminal stage. Mitigation is about changing our lifestyles so that we don’t get cancer in the first place. As Prof. Colin Campbell wrote in “The China Study,” this can be accomplished by switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet. The number of vegans on campus has doubled in just 4 years. Many powerful people have now caught on, prompting Businessweek to feature them in this article as the “power vegans”:

    The single most important act that the Obama Administration did to address climate change in the first two years was when Michelle planted the organic vegetable garden in the White House. As a result, sales of vegetable seeds skyrocketed throughout the country.

  166. Jim Bouldin says:

    Jeff says:
    “Scientists – Many more scientists should find their guts, and more of us should encourage and help each other do so. As with college students, scientists should be screaming from the windows and roofs by now. Period.”

    Never a shortage of folks telling other folks what they should be doing…

  167. Not to worry. The alarm bell is rung and most have ignored it…

    It is like a footrace where the starting gun has fired and those left standing will have to run all that much harder to catch up….the trouble is that with AGW – this has to include everyone.

    So when denialist work to obstruct any reaction… they are instead insuring that the eventual action will be all that much more ruthless and strong. Not very bright. Humans are backed into a corner, and the fight will be that much bigger. Pity.

  168. darth says:

    Check out this column in the Washington Post:

    Great arguments to use with conservatives

  169. Matto says:

    Time to hit this guy with some good old fashioned pants-crapping pessimsm.

  170. Prokaryotes says:

    Sailesh i agree, when it comes to health a must read is

  171. Prokaryotes says:

    A loaf of wheat bread may soon cost $23 due to skyrocketing food price inflation

  172. Prokaryotes says:

    Global sugar prices soar as Brazilian crop impacted by heavy rains

  173. Wit's End says:

    Colorado Bob #161, another outstanding link.

    Here is is again – – the power of money in politics. Absolutely essential to understand how this shapes the climate debate, and even some of the research being done – or NOT being done for lack of funding – by scientists.

  174. Peter Gillespie says:

    What if we changed the tax treatment of wasted energy. For example: If a coal burning generator buys a ton of coal and only converts 600 pounds of it to electricity, they currently get to deduct the whole ton. Why not disallow the waste as an acceptable cost of doing business. This would end lots of waste in the 2 most energy inefficient areas of the economy, transportation and electric generation and distribution. Energy would be treated the same as any other production cost. It’s only deductible against the price you get when you sell the product. Since there’s no market for wasted heat it’s not deductible.

    Another approach would be to redefine the reasonable and ordinary test for deductibility to exclude excessive waste for unreasonableness. This would work out to a best available technology standard for deductibility of waste.

  175. Steve C says:

    Not really on topic, but a couple of links to automobile-related stories;

    Don’t be told that fuel economies aren’t possible…

  176. NeilT says:

    Sorry, very, very late to the party and then it took an age even to skim the responses.

    Several times it has been mentioned that green energy needs to be cheaper than Carbon energy. Yet nobody picks up on it.

    I see the same ole same ole here. Keep trying to do the same thing harder and harder and eventually we’ll win.

    In fact we won’t. We have to be smarter and we have to be better at calling the GOP for what they are.

    Let’s be realistic here. Cap and Trade is a TAX. I don’t care about the issues, I don’t care about the impact, I care about the Impression it gives.

    So the GOP won the last round by touting “We’re for lower taxes, we’re for personal freedom, we’re for You and they’re just out to control you”.

    OK so how do you fight that message in the context of a political argument. Certainly not by shouting louder about taxes or restrictions.

    How you fight that kind of rhetroic is to use their own words against them.

    For the next decade:

    Zero TAX on Carbon neutral/negative power generation
    Zero TAX on Carbon neutral/negative power distribtuion
    Zero TAX on Carbon neutral/negative power consumption
    Zero TAX on Carbon neurtal vehicles which run on carbon neutral power
    Reduced TAX on electric vehicles where they run on carbon power

    Then enact a law which enshrines the Right of the individual to generate their own power and to sell it to their immediate community. Also add to that law conditions which force the utilities to facilitate that power local distribution at a fixed % tarrif.

    At the same time freeze all subsidies for Carbon based power generation and put in a sliding scale for them to be removed completely by the end of the decade in which the TAX exemption runs.

    This does several things:

    – It removes the argument about TAXation
    – It makes it lucrative for utilities to invest in carbon neutral power generation
    – It makes it viable for the individual to invest in microgeneration but still gives the utilities a slice of the cake
    – It hoists the GOP by their own petard because they are the Low TAX party, they are the Personal Liberty party and they are the Reduced Government Footprint party.

    They could not argue against this legislation because it runs 100% alongside their campaign promises

    It acheives the goals of getting the majors to invest in green power (they’re getting it tax free after all), reducing carbon output from power generation and vehicle fuel use and getting Individuals engaged.

    Overall it ignites the imagination of people because there is demonstrable money to be made from green power; instead of the entirely negative message of money to be lost/cost to be borne by using Carbon based energy. Which is something the man in the street is almost completely unable to do anything about.

    From the GOP side the message is really easy to get out. “They’re going to cost you money and they can’t even prove to you that it will impact you in your lifetime”. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or the right thing to do, unless people have options they will make the obvious choice, which is status quo. Pandering to the greed of corporate culture gives people options and they they can choose. Once they have these options, without extra cost, they can then choose other things to mitigate the coming disaster.

    First the carrot. Then the stick…….

  177. NeilT says:

    I should have said an act to allow people to generate their own Green power.

  178. NeilT says:

    and I did my bit in Septbember. I entered my design for a more efficient ICE, entirely unprotected by patent.

  179. Rick says:

    I am a climate action professional, not a blogger, so my first comment is, what a fascinating experience to absorb the breadth of response to a rather simple and oft-asked question: what should we do next.
    i’ll start by pointing back to the late 60’s, when the public will was elevated to a level that passed the Voting Rights Act, ended a war, and created the first set of environmental legislation. my short answer to the question is: we need to do what they did, more than 40 years ago, and create an effective level of public support.
    I often complain that rapid carbon reduction, that which we need more than anything else, is continually presented as a shopping list of options and technology. Climate Hawks need to start by offering a specific “first step”. my choice is energy efficiency, because we have the technology, labor and materials to engage in High Performmance Buildings TODAY, buildings are considered a major source of carbon (tho i contend it’s the building occupants not the buildings), and HiPerfNow would fully revitalize the construction industry. Jobs. Lots of jobs.

    We need to present the public with a clear picture of what america would look like, if we were to meet near term 2020 carbon emission goals, such as those set by the three west coast states. We are able to graphically present how efficient the average building and vehicle would need to be in 2020, if we were to meet the goal. The magnitude of the task and challenge would become clear.

    and we need to stop accepting the notion that “doing anything” is good enough. changing lightbulbs and blowing a few inches of insulation into a cold attic does little to create the buildings that we need by 2020. we need to be clear about what is needed, and start doing nothing less. Well meaning green/sustainability organizations all across the country are taking ARRA dollars, and wasting them on audits (we don’t have to audit every house to know where they leak)and marginal improvements to efficiency. they do this because the financial burden for addressing climate change (the greatest public interest issue of our time) is still placed on the home and business owner.
    We need to stop dealing with 2100 and 2050, and get the message into a time frame that can possibly elicit the needed response. I don’t think that any climate action plan should go beyond 2020, because if we can’t stop runaway emissions by then, the chances of meeting 2050 goals is remote.
    youth, yes, younger people need to be “our” leaders, for it is their future comfort that’s on the line. and their kids: best not to even talk about that.
    Deniers: much intellectual satisfaction is generated by debating the deniers. but, they will not be affected, and “we” are wasting our limited energy. don’t debate: create better, louder messages that can resonate with “the average american”. The notion that our children will not be able to enjoy the comfort that exists today, unless i do somehting different: this needs to be sent out, far and wide.
    and all the factions, special interests, etc. that divide environmentally aware people: wildlife, streams, polar bears, human health, drought and all of the others need to recognize that climate change is bigger than all of this. work together. slow and steady wins the race.
    and finally, we need to stop leaving the gates with heavily compromised proposals, claiming that “political feasibility” requires that we drop the bar considerable. the other guys don’t, so why should we? A recognized climate organization on the west coast has stopped using the term “carbon reduction” because it’s not politically popular. so they push “clean energy” when in fact, THE PROBLEM is too much carbon. we have to be able to identify the problem, and DEMAND what we want, what is needed. That is how activism of the 60’s found success

  180. LosAngelista says:

    I get good results one-on-one by explaining how much worse things are now than were predicted when I was in grad school in 1990.Specifically, CO2 was at 360 ppm in 1990 and increasing at 1.1 ppm per year. We thought we’d see 450 ppm and 2-4C by 2100. 20 years later, we’re at 390 ppm, increasing at ~3 ppm/yr and could see 450 ppm by 2030. We may now hit 1000 ppm –and 6-7C– by 2100.

    Then I explain the dire condition of the oceans that are simulaneously heating, expanding, and acidifying due to increasing CO2, and how recent data indicates that phytoplankton (that we depend on to produce O2 and absord CO2) are down 40% since the 1950s.

    I explain that in 1990, my professors were concerned about the off chance that melting tundra and warming oceans could release trillions of tons of methane and how 20 years later we’re measuring methane boiling off the coast of Siberia.

    Somehow, we’ve got to make GCC a moral issue and harness the major world religions to modify our behavior. This may mean somehow compromising on abortion rights to remove this as wedge issue. My entire family sorta accepts the science of GCC but has voted straight Republican for decades over abortion and so do most of their friends. An extra 20 million Catholic votes wouldn’t hurt in 2012.

    [JR: Not at 3 ppm yet.]

  181. Raul M. says:

    Hi I was listening to a class on climate analysis
    the other day and the Prof. was clearly attentive
    to the reactions of the students as they added
    up the cumulative feedbacks the various driving
    forces to the climate. It must take a strong mind
    not just a smart one to make those additions.

  182. Ben Lieberman says:

    Interesting idea: How much would it cost to buy coal fields and convert them into museums for fossilized carbon?

  183. 350 or we die says:

    I’m with Rick Chamberlin (comment #4). The only thing governments truly fear is masses of people in the streets.

  184. Unfortunately, we have to work with what we have. One piece of the tea party platform might be worth examination… The FairTax. This tax reform was demonized by Democrats in the midterm campaigns as a 23% tax increase, but what it really does is replace our income tax system with a consumption tax. So how does it benefit our movement? If you scrap 67,000 pages of tax code, you also scrap most of the subsidies for coal, oil, dirty energy, inefficient automobiles, etc. If we have a level playing field, investment and consumer-driven markets would surely favor the most sustainable solutions.

  185. Prokaryotes says:

    Steve C #179 says “Time to hit this guy with some good old fashioned pants-crapping pessimsm.”

    Optimism and current climate change trajectory is a lack of knowledge. Throw in the bell curve “uncertainties” and we are in deep depression/pessimism – yet some leaders do not understand the situation magnitude we dealing with. Someone fucking brief them – everybody!

  186. Michael says:

    More bad news:

    US Coal to Gasoline Plant Will be the Largest in the World

    This is a perfect example of what we need to be NOT doing (also, article claims that clean energy acts will crash the economy, and that emissions will be minimized – of course, no mention of CO2). Even more so when other countries are looking upon us to lead the way.

  187. Sailesh Rao says:

    LosAngelista (#184): GCC is really about Life, all life, not just the life of a fetus. The rate of change of climate is so high that it will prevent ecosystems from adapting thereby accelerating extinctions. This is the core problem. Unfortunately, GCC has been ineptly framed as an issue of temperature rises, which everybody knows can be addressed using A/Cs in the home. In my opinion, this was the first mistake of the climate scientists. The second issue is that most climate scientists haven’t taken courses in polemics, which is why they are being out-debated by those who absurdly claim that pollution from fossil fuel burning has NO consequences. Surely, then, how is it that we find coal and petroleum effluents in the smoke from wood fires in remote, rural India? Hello!?

    350 or die (#187): It is truly large, multinational corporations that are the ringleaders of the opposition. The only thing they fear is a drop in quarterly earnings. Start a reasonably large, non-violent movement, where participants reject all products of violence, and these corporations will see their quarterly earnings collapse. Because a lot of the energy usage and economic activity of the world today is in the service of violence, to grow and transport food to factory farms, etc. We can call it the “Ahimsan” (non-violent) movement, with due respect to Gandhi and MLK. To start, all I had to do was to take the Ahimsan pledge, “never to consume any animal, bird or fish product for any purpose whatsoever.” I have been doing it for over two years and I’ve never felt better in my life. Far from being a personal sacrifice, this NonViolent Direct Action actually invigorated me, boosted my health and took years off my appearance!! How lucky are we to have such a wonderful opportunity for a meaningful protest?

  188. Lewis C says:

    Deforestation jumps, but Guyana nonetheless qualifies for REDD payment –

    Joe – this pernicious, dangerous, brazen greenwash,
    led by Norway and supported by many other states,
    surely deserves thorough evisceration in a post here on CP ?

    REDD is the antithesis of the global forest conservation and restoration program
    whose development should surely be among our highest priorities.



  189. Richard Miller says:

    Dear Joe,

    You featured the UCAR assessment of drought in the US a few weeks ago ( I give talks as an ethicist at my university regarding the social justice implications of global warming. I was going to incorporate this new info into my powerpoint, but a friend of mine who is a retired meteorologist for the National Weather Service (and a climate realist) was concerned that this drought modeling was too dry. It would be helpful if you could comment on this or interview the lead author of the study to respond to some well informed concerns from my friend who is a meteorologist. Here are my friends concerns about the study:

    “I have been troubled for a number of years by the inconsistency between many of the climate models (which predict drier conditions for most of the U.S.), and observed trends (which are actually wetter in many places). This includes much of the eastern U.S., and eastern Nebraska. For
    example, examine the first map in the publication, the Palmer Drought Index 2000-09. This is much
    drier than what actually occurred in most of the country, and is already comparable to the Dust Bowl period. By contrast, take a look at a snapshot of current conditions at
    This shows some correspondence with model projections in parts of the Southeast, but is way off over the rest of the U.S. Current conditions are not atypical of the last 5 years in the East and Central U.S., although the West is wetter than it has been over much of the past decade.

    2. The lack of agreement between models and reality for our region was brought home to me two years ago, when I attended a national drought conference at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The modelers were essentially unanimous that there was a good association between cool central Pacific sea temperatures (La Nina) and Central U.S. drought. It was the best long-range forecasting tool we had. Unfortunately, we were in precisely that situation, but Iowa had just experienced 500 year flooding. This illustrates the danger of going with the models in their present state to project regional precipitation patterns. We risk being very wrong, and looking like fools! I don’t think the same is true with temperature.

    3. There are reasons to think that the climate models might misbehave. A lot of the precipitation in the Great Plains occurs when relatively narrow bands of subtropical moisture enter storm systems, or when a narrow low level jet interacts with a frontal boundary. The majority of warm season precipitation comes from thunderstorms. Climate models are currently too coarse to resolve narrow features well, and lack the detailed treatment of vertical stability necessary to generate realistic thunderstorm coverage. Even the weather forecasting models, which are on a much finer scale, can have trouble with these features. (The reason for the coarse resolution is that computer time required to run a weather model goes up 16-fold when the spatial resolution is improved 2-fold.)

    My interpretation of this and similar studies is that we need to be skeptical about how the climate models handle regional precipitation, and pay attention to how well they generate present conditions. This study helpfully shows us the model solution for 2000-09, and it’s way too dry! I think the potential for severe drought does increase as we increase CO2. However, it’s also easier to get a drought-ending heavy rain event. So far, the latter has been winning over the former in much of the U.S.
    The overall effect is probably to slow down the warming over the continental U.S. east of 100 W, but transfer even more heat into the high latitudes in the form of water vapor.

    Sorry to go on at length, but I want to be clear about stuff that I’m seeing that isn’t really in the literature yet. I look forward to the day when the climate models are improved to the point where they do a good job with regional precipitation, but we aren’t there now.”

  190. Jeff Taylor says:

    Organize and meet with your representative.

    The new Congress now works for you. You have the right to meet with them, or at least members of their staff.

    Get a group with a broad cross-section, people with different ages and occupations. Get people from both political parties, and a few independents.
    Connect with local grass roots groups, social justice, religious, or environmental groups. Everyone should be a constituent of the representative.

    Be respectful. Spend more time listening then talking. They have already heard and rejected everything you have to say. Express your concern about the impact of climate change, and ask them to explain why they have decided to ignore the risk.

    As citizens you have a right to meet with your representative on any issue that concerns you. If they refuse to meet with you take it to your local newspapers. Get a story about how the candidate that has made a mantra of “Washington does not listen to the people” does not listen to their constituents.

    Insist that they explain exactly why they are deciding to not address the risk of climate change. Do not allow them to take inconsistent positions, for example the climate is not changing and it’s changing because of cosmic rays. If they say it they do not “believe” climate is changing demand to know why. Ask them to pick a number, if they don’t think 350ppm CO2 is a threat, How about 500? 1000? Make then justify why they believe that.

    Do not get distracted by how we can’t afford to make the necessary changes. That is a different subject.

    If they take the position that there is an ongoing debate, point out that there was internal debate at Toyota about the unintended acceleration. The public hated that management decided to ignore clear warnings that there was a risk. Ask your representative to explain why they are ignoring massive amounts of evidence that climate change presents a huge risk to everyone. The Pentagon is aware of the risk. Why are they ignoring the military?

    It would help to have a denier’s decision tree. Try to help them clarify their position.

    Organize on a national level and categorize the Congressional responses. There will either be a consistent “theory” that would be difficult to defend, chaos, or a policy of ignoring risk. A competent PR person can tee off on either one.

    Start a national “defend the indefensible” campaign; at the same time provide a positive alternative, “the environment is the economy”.

    Make a documentary. “Why we chose not to act.”

    The Democrats lost the last election because they allowed the Republicans to (inaccurately) frame their position for them. We should help (accurately) frame the climate change deniers message.

  191. UnReal2r says:

    Jim Bouldin @ 170

    I realize that you likely think that you are doing things in accordance with the highest precepts of your profession, but, to an independent observer, your self-defensive ranting (shutting down comments on Real Climate, for instance, after alleging that the discussion had been “hijacked” and that you were a victim of “slander”) is paranoid drivel.

    Jeff ‘s comment is spot on. You and many of your colleagues have been behaving like feckless invertebrates – arguing over form instead of dealing with real substance. If the prognostications of AGW are accurate – and their implications for the planet as dire as they appear – why hasn’t there been a “million lab coat” march in DC and elsewhere?

    Worse, when people without Ph.D.’s (like Wit’s End) raise valid observations and concerns about the apparent limitations of your work . . . observations backed by the same kind of objective research you claim to champion . . . you get all self-righteous and indignant and make asinine statements about “folks telling other folks what they should be doing”.

    (By the way, that sounds like something Rush or Sarah or one of the other pseudo-conservative nimrods would say about Climate Hawks.)

    You’re pathetic. If the future of the planet is in the hands of narcissistic nematodes who can’t get out of the way of their own pedagogically limited fixations, we’re really in deep ka-ka.

    Grow a spine. And a pair. And eyeballs that aren’t fixated on the stuff you and other white-smocked luftmenschen think only you know.

  192. Michael T. says:

    Experts Debate Climate Change Science, Policy

    “Professors Andrew Dessler from Texas A&M and Richard Lindzen from MIT debate the scientific evidence of anthropogenic global warming, while University of Virginia Law School professors Jonathan Cannon and Jason Johnston discuss the policy implications.”

  193. Roger says:

    Gosh, lots of great comments—and I commented earlier that this is a great question!

    At the same time, one wonders…how would some of the great battles of history come out if the generals had polled the troops about what should be done? We need someone (Joe?) to sift through these good ideas, and others ones, and to come up with a plan.

    IMHO, whatever we do, we need to try to work together, in unison (at least on some actions) in order to multiply our impact beyond what it has been so far. Focus and concentration have accomplished wonders in the past.

    If we have the strength to influence just one key person, I think that person should be President Obama. Yes, he has done a lot, but he has not pulled out all the stops in terms of what he could do to fight climate change. So let’s focus our attention there for a day, a week, or more.

    Some peaceful and effective nonviolent direct action seems to be justified too. More later.

  194. Lewis C says:

    Salesh at 196 –

    “Far from being a personal sacrifice, this NonViolent Direct Action actually invigorated me, boosted my health and took years off my appearance!! How lucky are we to have such a wonderful opportunity for a meaningful protest?”

    If I go vegan at your urging, will you buy all my livestock and care for them until they die of old age ? There are only around 500 sheep and lambs on this farm, plus about 60 hogs, plus shepherding ponies, plus dogs for herding and dogs for fox-control, plus cats for rodent control, plus turkeys for tick-control, etc.

    If you don’t want to buy them and care for them, since I havent the funds to pay for their needs without sending some off to feed people, it would of course be much kinder to shoot them all myself than to freight them for hours to the abbatoir, let alone just leaving them to starve and die slowly of parasites, predators, disease, winter storms etc.

    But that would of course end their role in sequestering carbon in soil-building through the rotational grazing that has been practiced here since they built the tombs up on the mountain back in the bronze age. It would also be a bit of a shame to shoot them as they are nearly all of rare or very rare old breeds – we have over 6% of the ~2,000-strong world population of ‘St Idloes’ sheep, which were present in the time of that celtic saint.

    Then there is the land of course, which you’d need to buy too, as I couldn’t afford to keep it if I end farming it. At 52N and 1,000ft it won’t do arable or horticulture, and there is an entire ecology that depends on its present format of little fields and hedgerows and coppices which would die out if it’s left to revert to bog and scrub. Would all that death and destruction be in keeping with your ahimsa pledge ? Or would you have to find some excuse for it like – “it’s somebody else’s problem ?”

    Given that your sole remedy for climate destabilization appears to be pushing veganism, maybe it’s time you ended the rather blatant bandwaggonning of your creed on the climate jeopardy, and just came out and stated that you believe that eating only plants is much more important than striving to avert that jeopardy ?



  195. John Mason says:

    Interesting take, Lewis C.

    I’ve had a similar debate with Peter Harper from CAT. For much of the higher ground (>300m ASL) above Machynlleth you would be hard-pressed to cultivate anything except sheep, maybe cattle in summer in selected places. You would certainly struggle with any arable or vegetable crop. Uplands such as these were grazed by wild mammals – deer etc – prior to sheep being introduced at a fairly low intensity in the main. They have to be effectively discounted from any audit of food-producing land.

    Anyone interested in seeing what I’m talking about can find images of these uplands here:

    Cheers – John

  196. Raul M. says:

    Somebody elses problem-
    meme, I try to get a job today. Not great,
    but, maybe I’ll be abble to start paying back
    some of that “overcompensation” I got from
    workers unemployment compensation.
    I hear I’ve been bad in not knowing from
    the get go that I was undeserving. It didn’t
    take long for my former employer to find
    that I had made a claim so I don’t have
    to pay back so much as it could have been.
    Times are tough and the old boss came to
    the trough first.

  197. Raul M. says:

    Oh, of course I owe extra cause they had to take
    time out to decide about meme. It was silly of me
    to think…

  198. SolarMom says:

    1. Work against coal:

    Fight proposed new plants – Sierra Club has a strategy going worth supporting.

    Lobby for strong coal ash regs from EPA. Lobby for EPA to effectively ban mountaintop removal by enforcing the Clean Water Act.

    Fight back against attacks on EPA. Show the Administration that strong action by EPA will have public support.

    Fight for a national renewable electricity standard.

    Push for more federal money for energy efficiency building retrofits in cities and towns.

    Push for even higher fuel economy (mpg) standards.

    Shine a spotlight on funding of high speed rail and the benefits it will bring to the areas that build it.

    Yell loudly about jobs already going to China in the clean energy economy (building wind turbines and solar panels, for example).

    Electrify truck stops.

    Support greening the military. The generals understand the national security risks inherent in fossil fuel use; provide them the space to speak publicly about it.

  199. David Smith says:

    Sometimes I wonder if global warming denial by “conservatives” is a sort of sideshow event orchestrated by activist dirty energy interests to obscure the real issue. An issue that is not really defensible in our free market capitalist system. As we become aware of the damage caused by dirty energy it is clear that they no longer serve an acceptable positive roll in our economy. The cost is too great. The damage caused may be irreparable. Under normal free market circumstances such companies would fail and perish. Because these particular companies are some of the most powerful companies in the world they choose to use their extensive resources to extend their power and financial position, artificially.

    They poke the scientists and academia who get all riled up and they start yelling and at the same time go to their base and rile them as well with stories of elitist conspiracies taking their liberties and then sit back and watch the fun, thus, totally obscuring the actual risks and dangers.

    Acceptance of climate science may not be the real issue. Personal power enhanced by big corporations may be the real issue; corporations (people) fighting for their power while not allowing their companies to change and remain useful to society. By fighting their smoke screen of global warming denial with the truth about global warming we play the role they want us to play, ignoring the real problem they are trying to solve. Global warming damage is collateral damage (not important) to them.

    What if this observation is correct? How would we act differently in our efforts to restore global climate stability? The attacks on the science are not credible for the most part. Yet tremendous creative energy is being expended to defend against those attack with relatively little result. What is important is to focus where the greatest result can be accomplished. I am not suggesting that the defense of science should stop.

    I’m only suggesting that there may be a better target and way to focus. The opposition has a clear strategy – incite chaos, progress will be stopped, the status quo is preserved. A more effective strategy for us might be Climate Hawks against corporate power in governance. Remove corporate influence and the 77% who support regulating GHG emmissions might show up at the polls and express themselves.

  200. Sailesh Rao says:

    Lewis C (#199): Thank you for the feedback. Personally, I’m more concerned with the organized violence in factory farms than the farm setting that you describe. Certainly, there are some lands that are more suited to grazing than cultivating and that’s the way it has been in Nature as well with those specialized lands supporting ruminants such as Buffalo or wild deer herds.

    What I’m suggesting is a Non Violent Direct Action against Violence, fostering compassion towards all Life as the means to halt the extinction of Life on the planet, preserve what’s left of it, sequester carbon through the regeneration of Life thereby addressing climate change, while striking a blow against too-big-to-fail Bailout Capitalism. That’s what I’m trying to practice and if no one wishes to join, that’s fine with me. If others wish to join, that is wonderful too!

    I can be reached at and our web site is .

  201. Michael T. says:

    NOAA State of the Climate National Overview – October 2010

    Plot Time Series for temp., precip. etc…,eries/

    5 states in the northeast record their warmest Jan-Oct period on record:

  202. Aaron Lewis says:

    “Climate Hawks” should do what they need to do with dispatch, and a real sense of urgency.

    Just as the Arctic Sea Ice started melting faster than expected, PRELIMINARY data shows that the Western Arctic showed an increase in methane recently. This is as much ahead of schedule and as unexpected as the loss of Arctic Sea Ice was in 2007.

    See for stations ZEP and SUM, & there is no comfort from stations such as AZR, & STM. Good thing this is just preliminary data, or I would be worried.

  203. Sailesh Rao says:

    Here’s a video of the Dalai Lama speaking to an Indian audience on why Ahimsa (nonviolence) is so relevant today:

  204. Raul M. says: sounds nice.
    Found it through

  205. Anna Haynes says:

    Late to the party here, but –

    Format suggestions- It would be awfully nice to have threaded comments, a way to recommend comments, a way to view the recommended comments, a way to view the recommended comments of your most-trusted commenters, a way to “ping” a commenter that you’d responded to him/her, a way to communicate offline, a way to tag and collect the best of these suggestions. 200+ comments, every weekend, is too many to read through.
    I started something similar (as in, an action repository) at a while back, that didn’t get traction; perhaps the time is riper now?
    (It’s been pointed out that the utterly charming young woman in the banner image is painfully Aryan in appearance; for the record, this was fate’s choice not mine, she happened to be my neighbor. Anyone got some equally photogenic non-pink kid photos?)

    Action suggestions – I’d like to see a site for artwork, and for suggestions for same (and, ideally, some folks with artistic talent adding to it).
    I’d like to see an arrangement whereby the people with cash-but-no-time could pay to have the Tshirts made with artwork designed by the people with time-but-no-cash.

    Awareness suggestion – Let us remember who else is reading this thread for good ideas, and has the money to implement them; the best ideas are the ones that can’t be gamed/abused.

  206. Lisa Hymas says:

    Climate hawks should step out of the energy/climate silo and join the fight for free birth control:

    It’s time to broaden the approach.

  207. JL says:

    Climate Hawks need to stay focused on the path of a clean environment for future generations. This is the Third Industrial revolution and we should not let our fight and opportunity slow because the Coal and Oil Lobbyists have won with their money and misinformation. We now need to take our game to the next level and stay focused on why renewables are the smart and sustainable means of energy.

    We also need to voice support for the EPA putting limits on Carbon immediately. A great deal of the public is misinformed on this topic but the EPA needs support and push these caps immediately with more support. An attack on the EPA is an attack on the US and an attack on our planet. Any lobbyist that voices conceit against the EPA and the Clean Air initiatives needs to be brought under the spotlight immediately and we need to understand who is behind this misinformation. The mainstream media is now funded by large Dirty Fossil Fuel ad campaigns so there is no spotlight cast. However, a generation of Social Media users will rise up and make their buying decisions based on supporting a sustainable future. Lets all keep on this track and realize that we have not lost any fight. We just need to keep evolving our message and remember, this is a fight for future generations.