Weekend Open Thread

These Weekend Open Threads have been a bigger success than expected.  So I have two questions for this one.

First, I would love ideas for open thread questions in 2011.

Second, should I have two posts, as some have said — a true ‘unfocused’ open thread and one with a posed question?  Or just one?

Related Posts:

173 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. Two. I love these… but I also like the focused ones… even though many comments are OT.

    I would love to hear more about ways to adapt to a 2 or 3 degree warmer world.

  2. Heraclitus says:

    My vote is for the two threads, I know I’ve had reservations posting comments that might be off-topic from the posed question.

    Off topic: does anyone know of a good overview on the current understanding of the casues of pre-70s 20th century warming (and cooling)?

  3. Scrooge says:

    Well since you are dealing with blog junkies two would be better than one and may increase the traffic, and comments.

  4. Wes Rolley says:

    The second question is the easiest. Just leave it as one open thread. Most of us are intelligent enough to figure out who is responding to what… and many of the good ideas come from those responding to another comment.

    As to your first question, these are the things that continue to bother me and I don’t think that we have a good resolution. Readers here would agree that we can reach our 350-ish goals with current technologies, so it is obvious that we don’t have technological problems as much as political problems. It is also obvious that, for all of the publicity that Bill McKibben tries to generate, the public has not yet joined in numbers large enough to have a political impact. So, how do we create the political will for action? When the administration thinks that climate change is not worth taking about in explicit terms, who will ascend the bully pulpit?

    Then, I also have questions about Climatopolis style adaptation. Most American communities do not have the infrastructure to deal with the level of change that is coming. Where might an economist think that we are going to find the money, the monetary resources to build that infrastructure, especially as even one large snow storm can ruin an entire City budget (e.g. NYC this winter)?

  5. Raul M. says:

    As being prepared could mean getting by
    with much less in the future, there is the
    question of if you go camping what could
    you carry that you would need.
    And did you know just how short a distance
    a 20 mile day long hike really is and how
    tired and sore you could be after just one
    day of travel.
    There is such a distance between what
    was common questions of my grandparents
    Generation than youngsters of 17 today.
    Just a thought.

  6. John Mason says:

    One open thread Joe, and if you feel there is an interesting question, we can discuss that as well as other topics :)

    Cheers – John

  7. David Smith says:

    2 Open threads, please. This would improve the focus on the subject at hand and possibly encourage deeper thought.

    Is there a way that you could have one thread and allow the readers to choose one of 2 comments streams. Sometimes not quite on topic comments feed the topic discourse.

  8. Jeff Huggins says:

    Let’s Talk Specifics

    I think it would be great, concrete, and practical to pose questions related to specific organizations: For example …

    Let’s talk ExxonMobil today: What’s the latest? What info can we share with each other and compare? What have they said lately? What are they actually doing? What should we do about it? What should we do about them? Any ideas?

    I think it would also help to share information on the latest announced and public plans of the climate change and clean energy movements’ organizations. What is currently planning? 1Sky? And so forth. What do we think about it? Does it make sense?

    Also, in other regular posts, let’s hear from the leaders of those organizations about their concrete plans, thinking, and reasons! Not merely things like, “thanks everyone, you’re a nice bunch, keep with it, let’s ‘redouble’ efforts, and by the way, please contribute”. No, I (and hopefully we) would like to hear about solid plans, solid thinking, and the reasons why. Which of the leaders can give us THAT?

    Also, even aside from the denialists’ denial of climate change itself (the science), I’m getting tired of hearing many politicians, pundits, and (in some cases even) supposed economists talk economic nonsense, such as referring back (time and time and time again) to the idea/assumption that an entirely unregulated “free marketplace” can address all ills (including climate change) if we all just stand aside. For example, a great many people are still saying, or implying, that the free market will tackle the matter even without a regulatory/policy approach that somehow results in a “price” for carbon. Nonsense! So, let’s share the resources (links to the best articles, best on-line talks, best classic economics texts, and etc.) that demolish that basic assumption and, indeed, that show that it was demolished long ago (so why are presumably responsible people still relying on it and claiming it?!). We need to bring the best information to the forefront — and make it easily accessible — so as to eliminate “excuses for not knowing” as much as we possibly can.

    Also, unfortunately, we need to “re-quadruple” our accurate and increasingly necessary DEEP CRITICISM OF THE MEDIA, including The New York Times and most of the rest. And this time, we should be naming names, providing examples, and explaining what’s wrong with their present paradigms, which are clearly not up to the task of covering climate change responsibly. Enough is enough. The media are letting us down, and we’re going to need to state that, clearly, and express our frustration, and name names, and so forth, if that’s going to change. For example, let’s talk about Bill Keller. Granted, he wasn’t on Rolling Stone’s recent list, but he is just as much part of the problem — in some ways less, but in some ways MORE — than some of the others. The media need to change: Let’s hit the topic straight on, with vigor, with specifics, and with enough verve to actually prompt that to happen. Let’s quote Bill Keller on the supposed vital importance of the front page (I’ve got a great quote from him on that) and then, together, pose the question to him: Why the heck doesn’t he USE it more often, for the most important issue facing humankind?

    These are just some ideas. But a common part of them involves: Get concrete, focus questions and topics on specific organizations and institutions, be willing to name names (in the comments at least), and let’s carry some of these conversations to the point where they actually cause some “notice” and “reflection” on the part of those organizations and folks who we shine the spotlight on.

    Happy Saturday!


  9. Wonhyo says:

    Keep one thread for both open discussion and focused topic. We’ll figure it out.

    An idea for a discussion topic: The NRA and Sierra Club are two large national organizations on opposite ends of the political spectrum. The NRA has six times as many members as Sierra Club and is much more successful in advancing its agenda. What can climate advocacy groups, like Sierra Club, do to emulate the success of the NRA without compromising ethics?

  10. Wyoming says:


    Wes’s response trigggers me to answer a question unasked.

    Can the readers here work together to perform some service that might help motivate others to take this worsening situation more seriously?

    Contrary to Wes, I believe that, on average, the readers here and on other blogs related to climate change, do not believe that there is any feasible path to reaching 350 goals. The desire is there, but not the vision of any practical soultion. I avidly read all the latest research, to my level of understanding of the science (I’m just a BSEE and no Phd in physics), and must admit that I hold little hope that any rational response to this situation will ever happen. There is a certain morbid fascination with watching a train wreck that is occuring in slow motion and I think that is why many of the viewers are present. That being said I do not willingly go down without a fight.

    I just finished reading your book Hell and High Water again. It is interesting to note that our percieved upper safe (livable?) limits to GHG concentrations are much lower now than they were when you authored it five years ago. In the mean time all climate trends that I am aware of are not just on the pace predicted then, but are worsening much faster than was predicted. Additionally, the denialsphere has gotten much more organized and is better funded now and has the real potential to effective stop any governmental progress for at least the next couple of years.

    So we are 5 years down the road to ruin. What do we do? What about drawing on the reaources of the blog readers. There are many very highly educated and motivated readers between the varous climate blogs who are not already full time climate scientists. I could see informal teams of these readers compiling the research on various subject areas and writing up serious in-depth artciles,blog posts, letters to the editor, etc backed up by the actual research data and reports. There are many different aspects of this horrible problem that could be addressed this way that folks like yourself do not have the time to do. These articles could then be vetted by someone very knowledgeable, such as yourself, for accuracy and then put in circulation. This would allow a much large amount of information to be diseminated via various media. Maybe it would help.


  11. Pythagoras says:

    I would vote “no” for an open thread because the quality of the comments would likely not be to the same standard as a more focused discussion. I do like the idea of soliciting input from the readers.

    1) Have any readers had success in talking to local media to raise awareness of global warming? What tactics have been used? What worked and what didn’t work?
    2) Do public demonstrations like those sponsored by serve a purpose to communicate the issues to those skeptical of the issue or the risk?
    3) My experience has been that those with an negative view of government, primarily Libertarians, have a difficult time accepting the science and the imperative to act. Has anyone had success in convincing those with that philosophy that action is needed?

  12. tst says:

    One thread seems to work just fine. As for questions …

    What can people with young children do to prepare their kids for the climatic and social changes that are inevitable at this point?

    Which impacts from global warming are likely to be worse than we expect and which are likely to be less severe than we might imagine?

    As climate change and peak oil converge, are major cities likely to be good places to live or good places to avoid?

    Who, specifically, are the people keeping the U.S. from addressing climate change on a substantive level and what can we do to break their hold on the political process?

  13. DRT says:

    Idea 1: In “The End of the Long Summer, Why We Must Remake Our Civilization to Survive on a Volatile Earth” ( ) Dianne Dumanoski discusses the idea of a resilient and robust society. So let’s discuss this idea. In addition to the obvious… implement the wedges, stop burning stuff for power… what would it take to have a society that is less dependent on long supply lines and less subject to the multiple impending climate change induced disruptions.

    Idea 2: Small Modular Reactors (SMRs,, built in a factory, delivered by truck or train. Do SMRs mitigate enough of the nuclear plant issues to make them a good option.

  14. Er, is this thread open? Would just like to draw your attention to a new NASA animation: See the world heating up 1884-2010. Pretty hard to deny this!

  15. tst says:

    Wonhyo @ #6 — Great topic. It’s been discussed here before, but not nearly at the level it deserves.

    Here’s a related question. Why haven’t we identified and targeted the specific demographics we need to reach? Throwing facts and figures at “the public” just isn’t working. Why not focus our energies on key groups and use specific tools and tactics to change their minds.

  16. Bob Lang says:

    “The Delusion of So-Called Climate-Change Solutions” would be far and away at the top of my list for any thead, weekend or otherwise.

    Highly intelligent people like Chu and Holdren continue to espouse these “solutions” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary:

    Not only are global GHG emissions still increasing but the rate of increase continues to increase unabated, despite the deployment of probably close to 100 (?) Gigawatts of renewable capacity worldwide.

    How can that be? Well, because the fossil fuels “replaced” by renewables simply get used elsewhere in the growth of the global economy driven by growth in the consumption of everything.

    Humans continue to destroy everything through growing consumption of everything. In the last 30-40 years we have lost enough arable land to feed all of Europe! When are people going to wake up!

    The only solution to climate change is an absolute reduction in energy and materials throughput and therefore consumption by 80-90% in North America and at least 50% in Europe. No national government has even begun to think in those terms.

    I encourage anyone who still believes in the traditional “solutions” to listen to the following (2-year old) audio and slide show:

  17. bje says:

    Climate change denier James Delingpole tells us why he knows more than Simon Singh.

  18. What predictions can we derive from climate Models and Scenarios?
    What will be happening and when? And
    How plausible are these predictions?

    What is the role of government in helping citizens survive?
    Is equal justice a lost concept?

    How do we best prepare children and youth for their future?

    What are the appropriate spiritual responses to a predicted future filled with hardship?
    Is apocalyptic cornucopianism a valid spiritual approach?

    What rigorously followed rules of behavior will best mitigate future warming ?

    Does the human species have the will and capacity to survive?

  19. DRT says:

    thread idea: Can we turn hoarded corporate cash into an energy efficiency retrofit boom? Building efficiency is one of the wedges: . Corporations are hoarding cash or so I hear on the MSM. Construction workers are out of work. What kind of inducement would it take for corporations to invest their spare cash in building retrofits so the $s are doing something good, construction workers are back to work and buildings are made maximally efficient?

  20. davidgswanger says:

    tst@10: I’d like to follow up what you said with a slightly different question. You seem to be asking about focusing on particular demographic groups, but I’d like to ask about particular corporate sectors that might counterweight the massive influence of the fossil fuel sector. Insurance companies which might be bankrupted by climate change are one possibility I’ve seen mentioned, but I’d like to suggest (though I’m likely not the first) the food sector. Is there a way to play corporations like Archer Daniels Midland against corporations like Exxon? As extreme weather makes it more difficult to grow crops, won’t they have an interest in stabilizing climate as much as possible? Of course, disasters like the one in Russia last year raise food prices in the short term; but since said disasters could (and almost certainly will) hit here, it seems to me they have a deeper interest in avoiding them. You can’t sell wheat at higher prices if the climate won’t let you grow wheat. Not only is there the prospect of Dust Bowl conditions returning in the Midwest, but the eventual flooding of the California Valley and salinization thereof, as well as the disappearance of snowmelt water in the slightly shorter term. It seems to me that a concerted appeal to their self-interest might give us several corporations with vast sums counterlobbying the fossil fuel industry. Am I being hopelessly naive here, or does this have some potential?

    (Beside trying to drive a wedge between sectors of corporate America on this issue, since agricultural states still have power out of proportion to their population (at least in the Senate), it might be worthwhile to appeal to the 10% of the American population that still farm on this issue. They’re not the same political force farmers were in William Jennings Bryan’s time, but anything would help, and when it comes to these issues, Kansas does not have the same interests as West Virginia.)

  21. Leland Palmer says:

    Oh, climate change will cost the taxpayers money?

    Who knew?

    Looks like the Australian government is proposing a one time tax levy to pay for reconstruction of flood devastated areas:

    Australian reconstruction tax levy

    Climate change is coming – to your hip-pocket.

    While climate scientists say the record flooding across eastern Australia cannot be directly linked to man-made global warming, they have little doubt it is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense.

    The awesome devastation of the flooding – particularly in Queensland where more than 30 people have lost their lives since December – has underlined the fact that more natural disasters come at a cost.

    For Australians in 2011, this means two hip-pocket hits – the flood levy and a price on carbon.

    Ken Caldeira has calculated that the total greenhouse heating from a quantity of fossil fuel is 100,000 times the heat of combustion of that quantity of fossil fuel.

    So, as featured in the past on Climate Progress, the heating side effects outweigh the benefits by thousands of times. Even in the first few years, the ratio is something like 50:1.

    Will the damages to infrastructure and society follow this same 100,000 times ratio?

    Well, not at first, anyway.

    If the methane hydrates destabilize, by the way, the ratio between greenhouse heating and useful energy of combustion could be millions to one.

    The costs are starting to come due. The Australians appear to be willing to put a price on carbon- forced not by scientific advice but by flood and fire damages, it appears.

    Oh, the costs will come due, eventually, almost certainly. The climate deniers’ idea that we will somehow improve the functioning of the biosphere by global heating is as likely as trying to improve a finely tuned engine by throwing sand in the oil.

  22. davidgswanger says:

    tst @15: Sorry, I misidentified your post in mine.

  23. Ziyu says:

    @Jeff, you want evidence that unregulated free market doesn’t work to solve all ills? It’s easiest to just open a history textbook and look at the late 1700s-early 1900s, AKA, the Industrial Revolution where it was an unregulated free market.

    We need to combat the most common denier arguments. 1. It’s not warming, the Climate Gate scandal disproves AGW. 2. It’s just a natural cycle. I’ve tried to talk to deniers saying that independent investigations cleared the scientists but their common argument against that is that the independent investigations are all part of the conspiracy for big government. I remember in high school one of the first things they taught me in science. Signs of pseudo science. One of the signs was making up baseless excuses when something contradicts their position. That’s exactly what the climate deniers do and no matter how many arguments I present to them, they always find some new excuse to ignore my argument.

  24. DRT says:

    Excellent point Bob Lang @ 16. As a corollary I suggest that it is our moral and ethical obligation to not only stop pumping CO2 and CO2 equivalents into the atmosphere, but to also remove from the atmosphere and permanently sequester the cumulative sum of the GHGs contributed since we started burning fossil fuels. We’ve made a big mess and we should clean it up. I know ….I’m crazy, dreaming of giant industrial scale solar powered systems spinning carbon fiber or maybe biochar from air.

    We need a waste free society. As a follow on to the lecture posted at 16, try “Cradle To Cradle”, Preferably obtained by riding your bike to the library :)

  25. dbmetzger says:

    Can’t keep BP out of the headlines. like a bad penny…
    BP Tries To Avoid Compensating Gulf Residents
    Despite more than $20 billion available to Gulf Coast residents affectd by the BP oil spill, locals contend that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is limiting compensation funds to claimants in order to decrease BP’s liability.

  26. DRT says:

    Davidgswanger@20, You pose an interesting idea, I think though, that the agroindustrial complex is, if not in bed with, at least sleeping in the next room as the fossil fuels industry. Industrial agriculture is entirely fossil fuel dependent and the reaction of ADM and Monsanto and their ilk to climate change calamity will be more unsustainable practices…more fertilizer, more pesticides etc.. Try the movies “Big Corn” and “Big River” and Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” for reference.

    As a foil for Exxon-Mobil, maybe the insurance industry is a better bet?

  27. David Smith says:

    I’d like to have a focus on the “Avoiders”. This is a group, I believe a very large group, that accept the science, that global warming is real and will yield horrible impacts but choose to ignore it and will not acknowledge it publicly because if they did, their system of ethics would require action and they don’t want to take action and disrupt their lives. This is a much bigger group than the deniers.

    How do we activate the avoiders?

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    Northland emergency services say motorists were caught in floodwaters that swamped much of the north on Friday night.

    The worst-affected areas were from Kaeo to Kawakawa, where up to 260mm of rain fell in 12 hours.

  29. Will Koroluk says:

    I recently saw an excellent essay called “How the Power of Myth Keeps Us Mired in War,” by Ira Chernus, a professor of religious studies at U of Colorado-Boulder.
    Chernus uses the Afghanistan war as his take-off point to argue that Americans (including Obama) are trapped in the myths they have built for your country–the fierce independence, the exceptionality, etc. He argues that those who would effect change (in foreign policy, but also in science policy) must develop something more powerful, something that will resonate more deeply within Americans than the existing myth.
    I know Joe has written extensively on Climate Progress about rhetoric, and from reading those pieces I suspect he might agree with much of what Chernus has to say. The Chernus essay is, I think, the best single short piece I’ve read on the subject, and I’d commend it to anyone who is looking for a way to advance the climate-change file.
    The essay appeared on a blog called, which I’d never encountered before. It’s a project of The Nation, and I’d guess that many of the regulars on this site might find it worth a look. The direct link to the Chernus piece is:

    And a postscript: I like the idea of two weekend threads.

  30. CW says:

    Here are a few open thread ideas:

    1. Share your success stories.
    2. How does or could going green and climate-friendly make people happier?
    3. Where do you find the most common ground when talking climate with a broad range of people?
    4. Who are your climate heroes and why?
    5. How can we best engage or cooperate with: a) socially-oriented activitists; b) religious people who care about the environment; c) cowboys/hunters/soldiers/jocks/famers who care about the environment; d) other groups … ?
    6. Amory Lovins has identified a number of systemic and market barriers to progress. What policy ideas can help surmount those barriers? What types of company or industry initiatives could surmount them?
    7. What changes, minor or sweeping, need to take place in the U.S. ‘democratic’ system to make achieving the climate stabilization objective more realistic?
    8. Do we need a people’s economy or can the existing economic order be altered sufficiently to meet our climate stabilization objectives? Do you think that the rise in collaborative consumerism (groupon’s, coops, car sharing, etc.) has much potential?
    10. What lessons can we gain from George Lakoff’s linguistic theories of politics and communication?
    11. If money were not an issue for you, what would you do or how would you spend your life to most effectively help the climate?
    12. What will it take to make environmental organizations work more cooperatively and strategically together?
    13. What are the best commercials and public service announcements you’ve ever seen to support action on the climate?
    14. What do you do to stay motivated and optimistic? To stay connected to nature?
    15. Are republicans really conservatives? What is true conservative thinking? Is it really anti-environment?
    16. What documentaries need to be done? Exposés? Stories untold?
    17. Imagine the unlikely: is there any argument that could POSSIBLY work with the Koch brothers and their ilk? If you had an opportunity to talk to the brothers for a brief moment in an elevator, what would you say?
    18. How is it that northern Europeans are so much more ahead and think differently on average?
    19. What can individuals do to to counter corporatism’s increasing control of government?
    20. What would you tell a class of 1st, 6th and 10th graders in a talk on climate?
    21. Would a Jon Stewart of environmental news be helpful?
    22. Imagine success: How would an America off oil be better? In what ways would a low-carbon America be better? How would our economy be better? How would people be safer, richer, healthier, more solidly employed, etc.?
    23. Deconstruct and retort: Undertake the mental exercise of truly imagining yourself in “the other side’s” shoes. Deconstruct and retort.
    24: America, the movie: If American history was a movie, what part are we at right now? What plot developments unfold to turn it into a happy ending for the climate?
    25. Really break down how do the pillars of the anti-action camp do it. How do they sway the debate and change society to their views? Can we replicate that? Or do we have to do things differently?

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    South Africa: Floods kill 120 and destroy crops
    More inundation expected as heavy rains continue to hit southern Africa.

  32. Colorado Bob says:

    Energy Resources of Australia tumbles as rain takes a heavy toll

    ENERGY Resources of Australia (ERA) suffered its biggest one-day share slump in two years, after the uranium miner said heavy Northern Territory rain was expected to wipe out nearly a full quarter of this year’s production and would result in no final dividend for 2010. ……………. But the real surprise was in an earlier announcement that said the Darwin-based miner was closing its Ranger uranium tailings dam for 12 weeks because heavy rain was expected for the rest of the wet season and earlier rains had already filled up the dam beyond normal levels for this time of year.

  33. Laird Towle says:

    Here is a brief statement of our predicament,which I think is accurate, and poses a worthwhile question:

    The dominant factor determining the temperature and climate of the earth is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. During the 12,000 years over which human civilization has developed, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been quite steady at about 270 ppm. Since the Industrial Revolution the level has climbed to 390 ppm; most of that change has occurred in the last generation, and it is accelerating thanks to our dumping of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Numerous analyses show we are headed for concentrations of 1,000 ppm, roughly four times the equilibrium, human-friendly, level.

    We know from the paleographic climate record that the Earth has experienced such high levels of CO2 in the past; several tens of millions of years ago before mankind was even a glimmer in God’s eye. At that time there was not a bit of ice on Earth anywhere, and consequently sea level was 250 feet above its present level.

    That means Bowie, Maryland where I live, was sitting on the sea floor as were the future sites of most of the world’s major cities. The temperature in the arctic was 74 degrees F, and there were alligators in Alaska. That was hardly an environment in which humanity could exist, but of course it didn’t.

    Clearly we are headed for a train wreck of cosmic proportions. The best minds on the planet tell us that if we act now and with enormous effort, we may still be able to stop the train. It would have been much easier if we had started thirty years ago, but it is still possible. The question is should we try or should we just continue as we have been doing, and enjoy the ride while we can? If we chose the latter, disaster is assured.

    I suggest that climate change is the mother of all moral issues. What could be more important than the fate of mankind? If we don’t act on this issue no other issues will matter. To get the vote for women we had to march in the streets, to end the Viet Nam war we had to march in the streets, to end Jim Crow we had to march in the streets. What does that tell us?

    President Obama said recently that it is time we began to live up to the expectations of our children. Isn’t it time we marched again? If not now, when?

  34. Ziyu says:

    Environmental groups should partner with libertarian Tea Party types to advocate for eliminating energy subsidies, which would reduce emissions by 18% by 2050. They should also partner with the auto industry, which could be hurt by higher fuel prices to advocate for a 50 mpg fuel efficency standard by 2040. They should partner with the agricultural industry to advocate for 40% biofuels by 2040 (currently it’s around 25% by 2022). Lastly they should partner with the insurance industry to protect or strengthen EPA climate rules. There are good ways to use political and corporate interests to the environmental advantage. But we have to bank on the powers that environmentalist partner with can beat the fossil fuel lobby. The policies I stated would reduce emissions 32% by 2050 and more with EPA regulation. Up to 60% emissions reductions.

  35. Colorado Bob says:

    PERTH, Australia, Jan. 28 (UPI) — Tropical Cyclone Bianca, a Category 3 storm, is expected to make landfall within the next two days near Perth, forecasters said.

    Read more:

    The JTWC forecast track –

  36. Colorado Bob says:

    Record low water levels at Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam have ground turbines there to a halt, amplifying a power shortage that led to riots last summer, a top official said on Thursday.

  37. Marc A says:

    Here’s a question for those of us who aren’t brilliant scientists: where do you have trouble understanding this stuff? For me, its the break in the 20th century temperature trend.

    Other questions to help prepare CP readers to discuss the science might be
    – how do you handle the objection that models are not perfect?
    – how can we be confident, without being able to test climate response, that we know this is right?
    – what is it really, that we don’t know and should be discussing? In other words, how much room for legitimate skepticism is there, and what are the consequences of that?
    – what’s worked for you when talking to skeptics?

    I’ve come up with my own answers but I’m sure they’d be improved by such a discussion.

    I think I’d vote for 1 thread with an invitation to go off topic. Comments are not the ideal way to hold a discussion, so look into a way of turning the weekends into discussion forums with threaded topics.

  38. Marc A says:

    Off topic, specific question regarding the latest Hansen paper —

    I’m working through this paper and trying to understand the science as a layman. After 2 passes I’m still having trouble with one point in section 3, Fast-Feedback Climate Sensitivity (p. 5).

    It’s this: “Any planetary energy imbalance was at most a small fraction of 1 W/m2, as shown by considering the contrary: an imbalance approaching 1 W/m2 would be sufficient to melt all ice on Earth or change ocean temperature a large amount…”

    My question is, how do we know that a 1 W/m2 imbalance would be sufficient to melt all the ice?

    A little help here would be appreciated.

  39. tst says:

    davidgswanger: I think playing one corporate sector against another does have some potential, especially given deep corporate pockets and their historical willingness to employ lobbyists and fund campaigns. I agree with DRT that the insurance industry would be a good place to start.

    At the same time, I think it’s also important to spell out our goal and then work backwards to a reasonable starting point. To institute serious policy changes on energy and carbon, we need more politicians on our side. To get politicians, especially politicians who are ideologically opposed to government solutions, we need a credible, “we’re not going to re-elect you” threat. To create that threat, we need to carve away portions of their base. Before we can do that, we need to target particular areas of the base with focused strategies. But first, we need to identify those essential demographics and create effective strategies.

    So who are we talking about? Farmers & ranchers. Current and retired military. Evangelical Christians. Hunters & anglers. Local chambers of commerce. If we can use effective, focused marketing to turn one or more of these groups into single issue voters – think of the NRA and the Moral Majority as perfect examples – then we have a lever that will move most any politician away from the fossil fuel industry and toward sanity.

    At it’s most basic level, corporate money buys votes. If we can use the lessons we’ve learned from Madison Avenue on messaging, framing and marketing, we can take most of that money out of the equation. Think about this. The NRA only has 4 million members. That’s less than 2% of our U.S. population. Still, how many red state politicians are going to vote against the NRA? That’s right – none.

    If we can take half the conservative base and turn those people into single issue voters on the climate, we win the political game and give our kids a chance at a decent future. And as a noted biologist pointed out to me a few years ago, the folks on Madison Avenue have already developed very sophisticated strategies to do just that.

  40. dp says:

    one thread or two, i don’t see entries that get approved long after the thread has moved along.…


    deep energy efficiency deployment will be labor intensive, but private business is setting profit records without domestic hiring and this could be a long philosophical trend. how do we get anything we need actually installed?

    cities are running big deficits. transit systems are funded by taxes. how do we make sure the next gas price spike doesn’t bankrupt our mass transit networks at the very time people are wanting service expansions?

    forget moral obligation. how do we convince billionaires that funding mass greening mobilization won’t result in disgruntled nationalizing of their yachts?

    without a strong social contract guaranteeing a good, fun, empowered standard of living for all persons, how do you keep people from burning up, chopping down, or digging up every last thing so they have enough cash set aside “for a rainy day”?

  41. caerbannog says:

    Chemical and Engineering News goes there…

    …and prints a book-review penned by Gavin Schmidt, where the “denier” word is used — repeatedly.

    C&E News material is usually locked up behind a pay-wall, but in this case, C&E News made an exception. Linky here:

    Hopefully, this will be a trend, where appropriately harsh language is routinely used in staid, professional publications to marginalize and isolate so-called climate “skeptics”.

  42. Steve UK says:

    @Mark A #38

    “how do you handle the objection that models are not perfect?”

    I don’t have an answer to that, but the following;

    suggests that sometimes the models are frighteningly over-optimistic. Which is pretty scary.

  43. Paulm says:

    15 tst, I agree. We have to approach this like a chess game or football game.

    Target groups I can think of in order are…
    1) health care doctors, health workers, it they could get on board and treat it like smoking
    1) rich & famous for the money and example.
    2) religious
    3) farming
    4) education
    5) military

  44. Prokaryotes says:

    Idea for Activism

    Start a youTube Video Blog about Climate Change. Beside Greenmarvin’s Climate Crock of the Week there is not a lot. Except for a lot of confusing denier flicks, brought to you by the usual suspects.

    It would be great to have an official CP youTube channel, featuring all related items.

    Have a great Weekend.

  45. Paulm says:

    6) individuals / families – from the moral perspective.
    I think this is one way to ‘force’ them to see it really is not acceptable to do nothing. And the is an alternative. Each of us has to step up to the plate. And those of us in the know, especially climate hawks., should be prepared to lead by example.

    Here is one personal way that I think helps …

    Please support and pass on….
    “Addressing Global Warming, I vow to eliminate all my non-essential flying. It’s a moral issue…”

    By signing up to reducing your non-essential flying you make a big impact on emissions reduction in multiple ways.
    >Your emissions are substantially reduce.
    >Your resolution highlights and focus the urgency of the issue and the sort of effort that will be required to address the problem with your peers.
    >Lead by example. We can not ask for climate action without making the first move.
    >You reenforce and provide suport
     to consolidate action in tackling global warming.

    Its a moral issue…

    >Yes, our lives must be an expression of what we most deeply value.
    >Yes, we can and must make conscience-driven choices about how we spend our money and time.
    >Yes, we must provide a safe and thriving future for our children.

  46. Michael T. says:

    The Russian Heat Wave of 2010

    “From the freezer to the stove, so have gone surface temperatures over Russia in 2010. Only recently, the concerns were centered on the hardship inflicted by the previous frigid winter. The current heat wave is therefore all the more remarkable coming on the heals of anomalous cold.”

  47. Christopher Yaun says:

    Burning Down the House

    Andre Condrescu compares unrest in Egypt today with revolution in his home Romania. He talks about the controlled media and I think that we are living under a controlled media….

    KZSUSA wrote on January 22nd, “I used to live in a communist country. There and then, the censorship was by the government, and we all knew it was going on, and knew how to read between the lines. Here, censorship is run by the corporations, and unfortunately your average American has no training to recognize what is going on…”

    Our founding fathers wrote in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence….”Governments are instituted among Men….to provide (new) Guards for their future security.”

    When our government cannot provide guards for our future security:
    – they cannot pass comprehensive energy legislation.
    – they cannot pass climate legislation.
    – they cannot provide effective oversight of banks and oil companies.
    – they cannot pass a balanced budget.
    – they cannot protect our jobs from cheap labor.
    – your comments here?

  48. Marc A says:

    @Steve UK, #43

    Indeed. When I get a “well, Lindzen says…”, the approach I use is that models (and scientists) make a range of predictions from a little warming to a lot. Until they come up with the perfect model, I assume the truth is somewhere in the middle and that’s 3 deg. c per doubling. I might add that the models are more likely to underestimate warming than overestimate it.

  49. davidgswanger says:

    DRT@26 & tst@40: I thank both of you for your comments.

    DRT, though I’m not familiar with the films you mentioned, but I have read the Pollan book, and appreciate the heavy petrobase of industrial
    agriculture. Nevertheless, though I am admittedly not an expert in this area, I’m not clear that more fertilizer or pesticides or other inputs would be effective in combating the weather aspects of climate change (though the pesticides will be used against the range expansion of pests). Genetic engineering might make a difference, and I expect we will be driven to it, but it will still be an industry more directly exposed to the fires, floods and droughts ahead of us than most. It might make a difference at some point, though perhaps not soon enough. I thought the possibility worth mentioning.

    I agree with both of you that the insurance industry is the most likely candidate for this tactic, but that’s been discussed ever since Swiss Re began expressing its concerns about climate change, and I was looking for another, less heralded, potential source of support.

    tst, as you saw in my last paragraph, I do think that demographically speaking, farmers are a Republican constituency that might be peeled off. I hadn’t thought of ranchers, but it’s a logical suggestion. Hunters and anglers are another group whom climate change and range shifting might hit hard. Members of the military are perhaps your most interesting proposal to me, since it dovetails with something else I’ve been thinking about: building on the the Pentagon and CIA studies that examine the potential for resource wars as a threat to this country, or the opportunities an ice-free Arctic would give to Russia. To a lot of Republicans, the military is a sacred cow when it comes to budgets and policy; they don’t want to do anything that might make our country militarily weaker, even if they want to cut the hell out of everything else. If the Pentagon can be convinced that climate change is a primary threat, and gives advantage to Russia in particular (since there are still a lot of Cold Warriors around with long memories and a Russia with ice-free harbors is more dangerous), we might make headway with Congresspeople tough to persuade any other way. If Dick Cheney could say it was worth invading Iraq if there was only a 1% chance they had WMD, can’t we make the same precautionary argument about climate change? You’re talking, of course, about voters who serve or are veterans, but the same logic may apply. Sadly, I don’t see getting anywhere with evangelical Christians or local chambers of commerce, but I think all the others you proposed are worth looking at.

    As I said before, I’m just floating ideas and trying to think outside the box. I’m not wedded to any of these notions, only trying to expand the pool of possibilities. Thanks again for your time and thoughts.

  50. tst says:

    A question for Joe, along with a possible subject for a future open thread. Free market fundamentalists believe that, given a choice, most human beings will make informed, rational decisions about matters of money, commerce, business, etc. If I’m not mistaken, this is one of the major tenets of Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand.”

    Unfortunately, new research has shown that most people don’t make informed, rational decisions about money, or about other important areas of their lives. We’re apparently not well equipped to set aside our emotions and make purely rational choices.

    So why do so many commenters here at Climate Progress align themselves with free market fundamentalists? Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it sure seems like an awful lot of folks around here are betting that more (or better) scientific information will help our fellow Americans make sound, rational, informed choices about climate change and our shared future.

    If people like Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz are correct and individual human beings don’t typically base their decisions on facts and information, then why are we spending so much time focusing on facts and information? Shouldn’t we be putting our emphasis on persuasion, framing and messaging instead?

  51. Colorado Bob says:

    Outback hot spell breaks records

    Anne Kilgariff runs Lyndavale station – 260 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs – and says she has never seen anything like it.

    “As far as I can remember this is probably the hottest spell, I mean we’ve had hot spells before but this is really, really extreme,” she said.

  52. James Newberry says:

    A eco/green/sustainable economics conference could be organized to discuss the fossil/fission/financialization of global economics along with centralized political manipulation and influence allowing the current state of affairs. Call it PETROLEUM AS A RESOURCE OF ENERGY, or Capitalism On Tilt: Concepts of Energy, Democracy and Financial Control.

  53. tst says:

    davidgswanger – I wouldn’t be quite so quick to give up on local chambers of commerce and evangelical Christians. Say you gave a major marketing firm 6 months to plan, $10 Million to formulate and run ads, and this simple biblical quote: Revelation 11:18 “And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.”

    Our marketing folks convince us to spend our hard earned money on everything from potato chips to the latest generation of smart phones. I suspect they could take “should destroy them which destroy the earth.” and fashion it into an incredibly effective message for people who view the Bible as the literal word of the Creator.

    And wouldn’t it be something if the same people who convinced us to eat Pop Tarts and shop at WalMart used their ultra-sophisticated, highly targeted marketing techniques to sell climate change to the conservative base?

    Why wouldn’t we do that?

  54. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Bianca has been downgraded to a category 1 cyclone and is expected to be downgraded further.

    Even if it is just a nasty storm when it hits, Perth is not prepared. I have seen no windows taped, no gutters getting cleaned and verges full of rubbish waiting for the council pick up. (The streets are a little quieter.)

    Guess I had better follow my own advice.

  55. Badgersouth says:


    One focused open thread is sufficient.

    In 2011, continue to focus on reporting the Republican/Tea Party efforts to “turn back the clock” on climate change.

    Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to be all things for all people.

    Thanks for all that you do.

  56. Colorado Bob says:

    The most important metallurgical coal basin in the world is underwater. Open pits have become lakes, stockpiles are soaked, and rail lines are submerged and in places destroyed. Damage is estimated at $5 to $6 billion.

    The Bowen Basin was hit with 350 mm of rain in December, against an average of 102 mm.

  57. So, what are the odds civilization survives to 2100?

    [JR: Gotta define all your terms. “Civilization” will “survive” but billions of people will not be thriving.]

  58. Civilization (or civilisation) is a sometimes controversial term which has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to human cultures which are complex in terms of technology, science, politics and division of labour. Such civilizations are generally urbanized.

    I would add that we still have an internet, airports etc.

    In addition I’d like to point out the herculean effort required to keep us under 3C. So my question relates to that… what are the odds we succeed at keeping warming below 3C?

  59. Bob Vertrees says:

    First of all, I like the directed type of Weekend Open Threads. But I can also see the value of open-ended ones. So, why not have both?

    With regard to ideas for WOT’s of the directed type, I offer these related ones.

    Upon my perusing, but not detailed reading, of comments In last week’s Open Thread that asked for ideas about how to get a grassroots movement going, I noticed the following. Some commenters, including myself, called for: (1) the pulling together of the best of the global warming/climate change information that is now available, and (2) the imaginative (and relatively brief) presentation of this information in various formats that reach the general public in a way that citizens with, say, a high-school education could understand. The idea is that such presentations would serve to develop a more informed citizenry that would then help to initiate and sustain a GW/CC grassroots movement.

    So, why not have one integrated Open Thread, or more than one Open Thread, like the following:

    1. What topics should be in such presentations of information mentioned in Item (2) above?

    2. To what audiences should such presentations be directed?

    3. What hard-copy (such as newspaper science sections), on line (such as Facebook, blogs, etc.) or other media outlets would be most appropriate to reach specific audiences?

    4. Within the topics received as comments to No. 1 above, how should they be “boiled down” and meaningfully sequenced given the purpose of reaching general audiences of citizens and hopefully getting them to help initiate and sustain a movement?

    5. THIS IS KEY! Within these topics (or just in general, if no such topics have yet been decided on), get readers of this Climate Change blog to offer their thought-out ideas about what they believe should be ABSOLUTELY-MUST-BE-INCLUDED (in the aforementioned type of presentations); (a) graphs; (b) stand-along tables of information or tables that accompany graphs, etc.; (3) figures; (4) photos; (5) digital images (such as remotely sensed images); diagrammetric representations; and (6) etc. Perhaps each commenter’s ideas along this line should be limited, say, to her or his top five (or so) ideas. (Off the top of my head, I have come up with these: (1) the Keeling curve of CO2 levels; (2) the “hockey stick” trend line in temperature; (3) the results of models referred to in IPCC reports that, by hindcasting, showed that the “hockey stick” trend line was closely approximated by model runs that included BOTH natural and anthropogenic parameters (proper word?) and that the runs that included ONLY the natural parameters fell well below this trend during recent decades; (4) satellite imagery and accompanying graphs and tables showing the rapid decrease during recent years of the amount of end-of-summer sea ice in the Arctic; and (5) whatever it takes (satellite imagery and measurements of ice-sheet mass, aerial photography, ground photos, etc. to depict the fact that the IPCC models of ice-sheet mass reduction in both Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were not capable of estimating the rapidity by which these ice sheets are deteriorating (such as along the edge of the WAIC and up the fjords in Greenland — if I read James Hanson’s “Storms of My Grandchildren” correctly — but like Dr. Hanson and others, don’t let the readers get “down” on the computer models and their ability to forecast what is coming in the near- and more-distant future with regard to the eye-opening numerous adverse effects of GW/CC.

    [Caveats/further ideas for Item Numbers 1, 4 and No. 5: As with just-given ideas for absolutely-must-have topics or sub-topics and associated graphs, imagery, etc, some of the latter took me a lot of words to describe — and maybe some of my descriptions aren’t 100% correct — no, not maybe, but, “of course”. But practically speaking, I think readers “can get the picture”. So, perhaps Joe Romm and his colleagues could go through the MUST READ blogs of recent years (or even further back) and come up a categorized listing of brief topical and sub-topical headings along with associated as-brief-as-possible titles of the graphs, tables, imagery, etc. that fall under these headings — such a listing given somehow in association with the specific Weekend Open Blog.

    [My ideas for a lot of the above come from James Hanson, who, in his book “Storms of My Grandchildren”, emphasizes the need to communicate with the general public through the use of graphs, tables, and so forth — of which he includes many in “Storms” — and has placed many of them in his blog, with (whenever possible) annual or periodic updates of their data and other information.]

    Bob Vertrees (“Buckeye Bob”)

  60. Robin Niblett says that the conflicts in Egypt are partly due to the rising cost of food.
    Davos 2011

  61. Heraclitus says:

    I second David Smith’s call (#28) for a thread focusing on the “avoiders”. This group is the overwhelming problem, the people who accept the science and the moral imperative when they think about it but avoid thinking about it because they don’t want to face up to its implications. Their lives are too busy and too challenging already for them to contemplate the difficult choices they would need to make. These are deniers too, but denial in the psychological sense. I expect most, if not all, of us would include ourselves in this category at least some of the time.

    Can I repeat my request for any pointers to an overview of the current state of understanding of the causes of the global temperature trends during the first 70 years of the 20th century? I think Mark A (#38) also identifies this as an issue. My understanding is that there are viable explanations for the observed pattern of warming and I’ve pieced together various bits of explanations but I’m not sure what the confidence levels are in these theories.

  62. Anna Haynes says:

    In the Open (i.e., not focused) Thread dept, a question –

    I have the opportunity to cover an indoor spot 44 inches wide by 38 inches high (touching the ground) with climate messaging. What should be on it?

    I want it to be eye-catching and simple in the message it sends.

    I’m thinking a blowup of the Meinshausen graph plus quotes from DeChristopher/Easterbrook/Craven re framing & action, like so (link), plus John Cook’s “10+ signs of human-caused global warming” poster-in-progress. And maybe the ClimateCrock “Arctic sea ice is decreasing faster than the models predict” graph (link), for those who wave their hands dismissively at the mention of climate models.

    Anything else?

  63. Badgersouth says:


    I believe that you will find more than enough information on the Skeptical Science website.

  64. Heraclitus says:

    Badgersouth – thanks, skepticalscience is outstanding and a first port of call, but that is largely where I pieced together what I know. What I think it is lacking, and maybe I missed it, is an overview of all the different contributing and conflicting factors.

  65. Andy Heninger says:

    #38, Marc A. asks

    – how do you handle the objection that models are not perfect?
    – how can we be confident, without being able to test climate response, that we know this is right?

    Take James Hansen’s approach – freely acknowledge that there is substantial uncertainty in the models, and go with paleoclimate results to narrow things down. Talk about how the physical earth actually responded to climate forcings in the past, and how those forcings compare with what is happening now. And what could plausibly happen if we don’t get our act together.

    Storms of my Grandchildren lays the story out frighteningly well.

  66. Clare says:

    On New Zealand’s National Radio this morning,

    11.05 Ideas: Geo-engineering

    Have the problems caused by climate change reached the point where we need to consider drastic physical interventions in the world’s weather systems. Ideas explores geo-engineering with Jeff Goodell the author of “How to Cool the Planet: Geo-Engineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate”; Naomi Oreskes author of “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming,” and Otago University professor Philip Boyd.

    You can listen here:

  67. catman306 says:

    A restoration of the equal – time clause might completely negate the denial storm. Denialist speech IS political speech. This is politics that really counts, not the ‘chicken talk’ of the Dems and Reps.

  68. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    The remains of Bianca are still headed towards Perth. Bianca is an Ex TC.

    Those useless models have got it pretty right so far. Bianca has behaved almost exactly as expected. The weakening was marginally later than originally predicted, and the system moved a little slower than first predicted.

  69. Colorado Bob says:

    INTERVIEW – Potash Corp CEO sees higher food prices for years

    “We actually need a record crop now, every year, just to keep pace with demand,” said Doyle, who has worked n the fertilizer industry for close to four decades.

  70. adelady says:

    For me, 2 threads would be ideal. We never know when an issue will pop up over the weekend, so the ‘fully open’ thread would be the venue for discussion and updates on that.

    And I really like the single topic open thread. I’m depressingly convinced that truly interesting single topic threads will far too often be overwhelmed by interesting/ exciting/ breaking/ horrifying news items of various sorts.

    One thing I’m trying (not very hard, it’s 42C here today) to pull together is an item on talking to our children.

    How would you advise your mid 20s children when they enthusiastically tell you that they’ve found a seaside or riverside property that would be *ideal* for investment of the money they inherited from a (great)grandparent?

  71. Colorado Bob says:

    RIYADH: A Saudi scientist has predicted extreme weather conditions in the Kingdom this year as a result of global climatic changes.

    Mansour Al-Mazrouei, head of the Department of Meteorology at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), said people living in this region must prepare for the worst scenario, such as torrential rains, excessive heat or severe dry winds.

  72. Colorado Bob says:

    Australia’s Queensland state, recovering from the nation’s worst flood disaster, is bracing for a cyclone expected to hit its northeastern coast within three days, threatening more damage to stricken coal mines.

    Another system has formed off Fiji and could hit Queensland as a Category 4 or Category 5 cyclone as early as Feb. 3, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing state Premier Anna Bligh.

  73. Richard Brenne says:

    Was it Bianca Jagger that was born in a Class 5 hurricane?

  74. dp says:

    anna haynes:

    “I have the opportunity to cover an indoor spot 44 inches wide by 38 inches high (touching the ground) with climate messaging. What should be on it?”

    who is the audience and how long will they have to look at it

  75. Colorado Bob says:

    Poor Australia –

    The one coming in behind Anthony will be making 155 mph wind gusts and make land fall just north of Anthony’s landfall.

  76. Ted Nation says:

    Given the events in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere a timely guest post from Lester Brown would be appreciated calling attention to the role increasing food prices played in bringing long festering grievances to a boil. We can expect more and more instability around the world as the impacts of climate change combine with the other price and supply presures on food that Lester Brown has been pointing out for years!

  77. Wonhyo says:

    +1 for David Smith’s (#28) suggestion to dedicate a thread to discussing “avoiders”.

    I, too, have run into many people who accept the validity of climate science but will not act on it. They claim they understand that business as usual will lead to catastrophe. They either have faith that we will miraculously stop the disaster in time (a la deus ex machina), or avoid discussing the imperatives altogether. This group is far larger than climate deniers.

  78. regarding #52 tst:

    Commenters here are not all free market fundamentalists; it’s an easy argument to say that free market fundamentalism failed to react and get us out of this mess when we had a better chance. (or one could argue that a type of carbon intensive, free-market fundamentalism is what got us into this mess – and keeps us there)

    We have plenty of science. It certainly does need better distribution.. .however public policy needs to conform to science. Not the other way around. Neither market fundamentals, nor economics mean anything to the science of climate.

    Personally, I think a scientific technocracy is preferable to intense training and the enlightenment of all carbon capitalists. That seems to be going very slow, and there is too much inertia for high carbon combustion.

    Who knows what will work best? — that may be yours to discover. Of course we need to “make sound, rational, informed choices about climate change” – but eventually the only choice we have to make is whether to survive. All subsequent political decisions will derive from that choice. Sorry, but the market knew this in the 1980’s. That is when Exxon and Western Fuels and coal companies started spending millions and millions to promote climate skepticism and confusion. They did this because they knew what their short term business required this.

  79. Edward says:
    Notice the self contradiction. He thinks we don’t need to solve the GW problem now because it isn’t killing us yet. And that is Andy Revkin, the big NYT ecologist.

  80. paulm says:

    Hell and High water has truly arrive in Australia…and they dont want to know about Climate Warming.

    .SA warned to take care as temperature soars
    .No end in sight for red centre scorcher
    .Cyclone warning cancelled for WA
    .Anthony intensifies to category two cyclone NE
    .Heatwave may ease flood threat
    The State Emergency Service says today’s scorching heat could help with the flood situation in north-west Victoria.
    .Gillard appeals for flood levy support

  81. paulm says:

    78 Wonhyo.
    Spot on.
    This is the case here also.
    Friends, colleagues and family. Not one is willing to support action on climate change or act on it.

    They know there is a problem.
    But will not look in to it when I try to convince them that it really is catastrophic.
    They repeat your argument. And reject it straight up.

    It is amazing. When you state clearly its a moral issue, they dont even bat an eyelid. But the go off and support other 3rd world causes to save those souls who will soon be totally devastated by our warming planet.

    It really is a tragedy.

    It is easier for a fossil fuel addict to climb through the eye of a needle than it is for them to give up their life comforts.

  82. Some European says:

    1.Two threads please.

    2.I would llike to see at least some of the questions go in the direction of very specific missions. You really have a think tank and an army of volunteers here.
    So, how about defining an action plan by consensus in the comments and then doing it for a short time and evaluate the results one or several weeks later. We know the denialists systematically go to comment pages and vote down anything opposed to their views on YouTube, Amazon and other websites. We rarely do these things because we don’t feel it’s very useful (if we do it on our own) and especially because we think it’s unethical. It’s time to rethink that. We’re in a guerilla. Let’s learn from the tactics of the opponent. How about copying their organized manipulation of online polls or the coordinated e-mail attacks to institutions, politicians and media outlets. I’d rather do unethical* things and save civilization than go down with a clean conscience.

    Most of all, I would like us to launch Jeff Huggins’ plan for an elite climate seminar (1 on 1 if necessary, in the Bahama’s if desired) with top politicians and business leaders. Together. I have little money to invest but I wouldn’t hesitate to donate, say 500$. I can also donate plenty of time.

    Let’s become an action group.

    *Wouldn’t it be fair to say that ethics depend on the context and that given our situation we must completely rethink ethics?

  83. Barry says:

    Marc A (#38, #39 and #50) the answer to all your questions:

    — reliability of models
    — use of paleoclimate to know how earth will react to forcings and energy imbalance
    — faustian bargain with aerosols that masked 60’s and 70’s warming for a bit and will bite us again

    and lots more is covered in great detail in Hansen’s book: “Storms of my Grandchildren.”

    If you are really interested in climate science and you haven’t read it, you should. You can even get it for under $10 from Amazon in Kindle format and download the free reader for pc or mac. That gets it to you instantly for the cost of two lattes…and it is searchable.

  84. Barry says:

    Colorado Bob…just wanted to say that I appreciate your extreme weather links in the comments and often follow the links. Thanks.

  85. Barry says:

    Heraclitus (#62 & #65) and everyone else who wants to understand the essentials of climate science and what that means for us — read Hansen’s book “Storms of my Grandchildren”.

    He explicitly wrote it to explain the essentials of climate science to people.

  86. Barry says:

    I vote for topics:

    — agriculture issues (you might live indoors but your food doesn’t)
    — “avoiders”
    — most effective places to donate climate dollars
    — effective solutions people have done in their own life

  87. Edward says:

    We all make amazing mistakes once in a while. How do we teach everybody to check their assumptions? Perhaps a course on assumption checking could make a end run around religious objections to the teaching of thinking and science.

  88. davidgswanger says:

    tst@55: The reason I don’t hold much hope for evangelical Christians as a group that can be mobilized against climate change are my experiences discussing these matters with them. I live in Alabama, which is predominantly Southern Baptist, and while many of this persuasion are wonderful people who live their faith (I should add, perhaps, that I myself am not a believer), their respect for science is low, in large part because of the evolution controversy. Something which conflicts with their interpretation of the Bible is not welcome, to put it mildly; and climate change poses such a conflict.

    You quote Revelation 11:18. Though individual verses are often quoted by evangelicals in a seemingly context-free way (a practice called proof-texting), if you try to do the same, you soon learn there is an assumed, unspoken context. In Revelation, that context is the dispensationalism founded by John Nelson Darby in the 19th Century, giving us the apocalyptic scenario of Rapture and Tribulation. To all the evangelicals I’ve spoken to, this means they’re not going to be around to suffer the woes afflicting the world before its end; they will be raptured away, and nonbelievers will be left behind to deal with them. Those woes will be sent by God, not caused by us, and the way to deal with them is not amelioration, but turning to Jesus. They will tell you (as a Congressman recently said) that God promised Noah that he would not drown the world again, and predictions of sea level rise cut no ice with them. The Rapture is imminent, in this generation, and after the Rapture, only seven years remain till the end; they are not concerned about conditions in 2100 because there won’t be a 2100. God put nature here for man’s use, and ecologists, by putting nature above man, are Gaia-worshippers and idolaters. And on and on…

    I don’t know exactly how the evangelicals I’m acquainted with would interpret the verse you cite, because I’ve never used it in these discussions; but I would bet it will be interpreted within the framework I’ve outlined. Climate scientists refer to conditions 55 million years ago; evangelicals know the world is only several thousand years old. They don’t trust science, and science is all we’ve got. As I said, I’m not hopeful.

    (It’s late, and I’m tired, and I’ve just realized I’ve misspoke. Strictly speaking, not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, and some of them are persuadable; look at Jimmy Carter. You’re right there; it’s worth trying to reach them. But the majority (at least down here) are fundamentalists, and for the reasons I’ve mentioned, I think it unlikely they’ll change their minds. A pity, because they’re zealous about spreading their message, and not easily discouraged by rejection; we could probably learn something from them in that respect.)

  89. davidgswanger says:

    Some European @83: I completely understand your frustration, but can’t agree with your willingness to do unethical things, however desperate things are. We don’t get to define “ethical”; the people we’re trying to convince do. If they think we’re dishonest and manipulative, we lose all credibility, ad our enemies will use it against us relentlessly, even if they do the same things. If we’re going to call them on their lies and cheating, we ourselves must be above suspicion. It’s not just a matter of a clean conscience; it’s that doing unethical things will hinder our attempts to save civilization.

    I know I’m being harsh about this; but it’s a dangerous tactic which can only backfire.

  90. JohnV says:

    Colorado Bob – Thanks for Australian extreme weather links. The hot spell in central Australia is set to continue. The only plus is that may ease the floods in Victoria with high evaporation rates.

    What was it that Joe said about Hell and High water!! That seems to sum up Australia at present.

  91. Artful Dodger says:

    Applying the KISS principle, I suggest one “Open Thread”, and one “Question Thread”.

  92. Radio news this morning in Germany highlights the start of a trip around the world of three fuel-cell powered cars:

    “At its official 125th anniversary celebrations today (January 29) in Stuttgart, around 1400 guests witnessed the unveiling of the sculpture and the new technology announcement, as well as the start of the firm’s attempts to prove the viability of hydrogen as a fuel of the future by sending three B-class F-cells on an around the world trip.”

    I’m interested in Joe’s views about the sensibility of this “experiment”. Wouldn’t it be easier to improve the electric grid (and where the electricity comes from) than to push for a completely new grid of fuel-cell-reloading-stations (or however these will be called). And yes, I already read the various posts about F-cell technology but apperently industry didn’t.

    Thanks for these open threads to post questions like this!

  93. John McCormick says:

    RE 3 11

    Pythagoras says:

    “I would vote “no” for an open thread because the quality of the comments would likely not be to the same standard as a more focused discussion. I do like the idea of soliciting input from the readers.”

    I agree.

    Focus on a specific topic. That gets people to discipline their comments more than does the open thread.

    Regardless of the post topic, however, commenters add things that are, for the most part, interesting and sometimes very important; particularly when they link us to obscure and informative blogs, articles and reports.

    Using an OT before the comment helps.

    John McCormick

  94. dorveK says:


    Climate commitment in an uncertain world

    K. C. Armour
    Department of Physics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

    G. H. Roe
    Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

    Climate commitment—the warming that would still occur given no further human influence—is a fundamental metric for both science and policy. It informs us of the minimum climate change we face and, moreover, depends only on our knowledge of the natural climate system. Studies of the climate commitment due to CO2 find that global temperature would remain near current levels, or even decrease slightly, in the millennium following the cessation of emissions. However, this result overlooks the important role of the non-CO2 greenhouse gases and aerosols. This paper shows that global energetics require an immediate and significant warming following the cessation of emissions as aerosols are quickly washed from the atmosphere, and the large uncertainty in current aerosol radiative forcing implies a large uncertainty in the climate commitment. Fundamental constraints preclude Earth returning to pre-industrial temperatures for the indefinite future. These same constraints mean that observations are currently unable to eliminate the possibility that we are already beyond the point where the ultimate warming will exceed dangerous levels. Models produce a narrower range of climate commitment, but undersample observed forcing constraints.

  95. J Bowers says:

    I’d like to see two threads. There are many comments that have OT but very useful news, like Colorado Bob’s often interjected links to news on floods, etc, which are difficult to track down when you need them. A specific open thread would give somewhere for these to go.

    Alternatively, perhaps a “question posed” thread, and an “open news” thread.

  96. DrJeannette says:

    Ideal – I think CP should have a YouTube channel with lots of uncomplicated, easy to understand videos to start, maybe some animated shorts, and then provide encouragement for people to upload their concerns, ideas, solutions. And some expose videos re Koch brothers etc. Maybe even a “question of the day” (see Equals 3 – RayWilliamJohnson) — ? DO we have someone charismatic to run a channel? Joe? As far as the threads go, I would like to see one thread for those of us who feel scared and paralyzed (watching the train wreck), with young children (or grandchildren) (I guess that would be most of us):>() discussing how to survive, not just where to live but what is happening out there in terms of communities like ecovillages, sustainable communities, with links…. and another thread, or post, or section for action-oriented people, to generate action plans and coalitions, maybe even in a chatroom format to expedite the dialogue. I haven’t been involved that long on this site but it seems to me that the open thread gets quite scattered. Just some thoughts, thanks….

  97. Prokaryotes says:

    dorvek said “These same constraints mean that observations are currently unable to eliminate the possibility that we are already beyond the point where the ultimate warming will exceed dangerous levels.”

    Are there experiments already taken place, within controlled greenhouse environments about potential magnitudes of dangerous radiative feedbacks?

    Maybe the sytem builds up initial inertia and as longer we wait with removing heat trapping gases, the longer will the domino chain run, possible triggering critical masses for abrupt climate feedbacks.

  98. Sarah says:

    A lighthearted topic:
    What would you put on a sign for a demonstration in Washington?

    Linking weather and climate:
    Does anyone else have a letter posted in their local grocery store from Chiquita explaining that there is a banana shortage due to unprecedented bad weather in growing regions? no mention of climate. I want to write “climate change” across it with a big marker.

    Similarly, NPR just discussed rising global food prices, again attributing them to “weather”.
    I am trying to send a complaint every time I hear this kind of thing.

  99. darth says:

    So the push back against electric cars is in full swing. Since DC’s little snow last week and the ‘commute from hell’ I have already read two articles in the Washington Post where the writers pointed out how grateful they were that they weren’t driving a Leaf. (The latest is Warren Brown’s column in today’s auto section – the very back page) The implicit assumption is that the Leaf would run out of charge and they would be stranded. So I need to buy a car that can make it through a 12 hour commute so I’m ready for the one day in the year I might need to do that? Or perhaps I just drive a Leaf and stay home that day.

    The next morning I drove in and passed dozens of abandoned cars on the road – none of them were electric. But this meme about electrics is being is pushed in the media, with zero evidence to back it up.

    Any Leaf owners in the DC area that were in the commute want to comment? How long does a Leaf battery last sitting in traffic. My guess would be quite long since you are not running the motor very much. The battery holds 24kWh – so could run a 2000 watt load for 6 hrs and still have 50% battery life left – enough to go at least 25 miles even in the snow.

  100. Good Morning,
    Hopefully I am not too late to join the comments.
    As a Christian Pastor, it is a tad painful to see comments that note that there are elements of the Christian Faith that actively resist being concerned over the issue of Global Warming. The comments have validity but they do emphasize the ministry work that lies ahead of me is fraught with difficulty.
    One element that I see missing in these discussion threads is that of practices. From a Faith Community standpoint, there is a historical understanding that practices form & inform life and vice versa. So perhaps one way to engage the group that has been labeled “Avoiders” is to propose practices that people can engage in during the daily and/or weekly life activities which help them grow along a path that takes them from the “Avoiding” stage to the “Advocacy” stage. One reason that people may be in the “Avoiding” stage is that they are simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issue and their reaction to feeling helpless & overwhelmed is avoidance rather than engagement in the issue.

    To that end, I have posted a table of Action Tips in my website, where people can choose life actions from columns titled “Toe Dipping”, “Going Deeper” and “Fully Immersed”. These actions range from home energy to transportation to dietary to Political and so on. It is possible to begin to change our life paths but only if we take an initial step.

    Last but not least, I would suggest that we need to be visible signs of GW action in our families, in our neighborhoods, and in our regions such that people look upon these signs and get nudged into action by witnessing our action.

  101. Prokaryotes says:

    Terry Gallagher said ” It is possible to begin to change our life paths but only if we take an initial step.”

    A sputnik moment, a critical mass to change from the passive and same procedure then every day to the mode of taken action. Taken action for a better tomorrow, where our children find the same world, in a shape which were used by generations of humans. We cannot let our given life style choices destroy the world we live in, we have to regulate what nature provides us with for no dime.

    It is time for the human race to step up and take accountability and responsibility for the world which finally comes together and realize that we are one race and our future demands on the action each of us chooses.

    People need to learn that the climate is the fundamental basic defining the variables which either makes our life situation easy, bad or worse. Floods in many parts of the world can happen everywhere and the science tells us that these kind of catastrophes are just the beginning, if we do not change course. Yes, we can!
    And to prevent climate disruption, the world needs a paradigm shift. A shift to peaceful coexistence with nature – the world which defines us. The world we seek with our consumption of finite resources and ever faster approaching a dead end to all growth, where only retardation awaits. A retarded world which is defined by natures resources, which we about to ultimately destroy. We are on a course to a world where is no more place for humans.

    If you want to plot this with the bible theme, the evil forces are who want to keep ahead the titanic on course with an ice berg, without any kind of navigation in total pitch darkness of the night.

  102. Marc A says:

    Barry (#84), I’ll add Hansen’s book to my Kindle queue, thanks.

    I’ve worked out my own answers through blog interactions with the anti-science crowd. It’s a good exercise. In my experience, the limits of models is the peg upon which many hang their skeptical hats, so I like to grant them the point and build the case from there. If I can start off by agreeing with them on that, I can
    reframe the issue.

    Discussing how we talk to people who think differently would make for some interesting and constructive topics. With the smart people commenting here, there are some great insights.

  103. William P says:


    Open thread question suggestion for 2011:

    What should the US be doing now to prepare for potential failure to curb CO2 emissions and run away global heating?

  104. paulm says:

    97 DrJeannette. 2nd that. Joe you should have a official FB site also.

    More threads the better.

  105. paulm says:

    100 Terry, ‘Avoiders’ I like that term. Good points also.

    We should also work on focus. There is a missing focus and coherence in …
    .the science presented to the public.
    .the action to educate the public.
    .the action to mitigate warming.

    How we get this accomplished is tough. Hansen for example has failed to pull his science colleagues along in to effective communication and action. And that is not for trying. Leaders in every area are side stepping their responsibility in addressing this issue. How do we get them to focus on this?

    This is one area that needs seriously addressing. With the rate of change now happening at this stage in the warming, it is essential that we have comprehensie planning on how we are going to cope with the effects of GW and how we are going to start reducing its impact ultimately.

    None of this seems to be happening and I guess it all boils down to leadership.

    It’s also a moral issue for each and everyone of us….!/pages/ClimateFlightAction/165484890164497

  106. Leland Palmer says:

    The climate commitment thing – post # 95- is why we have to go to BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage) and put massive amounts of carbon back underground:


    The amount of CO2 that has been released to date is believed to be too much to be able to be absorbed by conventional sinks such as trees and soil in order to reach low emission targets.[11] In addition to the presently accumulated emissions, there will be significant additional emissions during this century, even in the most ambitious low-emission scenarios. BECCS has therefore been suggested as a technology to reverse the emission trend and create a global system of net negative emissions.[1][2][11][12][13] This implies that the emissions would not only be zero, but negative, so that not only the emissions, but the absolute amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced.

    With BECCS, the cost of getting back to 350 ppm CO2 by 2100 is manageable- around 6 trillion 2006 U.S. dollars, unless we continue to activate positive feedbacks.

    Without BECCS, costs are much, much greater, according to this paper:

    Carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels and biomass – Costs and potential role in stabilising the atmosphere

    Without BECCS, costs to get back to 350 ppm peak in 2030 at about 5% of world GDP. With BECCS, costs to get back to 350 ppm peak at about 3% of GDP in 2065, according to this paper.

    All of this is without destabilization of methane hydrates, which the paper does not consider, and I also think likely that the paper underestimates the costs, both of doing something and of doing nothing.

    But one message that does get through the noise, reading the paper, is that getting back to 350 ppm is cheaper and easier with BECCS, according to the authors.

  107. pete best says:

    I know of no one that even cares about AGW except me really. They get all of their information from the media (if they have any information) and even then it can go both ways or not bothered with at all. I mean lets get a perspective here – ordinary people in sufficient enough numbers to warrant change to ppls lifestypes (which it presently does not as everyone knows that you have to change the technology)as well as the energy infrastructure is a long way off. So the solution presently is in machines that useless energy and wholesale energy source change.

    The energy source change argument is even by itself difficult to implement and even then get the adequate carbon cuts in time for anything meaningful to be averted. Most people have amazing lives with a job, money to spend on stuff and indeed they do and vacations by aircraft as goods and services shipped in from around the world.

    How do you convince people in sufficient enough numbers that this lifestyle is not sustainable and energy change itself is most likely going to be enough even if everyone goes and buys a car that can do 60 MPG in the USA right now!

    This is a thread idea.

  108. Some European says:

    There’s only one question that really matters at this point: is our approach delivering results? The answer is no (or none of significance to a system with tipping points: if you reach the cliff at 50 mph or at 5 mph you’ll end up just as dead). In this and only this specific case where failure means mass extinction and the collapse of civilization an approach that doesn’t deliver results is a bad approach.
    Maybe my approach will deliver even worse results but we haven’t tried and since we have nothing to lose, ANY other option is per definition a better option than one that doesn’t work.
    Like I said: redefine ethics. Yes, it’s taboo. But the laws of nature don’t care about ethics and human taboos.
    Only an approach that prevents our extinction is a good approach. If it should occur that all options were ruled out and the only remaining option was censorship or torture or killing all the muslims in the world or any crazy, unethical thing you can think of, it should be done. I’m sorry. This is pure math…
    Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s plausible that we will ever find ourselves in a situation in which the choice is between Venus syndrome and genocide. It’s obviously absurd and hypothetic. All I want to say is that ANYTHING is better than the end of the world. And that definitely includes copying the denialists guerilla tactics.
    Anyone unable to understand my logical conclusion is mentally blocked by dogma. I know very well that if I signed this off with my name, I would lose every political opportunity for the rest of my life. But it’s not because people are unable to follow logic all the way to its unpleasant conclusions that the truth becomes less true.
    The only escape from this reasoning is if you would accept and maybe prefer the possibility of a Venus syndrome (or anything similar). In that case, you’re completely right. But that’s a value judgement. One which I don’t share.

  109. dorveK says:

    The “Climate Commitment” article is behind a paywall, but you can download the early draft here:

  110. tst says:

    davidgswanger @ 89 – When you have a second, took a look at this clip. I flew to West Virginia for a story on MTR mining a while back and I was amazed at how deeply the evangelical movement is involved in the fight.

  111. Leland Palmer says:

    From the “Climate Commitment” article:

    Under zero emissions, CO2 would fall o to about 40% of
    its peak enhancement above pre-industrial levels within a
    few centuries [Solomon et al., 2009; Archer , 2005], while
    further recovery would occur over many thousands of years
    [Archer et al., 2009].

    We can’t wait a few centuries for CO2 to fall to about 40% of peak levels.

    Waiting for CO2 levels to fall is just not practical, IMO, unless we want to endure centuries of Hell and high water, risk destabilizing the methane hydrates, and risk true runaway AGW leading to a mass extinction event.

    Considering the number of human activities that add to AGW, we need to aim for negative emissions just to get back to zero.

    BECCS plus renewable energy sources would also allow us to keep aerosols high, continuing global dimming, while we ramp down greenhouse gas levels. Once it’s safe to do so, we could then ramp down aerosols.

    What we want for a final state for all the fossil fuel carbon, though, is calcium and magnesium carbonate, not supercritical CO2 stored underground. This is how nature sequesters carbon, in the rock weathering cycle. So, we need to develop practical and economical mineral carbonation for final disposal of the fossil fuel carbon, IMO.

  112. tst says:

    Richard Pauli @ 79

    I’m not saying that folks here are free market fundamentalists. I am saying, however, that many of the commenters at Climate Progress seem to share that same unfounded faith in our ability to make informed, rational decisions.

    My point is simply that most people, given the facts but no real guidance, make less-than-intelligent choices. We see this pattern over and over and over in our everyday lives, and very few people are immune. For example, I’m well aware that fast food hamburgers aren’t healthy, but I still stop at Wendy’s once every couple weeks for a burger and fries. My logical mind tells me that I’m better off saving my money and eating something healthier at home, but I still walk in the door and order whatever I’m in the mood for. It’s human nature.

    So given the fact that we don’t always make rational decisions – and especially rational decisions that require us to sacrifice and change our ways – it seems both silly and unscientific to put all our time and energy into disseminating climate facts and figures. Not that they aren’t important, and not that they aren’t necessary as we try to change hearts & minds, but I’d rather concentrate on a technique that’s been shown to be far more effective. If we can target very specific segments of our population with effective, fact-based, well-researched marketing, then we have a chance to be successful. If we don’t, it’s really hard to see us changing from the status quo in time.

  113. Colorado Bob says:

    Following Artful’s suggestion –
    Open Thread
    Open Question

  114. Colorado Bob says:

    Barry –
    Thanks, being “Debbie Downer” ain’t much fun. But some years ago I realized that discussing the future is like nailing Jell-O to the wall, in most peoples minds.
    Hence my following observed events.

    As for the model question here. There are three examples that come to mind where models have taken over almost completely. Testing nuclear weapons, designing aircraft, and auto safety.
    Granted these are not as complex as the climate system, but never the less they are very reliable at predicting just how these things work.

  115. anders says:


    -1 thread per week, some weeks with topi, some without

    -sea water incursion, read that miami cannot withstand much sea level rise as sea water will turn the ground water salty, how true is this and is it a problem for other areas or only those surrounded by the sea

    -triage, do we need to concentrate resources in areas that can be saved and leave others to their fate, sometimes cutting your losses is the correct action

    -fresh water, aquifers, rivers that are drying up, decrease in precipitation, water use and water sharing, potential conflicts, “whiskey is for sipping, water for fighting”

    -coral reefs, sea eco systems generally, can we follow the trend sufficiently,

    -food, every aspect of the problem of food production and what to do, protein from the sea will certainly decrease per capita and may decrease in total amount

    keep it up!

  116. Colorado Bob says:

    Tropical cyclone Wilma caused two months of rain to fall in 12 hours in Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Waikato causing widespread flooding, slips and power outages.
    In the past we all focused on wind speeds with these things, but as Rockhampton clearly showed, even the cyclones that are weakening now bring great misery packed in a short time frame.

  117. Raul M. says:

    OT quote of Thomas Kempis,
    “But because many endeavor
    to get knowledge rather than
    to live well, they are often
    and reap little or no
    benefit from their labor.”
    Of course it could be a
    Long study to see what
    his path would mean.

  118. Colorado Bob says:

    From the “They still don’t get it file ” …..

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard has brushed aside calls from independent MPs for her to set up a permanent natural disaster fund.

  119. Colorado Bob says:

    From the “They finally get file ” …

    Climate Change – Is it already happening?

    It is time to realize that climate change is a reality, and, more importantly, that you, whoever you are, whatever you do, however rich you are, however powerful you think you are, could very well be the next “unit” to be “added” to “victim statistics” that will be “discussed” at next year’s round of “conferences” so, get on with it and try to do something less contributory and more mitigatory, right now.

  120. Colorado Bob says:

    The Tropical Cyclone Warning Center told the ABC some areas of Australia could get 11 inches of rain. Anthony was expected to swing southward and weaken over the course of the week.

    Read more:

  121. Colorado Bob says:

    Many in Galveston giving up on rebuilding after Ike

    GALVESTON — Jeff Collins and his wife might leave Galveston Island if things don’t change. Frustrated with a federal housing program and living in a battered home, they might shutter their local linen business, cross the causeway and move away.

    The Collinses are among 2,000 applicants for a multimillion-dollar disaster assistance program meant to repair or rebuild island homes damaged during Hurricane Ike.

    They also are among an uncounted, but clearly large number, of islanders who’ve grown exasperated with a program that, 24 months after the storm, has begun repair work on fewer than a dozen houses.

  122. Colorado Bob says:

    It looks like Yasi will cross the coast exactly where Anthony came ashore, the JTWC has high confidence on their storm track forecast –

  123. Colorado Bob says:

    This exactly where the rains in Philippines have been falling :

    Expect heavy rains starting tomorrow, Monday, as a low pressure area is expected to reach the Philippine’s tonight and develop into a storm.

    Dubbed as the first typhoon of the year 2011, “Amang” will bring heavy rains, and if its path continues, will reach Cebu by Wednesday, said Mactan chief Oscar Tabada of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).–reach-Cebu-by-Wednesday–Pagasa

  124. David B. Benson says:

    Two threads, please.

    One completely open; the other when there is a question posed, which need not be every weekend. Call the latter something like Weekend Question Thread.

  125. From Peru says:

    See this story from Astrobiology Magazine:

    The Smoking Gun for Earth’s Biggest Extinction

    “About 250 million years ago, about 95 per cent of life was wiped out in the sea and 70 per cent on land. Researchers at the University of Calgary believe they have discovered evidence to support massive volcanic eruptions burnt significant volumes of coal, producing ash clouds that had broad impact on global oceans.


    Unlike end of dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, where there is widespread belief that the impact of a meteorite was at least the partial cause, it is unclear what caused the late Permian extinction. Previous researchers have suggested massive volcanic eruptions through coal beds in Siberia would generate significant greenhouse gases causing run away global warming.

    “Our research is the first to show direct evidence that massive volcanic eruptions – the largest the world has ever witnessed –caused massive coal combustion thus supporting models for significant generation of greenhouse gases at this time,” says Grasby.

    Sanei adds: “Our discovery provides the first direct confirmation for coal ash during this extinction as it may not have been recognized before.”

    The location of volcanoes, known as the Siberian Traps, are now found in northern Russia, centred around the Siberian city Tura and also encompass Yakutsk, Noril’sk and Irkutsk. They cover an area just under two-million-square kilometers, a size greater than that of Europe. The ash plumes from the volcanoes traveled to regions now in Canada’s arctic where coal-ash layers where found.”

    In short, the monstruous Siberian flood basalt eruptions 250 million year ago burned the coal in Siberia, releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon to the atmosphere, triggering climate change that led to THE WORST MASS EXTINCTION ON EARTH HISTORY (that’s a very significant fact: the worst in 4 500 million years of Earth history!).

    This is the strongest evudence to date that COAL BURNING was the main cause of the Permian Holocaust. See the comparison of Permian ash with modern coal ash:

    Shouldn’t we send the deniers to a trip to the SIBERIAN TRAPS, perhaps followed by a trip to the THAWING PERMAFROST?

  126. From Peru says:

    Link to the Nature study:

    Catastrophic dispersion of coal fly ash into oceans during the latest Permian extinction


    Location of the “Ground Zero” of Permian Global Warming:

    Figure 2: Photomicrographs of combustion-derived isotropic chars

    Figure 4: Plot of vertical trends in key geochemical parameters across the LPE event at Buchanan Lake along with a lithostratigraphic column

    To JR: this seems really a story to make a great CP post!

  127. Colorado Bob says:

    6am: HEAVY rain of up to 361mm has occurred over the Central Coast and northern Central Highlands and Coalfields districts after Cyclone Anthony crossed the Queensland coast near Bowen overnight.

  128. Preston says:

    Two threads please.

    Topic suggestion

    The Clayton i-house. Is it easy, economical, green housing for the masses? What are the followers of this blog doing in their own home upgrades/purchasing to help mitigate and prepare for climate change?

  129. Colorado Bob says:

    Climate change having impact on transportation

    The freeze-thaw cycle is another enemy.

    “We’re expecting those to get worse and expand farther across the state,” he said.

    In Fairbanks, fall traditionally turns to winter quickly and temperatures typically remain below the freezing mark until April. But lately, the transition has lasted longer.

    “We get snow, and it warms up,” Coffey said.

    Irregular warm spells during early winter cause events like the freezing rain storm in November that blanketed Fairbanks in ice.

    These events force planners to manage roads differently.

    “One thing we’re implementing next winter in Fairbanks is an anti-icing program,” Coffey said. “That’s something that has never had to happen in the Interior before.”

    Read more:

  130. Mossy says:

    The most important question needs to be repeated often: How do we move this movement forward and into the general public’s awareness?

    New idea: Why don’t we all dye our hair green? (Oh, yeah, I suppose the dyes aren’t environmentally acceptable!)

  131. Paulm says:

    As a revealing snapshot, 5,000 journalists attended the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, whereas only 2,000 accredited journalists attended last month’s COP 16 climate-change summit in Cancún

  132. Colorado Bob says:

    Flooding across Queensland in January, described by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as the worst natural disaster in Australian history, pushed fruit and vegetable prices higher by 12.1% in January, building on a 2.0% rise in December and a 12.5% increase in November, TD said in a statement Monday.

  133. Colorado Bob says:

    Reheating the climate change story

    The media have dropped climate change, with its tricky science. But cast in economic terms, it could recapture public interest

  134. Colorado Bob says:

    JohnV –
    Anthony’s remains seem to be hanging on as well , here’s a 7 min clip of just one of those mines in Queensland –

    Baralaba Mine , Australia
    Jan 7 , 2011

  135. Colorado Bob says:

    “Nothing happens unexpectedly, everything has an indication,
    we just have to observe the connections.”

    Zsolt Boszormenyi
    Head of RSOE EDIS

  136. davidgswanger says:

    tst@112: I did indeed watch the Bill Moyers piece you linked to and concede you have a point (and see why you emphasized that particular text from Revelation). It might be that living amidst mountaintop removal makes environmental issues real and urgent to you in a way that abstract debate in my region doesn’t. Still, I was on the front line for the BP spill and saw a lot of support among my Baptist friends for getting back to drilling as soon as possible (though there were some, especially at the start, of the opposite opinion). I have to wonder, though, if local opposition to a highly visible and current problem like mountaintop removal translates into concern over a broader and apparently unimmediate problem like climate change. You’ve been there; do you have a sense of their attitudes about climate change? I’d be curious to know.

    Perhaps my personal experiences here in Alabama have made me too pessimistic; I’d love to be proven wrong. I’ve read Rick Warren has indicated some concern about global warming (and also received some flack for it), so maybe there is some good news there. As I said, Jimmy Carter is an evangelical and cares about this issue. On the other hand, I’ve heard others who voted for him say they were betrayed; i.e., he was a liberal evangelical. It may be the political aspect rather than the religious which is decisive here; do you have any thoughts on this? It’s a pretty conservative, Palin-loving crowd down here.

    Looks like I need to do more research and more thinking on this issue. Thanks for making me take a second look and be just the tiniest bit more hopeful; I can always use that.

  137. davidgswanger says:

    tst@52 & 114: Another post to you on another topic, and I’m afraid we might disagree here, but it’s probably more a matter of emphasis.

    You seem to be drawing on the results of behavioral economics here, and I agree that the cognitive biases so far uncovered by its practitioners severely undermine neoclassical economics’s “rational actor” assumptions.

    But at 52 you say: “If people like Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz are correct and individual human beings don’t typically base their decisions on facts and information, then why are we spending so much time focusing on facts and information? Shouldn’t we be putting our emphasis on persuasion, framing and messaging instead?”

    But surely this conclusion was not arrived at purely because you were swayed by the prestige Stiglitz’s Nobel Prize gave him? Surely, at least in part, you were convinced by the facts and information he and others cite that were unearthed by replicable, peer-reviewed studies. Surely we’re not here simply because Joe is a smooth-talking master of rhetoric (though he’s clearly studied it), but, at least in part, because of the charts, graphs and studies he cites and gives links to. If I’m open to changing my mind about evangelicals and climate change, as I said in my previous post, surely it’s in part because of the new facts and information you gave me.

    Now, on the other hand, at 114, you speak of “disseminating climate facts and figures. Not that they aren’t important, and not that they aren’t necessary as we try to change hearts & minds”, which seems a more balanced and nuanced view than your first pass at the subject, and one that I can agree with. As Joe says, messaging is important, rhetoric is important. When we try to convey the facts, we need to convey them as clearly, as strikingly, as movingly, and as memorably as we can. But rhetoric has to serve the facts, not replace them, or it becomes mere rhetoric, empty rhetoric. For like a skyscraper, however high our rhetoric may soar, it will always eventually fall and crash if unsupported by a firm foundation of fact.

  138. davidgswanger says:

    Some European @110; I agree in part; anything is better than the end of the world. Anything that _works_. If we are discovered manipulating, lying, and cheating, that will be taken as evidence that we have no substantial case, and the people we need to convince will ignore us, or worse, despise us, as we despise those on the other side who do the same. I wasn’t making an ethical case, but a prudential one. Monkeywrenching didn’t work; why should this? But go ahead, be Ozymandias in Watchmen; just watch out for Rorschach’s diary.

  139. davidgswanger says:

    CW @31: Sorry to be so late with this, but I did want to briefly respond to your question about what we can learn from George Lakoff’s “linguistic theories of politics and communication.”

    Not much, I’m tend to think. The psychologist Stephen Pinker argues this better than I could in a piece you can access at his website. Go down his articles page to the ones for articles for the general public and click on his link for his review of Lakoff’s book “Whose Freedom?”, which appeared in The New Republic for September 30, 2006.

  140. Roger says:

    For those of us who’d like to see family, friends and others AVOID, not just survive, the hell and high water we’re now headed towards, the number one QUESTION has got to be:

    What are the most practical and effective things that CP readers can do, most likely in a large-scale, organized way, to solve this dilemma?

    Readers should be encouraged to come up with suggestions that go beyond what I’ll call “magic wand” suggestions, such as “Stop burning coal” or “Get everyone you know to switch to clean, renewable energy.”

    Remember, if my math is right, CP readers represent only about 0.0006% of the world’s population. So, we are akin to the nerves at the tip of one’s little finger. Meaning that we’re essentially going wherever the rest of the body is going…UNLESS we all send a BIG pain signal “upstairs.” (Perhaps there are better analogies, but you get the idea.)

    Hence, I would challenge readers to think of some approaches to get us out of this mess, even if we need to get up from our computers and hit the streets in some intelligent fashion. For, as others have said, we’re dealing with the largest stakes ever faced by humanity.

    Finally, as for doing a focused thread, or adding another general thread, I’d go for doing ONE: There is already too much reading and writing, and not enough ACTION. Folks can still add an OT comment, but things will be a bit more organized, as is needed.

    Oh, and kudos to CP readers, such as Gail of Witsend,, who bravely exercised her First Amendment rights against the evil, progress-blocking Koch’s, meeting in California this weekend.

    Warm regards,


  141. Prokaryotes says:

    Roger you need to prepare like the folks over at

    You need to prepare to leave civilization, because it will collapse eventually. So all the comfort, granted things which makes our life so great, needs to be replaced with stuff, which you can get from what is left of nature.

    Ofc you will have to face climate disruption, chaos, anarchy, contamination etc etc.

    Download the wikipedia
    get a Chemical Sensor Device (recently invented)
    Learn how to cook roots, grass any kind of plants and insects
    Learn to camp in the wild and always be prepared for disaster like floods
    Eventually we will have nuclear fallout too, so you might need a save place like somewhere deep underground. A place stuffed with food and clean drinking water.

    In case someone wants to hire me to setup an ark, email prokaryotes hotmail co uk

  142. Jeandetaca says:

    I will take some time to read all these comments in search of gold gems of ideasz to communicate towards our fellow citizen.
    For me the no1 question is how to wake up our fellow citizen to effectively cut our CO2 emissions (individually by personal commitment, and globally by pushing a political agenda including a strong carbon price).

  143. quokka says:

    A significant development in low carbon electricity generation – China initiates R&D program for molten salt thorium reactors:

  144. Colorado Bob says:

    Ocean’s sudden cooling linked to mass extinction

    Scientists find evidence on Quebec island that 5-degree drop killed 75% of marine species 450 million years ago

    Read more:

  145. Colorado Bob says:

    The first report I’ve seen from Australia this season on bleaching, from Perth.

    ABNORMALLY hot sea temperatures at Ningaloo Reef are bleaching the area’s coral, environmental officers say.

    Ocean surface temperatures at the reef have been 3C higher than average since October and peaked at 29C in the past two weeks – the ‘trigger level’ for bleaching.

  146. Colorado Bob says:

    Still reeling from flooding, Queensland braces for worst ever storm
    The state of Queensland, still reeling from the effects of weeks of widespread flooding, is bracing for the arrival of what could be the state’s worst cyclone in history.

    Forecasters have predicted that the storm could bring winds of 160mph – putting it on a par with Hurricane Katrina – and up to four feet of rain in a matter of hours

  147. Raul M. says:

    Science gives new knowledge to
    The practice of living well.
    Read climate progress and listen
    to the latest release of climate
    files radio.

  148. Colorado Bob says:

    Flood water kills 34 people in Bolivia

    Heavy rains have flooded several areas Bolivia, including Chuquisaca and the outskirts of La Paz, where mud slides washed away dozens of houses last week. More flooding is expected as forecasters predict more rain.

  149. Colorado Bob says:

    Kuala Lumpur – Two people died and nearly 30,000 were forced to evacuate their homes Monday after heavy rains closed major roads and caused rivers to overflow in Malaysia’s southernmost state of Johor.

  150. Colorado Bob says:


    The isolated outpost of Kuri Bay, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, has recorded its wettest month on record.

    The pearling community has had more than 1,240 millimetres of rain so far this month.

    That tops the 1974 record.

    The Bureau of Meteorology predicts Kuri Bay is now on track to beat the state record for the wettest January, recorded in 1917, near Broome.

  151. Colorado Bob says:

    The JTWC has just up graded Yasi to reach 145 mph / gusts 170 mph in 36 hrs. it’s going to hit just south of Cairns , Australia with a population of 122,731 at the 2006 census. It is surrounded by mountains .

    This will be ugly.

  152. Colorado Bob says:

    Central Cairns from Mt Whitfield looking east. Sheridan Street, the main street running east-west becomes the Captain Cook Highway leading to Port Douglas. The chemical storage tanks seen in the top right are in the suburb of Portsmith. The tall buildings to the left are mainly hotels, located in the central business district. The building with the curved roof roughly in the centre of the picture is the Cairns Convention Centre.

  153. davidgswanger says:

    I never got around to voting on the threads question, so I’ll do it now: two threads, one focused on a single question, one not. Climate Progress itself covers science, politics, rhetoric, and even a little climate humor, among other topics; so two threads would reflect the nature of the site as I see it: focused on climate, but open to anything that’s relevant.

  154. Edward says:

    110 Some European should be read.

    117 Anders: Triage will happen.

  155. Raul M. says:

    Tha Rhoades Car is a 4 wheeled
    cycle but with a diy retrofit it could
    be fun car with electric power enough
    To keep up with traffic.

  156. davidgswanger says:

    Edward @159: By Some European’s logic, instead of protesting the Koch conference this weekend, someone should have planted a bomb. Because there’s absolutely no way that could have caused a backlash to the whole movement. Tell that to anyone who remembers the New Left and the Weather Underground and the SLA.

    And ask yourself who accomplished more: Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X.

  157. tst says:

    davidgswanger @ 139 & 140

    My guess is that the West Virginia evangelical response is a specific reaction to a specific situation, and that it won’t be easy to replicate the W.V. movement in areas like Alabama that don’t have obvious environmental damage. Our best hope is for a charismatic minister to arise in the South and, through conviction and force of personality and rhetorical eloquence, have him sway more and more people. Of course, that becomes far more likely if we set the stage with the right kind of media campaign.

    By the way, I think it’s going to be far easier to move the Republican base in places like Montana, Kansas, New Mexico, Indiana and Ohio. I’m not an expert on the deep South, but I suspect a fair number of folks down in your area are simply not reachable.

    As for Stiglitz – he was just an example. If you’re going to site an expert, it makes sense to pick one who’s relatively well known and who’s been honored for his or her expertise. I could have named any number of behavioral or cognitive scientists, but why choose someone that no one has ever heard of?

  158. Prokaryotes says:

    Re Colorado Bob 155 & 156, and ty for keeping us updated on the weather front

    Another unprecedented event about to strike!

    Queensland braces for Cyclone Yasi and further flooding

    AUSTRALIA’S FLOOD-RAVAGED Queensland region is bracing itself for the cyclone which is expected to strike shore on Wednesday.
    The region suffered a smaller storm on Sunday, but this week’s storm could be the worst to ever hit the coast.
    Queensland state premier Anna Bligh said in a press conference today that the storm had entered Australia’s cyclone watch area, and full cyclone warnings are expected to begin at lunchtime tomorrow.
    A cyclone warning has been issued for the area between Cairns to Yeppoon, but disaster management groups will be prepared in areas further north and south of that stretch.
    Bligh said the storm is not expected to dissipate quickly and significant rainfall is expected to strike those areas which have already been seriously affected by flooding.
    The storm is expected to have reached a category 4 cyclone off the coast by Wednesday morning, and should strike land overnight.
    People living in low-lying areas which are in danger of falling into the cyclone’s path should consider relocating, according to Bligh. The Whitsunday islands have begun evacuating visitors, and all ports from Cairns to Mackay will be closed by tomorrow afternoon.
    “This is a very serious threat,” Bligh said.

  159. davidgswanger says:

    Re my previous email: I probably need to walk this back some. I appreciate Some European’s desperation; I feel that way myself sometimes. And he appreciates that we are not at the point where it’s Venus or genocide, to use his phrase. And I apologize for my own overeaction. But I still think that an abandonment of ethics and resorting to our opposition (or to be precise, some of our opposition’s) sleazy tactics is a bad idea tactically, not just ethically, even if it’s just manipulating online polls. If it’s discovered (and it will be), it will be used against us, and our path is uphill enough already. Deceit only steepens the path.

    Apologies again, Some European. In the words of Isaiah, “Come…let us reason together.”

  160. dp says:

    davidgswanger: “ask yourself who accomplished more: Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X.”

    this sounds like it’s based on a caricature of black nationalism.

  161. Robert In New Orleans says:

    I would like to see a thread on expected sea level rise in the next 10 to 20 years.

  162. davidgswanger says:

    dp @167: I was thinking of Malcolm X’s “By any means necessary” line when I wrote the post. But you’re right, there was more to him than that, it was a more complex situation than my comment suggests, and it was a quick, ill-considered post, which is why I apologized for it in my next one.

  163. CW says:

    Thanks for that davidgswanger (144). I’ll look into his critique of Lakoff’s ideas.

  164. Some European says:

    @ davidgswanger and others
    Thanks for your comments, indulgence and nuance. I think it’s refreshing to read comments that don’t fall into the black and white strawman attacks so typical of impersonal online discussions.

    To be clear: we couldn’t agree more.
    I think it’s extremely likely that violence or other unethical actions might turn out to be very counterproductive.
    It’s just that, in the case it might be mathematically demonstrable that an action will deliver results, being the only option, it should be done regardless of ‘ethical’ considerations. In this case. The end justifies the means.
    But of course _the world_ doesn’t fit in any computer model.

    What we know for sure is that the current solutions are not working fast enough to prevent us from crossing important tipping points and should therefore be considered ‘not working’.
    So there’s no point in staying on this path (remember Einstein’s quote about stupidity). We might as well try other things (redoubling efforts included as a different option). Maybe they won’t work. Maybe, but we have (almost) nothing to lose.

    One of the options I would defend because it’s been proven to work so brilliantly by the denial strategists is “the best defense is a good offense”. This means that on comment pages it’s better to debate with accusations of fraud than by defending the science because it will sound like an endless rant of excuses.
    Skeptical Science is a wonderful resource for one on one debates but not so much for debates with an audience. Being right doesn’t make people believe you. Just say your opponent is a liar a thousand times and it will stick in people’s ears.

    The reason I became a climate hawk is because I was ANGRY at the lies of the deniers, not because I learned about the science. Many thanks to Peter Sinclair for that.

    davidgswanger, I think you nailed it when you said “I wasn’t making an ethical case, but a prudential one.”

  165. davidgswanger says:

    Some European @171: And thank you for this temperate response to my occasionally intemperate ones.

    I’ve no problem with anger (controlled, focused anger, anyway) as a motive, and properly harnessed and targeted, the energy of rage can work wonders. Voltaire leaps to mind as an example; a man who signed his letters with the phrase, “Crush the infamy,” was not a man without wrath, but that wrath was in tireless defense of the victims of intolerance and injustice, and he was the hero of the Enlightenment.

    And as for targets, the deniers offer a target-rich environment. Their attacks are laden with lies, falsehoods and slanders of every sort, from distortions of the science to misrepresentation of our motives. The times require a Voltaire (or several) to cleanse such Augean stables (one of the labors of Hercules), and if you can be such a figure, exposing their endless frauds and deceits, you have my fervent blessing.

    My only caveat (ah, you knew it was coming) remains tactical. In the past, deniers have taken statements by Stephen Schneider and Phil Jones
    (I’m sure you know the ones) out of context and held them up as proof that scientists are knowingly twisting the truth to promote their evil designs. This is why I keep stressing our responsibility to do nothing to give them any ammunition whatsoever. As long as the truth is our weapon, we can fire at will.

    By now, you must know my position, so I won’t keep reiterating it. To move the conversation to fresher ground, I too fear that we are too close to (or past) the tipping points, and need to explore other options besides the ones we’ve already tried. My discussions with tst in this thread should give you some idea of the lines I’m thinking along: finding new constituencies and sectors and centers of power that will be threatened by warming, and that perhaps can be mobilized to fight it. These ideas may be inadequate, but at least I’m trying to, as they say, think outside the box. We seem to be in agreement on our need for new approaches, and I’d welcome any thoughts you might have on the subject.

  166. Bruce says:

    I vote for 2 threads.

    Unfocused and unelucidated comment:
    I’m thinking about how all this winter’s record-breaking snowfalls plays out in the “global warming debate”, and how we get across to the mass media the point that warmer winters can drop more snow. I came across the factoid that the US/world(?) record for most snowfall in a season, at Mt. Baker, WA, was in 1998-1999 season, the year since which some deniers claim that the world is cooling. A useful counterpoint to the claim that global warming contraindicates more snow.