Weekend Open Thread

I know you have some things that you want to get off your chest….

102 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. jyyh says:

    Do you think you can negotiate with an immobile object?

  2. Raul M. says:

    What could cause revelations of biblical
    proportions? At about 8 years old it was
    a bible study question. Of course, not with
    parents etc…
    Wasn’t warfare, people had been doing that
    for a long time and it hadn’t caused such.
    But what could turn all the world apart?
    It is a question of bible study, probably
    for a long time.
    Oh, disrespecting the whole planet to the
    n’th degree.

  3. Wyoming says:

    Barry Ritholtz has stated: “Humans have something “akin to brain damage,” says Ritholtz. “To neurophysiologists, who research cognitive functions, the emotionally driven appear to suffer from cognitive deficits that mimic certain types of brain injuries. … Anyone with an intense emotional interest in a subject loses the ability to observe it objectively: You selectively perceive events. You ignore data and facts that disagree with your main philosophy. Even your memory works to fool you, as you selectively retain what you believe in, and subtly mask any memories that might conflict.”

    Now if that is not an accurate description of the Denier world I have never heard one. Ritholtz is talking about the psychology of investors but I think his description has a more universal application.

  4. Michael T. says:

    NOAA: Another Spring of Major Flooding Likely in North Central U.S.

    A large swath of the country is at risk of moderate to major flooding this spring, from northeastern Montana through western Wisconsin following the Mississippi River south to St. Louis, National Weather Service flood experts are forecasting. Today the agency released an initial spring flood outlook for this high risk region and will release a national spring flood outlook on March 17.

    For the third consecutive year, forecasters predict moderate to major flooding along the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota and includes the Souris River Basin and the Devils Lake and Stump Lake drainages in North Dakota.

    If the current forecast holds, the main stem Mississippi River is at risk for moderate to major flooding from its headwaters in St. Paul, Minn., all the way to St. Louis.

  5. Christopher Yaun says:

    Burning Down the House

    “Nature is relentless and unchangeable, and it is indifferent as to whether its hidden reasons and actions are understandable to man or not.”

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    So i thought it would be nice to have a campaign, showing prominent people with climate solutions. For example Joe driving a hybrid, Clinton with Biochar, Salazar infront of a solar farm …

    When i imagine the images i saw from clean tech, they are almost ever presented just as an abstract architecture, without people.

  7. Leif says:

    What a can of worms! Tea Baggers in action!

    Nebraska bill to make killing an abortion provider “justifiable homicide.”

    Why stop there? Lets throw in Climate Scientists, G & L, Athiests, hell, we progressives could get on the band wagon and justifiably add fossil fuel executives, Dictators…

    This is all getting very strange.

  8. Paulm says:

    Hasten deserve a Nobel not only for his science and peace, but also for economics.

    Keneally, O’Farrell trade blows over carbon

    [still is a messaging problem here. People have to realize there is no easy way, it’s going to be painful, but there is no alliterative]

  9. Wes Rolley says:

    I am waiting for Michael Moore to take his video crew and execute a citizen’s arrest of Sen. James Inhofe for attempted genocide.

    Making it an episode on NOVA and getting David Koch to pay for it would be the best irony.

  10. Rebecca says:

    The emotional toil of caring about climate change is eating a big part of my energy. How can a person relax and believe that the Universe will take care of him/her when there are 9 billion of us? My pastor says to read Matthew 6:26, about how God takes care of the birds and the lillies, and that we should not worry… but God ISN’T taking care of the birds. I am having kind of a crisis of faith and environmental degradation plays a big part in that crisis. So that’s what I have to get off my chest!

  11. drewmac455 says:

    This is something that has bothered me for the last several years, and I bring it up, not to be merely critical, but hopefully constructive.

    I want to study, learn and understand the various ways humans are impacting the planet, a pretty significant body of knowledge, to be sure. I realize that, to fully grasp certain areas, specializing is a good idea. Websites, such as CP and Skeptical Science, do a wonderful job of providing top level instruction with links sources for those who wish to dig further, and I am grateful for this.

    My issue, though, relates to individually approaching a subject area I have interest in and wish to learn more about. A few months ago, I began to investigate the top level logistics of what it would take to create a large-scale, sustainable, electronic recycling non-profit within the US. I feel this is a huge problem, and shows no signs of getting worse (iPad2, iPhone5, Windows Phone7, that new laptop with twice the processing power).

    So I set off to see what I could learn. And immediately hit a brick wall. Google is next to useless when searching for this type of information, as many websites have parked on what should be the obvious destination and filled it nothing substantial. The next best choice is to look through academic sources. And here is my problem.

    Almost every major, useful, current source of scientific research is behind a high-cost pay wall. I simply cannot afford to pay 25 dollars to access one article, or several hundred for a years access. True, some journals offer free access for a limited time, but this is not useful for someone who is willing to spend several years independently researching this.

    So, where does the constructive element come in? It has been my experience that most professors and scientists are willing to respond to short inquiries about a particular topic. However, ongoing dialogues are reserved for students (I am still paying off loans from my first degree, and am unconvinced I need to spend another 50k+ to study), other researchers, etc.

    I truly believe we need a system that delivers current and in-depth scientific literature to people for free. We need a system of training in science that occurs outside of the traditional university/college structure. We need a way for people who do not have a MS or PHd next to their name to be met on the same ground as those that do, provided they can show evidence they in fact understand enough of the relevant topic and are not a burden on discussion.

    I apologize for going long on this. I want to help our planet and its species’, and have been finding more evidence that without going to grad school, the best I can do is to change my life, withdraw from consumer society, and pray that others do the same. Thank you.

  12. John says:

    Are there any updates about the Wegman plagiarism investigation by George Mason University? I thought the University completed the review at the end on October 2010 and gave Wegman a 6 weeks to respond. When will the investigation results be made public?

  13. Lewis C says:

    Rebecca – I’m afraid your pastor is dead wrong. God has not saved the many species we’ve already driven to extinction – and it is our choice whether to change our ways.

    As is stated very plainly in the bible, God gave us dominion over Creation and we bear all of the responsibility of stewards for its wellbeing. Older Christian faiths still recognize that harming Creation is a sin against the holy spirit – that is, an exceptionally grave offence.

    So is your pastor able to learn new perspectives ? Or is it time to find one who’s studied the bible more carefully and is willing to speak out against the terrible damage now under way ?



  14. ryan says:

    10 Ways YOU Can Fight Fascism Around the World

    “The stakes are beautifully high, the enemy is unbelievably strong, the fight looks completely hopeless. It’s too perfect, it’s ridiculous. How can we be bored on a planet as deliciously dangerous and insane as Earth? I can only conclude that my entire generation is living inside an open-ended video game that we’ve been training for since birth without even realizing it.

    So keep pushing, stay calm, eat healthy, seek novelty, breathe deeply, take risks, think slowly, move quickly, speak clearly, fight dirty, dream crazy and please, be fearless.”

    Iraq’s biggest oil refinery shut by gun and bomb attack

    Geopolitical Disruptions: Building a Theory of Disruptions to Oil & Resource Supply

  15. Marie says:

    Hi Rebecca, Joe challenged us at the beginning of the year about what were we going to do? How are/were we going to take the word out to others?

    Also for me there have been a couple other factors: first, the “can you believe this/everyone should hear about this!” factor when reading Joe’s posts. Consequently, the first few years of reading ClimateProgress I emailed some close friends and family about this. I think there are no deniers now in the set I was emailing.

    Then, there is Joe’s challenge and also, how can I make the most of all this time I’m spending reading this stuff and the additional links Joe and others supply (and then other things I find on those sites). Most of the time, I write research reports for a living. The main audience I know and professional network I have is at state transportation agencies, and then to a lesser extent at conservation organizations and state and federal resource agencies. I have begun to write on climate change for state DOTs and send it to Chief Engineers, Maintenance Directors, Planning Directors, whether they want it or not.

    Personally, I think I missing link in the public taking climate change seriously is having our government agencies take it seriously. We are expecting quite a lot, a major leap, for scientists to become the main, convincing communicators on this. I welcome as much of that as we can get; however, local and state government should be able to speak to implications closer to home and convey the enormity of the costs if we cointinue down the current path. For example, a couple DOTs are now beginning to speak about decommissioning roads. Things like this get folks attention: hey, your community may be inundated or flooded, and it’s not going to be viable to maintain the road. In fact, the anticipated costs from increased flooding is going to be X, from increased temperatures may be Y, and we don’t have any projected solutions over here… These costs or so astronomical, they are many times what is ever allocated on an annual basis. Our trusty apolitical engineers and planners have looked at this…Turning around emissions takes some investment now (this, that should be done…), but has these benefits…

    So, with whom do you live and spend time? Do they know about climate change? Are you/they using the information? Where can you contribute?

  16. Marie says:

    I am also getting the word out through a network affiliated with my religious tradition – started a blog there. Anyone else doing that?

  17. Jeff Huggins says:

    Misc. — and Question for Joe

    1. It snowed here last night! But many of the trees had already blossomed, in recent weeks, given the seemingly early start to “Spring”. I don’t have the expertise to know whether, and how, this year’s reshuffling of sequences will begin to subtly disrupt life-patterns, but changes seem to be in the making. Yet my sense is that many people, perhaps most, seem to take the day-by-day changes in stride, not caring too much about what climate changes will do to the patterns and qualities and sustainability of life? Not sure. Yikes.

    2. A super book — I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m only now reading it! — Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There”. What a great, great book! And I had no idea that he died just after writing it. To anyone who hasn’t read this book, it’s really wonderful.

    3. A great album: Joni Mitchell’s “Shine”.

    4. Joe, have you had a chance to take a look at my proposed guest post?

    5. Something tells me that we need more poets, musicians, sculptors, artists of all stripes, exhibitionists of (almost) all stripes, and etc., to help convey love for the Earth and its biotic community, concern about the climate, caring for future generations, and the healthy harmonies that can help create communities of action. We need to inspire each other. Imagination! Where are the artists?

    6. Has anyone thought of holding hands? Holding Hands for a Healthy Future. Perhaps groups of people could gather and hold hands surrounding things of concern and critique (gas stations, refineries, coal plants, etc.) and also things that need more nurturing (city parks, gardens, local farmers’ markets, etc.). Is anyone holding hands these days?! It’s a nice gesture, with meaning.

    Anyhow, that’s my misc. madness for today.

    Be Well,


  18. Marie says:

    Sorry folks! I see quite a number of typos in my post above. Joe, if there is a way I can edit it, I’d be glad to do so.

    By the way, I love your ideas, Jeff! Ways for all to be involved…

  19. Bruce says:

    One of the best and mature pieces I’ve seen yet of what some individuals are doing in the face of the “consequences” of climate change — in yesterday’s Washington Post — found here —

    Some strange, most interesting and terrifying times ahead.

  20. Tom Lewis says:

    Head-vice material: last week’s meeting at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue in DC of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science while at the other end the Congress of the United States set science back to about 1750.
    Detailed comparison on The Daily Impact.

  21. Heraclitus says:

    How much influence does the church have in understanding of climate change and our appropriate responses to it? On the whole my impression is their influence has been broadly positive, and religious leaders like Rowan Williams – the archbishop of Canterbury – are some of the only people with a mandate to explicate on the moral nature of the issue. But Rebecca’s story above (#8) is familiar and I’ve certainly seen the rainbow used on several occasions as a reason for inaction. Then there are the extremes like the Archbishop of Sydney

    I’ve seen our own vicar talking about the over-use of the word “unprecedented”, implying that the problems we are facing are not unprecedented and to think they are is paranoia. And anyway, Jesus will walk with us to the end. It seems to me a moral mandate comes with a great responsibility that some at least are not fulfilling.

    A seperate point about the responsibility for communicating on climate change: we are often told that the issue gets its fair share of coverage in the media. Obviously this isn’t true in that it should be front page news every day to properly reflect the seriousness of the issue. But even if reporting of climate and related issues was sufficient I think there is a more subtle failure in the communication, in that other news continues to be reported without acknowledgment of the significance of climate change. This is most obvious in reporting of economics, where growth remains unambiguously a positive thing. Is this where we should be focusing our complaints? Is it realistic to hope that this will change?

  22. Mike Roddy says:

    My only complaint about Climate Progress is that it doesn’t cover forestry issues enough. IPCC put deforestation emissions at 18% of the total, but it is headed up due to warming caused mortality.

    Realclimate is even worse, because their forestry go to guy, Jim Bouldin, speaks in the language of the timber industry, calling logging “harvesting” and showing a reluctance to take on the terrible health of forests all across North America.

    Meanwhile, Bush era corporate penetration of the federal bureaucracy continues. I can’t get mortality data from RPA- something they used to publish in their reports- and the timber industry continues to get subsidies to clearcut.

    Joe, your knowledge of all things climate is vast, but there are key gaps here. I can either help fill them or direct you to someone else who perhaps has more credentials.

  23. Bob Lang says:

    7 out of every 8 humans will not survive climate change.

    #12 Rebecca is wondering whether she should rely on an “old man with a white beard” to save her (good luck Rebecca).

    What is your strategy?

  24. K. Nockels says:

    #19 Jeff question 1- I can tell you Jeff from a small organic farmer personal point of view that the change in climate in our little valley has in the past three years dropped the harvest in walnuts and cherries and made peach and necterines almost impossible to keep. We have had that same spring warm-up in mid Feb. only to have a week of 10 degrees or lower at the end of the month. It is killing whole branches that have begun sap production and killed whole trees last year. The damage is increasing each year, we could have high fire danger this summer because we have had a lot of snow melt off early that has not been replaced. The glacier that suppies our river is north in Canada but is losing so much mass in summer and snow fall this year was low believe it or not, that river levels are not recovering.

  25. Ziyu says:

    Here is a climate solutions interactive that shows how much each solution would reduce the climate deficit.

  26. Wyoming says:

    K. Nockels

    I too am a small organic farmer. The last two years we have had unusual early warmth (a high in the 90’s in March) and late cold (frosts in early May). Played havoc with the fruit trees. On top of that we had a record hot summer with drought. A number of farmers had cabbage go directly to seed without forming heads. Fall brasicas in some cases never formed heads. Germination was poor due to the excess heat. Not to mention the bugs and molds which seem to be getting worse all the time. And now we have the Asian stink bug infestation to deal with. Times are going to be interesting for those who do not grow their own food in the future. I get mine first, everyone else gets seconds.

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    “I never saw that before” with increasing regularity.

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) – Authorities in Guyana are pumping water from flooded coastal villages following heavy rains during what is usually one of the driest months of the year.

    Officials say about 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain fell in a 24-hour period this week. That’s more than the South American nation normally sees in the entire month of February.

  29. Joan Savage says:

    We have been having climate change for DECADES. It is not something in the future, only.

    In the late 1980s, I attended a graduate seminar at SUNY-ESF (Environmental Science and Forestry) in Syracuse, NY, which featured a study on the survival of oak trees in the Midwest, under conditions of climate change.

    The oaks were dying out in the southern side of their range due to the warmer, dryer conditions. As it takes oaks a long time to mature and bear viable nuts, the researchers wanted to know how fast, and by what means, the oaks could ‘out-run’ the warmer conditions. They found that blue jays were instrumental in moving the acorns a distance from the mother tree.

    The researchers calculated the rate of climate changes then known, the rate of oak maturation and reproduction, and the distances the blue jays could carry acorns northward. They concluded that the oaks could not out-run climate change on their own, or even with the help of the blue jays. It was suggested that a planting program be started that would boost the oak migration along, by planting acorns and seedlings in the north end of their range.

    I’ve lost track of the full reference, but the oaks and the blue jays keep coming to mind.

    A map visualization of the effects of climate change on eastern US forestry is found in/at the US Forest Service Climate Change Tree Atlas. It also provides projections on future survival of each species, based on the several well-developed climate change models.

    The thin black baseline is from Little’s standard maps of tree ranges, which was published in 1971. As you can see, the tree ranges have typically shifted northward many miles since that baseline of range extent.

    And, thanks to Mike Roddy for bringing up the role of forestry in climate change.

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Gulf Spill Investigated As Cause Of Dolphin Deaths

    “So, these animals were undergoing development during the height of the oil spill,” says Teri Rowles, the top marine mammal scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    “It is very, very strange,” says Moby Solangi, the institute’s director. “Usually we see one or two calves, but this year it’s just a very, very large number.”

    He says some of the calves were stillborn, some were premature and some died shortly after birth. His staff took samples from the decomposed carcasses and is doing autopsies on the dead dolphins that were still intact.

    “We’re doing a forensic study and we’re trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together,” Solangi says.

    One of Solangi’s working theories is that these dolphins’ mothers ate fish contaminated with oil from the BP spill, and those contaminants passed through the mothers’ bloodstreams to the fetuses.

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    The Sunday and Monday snowfall in Fairbanks was the sixth-most over two days in more than 100 years for Alaska’s second-largest city. This month’s 25.1 inches compares to the monthly average of 6.6 inches, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

    Read more:

  32. Colorado Bob says:

    This is important in light of the GBR coral core study a few weeks back that found the 1973-74 season was the wettest season in 300 years in Queensland.

    Our incredibly wet summer even surpassed the summer rainfall levels recorded in 1974, despite January of that year receiving a recording-breaking 635.2mm.

    The total for this year’s summer so far is 824.8mm – 365.2mm in December 2010, 319mm in January 2011 and 140.6mm for February.

    While the rainfall might have taken many Ipswich residents by surprise, meteorologist Tom Saunders said an extremely wet summer had been forecast due to the strong La Nina season.

    He said the resulting summer in Ipswich was the wettest on record.

    “It beats everything else – the nearest is 1974,” The Weather Channel meteorologist said.

    “It’s been a huge 12 months for the whole country.”

  33. Christopher Yaun says:

    Burning Down the House

    #31 Joan: “We have been having climate change for DECADES.” If I may offer a correction? The climate has always changed. Climate change is natural. Climate change is expected.

    I struggle to craft a brief statement that precisely describes this moment, this unique climate change driven by humans burning fossil fuels.

  34. Andy P says:

    This seems appropriate for an open thread. My name is Andy, I’m a senior at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and I’m writing my thesis on building a climate movement in the United States — what types of messages will engage the most people in the most effective ways? I’ve put together a three-minute survey to gather perspectives which will be used to construct a larger research tool. If any of you fellow inspired Climate Progress readers have a few minutes, could you please share your opinions? Here’s the survey address:

    Thanks much & happy weekend everybody!


  35. Larry Beck says:

    Waiting for that opportunity to become a part of the “American dream”? I’ve got some unsettling news for you.

    The Real Owners of This Country

  36. Raul M. says:

    Live oaks are unusually cool because a
    Branch may grow close to the ground
    And even root to start a new tree at that
    Spot. Ones that have tipped over in a storm
    Have been known it start again, just a few
    Yards from the main,

  37. Wit's End says:

    Organic farmers have a worse time coping with ozone pollution because chemical fertilization can partly offset the damage to foliage and impairment of photosynthesis…also, as the presence of ozone enhances the the damage from disease, fungus and insects, “conventional” farmers can and do apply huge quantities of pesticides, insecticides and fungicides to compensate.

    Even so, that only goes so far and annual crop yields are generally accepted to be 10% reduced due to ozone – and the nutritional quality is also reduced.

    Trees everywhere are dying off because they get exposed to ozone season after season. Just this morning googling around, I found new articles about trees dying all over the world “for no apparent reason” in other words, no bugs, disease, or fungus. When are people going to put this global massacre into perspective?





  38. Colorado Bob says:

    Help stop anti-environment legislation

    Sign our petition to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee urging them to vote no on anti-environment legislation that seeks to restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority and allow big polluters and their lobbyists to write their own rules.

    We’ll be delivering the petition to committee Chair Barbara Boxer later this month, so sign now by entering your information in the form on the right!

  39. Joan Savage says:

    Christopher #35

    Yes, yes, the climate has always changed. I was minimizing the qualifying adjectives. The AGW acronym seems too insider. It also does not address other anthropogenic components besides retained heat.

    I’ll improvise. We are moving rapidly into the Carbon-Glut Climate Period.
    Bounce off that if you wish, and see what comes up.

  40. John Mason says:

    Yes please! I’ll post it here too. This was a response from me borne out of the utter frustration at people commenting on a Polly Toynbee piece re – the cuts the UK Govt is bringing in in slightly less than 5 weeks. Really did feel there was something I had to get off my chest because I am fed up with people who insist on blaming a single nation’s ex-government on problems that are so huge and global – something we have often recognised here. So rant about to start:

    Reading through these comments, it is truly gobsmacking to see how some people are incapable of seeing beyond their time-honoured fiefdoms and looking at the bigger picture beyond.

    The reason that the system collapsed was that it was a completely stupid one in the first place. Firstly, it was based on an abysmally poorly regulated financial sector across the world – and especially the European nations and the USA. If Labour made one big mistake it was not to clamp down hard on what they could have clamped down upon on this site of the Atlantic, whilst all the time we saw Conservative politicians calling for even less regulation.

    Secondly, it was set (and still is set) on a course that is beyond weapons-grade stupid: the notion that we can enjoy infinite growth across all sectors on a finite planet. This is, of course, impossible. In such a system, we come up against one limit after another. This can be seen over the past few years with e.g. oil and fish-stocks, to name just two examples.

    By the end of 2007, oil demand had been slightly outstripping supply for three of the year’s four quarters and the fundamental rules kicked in, spiking its price to a level that made many business overheads a nightmare and forced on high prices to the customer on the street. Again this was a global problem, hitting hardest in countries like the USA where “pump” prices are entirely at the mercy of global oil prices due to the tiny buffer of tax compared to what European countries have.

    So we had a global credit bubble that was unsustainable (yet the Tories were calling for even more deregulation), and a global oil-spike that made it go pop, and a massive transfer of funds in the UK to stop the banking system going down in ruins – what was the alternative to the latter, in the timeframe available to act?

    Now look where we are: savage cuts in all the aforementioned countries, massive-scale unemployment, the huge bonuses still rolling out and our Ministers still waffling on about “Growth”, as oil again pushes up over the $100/barrel level amid ample reminders of the unstable countries we have to rely on for the “black gold”; India and China’s economies surge on and their demand for oil with it. This model of economics is not only flawed: it is doomed, utterly doomed to disaster, because when it was dreamed up, the dreamers forgot that the world’s resources are finite.

    All Labour’s fault indeed! Some people really need to get out more!

    Rant over.

    It just annoys me so much!!!! And that’s not even starting to take climate impacts into account!

    Cheers – John

  41. Colorado Bob says:

    Fire Ants Go Global: Mapping an Invasion

    Tschinkel describes the fire ant as a weed, the animal equivalent of the dandelion, because it thrives in landscapes disturbed by humans.

    Fire ants aren’t the primary source of ecological disruption, including the loss of native ants; the real culprits are human beings, who alter the landscape in the first place, Tschinkel said.

    “That is why humans are the fire ant’s best friend,” he said.

  42. Colorado Bob says:

    “The larger concern is that technological nature will shift the baseline of what people perceive as the full human experience of nature, and that it will contribute to what we call environmental generational amnesia.”

    This concept of amnesia proposes that people believe the natural environment they encounter during childhood is the norm, against which they measure environmental degradation later in their life. The problem with this is that each generation takes that degraded condition as a non-degraded baseline and is generally oblivious of changes and damages inflicted by previous generations.

    “Poor air quality is a good example of physical degradation,” said Kahn. “We can choke on the air, and some people suffer asthma, but we tend to think that’s a pretty normal part of the human condition.

    “Some people get the idea on one level if they are interested in environmental issues,” Severson said. “They see the degradation, but they don’t recognize their own experience is diminished. How many people today feel a loss such as the damming of the Columbia River compared to a wild Columbia River? A lot of us have no concept of it as a wild river and don’t feel a loss.”

    Kahn likened the situation to the effort to convince people that climate change is a serious challenge.

  43. John Mason says:

    Joan Savage,

    Indeed the climate has always changed – hothouse – icehouse – hothouse and so on. Changes that normally occur over millions and millions of years. One thing to tell ’em is that when it happens faster than that, mass extinctions take place. The other to follow up with is that last time it happened faster than that, there wasn’t a civilisation in the way!

    Cheers – John

  44. Colorado Bob says:

    ” environmental generational amnesia ”

    When I was a boy, one of the fun things to do was spotting “horny toads” on the way home from school. They could be spotted in the spring out foraging for ants.
    When my nephews came along , the horny toads were gone. For my nephews, they never existed.

  45. Colorado Bob says:

    Models guiding climate policy are ‘dangerously optimistic’

    environmentresearchweb: Computer models predicting future climate change are underestimating emissions and overestimating technology, warns climate scientist Kevin Anderson

  46. Colorado Bob says:

    US scientists examine possible link between dolphin deaths and BP oil spill

    The death toll is now 29.

  47. MarkF says:

    Fargo North Dakota, have for a few weeks, been calling for volunteers to make sand bags. They are preparing for major flooding, again.

    They are making one hundred fifty thousand a day, on a good day.

    I wonder if any realize that their free labour, is just another subsidy to oil and coal transnational corporations?

  48. Chris Winter says:

    Well, 17¢ in a week isn’t bad. If Saudi Arabia catches fire (I mean in a political sense) then we’ll really see a price spike.

  49. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Andy #36. I will have a look at your survey but am afraid that simply sending messages or giving people information is not going to achieve the results you wish. This has been the predominant strategy used so far in attempting to persuade people that climate change is real and needs action.

    It has not worked and can be counter productive. The following quote is taken from the summary of results of a study I did a couple of years ago.

    “Given the results, the report discusses strategies that take their starting points as either working on beliefs or on actions. It is clear that providing information has not worked and will not work to increase the level of belief in climate change. As the believers believe because of their own perceptions, workshops in which community and organizational people share their own perceptions and reach their own conclusions will have more of an impact.
    Similarly, if the choice of strategy is to target action directly, it will be effective for people to share what they are collectively doing at home or at work. As the main target group appears to be younger lower SES people, probably mainly males, who often live in a separate subculture, it is important to bring them into workshops of mainstream people. This strategy exploits what has been learnt of their personality characteristics and confirmed social science findings about pressures to conform to groups.
    These strategies are not detailed or exhaustive but they are based on the evidence and follow the well established principle that psychological ownership of a course of action is required to generate the motivation to follow it. ”

    See under References and publications.

    Effective strategies involve bringing people together is such a way that they can collectively take control of their future through planning and action, e.g. the future of our community. Methods for successfully achieving this are well established and reliable. People are purposeful group animals, not individual mechanical information receptors. More information is useful once the conditions are in place for its successful reception but it is not a starting point, ME

  50. OregonStream says:

    “Accelerated holocene climate change” is fairly descriptive, Christopher, if slightly wordy. The biodiverse, populous holocene is important context (vs. say the glacial period termination often referenced as a reason for not believing in AGW). And climate (at least global) changes only when there’s a forcing, and as far as I can tell there’s never been one during the holocene with the potential amplitude of the anthropogenic influence.

  51. peter whitehead says:

    Keep watchng the Arctic sea ice graph – a record low maximum area is now looking very likely for this winter season:

  52. Colorado Bob says:

    Wunderground hiring a climate scientist
    Weather Underground, Inc. is seeking a full-time scientist with excellent communication and programming skills to improve our climate change and meteorology education web pages. Initial task: use downscaled climate model output to generate “far-future” forecasts. The position requires an M.S. or Ph.D. in meteorology. Consult our employment web page for a full job description and application info. The increase in significant weather events over the past year has kept me tied up blogging, giving me little time to work on expanding the content of our climate change and weather education web pages. It is time to get some help!

    Jeff Masters

  53. Bob Lang says:

    #42 John Mason

    The world hasn’t been the same since the Right Honourable Reginald Maudling was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    Things started to go downhill when Reggie joined the cast of Monty Python.

  54. Mickey says:

    Now that Joe Bastardi has resigned from Accuweather, I was wondering what odds you would give him if he actually agreed to a bet. Here are the odds I would offer him. 20:1 odds for it being cooler in 2030 than 2010 (a 5 year running average from NASA’s data would be used), 1,000:1 odds we will cool back to the levels of 70s (Here would use 5 year running averages in 1975 and 2030) and 10,000:1 odds we return to the Little Ice Age (Although there are no exact numbers as well exact references but most proxies suggest the coldest decade was around -1C below 2010 so we would use that). I am probably slanting things a little too much in my favour, so I am wondering what odds others would give. And please note 20:1 means for every dollar we bet, he would get $20 if correct while I would get $1 if correct. Also with winter almost over, I was wondering what kind of winter it was in the area of our readers. Otherwise how did temperatures stack up and snowfall (for those in areas that received snow).

    Here in Toronto, were slightly below normal as both December and January were around -1C below normal (-0.9 and -0.7 at Pearson while -1.8 and -1.0 at Downtown Toronto). February looks like it will be within 0.5C of normal at Pearson and just below Downtown depending on how the final days go. Snowfall is now at 86cm at Pearson and we should be at 90cm by this time, however December was well below normal in snowfall while January above and February we are almost double our normal although no where nearly as much as Detroit or Chicago or Windsor, Ontario whom may break their February record for snow. We had around 60 days where there was at least 1cm of snow on the ground since December 1st.

  55. petronelle says:

    Dear #13, drewmac455:

    I have recently retired from 41 years as a professional librarian. PLEASE NOTE: libraries provide, that is BUY, access to scientific journals that you can access without having to subscribe! Public libraries give you this access for free. Please visit your local library to find out what is available.

    However, public libraries are frequently subject to budget cuts, and some scientific journals, which are very expensive, may have been cut. In that case, check your local community college library or local university. Often universities charge for a non-student or non-faculty persons to use their computer resources, but to get the data it might be worth it to you.

    Don’t forget libraries! They are there to help us all with our information needs!

  56. Bob Lang says:

    This just in:

    In today’s Irish National Election a party called “Fine Gael” won and a party called “Fianna Fail” lost.

    Why am I not surprised.

  57. Prospace Environmentalist says:

    NASA cancels two climate sat projects:

  58. Prospace Environmentalist says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, there appears to be a massive corporate news media blackout of the “Rally to Save American Dream”. It seems that only Reuters covered the story so far…. Obviously, this does not bode well for getting the Climate Change catastrophe message out.

  59. Sou says:

    Brazilian judge blocks plans for construction of Belo Monte dam

    Project to build world’s third-largest hydroelectric plant is suspended after failing to meet environmental requirements

  60. OregonStream says:

    Mickey, Bastardi might want to just settle down and start a new blog, a la Watts ( :-)

  61. catman306 says:

    Had an idea:

    (Since Americans aren’t getting climate change information from the MSM and are unlikely to find a site like ClimateProgress on their own)

    A 20 – 40 page tabloid sized newspaper could be developed from articles here, from Skeptical Science, Grist and other blogs. This paper could be freely distributed wherever crowds gather.
    (Like they did in the 60s)

    This one-edition, or maybe annual, paper could help bring some people up to date on 21st Century Climate Science. We win one person at a time.

    Multiple diverse mediums will reach many more people than just the internet. Without the education of millions, we lose.

  62. Leif says:

    Something I have started to do. Buy a box of those “sticky back name tags” and print out on them. Then in your wonderings stick them up. Bus shelters, bulletin boards, gas pumps etc. Some that I have done have been up for months.

  63. dhogaza says:

    Mickey, Bastardi might want to just settle down and start a new blog, a la Watts (

    What’s Up With That Bastardi?

  64. Ominous Clouds Overhead says:

    Sometimes I think the entire human race has PTSD from the creation of the atomic bomb. Before that, we didn’t have the capacity to destroy our entire species. Somehow, this seems connected to the attitudes about global warming. It’s like, as a species, we’ve lost the capacity to act any more, we’re traumatized.

  65. Bob Vertrees says:

    Andy, No. 36:
    I completed your survey. Good luck with your survey and thesis. I suggest that you study in detail the various cultural, social, economic, personality-related, and other factors that led to the following three conservation or environmental movements, and by so doing find out that: (1) one can’t generalize (as some are prone to do in ways that might, but should not, discourage your efforts) about all the ways humans behave and interact as such movements arise and gain momentum, and (2) by so doing, realize that if we ever enter into an International Movement to Meet the Challenges of Global Warming and Climate Change, there will be some foreseen and some unforeseen types of causal factors. Here are the three movements I taught for years as a professor of natural resources and environmental policy analysis: (1) the Progressive Conservation Movement, from about 1891 to 1920, (that was proceeded by the Colonial Period and the Era of Manifest Destiny) — this movement was to a great extent in response to fears of running out of resources such as forests, was not a grassroots movement, and had very strong federal leadership from the likes of President Teddy Roosevelt (perhaps there is a TR in the near future of the U.S. and in the future of other countries?); (2) the New-Deal Conservation Movement of the FDR Administrations, from about 1933 to 1940, that picked up on and extended some national-forest, national-park and similar threads of the PCM and also responded to the depression by building a lot of resource-based conservation projects to employ people; and (3) the Environmental Movement that, unlike the prior two movements, was a grassroots one that arose in the early 1970s after the adverse effects of pollution and unwise resource use were witnessed by a public that could see those effects because they were traveling a lot more and could see the them on TV — and it was a public that responded to Rachel Carson’s monumental early-1960s book “Silent Spring” and, soon thereafter, was in the throes of several other cultural movements (such as the civil rights, anti-war, and women’s rights movements). Although the EM tapered off in the Reagan years and beyond, it has never really gone away and hopefully can be transformed somehow to the aforementioned International Movement. (Of course, the first two of the three movements summarized above have had “shadows” that go on beyond them through still-existing policies that were initiated during them– and, as I say above, the Environmental Movement is still with us, although it ebbs and flows.)

    Andy, good luck. We need students and future leaders like you. I wish I were on your thesis committee!

  66. Sou says:

    Water contamination from ‘fracking’ reported in the NY Times (H/tip to Desmogblog)

  67. Michael T. says:

    Here’s a 2006 lecture that Dave Bader gave on climate change:

    Climate Change: What We Know and What We Need to Learn

  68. Colorado Bob says:

    (Reuters) – A crowd estimated at more than 70,000 people on Saturday waved American flags, sang the national anthem and called for the defeat of a Wisconsin plan to curb public sector unions that has galvanized opposition from the American labor movement.

  69. Colorado Bob says:

    The dead dolphin meter is really spinning :

    Large numbers of bottlenose dolphin carcasses are washing up on shore along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama leading scientists and researches scrambling to find out why. Since Jan. 1, an abnormally high number of stillborn and infant bottlenose dolphins have washed up on shore. That number could soon beat out the 89 total from all of last year. Additionally, adult dolphin carcasses have been found as well, with only one being a different species. In this past week alone, 24 baby dolphins have been found and now the total count is 67.
    ABC News reported the number as 40 tonight, but I was unable to locate the story on their site .

  70. Colorado Bob says:

    Production at Queensland’s coal mines is yet to return to normal after widespread flooding this year.

    The Queensland Resources Council says operations were cut to about a third at the height of the crisis.

    CEO Michael Roche says the sector is operating at about 60 to 70 percent capacity.

  71. adelady says:

    @13 drewmac. One thing you can do for paywalled papers that interest you. Note that at the bottom of the abstract there’s always an author named as a contact. I’m told that most will happily send you a copy by email if you write to them. It’s certainly worth a try.

  72. Richard D says:

    @13 drewmac, I imagine you want the local university library. At least where I am you can access books (but not borrow) and journal papers.

  73. Prokaryotes says:

    After 188 days (80 of which were spent driving), four continents, and one defeated team, the Zero Emissions Race–world tour of renewably-powered electric cars–is finally over, with the three remaining teams having pulled into Geneva this morning.
    The race took the four teams, one each from Australia, South Korea, Germany, and Switzerland, from the start in Geneva through Europe, Asia, an ocean hop to Vancouver and down the west coast of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, through Mexico and across the Atlantic to Morocco, then up through western Europe and back to Geneva. While the South Korean entry conked out due to mechanical issues early in the first European leg, the other three teams completed the entire journey.

    The cars are all electric, and all slightly unusual–no Priuses here–including a motorcycle, a three-wheeled bubble-looking car, and a three-wheeled covered motorcycle. The rules stipulated that the vehicles all had to carry at least two people (usually in tandem, rather than side-by-side), have a range of at least 250km (about 155 miles), and be powered by renewable electricity fed into the grid by a plant in the team’s home country. That power came either from solar or wind farms, which produced at least enough energy to propel the cars through their nearly 17,000-mile trip.

  74. Prokaryotes says:

    U.N. leader asks Hollywood for help in fight against global climate change
    ‘Together we can have a blockbuster impact on the world,’ U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tells Hollywood heavyweights at a forum on global climate change.,0,3056165.story

  75. Richard L says:

    This in the NYT:

    Regulation lax as gas wells’ tainted water hits rivers
    Dangers to environment and health are greater than previously understood

  76. Mark says:

    Thinking about the book, The Ethics of Climate Change by James Garvie, I read this a few years ago and was refreshed by its pragmatic and sensible approach to a difficult subject, one we know that the US negotiators had difficulties with. It’s well summarized in a lengthy piece here:

  77. Colorado Bob says:

    Gulf Dolphins Dying
    More than 70 dolphins washed up on shore in Mississippi and Alabama.

    40 infants so far .

  78. Phil J. says:

    A book recommendation: The View From Lazy Point by Carl Safina. Published this year. Subtitled, “A Natural Year in an Unnatural World. Beautifully written and can be placed in a list with Walden, The Outermost House, A Sand County Almanac.

  79. Colorado Bob says:

    “We’re burning the furniture to heat the house,” said John H. Quigley, who left last month as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “In shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, we’re trying for cleaner air, but we’re producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it’s not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste.”

    From the NYT story on gas fracking.

  80. Rebecca says:

    Joe, maybe next weekend’s open thread could be about ways people are interacting with their religious communities on this issue? I myself taught a series of Sunday school classes on environmentalism at my Presbyterian church… and the response was incredibly varied based on age. In fact, after the discussion on AGW, one of the senior members of the church (a former electricity utility bigwig) sent me a bunch of anti-global-warming movies and books, and now refuses to shake my hand and say, “Peace of God be with you” during that part of the service. Disturbing. But the young adults were totally into it. Maybe we need to get some believers on the “stewardship” committees of their churches. (You don’t need to post this comment publicly) -R

  81. Colorado Bob says:

    Mass. company making diesel with sun, water, CO2

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts biotechnology company says it can produce the fuel that runs Jaguars and jet engines using the same ingredients that make grass grow.

    Joule Unlimited has invented a genetically-engineered organism that it says simply secretes diesel fuel or ethanol wherever it finds sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

    The Cambridge, Mass.-based company says it can manipulate the organism to produce the renewable fuels on demand at unprecedented rates, and can do it in facilities large and small at costs comparable to the cheapest fossil fuels.

  82. Prokaryotes says:

    Re Joule …

    It all sounds almost too good to be true. And it may be, particularly as the credit crunch squeezes many capital-intensive, clean-tech firms and makes it harder for risky, scientifically ambitious start-ups like Joule to get off the ground.

    So what is the trade off? What happens if the genetically altered bacterium goes “viral”, does it becomes a threat to humans or other organism?

  83. Prokaryotes says:

    The ability of cyanobacteria to perform oxygenic photosynthesis is thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, which dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms. According to endosymbiotic theory, chloroplasts in plants and eukaryotic algae have evolved from cyanobacterial ancestors via endosymbiosis.

  84. Colorado Bob says:

    How a determined Vietnam Vet living in rural Wyoming faced down an oil and gas company and began a national debate on the environmental effects of natural gas drilling.

  85. Prokaryotes says:

    Cyanotoxins are toxins produced by bacteria called cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). Cyanobacteria are found almost everywhere, but particularly in lakes and in the ocean where, under certain conditions, they reproduce exponentially to form blooms. Blooming cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins in such concentrations that they poison and even kill animals and humans. Cyanotoxins can also accumulate in other animals such as fish and shellfish, and cause poisonings such as shellfish poisoning.
    Among cyanotoxins are some of the most powerful natural poisons known, including poisons which can cause rapid death by respiratory failure.[1] The toxins include potent neurotoxins, hepatotoxins, cytotoxins, and endotoxins. Recreational exposure to cyanobacteria can result in gastro-intestinal and hayfever symptoms or pruritic skin rashes.[2] There is some evidence that significant exposure to high levels of some species of cyanobacteria causes Lou Gehrig’s disease.[3][4][5] There is also an interest in the military potential of biological neurotoxins such as cyanotoxins, which “have gained increasing significance as potential candidates for weaponization.

    … great

  86. Prokaryotes says:

    The first published report that blue-green algae or cyanobacteria could have lethal effects appeared in Nature in 1878. George Francis described the algal bloom he observed in the estuary of the Murray River in Australia, as “a thick scum like green oil paint, some two to six inches thick.” Wildlife which drank the water died rapidly and terribly.[7] Most reported incidents of poisoning by microalgal toxins have occurred in freshwater environments, and they are becoming more common and widespread. For example, thousands of ducks and geese died drinking contaminated water in the midwestern United States.[8] In 2010, for the first time, marine mammals were reported to have died from ingesting cyanotoxins.

    The problem with Joule is that the goal is to keep status quo, with using fuel instead of electricity. Combustion fumes is a threat … combustion process is not a viable future.

  87. Prokaryotes says:

    The good thing is that cyano mod present another option for geoengineering.

  88. Jim Galasyn says:

    An Antarctic ice shelf used as a runway is breaking away, forcing an emergency airlift to close summer operations on the continent.

    The situation is being complicated by the Christchurch quake which is limiting operations at Christchurch Airport.

    Staff at New Zealand’s Scott Base and the US’s McMurdo Sound are scrambling to get people off Antarctica to Auckland.

    With winter closing in, the prospect is that people either get out now or stay all winter. …

    Emergency airlift from Antarctica bases as Ross Ice Shelf breaks up

  89. Joan Savage says:

    From a minister-friend:

    Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast

  90. Colorado Bob says:

    Fire is breaking out here, all across West Texas , wind gusts here to 56 mph. Bad dust storm as well. Wind gusts near Matador, Texas in the 70 mph range. Been very dry with temps 15F to 20F degrees above average. This fire season in Texas and Okla. could could be worse than 2006.

  91. 6thextinction says:

    i didn’t read all the posts but got up to 70, and wondered, “aren’t we supposed to be sharing our thoughts on what we are doing to prepare for the future climate collapse, etc?” so i will: i had our 1926 house insulated; glass block windows in basement; i organized a 10/10/10 event; got a grant for a river riparian buffer zone along michigan’s major river, which those 350ers will help plant; helped organize a protest against fred upton’s plan for the epa; last wed. went with 3 other enviros to credo’s action to talk to debbie stabenow’s aide about supporting epa from the repub’s attack; extended rain garden to the whole length of yard between sidewalk & street; will extend my tiny vegetable garden this spring.

    i know that some of these actions are not very effective; but they are an antidote to despair; and i do meet people who share our concern.

  92. Colorado Bob says:

    MATADOR, TX (KCBD) – According to the National Weather Service, satellite imagery showed late Sunday afternoon that a massive wildfire was quickly approaching the City of Matador, more than an hour’s drive northeast of Lubbock. The NWS says this fire poses a grave threat to life and property in Matador. Mandatory evacuations have been issued.

    The Koch-heads cuts will cut the NWS office here in Lubbock.

  93. OregonStream says:

    The Joule fuel looks similar to what a researcher recently discussed on Nova ScienceNow, and apparently faces the same potential issues. It is interesting that Joule’s chief says “We make some lofty claims, all of which we believe, all which we’ve validated, all of which we’ve shown to investors“, then “If we’re half right, this revolutionizes the world’s largest industry…” and “And if we’re right, there’s no reason why this technology can’t change the world.”

    So why the “ifs” if they’ve validated their claims (at least to those willing to invest)?

    I remember seeing something like this years ago involving bioreactors, but they apparently had trouble keeping their organism colonies pure and economically extracting enough fuel from the soup. If Joule has something different, that could be of interest along with a new generation of electrics and hybrids that help extend the supply.

  94. David B. Benson says:

    Joule clearly has yet to solve the dewatering problem; separating the hydrocarbons from the water+bacteria. That’ll be the make-or-break issue [Its not that others don’t have the same or a highly similar issue; there are no good solutions yet.]