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What Questions Would You Like Climate Progress to Ask?

By Joe Romm on September 24, 2011 at 9:36 am

"What Questions Would You Like Climate Progress to Ask?"

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I re-instigated the weekend question a month ago and response has been great.

You have given great answers to “What Topics Would You Like Climate Progress to Cover?” and “If You Could Ask a Climate Scientist One Question….” and “Is President Obama a Lost Cause Environmentally — and What Should Progressives Do?“  And Stephen Lacey and I are definitely incorporating your ideas into our planned future posts.

They say knowing what questions to ask is as important as knowing how to find the answers.  So I’d like you to suggest weekend questions you would like Climate Progress to ask you, the readers, in the coming months.

Some classics include  “What should Ian do with his life?” and, of course, “Where would be the best place to live in 2035? 2060?

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71 Responses to What Questions Would You Like Climate Progress to Ask?

  1. catman306 says:

    What’s the Climate Change Hotline phone number? (For people without the internet who might want to learn a little about the subject from real climate scientists. The message could change daily.)

  2. Robert Nagle says:

    1. I haven’t really seen time projections of how XL pipeline implementation would affect CO2 levels and ultimately climate. Hansen talked about the potential impacts, but I want to have a realistic sense of what’s going to happen as a result.

    2. Given that a climate change bill isn’t coming soon, is there a reasonable chance that a carbon reporting bill for companies could ever be passed?

    3.has anyone looked into how climate change projections are affecting insurance rates today?

    4. I discovered recently that Electric plants in Texas (population 25 million) emit as much CO2 as electric plants in the COMBINED states of New York, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Oregon (population: 86 million) http://www.eia.gov/state/state-energy-rankings.cfm?keyid=86&orderid=1 I’d like to see a focus on solving the Texas problem. Namely, why are CO2 emissions in Texas so high? What are some paths for states with reactionary political landscapes to reduce its carbon footprint?

    • Tim says:

      One of the reasons that CO₂ emissions in Texas are so high is that Rick Perry has so aggressively promoted the building of Coal-fired electrical plants.

    • AlanInAz says:

      Looking at the EIA site I noticed that Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma have similar very high per capita energy consumption. This may be due partly to the oil, gas and chemical industries concentrated in those states.

      • dick smith says:

        I share the concern raised at #4 that the timeline of the GW impact of the Keystone XL pipeline needs some clarification. I thought I read (here?) that Jim Hansen’s concern about the impact of “full development” of the tar sands will not occur until sometime after the year 3,000.

        That doesn’t stop my frustration with Obama. He needs to stop Keystone XL. And, I’m joining some Madison folks (including some arrested in Washington) who are protesting next week in Milwaukee at Obama’s newly opened campaign office.

        Still, I’m hoping some regular CP reader or Joe Romm can clarify this.

  3. David Smith says:

    If we accept the reality that the US Congress is incapable of passing progressive legislation relative to climate change, The white house is not offering adequate support, The Supreme Court is clearly at the disposal of specific corporate interests, the environmental movement is totally fractured among hundreds of different issues and lacking in effective central coordination & leadership on AGW, average people are doing their best not to even seriously discuss the issue and their side has a lot more money, what is the most effective path for us, as individuals, to achieve, say, a 90% chance of implementing the necessary change in a 10 year time frame?

    • Brian R Smith says:

      I’m with you that we should be asking ourselves, and each other, deeper questions about strategy, though I would emphasize that individual efforts (footprint, family, community) need to result in collective actions if we are talking at-scale political goals & targets. Which i hope we are.

      You say: “the environmental movement is totally fractured among hundreds of different issues and lacking in effective central coordination & leadership on AGW…” I don’t believe it is totally fractured, but I do think it’s critical to ask at this point if a major project to consolidate “effective coordination & leadership” (and funding) in the climate community is perhaps the only way to take control of the national narrative on climate & energy. We all understand how well coordinated, funded & effective the opposition is. Its politics, PR & money and we are loosing ground if our goal is to mobilize the voting public in 2012. So I would ask:

      What’s your version of effective strategy for actually turning the political tide on climate & energy in the next 12 months.

      How much weight would you give to the potential for a more unified, coordinated PR campaign that builds on current campaigns?

  4. Jeff Huggins says:

    The Big If, Why, And What Questions

    I suggest that CP host, raise (or whatever one would like to call it) serious consideration of these three questions:

    1. If President Obama approves Keystone XL, will you (the reader) still vote for him? (This is a simple informal question for readers to consider and answer.) Why? (In other words, provide your reasons.)

    2. What do you think could or should be done to maximize the chances that President Obama will say ‘no’ to Keystone XL?

    3. What do you think of the following stance that some readers and others are taking: “President Obama, if you want me to vote for you, you must say ‘no’ to Keystone XL. If you approve Keystone XL, I will not vote for you in the coming election.”?

    These are simple, clear, vital, and timely questions. To be clear, they don’t involve telling readers what to think or what to do. They involve facilitating a recognition of options, hosting discussion, and doing the same sort of thing that many other CP posts do. In other words, there’s nothing “in form or essence” that’s different between these questions and other topics that CP frequently takes up, hosts, or seeks readers’ input on.

    I’m presently off to Moving Planet: going to the San Francisco event, taking BART. I hope to see tens of thousands of you there!

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    “How do we achieve more thoroughness and rigor in calculating a carbon footprint?”.

    Everybody knows how to figure gasoline and home electricity carbon emissions. Other areas are much less well known, and obfuscated by industry. Examples include use of lumber and paper (disguised in EIA reports), building orientation to maximize passive solar (opposed by the construction industry), electronics phantom power, non fuel burning AGW costs of air travel, container ship bunker fuel for products from China, etc.

    Identifying these areas with more precision could be a first step to working toward a carbon tax, which we will need if change is ever going to occur.

  6. Jeannette says:

    I would like you to ask people what they are doing, how they are thinking about things so that they don’t freak out. For example, I know that the polar bears aren’t sad, they are not aware that they are becoming extinct, and that extinctions have happened before. But I still am overwhelmingly sad, stricken with grief when I think about things. I also would like to know what people with children are doing, thinking, to not panic. What should we do? Where should we move? How to tolerate this anxiety?

    • John McCormick says:

      Jeanette, I share those same anxieties as you and, aside from a few friends with whom I can really express my fear and pessimism, there isn’t an outlet for the feeling to expire. So, I, like you and most of us who understand what is happening to the global climate live with the anxieties and try to find escape in the natural world.

      • Jeannette says:

        Thank you. I think that one of the things that is so hard is that I feel so alone with this knowledge, even among family and friends. They are concerned but just can’t believe how dire the situation is. This blog is the one of the few places where I feel connected with people who understand what is happening.

    • Jeanette, you are certainly not alone in your feelings. I and every environmentally aware friend I have has felt this way.

      You might enjoy as much as I did an inspiring new book, “This Crazy Time”, by one of Greenpeace International’s climate leaders Tzeporah Berman. It tells her story from becoming environmentally awake through many struggles, failures and successes. Here are some quotes that relate to what you are talking about:

      “For me, environmental awareness has always been a bit like … toothpaste. Sometimes you squish too much out, but there is no way to get it back in the tube. There are so many times I’ve been kept up at night by the challenges facing our forests, our oceans, our atmosphere — and I’ll lie awake, staring at the ceiling, wishing I could go back to a time when I didn’t know. Once you have that environmental lens, you start to see everything through it whether you want to or not.”

      As to what is the antidote? Well, Tzeporah opens her book with a long and beautiful quote by Barbara Kingsolver about “Optimism is the only moral choice…”

      One thing that helps me is to engage in the local climate community. For example today it was a 350.org bike ride and later a lecture by climate scientist Andrew Weaver. The community might be small in any one area but it exists and is part of a huge global community. Just watch the slideshow at 350.org from today to feel you are part of something large and diverse.

      Joe, this discussion makes me think a good weekend topic might be to have your readers contribute their “refrigerator quotes” that give them strength and courage to push on.

      • Jeannette says:

        Thank you. I will check out the book. I would love to hear from more people, as you suggested, to hear what thoughts comfort and inspire them. I think that you are right, that being active is the best strategy. I wish that I were in a situation where I could DO more. Instead of doing, I contribute money to campaigns like the Tar Sands action, 24 hrs of Reality, etc. I know that this is important but it doesn’t feel the same as doing something. Maybe I will have enough energy some day to take part in some actions, I hope so. I am sad to see that for now all the actions are coming from the ground up. I have been waiting for my marching orders from the president for a long time now, and am still in a kind of frozen disbelief that what I had imagined happening is not happening — I had really thought he would take climate change seriously.

  7. john atcheson says:

    I would like CP to ask a scientific body to model the warming effects of methane releases from permafrost and clathrates.

    Not a question, but a suggestion — Bob Reich has a series of Utube shorts on key economic issues, and they are extremely powerful.

    You guys might consider the same thing — maybe one on the science; one on deniers; one on the changes that have already occurred etc.

    Regards

    John

    • Mike Roddy says:

      I second your suggestion about methane, John.
      Nobody has taken Shakhova and Walter’s work and modeled the outcomes. If a credible organization takes that task on, it would wake people up.

      Included would have to be the temperature increase drivers that would lead to the releases, too. The releases are of course already occurring, but we should know what an additional 2C would mean.

  8. Joan Savage says:

    I’d like to see comments from readers on how they stay mentally open to new information and emotionally flexible about working with others on what is a difficult policy issue.

    I’m referencing in part to conversations that have been initiated by Chris Mooney
    “Could Personality Differences Help Explain the Reality Gap on Climate Change?”
    http://scienceprogress.org/2011/09/could-personality-differences-help-explain-the-realit-gap-on-climate-change/
    and

    Anna Fahey’s” Talking to the Tea Party about Climate?”
    http://www.grist.org/climate-skeptics/2011-09-23-talking-to-the-tea-party-about-climate-change

    • Joan Savage says:

      One could also lead to a question of how and when to express a passionate commitment.

      That is in contrast to the process of building a factual case and expecting others to make the necessary inferences.

  9. Bill G says:

    My question to scientists:

    Assuming green house gases continue to build up non-stop, can man survive?

    Thank you.

    Bill G

    • Peter Mizla says:

      Good question Bill G

      At this point, with a regressive policy in place- the chances are becoming just slightly above 50% we will survive- each year that passes- it declines.

      The biggest mistake Democrats made 3 years ago was nominating BO for president.

  10. Daniel C Goodwin says:

    What is the carbon footprint of warfare? If you include everything from military equipment manufacturing to barracks air conditioners, what proportion of US carbon emissions are attributable to military activity?

  11. Jan says:

    To readers:

    What are you personally doing, e.g. to reduce your carbon footprint (other than educating yourself and others)?

    Where would you have to admit to still being a hypocrite (or not “walking the walk”, to put it more mildly).

    In what areas do you give yourself some slack consciously to stay sane?

    What areas can you identify that you can make a larger difference than would be apparent at first (e.g. avoid certain products that have huge hidden carbon costs, or along that line).

    • Jan says:

      The last one would imply asking, how do you think an individual can make the biggest difference?

      • Jeannette says:

        We moved nine years ago to a smaller community where we drive a lot less. We are only five minutes from our office. I have not bought a new car in ten years — I read somewhere that building a car creates a lot of GHGs…at some point, either just bike or get an electric car. We eat almost no meat. I would like to buy more local foods or join a coop but haven’t been able to follow through on that. We moved from a house to a much smaller condominium.

  12. AlanInAz says:

    I would ask for an explanation and summary of the progress in our understanding of climate change in the 5 years since Al Gore’s movie came out. That film sparked a general awareness that sadly has waned.

    Are the “skeptics” correct when they say new data has increased uncertainty about the models and future impacts? Is there more confirming evidence of warming? Are we more certain and/or more concerned about long term consequences of warming?

    • Some European says:

      Dear Alan, let there be no doubt: the evidence has gotten stronger, there is much more reason for concern than just 5 years ago. This was to be expected, it’s usually natural in the advance of science that things are confirmed and double-checked. In the case of climate science, the scientists have been overwhelmed and surprised by the speed at which reality has made even the most dire predictions obsolete. The best example is in sea ice. It’s fair to say that reality has advanced the schedule laid out in the 4th IPCC report, published in 2007 but based on science up to 2005, by at least 50 years.
      Climate progress is an excellent resource to keep track of those advances and discoveries. It’s sad to say but one of the most heard phrases in climate science is ‘worse than we expected’.
      A good post to start is this one http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2010/11/15/207034/year-in-climate-science-climategate/
      And this one is about a study from 2009.
      http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2009/05/20/204131/mit-doubles-global-warming-projections-2/

      Today precisely is the day on which the world has come together around a number: 350. Not so long ago, Bill McKibben asked one of the world’s most respected and visionary climate scientists, James Hansen, what he thought would be the upper safe limit of CO2 we can have in the atmosphere. His surprising answer was 350 parts per million. Mind you, we are currently at 392 ppm and business as usual scenarios would at least double that by the end of the century.
      If you would have asked this question to most scientists a just 5 years ago, they might have answered 450 or 550. So basically, many informed people have come to the conclusion that it is already to late to avert catastrophe to some extent. The fight now is basically about saving civilization. Too bad almost nobody knows…

  13. Joan Savage says:

    Another question for readers: What kind of housing do you want/see for yourself and your posterity in 2050? and for the rest of the world?

    • Mike Roddy says:

      We can start by designing houses to last, Joan. American houses assume teardowns in a couple of generations. The result has been older neighborhoods that are decaying only because of the cheap structural materials they were built with, including asphalt roof tiles, wood, chipboard, and vinyl.

      In Sweden, houses are built to last for centuries. Their construction industry is tiny- in a recent year, teardowns exceeded construction. This is a good thing, because Europeans can devote resources to other things.

      The first rule should be to prohibit wood framing, and ask Americans to choose from masonry, reinforced concrete, or steel.

      • Joan Savage says:

        I’m curious about how people want to live with extreme heat, extreme moisture or dryness, insects and disease, intermittent food crops, limited fuel, and logically, a need for mobility. Instead of durable materials and investment in one locale, decisions could go in a polar opposite direction, so I’d like to hear the full gamut of reactions.

        Before on CP I mentioned an example of dual indigenous architectures. The natives of Tornado Alley had two types of homes, one was an earth shelter suitable for surviving winds and temperature extremes, and the other an airy casual structure of fibers that was not expected to be durable for more than a few weeks, but a lot sunnier and more fragrant than the other building.
        That was before mortgages and home insurance!

      • Joan Savage says:

        Mike,
        With your comments in mind, the housing topic could be split between two questions.
        One reflects your concerns, How would your ideal housing minimize the carbon footprint of its construction and use?
        The other mine, How would your ideal housing be well-adapted to a changed climate?

        • Mike Roddy says:

          Joan-
          Housing could be built with a recycled steel
          structural system. It has a much lower carbon footprint than wood or concrete, and can be disassembled and moved to a new location if circumstances call for it.

          Disclosure: I’ve done some work for the steel industry (though not recently).

  14. Some European says:

    A question to James Hansen: When you say you’re dead certain that Earth will become like Venus if we burn all the fossil fuels and possibly if we burn only the conventional fuels, is that based on an actual calculation?
    Have you written a paper on the Venus syndrome? If no, why not?
    I go out there telling people that it’s a mathematical fact but I have nothing to actually back up that claim. To reformulate my question: If 350 is more or less the ‘safe level’, how high is the Venus level? 1500ppm? 3000ppm? 5000?
    And reformulated again: at which global average temperature would we expect the water vapor feedback to switch into runaway mode? 30ºC?
    And how high could we theoretically get emissions if we count for the factor 72 of methane on a 20-year timespan? How much carbon is there in the fossil fuels in terms of ppm?
    Imagine methane reaches 40,000ppb. That would mean an extra 1000ppm CO2eq over 100 years. Is that possible? Is that a required condition for the Venus syndrome?

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    Climate change may leave Mount Everest ascent ice-free, say climbers

    Mission launched to measure change in Himalayas as anecdotal evidence grows of melting ice on mountain’s southern approach

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/24/climate-change-mount-everest-melting?newsfeed=true

  16. James Adcock says:

    Is, or Isn’t the Spring Snowpack of the Pacific Northwest going the way of the dodo? One leading local media personality claims it ain’t so! [Spring Snowpack is necessary for the survival of our skiers, farmers, summer water supplies, salmon, and our electrical supply via hydroelectric dams]

  17. John Tucker says:

    The EIA scenario on nuclear energy suggests something like 32 nuclear reactor units of 1000MW capacity be built per year to cut greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent – its actually part of a major Greenpece talking point against nuclear.

    In the vein of comparable base-load renewable replacement what are the requirements on renewable construction for a similar cut? without nuclear? and how are we doing?

    The EIA also seems to be a worse case scenario provider, which seems to be on purpose as their other statements they seem to be attempting to motivate towards clean energy. In light of the Greenpeace willful (mis?)interpretation and what could be said for these latest numbers and the role of solar – is that kind of tactic if being used productive? what are the pros and cons.

    Also what is the net outcome of pitting renewables and clean energy against one another. Of course a political argument is part of it here – the anti nuclear movement is huge and networked. Are they worth the costs of courtship?

  18. Ernest says:

    What is “Plan B” for climate activists if
    a) Rick Perry wins (presidency)
    b) Mitt Romney wins

    Can Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors be a large part of the solution to global warming and energy security? (High energy density, “baseload”, ostensibly safer than light water uranium reactors, much less waste, does not have the proliferation issues of uranium reactors, possibly same cost structure or less than conventional reactors …)

    • David B. Benson says:

      Unfortunately there are no LFTRs. India is working on one. A company in Alabama, Flibe(?), was formed recently to start designing a small LFTR. The so-called wave reactor could use some thorium.

      But as none are currently available, it is best to plan on building Gen III designs.

  19. DRT says:

    I hear and read that corporations are hoarding cash. How can they be induced to spend their cash on all manner of energy efficiency upgrades?

    • Leif says:

      Under present conditions, IMO, the only way that corporations will endorse the Green Awakening Economy is if they can see that they will make more profits in the short term than consuming fossil fuel and being allowed to use and abuse the commons, (water, dirt, and air), for free dumping. Disregarding the societal costs of clean up and mitigation, (for the most part), creates a lopsided economy. An economy that does not factor the well being of its citizens first and foremost will look like ours. You change Corporate structure fundamentally, Period. Asking nice does not appear to make an impression. Progressives have been working for over thirty years to talk nice and as MLK said: “When dissent becomes impossible, Revolution becomes inevitable.” I vote for a peaceful transition not only for the lives that will be saved but we really do not have the time or resources to waste. Survival predicts sustainability one way or another.

      • catman306 says:

        It’s really easy for millions of people to cost a corporation money:
        They can refuse to pay bills from that corporation.
        They can refuse to buy products manufactured, imported, or marketed by that corporation.
        They can increase the corporation’s maintenance costs.
        They can elect congressmen who will cut corporate welfare to that corporation.

        Cutting a corporation’s quarterly earnings is the fastest way to create change withing those corporations. But only if they are publicly traded. (Not Koch Industries, ADM, or Cargill)

      • NeilT says:

        A while back I challenged Joe that the government should be putting incentives in place to get businesses to change. He told me nobody was even talking about it, everyone was focused on carbon credits because that was the “only option” we had which had a chance to work.

        Well that’s dead now isn’t it.

        So I say again. There is only one sure way to get a company to do what you want. Make it more profitable to do it that way.

        You can penalise companies as much as you want but cost cutting to increase profit is a multifaceted thing and the one thing which is guaranteed is that companies will not do what you expect.

        Let them Make money, make it simple, cheap and easy to do and only in one way; they will do it. Nothing is more sure. Companies do not ignore profit opportunities.

        In Europe over the last 25 years LPG has been introduced as a fuel and has been very successful. Why? Because they made it cheap. Now it is creeping up to the price of other fuels, but the cost of junking the investment is high, so they don’t do it.

        I don’t know why those who wish to have a cleaner, more healthy, environment are so averse to a decent profit. Let’s face it, WE are going to have to pay the bill in the end no matter what. So why have a huge fight about it?

        Joe said “Nobody is talking about it”. I said “You are the lobbyists” nudge nudge.

        Still the climate lobby is talking about penalties and taxes.

        Every year the GOP becomes more entrenched and undoes more good environmental work.

        It’s not difficult to figure out. The more you fight this way the more you lose.

        • Joe Romm says:

          I have no idea what you are talking about. Everybody has been focused on putting incentives in place for businesses since Obama took office, from tax incentives to a carbon price to efficiency and renewable standards.

          • NeilT says:

            Joe, that says it all for me.

            A price for carbon is a TAX, is viewed as a TAX and a Disincentive to businesses.

            You told me that nobody was talking about tax breaks as incentives for clean energy businesses; the only thing on the table was a PRICE on carbon. Something you will not get past the GOP who just keep getting stronger every time you try it.

            Every time I have to deal with serial denialists I have to deal with allegations of “tax mad environmentalist lefties”, rather than the issues. I hear that Al Gore has made himself a millionaire out of Carbon Taxes (true or not it’s an alluring sound byte).

            You talk a lot about slogans and marketing. How Drill Baby Drill is such a powerful slogan.

            Well the Climate lobby has given itself a much more powerful and even shorter slogan in the minds of the deniers.

            Tax baby tax.

            Until you remove that slogan, you will meet resistance in all walks of life no matter how much they recognise the issue.

      • DRT says:

        I hear you Leif; I don’t disagree. I am under the impression though, that there is lots of low hanging fruit out there with items like replacing electric motors with efficient motors, where the payback is quick and savings can accumulate soon. So, do these opportunities exist? If they do are they being taken advantage of? If these relatively easy energy efficiency opportunities are not being taken advantage of, how can corporations be induced to spend their money on these things that seem like they’d be in their best interest.

  20. Ken Laux says:

    What one climate change-induced event might be most likely to get the general public, and even Republicans, to take climate change seriously?

    Another Katrina/Nashville/Texas-size drought? Hasn’t worked so far.

    At present I am thinking that if the West Antarctic Ice Shelf were to suddenly collapse, and world sea levels rose several feet virtually overnight as a result, …people might notice.

    Goodbye Miami!!!

    …related to this, someone should do a mashup of Google maps and projected sea level rises over the years, to highlight the fact that many in FL and elsewhere are on the front lines of CC, whether they know it or not.

  21. Frank Zaski says:

    Six Questions:
    1. Are environmentalists placing too much emphasis on big government to fight global warming and overlooking opportunities to have direct influence with GHG creators? (Or, put in a solutions request form) Beyond government solutions, what more can we do to directly influence GHG creators?

    2. How can ratings, recognition and appreciation be better used to influence more EE, RE and other global warming solutions among all groups of energy creators and users?

    3. What more can environmentalists do to use the power of social media to make change?

    4. Why are energy efficiency and conservation solutions to global warming so very much over looked? What more can we do?

    5. Are environmentalists concentrating too much on the small (<20%) segment of conservative white men and overlooking the opportunity to increase global warming efforts among women and minorities? (Or) What more can we do to influence these groups?

    6. How can we better use the information and insights found on this blog?

    PS. With the creativity here, it would seem we should better define solutions rather than concentrate on the problems.

  22. Aubrey Enoch says:

    What is the amount of soar energy that is income to the Earth each day? Sunshine is the only income we’ve got. It is the only source of energy that can provide a future for our children. Our present energy practices are nothing short of suicide. How can we get more good writers on our side to refute the sociopathic deniers? How do we get more honest media outlets? When are all the university faculty that are so comfy in their tenure going to unite and speak out against the blatant fraud of our quid pro quo political system? This phony “democratic government ” is nothing more than an arm of the fossil fuel and financial industries. The silence of the thousands of science and non-science faculty enables these criminals that are destroying the livable conditions of our planet. We should have a hundred PHDs challenge every lie that the deniers put out. I’m just a wore out retired carpenter but even I can see that we don’t have for ever to change our course. 2025, 2030, 2050 are all coming like it or not. Our children will be here. What are we leaving for them?

  23. Bill G says:

    Why does this item say “38 Responses” but we see only 20?

    • catman306 says:

      @Bill G: Because the total counts ‘replies’ like this one. The numbered responses like yours neglect the replies.

  24. Dave J says:

    Question #1:
    Considering payback period of solar PV, financing of rooftop solar PV becomes problematic for those who don’t know how long they will be able to live in their current home. That is, persons whose employment causes them to move frequently or retirees who know they will need to downsize soon.
    What is the best approach to financing rooftop solar for people in those circumstances?
    Question #2:
    How can individuals invest in medium to large solar and wind farms?
    Question #3:
    Purchase of green electricity is available in some states by paying more per kilowatt-hour. Are there any green power generator ‘comparisons’ or ‘ratings’ which can be used to ensure the green power purchased is truly contributing to lowering CO2 emissions?

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  25. Guy M says:

    I know a lot of geologists, and have noticed a strong tendency amongst them as a group to be dismissive of climate change as a real or serious concern. Why is this?

    • John McCormick says:

      Real simple. These guys pound rocks for a living and try to uncover more CO2-producing rocks. Vested interest in their denial.

      • Guy M says:

        That’s always possible, but I wonder what else might influence this. I’m guessing geologists may have a particularly heightened sense of climate varying through geological time because of natural forces. Their training probably doesn’t equip them well to understand the effects of changing climate on human societies on the other hand.

  26. NeilT says:

    I would like to see much more of the “Elephant in the room” discussion here.

    For instance there is much in the news about Texas rice farmers lobbying their politicians because the LCRA is going to cut off their water or at least cut it down to once a year in a good year.

    The question is not about the supply. It’s not even about politics. It’s about insanity. WTH are they doing growing rice there in the first place and now that water from the north cannot be guaranteed, why are they not looking to change crops?

    These questions are always overlooked. Farmers have always changed crops to match climate and needs. Now it seems that farmers reach for the cheque book to lobby their representative before the seed catalogue and Chicargo updates.

    Also I’d like CP to become more active as a host of debate rather than a reporter of demise and stupidity. I konw this costs money but perhaps we could also be balloted on helping to fund it. I know that Joe is active in presenting on TV, however CP needs to be active in hosting live debates on which they can set the agenda.

  27. Ernest says:

    I’d like to see a CP review of Daniel Yergin’s recent book “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” (2011).

  28. Anne van der Bom says:

    I wonder where the action is? The campaigns to raise awareness. It seems the mass demonstrations are a thing of the past.

    Is the problem too abstract?

    Are people too egocentric to care?

    Is it too far into the future?

    Too much confusion?

    Are other things more important?

    Why is nothing happening?

    Where are the grassroots?

    • Roger says:

      Anne,
      You might want to see http://www.gothelimit.org as one option.

      This group hopes to wake folks up through Civil Obedience, namely by observing the speed limit in creative ways. Think about the possibilities, then repeat.

      Combining social networking with cars could be cool. December 3rd, at noon, everywhere.

  29. Brian R Smith says:

    re: David Smith #3

    I’m with you that we should be asking ourselves, and each other, deeper questions about strategy, though I would emphasize that individual efforts (footprint, family, community) need to result in collective actions if we are talking at-scale political goals & targets. Which i hope we are.

    You say: “the environmental movement is totally fractured among hundreds of different issues and lacking in effective central coordination & leadership on AGW…” I don’t believe it is totally fractured, but I do think it’s critical to ask at this point if a major project to consolidate “effective coordination & leadership” (and funding) in the climate community is perhaps the only way to take control of the national narrative on climate & energy. We all understand how well coordinated, funded & effective the opposition is. Its politics, PR & money and we are loosing ground if our goal is to mobilize the voting public in 2012. So I would ask:

    What’s your version of effective strategy for actually turning the political tide on climate & energy in the next 12 months.

    How much weight would you give to the potential for a more unified, coordinated PR campaign that builds on current campaigns?

    re:Anne van der Bom says, “I wonder where the action is? The campaigns to raise awareness. It seems the mass demonstrations are a thing of the past.”

    You just missed Moving Planet & some other important mass actions.

  30. Roger S says:

    Here are my current top questions:

    1. Why doesn’t Obama tell Americans the truth: that global warming is real and a huge U.S. opportunity that we must either capitalize upon or begin a painful decline?

    2. How can we get everyone who is seriously concerned about global warming working together, thus enhancing our effectiveness?

    3. To the extent that CP readers have managed to set any money aside for their golden years, how are they investing or spending it?

  31. Mike#22 says:

    Can a Climate Hawk also take fossil fuel enabled vacations? Fly to Bermuda to blow some bubbles, catch some powder at Vail?

  32. Lionel A says:

    Would you welcome comments that include quotations from the writings of respected climate scientists and in particular those that remind, or inform new readers, of just how long the denial machine has been spinning?

    For example I have just started reading the late (and much missed) Stephen Schneider’s thought provoking ‘The Patient from Hell’ which has some very relevant observations and is a must read also for those who have encountered the cancer demon.

    Schneider’s remarks on Richard Lindzen are telling. On how unfair things were that ‘two-packs a day’ Lindzen had not gotten cancer but he had. This remark was made without malicious intent and indeed it gave Stephen another incentive to fight the disease and for which he thanked Lindzen.

    Schneider also explains how ‘uncertainty principle’ Lindzen by arriving in Australia before him made Stephen’s job of convincing some in the Australian legislature that the precautionary principle about avoiding Type II errors indicated that early action should be taken to take measures to counter rising CO2 much more difficult. And we all know the noises in Australia since.

    Another point made in the book is that one of the essential medicines used in Stephen’s chemotherapy was extracted from a rare and little know plant from Madagascar. A fact which Stephen’s wife biologist Terry Root pointed out.

    To think that the headlong rush by some to get rich quick is destroying the very species that could provide life saving chemicals in the future, and we would never know of the loss.

    Have the Tea Partiers etc., never heard of ‘The Midas Touch’?

    It is staggering, given the knowledge that Stephen and Terry had to inform the IPCC process ten years ago, that we still have clown travelling around making lots of noise about uncertainties. Time to call out these clowns for what they are, and not mince words doing it. We know who they are, let it be ensured that more visitors here do too.

    Some thought provoking comments from Terry Root here:

    UO Today Show #374 Terry Root where she calls the clowns out as ‘propagandists’.

    RIP Stephen Schneider you put up a very courageous show in Australia when you knew that you had little time left, you were patient with the audience to the end.

  33. Ken says:

    1.When will solar energy become cheaper to produce than energy produced with oil, coal or gas?

    When that happens, we will better know our future, so it seems to me, that is a valuable metric to track.

    2. Are we totally dependent on some genius developing a new technology which will generate energy cheaper than fossil fuels, or are there ways indivduals can do something to hasten the development of new carbon free technology?

    3. Can a privately run, non governmental, volunteer gasoline tax be created to fund new venture capital investment in carbon free technology development ? Similarly for a voluntary tax on electrcity purchase ?

  34. Dave J says:

    In his landmark 2005 book “Energy Autonomy”, Hermann Scheer, who brought solar energy to Germany, contrasts the short supply chain of wind and solar with that of fossil fuels, the point being that total emissions for fossil fuels must include the mining and transportation emissions as well. Also, fuel security emissions from military ventures around the globe must be included.

    He suggested three points in strategizing for a breakthrough to renewable energy:
    1) Widely dispersed and independent energy generation (not all solar in Sun Belt; avoid super-grid costs),
    2) Political decentralization rather than international institiutions and market harmonization (think Kyoto), and
    3) Stimulating autonomous investments (strengthening local communities), instead of towards investment planning by government and the energy business (who will want to continue large power generation plants…).

    I would add the overarching political problem of large vested interests in the existing fuel supply and power industries and the military/industrial-contractors complex. Amplified by the Citizens-United decision, the lobbying power of vested interests constitutes a threat to logical decision-making on the national stage. The solution to climate change (and many other problems) requires breaking the unfettered influence of money in politics.

    Anything ClimateProgress can do along these lines would be helpful, in my opinion.

  35. Mond from Oz says:

    At what ppmv level will CO2(e) emissions peak, on a BAU track? When will that peak occur? At what point will peak temperature be achieved? (year and degrees C.)

    In short, How bad is it going to get, and when is it going to get there?

  36. Lionel A says:

    I hope this gets picked up now that this article has fallen below the ‘Older’ waterline.

    Not being still within academia I often have trouble accessing some papers cited in posts here and elsewhere. I realise that universal Journal access is a thorny issue with some good points raised by Ben Goldacre and others here:

    Academic papers are hidden from the public. Here’s some direct action.