What Are the Next Big Energy and Climate Stories? What Would You Like Climate Progress to Cover in 2012?

In short, what would you like Climate Progress to cover in 2012 that we aren’t already covering.

CP tries to be responsive to readers.  You wanted more coverage of clean energy and solutions, so last year we brought on reporter Stephen Lacey to fill that gap, and  now CP has some of the best, most reposted and retweeted content on clean energy in the blogosphere or MSM.

We won’t be hiring anyone new this year, but are very much interested in what you’d like to see more coverage of.

Also, one thing CP tries hard to do is be ahead of the curve, to dive into subjects before the MSM catches on to them — as we have with shale gas, the connection between global warming and extreme weather, food insecurity and Dust-Bowlification, the Keystone XL pipeline and protests against it, to name but a few.  What do you think are next big energy and climate stories that aren’t getting enough attention?

93 Responses to What Are the Next Big Energy and Climate Stories? What Would You Like Climate Progress to Cover in 2012?

  1. Rangachari Anand says:

    I am convinced that peak oil is imminent within the next few years. Far from causing the reduction of greenhouse gasses, I think this is only going to exacerbate the problem. The interaction between these two crises will definitely be worth following

  2. S.B. Ripman says:

    You should do a state-by-state forecast of the likely impacts of AGW.
    The gratuitous, nasty, partisan political stuff is a turn-off. Please refrain.

  3. Evan Wynns says:

    Community energy projects! A lot of folks are wrestling with how to lower the bar for investment in green power and make green energy a sensible choice for everyone, not just homeowners and environmental professionals.

  4. John Tucker says:

    “what would you like Climate Progress to cover in 2011”

    Id like to see less denial of 2012. (Sorry you know I had to)

  5. Leif says:

    Easy: I would love to see you cover the wild success of the 99% endorsing the Green Awakening Economy. The breaking news that Wall Street and ecocidal fossil industry finally join humanity in the common goal of the sustainability of Humanity and Earth’s life support systems.

    The swallow your gum news that since “Corpo-People” have been declared “people,” they finally accept ALL the other responsibilities OF people. Being nice neighbors is high on my list.

    2012, the year that Humanity embraces the sustainable future.

  6. John Tucker says:

    thanks – also perhaps more of what is going on in nuclear venues. New plants, successes, failures what have you. Carbon sequestration as well. (in short the wildly unpopular but arguably necessary stuff)

  7. Adam says:

    I’d love to see some more stories covering topics like top soil and water table depletion. And please keep the articles on the economics of green/renewable energy coming. Those are very useful.

  8. Jeff H says:

    Three Things

    I would like to see much more coverage and writing about four things:

    * The ethical issues and their implications for policy, action, and activism. In politics, most public coverage, and even here, the vast majority of the dialogue around climate change occurs as if it’s only and mainly an issue of science and economics, the latter in a narrow sense. Science, money, and jobs. That’s it. Far too often, all dialogues — including most of those here — occur as if there are no moral issues, or as if the moral issues are merely “theoretical” or “nice”, but not serious. The feeling is something like this: “Real Practical Men don’t talk about morality/ethics and our demonstrable responsibilities as humans to each other, and Real Practical Men understand that all that talk is fairytale-like and carries no Real Force.” Even most of the coverage here defers to this incorrect and deeply unwise (and unreal, and counterproductive) notion. Even most of the coverage here adopts the economic framing or lets people get away with the economics-only framing. That should change. The ethical discussions should be given much more — and concrete — coverage, and we should discuss and ACT UPON their implications. And, not a post should pass that implies (explicitly, or even by omission) that the appropriate, most important, and final measure that should determine what we do is the economics-only measure. Indeed, judging by some discussions, it’s not clear to me that CAP and CP “get” this.

    For example, there’s the issue of whether the popular paradigm or stance that “the United States shouldn’t commit to substantial GHG emissions reductions unless China and India do as well” is ethically sound, justified, and responsible. (It’s not.) So, let’s discuss that. Perhaps CP could ask Donald Brown to do a guest post on that topic? If not, why not?

    * Direct appeals — naming names — to people who can and should take action, or help appeal to others, by virtue of their roles and platforms. I’ve written about this before. For example, CP could (and should) make a direct public appeal to the President of Harvard, the two present leaders of Bain, and the head of the IOC, intended to ask them, specifically, to author a statement directed to Mitt Romney regarding climate change. CP could, and should, sometimes use its platform to make direct, sound, responsible appeals to specific people to DO things that would be helpful and potentially make a difference. This approach — naming names in order to air ideas, make appeals, and prompt positive cooperation and action — is an essential one.

    * Posts (perhaps mostly guest posts) that raise ideas about more effective activism.

    * Posts (by CP, and also guest posts) that air considerations and alternative strategies — for the audience’s info and discussion — not excluding those that might question the “vote for Obama no matter what he does” assumption. Clearly (will anyone deny it?) there have been some subjects that have been ignored or treated as “off limits”, or disregarded, and in any case prevented from being aired here as posts. I think CP should be much more open to hosting alternative arguments — alternative points-of-view — regarding strategy and tactics. Without taking stances of its own (at least on issues that, according to CP, it can’t take stances on), CP should at least host and allow well-presented and well-argued views about strategy and tactics, for its audience’s benefit and consideration and in the interest of facilitating open discussion.

    Those are my suggestions. Otherwise, bravo!



  9. Jo says:

    I would like more emphasis on human degradatiion of the land. That none of the fossil fuel industries clean up their mess. Also that we live on a small planet and we are running out of all resources trying to satisfy 7 billion people.

  10. I’d like to see coverage of the action in unexpected places – like South Korea’s advanced development of a cap and trade system, or interesting policies going on in India or Brazil. Would seem to me really useful to underscore the irrelevance of the ‘we’ll only act when the major developing countries also do’ crowd.

  11. George Ennis says:

    I would like to see continued coverage of the impact of climate change on the hydrological cycle and the sustainability of clean fresh water. Specifically it would be great to see more stories on how climate change will affect the great river systems in North America and in particular the Great Lakes watershed. It seems that one of the most direct impacts of climate change that has any possibility of awakening the public to the risks and dangers climate change poses is on the availability of water.

  12. J Bowers says:

    Local initiatives to use renewables, be it Palestinians jerry-rigging wind turbines and solar panels on their rooftops, African villagers replacing kerosene with solar in their huts, or British communities creating co-operatives and making their own hydro or fitting solar panels on their local brewery’s roof.

    Many small parts make a larger whole.

    How about ‘How to make your own’ articles, perhaps in the form of guest posts by those who have actually done the deed? It’s not as if WUWT can host guest posts on how to build your own oil refinery ;)

  13. Pythagoras says:

    Fatih Birol of the IEA states that he believes 2013-2015 to be the date for maximum liquid fuels production. Of particular interest is how Saudi Arabia responds to this event. With their rapidly expanding population and their profligate internal use of oil, it will be interesting to see whether they can keep the revenue from oil sales high enough to support their government social programs.

    Is the Saudi commitment to renewable resources a real one because it permits them to place more oil on the international market? How the Saudi’s address their clean water needs is also going to be important.

    In the same manner, the declining revenue from oil exportation to the Mexican economy will also be story worth following.

  14. Greg Junell says:

    1. Papers out of the pentagon. Climate related security risks and migration white papers. (Doing some already.)
    2. Academia is the furthest from MSM. Be a bridge. More summaries of obscure research.
    3. Team up’s and cross posts with Post Carbon Inst.
    4. Send a writer and photographer to transition towns and get first hand news of the progress.
    5. Interview our kind of celebs, Amory Lovins, Kumi Naidoo, Annie Leonard, Leon Panetta, Mario Molina, Ken Salazar, Ami Vitale, Bill Nye, Peter Voser… not necessarily with the cause but players in the scene or on the ground observers.

  15. Progress with climate models

    Areas where data and research is lacking and what’s being done about it

    Climate change and the Antarctic

    Oceans acidification and its consequences

    Feedbacks and tipping points

  16. Eric says:

    A prime example of a radical breakthrough that has emerged this year is Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) technology. The characteristics of the technology are so phenomenal they could be considered almost too good to be true by some people who are not familiar with all the evidence in support of it. In short, by exposing nickel powder to pressurized hydrogen gas, along with a proprietary catalyst, cold fusion nuclear processes are induced, and a huge output of energy is released in the form of heat. Unlike conventional nuclear power, no radioactive materials are used, and no radioactive waste is produced in the process. The heat can then be used directly, or converted into electricity via a number of different methods.

    To expand on the benefits of the E-Cat technology a bit further, it also emits no pollution into the environment, consumes only tiny amounts of cheap fuel (nickel powder and hydrogen gas), and has a huge power density. For example, in one test a reactor core with a volume of one liter produced a constant 130 kilowatts for a period of time. Andrea Rossi has also stated on his blog (The Journal of Nuclear Physics) that one previous model of E-Cat could produce a safe maximum output of 10 kilowatts from a reactor core only fifty centimeters in volume. In reality, the only limit to the output of the E-Cat is the melting temperature of the nickel powder (which is around 1600C). If the nickel starts to melt, the reaction sites where the energy producing processes take place are destroyed, and the nuclear reactions cease. Even only a few minutes later, an individual could open the reactor and detect no radioactivity.

    Actually, this aspect of the technology serves as a fundamental safety mechanism, because it prevents any type of conventional nuclear run away effect from taking place. Simply put, the technology cannot be weaponized to make nuclear bombs.


  17. Zach says:

    Less depressing gloom-and-doom studies. I usually don’t read those posts on here, as I don’t need anymore convincing. We already know that climate change is bad and we need to begin reducing emissions ASAP. If anybody still needs more convincing of that, they should probably look into getting a cat scan.

    I would like to see more on the politics of moving forward with action, as well as progress that’s being made in renewables, efficiency, etc. More posts about plans to reduce our emissions, legislation that may push it forward.

  18. Pythagoras says:

    Actually there is only one story for 2012 and it is China…
    – the emerging environmental movement
    – the statements of the technocratic leadership on how China needs to balance growth with environment
    – Chinese industrial policy on renewable energy
    – Chinese political action on C02 emissions
    – Whether or not sufficient coal is available on the world market to fuel the massive investment in coal fired plants in China
    – US and Australian export policy with respects to coal exports; US domestic politics surrounding the export of coal from US west coast ports
    – The role that coal exports play in the mining of Appalachian coal
    – Chinese oil company investments in gas and oil hydrofracking technologies
    – Chinese battery technology development and whether that translates to Chinese domestic EV development

    You get the picture…

  19. prokaryotes says:

    An article about Space based Solar.

  20. John Atkeison says:

    How about a higher level of reporting on who our real political & enviro friends are? Especially who is greenwashing and who is leading!

    A serious and accurate accounting– which we have good reason to expect from Climate Progress– would help to balance knee-jerk hostility towards Democrats like Waxman and some Sierra Club leaders, while helping us all accelerate our organizing. Presumably we would also get an accurate picture of characters like the Blue Dogs who sometimes get a pass in the form of not calling them on their reactionary policies and votes.

  21. Peter R. Cross says:

    I see a synthesis between the semi-green technology of ‘stitch-and-glue’ boat construction, maximum-potential conceptualizations for other body and impact-handling components, and the availability of controls – wheel-motor packages for small all-electric vehicles. Exploiting this synthesis requires some really creative engineering and component-supply imagination: right off I think of asking RMI for help.

    The objective would be a “kit vehicle”, with some possible body variations, that would balance weight against cost, against robust reliability of local group (neighborhood, segments of urban areas, rural towns) or small enterprise assemblers, to produce to appropriate regulatory standards, and perhaps creation or modification of such standards.

    The time and energy-strategic objectives would be a) getting away from heavy stamped steel ASAP, b) using a very large pool of do-it-yourself folks, with time on their hands at this point in our economic situation, c) getting this image of innovation out on the streets where LARGE numbers of people would see.

    Small businesses could emerge, building standard components locally–e.g. a plywood-honeycomb fire-proofed body pan, and all kinds of other things. “Assemble to order” local business or non-profits could set up based on the availability of a standard component set. Those already doing boats could come up with whatever range of artistic body shapes–make mine with the outer thin laminate in stained hickory.

    Yup, outside the box, but it taps the energies of THE PEOPLE, who remain, in the United States, open to this kind of advance, and capable of generating some sense of hope and empowerment in our otherwise foreboding early 21st Century, in the process.

  22. Start Loving says:

    What was the only important story of the Civil Rights era? ENOUGH citizens stood long enough, courageously enough, with such Insane Levels of Humanity, paying insane personal prices… that Justice finally prevailed, was UNSTOPABLE. And this was the story of the Arab Spring, Anti-Apartheid, Suffrage, etc., etc., etc. Facts were not the story. Scientific developments were not the story. Presidential action, inaction were not the story. The internet was not the story. Method was not the story. Token efforts were not the story. Congressional action, inaction were not the story.


    Please, please, please. It would be A dangerous road for you personally. Yes, we insanely want to blame, we lefties, we progressives, everyone EXCEPT ourselves. The LAST thing we want to hear is that we are the only possible solution, but that is the Truth. But we’re dead, all of creation is dead, unless enough people like you tell us the only important story, help us see, help us gain courage, help us stop whining, stop begging, stop token efforts, stop pitiful efforts to hold OTHERS to standards of courage, self-sacrifice, political-economic-personal suiicide, and hold ourselves to the measure of the Greatest Generation, the Civil Rights movement, the Arab Spring revolutionaries, etc, etc, etc. Please. It is now, or never.

    If there is any other story, it is – how much time do we have left, and what has to be done in that time. Your book was wonderful on the science. Plan B 3.0 is the best by far in terms of a quantifiable, comprehensive road map. Put the map back up on the board for us, and keep it there. How long do we have? What needs to be done, BY WHEN? How far behind are we?

    I do what I can but I’m invisible, and you aren’t. Please.

  23. CW says:

    – Efforts at democratic reforms (follow groups or individuals trying to make this happen and the climate linkages and implications)

    – The rise of other unconventional oil sources than tar sands (ex. “tight oil” extraction in the US, pre-salt oil in Brazil, etc).

    – Alternative business models either making some breakthroughs (ex. bulk purchasing of green techs) or being legally fortified (ex. The rise of benefit corporation laws (ex. California and NY recently)) including climate accounting and standards

    – More on China’s progress (policies [carbon tax set for 2015 and so on], jobs, geo-economic and geo-political implications, etc)

    – Lots of ongoing posts on cities (issues, progress, ideals, etc.)

    – Restoration economy pieces (à la Storm Cunningham)

    – Novel technologies (ex. polyethylenimine materials for pulling CO2 out of the air)

    – Human psychology in the face of non-linear, multi-causal (i.e. complex) problems such as climate change

    – More on the basics of policy and technology development (what we need, myths or false notions from the usual suspects).

    – More on efforts by religious organizations to face climate change

  24. Greg Moschetti says:

    1. Go after big oil and big coal relentlessly and without stopping. Expose every move they make in their relentless pursuit of profit over humanity. Show their financial ties to congressional Republicans and Democrats, show how they corrupt and pollute in foreign countries. Expose them for the parihas they are.

    2. Report on efforts by other countries which show how woefully behind the US has fallen and how likely we are to end up well behind in the clean energy race.

    3. Report on the small scale community level efforts taking place all over the world–Hawkin’s “Blessed Unrest”.

    4. Keep the heat to the President’s feet.

    5. Keep up the good work.

  25. Ceal Smith says:

    Key issues for 2012 that I’d like to see TP cover include (1) Feed-in Tariffs and the growing Energy Democracy/energy decentralization movement, (2) the largely ignored potential for improved farm/ranch soil management techniques to sequester massive amounts of carbon (aka Carbon Ranching/Quivira Coalition), (3) greater scrutiny of how monopoly utility and energy interests influence and obstruct energy policy reform in the US, (4) a greater spotlight on effective policies that have allowed Germany and other countries to surge ahead with renewables.

  26. Shelly Leit says:

    This is probably a deviation from climate but I’d like to see more coverage of health issues related not just to air and water quality, but also related to fossil fuel use. I suspect that oil and gas mining and use contribute to cancer and to all sorts of neurological problems but there is very little media coverage of this possible link. In fact I think the explosion of autism is related to coal usage because of the mercury byproducts. I also think it would be useful to tie serious health issues like cancer to the use of fossil fuels whenever possible so the public sees the potential health dangers of fossil fuels. It is just common sense that fracking chemicals are toxic because the gas companies don’t even want us to know what is in these mixtures. We need another Erin Brocovich going after all fossil fuels, not just gas fracking. Is anyone investigating cancer clusters around coal burning plants, around the oil sands, etc. Stories like that could be very useful for people to make the connection to how immoral it is for these companies to knowingly make money off of things that are killing and sickening so many people.

  27. Some European says:

    In general, I’d like to see more global news and political analysis. More specifically, I’d like to read more stories about minority communities and about a part of the world which has a huge potential: the muslim world – both immigrant communities and communities in their home countries.
    Just imagine what would happen if tomorrow Pakistanis would collectively understand that their double deluge was caused by Americans and Brits.
    We already know about the efforts of the fossil fuel lobby to derail climate action in the Anglo-Saxon world. Are they doing the same in Arab countries? How about science denial?

    Also, I don’t agree that we’ve seen enough science. Effective communication still needs the dire message.

  28. John Campbell says:

    ditto, Jeff, plus the cross connect of ethical/stewardship analysis with economics and politics wrt cc

  29. Wayne Kernochan says:

    I am reluctant to take your eye off the excellent summaries you are already doing of the latest scientific research and technologies, not to mention the political aspects. Still, I believe that a closer, more detailed analysis of methane in the overall picture is warranted. Up to now, consideration has been source by source, and the mechanics of its effects on overall global warming and atmospheric CO2 under possible scenarios are, I think, not clear to readers. I am concerned that we are repeating the lack of understanding of Arctic sea ice, where conservative scientific models failed to convey the urgency of the most likely (and increasingly confirmed) melting scenario.

  30. Marie says:

    I second all of the above except the one that we’ve heard enough about the dire news. I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I am still communicating with many professionals and family members who need basic convincing. The ready updates on the latest science and news are a critical part of CP’s contribution.

  31. Leif says:

    The Arab world has lots of sun ripe for development, and deployment which equals jobs for the masses. A fed, contented, productively working society is a happy society. The leaders will see that less oil consumed at cut rates by their population will bring a higher profit on the world market. It is a win, win if they only look at the flip side if the capitalism coin. The sooner their people become sustainable the sooner their energy export becomes green rather than black. Quit the bickering and “Get It Done.” They even got the cash flow. However, like us, not the leaders. Personal greed can only be the motive, IMO.

  32. I would like to see more about finance. Cap and trade may not fly, but ideas like solar-backed securities and other ways to get capital invested in low-carbon energy are crucial. As oil peaks, the growth economy dies. What does the post-carbon economy look like?

    Also, more information on agriculture – both as a contributor to climate change (methane and the nitrogen cycle), as a solution (re-building soil carbon and biomass) and as a victim – food security in the face of climate impacts.

    Thanks for the fantastic job, Joe and Stephen. I rely on you guys 365 days a year to keep me informed with the latest climate news!

  33. Mike Roddy says:

    Climate Progress might want to talk to wavering Republicans- not the obvious ones like Bloomberg, but those few Congressmen and state leaders who aren’t afraid to tell the truth about AGW. There aren’t many of these guys, but they could be pivotal.

    We need more detailed scientific work on terrestrial carbon sinks- mostly forests- and how they are affected by human activity. This would include good data on afforestation potential, biochar, etc.

  34. Joan Savage says:

    I share Lou Grinzo’s caution about underestimation of destabilization.

    I’d like to see us wrestle with some long term planning – 20 to 40 years is not excessive for bonding a public works project, so those are useful time frames.

    A scenario that comes to mind is building wind turbines and solar to supply a city that will either run out of water or be underwater before the renewable energy infrastructure is paid off.

    That is extreme folly, at least in hindsight. At least some have come to understand the risks of investing in nuclear near flooding rivers, earthquake faults, tsunami zones and the like, but we need to get real about all the shifting risks to smooth a transition to Post Carbon.

  35. Ernest says:

    I second this. US and China are the two elephants in the (climate change) room. If both can solve the climate issue, much of the world will follow. (Despite it’s rampant use/dependency of coal, China seems to be more aggressive at this point with it’s aim to dominate the renewable energy industries.)

    Related China’s rapid growth, will there be a commodities shortage, not just rare earths, but bulk commodities such as copper, such that it will be difficult for the rest of the world to deploy renewables? Is there anything to Stephen Leeb’s thesis in “Red Alert: How China’s prosperity threatens the American way of life”.

  36. dick smith says:

    I have to disagree with 1/2 of Zach’s comment. Keep those doom-and-gloom studies coming–or any other science we need to know. When you report it, not only is it very early and timely, the analysis is unparalleled. There isn’t any other website out there that provides the insights–the real meaning and significance of studies–the way you do. I am amazed at how well you do it. The quality is so consistent. The caveats and the “must reads” hit the bullseye again and again.

  37. Janet Matthews says:

    1)I have repressed the name of the politician who announced that he didn’t know what a green job and hasn’t seen any – some education for him would be nice.
    2)And: water, water everywhere – in all its manifestations.
    3) More of what you are already doing. Thank you.

  38. C. Vink says:

    1. More emphasis on interesting studies, especially concerning improved modeling and changing prognoses – also when some of the latter would become less grave in some (economically of socially) relevant respects. Thus keeping up your high standard of expertise, objectivity and credibility.

    2. Keep addressing the lack of well-informed messaging by the media and the resulting lack of knowledge among the general public, in a patient and friendly way; try to avoid any pedantic or aggressive overtones.

    3. A little less room for the ins-and-outs (details) of US climate politics and policy making, shifting some attention to major political developments in, and climatological prospects for, other parts of the world, could help attract (even) more of a ‘world audience’.

    4. Be careful not to lose credibility by putting relatively a lot of emphasis on extreme weather events possibly driven by climate change already; try to only report about the (evolving) consensus view on this subject matter.

  39. dick smith says:

    Please tell us whether you think a fee-and-dividend carvon tax is a workable alternative to cap and trade.

    NASA’s Dr. James Hansen supports it. He serves on the Board of Citizens Climate Lobby, and growing national group organized by congressional districts to pass it.

    Rep. Paul Stark (D-Cal) has introduced a version of it–SOCA (Save Our climate Act).

    I have no idea what you think on what seems like the only politically viable alternative to cap-and-trade. I would sure like the benefit of your thinking on the subject.

  40. Peter Cummins says:

    CP is,as ever,excellent–thank you!From deep in rural New Zealand,there’s a hint of Armageddon drifting down from the Arctic:the Methane Clathrate and Tundra emissions;with a range of sceanarios emergent most of which involve the extremes of positive feedback from the humongous methane and CO2 resevoirs there.

    AGW and our collective lack of response to it shares many similarities to the beginings of WWII.We need a Polish moment:for how many Austrias and Czechos–ppm and temperature hikes–will it take to trigger descisive world-wide collective action?

    I suggest that events in the Arctic Ocean and the Tundras may be our Poland.Accordingly,CP should especially focus on them.

  41. Mike#22 says:

    a) I am losing hope that Americans can tune into the basic facts on Global Warming soon enough (<5 years) to vote effectively given the failures of the MSM.

    b) The current stalemate is too expensive. The fossil fuel industrialists have proven they are willing and able to keep having things their way (blatant despotism).

    I would like to see information on efforts to compromise with the fossil fuel industrialists, or buy them out, whatever. Time is more valuable right now than the cost to pay them off. Once they have stopped messing with democracy, we can get on with things.

  42. Don Lindsay says:

    I’d like to hear more about progress in turning “excess” electricity into hydrocarbons. BMW has blessed this idea, by funding a proposal to generate natural gas. We’ve already seen the “excess” scenario play out in the Northwest, when a utility didn’t want to buy all of the wind turbine output.

    If a technology like this could become mainstream, then deserts and seashores (and third world countries) could become energy exporters, and energy stockpilers. And we already have the infrastructure to transport and use the natural gas, or biodiesel, or formic acid, or whatever. So it’s perfect, except for the small detail that it’s still vaporware.

  43. adelady says:

    I’d like regular updates on groundwater depletion/ replenishment around the world.

    And for countries like Australia and US, similar attention to fracking – esp how politicians do and don’t support their local constituents in a)dealing with the companies, b)designing or modifying legislation to strengthen controls on the practice.

    More data and analysis on subsidies to fossil companies – around the world and in specific countries.

    Agricultural impacts. I know vineyards are budding newer, tougher grape varieties to their existing stock to deal with increased temperature and drought. There must be other impacts on choice of crop or individual cultivars to cope with changed conditions. The costs of ‘running like hell to stay in the same place’ must be accumulating.

  44. anders strandberg says:

    we also live in nation states, some which are failed or close to it, some with very high population densities and low natural resource densities, the 7 billion are not spread out in a manner corresponding to natural resources or available infrastructure:

    haiti, after chopping down the trees is the topsoil going into the ocean….

    yemen, when is the ground water drying up…

    peru, when will the glacier melt decrease…

    bangladesh, egypt, how fast is the ocean advancing…

    which country will be the first employing strong arm tactics when facing a resource crunch

  45. Bill G says:

    To repeat, somebody should explore the possibility that “business as usual” will win out and man will take no significant actions to curb emissions.

    Is that a radical, negative, “defeatist”, impossible possibility?

    What would survival strategies be? What would they look like? What kind of preparation, infrastructure and money are we looking at?

    We have 7 billion humans now. How many can be saved realistically? In the estimation of our best scientists, what areas of the world, if any, are most suited to support humans?

    Great climate scientists like James Lovelock have been attacked for suggesting “business as usual” might win out and we will do nothing effective.

    Where is the evidence that Lovelock is wrong?

  46. Leif says:

    This technology would marry very well with Cyclone Power Technology.

  47. anders strandberg says:

    sea level rise, is it picking up?

    aerosols, when will the concentration start to decrease so ghg warming will hit full blast?

    methane emissions and concentrations, is the permafrost starting to release more carbon?

    forest fires, is ecosystems starting to dry up and burn more often?

    species loss, are we starting to loose ecosystem services that we depend on? Pollination? Cleaning water? Food and fibres?

    is the amount of resources poured into todays catastrophes eating into resources available to prepare for tomorrow, I know the dutch is building for tomorrow, is anyone else?

  48. Steve Rankin says:

    Please run stories on the failure of the MSM to cover climate change We have had unusually warm weather here in North America since January 1. NBC News – with Brian Williams has been running stories every evening about “bizarre warm weather”. He reported that high temperature records are been set in a record number of locations (as we speak. The problem is he has not once in any of these reports mentioned the term “climate change”. It appears that the media have been silenced by Big Oil or maybe rush is repsonsible.

  49. Ole Sumfleth says:

    Thanks for all the effort, Joe.

    I would actually like to see more doom & gloom scenarios, as long as they are marked as such.

    It would be nice if someone could develop a
    true absolute worst case scenario for one of those low-probability, high-impact 7°C+ scenarios (MIT+CRU) – including all the recent findings from increased methane feedback and diminishing sea ice. What is the actual highest possible warming, if all odds are stacked against us? What would that mean for the planet, in detail?

  50. Doug Bostrom says:

    High resolution, detailed coverage of the persecution of scientists by such as “The American Tradition Institute” is quite important. Scientists themselves don’t seem to have the inclination and certainly don’t have the wherewithal to mount an organized response to this with the depth and resources available to the opposition.

  51. Theodore says:

    Discussions of energy efficiency seem incomplete without any mention of supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle turbines. Although I have not yet heard of any commercial installations, it does seem to be close, and the efficiency gains are significant.

  52. Brooks Bridges says:

    I think Start Loving at 21 has the most important input.

    In line with what he said:

    Why don’t we have a million people gathering in DC to push for action on climate change?

    What will it take to make that happen?

    For instance: Why weren’t all the readers of this blog at the XL pipeline protest or paying for someone to attend in their place?

    Hansen and McKibben can’t do it alone.

    I’m contributing, working on my carbon footprint, helping others work on theirs, calling politicians, etc., but without a million people in DC at one time the message won’t get through to the powers that be and crucial changes won’t happen.

  53. Lou Grinzo says:

    I wasn’t going to comment, or simply add a vote to keep doing what you’re doing now. But upon further review…

    I would like to see CP leverage its position and Joe’s connections and profile in a somewhat unusual way. Once a week run a thread for questions people want answered. Maybe fold this into the weekly open discussion. Then Joe can select 0..N questions from the comments and solicit guest posts from outside experts to answer them. If we readers see a question and know the answer is out there we can immediately post a link to it, as we do today, and there’s nothing else for Joe/CP to do.

  54. Greg says:

    And Helium-3 from the methane lakes of Titan!

  55. Robert R. Holt says:

    I’d like to see coverage of the exciting Transition Town movement, which is spreading pretty fast around the world including in the US. And any other new approaches toward simpler, less materialistic life-style, adapting to the steady state economy we must adopt. More coverage of the spreading awareness that eternal growth is impossible and the attempt to pursue it anyway is a major cause of the climate change crisis.

  56. paul magnus says:

    We have to start thinking about adaptation and survival – getting on in the new climate and the degradation ahead.

    How well can we get through as a civilized unch with all the disruption to come?

  57. Iain says:

    Wow, a lot of responses. I would like to suggest a change. It seems to me that Think Progress, by the daily feature I receive, is not “progressing”… I mean, the news is important, but the repeating and beating stories are counter-productive, right? Instead of stirring the pot of BS, like many other blogs, why not focus, along with the truth, on solutions, ideas or starting points for change? What type of change is required on a personal level to make a difference…if all your subscribers did it?

    For example, what type of civil disobedient but very legal act could one perpetrate to support a movement towards change? To be very honest, a long time ago, buying a Japanese car was civil disobedience…today, would buying an EV be the same act of resistance to the norm, to following the lead, toeing the line, being one of “us”?

    If Think Progress thought progress, imagine what you could achieve. I have a lot of respect for your work. I found you through trusted friends who also trust your work…the chain connected to you Joe is very likely as long as any oil lobbyists arm!

    I suggest Think Progress become THE lobbyist group for “climate progress”. Group fund, mob inform, mass donations…use your power to Progress and Think of the change you could start.

    Thank you for your work.

  58. Amanda says:

    I would appreciate more articles on climate change communications and education. Specifically on things related to public awareness, outreach and access to information.

    Your posting “Silence of the Lambs 2: Media Herd’s Coverage of Climate Change Drops Sharply — Again” is an excellent example.

  59. Charles says:

    Joe, you’ve been doing a great job! I agree: keep an eye on China and all that is going on over there. Keep an eye on what’s happening with their renewables industries–up or down, and the implications for global roll out of renewables.

    What concerns me is that for all that has been thus in rolling out renewables, CO2 levels are still climbing at an ever-increasing rate and temps are still warming, indicating that we are going to have to a helluva lot more.

    Of course, keeping an eye on the U.S., the other big player, is also so important.

    Toward that end, effective communication is vital. One person above wrote: “Effective communication still needs the dire message.” But Aaron McCright and Riley Dunlap, John Cook, Naomi Klein, Brendan Nyhan, Dan M. Kahan et al., Andrew J. Hoffmanan, and others have shown this is not necessarily an effective way of bringing about change. So lets have more stuff on tried and true means of effective climate communication to get change happening.

  60. Spike says:

    Have to disagrre – we have to be honest about the science which I know can be a downer given the ominous portents.

  61. Raul M. says:

    great work Joe and friends.
    It’s a given that nature (climate) will change before the people will change.
    Being ahead of the curve involves thought by a great many.
    But as some who have body surfed the ocean shores know – staying with a wave puts one sliding onto shore at some point.
    Speaking of tipping points is one way of saying that we will have reached the limits of the ocean of possibilities and reached the shore of the future.
    Looking for shells of the creatures is a pleasant transition ot the shoreline.
    But, really solar panels on that roof of the golf buggy cursing the beach sure would make things easier.

  62. Raul M. says:

    Golf buggy traveling the beach.

  63. Joe, thankyou for all your work.

    There is a “blind spot” in the climate debate that demands more attention because it may be critical to short term warming and to long term mitigation – the climate impact of livestock.

    Two years ago the Netherlands EAA (Stehfest et al, 2009) proposed returning pastures to trees, savannah and grassland – this climate mitigation option was costed to be just 1/5th the cost of any other proposal. The scale of this proposal is huge, far more than any geo-engineering efforts, because pastures cover 25-30% of the earth’s surface, and the above and below ground carbon potential is at least equivalent to 20 years of CO2 emissions. For example, a 2005 paper in Nature estimated that 51% of the African continent (being high-rainfall savannah) would return to woodland if the continuous pasture maintenance burning was stopped.

    Livestock production is also the single greatest source of the short lived climate forcers black carbon (pasture and deforestation fires) and methane, and the Argonne Lab and others have shown it to be the best means of controlling tropospheric ozone. These 3 gases have heated the planet 68% as much as CO2 since industrialisation, and according to the UNEP and WMO in their 2010 report on short lived climate forcers, offer the most effective means of slowing warming in the next 40 years.

    You may see a common thread – livestock production. This is the means to slow warming in the short term and offers long term affordable mitigation.

    It’s time that livestock production, consumption (and diet) was raised in a robust debate – and I think if you, Joe, were to take this debate on we would all benefit.


  64. C. Vink says:

    Alas, the Dutch have become terribly unaware of the likely long term consequences of climate change as it is developing without phasing out fossil fuels quickly. They are reckoning with a see level rise of 0,65 to 1,30 meter in 2100 and 2 to 4 meter in 2200[*]. OK, this is in line with the IPCC-prognoses plus even some later research; but: the thing is, that no influential journalist or politician here is even thinking, let alone talking and warning of the fact that it is as good as certain[**] that in such a scenario see level will keep rising several meters each century after 2200 – and that defending our major cities, as well as wide coastal area’s and regions alongside the big rivers, will become utterly impossible or way too expensive.

    Being Dutch myself, I’m shocked by and ashamed of the ‘climate’ in The Netherlands with respect to the tremendous risks ahead, threatening the long term existence of our country. Our people are partly asleep, partly misinformed and partly in a state of conscious denial to a very worrying ‘degree’.

    [*] See:

    [**] A graphic in this report[*] is showing the steep rise at 2200, at which point it simply breaks off – the ‘political horizon’ is clearly ‘modeling’ the ominous long term view here…

  65. Ian Perrin says:

    Keep it up, Joe. I visit your site every day. Charles at #50 has it right I think when he says “Effective communication still needs the dire message.” The news will happen anyway and you have an eye for a story.
    I would not like you to broaden your coverage further. In election year the dangers of AGW must stressed over and over. But, with respect, the latest piece (on James Hansen et al‘s paper is still too technical for most.

    I put together something on my website that tries to explain the same subject so that it will reach a wider audience. You can see it here.

    BTW. This is not me showing off; rather asking you to consider whether simplifying the more technical pieces should be a priority for 2012.

    Thank you for your efforts to keep our families safe.

  66. Ian Perrin says:

    Sorry, my link doesn’t seem to work. Try copying and pasting this:

  67. Rick C says:

    Climate Progress is treasure. Thank you for all you do.

    You cover the impacts and implications of climate change around the globe well, but the inner landscape deserves more attention from all of us who care. What happens in the heart is reflected (and sometimes deflected, refracted and distorted) in the world. Global warming is cooling many of our hearts, heating some others, and breaking a good many more. Broken hearts can be more powerful than split atoms, so long as we do not, as Parker Palmer says, let the sharp shards pierce those around us. Hearts broken open to the suffering of the most vulnerable is what we are after here.

    We ignore the psychological and spiritual costs of climate change at our peril. After all, it is hearts and minds we are trying to change, that we MUST change, if we are to overcome.

    Apart from that, I heartily concur with those who have suggested more coverage of community supported energy, putting our activism in historical context (as McKibben did so eloquently in “Multiplication Saves the Day,” in Orion Magazine), and highlighting the moral dimensions of this crisis.

  68. Richard Miller says:

    I would also be interested in different ways to sequester carbon. More specifically, I am interested in these questions: What is the latest thinking on how much we can overshoot 350 ppm? How long do we have before we get back to 350 ppm in order to to avoid terrible degradation of the coral reefs and to preserve the ice sheets? What are the methods we have to sequester enough carbon to get back to 350 ppm?

  69. Richard Miller says:

    I second this proposal.

  70. Eric Saenger says:

    Keep it all coming! I read it all every day. Stay focused on the science,…why the claims from the deniers are wrong, who is supporting them. We all know many who don’t get it yet, and all the facts provided here really help make the case. I wish it were not so difficult to crack the anti-science shell these people ignorantly surround themselves with, but every fact you post and explain here is another tool for all of us.

  71. Brooks Bridges says:

    I concur. I’ve often thought that a valuable addition to this already essential blog would be summaries of the longer, more technical postings; summaries that could be forwarded to friends who would not have the background or patience to read and understand the original post.

    I myself am sometimes overwhelmed by the shear volume of some of the posts and would love a summary.

  72. chris wiegard says:

    I would like to see careful fact checking of statements regarding global warming and energy policy made by the Presidential candidates.

  73. More about what leadership corporations are doing. eg: P&G has set a global 30% renewable energy goal for 2020. List DuPont and Dow and BASF and Nike, etc etc.

  74. Clark Meyer says:

    Sea level. What’s it going to do and when’s it going to do it?

    To the noncommittal bystander, weather is variable anyway, so climate change is a somewhat undefined threat. Heat waves and droughts come to and end, after all, and we grit our teeth and suffer through them, so they’re mild worries but not something too far out of the ordinary.

    But sea level–that’s a constant, a given for most of us. If the seas rise a foot or two (or six), that’s a different proposition all together. It’s obviously permanent and game changing. Moreover, there are serious financial implications far ahead of time for anyone who owns low-lying property–your beachfront home will lose its value far before it floods when it becomes plain to all that the seas are rising. That will get people’s attention.

    So how about a series on the future of New Orleans, Key West, Charleston, Annapolis, etc, given different projections for sea level rise.

  75. Dr. Thomas Pringle says:

    Yes, more on consequences of rapid Arctic warming and some counterbalance to the methane denialists over at realclimate.

    The exceptional rapid warming of the Arctic will cause it to be the first place to really get our attention (not talking 2100 here), via disturbances to northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation from lost sea ice and albedo (got snow, Lake Tahoe?) and accererated methane release from both permafrost and the submerged Siberian ice shelf overwhelming atmospheric hydroxyl radical consumptive ability.

    I did not see satisfactory coverage of Semiletov’s presentation at the Dec 2011 UGS meeting in San Francisco. All his ppts are online as an excellent interview with The Independent and a report from other climate folks who spoke with him afterwards.

    The news from Semiletov:

    — The East Siberian Arctic Shelf situation has gotten much worse over the two decades that Semiletov has been observing it (the December report was the 3rd of their time series, establishing a bit of trendline). The coming decade can be expected to be exponentially worse because the water is shallow and warming, the summer albedo is going, and the undersea permafrost punctures allow rapid heating at burial depth and so more holes, and the residual methane reservoir is gigantic.

    — Semiletov is not talking little plumes of methane that dissolve in seawater before reaching the surface like Spitzbergen. Instead, kilometer-wide patches of sea surface are boiling with methane that vents directly into the atmosphere. (Such a hectare patch is two football fields with end zones). I’m trying to picture thousands of hectares of such ESAS patches injecting methane into the atmosphere (not uniformly distributed but notably off Siberian river deltas) and how this further bumps up methane’s newly bumped up GWP-over-20-years).

    — The competing Russian group got some play in the NYTimes from a recent not-to-worry paper saying subsea permafrost melting is due to post-Holocene warming 8k years ago. However that paper consisted just of a model of heat diffusing slowly down through intact layered permafrost. Semiletov and Shakhova are seeing something entirely different invalidating this model: the methane has busted vent holes from deep underground reservoirs up to the bottom of the sea. This isn’t a passive heat diffusion process taking centuries to melt through protective upper permafrost layers but a very rapid and unpredictable process. Anyone see a mitigation opportunity here?

    I would also like to see a better discussion of biological sources and sinks of methane in permafrost, both land and sea. I’ve seen flagrant errors and omissions here from climate scientists over the years.

    — methane production and anaerobic sedimentary column consumption is entirely controlled by Archaea, as it is in ruminants, rice paddies and termites. We know from thousands of genome projects that only a narrow clade of euryarchaeotal prokaryotes has the obligatory battery of genes and cofactors to do the job. Is a compound with the solubility in seawater betwee krypton and xeon really a significant food source for aerobic species and how is this possible with millimolar Michaelis constants of potentially relevent monoxygenases?

    — here’s a disturbing new study (PMID: 21806748) from Sept 2011 that never got coverage: ‘ANME archaea are often assumed to be obligate methanotrophs [consumers] that are incapable of net methanogenesis [production], and are therefore used as proxies for anaerobic methane [consumption] in many environments … however cell count (rDNA) and mcrA proxies show that up to 76% of the activity occurs within the methane-producing sediments [rather than methane-consuming upper layers].’ In other words, it may be wishful thinking to believe the biological sink in permafrost is going to offset the biological source. Certainly not for ESAS Holocene methane plumes which consumptive Archaea never get a crack at.

  76. Richard Miller says:

    My suggestions agree with elements of Jeff and elements of posts 19, 21, 22, 45, 49.

    Joe you have done a remarkable job covering the science, clean energy, criticizing the media, and promptly attacking the disinformation machine.

    I thought it was a very good sign that Felicity Barringer of the New York Times entered into the discussion regarding media coverage from your post the other day. This means that someone in the Times is listening to your criticism. Revkin never seemed to be capable of listening to criticism.

    I think the next step is to invite guest posts about how the environmental groups communicate the climate problem to their members relative to what the science is saying. This is not about attacking our own, but about a serious assessment of environmental organizations response to the problem. You have done some of this, but I think much more of this is needed. Maybe environmental groups would listen to this assessment. It might be good to invite the top 15 environmental groups to talk about their views of the science and their strategy to respond to the problem.

    What is our situation politically? Republicans are merchants of destruction and Democrats are weak and at best incrementalists. This means that the next fall back position is for environmental groups to come together and leverage their collective power to force political change.

    Their power could be considerable in light of
    Dr. Robert Brulle’s essay entitled “The US Environmental Movement”, which you can find at, where he writes:

    “The U.S. environmental movement is perhaps the single largest social movement in the United States. With over 6,500 national and 20,000 local environmental organizations, along with an estimated 20-30 million members, this movement dwarfs other modern social movements such as the civil rights or peace movements. It is also the longest running social movement.”

    The question is how can these movements fully leverage their power. In my judgment they have not fully leveraged their power, not even close.

    There has been a great deal of research on how social movements bring about political change following the work of the academic Gene Sharp. Students of Sharp founded the International Center for Non-violent conflict. See here

    It would be good to have your blog bring together the environmental groups with the researchers at the International Center for Non-violent conflict for a fruitful dialogue. All of this also relates to the Occupy Movement and the work of, etc.

    Joe, thanks again for your excellent, tireless work on behalf of all of us!!


  77. Matt says:

    Please start reporting on the climate killer no. 1, livestock breeding! We need to veganize the people! All other options won’t be enough to save the world! And as we regularly see every year, politicians won’t act. They neither did at COP17 nor 19 and there won’t be a successor protocol to Kyoto in time!

  78. Chris says:

    It seems to me that climate activism is not going to rid the country of the corruption of democracy by the fossil fuel industry. They represent the 1% and have easily enough funds to buy the necessary political support that is allowed under existing legislation.

    That means we need to change the rules to eliminate financial donations to political parties.

    Until that happens, progress on reducing emissions by stopping burning fossil fuels will be inadequate to prevent tipping points being triggered that are forecast by the global consensus of the climate scientists.

    I believe what is needed first is a strategic plan on how to stop burning fossil fuels. It needs to be put together with bipartisan support, input from all key stakeholders and a commitment from the President to explain and sell the results to Americans.

    That’s what we need to fight for this year and every other year until we succeed……/Chris

  79. Marissa says:

    I’d love to see more on the role of population dynamics in both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

  80. Richard Miller says:

    It would be worthwhile reviewing Mark Lynas’ book The God Species.

  81. anders strandberg says:

    planning and building for the next 200 years is still pretty good…..

    still waiting for local government to stop issuing building permits for sites here in sweden that is certain to become flooded in the near future…. who do you think will be left with the bill for all sea side villas of the rich…

    planning, permission regulatins and building rules is step one, which still hasn’t happened in sweden

    after that you start building smart, would be very happy if sweden started to look a hundred year into the propable future

    two hundred years sounds fantastic

  82. Thomas says:

    I think the promise of the Molten Salt Reactor technology and the non-development of it in the US will be a big story, pretty much parallel the plot of “Who Killed the Electric Car”. Greenhouse Warming could have been nipped in the bud if only the right decision had been made in the early 1970’s.

  83. David B. Benson says:


    Agriculture of the Past — ?? Well, maybe we will have to go back to horses?

    Agriculture of the Present — Maybe unsustainable?

    Agrivculture of the Future — There has been some here if I recall correctly, vertical agriculture and maybe aome othr articles. But as much of the USA continues to dry up, further knowledge and ideas are likely to be helpful.

  84. nonlinearities and threshold effects

    synergies & interactions

    extreme events

    likely sources of surprises

  85. C. Vink says:

    [building for] two hundred years sounds fantastic

    Concerning your long term safety and economy, as well as concerning your energy policy: not at all if…

    1. You are building according to a (climate change) scenario which is telling you it is utterly impossible to keep building enough infrastructure protecting your safety and economic activities after the period of 200 years.
    Answer: yes – see report above.

    2. You have become a backward (rich) country concerning a. phasing out fossil fuels yourself and b. working hard to help realizing this transition worldwide.
    Answer: yes – see (Maplecroft study identifies United Arab Emirates, Australia, USA, Canada and The Netherlands as the five worst CO2 polluters) and (tiny Dutch delegation invisible at Durban 2011).

    3. You trust the (climate change) scenario, not only for the next two centuries, but for a number of centuries after that period too.
    Answer by major political parties (most of VVD; PVV denying AGW completely): no – and there you have the explanation of 1. and 2.

    Of course all in all this behavior is irrational, and/or a matter of irresponsible gambling, and/or terribly selfish: ‘après nous[*] le déluge’.

    [*] Approx. eight generations

    (By the way: the Dutch are still building lots of houses along the rivers and in the coastal region. This month the northern part of the country just escaped from flooding, as high water caused by heavy rains could not be pumped out to the sea, which was also high because of strong inland wind.)

  86. Richard L says:

    Joe, Steven, and crew, thanks for all you do. I truly appreciate your work.

    I request continued help for us readers to communicate in basic ways with our families/friends/associates about climate. Things like one line sound bites and practical comparisons of complex climate issues to easily understandable life experiences. If this is a regular effort (maybe monthly) I think we could stay up to date with new info/thoughts to use.

    One example – over the holidays my Father-In-Law mentioned a denier line – solar energy can’t be efficient because we are too far from the sun so the solar energy is too weak to be any good. I replied to say something like “Solar is very powerful – ask your skin on a sunny day” and I followed up with “a good rifle is powerful point blank and at 500-yards away and the sun is way more powerful than a rifle” I wish I had made better responses…..

  87. M. M. says:

    I’d like to see an end to new waste-to-energy plants that burn and pollute instead of recycle and compost. There’s a battle in the US Virgin Islands to stop a proposed WTE plant and implement the fundamental 3R’s. The VI is incredibly backwards in its approach to the environment.

  88. john says:

    i would like to see a story on what happens when you do take fossil fuel subsidies away. they’re rioting in the streets in nigeria! i’m all for taking the subsidies away in interest of climate change, but this could have some real politically destabilizing effects.

  89. M. Thorne says:

    I completely agree. I’d like to hear about the adaptation efforts around the world…

  90. Solar Jim says:

    1) Global Dimming
    2) Any linkage of earthquakes (volcanoes too?) to ice melt
    3) Linkage of the four fuels of global contamination (uranium, coal, petroleum and fossil methane) to nation-state fuels of war (force projection by arsenals and their delivery systems) via tax subsidies, federal budgets
    4) Bonus: How the rich benefit from public debt, both ecologic and financial

  91. tim bastable says:

    It seems to me that it’s axiomatic that “Chinese prosperity threatens the American way of life” – The relative prosperity of the developed world – is surely due more than anything else to our historically exclusive access to hydrocarbons – as reserves become constrained and demand from rapidly developing economies like China and India rise there will be a levelling of the economic playing field – and it won’t be developing countries reaching the levels of excessive and wasteful consumption represented by the American and European way of life but by decline in the west.

    There doesn’t seem to be enough discussion of the extent to which high energy costs are contributing to the current economic crisis. It must be stripping a huge amount of liquidity from the system but I’ve seen no quantification – It’s also a highly relevant issue for the case for renewables – high fossil energy costs are not going to fall – The UK Industry Taskforce identified high oil prices as a major economic destabiliser almost 2 years ago (

    So – as an economic ignoramus I’d love to see more material and the economic impacts of peak oil,and the the loss of exclusivity (despite the USA’s Chenyite regime of doing it’s level best to conquer most of the major oil producing countries of the middle east and hog tie Canada!!)