Open Thread And Climate Cartoon Of The Week by Joe Romm Posted on November 17, 2012 at 9:07 am 23Share This 28Tweet This Share this: "Open Thread And Climate Cartoon Of The Week" Share: Opine away! Denying Climate Change Is Putting Us in Danger By Lee Judge of the Cartoonist Group Related Posts: Analysis: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans Yes, Climate Change Contributed To Superstorm Sandy Tags: Climate Change DeniersHurricane Sandy « VIDEO: Law Professor Explains Why Conservative Argument About Affirmative Action Is Wrong In 120 Seconds Romney’s Transition Chief Is Encouraging States To Implement Obamacare » Close Like Climate Progress on Facebook Don't show this to me again 58 Responses to Open Thread And Climate Cartoon Of The Week Will Fox says: November 17, 2012 at 9:13 am Solar Roadways - http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/11/17-2.htm What are the chances of this project happening anytime soon?? Paul Klinkman says: November 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm It’s a perfectly good idea. I have my own version. A glass surface can be made to any strength. I’ve seen 4 inch thick safety glass installed in prisons as a bulletproof shield. With proper support for the glass, we have the makings of a PV cell or a solar heat collector. There are issues with surface wear, traction and precipitation. Will Fox says: November 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm Issues that nanotechnology could easily overcome. Phil Bunch says: November 17, 2012 at 9:39 am I would very much like to see the first act of the president’s second term be the formulation of a long-term plan and policy framework for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Wesley says: November 17, 2012 at 10:49 am I watched MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes this AM. He devoted most of the program to Climate Change. Obligatory panel included McKibben. It was encouraging that they spent most of the hour on that subject, thought most of it was a plea for Presidential Leadership without specifics other than “we have to stop burning so much carbon.” What I found to be ironic is that the major sponsor seemed to be the American Petroleum Institute with multiple Energytomorrow.org ads playing, at times 2 ads in the same break. It is hard to see how 350.org can compete unless they start getting enough $$ to make a mass media play. I am waiting for 350.org to run an ad on Hannity or O’Reilly shows. Jeanne says: November 18, 2012 at 4:13 am Do you have a link to the broadcast? Will Fox says: November 17, 2012 at 10:58 am One possible solution to the water crisis - http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2012/11/17-3.htm Mark E says: November 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm Weird news re capturing rainwater….. In Colorado and states downstream riparian water rights (sucking it from the river) are defined in law as first-in-time, first-in-right. A few years back I heard that downriver farmers with historical water rights were suing to prevent Denver mountain-suburbanites from harvesting rainwater. According to farmers argument the rivershed from which they had priority rights (registered with the right agency) started wherever the raindrop fell or the snowflake melted. And so according to the argument anyone upstream with a rain barrel but no legal right to use the river water could be forced to remove the rainbarrel. I never heard how it turned out but have always wondered…. anyone know? Colorado Bob says: November 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm That is in fact, Colorado water law. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 10:59 am SYMPHONY OF SCIENCE: AL GORE ON CLIMATE REALITY http://climatestate.com/climate-state-blog/videos/item/symphony-of-science-al-gore-on-climate-reality.html prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 11:08 am This video goes rapidly viral, and imho is putting Gore’s image straight, after the smear campaigns from the last years. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 11:13 am Direct YT link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1iVDHiOEBvw Check out the comment section and some user really trying hard to deny the reality. And then look at the many upvotes this video has. Will Fox says: November 17, 2012 at 11:57 am Nice video, but I doubt it will make much difference. It will take a “Pearl Harbour”-type event (circa 2025-2030) before real, meaningful action happens on a large scale. Even then, you’ll still have utter brainwashed morons who think it’s just part of a “natural” cycle, and that humans have nothing to do with it (despite absolutely mountains and mountains and mountains of peer-reviewed scientific evidence to prove otherwise). Mark E says: November 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm Not just expensive food but actual shortages. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm I think there is the chance for considerable deterioration much earlier, synced to the Arctic sea ice Albedo lose. The northern hemisphere of the planet looses his sunlight deflector capabilities. David Goldstein says: November 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm How’s this for an analogy?: you’re dating somebody that you’re really in love with. You start to notice that she (or he) does not treat you well at times- doesn’t return calls, cancels dates,etc. But you are SO in love that you overlook it. This goes on for awhile and her inconsiderate behavior worsens, but you are still hooked. Your friends tell you ‘dude, you gotta see what’s happening here, you have to change the situation.’ But, even though you are miserable now a lot of the time, you refuse and it continues. FINALLY, some years later, you come home unannounced and you catch her in bed with your best friend. THAT is what we will need to even begin to substantively face reality- to ‘catch the climate in bed with our best friend!’ (Sandy was just an ‘un-returned phone call’). I shutter to think what that actually means. Lewis Cleverdon says: November 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm The “somebody” that people are really in love with is Barak Obama. He is not the ally of those seeking commensurate action on climate. Regards, Lewis Lionel A says: November 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm I just did that. Engaging with some commenters there makes engaging similar to mud wrestling but with needles added to the mix. Provides a strong image of what we are up against in order to overcome the ignorant bigotry fed by the propagandists in the media including those scientists who have sold out. Jacob says: November 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm I like the video, sans the music and synthesizer. If a video needs to have that style of music added to it just to get the message across to idiots, then we are all in extremely grave trouble. It works well on its own, without the pomp and circumstance. Leland Palmer says: November 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm The methane hydrates are destabilizing, but we already knew that. How much is down there, and how much will destabilize and when and how much of that will make it into the atmosphere, are the questions that will decide the fate of the biosphere, IMO. In a new letter in Nature, these scientists have developed a way to use the base of the methane hydrate stability zone like a giant thermometer, to determine what local ocean temperatures were decades or centuries ago. Our analysis suggests that changes in Gulf Stream flow or temperature within the past 5,000 years or so are warming the western North Atlantic margin by up to eight degrees Celsius and are now triggering the destabilization of 2.5 gigatonnes of methane hydrate (about 0.2 per cent of that required to cause the PETM). This destabilization extends along hundreds of kilometres of the margin and may continue for centuries. It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents 10–12; our estimate of 2.5 gigatonnes of destabilizing methane hydrate may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally. The transport from ocean to atmosphere of any methane released—and thus its impact on climate—remains uncertain. This is a link to the full text pdf of the scientific letter: Recent changes to the Gulf Stream causing widespread gas hydrate destabilization This seems like a completely general method to remotely determine, with sonar, the areas and the quantities of methane hydrate that are destabilizing. Used widely enough, by for example the U.S. Navy, this technique could give us a window on the future, and determine the likely fate of the biosphere, I think. The predictions made by this technique will be statistical in nature, of course, with large amounts of uncertainty likely caused by undersea landslides and the fraction absorbed by the oceans. Will the leakage be tolerable and buffered by the oceans, as many of oil industry associated scientists are saying? Or are we facing a biosphere ending event, like the End Permian mass extinction but with a sun which is a couple of percent hotter now, than it was 250 million years ago? This technique could tell us, I think. One thing for sure, IMO- the oil corporations won’t want us to know this information. So it’s up to the public and the scientific community to be aware, and demand that this information be gathered and widely distributed. The only way to bring a destabilizing climate system back into control is to couple true information about the system with effective action to stabilize the system. This is an important scientific paper, IMO, that gives us the ability to gather that true information. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm “..we estimate that ,2.5 Gt of methane—or ,0.2% of that necessary to explain the PETM—are currently destabilizing beneath a sea-floor area of ,10,000 km2 off the US eastern seaboard. If continuing hydrate destabilization triggers slope failure at this site, the amount of methane released could be an order of magnitude greater.” Leland Palmer says: November 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm Yes. We really need to know how much methane hydrate is down there. Is it 10,000 Gt, the consensus of a decade ago, or is it 2,500 Gt, as more recent and I think more dubious estimates claim? From Gerald Dickens: The total mass of carbon stored as CH4 in present-day marine gas hydrates has been estimated numerous times using different approaches as reviewed in several papers (Dickens,2001b; Milkov, 2004; Archer, 2007). Prior to 2001, several estimates converged on 10 000 Gt, and this “consensus mass” (Kvenvolden, 1993) was often cited in the literature. However, the convergence of estimates was fortuitous because different authors arrived at nearly the same mass but with widely varying assumptions; an appropriate range across the studies was 5000–20 000 Gt (Dickens, 2001b). In the last ten years, estimates have ranged from 500-2500 Gt (Milkov, 2004), ∼700–1200 Gt (Archer et al., 2009), and 4–995 Gt (Burwicz et al., 2011) to 74 400 Gt (Klauda and Sandler,2005). The latter is almost assuredly too high (Archer, 2007). The others are probably too low. Dickens goes on to responsibly list the scientific reasons the modern estimates are too low, in his scientific opinion. To me, a more telling argument is that Archer co-authors scientific papers with ExxonMobil chief scientist Kheshgi, and Milkov worked for British Petroleum at the time he made those estimates. Down the Rabbit Hole: toward appropriate discussion of methane release from gas hydrate systems during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum and other past hyperthermal events The last low estimate comes from Burwicz, a scientist that seems to get quoted on Fox News occasionally…making statements that sound very confused, to me. So, bottom line- I believe Dickens. Likely we have about 10,000 Gt of gas hydrates…or more. It’s also hard to see how we could have only 2,500 Gt of methane hydrate down there when there are estimates that 12,000 Gt of methane came out of the hydrates at the end of the Triassic. This new paper gives a method to not only see how much methane is down there, but now to see how stable the gas hydrates are. A massive worldwide sonar and modeling program could be done for a few million dollars, at the behest of Obama, who is the Commander in Chief of the Navy. Ships traveling about their regular business could simply do sonar scans as they go, I think. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm Another point in the equation, i think what we tend to forget is the response from the melting. Besides the seafloor methane deposits becoming unstable the land area, permafrost can become a place for methanogenesis. Or this can happen from salt water intrusion, from flooding , sea level rise. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming http://www.lter.uaf.edu/dev2009/pdf/1208_Walter_Zimov_2006.pdf prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm Climate feedback from wetland methane emissions The potential for wetland emissions to feedback on climate change has been previously hypothesised [Houghton et al., 2001]. We assess this hypothesis using an interactive wetlands scheme radiatively coupled to an integrated climate change effects model. The scheme predicts wetland area and methane (CH4) emissions from soil temperature and water table depth, and is constrained by optimising its ability to reproduce the observed inter-annual variability in atmospheric CH4. In transient climate change simulations the wetland response amplifies the total anthropogenic radiative forcing at 2100 by about 3.5– 5%. http://biodav.atmos.colostate.edu/kraus/Papers/Wetland%20Climate%20Modeling/CH4%20Climate%20Feedback%20model%20-%20Gedney.pdf prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm Conclusions  Our optimised wetlands model yields an approximate doubling of CH4 emissions from wetlands by 2100, which is comparable to the projected increase in ‘‘anthropogenic’’ CH4 emissions under the IS92a scenario. When coupled to a simple pattern-scaling climate model, this very significant increase in CH4 results in an increase in global mean temperature of 0.14– 0.20 K, which is 3.7– 4.9% of the total projected warming by 2100. The simulated wetland CH4-climate feedback is therefore relatively small in the context of climate change under most scenarios of increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, but large compared to projected increases in CH4 emissions from human-activities. More significant climate feedbacks are possible if climate change and CO2 increase lead to a loss of peatland carbon, but an assessment of this risk requires a better mechanistic understanding of wetland carbon cycling including both CH4 and CO2 fluxes [Moore et al., 1998] and possible losses as dissolved organic carbon [Freeman et al., 2004]. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm ESTIMATING THE PERMAFROST-CARBON FEEDBACK ON GLOBAL WARMING A key uncertainty is the fraction of carbon that might be decomposed under anaerobic conditions – resulting potentially in methane emissions to the atmosphere. Given the high warming potential of methane, the overall magnitude of the permafrost-carbon feedback will depend strongly on this fraction. The inclusion of a highly simplified, dynamic permafrost module into the reduced complexity carbon-cycle climate model MAGICC has shown how permafrost carbon emissions could affect long-term projections of future temperature change. Our results underline the importance of analyzing long-term consequences of land carbon emissions beyond 2100. Studies focusing on short time horizons (e.g. Anisimov, 2007) infer a rather small permafrost feedback, in line with our results, while climatic consequences of thawing permafrost soils become clearly apparent after 2100 for the medium and higher RCP scenarios. Even more pronounced than many other components of the Earth System, the permafrost feedback highlights the inert and slow response to human perturbations. Once unlocked under strong warming, thawing and decomposition of permafrost can release amounts of carbon until 2300 comparable to the historical anthropogenic emissions up to 2000 (approximately 440GtC, cf. Allen et al., 2009). Under the RCP8.5 scenarios – with cumulative permafrost CO2 emissions of 362 PgC to 705 PgC, this permafrost-carbon feedback could add nearly half a degree warming (0.17-0.94°C) warming from 2200 onwards, albeit in a world that will already be dissimilar to the current one due to global-mean temperature levels near to and possibly in excess of 10°C. http://climatestate.com/pure-climate-science/item/estimating-the-permafrost-carbon-feedback-on-global-warming.html?category_id=77 prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm And… Our method is however not able to bound a worst-case scenario. For example, if there is extensive thermokarst formation (Walter et al.,2007b; Walter et al., 2006) or subsea permafrost degradation (Shakhova et al., 2010b;Shakhova et al., 2010a), substantial CH4 emissions could result from thawing these high Arctic ecosystems. For lower scenarios, e.g. the mitigation scenario RCP3-PD, our results suggest that future warming is unlikely to increase Arctic temperatures enough to release a large fraction of the carbon stored in permafrost soils, although up to 22% could be thawed already by 2100. If strong mitigation of emissions is pursued, it seems still possible to prevent the release of large fractions of this permafrost carbon over the coming centuries prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm Btw. are there alternatives to sonar tech? Sonar is threatening for example whale population… prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm HYDRATECH-Techniques for the Quantification of Methane Hydrate http://www.hydratech.bham.ac.uk/ project ended 2004 it appears. Leland Palmer says: November 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm I may have spoken too soon about the navy being able to easily gather this data, using military sonars. I seem to recall that military sonars can sometimes see the BSR (Bottom Simulating Reflector) which marks the base of the gas hydrate stability zone, though. High quality images may require towed arrays of instruments: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflection_seismology" Wikipedia – Reflection Seismology – see the section on Marine Survey Aquisition (Ocean- bottom & 4D). I’m certainly no expert on this. All of the methods seem to require sonic bangs of some sort, often generated by some sort of air cannon, I think. Likely the whales would not be pleased. But, ocean acidification and anoxia as a result of methane release from the hydrates might please them less, maybe. If given a choice, and if they are capable of understanding the issues involved, they might choose to go ahead with the imaging- it’s their biosphere, too. prokaryotes says: November 18, 2012 at 10:18 am Lethal Sounds The use of military sonar poses a deadly threat to whales and other marine mammals http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/marine/sonar.asp prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm The scientific consensus in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is that “Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change.” “There is medium confidence that approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5-2.5 °C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 °C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_risk_from_global_warming The rest of this wiki page needs some cleanup. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm We’ve to do everything possible today to prevent a further deteriorating, acceleration of the climate situation. At some point we will degenerate as a species, the global economy will fail first, with war erupting and chaos which come from food riots. So even if we later start to act in the best way, we might be to late to do this properly. It takes just a single event to cause substantial damage to our economy. Think in the order of Fukushima like events. Many Fukushima’s all over the globe… anarchy, chaos and following the collapse of our civilization. We ow it to our ancestors to make the right choices today. We can no longer wait and just observe. This is not a question about opinion. This is a question about the condition of the land we live on. We need to stand up today and start with combined affords to combat the growing threat of climate change. If we do not do this, there will be no jobs tomorrow, and no bread and milk to feed our baby’s. prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm Real-time Procedural planet renderer in Java http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2dyiitk6EY Something relaxing and to remind us how fragile our world is… DRT says: November 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm Joe & Climate Progress readers, Are you attending this rally to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline on Sunday? Say Hello! Gather at the north side of the fountain, at the west end of the plaza @ 2:45. Look for the climate hawk buttons. Will Fox says: November 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm The Lunana region of Bhutan - http://news.byu.edu/archive12-nov-bhutan.aspx “… even if climate remained steady, almost 10 percent of Bhutan’s glaciers would vanish within the next few decades. What’s more, the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent.” prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm Right now TransCanada is bulldozing Nacogdoches local landowner Michael Bishop’s property for the #KeystoneXL pipeline http://www.facebook.com/TarSandsAction/posts/527266477284550 prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7392/full/nature10915.html Will Fox says: November 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm The Lunana region of Bhutan - http://news.byu.edu/archive12-nov-bhutan.aspx “… if temperatures were to rise just 1 degree Celsius, the Bhutanese glaciers would shrink by 25 percent and the annual melt water would drop by as much as 65 percent.” perceptiventity says: November 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm Good old european climate has broght an unusual tornado into Portugal. ‘A trail of destruction has left hundreds of people homeless and some of the injured had to be cut free from their cars after the swirling winds tossed their vehicles into the air.’ http://www.euronews.com/2012/11/17/portugal-s-algarve-rocked-by-a-freak-tornado/ prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm Meanwhile in Brisbane… Superstorm Cell in Brisbane (17.11.2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnLiws5wHrk Merrelyn Emery says: November 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm More ripping through Brisbane at the moment, ME prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm BP’s Settlement Is Only the Beginning of the End of the Gulf Oil Spill http://science.time.com/2012/11/16/bps-settlement-is-only-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-the-gulf-oil-spill/?xid=gonewsedit&google_editors_picks=true Paul Klinkman says: November 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm The one thing that can really inhibit climate change is the unleashing of many thousands of small independent inventors and product developers, because the price of solar, wind and transit everything shall collapse worldwide and forever, making extraction of the world’s remaining fossil fuels uneconomical forever. So, for-real small-scale innovation, two guys in a garage is the one thing that our government shall fight tooth and nail. –They shall fight it in the patent office, where corporate espionage becomes legal starting on March 16, 2013. –They shall fight it at the Department of Energy, where the Vogtle nuclear power plant gets an $8 billion loan, where something called “clean coal” gets a pot of money, where big universities get big grants to run surveys of all the other big universities, and where the independent inventors get nothing despite any merit that they can show. P.S. I hand-shoveled rocks today, where a real lab would have used a backhoe. Rock bed storage itself is old, but my new system eliminates a lot of the old problems. –They shall fight the development of any product with high rollout costs UNLESS one or more huge corporations are performing the rollouts. Example: the first 60,000 electric hybrids per manufacturer got a huge price break, and millions of low-mileage clunkers were destroyed for cash. There are also big TIGER road-building grants to be awarded by states. That’s innovative, right? Actually it feeds the existing car-strangled urban transit system. Then we have airport expansion grants. What we never, ever see are transit innovative product grants. Transit needs to be reinvented and new transit products rolled out, the entry costs are as high as the hybrid rollouts but the net energy benefits are vast. So the car industry gets the money. –They shall fight it at the state level, where nearly 100% of money earmarked for economic growth through “innovation” is turned to far-less-than-innovative pursuits such as buying one more Chinese PV panel. Leland Palmer says: November 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm Yes, fossil fuel corporations will fight against clean energy. But, the basis of the problem is real- stored solar energy in the form of fossil fuels is simply cheaper to exploit than solar energy gathered in real time. The reason is that solar energy is diffuse. There is a lot of energy there, but is is spread over a large area. Certainly, the cost can be brought down. I’m trying it myself. I’m working on solar panels framed with ordinary wood, with the wood fireproofed and protected with sodium silicate “space paint” as developed by NASA. But, it’s an uphill battle. Solar energy is diffuse, and fossil fuels are concentrated. That’s just the way it is. That’s why we need things like subsidies and feed in tariffs to get us to the widespread deployment stage. That’s why we need continued research and development of low cost but very durable materials, capable of collecting diffuse energy over very long time periods, to recoup the initial investment. Lewis Cleverdon says: November 18, 2012 at 11:19 am Leyland – as a contrast with the diffuse nature of solar energy, consider that energy – after a couple of transitions – when it has been concentrated into waves at sea. A six-metre wave holds an energy flux of around 1.0MW per metre of wave front. Using the Charleston Rotor around 99% of that energy can be collected as kinetic, with a 90% conversion to electricity. I wonder what the ratio would be for solar power collection area for 1.0MW ? Numerous relevant factors on both sides of course, but in terms of equipment cost per GWHr yield/yr I suspect solar will end up being displaced in locations where currently less fashionable options offer better returns. Regards, Lewis prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm Democrats pick up key House seat as Bilbray concedes defeat to Peters On Friday, Democrats picked up at least one House seat that had yet to be decided, the latest victory for Democrats as results of the 2012 race continue to trickle in. Rep. Brian Bilbray, a California Republican, conceded defeat to Scott Peters, an environmental attorney and former San Diego City Council member. The defeat of Mr. Bilbray, a six-term congressman, is seen as a dramatic victory for Democrats. The victory comes on the heels of a Democratic victory in the White House and the Senate. Democrats picked up seats in the upper chamber, providing them with a five-seat majority. Senator-elect Angus King of Maine, an independent, is also expected to caucus with the Democrats, providing them with an additional vote of support. With the California race decided, the only race that remains in question is the 22nd District House race between Republican Congressman Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy. http://natmonitor.com/2012/11/17/democrats-pick-up-key-house-seat-as-brian-bilbray-concedes-defeat-to-scott-peters/ peter whitehead says: November 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm Perhaps one day soon the insurance industry will tell the energy companies that insurance cover for fossil fuel activities will no longer be available. If science builds up evidence that rising claims are due to excess CO2, then where is the legal liability? prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm Or Insurer start to put fossil companies on trial to pay for damages, which their “product” caused. Lewis Cleverdon says: November 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm The “somebody” that people are really in love with is Barak Obama. He is not the ally of those seeking commensurate action on climate. Regards, Lewis prokaryotes says: November 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm The Pivotal Role of Perceived Scientific Consensus People rely on the consensus among scientists to adjust their own beliefs. We are facing great challenges: From climate change to peak oil and food insecurity, our societies are confronted with many potential risks that, if left unresolved, may threaten the well-being of present and future generations, and the natural world. Many of those challenges require the application of scientific research and careful deliberation to be resolved. Cognitive science provides some of the tools required to understand how people think about such global issues, and in particular their attitudes towards science and scientific evidence. The first one is the finding that people’s attitudes towards science are a mixture of specific opinions (i.e., how much people endorse climate science or the link between tobacco and lung cancer) as well as a general factor (i.e., how much people endorse scientific propositions in general). This is quite interesting because it means that there is something about science in general that (partially) determines people’s acceptance of scientific propositions about issues as diverse as tobacco, HIV, and climate. We furthermore showed that this general factor capturing acceptance of science was correlated with another general factor that represented perceived consensus among scientists. That is, the public’s views on science are at least partially driven by the extent to which people perceive agreement among scientists. This correlation is neither surprising nor entirely new, as other researchers have reported similar results for climate science (although no one has previously reported the involvement of a general factor). It also explains why climate deniers expend considerable effort to negate the existence of that consensus, using the usual array of deceptive techniques such as pseudo-experts, or pointing to unreviewed blog-posts as “evidence” for their contrarian positions. The second intriguing finding is that when people were explicitly informed about the scientific consensus on climate change, they became significantly more likely to endorse the basic premise of global warming, and they attributed a larger share of the observed warming trend to human CO2 emissions, than people in a control condition who received no such information. This result suggests that consensus information causally contributes to people’s acceptance of scientific propositions. The final intriguing finding was that the effect of the consensus information was particularly effective for people whose “free-market” worldview predisposed them to reject climate science. It has long been known that personal ideology or “worldview” is a major driver of people’s attitudes towards climate change: the more strongly people endorse a “fundamentalist” view of the free market, the more likely they are to reject climate science. The role of worldview presents a formidable challenge to science communicators because ideology may override any factual information. Worse yet, the provision of factual information may lead to “backfire” effects that reduce—rather than enhance—acceptance of science among people with extreme worldviews. The fact that in our study, the provision of consensus information attenuated the role of worldview and increased acceptance particularly among people who maximally endorsed the free market may therefore present an avenue to overcome the communication challenge faced by climate scientists. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thinking-global-change/201211/the-pivotal-role-perceived-scientific-consensus Colorado Bob says: November 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm Mighty Mississippi slowed to a crawl as Missouri water ebbs Drought has left the Mississippi River critically low — and the economic fallout will be enormous, potentially forcing job cuts, raising fuel costs and pinching the nation’s food supply. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019705154_lowriver18.html At issue is a plan by the corps to significantly reduce the amount of water released from the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, S.D., a move to conserve water in the upper Missouri River basin also stung by the drought. The outflow, currently at 36,500 cubic feet per second, is expected to be cut to 12,000 cubic feet per second over several days, starting Friday. “Basically we have a manual and we’re required to follow it,” Farhat said. “And there’s nothing in that manual that talks about providing support to the Mississippi River.” Army Corps of Engineers David B. Benson says: November 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm Jeff Masters has a good (most recent) blog post about the costs of drought. High is too mild a term. Jon Davies says: November 18, 2012 at 5:43 am With 350 doing their “Do the Math” tour, and the IEA’s recent report which confirmed the ‘math’, does anybody know of a campaign to get the President to acknowledge these numbers? Surely he can’t not acknowledge them, and once acknowledged, surely it follows that drastic measures have to be taken, including trying to unite the international community to adopt serious action. This is what America would be expected to do if it acknowledged such numbers. So surely all we need to do is get Obama to acknowledge them, and then he’ll have to do something about it? Are there any groups or campaigns trying to get a public, official, on the record acknowledgement of these numbers? It only needs one reporter to ask the question! Please, somebody do it! Artful Dodger says: November 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm Hi Joe, I surely hope that you’re calling the White House each day to offer your help with the President’s discussion with scientists and engineers. So, take a few months off CP if you need it! We’ll be okay while you’re busy! We’ll even keep the home fires burnin’ for you, honest ;^) This is your time, truly! The time you’ve worked toward your whole life. Go be bold! The President needs your help, as do we all. This is likely our last best chance. Kapla, Dr. Romm… or in the Rommulan, Qapla! AlC says: November 19, 2012 at 3:25 am Call to modernize antiquated climate negotiations November 18, 2012 http://phys.org/news/2012-11-modernize-antiquated-climate.html http://www.wunderground.com/blog/RickyRood/comment.html?entrynum=243 The World Four Degrees Warmer: A New Analysis from the World Bank http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/climate-change-report-warns-dramatically-warmer-world-century Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century “Turn Down the Heat” John McCormick says: November 19, 2012 at 9:00 am RE # 9 Will Fox, thanks for that link. It was important for my work.