New Year Open Thread: What’s Your Climate Resolution?

It’s a brand new year. Time to redouble our efforts — and then redouble them again (and again, as it turns out) — because the time for modest action passed a long, long time ago (see PricewaterhouseCoopers study: We’re Headed To 11°F Warming And Even 7°F Requires “Nearly Quadrupling The Current Rate Of Decarbonisation“).

I’m resolved to work harder to communicate the science and solutions to an even broader audience to avoid the climate abyss. What is your resolution?

91 Responses to New Year Open Thread: What’s Your Climate Resolution?

  1. J.C. says:

    Making and spreading Terra Prieta on the evergreen trees on our property, and spreading the idea to others. ( Thank You Albert Bates )

  2. Niall says:

    Good work, Joe.

    I’m working on a book about our species’ relationship with the rest of Nature and, inevitably, the matter of climate change is a key aspect of this.

    I’m also thinking about going back to blogging, with an emphasis on how growth-based socio-economic systems are part of the problem, and how civil society needs to be working very hard and very urgently on alternatives, but I don’t want to be distracted too much from the book.

    This is the biggest crisis our species has ever faced, and I really can’t think of anything more important to be working on.

  3. Continue to facilitate Native American Tribes to own and operate large renewable assets.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    “Maybe he’ll fall only halfway”
    Toles cartoon is epic :)

    My resolution, will try to bring more quality post (better research) and more focus on climate solution.

  5. Alteredstory says:

    I was going to say “keep doing what I’m doing” etc., but I think I’m going to say that at this point, continuing my efforts to go vegetarian, think more carefully about what I need (for the money’s sake), meditate more (better discipline) and get in better shape, will all go towards making me better able to actually do the work at hand.

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re fighting a war for our survival, but like with the so-called class war, the side the majority of us are on is only taking up arms after being under assault for decades.

    Time to start training for it, even if the weapons of this war are from the discipline of nonviolent conflict.

  6. fj says:

    Great resolution Joe and should include smarter and faster with continuous improvement.

    Bloomberg’s NYC Rapid Repairs — despite all the snafus — could become a very important replicable model for creating a very positive future.

  7. Phil Blackwood says:

    Deploy, deploy, deploy.

    Get one electric car on the road — it’s already ordered and should be delivered in March:

    Reduce natural gas usage by improving home insulation:

    Help others deploy clean energy solutions:

    Nag our elected leaders to deliver climate solutions:

  8. Superman1 says:

    “It’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re fighting a war for our survival, but like with the so-called class war, the side the majority of us are on is only taking up arms after being under assault for decades.”

    The real question is: who is the enemy? As Pogo said, we have found the enemy and he is us! It is our addiction to a lifestyle based on high technology, enabled today by the unlimited availability of cheap fossil fuel energy, that drives the climate change. The energy companies and supporters exploit our addiction to the fullest, but our extravagances are the primary cause. I understand your problem, because it is difficult to recruit new followers to the climate change ‘Cause’ when most of these potential recruits are part of the problem. But, you will never solve a problem if you don’t define it accurately, and this refusal to pinpoint the central cause is the primary weakness of the climate change movement.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    To stay in shape is certainly a good point, because with sport you find the motivation, power and strength. Go running, swimming, walk if possible or use a bicycle. Together with a balanced diet (no fast food if possible + drink 3-5 literes a day ) you will also get less depressed from all the bad news.

    “meditate more”
    I did not tried this yet!

  10. Superman1 says:

    It is our addiction to a lifestyle based on high technology, enabled today by the unlimited availability of cheap fossil fuel energy, that drives the climate change. The energy companies and supporters exploit our addiction to the fullest, but our extravagances are the primary cause. I understand your problem, because it is difficult to recruit new followers to the climate change ‘cause’ when most of these potential recruits are part of the problem. But, you will never solve a problem if you don’t define it accurately, and this refusal to pinpoint the central cause is the primary weakness of the climate change movement.

  11. Joan Savage says:

    Among other activities, I intend to strongly support my mayor, county executive, and congressional representative. Each of them provides appropriate leadership on the issues that trouble us here.

    The mayor and county executive both have signed legislation opposing hydrofracking. Our newly elected congressional representative is up to speed on climate change issues.

    It may be an anomaly, but I live in an area with a lot of vigorous voices, not a passive audience, so I endorse local ways for those voices to be heard. For anyone, is an example of how to do that inexpensively,

  12. Wendy says:

    Good luck everyone, cause I don’t know….

  13. John Paily says:

    awaken to people to the principle and design of earth and her functioning sustain the heat. When environmental heat is increased and it is unwound unilaterally then earth reacts to wind. The exponentially increasing heat of the environment in a quantum world that changes constantly invariably means there will be accelerated climate change, leading to huge destruction by all the forces of nature. The earth reaction to unwinding force invariably means we can expect huge earth quakes. Eventually it would end in huge volcanic eruptions. Watch out for yellow stone. There is hope for humanity in God provided he awakens to the principle and design on which earth functions and develop management of energy of earth’s environment –

  14. Mike Roddy says:

    Change despair into anger, and anger into constructive activity.

    Our main problem still appears to be public ignorance of the scale of our climate problem. If more Americans became aware of what’s going on, Congress would be forced to act. You can add up all of the climate blog and climate science journal readers and they might add up to the population of a medium sized city.

    That’s what the fossil fuel companies and banks want. Their front men are the major media companies, who also believe that profits are sacred, and that public awareness means telling them about fashion trends.

    I plan to work harder in 2013 to put American media’s feet to the fire on a systematic basis. Eventually they will have to listen, and change accordingly.

  15. Anne says:

    Resolved: To understand more about the human brain and human behavior in the context of having the ability to deal with slow-moving but deadly threats like climate chaos. It is only when we more perfectly understand ourselves that we will more perfectly understand our role in the world, and perhaps then learn how to better effect positive change.

  16. fj says:

    This type of action taken to the logical extreme accelerating at wartime speed should lead to urgent climate initiatives

    Rapid Adaptation (FEMA term: Hazard Mitigation from storms, floods, high winds, etc.)

    Rapid Efficiency

    Rapid Solar . . .

  17. Nell says:

    Develop skills to make stuff worth bartering.
    Getting in better shape.
    Will be moving to Northwest this year… figure it’ll be safer than SoCal.
    Working toward maximum self sufficiency.

  18. Peter Garbutt says:

    To take the fight into the hostile media. Here in the UK, that’s a lot of media to fight.

  19. Will Fox says:

    10 Dumbest Things Fox News Said About Climate Change In 2012

    Read it and weep :-(

  20. Gestur says:

    Once again, Anne, I’m in full agreement with you. And in my case I’ve actually made great strides in that very understanding by reading, so far, the first half of that amazing book “Engaging Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives”, edited by Sally Weintrobe. It’s so well-written and so full of insights that I can’t help but recommend others read it too. Of course solving climate change is the most difficult problem civilization will have ever faced and understanding what motives us—our defensive illusions and tragic disavowal—will only help us part way. To adequately deal with climate change, however, we’ll need every one of the parts working in our favor, and this book offers great insight into one of them.

    A decent review of it appeared in the Guardian online in late November.

  21. Leif says:

    The “fall” never hurt anyone, it is the sudden stop at the end that gets you. In this case however the fall is in fact hurting many but the powers that be are too myopic to see.
    I will continue to fight the ability of the few to profit from the pollution of the commons. The fundamental flaw of Western Capitalism. Socially enabled capitalism is a failed paradigm.

  22. prokaryotes says:

    Why is nobody suing FOX for the lies?

  23. PeterM says:

    I continue to educate and spread the word everywhere about the deep perils we face with climate change. To sit idly by with the knowledge I have would make me as guilty as the climate change deniers.

  24. Colorado Bob says:

    An oil drilling rig holding more than 160,000 gallons of diesel, oil, and hydraulic fluid has run aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, after breaking away while being towed during a storm. The crew was evacuated before the rig was incapacitated.

    “The rig ran aground in a storm, with waves up to 35 feet and wind to 70 miles per hour,” reports Jeff Brady, on NPR’s Newscast. The rig is “about 250 miles south of Anchorage,” Jeff says.

  25. prokaryotes says:


    In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.

  26. DirkH says:

    Don’t use bicycles. They’re made from steel. Or even worse, carbon fiber, which is even more energy-intensive in its production.

  27. BBHY says:

    I think I’ll buy wind generated electricity for the small amount of my power that I don’t get from my solar panels. I keep getting offers in the mail from Constellation and First Energy. Then when I call them up and tell them I want all wind and no coal energy they say they can’t help me. They seem to be pushing coal very hard.

    I plan to take some road trips with my electric car.

    Continue to lobby my political representatives. I am not very convinced that they want to do more than give hollow reassurances that feel it’s an important issue while not doing a dang thing about it. I’ll keep trying anyway.

    Seriously thinking of running for public office myself, not this year but sometime in the near future. It looks like the only way to get any help on the political side.

  28. Resolution: Work on making sure that climate denying Congress Critters actually pay a price for sticking their heads in the sand. It makes no difference whether what party they profess allegiance to, they must be made to pay allegiance to life.

  29. Raul M. says:

    Nice looking homemade methane biodigesters to be found on YouTube. It is an interesting thing to supply natural gas to the home with a
    biodigester. But is it a way to capture and thus reduce methane that would occur anyway or does it use methane that would not otherwise occur. Turning to fertilizer and fuel gas does seem a better way to end it all than being cremated. Usually fruit and sugary material makes the best fuel though.

  30. catman306 says:

    To further reduce my carbon footprint.
    To further reduce my effect on the GNP.
    To spread the word that Global Warming is real, is caused by the actions of mankind, and is happening now.

  31. Lionel A says:

    The rig has been in trouble since Thursday, when the ship towing it suffered an engine failure; in a separate incident, a tow line snapped…

    Symptoms of lack of investment in equipment, in other words profit before safety, maybe? A common theme in this industry and its sisters in coal, gas etc.

  32. prokaryotes says:

    Alaska Shell Drill Ship Crew To Evacuate

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Coast Guard prepared Saturday to evacuate an 18-member crew of a Shell drill ship that was stalled in rough Gulf of Alaska waters, south of Kodiak Island.

  33. prokaryotes says:

    Austin Energy offers rebates up to $300 for
    e-bikes, two-wheel electric vehicles

  34. David Goldstein says:

    Here’s one I haven’t seen yet: I resolve to engage in climate activism with a sense of joy. This has been a challenge for me since, in my heart and mind, I strongly suspect that our species is going to bring on a significant die-off and a dys-topic future for many of the survivors. When I do the math (my own, not necessarily Bill Mckibben’s!) to include the astonishing number of coal-fire plants being built in China and India, etc. along with the massive infrastructure being built in the West to facilitate Asia’s expansion…my heart and mind takes a ‘deep swallow’. And STILL, while I am alive and called to spread the word about the climate, I want to be joyful- if also occasionally fired-up myself!- while I am doing it.

  35. Gail Zawacki says:

    my New Year’s Resolutions:

    2011 – get arrested…check (Keystone XL protest, DC)

    2012 – get arrested again…check (OWS – plus a near miss ( and write the book … check (

    2013 – make the 2-minute movie that will convince everyone trees are dying from pollution

  36. Bob Lang says:

    – Switched to CFL lightbulbs in 2003,
    – switched from minivan to 4-cylinder Camry in 2005,
    – sold 4 bdrm house in 2009 and moved into condo apt.,
    – drive less than 1,200 miles (2,000km) a year since 2011,

    I’m stumped as to what more I can do personally for now, but I’ll keep thinking about it.

  37. Cynthia Franklin says:

    Decide the 2 most effective organizations and focus $$ contributions where they will do the most good.

    Also, double down activism efforts here in the Pacific Northwest to fight the proposed coal export facilities.

  38. Paul Klinkman says:

    As a child, my grandfather on my mother’s side built a little tiny coffin for my great-grandfather’s leg. It was cut off by a threshing machine.

    My mother’s father and my father were both born on farms. They managed to go to college and then they taught courses. They worked their way out of poverty in a world that was becoming affluent.

    My father designed and built his own house with a wood shop for himself. He had the tools to build houses. He hired crews and built three more houses near us. How he ever found the time is another question.

    Then the world changed and everybody became perhaps 100 times as affluent (if you count the super-rich in with the poorest, also the bloated military budget, the money wasted in prisons, the morbidly obese health care system, on and on). Now we could all afford our own carpentry shops, our own machines in our garages. These days we can even afford our own workbench robots.

    However, something else happened. Our economy was suddenly short 50 million jobs, and a few people committed suicide in despair over not having jobs. Most of our enormous and growing technological affluence got into the hands of a tiny group of robber barons. Some of us had to work harder for less pay. Others had no jobs. We entered post-affluence America.

    The modern secret to having an honest opportunity at a fair job at fair pay is to form a community around working and consuming. Every time that our community buys in bulk and somebody works to separate the bulk orders, we save money and somebody in our community works (for money). Every time that we hire our own CSA to grow our food, we get better quality food and somebody works. It’s only a matter of time before we start building each other’s homes, complete with more solar heat. In our post-affluence America we can be pretty inefficient at production and still be affluent, so now we can design the jobs a bit around the imperfect people that want to work.

    Further, every time that we form a community, the community’s needs are upheld. Our community has a moral imperative to inhibit climate change more than we unorganized individuals have. Our community naturally wants to buy from and sell to other communities, ones that also have good morals.

    In time, the bad apple corporations will have to lose a lot of their business. A truly bad apple will have trouble making or selling anything at all at a low enough price to make inroads into a moral economy. If we need it, we’ll set up a new community to make it. “Fair Trade” will be the norm.

    This, in the Mayan calendar, is the start of a new golden age lasting something like 1300 years. In our post-affluence the poor of the earth can make all of their own goods among themselves, and that includes energy. Immoral energy will not be bought at any price.

    Once we have met all of our basic needs, no amount of salary can pry most of us into an immoral life selling fossil fuels or building gambling houses. Also, someday, no amount of money will be able to buy a properly constructed democratic government.

    At that point, all of our governments will see the inherent morality in not destroying our great-grandchildren’s inheritance. We will take ever-increasing portions of our war budgets, because no nation on earth will be able to profit from invading their neighbors, and we will budget it toward hydrocarbon sequestration. Then the earth’s climate will be restored.

    So, we have our work cut out for us. We need community organizing, including faith community organizing. Faith communities are likely to recognize quickly that destroying the climate is immoral, it’s taboo, and we’re going to cut off anyone and anything allied with climate change.

    We need business organizing. Businesses are little communities, some democratic in nature, some little private kingdoms, but they all want to play politics to be on good terms with their customers, with their workers, with their investors, with their neighbors.

    We need to organize to free the inventors. I went out at age 59 and shoveled out my current solar project today, alone, with a beat-up steel snow shovel. No, I don’t have a heart condition. If you think that this is a poor use of an inventor’s time, you’re right. However, you and your snow blower weren’t there to shovel.

    Also, for some of you, your 401k money was in a mutual fund, and your mutual fund was in a fossil fuel company.

    To follow our dreams we have work ahead of us. We’re going to see little self-sacrifices in this movement, sometimes from individuals, sometimes from communities. Good luck. Happy New Age!

  39. David Heintz says:

    To publish my book and get Joe Romm, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Van Jones to “blurb” it – i.e. help promote it. (I already drive a hybrid, very little, recycle everything, and my house is powered by solar.

  40. Nell says:

    -Eat locally grown foods
    -Become a vegetarian

  41. My resolution is to continue to write on renewable energy issues and probably go back to school and upgrade to become a climate policy analyst.

  42. lemmonmc says:

    I would like to add (concerning the left) that Naomi Klein refers to this as ‘liberal denial.’ They don’t want to know just how bad it really is and have decided to wrap themselves in a kind of comfortable mental blanket:”I know climate change is real, and I’m doing my part, I’m raising my kids, I recycle..” etc. Completely unaware of the magnitude of acceleration currently being reported in the field nor making honest attempts at truly educating themselves.

    A collective psychosis exist in most American liberals, where they want something done about it, but won’t form the necessary collective deep reflection on how we got here nor the action it requires. At the core I believe is this: most liberals no matter how much they do believe in climate change have no idea just how bad it really is. Most do not inform themselves on the latest climate modeling, current observable impacts, or future projections. Having not done sufficient research on the topic they will still have strong opinions on how serious it is and what we should do about it, to the point of arguing against those whom have done the research. People like Obama (we can frack, drill, and nuke everywhere for energy independence) and Mckibbon (“we can stay below 2 degree Celsius”) further this cognitive dissidence with blatantly untrue narratives.

    They do not ever want to confront the possible reality that this infinite consumer based GDP-growth economy is a miserable failure. This they will counter with it’s obvious benefits, while never ever comprehending those benefits are temporary and by the laws of physics can never be extended to future generations ever again. Let alone the savage inequality built into the system that benefits them (educated, liberal, upper middle class, overwhelmingly white) but leaves whole regions of the earth’s non-white peoples and especially women in wage-slavery, enduring painful miserable lives to provide American liberals (of course all major western economies and political persuations) the awesome comforts of success they enjoy everyday.

    So if you have your political world view already grounded in ignoring this blaring “injustice’ built directly into the system, while simultaneously stating you care about human-rights ,plus singing gleefully the great benefits to be had by you, from such a system (the American dream, free market, globalization etc..): then it’s no great cognitive leap in logic for you to ‘believe in global warming’, and ‘care about the environment’ while plowing our collect Eco-systems into a death spiral with over consumption, inaction and business as usual.

    Liberals & conservatives don’t really want things to change too much. We’ve been taught never to sacrifice.This system gives people especially those in the educated classes much financial benefit, which in American-conventional-wisdom-speak translates: happiness. The real problem being liberals (for the most part) aren’t even fighting, not even really trying and are just as unknowing of the ‘real physics’ involved as the right-wingers. My new yrs resolution is to speak to this deeper problem at the core of our current plight.

  43. Benthicooze says:

    Reduce my carbon footprint by avoiding unnecessary car trips, eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods, create a learning cycle lesson on climate change, add more trees and shrubs to our landscape, seed lawn with drought resistant slow growing grass (any suggestions?).

  44. Merrelyn Emery says:

    It is not an addiction. Attempting to convince others of this highly misleading analogy is no more than an implicit call to defeatism, ME

  45. Niall says:

    The same applies to just about every other mode of transport, unless you walk everywhere. The difference lies in efficiency. Lester Brown estimates he can do seven miles (about 11k) to the potato on his bike, although I’m not sure if that’s in town or long distances at speed, or what sort of bike he’s got. You can’t do that on foot, never mind anything else. A recumbent will also outperform an upright.

    The bicycle is your friend.

  46. Superman1 says:

    Why do you think my statement is misleading? Saying it’s misleading without being definitive is not very convincing.

  47. Bob Lang says:

    Thanks Nell for your suggestions.
    I’m in Canada, so no locally grown fresh produce year-round.
    I buy mostly frozen fish fillet as opposed to meat. I’m not knowledgeable enough about vegetarianism to make that switch. Remember any radical change in diet amounts to a long-term experiment with yourself.

  48. Spacenut says:

    “Buffalograss, Buchloe dactyloides, is a perennial grass native to the Great Plains from Montana to Mexico. In Texas, it is commonly found from South Texas to the Texas Panhandle; but is rarely found on the sandy soils in the eastern part of the state or in the high rainfall areas of southeast Texas. It is one of the grasses that supported the great herds of buffalo that roamed the Great Plains. Buffalograss also provided the sod from which early settlers built their houses.

    Buffalograss is, perhaps, our only truly native turfgrass. Its tolerance to prolonged droughts and to extreme temperatures together with its seed producing characteristics enables buffalograss to survive extreme environmental conditions.”

    I used to love mine. Almost no care needed at all unless you want a manicured looking lawn. Even then doesn’t require a lot of mowing. If you decide on seeding, make sure you get deburred seed. It’ll be quite a bit more expensive, but save you lots of heartache. Burred seed is very hard to germinate. Have to have the exact right heat and moisture and even then, not all will with burred seed, it’s a survival trait.

  49. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Do you get a nice little boost from increased dopamine everytime you turn the light on? I don’t think so. Addiction is a quite specific individual physiological pathology and the way Americans use their resources bears no relationship to it, ME

  50. Nancy says:

    Keep writing to newspaper editors demanding more climate change coverage. Keep writing to TV weather people demanding they connect the dots to climate change. Keep writing to NBC, CBS, ABC, demanding more prime-time coverage of climate change.

    And not to get discouraged when I get no responses.

  51. DirkH says:

    Yes, but even Lester can’t make steel with muscle power.

  52. Gail Zawacki says:

    the progress trap, from:

    IN HIS BOOK A Short History of Progress, Ronald Wright coins the term “progress trap.” A progress trap, says Wright, is a short-term social or technological improvement that turns out in the longer term to be a backward step. By the time this is realized—if it ever is—it is too late to change course.

    The earliest example he gives is the improvement in hunting techniques in the Upper Paleolithic era, around fifteen thousand years ago. Wright tracks the disappearance of wildlife on a vast scale whenever prehistoric humans arrived on a new continent. As Wright explains: “Some of their slaughter sites were almost industrial in size: 1,000 mammoths at one; more than 100,000 horses at another.” But there was a catch:

    The perfection of hunting spelled the end of hunting as a way of life. Easy meat meant more babies. More babies meant more hunters. More hunters, sooner or later, meant less game. Most of the great human migrations across the world at this time must have been driven by want, as we bankrupted the land with our moveable feasts.

    This is the progress trap. Each improvement in our knowledge or in our technology will create new problems, which require new improvements. Each of these improvements tends to make society bigger, more complex, less human-scale, more destructive of nonhuman life, and more likely to collapse under its own weight.

  53. ME:

    I think you’re wrong. Addiction is a very good analogy for the way Americans consume discretionary goods. (Goods other than food and basic necessities.) Huge throngs of people show up at the malls every evening and weekend and spend their money on tons of crap that they don’t need.

    But it’s never enough, and it’s never satisfying, so after getting a “clothing hit,” or a “electronic hit,” they are soon back for more. They are addicted to the feeling they get when acquiring, which soon wears off, necessitating another round of acquiring.

  54. Superman1 says:

    Here’s what I’m not understanding. Our political leaders have either young children, young grandchildren, or young great-grandchildren. They also have access to the best climatology minds in the world, and access to the classified work being done on climate change using the banks and banks of supercomputers available at national facilities. They probably know far better than any of us what to expect from climate change with BAU.

    By mid-century, when it appears the temperature increases will be in the range of at least 3-4 C (more if positive feedbacks really kick in), their young progeny will be in their 50s-60s, what we consider today the prime of their professional lives. Why aren’t our political leaders speaking out about the world their young progeny will face at that time?

    It seems to me there are two extreme possibilities. One, the classified models with any feedback estimates added may be showing the situation may not be as dire as presented in the open literature, technical or otherwise. In that case, the progeny will be able to live out their lives reasonably comfortable, with the family wealth intact. Two, the classified models have some estimates of feedback included, and, as expected, the forecasts are far more dire than the IEA, World Bank, et al reports. In this latter case, the progeny will face a grim life as they enter middle-age. In the past, people tended to want a better life for their children and grandchildren, even at the expense of fulfilling their own desires. If, in fact, the latter option I mentioned is true, and I suspect most of us believe it is, what is wrong with the political leaders in ignoring this problem almost completely. Even if they can do nothing of substance to turn the problem around, their ‘laying it on the line’ to the American people at least discharges some of their responsibility from an ethical and moral perspective. I cannot understand their silence in light of what will happen to their progeny if the present scenario plays out as it is appearing.

  55. The rig has been in trouble since it was conceived and designed. We have no business trying to extract more fossil fuels — especially those found beneath Arctic waters.

  56. Will Fox says:

    As climate warms, bark beetles march on high-elevation forests:

  57. I plan to finish the book on climate change solutions that I started writing in August, 2012. It’s called, “THREE STEPS TO A COOLER PLANET: Designing Solutions to Global Climate Change.” (My background is in design and architecture.)

    I hope to complete the project and have it available as an ebook by mid year.

  58. Icarus says:

    I would like to make it more widely known that emissions reductions are not going to ‘save’ us from a climate catastrophe. It’s not the rate of greenhouse gas emission that matters, but the total, since that is what determines the planet’s energy imbalance and resultant warming. My understanding of the science is that we’re going to need active sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere whatever happens. I think there needs to be a much greater investment in research so that we have the technology ready to put into use when extreme weather and crop failures cause enough civil unrest in ‘first world’ countries to actually make governments take the problem seriously.

  59. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    When the villagers found that Dr. Frankenstein had created a monster they became an angry mob, attacking with pitchforks and flaming torches.

  60. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Philip, you’re right, “it’s never satisfying”. That’s because it isn’t an addiction. When I have a cigarette after a 15 hour flight, it is deeply satisfying. The behaviour you are describing is called the maladaption of superficiality and is an attempt to compensate for what is essentially a purposeless and meaningless life. Most of our people work in dominant hierarchies where they have no or inadequate levels of decision making about jobs they don’t care about. They live in families dissociated from their communities (in name only) with others who suffer similarly. Kids are sent to schools where they have little choice over what they are taught, let alone learn. You can never fill the psychic void caused by lack of meaning or purpose so the constant consumption mimics an addiction but unlike addiction can be easily fixed. All people are born purposeful and those who are lucky enough to work or learn in organizations where they share in the decision making about directions and the means of pursuing them do not show this or any other maladaption, ME

  61. David Smith says:

    A very good point about carbon sequestration Icarus.
    Perhaps we should work on sequestration at a very local level, such as carbon capture technologies installed in every household – CO2 level monitors could be installed for people to monitor their own level of CO2 production in their homes which would give them a way of measuring their rate of CO2 reduction and set targets for themselves.

  62. kermit says:

    Many of them have an anti-empirical mindset (of which creationism is characteristic). Their tribal identity is dependent on not believing in certain things (as opposed to a particular set of rituals, or costume, or food). Some may be quite cynical, but they still adhere to a core belief – that reality is a social construct. They think that global warming can be wished away by repeated mantras about free markets and invisible hands and technical ingenuity. Like a political boundary, the laws of physics can be argued with and defeated.

    Some are religious fanatics, and are interpreting these changes as welcome end time scenarios.

    And some of them, curiously enough, are sociopaths, and don’t really care about anybody else, even their own kin.

    Really, most of the politicians do not argue like folks who understand what is happening and pretend they don’t. They argue like folks who do not even understand the implications of the evidence, and who think that the opinions of scientists are as ill-informed as their own on any subject whatsoever.

  63. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Dirk, we should be reserving our resources for the technologies that will reduce emissions, including bikes, ME

  64. kermit says:

    I’m getting rid of most of my lawn and replacing it with garden, but I don’t recommend it for someone who doesn’t want to spend all day in the dirt…

    Here’s some drought-resistant grasses and alternative groundcovers:

    You only actually need grass if you get a lot of foot traffic (I’m keeping half of my back yard for play). Other alternatives like clover grow low and require no mowing or perhaps once a year mowing. But the change over can be labor intensive if the old sod has to be removed first.

  65. Brooks Bridges says:

    Wonderful book! Highly applicable to our climate crisis.

  66. Merrelyn Emery says:

    There are things you can grow on your window sill and try sprouting seeds, e.g. mung – they are delicious, ME

  67. Brooks Bridges says:

    36 posts so far and many replies and not one person mentioned they would participate in’s planned rally Feb 17 in DC.

    Why? Besides the obvious, e.g., too far away

  68. Paul Magnus says:

    #IdleNoMore #Climate #DefendOurPlanet

  69. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There is more than one human species, particularly from the moral, intellectual and spiritual perspectives.

  70. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s more a compulsory form of indoctrination, of brainwashing into the habits of greed and selfishness imposed on societies by the uniformly Rightwing MSM and the advertising industry.

  71. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Non-violence (ahimsa) only worked in India because the English were massively outnumbered. It still took centuries, tens of millions of dead in avoidable famines, and the defeat of Churchill in the 1945 election (although the US would have forced his hand, out of fear of Communism). Most advocates of non-violence are murdered, ‘disappeared’, tortured or imprisoned, as are environmental activists today throughout the poor world.

  72. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Un-an-i-mous-ly! That’s what I call ‘The Rule of Law’. The Chinese must be envious.

  73. John says:

    I have two effective solutions to reducing global emissions fairly quickly.
    1. Source and invest funds to engage the services of computer hackers world wide and pay them to shut down the computer systems of every corporation that is involved in or supports fossil fuel extraction. Collectively a focused mass of computer hackers across the planet could create an unstoppable and continuous assault that could inflict such economic damage that governments will stand up and listen. Harsh? Yes! But effective and necessary.
    2. Imagine a device the size of a shipping container that takes seeds in at one end and reliably grows vegetables to collect at the other end. The ultimate high tech idiot proof garden, powered by solar, efficient on water usage, uses natural fertilisers and totally automated. The cumulative benefits of such a device would be enormous. Now imagine if this device could also provide off grid solar power, solar dehydrated human waste processing and water treatment and recycling. Just think what this device could do for developing countries. This is my 2013 goal and we are not far from prototype testing.
    It is time to stop the discussion and take direct action!

  74. BBHY says:

    Comments like that are exactly why nothing ever gets done to address climate change. Telling people they must return to a paleolithic lifestyle is the best way to guarantee that they will continue their current lifestyle with no changes at all. That is about as bad as the folks who believe that all we have to do is change some light bulbs.

    There has to be a middle ground of effective, yet practical and feasible ways to address the problem.

  75. Name withheld says:

    Joe, how about inviting an economist and/or policy, politics, or sociology expert to weigh in on these resolutions, saying which they think are most powerful?

    Here’s another option, for readers in the San Francisco bay area:

    Join the Audience Panel

    The San Francisco Chronicle values your opinions about the content and quality of local news and events. We encourage people from all walks of life to become a member of our audience panel. You’ll have the opportunity to provide vital feedback, evaluate ideas and products and discuss current events in our brief online surveys. Visit to join.

  76. Niall says:

    I think there is a lot of truth to this, and also to the Frankenstein analogy.

    My own reading on the subject suggests that cognitive dissonance may have a lot to do with the problem.

    First, you have those whose basic underlying assumptions on matters such as the free market and so on are challenged by this kind of crisis (your classic right-wing denialist). The “natural” response is to reject the new information.

    Second, you have those who have become accustomed to certain types of lifestyle, and don’t want to give it up. This is the kind of denialist who thinks that “green consumerism” will solve the problem, whether or not they look at it from a capitalist or socialist perspective. They accept part of the information, but think we can overcome it by installing a few windmills and otherwise going on as normal.

    Tackling cognitive dissonance at a social level is a nightmare, and currently my biggest intellectual challenge, not helped by the fact that there is little or no available research on the subject.

  77. Niall says:

    I have wondered, as a digression, if there are a number of subspecies of humans with different thought patterns. I suspect it’s cultural but, from an intellectual perspective, it might be interesting to learn whether there is lower reproductive success among hybrids (which is one way of defining subspeciation).

    That said, I don’t think humanity is ready for that kind of information.

    In the meantime, I often think, and sometimes talk, about humans in the second or third person, but that may just be alienation.

  78. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Great Caesar’s Ghost! It is only necessary to return to the sort of ‘standard of living’ of say the 1930s amongst the better off in the USA or UK, plus keeping all the useful technological advances made since then. ‘Paleolithic’ is a very great exaggeration. We need only abjure the wasteful, conspicuous, consumption of utter tat that characterises our frenetic and frantic materialism. That and redistribute the tens of trillions looted by the hereditary global parasite class, and we’d be laughing.

  79. Niall says:

    Flying from Edinburgh (Scotland) to Washington DC to be one more head at a rally does not seem to be consistent with fighting climate change, but I do wish you well.

    I assume that the people at are aware that the current level of atmospheric CO2 is 392ppm?

    Rallies (or pitchforks, referring to a comment above) might not be a bad idea here, though.

  80. David Goldstein says:

    Hey, Brooks- Happy New Year!!
    …I just went to 350’s home page and there is still no obvious place to find out info about the rally let alone to sign up for it. I have on a couple of occasions communicated this to Duncan. I must admit to feeling a bit disappointed- I feel that I see things (many things actually) that they could be doing more effectively to generate a larger rally. BUT- it is their organization, so to speak, and they are, of course, doing some of the best climate activism out there. I also communicated to them that since they have an enormous population belt within a few hundred miles of the rally, that is where they should draw from. It does not make sense for folks to fly 1000s of miles to attend and it does not make sense to drive across the country in the middle of Feb.

  81. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You are entitled to your opinion but my statement is backed by over 60 years of accumulated data, ME

  82. Jim says:

    Every first Saturday of the year, I have put on a climate event at my local West Asheville, NC library (room rental= $10) from 10 am to 1 pm, since 2007– when the event led to stopping a local power plant from being built.

    This year, Jan. 5th is a work party to talk about the Feb. 15th DC climate march & our state’s 20-year energy plan. Drop in if you’re nearby.

  83. Superman1 says:

    “There has to be a middle ground of effective, yet practical and feasible ways to address the problem.”

    Why does there ‘have’ to be a middle ground? If you had Stage 3 Lung Cancer, and you ask your Doctor: why do I have to give up my two pack a day smoking habit? Isn’t there a middle ground of perhaps one pack a day? What do you think he would say?

    Sometimes, you have to go ‘cold turkey’. This is where we are with climate change. We have put enough CO2 in the atmosphere to place us in the temperature range Kevin Anderson calls Extremely Dangerous in three decades, even if we stop using fossil fuels today. Mother Nature is delivering a message; to quote a famous President: Read my lips; no more fossil fuels! She is not saying: well, you can have a middle ground to keep you comfortable. Until we get over the temperature hump, and start to bring it down, living like the Pennsylvania Amish will seem like the good life. We have run out of options!

  84. Superman1 says:

    “Source and invest funds to engage the services of computer hackers world wide and pay them to shut down the computer systems of every corporation that is involved in or supports fossil fuel extraction.”

    The first thing that would happen is the neighbors of these hackers would be appearing at their doors with pitchforks and torches, complaining they can’t fly to Asia for their vacation, they can’t heat their McMansion to 75 F, they can’t commute 60 miles to work in their one-person SUV, etc. In other words, your solution is not focused on the major problem; that’s why it won’t work.

  85. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The variety of human types is infinite. There are genetic effects to take into account, including epigenetic ones. Then there is nurture in the family, the effects of peer pressure at school and work or the Church, and then there is chance and necessity. When you look at the continuum of human behaviour, which itself changes over the years, in societies and in individuals, those that congregate at the greedy, egotistic, belligerent and pushy end of the spectrum have been euphemised as the Right since 18th century France. That type has dominated most human societies for millennia, and their dominance is today greater than ever, hence the coming debacle.

  86. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I don’t think that my opinion contradicts your wise observations in any way.

  87. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Like casinos?

  88. Merrelyn Emery says:

    It was your use of ‘more’ as it is pretty clear that only the vulnerable succumb to the advertizing, ME

  89. Consider this perspective. We coevolved with fire. We ascended over other animals because we used a second source of energy beyond food. But deforestation caused a problem, so we switched to fossil fuels. This may be the same mistake that wiped out previous galactic species who created advanced civilizations. Fossil fuel consumption recreates the conditions which caused most previous extinctions. In fact the same carbon is being reintroduced into the air, whose sequestration helped Earth recover from those greenhouse events. Oil was produced under anoxic ocean conditions caused by those greenhouse events. This catch-22 is the best candidate for The Great Filter, the evolutionary hurdle responsible for the lack of other civilizations in the Milky Way. We will only survive if we evolve beyond fire dependency as our second energy source.