Climate Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week by Joe Romm Mar 9, 2013 9:30 am Share 6 Tweet Comment Opine away! Tags humor Share 6 Tweet Comment 33 Responses to Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week Greatgrandma Kat says: March 9, 2013 at 9:55 am Joe, the family and I hope all is going well with your recovery. Feeling like we humans have a lot more in common with polar bears everyday, but the work goes on for sustainable living for us and our community. fj says: March 9, 2013 at 9:59 am Better yet: “My kingdom for a sardine”. john atcheson says: March 9, 2013 at 11:04 am Joe: Hope you’re feeling better and recovering quickly. On another note, I have long wondered why we speak only in terms of CO2 when we discuss targets and atmospheric concentrations, rather than total GHG. NOAA, in 2011 (the last year I could find for complete data on GHG concentrations) put total concentrations of GHG at 473 PPM Co2 equivalents, while current CO2 is at about 395 ppm. Since CH4 has begun to ris at a faster rate than in the last 5 years, and since 20% of GHG emissions are not CO2, aren’t we understating future targets needed for stabilizing atmospheric concentrations when we speak only in terms of CO2? Will Fox says: March 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm KLM to use biofuels for sustainable flights to New York: http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2013/03/9-2.htm Will Fox says: March 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm Is anyone here familiar with Reddit? There’s a great section on climate – http://www.reddit.com/r/climate/ Not many members at present, though. Hopefully some of the Climate Progress folk can join, and boost its activity :-) Raul M. says: March 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm Hi Joe, Thank You for staying involved in the quest for knowledge availability. Raul Will Fox says: March 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm Science vs. the Feelies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjD0e1d6GgQ William H. Calvin says: March 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm Suppose that you went to the dentist with a toothache. But instead of filling the cavity, the dentist merely told you to brush your teeth more often. Without a repair, a tooth not only hurts: it won’t survive long enough to benefit from better brushing. Once you’ve got a problem, what you need is a quick fix, then a redoubling of preventive measures. Our current approach to global warming is all prevention and no fix. We persist in framing the climate problem in the same way as we did before 1976, which is when major climate shifts began. But prevention is no longer the appropriate way to look at this problem, not when we’ve already accumulated a 41 percent excess of carbon dioxide in the air. The overheating from it has been exaggerating the usual causes of extreme weather episodes. But we’re doing something about it, right? Yet reducing emissions from tailpipes and smokestacks does not reduce the carbon dioxide accumulation, not any more than a drop in the interest rate will reduce the balance of your savings account. And it’s the accumulation that causes overheating. Brian R Smith says: March 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm In 1956, Aldous Huxley wrote an essay, Canned Fish, which ends with an amazingly well informed & and precient assessment of climate change. He talks about the death by drought of the U.S. South-West and buying land in Canada for his grandchildren. Here’s part of it. The world of fishes is in a state of revolution. Within the next twenty or thirty years the strangest things may happen in that world—with incalculable results for all concerned in the catching and processing of sea- food. This revolution in the watery world of the fish is a consequence of a larger revolution in the earth’s atmosphere—a revolution which is changing the climate of the northern hemi- sphere and is likely to affect profoundly the course of human history during the next few generations or even centuries. The causes of this climatic revolution are obscure; but its effects are manifest. The glaciers are every- where melting. The snowpack on the mountains has diminished to such an extent that the Jungfrau is now thirty feet lower than it was when I was a boy. The Spitzbergen archipclago, which used to be open for ship- ping for about four months out of the twelve, is now open for eight or nine. Today the glaciers are in full retreat, and there is every reason to believe that [in Iceland] in a few years rye and barley will once more be grown, to the further enrichment of a country which has already profited by the migration to its shores of innumerable fishes fleeing from the increasing warmth of the North Sea. But if the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere become pleasantly warmer, does it not follow that the low latitudes will grow most unpleasantly hotter? There are some indications that this maybe actually happening. In Africa, north of the equator, forests are giving place to savannahs, and savannahs are drying up into deserts. And what of the long, hardly intermittent drought, from which large areas of the American South-West have recently been suffering? Is this the usual kind of cyclical dry-spell, or does it presage a relatively permanent worsening and arid, or semi-arid climate? Time alone will show. Meanwhile if I had a few millions to invest for the benefit of my grandchildren, I would put them all into Canada rather than Texas. “Westward the course of empire takes its way.” So wrote the good Bishop Berkeley two centuries ago. Reincarnated today, the philosopher-poet would probably turn his prophetic eyes ninety degrees to the right. Westward no longer, but northward, north- ward moves the course of empire. The tunas, the pilchards, the sharks and codfish–these forward-looking pioneers have already made the move, or at least are swimming in the right direction. In ever-increasing numbers, men will soon be following their example. Colorado Bob says: March 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm Just so you know , the carbon we have already dug-up, and dumped back into our thin gas shell has opened the door back to a time when all these fossil fuels were laid down in the rocks. I looked-up the age of the shale gas in Penn……… 320 million years old. Oil from Odessa, Texas comes 70 million years later. No creature on Earth has ever done this,……. removed the stored carbon from the entire history of the Earth, and dumped it back into the atmosphere, all over the world all at once. In a geologic nano second . The Earth has never conducted such an experiment. So this one is on us. Colorado Bob says: March 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm Dear Joe – I would ask, you begin speaking about ” our thin gas shell “. It’s only 60,000 feet thick the Russian rock exploded at this altitude. ” our thin gas shell “. Colorado Bob says: March 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm Americans believe the atmosphere is like “Rocky” , when in fact it is more like a Fabriga Egg drt says: March 9, 2013 at 11:33 pm http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/friedman-no-to-keystone-yes-to-crazy.html?hp&_r=0 FRIEDMAN says: “I HOPE the president turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada’s far north?) But I don’t think he will. So I hope that Bill McKibben and his 350.org coalition go crazy. I’m talking chain-themselves-to-the-White-House-fence-stop-traffic-at-the-Capitol kind of crazy, because I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change.” Will Fox says: March 10, 2013 at 3:46 am Indeed, it’s amazing when you think about it. But I know something even more amazing. There are people – many, many people – who actually, seriously doubt this is having any effect on the climate whatsoever. Mark E says: March 10, 2013 at 4:51 am You first Do you plan to take your first release after a few hours, or at most an overnight, and then meekly pay your fine and go home? Or after your first arrest will you nonviolently defy the court order to stay away and instead go back to do it again and again, until you finally get sentenced to a few years in the federal pen for contempt of court? Gandhi was not a weekend recreational arrestee, but a 24/7 activist who spent long stints in the clink. That’s the level of commitment it will take, whether one gives their life working nonviolently behind bars, or nonviolently on the outside. Colorado Bob says: March 10, 2013 at 5:12 am Then Tom’s fat ass goes to jail ? For his beliefs ? Colorado Bob says: March 10, 2013 at 5:21 am I am so sick of Tom Friedman ,. Go home Minn. and collect your checks Colorado Bob says: March 10, 2013 at 5:29 am Dear Tom Friedman , Shut-up Go home , stop writing , cash out . Spike says: March 10, 2013 at 7:14 am “The Earth has never conducted such an experiment. So this one is on us.” The Siberian Traps were perhaps one natural experiment overlooked in that statement. The outcome of that was not encouraging. BBHY says: March 10, 2013 at 9:38 am I don’t think the powers in Washington DC give a flying fig about who goes to jail, as long as it’s not their rich buddies. It might maybe get some limited exposure in the news. Then the short attention span TV viewers would dismiss it as a bunch of “enviro-wackos” and promptly forget about it as they move on to the next thing. What the politicians do care about is getting reelected and gaining ever more power by getting the friends elected. We need political activism. Organizing voters. Finding (or becoming) candidates fighting for the cause. Focused efforts to get the biggest offenders out of office. Getting Sen Inhofe defeated would certainly get some attention from those in power. Don’t laugh, McConnell may be getting knocked out of office soon. No one is invulnerable to a concentrated, organized effort. Education is important. Has anyone seen the demonstration video from the BBC? It was a simple setup, two bottles of air, a heat lamp, thermometers and a source of CO2. Turn on the lamp, the air in the bottles warms up. Add CO2 to one bottle, that one warms up more. This is a setup that can be put together for about $40. We should have thousands of volunteers going to high schools and middle school science classes so that students can see first hand how CO2 absorbs heat. Think what that could do for the movement. Well that’s just a few ideas; trying to keep it positive rather than hand wringing or face palming. Adam R. says: March 10, 2013 at 10:54 am @ Spike: The Siberian Traps were perhaps one natural experiment Even that “experiment” can’t match ours for geological suddenness, I believe. I’m 66. Part of me regrets I won’t be around to see how our experiment goes for most of this century. OTOH, I suppose there will be a lot of results I should be glad I was born too soon for. A Change in the Weather says: March 10, 2013 at 11:25 am Adam, I think you will see it unless we do something radical very soon. You just won’t see how bad it gets. It’s all about the ice cap. When that goes, jet stream circulation in the Northern Hemisphere will fundamentally shift. Agriculture where and how we now practice it won’t survive. David Smith says: March 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm “What a way to go; life at the end of empire” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2em1x2j9-o I just watched this movie. I highly recommend it. Raul M. says: March 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm Ohh, am I running hot and cold like the weather? Just a little bit ago I read that we have a climate hawk in the State Dept. Then the story reads that the state dept has a clue to what the oil company wants. Then a story reads that the President has become involved in the takeover. Ohh I’m not so sure why I shouldn’t be running hot and cold over the receint articles on think progress. Daniel Coffey says: March 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm The entire issue of trace gas GHG has been substantially overlooked, but is a huge part of the problem. Only methane gets much discussion, but a review of the trace gases and their rate of increase will shock most thinking people. We can’t act fast enough to get CO2 down, and with fracking we are increasing releases of CH4 and related compounds, and then there are the CFC’s. It’s an energy accumulation machine, that old atmosphere of ours. EDpeak says: March 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm John: I’ve suggested to the folks at co2now.org to craete a co2-equivalent-now website or page (or pages, with more than one definition possible of what to count and whether to count the short lived particulates that cool e.g. global dimming to get a ‘net effect’) and have suggested that well over a year ago..they said they don’t have the data. I recently suggested it to a CP commenter and author.. Another suggestion, use that “population clock” (or on the login screen of gmail) where they show you many digits (or many decimal places, respectively) as a “live” reading. Just to dramatize it…so once a year extrapolate where ppm will be “in 365 days” and divide that by the number of seconds per year and show a “live” clock of “395.495825961 ppm” type of thing, and have the thing “tick, tock” live in front of your eyes like that gmail login screen or like a world population clock. But the first idea, co2e, yes, I’ve been a proponent of having that…maybe if you, too, contact co2now website and/or NOAA then if they get enough requests, they might move on this suggestion.. P.S. Second your well-wishes to Joe! Since the health and survival of a stable and liveable climate on the only planet we have (now or in the short or medium term) is at stake, that an activist like Joe’s health is at risk is painfully ironic…but if having many well wishes helps Joe, you’ve got thousands of us rooting for you and your long term health – plus that planet’s! Paul Magnus says: March 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm things could be at a tipping point…. http://rt.com/news/north-korea-cuts-hotline-070/ EDpeak says: March 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm CO2e (CO2equivalent) is updated here: esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/ so there’s data..at least annually but missing from CO2now.org and from the “trends in co2” page more people know about, which probably should put a highly visible link to that CO2e data. On other steps to make more visible and grab the public’s attention, see the second suggestion of my two, just above this comment at “Another suggestion, use that ‘population clock’….” Spike says: March 11, 2013 at 4:34 am I agree that the current rate is very much greater as is pointed out in this excellent review which states “Note that the eruption of 18000 Gt of C over 1 million years equates to only 0.018 Gt per year, a fraction of the current output from burning of fossil fuels (~ 7 Gt C/a).” http://www.dur.ac.uk/yaoling.niu/MyReprints-pdf/Others/2009AS&MR-CSB-EndPermianExtinction.pdf Robert Marston says: March 11, 2013 at 11:08 am Best hopes for your speedy return to full health, Joe! The cartoon brings thoughts to mind about how callous some people are. Climate change deniers often use the plight of polar bears as a foil for bashing those concerned about global warming (and polar bears too). But what does this nastiness say about people who don’t care about the potential loss of a valuable species? I think it more likely that those who care about polar bears will also care about the human beings increasingly threatened by climate change. And the kindness of a person could well be judged by that person’s behavior toward the weakest, most vulnerable among us. Including polar bears — who have no voice and are at the mercy of forces far beyond their understanding or control. Which is why, to me, it becomes a matter of moral fortitude to entirely ignore those using the plight of polar bears as a foil for bullying people of compassion and concern. Mulga Mumblebrain says: March 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm They don’t ‘doubt’ anything. They have been told by their Rightwing Thought Controllers in the MSM that science is a Communist plot to take away their McMansions, plasma TVs, SUVs, air-con etc, and they have reacted accordingly, with Pavlovian predictability. Thought processes above the limbic region are frowned on in these circles. Mulga Mumblebrain says: March 12, 2013 at 12:00 am This is rather more rapid. Impacts from comets and meteorites are closer to the mark, I’d say, but the effects of those will, possibly, may prove to have been more short-lived. 6thextinction says: March 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm Only 4-5% actually. Last poll (Univ of Mich and others) showed 67% are concerned, up from last year, but down from a high of 72% before that. Deniers’ high number of article comments is because many are organized, and frequently paid. You’ll notice in articles about global warming, almost all the first comments are from deniers. And those from writers who accept GW are often ridiculed, which does discourage other non-denier writers.