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Open Thread Plus 400 PPM Cartoon

By Joe Romm on May 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

"Open Thread Plus 400 PPM Cartoon"

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Opine away.

Via cartoonist Stephanie McMillan

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125 Responses to Open Thread Plus 400 PPM Cartoon

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Climate change art exhibition opens in Beijing
    Exhibition, called Unfold, aims to merge culture and science to provoke climate debate in China http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/chinas-choice/2013/may/25/climate-change-art-exhibition-beijing

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Devising a Strategy for Climate Change

    It was heartening to see The Times call upon the Obama administration to get on with steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially since we are at the 400 parts per million milestone of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a level not reached since long before humans arrived on the scene.

    It was less heartening, however, to see you dismiss the possibility of Congress’s ever enacting a tax on carbon. Yes, the Environmental Protection Agency could come out with strong restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but such regulations will surely increase electric bills, with the poor and middle class shouldering the burden. A revenue-neutral carbon tax, with money rebated to all households equally, would bring down emissions and at the same time shield households from the economic impact of rising energy costs.

    President Obama cannot impose a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Only Congress can do that. The Times and other media outlets must not relieve our legislators of their responsibility to act on climate change.

    MARK REYNOLDS

    Executive Director

    Citizens Climate Lobby

    Coronado, Calif., May 19, 2013
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/opinion/devising-a-strategy-for-climate-change.html?_r=0

    • Mike Roddy says:

      The oil companies already have this covered, by effectively bribing majorities in both houses of Congress. Appealing to consciences won’t work, since the typical politician has weak moral standards. Corporate media will continue to sow doubt about the science, and will weaken public will to change however possible.

      Do you have any ideas on how to address this?

      • Paul Klinkman says:

        We saw something like this from the tobacco companies. They bought Congress, they bought ads and they kept trying to buy the American Medical Association, with slowly declining success. Eventually the public got to the AMA. Congress stuck up bravely for big tobacco until the first class action lawsuit broke them.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          We don’t have the time left to wait for politicians to somehow grow moral consciences, which would be an act of spontaneous creation ex nihilo. Moreover, alas, the fossil fuel interests are immeasurably more powerful than tobacco, which, in any case, continues profiting from killing its addicts, in the poor world, where Western governments, acting, as ever, in pursuance of their ineffable ‘moral values’, stand over, bully and intimidate Governments to open their markets to Western tobacco barons, and even muzzle their public health campaigns against smoking.

    • Dave S. Nottear says:

      Apple

    • dick smith says:

      Mark, great point. Like you, I’ve supported a REVENUE-NUETRAL carbon tax (where you me and Rockefeller get the same monthly amount)because most Americans would get as much or more in the monthly rebated check as they paid in higher monthly energy bills.

      But, it had not occurred to me that Obama’s EPA regulatory approach will not only get tied up court for years, but when finally implemented, it will disproportionately hurt the poorest among us.

      Obama spokesmen say he won’t support a carbon tax because the public isn’t educated about it. We’ll isn’t it about time he started doing the educating?

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Rightwing politicians, the only type allowed under really existing ‘capitalist democracy’, always enact socially regressive policy, including in tax. That is why Anglosphere pathocracies are notably more unequal that forty years ago, and are growing rapidly more so, why the average pleb is now stuck in debt peonage in order to keep up appearances, and why there has been about a 10% change in the fraction of GNP going to labour (downwards) and capital (upwards) over the same period. Obama will do that which benefits the rich, because they own him. He will preen and pose, and pretend otherwise, but that’s his forté, his ‘party-piece’.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    I would love to read an explanation from the deniers, on how they plan to survive after our collective inactions lead to several tipping points in the climate system. Maybe they imagine it like in “2012″, like a nice cruise with cocktails and sunset.

    Do they plan to settle “somewhere” and hide till the rest of us went down in global turmoil? Do they really believe that the climate will get better after total chaos was unleashed ( with all it’s consequences – collapsing developed nations, fallout etc etc)?

    Maybe we should start and put the fossil CEO’s and the puppet masters of the denial machine on trail to prevent total havoc!

    • prokaryotes says:

      90% of the heat went into the ocean, and will be released at one point, which then will trigger more release through positive feedbacks.

    • Paul Klinkman says:

      Climate change in tornado season is more like driving an old car around with a really rusty axle. It works pretty well, with a few worrisome rumblings, until one day the wheel pops off your car, your car crashes and the doctor says you need a pin in your arm.

      Deniers will survive just fine for a while.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Such trials ought to occur, but after the Collapse, they will not be guaranteed. Something more ‘free-wheeling’ will probably take their place, like on the old ‘Frontier’.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Stanford scientists urge action on global climate change
    California Gov. Jerry Brown accepted a consensus statement signed by 520 scientists, including 48 from Stanford, that sounds the alarm on climate change and offers recommendations for solving global environmental challenges.

    The document, which was signed by 520 scientists from 44 countries, warns that Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point, and if nothing changes, “we will suffer substantial degradation.”

    Forty-eight Stanford scientists endorsed the statement, with eight faculty members among those who helped draft it.

    “By the time today’s children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth’s life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future,” the scientists write in a summary of the statement.

    Before receiving the statement, Brown said it’s important that scientists communicate clearly to the public.

    “We’re in a war here in the contest of ideas,” he said. “You have to reach people who are skeptical, disinterested and maybe even somewhat hostile.”

    Later, he urged those who support the statement to spread its message.

    “You have to become missionaries,” the governor said. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/may/environment-consensus-statement-052313.html

    • Gov. Brown is good at talking, staging photo ops, but when it come to action he is AWOL. In CA, he is strongly in favor of increasing petro / gas output by fracking the Monterey Shale. It has been said that he has never seen a California EIR exemption that he did not like.

      As an environmental governor, he is about like his predecessor.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        It’s the ‘capitalist democratic’ model. Either humbugs, who pose and prattle, but do nothing, or morally insane fanatics, plainly driven by some dark hatred of Life, demanding ever more destruction even as the Collapse accelerates all around them.

  5. Paul Klinkman says:

    Five standards:

    1. Catastrophic climate change is immoral.
    2. Catastrophic climate change is immoral, and I don’t feel good when I participate in it. I’m minimizing my nonrenewable fuel consumption.
    3. Truth is shared. It’s immoral for our entire group. I’m going to convince the others.
    4. Our work is shared. As a group we’re minimizing our nonrenewable fuel consumption.
    5. Invention changes the world in a way that minimizing for ourselves doesn’t. As a group we’re going out on a limb to possibly change the world.

  6. Mike Roddy says:

    Germany appears to have solved the solar/wind intermittency problem:

    http://standardenergysupplycompany.blogspot.com/2013/05/linked-renewables-can-avoid-blackouts.html

    • BobbyL says:

      Their system depends of burning biogas. Biogas is mostly methane so burning it for fuel would release CO2 and contribute to global warming. The advantage of their system is that biogas is a renewable and natural gas it not. Their goal is to just use renewables. It wouldn’t solve the carbon emissions problem.

      • Mike Roddy says:

        Agreed, Bobby, but if renewables are deployed at scale in the Western US with a smart grid, time of use backup plants, whether gas or biogas, could be kept to a minimum. Mostly we need peak plants for the 5-7 PM slot, and many are already in place anyway.

      • Dan Miller says:

        If it is truly biogas, then the CO2 it contains came out of the atmosphere recently and it is, therefore, “carbon neutral”. Most biogas comes from dairy farms, landfills, etc. and would have been released as methane if not captured and used as fuel. It is much better to capture and burn it (which turns it from methane to CO2), rather than release it directly into the atmosphere.

        • Andy Hultgren says:

          That is correct.

          And if (possibly) you can capture the CO2, then it is carbon negative.

        • John says:

          bio gas is not carbon nuetral, think of all the construction and logistical operations. We have to reduce carbon 80% as quickly as possible

          • BobbyL says:

            I guess you could say the same for solar and wind if fossil fuels are used for mining the raw materials, and solar panel and wind turbine factories are using fossil fuels for energy, and installation of solar panels and wind turbines including transportation requires fossil fuels.

          • Alex R says:

            Gotta start somewhere. I suspect few things are going to be carbon neutral during the initial build-out. This is another reason why we should have started transitioning sooner, and another reason to keep pushing the maximization of efficiency while alternative sources are deployed en masse. It’s high time for a carbon fee and rebate/incentive system to foster economies of scale for newer tech.

    • Ed Leaver says:

      Meanwhile, Germany To Open Six More Coal Power Stations In 2013:
      “Including the plants coming on stream this year, there are 12 coal fired stations due to open by 2020. Along with the two opened last year in Neurath and Boxberg, they will be capable of supplying 19% of the country’s power.

      “In addition, 27 gas fired stations are due on line, which should contribute a further 17% of Germany’s total electricity generation.”

      • Turboblocke says:

        Interestingly some 20 plants have been abandoned and 6 put on hold and some have closed since 2007. Looks more like a dash from coal if you ask me. http://www.duh.de/uploads/media/New_coal_plants_Germany_2012_DUH.pdf

        • Ed Leaver says:

          Actually, Germany’s dash from coal was fairly well thought out. It’s their dash from nuclear — also planned — that has taken on aspects of haste since Fukushima. In the process, German household electric rates increased 21% from 2008 – 2012; industrial rates are now 40% higher than Holland or France.

          • prokaryotes says:

            As a reaction to the nuclear phaseout, Germany has thus started building zero coal plants but stepped away from six. At current power prices, all conventional projects are on hold, and coal power may soon be unprofitable in Germany.

          • Ed Leaver says:

            Thanks the both of you for your links; I’ve added them to my collection. Its true large thermal plants typically take 5 years to construct, after permits and licensing. Never claimed otherwise. CST can take 2 to 4 years, whereas a large-scale PV array may be deployed in a few months after permitting — but only if one discounts any additional transmission/distribution infrastructure as external. The key items remain the total amount of carbon emissions, and the cost of doing business in a competitive international environment.

        • Ed Leaver says:

          One more link to the list: Cutting Back on Supply in the Presence of Optimism:
          “…although Germany will open more coal-fired power plants this year than at any time within the past twenty years, the future for coal is not that promising. In rough numbers, Germany has a peak demand of 85 GW of electricity with coal and lignite capacity of around 47.6 GW in 2011. From then until 2015, an additional 10.7 GW of coal-fired plant will come on line… Some 22 coal-fired projects have been cancelled, and four postponed in recent years.”

  7. rollin says:

    Just watched a TED talk on how the cattle and sheep will help stop desertification snd global warming.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

    Makes a lot of sense.

    • Dan Miller says:

      The “cows will save the world” talk unfortunately is not based on scientific studies. I have spoken to two climate scientists that have told me that the idea won’t work.

    • Ken Barrows says:

      When I listened to that, I thought to myself: where are the cows going to get their water. I hear they can drink quite a bit.

    • SecularAnimist says:

      It makes no sense. Cattle and sheep are major contributors to desertification and global warming.

      • rollin says:

        It makes lots of sense. Cows and sheep produce much less methane when fed a natural diet. Mulching provides the protection and carbon feed into the ground.
        Like so many long held “scientific” beliefs, the one about animals in a natural system destroying it is absurd. The systems would have been destroyed long before man came on the scene if that were so. Nature works, man deludes himself.

        • Merrelyn Emery says:

          Sheep and cattle have wreaked dreadful destruction in Australia. They may be fine in ecosystems where they evolved but as a generalization, Savage’s work is nonsense, ME

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            That is why being morally not yet up to the level of vegetarianism, I only eat wild meat, in small amounts, from kangaroos and feral goats, pigs and camel. The bovines and ovines, not to mention the bleeding porcines, have wreaked dreadful destruction, and, of course, lot-feeding is even more ghastly. And now the bucolic buffoons in Queensland are demanding the ‘right’ to trample parks and refuges during the drought. No doubt Unterkommandant von Neumann will attempt to privatise National Parks if his hideous regime remains in power long enough. It is the obvious next step in the program to destroy environmentalism totally, that the Right make little effort to disguise anymore.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            Emu and croc are pretty good too Mulga although the prices are ridiculous. But I am trying to acquire a taste for jellyfish, ME

          • jk says:

            Americans should eat more “feral hog” or what I’ve seen euphemistically labeled “wild boar”–the millions of descendants of both Russian boars imported into the U.S. and released for hunting and domestic hogs that escaped from settlers. These are a horrible problem, so much so that the state legislature here created the “porkchopper” law, allowing hunters in helicopters to flush the hogs out of the brush and mow them down with semiautomatic rifles, arguably a legitimate use for semiautomatic rifles.

          • 6thextinction says:

            I, a 6th generation of farmers offspring, was reluctantly convinced by my children to give up meat, and it was one of the best “choices” I ever made, which ultimately made giving up all animal products (i.e. dairy and eggs) easy. My health is perfect, weight is low, energy high, and food variety greatly increased. Best of all, I am living a life which is in keeping with my environmental and global warming concerns. I can’t recommend it any stronger, and you will all thank me if you follow suit.

          • Ed Leaver says:

            Almost reluctant to post this to an MMME thread but… 41 percent of US corn crop goes to ethanol.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            ME, we always have the jellyfish dish at yum cha, and the chicken’s feet, for texture. Unfortunately, there are a lot of jellyfish, and many more coming, to crunch through.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            Yes, I keep trying the jellyfish at the local viet as an ecologically responsible choice Mulga but it’s the texture that beats me, ME

    • jk says:

      In North America: Bison, elk, and the wolves that keep them in check.

  8. Jeff Huggins says:

    Climate Commentary as a Permanent Fixture (in its “place”) in a Business-As-Usual, Warming World; But Will We Openly Entertain the Question of What We Need to Do Differently?

    After following, and to some degree being part of, the climate commentary (blogs, news media, etc.), the political situation (especially what isn’t being done), the climate movement (the major environmental organizations, 350.org, and etc.), and related dynamics for the last ten years or so, I can’t help but feel that the climate commentariat has already become — or at least risks becoming — a permanent but somewhat impotent fixture in the political/cultural/media universe. Whether that is because our information- and media-flooded society is overloaded with stuff and people pick and choose what they prefer to pay attention to; or because that society has a way of co-opting messages in a way that puts (and keeps) them in their “place” so as not to cause much trouble to the status quo; or whether it’s because the climate commentariat (including the blogs) and major environmental organizations choose to NOT do the things that might actually be effective at rocking the boat, for fear of risking their privileged positions in the (largely impotent) dialogues, losing funding, losing access to or ties with the Democratic establishment, or whatever; I don’t know. Perhaps all of the above. In any case, it seems all too clear that a small/modest segment of society is “talking”, that the blogs churn, that the environmental and climate organizations continue to fund-raise and pay their staffs, that the themed events come and go, that (for the most part) very few people do anything that actually ruffle the feathers of, or prompt action on the part of, our present Democratic (!) leaders, that the President periodically pays lip service to the climate problem, and that pretty much nothing substantial happens. Business-as-usual, and politics-as-usual, are as strong as ever. And commentary-as-usual continues.

    It is very rare that a pleasant surprise happens in the movement — and it usually comes from someone who is not part of a funded organization, a political think-tank, or a themed campaign. For example, Tim DeChristopher’s (spelling?) actions.

    So, at some point, will we openly and seriously entertain the question of what we need to do differently? Will the climate commentariat openly and seriously pose and engage with that question?

    Thanks,

    Jeff

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      You’re quite correct. So long as we impotently fret and whinge, in isolated pockets, the Bosses will be happy. Make any discernible inroads into their power and privilege to destroy in pursuit of their ‘Precious’, money, and we’ll not long be left alone, unmolested.

    • David Smith says:

      There are 2 things we can control; Where and how we choose expend our labor & what and from whom we choose to consume. We should give this absolute consideration, visit our conscience and act accordingly.

    • Superman1 says:

      We know what needs to be done. We also know there are no stakeholder groups willing to make the drastic sacrifices to accomplish this. We will continue to publish these inconsequential comments until the curtain descends on our civilization.

    • BBHY says:

      Even worse, people are going in different directions. Some are pushing vegan, some are anti-nuclear, some are talking about radically altered (as seen by most people, radically downgraded) lifestyles with tiny houses and no autos. Then there are the “tiny steps” people, with the upgraded light bulbs. Yes, we need to install the new light bulbs, but that is only the start, not the end of the effort.

      I would help a lot of we could identify the solutions that are most effective AND the most likely to gain widespread acceptance and unify around those.

      I would like to see a lot more pushing of solutions and a lot less arguing with deniers. They have to be good, workable solutions. We have to unify and have to have more action, less talk.

    • BobbyL says:

      Watch the latest Bill Moyers show for a long interview with DeChristopher.

  9. Mike Roddy says:

    Tom has a good one: “terracide”:

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/23-4

    • catman306 says:

      I can hear them saying:

      “We don’t need no stinkin’ planet. We’ve got space ships now.”

  10. S.B. Ripman says:

    There’s a new John Varley novel out, entitled “Slow Apocalypse.” In it all the oil on the planet is destroyed by genetically modified bug. All modern means of transport grind to a halt and cities devolve into chaos. Starvation becomes a real and present danger for many.
    Oil is of course a non-renewable resource and its use is definitely going to end, sooner or later (hopefully sooner, before the last drop of it is extracted). The novel provides a compressed look at the result of the ending.

    • Paul Klinkman says:

      I have a short story (unpublished) about a hacker who creates a tiny self-replicating robotic manufacturing system. He lets it loose in the Sahara. The equipment is easy enough for people to crush, but after a year there’s so much of it replicating way out in the wild! After a year it all shifts into carbon sequestration mode. Problem solved!

      • Bruce S says:

        I read a sci-fi story about a scientist recluse who was attempting to cross breed or GMO a smart rat like creature. Something designed to feed on humans. The scientist thought humans needed competition having eliminated too many ( nessesary ) top predators from earths ecosystems. The Petrothrope would be a variant theme designed I suppose for the same purpose.

        • Merrelyn Emery says:

          I’m sure the Earth is working on something similar. It is inevitable that as warming, and evolution, accelerates, there will be a rash of new bacteria and viruses one of which will fulfil the criteria for a massive pandemic. ‘Ring a ring a rosie’, ME

          • rollin says:

            Nature is more devious than that, it programmed us to produce TV and the internet. Now that most of our brains are mush or locked in a state of media induced delusion, we will provide our own demise and wonder why we could not figure our way out of the situation. Top that with the stew of industrial chemicals that we breathe, eat and drink everyday and we don’t have a chance of thinking our way out of this one.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        So it starts by sequestering all that mobile carbon, in the form of upright, uptight, upstart apes.

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    These charts are very well done. And very scary .

    The results of the IMBIE 2012 experiments showed that the agreement between mass balance estimates from radar and laser altimetry, gravimetry and the input-output method is good in all ice sheet regions.

    In combining the datasets we generated a 19 year time series of ice sheet mass balance from 1992 to 2011. Over this period, we found that the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets together lost mass that equated to a global rise in sea level of 11.1 +/- 3.8 millimetres.

    Examining the ice sheet regions individually we show that the Greenland, West Antarctic and Antarctic ice sheets have all lost mass over the past two decades, whilst the East Antarctic ice sheet has undergone a slight snowfall-driven growth. The Greenland ice sheet has lost the largest mass and accounts for about two-thirds of the combined ice sheet loss over the study period. In Antarctica, the largest mass losses have occurred in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, despite occupying just 4% of the total ice sheet area, the Antarctic Peninsula has accounted for around 25% of the Antarctic mass losses.
    http://imbie.org/imbie-2012/results/

  12. Raul M. says:

    Home study on why smart people may be thought to have ADHD—- they have trouble staying with insane arguments.

    • Paul Klinkman says:

      For millennia we have been evolving into schizoid creatures. We can feel intense love for our dictator-for-life and we can suspend logical reality well. It’s a survival trait.

      When we put kids into classrooms we expect them to sit still for 12 years while the study hall monitor and the video camera stares at them. Also they have to memorize the date of birth of Paul Revere. The smart ones figure out this thing called “freedom”, which is dangerous stuff for a legal minor.

  13. Colorado Bob says:

    Update 10 a.m.
    The San Antonio Airport has recorded 8.5 inches of rain in the past eight hours.

    Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Breaking-VIA-bus-carrying-four-passengers-washed-4548362.php#ixzz2UJlA2BC5

  14. Raul M. says:

    If the methane plumes in Arctic areas aren’t yet this summer, are there some temperature gauges placed on the ocean floor to find the water current temp. when the plumes start happening? And are there inlets found where warm waters enter the clathrate formations to pressurize the deposits?

    • Paul Klinkman says:

      Are you saying that when the Arctic Ocean warms past a tipping point, constantly bubbling methane creates a vacuum which steadily pulls streams of warm water deep into the continental shelf clathrate layer, which melts the rest of the monster really quickly?

      Now that would be a story!

      • Raul M. says:

        No, I might have been thinking that during the last plume episode that the water temp. guages disappeared and fell into the ocean floor frozen until this summer.

        • Raul M. says:

          And I don’t know muck about phase change bubblation.
          Does the bubble do an exact pressure differential mass or is the bubble mass sometimes a touch more allowing water the seep down. Also do bubbles enlarge the opening either pushing pebbles up and away or to fall into the opening? If pebbles fall the temp. change is carried into the chamber. Also melt before bubble escape would raise and lower pressure within to cause stress fractures to the chamber roof? So many questions, so far from discourse.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            ‘Ebullition’ is ‘bubblation’.

          • Raul M. says:

            Thanks, ebullation, that said, there seems to be a question about the ratio of expense to profit between waiting for ebullation to produce vast quantities of salable energy. We know that ebullation will produce vast quantities of energy. What is the ratio of energy produced by way of fuel cells to the co2 produced compared to waiting for ebullation to occur and then spraying sulfur compounds into the stratosphere to mask the warming. Seems that with the warming lasting long times then the assumption would be that we would be in a position to mask the warming for long times.

        • Raul M. says:

          In DOE investments: the ratio of harvesting methane hydrates to the study of when methane flux will happen and where show substantial preference for the exploitation of resources to just knowing when and where the fluxes will occur. The DOE substantially indicates that it is easier to extract methane hydrates before the hydrates flux. But mention of the wellhead equipment standing by to stop a well leak seems to say that the equipment is available to capture methane hydrate flux in progress. It does seem a stretch to think that because the flux stopped in winter that it is done and won’t start again this summer.
          IS WINTER THE TIME TO GET THE EQUIPMENT IN PLACE.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    Energy suppliers held back gas during UK shortage
    Terminals near London and in Wales were 40% and 52% full on the day it was claimed the UK had six hours’ worth of gas left
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/may/24/energy-suppliers-held-back-gas-uk

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘Business ethics’.

    • Spike says:

      The UK is turning into a cesspit of unregulated capitalism I’m afraid. Successive neoliberal governments have been determined to free our wonderful entrepreneurs from “red tape”. Such stories emerge most weeks now.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        And it has really worked well, for the Bullingdon Bullies and their ilk. The human beings-not so much.

  16. With all of this, it is estimated that 31 million Americans will hit the road by car this Memorial Day weekend. Exxon-Mobil has nothing to worry about.

    • BobbyL says:

      And 270 million plus will be driving to shopping malls and shopping strips to take advantage of those great Memorial Day sales. Now is the time to replace those appliances folks. Lowest prices of the year!

  17. Jeff Huggins says:

    Fifty Years Ago Monday!

    “Yes’n how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

    Fifty years ago on Monday (May 27, 1963), Bob Dylan released ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’, his second album, including ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ (not to mention several other classics). He posed the question memorably. Ever since then, people have been asking it.

    In my view, this is a noteworthy occasion, calling for a big pause for reflection.

    Perhaps someone will cover this anniversary on Monday, in such a way that also causes us to pause and think. The young folks in 1963 and later in the 60s are now many of the people leading our politics/culture/industry — and the rest of us from that generation are also participants who could be raising our voices, and more, more than we are presently doing.

    How long?

    Be well,

    Jeff

  18. Mark Belgium says:

    Global scientists sign message on Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers

    http://mahb.stanford.edu/consensus-statement-from-global-scientists/

  19. prokaryotes says:

    Severe weather partly a result of climate change
    Damaging tornadoes are an annual springtime threat in parts of the country, but Monday’s massive storm in Oklahoma, in a year that seems to have had more than its share of extreme weather, has many wondering whether things have gotten even more extreme than usual. NBC’s John Yang reports. http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52002561/#52002561

    • BobbyL says:

      I read that since 1954 when they started categorizing tornadoes there has been no trend in increased frequency or strength of tornadoes. The worst tornado outbreak since that year was in 1974. There seems to be no reason to believe that global warming has had any effect on tornadoes than perhaps that they can occur earlier in the year. I think you would expect such a shift with the tornado season beginning sooner and ending sooner.

      • prokaryotes says:

        My scientific sourced take on this topic can be found here

        Humid air and the Jet Stream help to fuel more intense thunderstorms/tornadoes

        http://climatestate.com/2013/05/21/humid-air-and-the-jet-stream-help-to-fuel-more-intense-thunderstormstornadoes/

        • BobbyL says:

          The increase in number of tornadoes which seems to occur on the chart that is shown may be due to more sophisticated radar being able to detect tornadoes and perhaps better reporting techniques in general which is basically what the article says. Therefore this may be due to the same phenomenon that we see with diagnosing diseases. We see increased frequency of certain diseases due to improvements in imaging technology, lab tests, doctors being more aware of the disease, etc. The article suggests that tornadoes might be getting stronger but doesn’t provide any clear evidence for it. As this point I would not make the claim that tornadoes are more frequent or stronger but just say that further research is needed in this area to determine if climate change has any measurable effect one way or the other.

          • prokaryotes says:

            “I would not make the claim that tornadoes are more frequent or stronger”

            Where exactly does the article states that tornadoes “are” more frequent or stronger?

          • prokaryotes says:

            “Climate change increases the available energy for tornadoes through a warmer and moister atmosphere. Wind shear decreases in the global mean, but this might be irrelevant locally when the jet stream dives southward like it did last weekend across the Plains.

            I believe there is evidence that the strongest tornadoes are getting stronger. They are certainly getting longer and wider.” – James B. Elsner, atmospheric scientist at Florida State University

          • prokaryotes says:

            Further you obviously did not followed the entire article since i quote Joe Romm & Jeff Masters in parts, who raise the points you mentioned.

          • prokaryotes says:

            BobbyL, first of that is an isolated event which is not conflicting in any way with the article here. Google “Super_Outbreak” and you get the wiki for that event and when you scroll down you find the Jet Stream played an integral role. If anything your argument of this event is contributing to the robustness of my conclusion and others.

          • prokaryotes says:

            If you check this event you will find that the Jet Stream played an integral role. This event is supplemental to the conclusion drawn.

  20. prokaryotes says:

    Britain resists EU bid to set new target on renewable energy
    Coalition to propose tough emissions goal for 2030 as sop to green campaigners http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/25/uk-blocks-eu-target-renewable-energy

    • prokaryotes says:

      Britain has challenged Europe to sign up to an ambitious target of cutting carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

      Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, called on fellow EU governments to sign up to the target as part of a global climate agreement in 2015.

      The proposal marks a shift in the UK’s position after internal coalition wrangling over climate change. The British government wants the EU to agree to 40 per cent reduction of carbon emissions from 1990 levels, with an “ambition” for it to be extended to 50 per cent when the agreement is reached in two years.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/britain-calls-for-eu-target-to-halve-emissions-by-2030-8632395.html

      • Spike says:

        To me I’m afraid it looks like Carbon target + veto of renewable target = GAS/NUCLEAR, exactly what the Treasury and corporates want to happen here in Osbornia.

  21. prokaryotes says:

    ‘I’d rather fight like hell’: Naomi Klein’s fierce new resolve to fight for climate justice http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/148879-id-rather-fight-like-hell-naomi-kleins-fierce/

  22. prokaryotes says:

    Gas Industry Successfully Overturns Colorado Fracking Ban http://desmogblog.com/node/7193

    • prokaryotes says:

      The bill was introduced by Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), who posted a statement on his website lauding its passage and claiming the pipeline would somehow create up to 20,000 jobs, plus another 120,000 indirect jobs. Which is weird, since the State Department’s review found that the northern leg would create 3,900 temporary construction jobs and then just 35 permanent jobs. Maybe Lee doesn’t understand how pipelines work. Maybe he thinks they are filled with child laborers passing oil-filled buckets down the line.

      • Andy Hultgren says:

        “Maybe Lee doesn’t understand how pipelines work. Maybe he thinks they are filled with child laborers passing oil-filled buckets down the line.”

        Laugh out loud!! The was pretty hilarious.

      • Colorado Bob says:

        20,000 jobs

        Chinese steel workers.

      • David Smith says:

        I keep wondering how many jobs will be displaced by the completed, more efficient, XLPipline (compared to other available means of transport). Does anyone know? It must be a significant number.

  23. Frank Zaski says:

    What would happen if the 100′s of US environmental groups came together just once on a major issue? This appears so necessary. A snip:

    Adam Rome, a historian of the U.S. environmental movement at the University of Delaware, said the most powerful campaigns in history happened when grassroots groups and national organizations joined forces—something he sees starting to happen with climate action today.

    “Lasting change only comes when there are lots of people concerned about the problem,” he said. “But you also need economically and politically powerful people [like those leading the national green groups]. When these two groups become allies, that’s when they have the most influence.”

    Industry groups, however, don’t seem particularly worried.
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130523/defeat-keystone-environmental-movement-goes-beltway-grassroots

    • 6thextinction says:

      See my reply under Climate Bob NZ #27: I meant to post it under your comment, and can’t figure out how to get it here.

    • BobbyL says:

      My comment #28 was meant to be a reply to your comment.

  24. One of the big things in climate change is tipping points, when we have done irreversible damage. Most of them are very long term like CO2, temperature and sea levels etc. The one that could be very quick and catastrophic would be the melting ice in the Polar ice cap. This is disappearing fast and has an immediate affect on the weather. Last year we were down to 3.5 million square kilometres of surface ice and if we go down to one million squ klm it might as well be ice free. This would seriously alter the weather in the USA, Europe, Russia and China with big changes to the weather and seriously hamper the ability to grow crops. It is already having and affect and it has hardly started yet.
    Keep and eye on it because in five or ten years there could be big problems with food production.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      I have noticed that there are now more current affairs mentions of food stocks and ‘security’ in Oz and wondering if they were brought on by our growing (again) drought areas or to the global situation, not that they are really separate, ME

    • 6thextinction says:

      The 10-12 big green groups went to Washington in the ’80s, completely ignored the local enviros, and sold out big-time. (see Mark Dowie’s “Losing Ground” for an eye-opening education.) Grassroots groups are strengthening; SC’s Michael Brune (from Rainwater Action) is a thousand times improvement over Carl Pope who should be tarred and feathered; and signs of a true movement are growing.

      Don’t pay attention to the polluters’ seeming lack of concern. Join 350.org’s Summer Heat adventure instead.

  25. BobbyL says:

    I think Keystone is a much easier issue for environmental groups to unite on then passing legislation like the cap and trade bill. Keystone either gets built or it doesn’t. That’s pretty simple, either it’s stopped or it isn’t. The cap and trade bill involved many shades of grey and therefore many reasons for the groups not to unite. Many didn’t like how it was started, two of the groups negotiating with corporations. And after many groups joined together to issue a strong letter that the science had to be followed the compromises started. And the House mangled the bill before passing it. And then the Senate took up a very weakened bill. There are several outcomes that could have happened. A cap and trade bill could have not been passed, and it wasn’t. It could have been passed with numerous compromises which happened in the House. Or it could have followed the science as most activists wanted but it never did. So basically is was impossible to unite on the cap and trade bill. Groups can unite on stopping a specific project such as Keystone but the effects of winning should they win will be quite limited with regard to actually addressing the global warming problem.

    • 6thextinction says:

      U.S. government responds to large movements, i.e. labor (8 hr day, 40 hr week); suffragette (women’s right to vote); civil rights (the March on Washington); feminist (equal pay for equal work); etc. 350.org is building a global warming movement and the most effective way to combat the koch-funded do-nothings in DC is to join it, and bring others with you. When it gets big enough, legislation re GW will pass quickly.

  26. Brian R Smith says:

    Suggestion for upcoming CP site remodel..

    The more everybody knows what everybody else is doing, especially before it happens, the better. How about a front page link to a climate coming events wiki-calender that tracks hearings, legislation, major conferences, forthcoming science & govt. reports, important media events & reportage, actions & demonstrations and so on. A simple listing of links to briefly described events from the current day on would be bare bones. Entries would come from a growing number of invited sources, the more the merrier. I don’t need to know about every lecture or seminar on climate but the ones that will be webcast I would look for. So ideally it would be a sister site with some commentary, searchable by city & state, more complete descriptions, categorized by event type, no blog necessary. Whatever Chesapeake Climate Action Network, WRI, Sierra, @350, friends in the UK or Australia, US Mayors & legislators, Lester Brown or other contributors send in is what we get, which could be a lot.

    Or something along these lines. I have no idea what’s involved or what it would cost. Nor am I sure there isn’t a comparable site already out there. I do think a go-to place for what’s coming in all directions is a sound idea.

  27. prokaryotes says:

    Internal ExxonMobil documents obtained through an Freedom of Information Act request by Greenpeace shows that the oil giant misled the public about the degree to which the spill of more than 200,000 galllons of tar sands oil in Arkansas had contaminated local waterways.

    Following the rupture of the Pegasus pipeline in the town of Mayflower on March 29, area residents were increasingly concerned that Lake Conway had been contaminated. Despite overwhelming evidence that tar sands oil was in the lake, ExxonMobil publicly said this was not the case. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/22-6

  28. prokaryotes says:

    Israeli Venture Meant to Serve Electric Cars Ends Its Run

    JERUSALEM — The vision was ambitious. Better Place, an electric vehicle infrastructure company, unveiled plans more than five years ago to pioneer a system of quick-service battery swapping stations across Israel to enable unlimited travel. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/business/global/israeli-electric-car-company-files-for-liquidation.html?_r=0

    This was a very promising venture, and it could have been a great addition to the sustainability of Israel. However it seems the current government there lacks the foresight …

  29. prokaryotes says:

    Exxon Mobil, for years the principal funder of climate science disinformation, has inserted itself into climate engineering. The corporation’s point man on geoengineering is Haroon Kheshgi, who leads its Global Climate Change program. In 1995, he was the first to propose liming the oceans as a means of reducing acidification due to escalating atmospheric carbon. Through Kheshgi, Exxon has begun to influence various ‘independent’ reports into geoengineering, including one by NASA in 2007.

    Burgeoning commercial engagement in geoengineering is creating a constituency with an interest in more research and, eventually, deployment. Such a lobby is naturally predisposed to argue that pursuing emission cuts is ‘unrealistic’ or ‘politically impossible’ and therefore geoengineering is the sensible alternative. This is the slippery slope concern about researching geoengineering. Already the chorus of demands for public funding is loud and governments are beginning to show interest. http://wheelercentre.com/dailies/post/fb84f31f5f37/

    • prokaryotes says:

      Eroding incentives to cut emissions

      Today it may seem absurd that factors like these should play a role in deciding the fate of the entire planet, but the history of environmental policy-making shows that these kinds of decisions are never based solely on scientific considerations.

      All of which points to perhaps the greatest risk of research into geoengineering—it will erode the incentive to cut emissions. In a political and commercial environment where cutting emissions appears too hard, geoengineering arrives as the next great white hope.

      Already in the United States, right-wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, which have for years promoted denial of climate science, are now advocating geoengineering as a substitute for cutting emissions. Economists like the authors of Superfreakonomics have joined in.

      • BobbyL says:

        I have heard a similar argument made about adaptation. It would reduce the urgency to reduce emissions. My view is that this is a very weak argument. In case global warming gets out of hand people are going to want a geoengineering solution, it would seem like a logical thing to want although it appears there may be no such solution that makes sense, and certainly people are going to go forward with planning and implementing adaptation although many scientists say that if we go past 4C adaptation may be impossible in many places.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        The Superfreaks are just that. Hard Right, libertarian, cornutopian Market Absolutist delusionists, given a dream run by the Rightwing MSM because they have the ‘Right’ thing to say. Picking holes in the serial idiocies of their neo-liberal blathering is amusing, in small doses.

    • rollin says:

      Isn’t that sort of like infecting people with a fever and then selling them something that temporarily makes them feel better? Snake Oil salesmen all the way.

  30. David B. Benson says:

    Der Speigel has an article about a Sandpoint, Idaho, couple with a startup to make solar cell paving ‘bricks’. Only about 3 times the price of new asphalt, installed.