Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week

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"Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week"

Opine away!

Cartoon by Bob Eckstein via the New Yorker. You can purchase his cartoons here. His website is here. Besides being a great cartoonist, he may be the world’s foremost authority on snowmen.

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111 Responses to Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week

  1. Kim Viner says:

    Sad slide show on impact of oil sands development in Canada at Bloomberg today.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2013-05-29/oil-sands-disrupt-ancient-way-of-life.html#slide1

  2. Will Fox says:

    Water in the Anthropocene

    Water in the Anthropocene is a 3-minute film charting the impact of humans on the global water cycle. Evidence is growing that our footprint is now so large that we have driven Earth into a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene.

    http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2013/06/8.htm

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    People! People! Move and shake!

    The more I think about it — and I hope you all will think about it too — the more I realize that we should make a much greater use of the Direct Approach to prompt movers and shakers to move and shake.

    Or, to put it another way, we should move and shake in order to prompt them to move and shake.

    Consider the two top folks at CAP: Neera Tanden and John Podesta. If you haven’t already done so, read their bios carefully. (And see my earlier comment, Comment 1, under yesterday’s post with the title having to do with Obama.)

    These folks have extensive — and I mean extensive — experience working directly for and with Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, in roles that imply closeness and trust and inside familiarity. They are only “one degree” of separation from Hillary and Bill — perhaps as close as you can get without being family members or close college chums.

    So then, we should place much more focus on encouraging (and pushing if necessary) Joe and Ryan and etc. to work with and through Neera and John to prompt and help Hillary and Bill to get their acts together with respect to climate change in all possible ways. Period! This point should require no more explanation than that, assuming readers here are both intelligent and creative and deeply concerned about climate change.

    My goodness, often we act as though the only or best way to move the needle on climate change — and get our leaders off their duffs — is to influence the broad media to do a better job in order to improve the broad public’s understanding about climate change, in order to prompt the politicians (who too many people pretend not to know well) to do something. It’s as if we are saying this: “Let’s find a way to influence the public on a broad basis in order to ‘make him (the President) do it’, when ‘it’ is what he promised to do in the first place.” Talk about a broad and indirect approach!

    How about leveraging, and pushing, much more direct approaches, prompting the people in those direct-relationship chains to get with it, get their acts together, show Real Leadership, or else get out of the way and realize they’ll lose our support?

    We know this much: We are here. Joe and Ryan and etc. are at CAP. Neera Tanden and John Podesta are CAP’s leaders. Neera Tanden and John Podesta have extensive experience and presumably/likely close relationships with Hillary and Bill, or at least access to them on a “one degree of separation” basis (to apply that terminology). Joe, Neera, and others at CAP also appear periodically on the liberal/progressive news shows, some of which are beginning to recognize that it’s time for them to get much more serious about climate change. All of this should speak for itself in terms of the possibilities and necessity of putting more Direct Approaches to work, to influence people to do what needs to be done.

    But WE must ask for it, and demand it. WE HERE, and others who will be reading our comments.

    Let’s ask what CAP is doing via direct relationships and influences to face and remedy the huge blockages and mind-numbing inaction presently within the Democratic party and (thus) liberal politics. Let’s make sure that Hillary Clinton, and other would-be Democratic nominees for president, and Democratic party leadership, all deeply understand that we won’t take it any more and that we will only support a candidate who is credible, committed, clear, compelling, outspoken, and courageous with respect to climate change and how she/he will address it if elected.

    And let’s start NOW.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

    • Brian R Smith says:

      Also what’s up with “encouraging (and pushing if necessary) Joe and Ryan and etc…”. Pushing how? Go to their offices? Send some muscle to meet them in the parking garage? Comments like this, vaguely if unintentionally threatening, are VERY off-putting. At least to me.

      • Jeff Huggins says:

        Brian, I’m sorry for the misimpression left by my message, and your misinterpretation. Of course I don’t mean anything physical or inappropriate or any such thing. I’m talking about via reasoning and messages and collective calls to action. Would you want Joe and Neera and John Podesta, for example, to do everything ethically appropriate to try their darn best to convince Hillary Clinton to take on a strong and credible and courageous position regarding climate change, AND would you want them to do what they can, ethically, to try to help the public understand Hillary’s position and to try to get Hillary to clarify it for the public? If so, you get my point and agree with me! Ethics of course sets boundaries. You are misreading me because I’m using urgent and firm wording. Part of what my meaning is, is that we should, and eventually (the sooner the better) must break through the sort of hesitations and hurdles that hold us back from necessary ethical actions. For example, “I mustn’t call persistently for clear answers from Hillary Clinton because I need to remain ‘loyal’ to her, and I also mustn’t do anything that might upset some of our funders at CAP, so I won’t press Hillary too hard to take tough positions and to be clear about where she stands.” It is THAT sort of “political correctness” or politicking or deference to misplaced political loyalty that we must break through if we are to make any real progress. The rhetorical firmness in my comment is meant to mean that sort of thing. OF COURSE I am not encouraging a physical pushing-match or ganging up on someone outside their door, or anything unethical whatsoever. Of course not.

        Cheers for now, and Be Well,

        Jeff

      • Jeff Huggins says:

        Brian, thanks for your comment. My response from yesterday – hopefully a clarifying one — is still awaiting moderation for some reason. I hope it’ll be released soon. Thanks again, Jeff

        • Brian R Smith says:

          My 1st reply to you yesterday, not the one at 8:39 pm, has not passed moderation. here it is again in case it goes through:

          “Let’s find a way to influence the public on a broad basis in order to ‘make him (the President) do it’, when ‘it’ is what he promised to do in the first place.” Talk about a broad and indirect approach!

          How about leveraging, and pushing, much more direct approaches, prompting the people in those direct-relationship chains to get with it…”

          We should be doing all of the above, not one over the other. But as to goosing climate leaders to goose political leaders on climate action: Chances are very good, to say the least, that Neera Tanden and John Podesta are well aware of their influence with the Clintons, and its limitations; Joe has similar lines of influence and limitations as do many others. It is more logical to assume they are already (and have been for a long time) deploying influence to best effect possible… than to presume otherwise. We aren’t going to hear about it unless/until those folk have something they want public, that’s just the way it is. For these reasons I don’t think you will find a lot of takers for a campaign to tell Podesta what he already knows.

          This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to push early commitments from Hillary and other candidates (hear,hear!). The idea should be spread. But there is nothing indirect about the public, Clinton’s base, making these policy demands – perhaps through a massive email campaign to her strategists. I believe this would carry more weight with them than everything Podesta has already suggested.

          • Jeff Huggins says:

            Brian, thanks for your comment. We seem to be mostly in agreement, but … My comment was not meant to suggest that we shouldn’t be pursuing both approaches, and others. I’m all for trying to gain broad public understanding, and I participate in many of those types of things. But I think you make too many assumptions about, and give way too much credit to, what you assume Neera and John and etc. are doing behind closed doors. I’m considering what we can see, not what we can’t see and don’t know about, and I’m also considering the dismal results of what we can see, so far: Far too little progress! CAP is a very short walk from the White House — I’ve done the walk before — and (have you considered Neera’s bio?) Neera clearly has at least familiarity with, and access to, Hillary — the present front-runner for the next nomination, supposedly. And, there is typically a huge difference between what someone could be doing, including and importantly within the bounds of ethics (of course), and what someone chooses not to do because it falls just a bit outside their comfort zone, it might offend funders, it might be perceived as showing disloyalty, it might not be the way Washington normally works, it might jeopardize a desired appointment in the next administration should the person (in this case Hillary) win, and so forth and so on. Scores of excuses. The idea that we should just trust someone’s judgment about what someone could do to be more effective, to move the ball substantially forward, often falls flat: if we apply that idea to President Obama himself — “trust his judgment on this; he has an understanding of the limits of his power” — what unproductive conclusions might we come to, and what necessary activism might we dismiss? Why make such assumptions? Indeed, if you agree that we should pursue both courses — the broad public course, and the so-called direct-chain course — then why not join here and now to simply appeal to Neera to persistently pose this question to Hillary (for example): “If you were president today, how would you rule regarding Keystone XL? Would you approve it or deny approval?” Indeed, I view it as part of CAP’s fundamental role to publicly “push” policy positions, to do so publicly-and-directly with specific politicians (especially those who want nominations), and to help the public find out would-be nominees’ positions, concretely and clearly, ASAP. That is what CAP is supposed to be doing, among other things, but it has apparently failed to do so, so far. So, the simple and direct question is, do you agree that Neera and John and CAP should be posing such questions to Hillary and trying their darn-dest to let us all know where Hillary stands? Or, do we want to end up five years from now pretty much where we are today?
            Thanks Brian. Be well, Jeff
            (And, I apologize again for the confusing tone of the first message.)

          • Brian R Smith says:

            Jeff, I was being facetious about goons in the garage of course but don’t you think being direct is the way to go? Email each of the people you want answers from, pose your questions, see if you get replies. Worth a try; if you don’t have a following, lead anyway.

          • Jeff Huggins says:

            Brian, thanks for the recent comment. You mention leading. This (these messages and this idea) IS my attempt — one of them — TO lead. In other words, if I, you, prokaryotes (for example), Mike, MM, David, Merrelyn, and several others here would all appeal, explicitly, to Joe and also directly to Neera, that might get a dialogue going and get something actually started. THAT might catalyze something to actually begin to happen. Here again, I’m not (at all) suggesting that this is an “only” tactic; it’s one of many. But — if we are planning ahead at all, and if we don’t want to end up making the same sorts of mistake twice — one of our TOP priorities should be to find out in concrete terms where would-be nominees for president in 2016 stand regarding climate change. I say, in concrete no-nonsense terms. And, in tandem with that, we can make it clear to all would-be nominees that we won’t support anyone who doesn’t have a crisp, clear, credible, serious, compelling, and courageous stand on climate change. My point here is that we have to start now, if we want to do those things. And my other point is that CAP should play a Vital Leading Role in those things. So, hence, this series of messages here IS an attempt to lead, and (of course) what I’m trying to do here is to find out, with you, whether you will also be a leader or a co-leader or at least a follower of this idea (authorship is not important to me; getting the task done is).

            How ’bout it?

            Cheers, Jeff

    • prokaryotes says:

      Jeff, you need to ask your questions to the people who create the mess, not those who already on page 1.

      • Jeff Huggins says:

        prokaryotes, thanks for the message. What do you mean by those “who already on page 1″? And, don’t you find it disappointing, frustrating, unsatisfactory, and in some ways odd that CAP has such close relationships with top Dems and recent Dem administrations and yet so little is happening in the way of genuine Leadership from the Dems regarding climate change? All I’m asking for here, and I don’t mind saying ‘demanding’, is that CAP become more courageous and effective at influencing (in positive ways) the political leaders who its own leaders know well. If we don’t all start asking for such things, we’re never gonna get anywhere.

    • Jack Burton says:

      “worst ever” I have noticed in the last two decades how much more frequent these words crop up in news stories related to weather events. Having experienced just such a “worst ever” rainfall event last summer, I now know first hand how completely out of whack weather events are becoming. Just in the last decade we have had record lake superior water temps, a record straight line wind even resulting in a record blow down of a national forest, record warm summer heat waves, now the record rainfall event. All this in just one small isolated corner of Minnesota. The larger news events like “Sandy” come every year now.
      But I am glad to see the deniers have upped their game and their lies. They are now hysterical in their claims, obviously a sign that they know evidence is NOT on their side.
      Stay tuned, I am sure this year has more record surprises in store for us!

      • Will Fox says:

        They just claim it’s part of a “natural” cycle.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Surely it is caused by all that added energy being trapped by rising greenhouse gas levels and not being re-radiated back into space as the albedo flips as Arctic sea ice and snow cover dramatically lessen. So all the added energy goes into the seas, the atmosphere and even into the ground. It keeps adding up at manic pace, and as a consequence, record perturbations of the weather and steady climate destabilisation must occur. How could they not? Weather disasters will soon occur absolutely unlike anything in human experience. Then The Panic will set in.

      • Colorado Bob says:

        JB –

        “worst ever” I have noticed in the last two decades how much more frequent these words crop up in news stories related to weather events.

        Another phrase in these stories, “we’ve never seen this before”.

        • Spike says:

          I like Jeff Master’s pithy comment:

          “If it seems like getting two 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year floods in eleven years is a bit suspicious–well, it is. Those recurrence intervals are based on weather statistics from Earth’s former climate.”

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Firefighter battles the Powerhouse wildfire at the Angeles National Forest in California http://imgur.com/r/pics/dI8wor6

    • prokaryotes says:

      What would Edvard Munch paint today?

      In 1883, the spectacular sunsets in Oslo after the eruption of Mount Krakatoa inspired Edvard Munch to paint The Scream.

  5. Ken Barrows says:

    Good news and bad news. Good: US rigs drilling for oil is down YOY. Maybe the Bakken won’t continue to emit increasing amounts of carbon dioxide.

    Bad: Some deranged person will propose some harebrained coal to oil scheme.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Rise of jellyfish reveals sickness of world’s oceans

    Gershwin said she fears that the biodiversity of the world’s water will eventually resemble that of the Precambrian era, when oceans where ruled by jellyfish and mammals and reptiles did not exist.

    “I think it’s a very scary thing that we could be heading back to a situation where jellyfish are dominating the oceans,” Gershwin says, “but if we keep heading down the path that we’re currently on, I’m not sure I see very many alternatives.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/06/07/tech-jellyfish-bloom-quirks.html

    • catman306 says:

      When nature pummels you with lemons it’s time to learn how to make lemonade out of them.

      Some futurist cook has looked into jellyfish as food. Has potential! So your children or theirs might be eating seafood again, but it’ll be jellyfish.

      • Merrelyn Emery says:

        Jellyfish is on the menu throughout Asia. You can get it at our local Vietnamese, ME

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          Interesting for a treat, but as the main course, day after day,… well I’ll leave that to your imagination.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            Maggot farms which my animals set up for me every summer, because they like their food on the hoof, so to speak, are my protein future. Mash like spuds and add them to everything, ME

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            I’ll stick to feeding the blighters to the chooks, for now.

          • kermit says:

            I just bought “The Worm Book” by Nancarrow and Taylor for my garden book collection. It’s all about composting and gardening, working with worms… and cooking them. During the collapse, my garden will apparently provide not only blueberries and grapes but animal protein as well. I have no qualms in principle. I expect I’ll get hungry enough to look these recipes over again. I hope I can still cook things.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            Well, kermit, then I guess it will just have to be ‘worm sushi’.

  7. DarthVader says:

    Water levels at port Manaus in the Central Amazon baisin are currently at 29.31 meters, only 6 years have seen higher peaks than that during the past 110 years (2 of whom were the record years of 2009 and 2012), and water levels may not have peaked right yet. Purely mathematically the probability of having two hundred-year-floods and one twenty-year-flood within just five years time is about 1/20000, a number that reflects how disturbed the climatic situation has become. Taken in consideration that all the last 4 years have as well seen considerably below average minimums, including one record drought, there is no doubt in my mind that the situastion in the Amazon basin is becoming very serious.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Destabilisation in action.

    • rollin says:

      Same thing has happened in the northeast US multiple times from the 1990’s onward. Flood after flood, achieving near record levels and much devastation all in the period of a few years.

  8. John says:

    why is nothing ever changing, we don’t have time for the same never ending non-victory parade? cuz money talks, bullshit walks. ever since they invented computers, the rich can hide in assorted currencies, playing one against the other. This is why everything is wrong. this is very fundamentally wrong. a new world e-currency phone credit can take their power away. The credit can be based on Hansen’s 100% private CO2 dividends with no public-private split.
    The second thing is to take nuclear power away from nation state hands and pursue Hansen’s 4G research effort to safely burn 99% of nuclear weapons waste, including depleted uranium. All this while providing non-emissions power. we all can’t sit at our computers thinking the solar and wind energy boom will save us. Get real. Think radically. Do you know what climate and nuclear power deniers have in common? They both like to watch just one person screw in a light bulb.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KumLH9kOpOI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Lh2Ih712fbk

  9. Leif says:

    “When did the Fergusons start hydrofracking?” As soon as they realized that they could pollute the commons for profit and “We the People” would be stuck with the cleanup bill.

    • rollin says:

      No one is going to clean up.

      • Leif says:

        You mean the rich are just going to clean up the money and leave the spoils for all time? I object. I have another idea. Stop profits from the pollution of the commons and give humanity and Earth’s life support systems a chance.

  10. Dan Miller says:

    I was on a Climate-One Commonwealth Club panel on the Keystone XL pipeline recently:
    http://www.climate-one.org/content/pipeline-paradigm-0

    I argued against it using the climate change risks, rather than oil spills and water contamination, which are often brought up by groups opposed to the pipeline who are afraid to talk about climate change (that has to stop).

    Rewatching the panel, it struck me how absurd this whole discussion is. No one on the panel disputes the absolutely dire impacts that will occur if we stay on our fossil fuel emissions path, yet almost everyone in our society (present company excluded) ignores this and we go happily on our way to extract every bit of fossil fuels that we can.

    • Brian R Smith says:

      Shameless plug: I’ve viewed many of your presentations and think you are one of the most effective, confident & dedicated speakers we have. Readers getting more concerned about message & messaging can Google your name + climate or look at your own http://climateplace.org/file/Home.html

      On the recent panel, it was amazing to see the lengths the Canadian diplomat Cassie Doyle went to to rationalize the Tar Sands. Overall the climate movement is making little headway against the defenders/perpetrators of the current economic paradigm.

      I’m wondering if your experience supports the idea that a greater level of strategic cooperation among climate leaders and stakeholders, aimed at resolving climate issues for the public, is a good idea? Climate scientists addressing the nation with all kinds of support behind them, for example, would trigger discussion in the MSM that is currently barred… but is not the sort of approach we will soon see from Obama.

      Shouldn’t climate leaders be approaching climate confusion and disinformation as a PR battle and claim ownership of the problem, whatever the cost, by whatever steps necessary, on a scale that meets the goal? Don’t we need a climate PR Manhattan Project to resolve public uncertainty and put climate and energy at the front of the political queue?

      • prokaryotes says:

        Indeed, i really would like to watch an update to the Fora speech he gave a few years ago!

      • Dan Miller says:

        You’re correct that it looks like we are not making headway. However, the situation is changing rapidly. While it is possible to ignore reality, it is not possible to ignore the consequences of ignoring reality, and those consequences are now becoming front and center.

        If you look at media coverage 2 years ago and now, it has improved dramatically (though it is still awful). I believe that 2 years from now, the media (and most everyone else) will assume that climate disruption is real, man made, and a big problem. That doesn’t mean we will take the steps necessary, but maybe we will at least be discussing steps then.

        My optimistic statement about climate change is as follows:
        When it comes to action on climate change, we are going to go from impossible to inevitable, without every stopping at possible.
        Let’s just hope we do it in time.

        My suggestion to everyone who wants to change things is to not get depressed, but to get angry. Be angry about how our country’s inaction is threatening your children. A small group of dedicated, angry people can change things.

        • Brian R Smith says:

          Thanks for your perspective. I agree that media coverage has improved, in volume at least, driven by climate events, and that the trend will continue. But I see this as a too-slow reactionary process and am worried that 2 years down the line the balance of power, if you will, between the science and the forces opposing it will not have changed much, leaving us with the same easily confusable conversation and the rats still in control of the ship.

          So while the grand PR coalition idea may not be necessary or quite the right thing for the job, it seems that some kind of forceful move has to be made to bring home the Really Inconvenient Truth you lay out so well to the entire public as quickly as possible. Not enough people are getting the right messages from the right sources (climate scientists themselves). This has to change, ideally in time for the 2014 midterm elections. It’s a major problem I’m not sure can be resolved one audience and one demonstration at a time, but maybe.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      So, Dan, are these creatures simply totally morally insane, do they think that they have no alternative if they wish to stay on the capitalist gravy-train, or do they want the climate cataclysm to occur? I refuse to dismiss the latter simply because it is too horrid to contemplate, because the evidence for the deliberate exacerbation of the disaster is so overwhelming.

  11. prokaryotes says:

    Specifically, the villagers were seeking damages from the companies. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, however, ruled that the Clean Air Act and U.S. EPA regulations have jurisdiction over climate change issues. http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059981542

    When is the EPA stepping up to make the fossil fuel companies pay for compensation claims/ damage from their products?

  12. prokaryotes says:

    “When Dresden flooded 11 years ago, they called it the flood of the century, saying the last time it had happened was 150 years before,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/05/german-floods-cities-dresden

    And in parts of the country it has been the worst flood since record keeping had begun. Flood is still ongoing…

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      In 50 years time, if anyone remains to witness it, the floods will make these seem utterly insignificant.

      • prokaryotes says:

        More frequent and more intense (flood height). It’s funny i read some forum comments and people suggest it’s the fault of the people who live near the river – they do not blame climate.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          It has long been impossible for any Rightwinger to admit that any climate science is other than an evil conspiracy by Communist scientists and Green Left ‘water-melons’ to destroy capitalism. Any apostasy from that mind-set brings expulsion from the cult, and abuse. Tiny, little, minds, no doubt beginning to become a little frightened, stick together for strength.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            Yes, they stick together and shrink together. That’s probably why they need ‘shrinks’, ME

    • Spike says:

      Jeff Master’s take on the European floods and the effect of changes in the jet stream:

      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2432

  13. rollin says:

    I sincerely hope dogs do well after we are gone.

    • wili says:

      The smallest breeds will have the best chances. In the past, very warm periods have favored small species that can cool their bodies more easily than large ones (surface to volume ratio, and all that).

      The good news for the future of diverse life on the planet is that such warm periods usually lead to rapid speciation, as smaller critters can fit into more and smaller micro-habitats and niches.

      The bad news is…well, pretty much everything else is bad news 8-(

      • David Goldstein says:

        wondering if the ‘baddest’ news, if climate change leads to a type of civilization break-down, will be the enormous amount of radioactive material left potentially uncontained.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          During the ‘breakdown’, The Collapse, a lot of that nuclear material will be distributed in the form of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons, as the struggle for global dominance becomes a struggle for survival. Our ‘leaders’ know no other way to behave.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      There will be a lot of carrion, for a while.

  14. prokaryotes says:

    Climate activists receive sentences for gas-fired power station occupation

    In December, government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, said the so-called dash for gas backed by the chancellor, George Osborne, was “completely incompatible” with the nation’s legally binding carbon emissions targets.

    Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein said: “Our governments have been negotiating about the climate crisis for 23 years. In that time, emissions have soared by 54%. Clearly the official, respectable, legal means of dealing with this crisis are not working. That means that what used to be radical is now rational. The people who scaled EDF’s smokestacks are not criminals, they’re heroes.” Klein was arrested outside the White House in Washington DC in 2011 while protesting against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/06/climate-activists-sentenced-gas-fired-power-protest

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Mass arrests would be a good tactic. Of course a lot of people will be gassed, pepper-sprayed, tasered, beaten, slung into solitary, terrorised and set-up on ‘Green terrorism’ charges, and sentences will be Draconian, but it is one way to get heard. It might be smart to mobilise old geezers for this task to begin, as a proportion of the private incarceration workforce might treat them more leniently and long sentences will be pointless. The thuggocracy will be determined to crack down heavily on the young, to destroy their career prospects and lives, so they ought to avoid arrest.

    • prokaryotes says:

      Well, in this case the sentences are not Draconian..

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        So far.

      • Spike says:

        They have learned to tighten the screw slowly – Turkey shows what can happen with instant thuggery.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          My sister tells me that being ‘kettled’ by those lovely Bobbies isn’t pleasant at all. Monbiot has written cogently on how decades of repressive legislation by Tories and Wannabe Tories aka ‘New Labor’, has made lawful protest almost impossible in the UK.

        • Merrelyn Emery says:

          Dancing in the streets? Well we know what caused that, don’t we now, ME

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            As you know, the Protestant fundies were opposed to sex before marriage, because it might lead to dancing.

  15. prokaryotes says:

    Second, take a stand. We may be too late to stop the climate from shifting, but we can likely stop the most catastrophic effects of climate change. People of all ages are stepping up to block extraction, transportation, and burning of fossil fuels and to challenge the clout of the fossil fuel lobby. Some are doing it to protect their community’s water or air or their own health; others are motivated by concern for climate stability and the lives of generations to come. Here are some examples:

    • President Obama has the power to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would expedite further extraction of tar sands, an extraordinarily destructive form of energy. Around the United States, people are pressing the president to reject the pipeline and make good on his promise to take on the climate challenge.

    • Fracking for natural gas has been sold as a climate-friendly alternative to coal and oil. It is not. Leakage of methane during extraction and shipment makes it as damaging to the climate as other fossil fuels, and it threatens precious groundwater supplies. Communities around the United States are joining up to block fracking.

    • In the Pacific Northwest, young people, Native American tribes, and others are mobilizing to stop the rail transport of huge quantities of Wyoming Powder River Basin coal to Northwest seaports for export to Asia.

    • Students and alumni are calling on colleges and universities to divest holdings in oil companies. While this might not immediately reduce the mammoth profits of these global corporations, it does help erode the legitimacy of this industry and therefore their claim on public subsidies and special benefits (like the right to use our atmosphere as a dumping ground). http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/08/climate-change-challenge

    • prokaryotes says:

      Global Warming: Public Opinion and Policy

      The scientific consensus is that climate change is occurring and is anthropogenically caused. Since 2007, no scientific body of national, or international, standing rejects the findings of human-induced climate change. Yet, in the United States, public opinion and public policy are not quite there, yet. The figure below shows America’s response to Gallup, the Pew Research Center, Stanford University, the University of Michigan (cited by Brookings), and Yale University/ George Mason polls asking “Is global warming happening?” While the differences between polls likely occur due to question wording, one stark realization stands out: since 2006, only 50-85% of Americans have agreed that global warming is happening. Shouldn’t this be closer to 99%?

      Copy of Polling data (May 2013)As climate change impacts loom and related extreme weather begins to increase, scientists reluctant to speak have one silver lining – that despite an indecisive America, politicians are beginning to acknowledge the science and call for change. Recent notable events include:

      After Superstorm Sandy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated, “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week’s devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
      In January 2013 in his Inauguration Address, President Barack Obama announced, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
      In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama declared, “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions to take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
      On February 14, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office added climate change to list of highest risks facing the U.S. with the statement “Climate change poses risks to many environmental and economic systems – including agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystems, and human health – and presents a significant financial risk to the federal government.” http://spc.agu.org/2013/global-warming-public-opinion-and-policy/

    • wili says:

      Thanks for these suggestions. There are lots of ways to both avoid being as big a part of the problem as most of us have been, and of taking political action to influence leaders to move toward doing the right thing.

      I find the ‘Idle No More’ movement particularly inspiring.

      OT pun: Ope’ I? Nah way!

  16. wili says:

    Things continue to get weirder and weirder in the Arctic. What looks likes a semi-permanent cyclone has settled over the north pole region, and it is doing odd things to the now very thin, salty and squishy sea ice. It looks as if the ice cap will melt from the middle as well as how it usually does (from the sides) this year. The knowledgeable folks over at Neven’s blog and forum are talking about an impending ice ‘cliff.’ We shall see. Interesting times…

    http://neven1.typepad.com/

    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/board,3.0.html

  17. Brian R Smith says:

    Bill McKibben & Martha Wainwright both appeared on the ABC1 panel show “Q&A” in Australia last Monday. And it was good. McKibben is in Oz for a Do The Maths tour & to talk superfunds and investors into divesting from fossil fuels (details @350.org); Wainwright, the singer and anti-fracking, renewables voice, on tour with her band.

    Here’s the video:
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3759900.htm
    Click on “climate conspiracy” on the right for the part of the conversation wherein McKibben delivers the gospel to AGW denier & gay hater Cory Bernardi, the slimy pro-coal Senator from South Australia.

    But for the unexpected magic, click on “mothers & daughters” on the right. Martha Wainwright talks briefly about the death of her mother Kate McGarrigle and then closes the show singing the last song Kate wrote, the beautiful lament “Proserpina”. You need this melody.

    “When Ceres sought through all the earth with lit torches for Proserpina, who had been seized by [Pluto & taken to the underworld], she called her with shouts where three or four roads meet..”

    The myth rings a bell for me. Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture & grain crops and only if Proserpina returns in time will there be spring. In our time, with no such goddess of concern held in esteem, as the song says, we “shall turn every field into stone” and nothing like a spring we knew will ever come again.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      Spring arrived at the beginning of winter here with a flowering Ironbark. Thats not weeks early, it’s months, ME

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        No sign of frost here yet, the latest in twelve tears. Everything still growing, much strongly. Even pumpkin vines. Bulbs quite early. The damage of the brutal summer and nine month drought disappearing, the dead having been removed, and the survivors loving the rain and night-time warmth.

  18. prokaryotes says:

    Re Preventing climate chaos

    “Private citizens digital property, treated as intangible

    Big company digital copyright property, treated the same as a physical thing” http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1fxg0d/nsa_prism_why_im_boycotting_us_cloud_tech_and_you/

    But corporations are people too?? And then consider how much companies (Koch, Exxon etc) screw with our understanding of the science of climate change or how they try to delay rollout of climate change solutions (wind and solar). Or how they influence politics with their lobbying – tempering with the National Security!

    Besides they receive billions in taxpayers money each year, because we heavily subsidies them. Besides they make record amounts of money!

    Why are there no rules to prevent tempering with science, ie. recent Lu paper which comes up with the same year old debunked claims? Why are there no compensation claims for the ecocide of fossil fuel burning? Shouldn’t the price of gas reflect that? Why is the EPA doing nothing about the environmental damage from fossil fuel products?

  19. Raul M. says:

    Mulga and Brian,
    Americans for Extinction not going to try to argue God into changing Natural Laws or the Laws of Physics.
    So sad but true.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Americans for Extinction, Patron Emeritus Deceased, Ronald Reagan, ‘You seen one redwood, you seen ‘em all! Timber!!!!’

  20. Raul M. says:

    San Onofre nuclear power plant to close, and they had just spent over 1/2 billion fixing it up.

  21. Joan Savage says:

    This isn’t standard climate news but, four earthquakes occurred in the past few days along the edge of the Antarctic plate. Just don’t see it very often. Three of the four are where two other plates junction with the Antarctic plate.

    For a map that is frequently updated:
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      We should expect more earthquakes. You can’t change all those pressures and tempertures that quickly and not expect a tectonic response, ME

  22. Bob Eckstein says:

    Is it so much trouble to properly give a credit for the cartoon? It’s my cartoon which appeared in the New Yorker. http://tinyurl.com/kxm4hwy

  23. Ames Pleuvaber says:

    This is a cartoon by Bob Eckstein that was published in the June 10th, 2013 issue of The New Yorker. Please give credit where credit is due!

  24. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Further to Brian Smith’s report about Q&A, Bill McKibben also addressed the National Press Club and really socked it to them. Behind that polite, mild mannered exterior, he seems as tough as old boots, ME

    • Sasparilla says:

      I’d love to hear it if you have a link. He’s awesome.

      • Merrelyn Emery says:

        Sas, I don’t know how to do that link thing but go into abc.net.au and then iview and search for national press club. It should be there for a while, ME

  25. David B. Benson says:

    TVA has contracted with Babcock & Wilcox to start the process leading to the construction of two mPower SMRs, 180 MWe units:
    http://www.babcock.com/news_and_events/2013/20130220a.html

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Let’s run a poll on the eventual cost, when, and if, they are completed. I’ll wager a 200% cost overrun, for starters.

  26. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The future? ABC is running on its Catalyst program (6 June) a doco on the first documented fire tornado that hit Canberra. Go into abc.net.au, then iview and search for catalyst, ME

  27. prokaryotes says:

    Meet a plasticarian (that’s a person who does not use plastic)
    So, you’ve decided it’s a health risk and a menace to the environment and it’s time to just say ‘No’. But how are you going to clean your teeth? http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/meet-a-plasticarian-thats-a-person-who-does-not-use-plastic-8650778.html

  28. lizardo says:

    Bob Eckstein’s credit still not apparent at top of thread, but the cartoon is so timely to me because here in NC we are in the process, and “forced pooling” is still under discussion, so you would probably find out that the Fergusons had started fracking when you were forced to have your own backyard fracked.

    As an illustration of the pitfalls of the legislative process, here in NC we have a deceptive bill that has passed both state houses but in different versions, re fracking. And the news coverage is flawed.

    Backstory: process to develop regulatory program and allow fracking in 2015 began in 2012 (after GOP sweep as a result of GOP controlled redistricting. New Commission working on rules etc. Legislature gets to vote to approve fracking or not, after rules developed and on books. NC has very small amount of gas anyhow so it was all a bit of a puzzle.
    (2013 bill started out in Senate with all bad things, —–1) remove legislative yea/nay at the end.
    2) allow frack waste ‘disposal’ by injection well
    3) get rid of state registry of landmen (gas lease salesmen)
    4) fracking only has to get single permit from oil and gas program, no separate air, solid waste, stormwater, groudnwater, surface etc. etc. input
    5) promote NC offshore drilling
    6) subvert energy efficiency council to one promoting drill and mine everything in state at maximum rate

    In all the news coverage while bill was in the Senate there was no media coverage of #6, and scant attention to offshore drilling.

    The House didn’t want to take it up at all as they were getting massive blowback from coastal counties which is where it appears the injection wells would be, and over some other bad things in the bill. I

    It definitely showed that while one despairs, legislators at least at the state level do (some of them) listen.

    Then suddenly after three months of no action it was whipped through 2 committees and to a floor vote in a revised version that added in some new studies and took out some but not all of those bad things. (Should you care, only the first three.)

    It passed along party lines, but has to go to a conference where horse-trading will result in a very bad bill. I point this out because legislators can think they are doing the right thing when they are greenlighting something worse in the end.

    • Joan Savage says:

      New York State’s version of “forced pooling” is called “compulsory integration.”

      I believe it should be declared unconstitutional, or un-something even older, as it coerces individual landowners to lose their mineral resources without their consent, to be given payments for something they didn’t agree to sell in the first place, and thus to compromise them in any lawsuit for damages to their property.

      It’s like when a medieval lord has his way with the peasants’ daughter, and then flings a few pennies at the old peasants so they can be accused of selling their daughter.

      There must be a word or two for that.

      • lizardo says:

        Republican/libertarian types on a local message board were simply stunned that GOP reps would vote (in 2012) for a bill that extended forced pooling (in law for oil we don’t have) to fracking. So naive.

  29. Sailesh Rao says:

    The Meat Moderates are the key to progress on climate change:

    http://freefromharm.org/agriculture-environment/the-meat-moderates/

  30. fj says:

    Early stage net zero transit:

    Citi Bike NYC quick stats

    8 Jun 2013 34,946 total Annual Members

    http://www.citibikenyc.com/blog

  31. fj says:

    Unusually large number of bikes and Citi Bikes across the Brooklyn Bridge today.

  32. Sasparilla says:

    Beautiful piece at the Washington Post taking apart Lamar Alexander’s Op/Ed.

    Climate science tells us the alarm bells are ringing

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-science-tells-us-the-alarm-bells-are-ringing/2013/06/07/ca81cb84-cef6-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html