Scientists advising fossil fuel funded anti-climate group concluded in 1995: The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of GHGs such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied

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"Scientists advising fossil fuel funded anti-climate group concluded in 1995: The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of GHGs such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied"

Andy Revkin has a must-read NYT piece, Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate.”

Turns out the Global Climate Coalition, an anti-action lobbying group floated by fossil fuel industries, ignored its own climate scientists while spreading disinformation about global warming. An internal report stating that the human causes of global warming “cannot be denied” fell on the deaf ears of Coalition leaders.

The amazing 14-year-old document totally trashes the standard arguments by deniers –  including Richard Lindzen and Pat Michaels — that are still used today. After a long analysis of “Are There Alternate Explanations for the Climate Change Which Has Occurred Over the Last 120 Years?” they conclude:

The contrarian theories raise interesting questions about our total understanding of climate processes, but they do not offer convincing arguments against the conventional model of greenhouse gas emission-induced climate change.

Jastrow’s hypothesis about the role of solar variability and Michaels’ questions about the temperature record are not convincing arguments against any conclusion that we are currently experiencing warming as the result of greenhouse gas emissions. However, neither solar variability nor anomalies in the temperature record offer a mechanism for off-setting the much larger rise in temperature which might occur if the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases were to double or quadruple.

Lindzen’s hypothesis that any warming would create more rain which would cool and dry the
upper troposphere did offer a mechanism for balancing the effect of increased greenhouse
gases. However, the data supporting this hypothesis is weak, and even Lindzen has stopped
presenting it as an alternative to the conventional model of climate change.

And so we have proof of the obvious: Corporate polluters have no interest in preserving a livable climate and will go to great lengths””and spend large amounts of money””to muddle the argument on climate change. Political operatives, such as Newt Gingrich (see here), who, like the GCC, are owned by big oil (see here), continue the disinformation campaign. It’s about time that these ponzi-scheme advocates are publicly and definitively discredited.

As Revkin writes:

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

The coalition was financed by fees from large corporations and trade groups representing the oil, coal and auto industries, among others. In 1997, the year an international climate agreement that came to be known as the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, its budget totaled $1.68 million, according to tax records obtained by environmental groups.

Throughout the 1990s, when the coalition conducted a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign challenging the merits of an international agreement, policy makers and pundits were fiercely debating whether humans could dangerously warm the planet. Today, with general agreement on the basics of warming, the debate has largely moved on to the question of how extensively to respond to rising temperatures.

Well, one dubious sentence in an otherwise good piece.  The fact is that the disinformation campaign continues unabated and still persuades conservative voters, politicians, and pundits to advocate inaction.

Environmentalists have long maintained that industry knew early on that the scientific evidence supported a human influence on rising temperatures, but that the evidence was ignored for the sake of companies’ fight against curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. Some environmentalists have compared the tactic to that once used by tobacco companies, which for decades insisted that the science linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer was uncertain. By questioning the science on global warming, these environmentalists say, groups like the Global Climate Coalition were able to sow enough doubt to blunt public concern about a consequential issue and delay government action.

Revkin has more on his blog here, including comments from some of the original authors of the document.

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43 Responses to Scientists advising fossil fuel funded anti-climate group concluded in 1995: The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of GHGs such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied

  1. Susan says:

    Unfortunately, the yakuzas have a new chance (their network has caught up and is now activated) with Andy’s latest (just posted). I hoping the front end of comments can be cluttered up before their network crowds reason/facts out.

  2. Dano says:

    I prefer, Susan, the term ‘Message Force Multipliers’ over ‘yakuzas’ or as some have used before ‘useful idiots’. The ‘MFM’ has a feel of propaganda organization to it, which may be closer to reality than a mafia-type organization.

    :o)

    Best,

    D

  3. cougar_w says:

    The Big Oil and Big Coal lobbies are headed for a RICO take-down. Given them a year or two.

  4. David Freeman says:

    There is a very important quote in Revkin’s piece that needs to be highlighted:

    “George Monbiot, a British environmental activist and writer, said that by promoting doubt, industry had taken advantage of news media norms requiring neutral coverage of issues, just as the tobacco industry once had.”

    These “news media norms” can only be taken advantage of by industry if journalists and their editors succumb to the easy path of appearing neutral rather than the harder path of actually presenting information acurately even if truth is biased towards one side.

    I generally like Revkin though his articles frustratingly often hew too far towards the appearance of neutrality at the cost of accuracy. I’m glad to see that by quoting Monbiot he demonstrates that he is aware of the problem. Now he needs to further act upon that awareness.

  5. lgcarey says:

    The situation appears to be fast approaching the “tobacco litigation threshold” – even if the weight of the science, rational argument and common morality have had no impact on Big Oil and Big Coal, a realistic prospect of multi-billion dollar tort liability might prove somewhat more persuasive as a behavior modifier.

  6. Michael says:

    The comparisons between Big Oil and Big Tobacco don’t make much sense.
    Tobacco is a recreational drug. Oil (and coal) are tools that have brought sociaty forewards by leaps and bounds. Freedom and oportunity are best friends with the fossil fuels.

  7. oxnardprof says:

    A 2002 book, “Deceit and Denial” by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner detail other instances of marketing being used to mislead the public and regulators (or the government) on the hazards of pollutants.

    The Lead Industry for years promoted lead paint for use in children’s rooms, despite clear knowledge of the hazards of lead paint to children. The goal of the marketing department was to promote doubt about the hazards of lead to protect the marketing of the product.

  8. Mark says:

    There is little doubt that eventually big verdicts will be handed down against Big Oil and Big Coal, that is the American way. It would make for an interesting response to the litigation for these industries to cease all production.

  9. Pat Richards says:

    Michael,

    I’m not usually confrontational, but honestly, I am sick to death of hearing people claim that we cannot have Freedom and Opportunity unless we continue to pollute like we have in the past. That kind of logic is not only deadly to us and our children, it simply is not true. There will be *more* opportunities if we move away from the old polluting economy, not less. And there will be *more* freedom if we succeed in dumping dirty energy for clean energy in the years to come. Dirty energy is a dead end street — not just because it is dirty but because it is NON-RENEWABLE. Sometime in the next 20 to 50 years the fossil fuels will run out, Michael. We will have burned them all up. If we haven’t converted to renewable clean energy by then, where will the freedom and opportunities you claim to value so much be at that point huh?

  10. Michael says:

    Pat I assure you I am not trying to cause trouble. I just have a very hard time trying to put my mind into the mindset you just described. You seam very pessimistic about the world as we know it.

    You can call oil dirty but that is a pessimistic opinion. I look at it as nothing short of a miracle. There are more than 600 million cars on the road and thier worst crime is spewing a plant food (C02). I wouldn’t call that dirty.

    If we have 20 to 50 years of fossil fuels left, that is 20 to 50 more years of incredible prosperity and may lift countless people out of poverty. More expensive, less readily available energy options we may have to switch to eventually, but why do that sooner than later?

  11. Bob Wright says:

    So many parallels. Lead, tobacco, torture, pollution… The vested interests decide what they want to do, right or wrong, and go shopping for opinions that match.

    Many deniers may now realize that THEY were the useful fools, but don’t expect blogs like Wattsup ot climateaudit to fold up any time soon, or conservative talk radio to stop going on about GW being a socialist conspiracy.

    Michael is right to a point. Fossil fuels have freed man from much heavy labor and allowed us to create our comfortable modern civilization, but sometimes during history a generation has to accept change and/or take up an existential challenge. Now is one of those times. The fossil fuel based economy must become history.

  12. Karel says:

    Michael,

    Ever heard about the ‘resource curse’? We do not typically associate most resource-rich countries with freedom, liberty and democracy. More in contrary, it seems that often fossil fuels have been friends with corruption, bad governance, conflicts and poor economic growth. Though I admit there are some exceptions (like Norway). Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse.

  13. David B. Benson says:

    Michael — It is a massive effort which will take something like 30 years to complete. Better start now or suddenly everybody will be in the dark.

  14. Michael — “why do it sooner than later?”

    It is already later. There are problems in the world that are not made better by ignoring them until action is too late; global warming is one of them.

    “Cars on the road” is a measure not only of “prosperity” but of waste. You are basically advocating indulging in an absolutely unsustainable gambit predicated on a “Syd Harris Step Two” hypothesis.

    (Syd Harris, the science cartoonist: one of his most famous shows two scientists standing at the black board filled with mathematical symbols on the left and the right, but in the middle all it says is “And then a miracle happens.” Scientist A says to Scientist B, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”)
    http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/gallery/math/index.php (top right frame.)

    Alternatively, your viewpoint is reminiscent of the fellow who jumped off the {name your very tall building here}. People by the windows all reported hearing him say the same thing as he went whooshing by: “So far, so good. So far, so good.”

    It would be pleasant for ourselves, our children, and the future of humanity if we adjusted our maladaptive behavior before the only thing we can hear is “SPLAT.”

  15. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi lgcarey-

    The situation appears to be fast approaching the “tobacco litigation threshold” – even if the weight of the science, rational argument and common morality have had no impact on Big Oil and Big Coal, a realistic prospect of multi-billion dollar tort liability might prove somewhat more persuasive as a behavior modifier.

    Well, I would really love to see ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal held responsible for their market share of global warming. At the climatelaw website they discuss legal action against the corporations that cause global warming.

    There are some journal articles there, which seemed to be laboring under the delusion that plaintiffs will be restricted to island inhabitants and Inuit.

    Unfortunately, it appears that there will be no shortage of plaintiffs.

    ExxonMobil has been actively funding a network of climate deniers for years of course:

    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/exxon-secrets

    It would seem that this sort of behavior should be illegal. ExxonMobil is a formidable litigator, though.

    I’d certainly love to see them popped with a 10 trillion dollar judgement for their roughly 5 percent market share of all historical CO2 emissions.

  16. Gail says:

    “You can call oil dirty but that is a pessimistic opinion. I look at it as nothing short of a miracle. There are more than 600 million cars on the road and thier worst crime is spewing a plant food (C02). I wouldn’t call that dirty.”

    Michael, did you ever hear of cancer? Do you know that it is an epidemic? Do you know that it kills people? Do you know much of it results from pollution from the use of fossil fuels? Have you looked into the rates of asthma among inner-city kids?

    Have you heard about the acidification of the oceans? Do you know that we are likely to end up with vast dead zones thanks to the burning of fossil fuels?

    I’m not saying nothing good has come from the industrial revolution, but the worst crime is hardly just producing plant food. And the time to move on to clean energy is yesterday, for a whole host of reasons.

  17. John Hollenberg says:

    > You can call oil dirty but that is a pessimistic opinion.

    Michael, it isn’t an opinion, it is a fact. Why do you think that the Clean Air Act was enacted? Burning oil releases various types of pollution. We have cleaned up some of the easy stuff, but CO2, which even the deniers know causes global climate change (if you read the article, of course), is going to be our worst nightmare if we don’t do something about it ASAP.

  18. Jim Eager says:

    Michael, the comparison is not between the products of Big Oil (and Big Coal) and Big Tobacco, but between the deliberate tactics and policies that both industries have used to delay, obfuscate and obstruct implementation of regulations and legislation to mitigate the harm caused by their products. In fact the tactics are identical. Even some of the persons involved are the same. We know because their invoices for services rendered to the tobacco industry are a matter of public record: http://tobaccodocuments.org/about.php

  19. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Michael-

    We are changing CO2 levels in our atmosphere thousands of times faster than they have ever been changed before. Many of us are concerned that this huge rate of change may send the earth’s self-regulating climate system out of control, releasing large amounts of methane from deposits of methane hydrates. This has apparently happened a couple of times before, during the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum, and during the Permain/Triassic mass extinction.

    For more information on this, please see http://www.killerinourmidst.com

    Our climate is balanced delicately far from thermodynamic equilibrium by life itself, most scientists now accept. If we disrupt that delicate balance, which we appear to be doing right now, the end result of that could be a return of the atmosphere to thermodynamic equilibrium. The atmosphere on Venus is in thermodynamic equilibrium, with surface temperatures of over 800 degrees C, huge pressures due to the huge mass and depth of Venus’ atmosphere, and sulfuric acid rain.

    Other nasty effects short of a methane catastrophe are also extremely costly and worrisome, including species extinction, sea level rise, and huge increases in wildfires.

    Some of us on this board believe that the corporations we think should be prosecuted for their role in destabilizing our climate have exposed us to this risk recklessly and deceptively.

  20. Gail says:

    Leland, um yeah!

    HYSTERIA!

    I mean, I am seriously freaking out. Waahhh.

    I want my children to be able to survive on a planet Earth that is hospitable to life.

    I’m not at all convinced they will.

    The science, Joe and readers, is not especially inspirational. In fact, it looks pretty grim.

    Sorry.

  21. Wonhyo says:

    Gail,

    Don’t give up hope. Fact is, direct human emissions of CO2 is still the dominant driver of increasing CO2 concentration. We can dramatically slow the growth in CO2 concentration, and hopefully stabilize it, just by cutting back our CO2 emissions. We have the knowledge and technology to do it. It is just a matter of making the political, social, and cultural changes to change our behaviors and use science and technology wisely.

    It’s that simple.

  22. Rick Covert says:

    David Freeman Says:

    April 24th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    These “news media norms” can only be taken advantage of by industry if journalists and their editors succumb to the easy path of appearing neutral rather than the harder path of actually presenting information acurately even if truth is biased towards one side.

    David,

    It reminds me of something Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a liberal bias.”

  23. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Gail-

    I’m freaking out, too, although most of my freaking out took place last year, in the dark depths of the Bush Administration, during the California wildfires of 2008. I mean, at least we are talking about it now, and the Obama Administration has made remarkable progress on the problem in less than one hundred days.

    Every day, for something like six weeks, the sunlight in Petaluma, California was tinted orange from the smoke from the wildfires, and my eyes and lungs burned from the smoke, some days more than others, but never going away completely. Every freaking day for something like 6 weeks. We burned 1.25 million acres last year in this state, far surpassing all records. The smoke plumes drifted across several states, and were easily visible from satellite. My brother’s house was narrowly spared by the Yosemite/Mariposa wildfires. And most of the people I was working with, were almost comically in denial.

    Wildfires increase CO2 concentration as you know, and accelerating wildfires can be significant positive feedback effects, themselves accelerating the rate of change. Numerous positive feedback effects were in the press, along with unprecedented Arctic melting, another positive feedback effect due to the ice albedo feedback. Add to that methane release from melting permafrost – another positive feedback effect.

    I saw that, and it hit me. Just like Lovelock’s moment in 2004, when he realized that the earth’s climate system was in failure mode, I realized the same thing.

    This thing is going to happen so fast, I am convinced, that Lovelock’s prediction of 6 billion dead by 2100 may in fact be conservative.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/16956300/the_prophet_of_climate_change_james_lovelock

    In Lovelock’s view, the scale of the catastrophe that awaits us will soon become obvious. By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather will be commonplace. By 2040, the Sahara will be moving into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will end up a kudzu jungle. Phoenix will become uninhabitable, as will parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (floods). Food shortages will drive millions of people north, raising political tensions. “The Chinese have nowhere to go but up into Siberia,” Lovelock says. “How will the Russians feel about that? I fear that war between Russia and China is probably inevitable.” With hardship and mass migrations will come epidemics, which are likely to kill millions. By 2100, Lovelock believes, the Earth’s population will be culled from today’s 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million, with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes — Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin.

    So, yeah, I’m freaking out too.

    We have two chances: slim and none.

    The slim chance involves a massive war against the climate, using carbon negative energy schemes to put as many billion tons of carbon back underground as quickly as possible, I think, along with all the stuff the Democrats are doing, and the stabilization wedge strategy advocated on this blog.

    I would really love to be wrong about this.

    Dear God, please make me a fool or crazy.

    But, in the lab where I work, I have a truly nasty tendency and reputation of often being right, and seeing things first, and coming up with original solutions to problems that really work.

    Really. Out of 25 chemists, some with advanced degrees that I don’t have, I was the one they picked to run the new mass spectrometer.

    And absolutely none of this matters, if the climate goes out of control.

  24. springbreeze says:

    A few hundred years ago we had more C02 in the atmosphere than now. and no industrialization.
    There is only 0.0038 % C02 in the atmosphere and lately it has not increased significantly.
    There is a lot of CO2 coming from the oceans.
    The green house gasses are mostly water vapor.
    Vegetation benefit from CO2 and animals and humans in return.
    If any alamist stops breathing to save the earth , I will believe the deception.
    If the deception was true, would it be nicer to have global warming than cooling?

    [JR: This is mostly a bunch of lies and denier talking points. Congratulations on joining the ranks of the duped disinformers! Find another place to mislead the public. Ciao.]

  25. NanoLepus says:

    There is more than enough evidence to bring charges against the fossil fuel megacorporations for what Hansen has accurately termed “high crimes against humanity”. The nature of the crimes, the deliberate and successful efforts to deceive the Amercian public, and the financial gains all point to what will likely be considered the most evil and criminal behavior ever.

    If these people had any sense, they would stop their efforts to deceive Americans about the safety of their products immediately, and get ready for prosecution.

  26. Hmpf says:

    Leland, Gail – I’m freaking, too; I’m investigating methods of becoming politically active – any suggestions? Parties seem inefficient; existing environmental organisations, sadly, too…

  27. Gail says:

    Dear fellow freakerouters,

    I’m glad I’m not alone, at least! I had the lightening strike last summer when it became clear to me that all the ominous predictions about ecosystem collapse aren’t confined to distant places but in fact are already occurring in my own backyard. Like your office workers, Leland, who blithely ignored the smoke, almost everyone I know is determinedly oblivious – even otherwise intelligent people who are foresters, nurserymen and gardeners. It’s bizarre!

    Last year I worked non-stop for Obama’s election, for without a leader in the US government who understands science, there would not even be a slim hope.

    Now Hmpf, I just try to stay aware, write letters, and spend a portion of my income on organizations that keep the political pressure on our representatives. And I talk to everyone I think I can approach on the topic, hoping to spark awareness, without which we cannot act.

    I’m open to suggestions!

  28. Rick Covert says:

    springbreeze Says:

    April 25th, 2009 at 2:24 am

    “There is a lot of CO2 coming from the oceans.
    The green house gasses are mostly water vapor.
    Vegetation benefit from CO2 and animals and humans in return.”

    This reminds of the line from the Woody Allen movie “Sleeper.” Woody Allen’s character Miles, awakened from the cryogenic freeze 200 years into the future, turns down the offer of a cigarette by one of the doctors who instructs him to get the smoke deep down into his lungs. The doctor appalled by his refusal responds, “It’s tobacco. It’s one of the healthiest things for your body.”

  29. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Gail, Hmph, fellow freakouters-

    The Internet is our best tool, IMO. Spread the word, on the Internet. Debate the deniers, spread the word. Keep at it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not effective.

    Waxman/Markey is a lot of progress, a lot of movement, in a short time. It is insufficient, I think, but is a rational response to the problem, at last. Add carbon negative energy schemes to it, which could be accomplished by simply declaring a state of emergency and seizing the coal plants, and we have the core of an effective program.

    The argument against “well, what if we do this and the Chinese and Indians don’t go along” is to do something so effective that we have a significant impact whether they go along or not. The ability of the planetary system to act as a carbon sink may not yet be exhausted totally. The other answer is to twist their darned arms off until they go along. Boycotts of their goods, and tariffs against those who do not comply would certainly get their attention.

    We need the synergistic effects of carbon negative energy schemes:

    http://www.etsap.org/worksh_6_2003/2003P_read.pdf

    Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage (BECS):
    a Sequential Decision Approach to the threat of Abrupt Climate Change

    Abrupt Climate Change (ACC – NAS, 2001) is an issue that ‘haunts the climate change problem’
    (IPCC, 2001) but has been neglected by policy makers up to now, maybe for want of practicable
    measures for effective response, save for risky geo-engineering. A portfolio of Bio-Energy with
    Carbon Storage (BECS) technologies, yielding negative emissions energy, may be seen as benign, low
    risk, geo-engineering that is the key to being prepared for ACC.

    Check out Figure 3, which shows the authors’ estimate of the effects of a “manhattan project” style carbon negative intervention, starting in 2020. Notice that the line actually starts to decline, and pre-industrial levels of CO2 are attained by mid-century.

    This estimate may be optimistic – it does not contain many of the positive feedback effects we are seeing. But they are obviously roughly right about the huge impact of carbon negative energy production on a massive scale. Even with carbon negative energy, we will be lucky just to stop the growth, IMO. With China and India cooperating, though, we may actually be able to turn the corner the way Figure 3 describes.

    We need to update Read’s solution by adding oxyfuel combustion, biocarbon fuel, and getting biomass for the biocarbon fuel by fire protecting the forests, in my opinion, along with truly massive replanting efforts, from aircraft.

    This would take the worst problem – coal – and convert it into the best solution – carbon negative energy production, IMHO.

    So this is one possible solution, IMO, maybe not the best one, but I think it’s the best one I have seen.

    Debate, discuss, spread the word via the Internet. Break through the denial. Keep at it. And don’t let anyone tell you its not effective.

  30. Hmpf says:

    I am already spreading the word and so on. But in a few weeks, by the end of June, I’ll be done with uni, and will have to start looking for a job, and I feel that this point of my life is perhaps the ideal moment for, well, doing something ‘radical’ – if only I could think of something effective.

    I’d love to find a way to actually *dedicate my life* to this issue – not necessarily in the form of a paying job; I’m aware there aren’t many real jobs in the ‘saving the world’ business. ;-) I don’t care if it means reducing my chances of ever having a ‘proper career’; I don’t care if it ruins my chances of ever getting a proper pension (heck, if we fail, I highly doubt that *anyone* will be collecting a pension, 35 years from now!) I just want to work on something worthwhile, at this crucial point in history. I don’t want to spend the vast majority of my precious time on a job with a company that’s probably contributing to the problem, as most companies do. I am aware that I’m going to need a job to support myself, but my standard of living is very humble, so I hope to be able, perhaps, to make do with a part-time job, so as to have some time left over to do something more worthwhile besides.

    I just don’t know *what* to do. (I know from previous experience that I’m a bad organiser, so starting some project of my own doesn’t seem very practical.)

    (Sorry about this sudden outporing of what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life angst. *g*)

  31. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Hmph-

    No reason to be sorry, of course. We’re objectively terrified of something that is objectively terrifying, I think.

    The climate crisis is like a slow motion train wreck, I think. We need to take care of ourselves, to preserve our ability to act in effective ways, maybe.

    I’ll admit to similar thoughts, to spending what time and resources I have left totally on this problem.

    I can’t really say that’s wrong. But in this awful slow motion crisis, marathon runners might be as important as sprinters.

    It’s hard to know what to do.

  32. Rick Covert says:

    I think there’s a whole lot of dispair going on and its understandable give the outcome of our activities involving emitting CO2 into the air. I’ve done it myself.

    It does no good though and every piece of bad news I get only motivates me to do what ever I can within my limited means to make a difference even if that is something as small as hypermiling, phoning or writing my congressman, who forunately gets Global Warming and write letters to the editor. One of mine written about President Obama’s Stimulus Package got printed in the op-ed section of the Houston Chronicle.

    So do your best to not fall into that trap of dispair that Al Gore warned about in the movie.

    I’ll leave you with a quote from Gandhi, “Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

  33. David B. Benson says:

    Hmpf — Try helping out 350.org.

    As to job and career, what will be your degree?

    Turning sea water into fresh is going to be important and large scale. Turning municipal sewage into tap water is already starting and will become quite major.

    I can think of several other engineering areas: biodiesel, solar power, transmission lines …

  34. Hmpf says:

    Actually, I already did some translation checking for 350.org, before I was swallowed by the black hole of my master’s thesis and exams. I’m currently contemplating planning an action for October, but, being a bad organiser with absolutely no pre-existing network of environmentally interested/active people in my area and non-existing people skills, I don’t quite know how to start.

    I have a horribly useless degree (American studies and archaeology), in terms of world-saving, that is – so engineering is out. I can’t really hope for a job in a field that’s useful for changing society – but what I *could* do, conceivably, would be to get some random, non-useful job but work only as much as I absolutely have to to survive, and spend most of the rest of my time on non-paying world-saving activies. It’s a recipe for poverty, but I really don’t care about my personal economic ‘success’ at this point.

    One thing I plan to do after my exams is to check out the local Greenpeace group (there is one, but the job that supported me through uni always coincided with their meetings, and it’s not a flexible job where I could just take an afternoon/evening off). I’ve also thought about joining the Green Party, but I’m a bit discouraged by what I hear from people who are (or, in some cases, *were*) members.

  35. Gail says:

    hmpf, where are you? please, email me at witsendnj at yahoo.com.

    I have some thoughts about solving your conundrum, possibly.

  36. Susan says:

    hi Dano, yakuza a shortcut; I like disinformation and doubt-creation machine. BTW, we miss you.

    I got all excited when I found this; y’all probably know about it.
    http://www.heatisonline.org/disinformation.cfm

    Am told letters on paper are most read by legislators over emails etc. Local as well …

    350.org worldwide push October 24th; ongoing local and worldwide.

  37. Susan says:

    Freakerouters: count me in. Here’s a little stickytacky stuff for late night:
    “time … threatens to fade us out like a song on the radio … risking ridicule and leaning on love, we should crank up the volume and keep on going. Not all has been said and done”

  38. David B. Benson says:

    Hmpf — Many engineering projects require the services of a salvage archaeologist.

    Whatever, work on your people, planning and organizatinal skills!

  39. Michael says:

    Gary Herstein, you have a good point, but it only goes so far. You could apply that “So Far So Good” story to many different calamities we face; killer asteroids, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, etc. Each one of these catastrophes could be argued by their respective experts to be more of a danger to the planet.

    Question to you: Why do you choose to identify with the climate crisis cause?

  40. Michael says:

    Gail,
    The cancer/asthma comment makes no sense to me. The US uses massive amounts of fossil fuels yet life expectancy continues to rise. Also cancer research, healthcare, and medical technology would be nowhere near where they are today without industry and the fossil fuel energies it runs on.

    I’m curious if there is a way to know how many lives coal and oil have saved and how much they have elevated the health of people around the world? Do you know where to get this kind of information?

  41. Michael says:

    Jim Eager,
    The behaviors you list (delay, obfuscate and obstruct implementation of regulations and legislation to mitigate the harm) are not isolated to Oil/Coal/Tabacco/Environmental lobyists. They are human nature traits that are found everywhere people are found.

    Regardless, I don’t think you are pushing for a change of management at these Oil and Coal companies so they could better thrive and produce better, cheaper Oil and Coal for more people. Can I assume you would like to see these companies and thier products fade to obscurity?

    Incidentally you have posted your comment on a website that is very welcoming to any negative info on Big Oil and Big Coal, and I don’t see much balance or sanity in the piling-on approach.

  42. Gail says:

    Michael, I was simply responding to your statement, that “There are more than 600 million cars on the road and thier worst crime is spewing a plant food (C02). I wouldn’t call that dirty.”

    I mentioned some ways in which carbon emissions ARE dirty. Whether or not you think good has resulted from burning petroleum products, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t also produced very bad things.

    And also too, there are now much, much better, cheaper, renewable alternatives that AREN’T dirty.

    These points are so obvious and already explained in my last post about your comment, that I can only think you are being deliberately obtuse.

  43. Michael says:

    Gail in the cost/benefit discussion, you still haven’t made much of a case for why fossil fuels are undesirable. The Cancer/Asthma argument makes no sense. Yes, there are issues that may need to be addressed as they materialize (such as ocean acidification and deadzones), but they will be solved by human engenuity, not by removing peoples energy choices or by one group of people demanding restrictions on another group of people.

    The alternatives available are inferior on many levels and not feasable for a large percentage of people.