What Topics Would You Like Climate Progress to Cover?

I’m re-instigating my weekend question.  The most important question I have for readers is — what topics or specific subjects would you like us to cover here in the coming year?

I try hard to figure out what content is of most value to readers.  That’s a key reason we added Stephen Lacey, to cover clean energy in detail,  since I have been so focused on climate science, politics, and the media.

I can’t guarantee we will hit every subject you propose, but I can guarantee Stephen and I will read every comment and try our best.  And I remain committed to creating archives of CP’s best content in various areas and  making that more accessible for readers.

133 Responses to What Topics Would You Like Climate Progress to Cover?

  1. shle896 says:

    Though, you do a good job of it already, I’d like to see you debunk the science deniers misinformation and lies.

    Also, would like to see climate change explained in the simplest of terms possible, so that I can better defend my position when I encounter deniers.

  2. john atcheson says:


    I’d like to see some critical analysis of policies — how well do they work? For example, the various methods of utility demand side management policies and the laws supporting them have gotten a lot of praise, but at the end of the day they pick up a very small portion of the available cost-effective efficiency opportunities.

    The reason for this is that they often use unrealistic financial factors to gauge what’s cost effective (high discount rates etc).

    This matters because if they are perceived as successful, we will not develop more effective policies and programs.

  3. Neven says:

    Glad to see I can comment again. :-)

    Joe, I’d like to see you take on the economic delusion of infinite growth some more (you already did great pieces on it, such as the Ponzi scheme one).

    AGW (and all the other interrelated global problems) cannot be solved conclusively, if there is no collective debate about how the economic system needs to be overhauled completely. We badly need an alternative to the infinite growth paradigm.

    A few months back Michael Tobis allowed me to write a guest post on his blog: Infinite Growth and the Crisis Cocktail.

    There are certain things you keep repeating, like ‘unless we do this or that’. I think it’d be great if you could also repeat every now and again that our current economic system based on the neoclassical concept of infinite growth is insane and suicidal.

  4. Pete Helseth says:


    All the recent hype about job growth in Texas has me wishing that there were a carbon footprint per capita per state, much like the familiar charts that show the US population generally as the highest emitter per capita globally. I don’t want to bash anybody, but I think it’s important to discuss what kind of growth it is we’re talking about.

    Thx, PJH

  5. Jason says:

    Push the envelope further and wake up the Grasshopper Generation who continues to believe we have unlimited resources and no need to share empathy for future generations. A New Generation of shared values and shared resources must be built and this website has become a platform of knowledge that needs to evolve to the masses.

  6. I would appreciate an ongoing focus on activism, who’s doing what, what is being effective. I think many readers would like to become more active, but there is a bewildering volume of possibilities out there and relatively limited personal capital (time, money, special skills) to invest. Personally, I would like to use my resorces in ways that would be most effective.

  7. bigcitylib says:

    Anti wind-farm groups and their connections with think tanks and/or AGW denialist groups.

  8. Joan Savage says:

    Your collection of reviews of climate science is the bedrock for building policy comments. Please keep going.

    That’s true even when the comments are emotional reactions to bad news, without adding much to scientific discourse.

    I don’t know what you do for a search function to identify pivotal papers in press, but I hope you have the best.

  9. B.A. says:

    I am most interested in the evolving science and information about the increasing instability of methane and other greenhouse gases primarily in the arctic, or anywhere they may become unstable including exploratory drilling. It seems to me this is the 800 lb gorilla and too often the potential for an increasingly rapid release gets dismissed by whoever is the authoritative voice at the moment because there is so little information. Sometimes it seems the scarcity of data becomes de facto evidence that their is not much of a near term threat. But anyone who has followed the progress of climate change should know that over and over again events such as the melting of the ice cap, the acidification and saturation with co2 of the ocean, and the disintegration of various ice shelves have happened “much faster than we thought possible.” I am waiting for the day when we hear that methane concentrations in the atmosphere are much higher than previously thought.

    I also think this issue is important because it is key to getting elites to understand that this thing is getting out of control and that it is not going to be good for business, or politics, or living happily and healthily. It is just stunning that instead of taking drastic measures to keep the co2 in the arctic we are actually ramping up for full on exploitation.
    Any information about the progress of research or on the ground observation is welcome. I have not heard much lately about the methane leaking from the arctic seabed. Has anyone been looking at that?
    Also, I have been very appreciative of the attention given the drought in the SW. I am interested in weather anomalies: storms, floods, droughts, crops, water anywhere in the world. Things are happening all the time but it is hard to find news of it in one place. Maybe a world weather synopsis once a week?

    Lastly, I wish more attention would be paid by everyone to NPR and their poor, corporate slanted reporting. Last week they did a series on the melting arctic and it was, to my ear, almost all rah, rah, for new business opportunities: the NW Passage, minerals and oil in Greenland, and so on. Virtually nothing about destabilized CO2 and tipping points and the destruction that that will cause. NPR is more dangerous that Fox because people think they are getting unbiased or “liberal” reporting from npr and they are not. NPR takes corporate money and plugs those corporations in what is otherwise known as commercials. It seems to me that national PUBLIC radio should be about the public’s interest not corporate interest but that is not the case. We need a big fire wall between npr and the corporate/political military/industrial complex. And we do not need high paid celebrity voices delivering our news. I like my reporters lean and a little hungry—maybe npr should higher grad students?

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    Climate Progress is just incredibly good, and thanks for the new comment format.

    I’d like to see an article providing a systematic analysis of utility scale power costs for the different technologies. This is a complex subject, and might have to be done as a series. Externalities, of course, need to be included, if only as addenda.

    The other thing needed is more forestry articles. Unlike atmospheric carbon science, true forest carbon science is a small field, but a very big and difficult subject. You need guest posts by these men: Mark Harmon, recently retired from Oregon State (and widely considered to be the forest carbon guru) and Brendan Mackey of Australia. Mackey’s excellent book Green Carbon is available for free on the Web.

    You should also feature Doug Heiken’s slide show on the forest carbon cycle as a separate post.

    The nice thing about forests is that we can be proactive here, less by saving parts of them and planting trees and more by encouraging natural regeneration as a broad policy. Benefits would be enormous on all levels (except timber industry profits).

  11. Jeff Green says:

    Skeptical Science has a pretty interesting article on climate ethics.

    I started a discussion thread on theenvironement site and looked at several other angles

    I was really impressed by this one

    Whether we can get this in our lifetime or not is another question. The CWM has too much influence in the short term.

  12. Leif says:

    It does appear that the West is stuck with a capitalistic/corporate structure as a driving motive of all. Assuming that hypothesis, a focus on the profits of green even though it is fledgling economy and the social/economic costs of the black economy would appear fruitful. The US must return to at least the part of the Puritan ethic of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (We can skip the witch trials, been there, done that.) It is because the current GDP does not recognize any difference in the money generated from repairing environmental disasters and that of home produced and distributed green energy that the Nation is in peril. Profits on food shortages, good grief, what have we embraced! Business must be convinced to get on the bus economically. People, at least the masses, are not part of the equation any more.

  13. todd tanner says:

    I’d like to see a more detailed analysis on framing & messaging as they relate to politics, and more specifically, conservative politics. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be able to pass along a viable planet to our kids & grandkids unless we can break the logjam in the Congress.

    Given the fact that a relatively small number of politicians can block substantive legislation for the foreseeable future, it seems like our best hope is to stop preaching to the climate choir and figure out effective ways to reach, and persuade, the opposing political base.

    We already know how to frame messages for climate hawks. Now we need to learn how to persuade the climate doves. Otherwise we’re toast. Literally.

  14. Nick says:

    I’d love to discuss climate change impacts science – really dig in.

  15. Lollipop says:

    I’d like to see more direct responses to nonsense articles like this:

    He may be able to adapt, but plenty of poor people across the world won’t. And failure to recognize this is a sign of moral idiocy, or evil. Call it out and address this BS directly. Rich people don’t have a right to wreck the planet.

  16. Lollipop says:


  17. Will Fox says:

    Peak Oil and the transition to a post-carbon future; how it can be done without crashing the economy.

  18. Robbie Giles says:

    I would like to see pending legislation (complete with bill numbers) analyzed. Background information on reasons to support or oppose the legislation would help when contacting our legislators or the committee members. I have contacted our reps and senators in Idaho about the FRAC Act (S. 587), but have no real way of focusing their attention on the bill.

    A second idea is to focus on an issue to galvanize constituents. The Tar Sands Pipeline is one example. Give concrete examples of how people can act within their own communities to work with those in the affected area.

    Focus on the “low hanging fruit.” What can we do to make changes that will help our environment and our future? Let’s work on issues systematically to move us forward towards a more sustainable world. I use the analogy of “How do you eat an 800 pound taco? … One bite at a time.”

    Keep up the good work!

  19. Walter Miale says:

    1) I’d be grateful for info and analysis of the human consequences of climate change—present, near future, and further ahead.

    2) I’d also like to see treatment of this issue: it is frequently said that none of the projections of future climate change take into account the release of methane from permafrost in the tundra and undersea. What can be inferred about the consequences of the release of methane and its interaction with other factors?

  20. Ernest says:

    Along side with climate change, related issues include “Peak Oil” (or peak “cheap” oil), peak commodities (rare earths, industrial metals), as developing countries (esp. China), consume more resources, that there will be 9 billion people on the earth, the coming economic and environmental stresses. How to live in the world with climate stress. Adaptation methods.

    (On a lighter note, “best places to live” in a warming planet.)

  21. Chris Lock says:

    Initially I couldn’t comment when the change happened. But then I switched to using Chrome as my browser, then everything was fine. Actually better than fine because my travel blog looks and works better too. I refuse to join Facebook

    Topics I would like to read about:
    1) Because I am an educator, I like to read about education.
    2) Lately from reading Michael Pollan, I have come to realize the importance of food in this debate: that our diet is now a 2000 mile diet, vast amounts of oil based fertilizers are used, we drive more and eat more and exercise less
    3) I don’t own a car, so public transportation is important (vital) for me
    4) Being a Canadian I am interested to hear about the tar sands and its deleterious effects.
    5) I’d be happy to send on information from the Stephen Harper conservative government.

  22. Anthony Westerling says:

    I would like to see something on the cognitive science or psychology of denial. How rapidly might it shift? What kinds of events or processes lead people to shift away from denial in the context of, say, a serious illness, and what might the implications be for public perceptions on climate?

  23. John Atkeison says:

    Joe, you are already the only Democrat I will link to & promote on anything like a regular basis. (I’m coming from the Green axis, not the Republican, BTW! )

    I would like to see you pursue a rigorous ethical standard on all the politicians who have maneuvered us into this crisis. IMHO, that is an important part of spreading a realistic attitude about where we really are in terms of a solution to this mess. I imagine you have to negotiate those waters carefully.

    Communications is very important. Help those who are activists and organizers learn and internalize what folks like Lakoff and Westin are trying to teach us. We have a lot of ground to make up.

    Your style on things like connecting hurricanes and global warming is very useful. I’d like to see that approach applied to communicating the *web* of stresses that fossil fuel use is causing. I find that when folks glimpse the rips in the natural web of life upon which we all depend … it can be a powerful moment.


  24. Brian Bailey says:

    I’d like to see more coverage on small-scale, DIY clean energy solutions. Solar hot water heating, the nuts and bolts of battery banks, transformers, etc. Perhaps some success stories re: same.

  25. Your excellent book, “The Hype about Hydrogen” really got into the details of fuel cells and hydrogen storage. I’d like to see more of that technical investigative reporting regarding CCS, water use/abuse/recycling, and mercury. Frankly trouble-shooting the problems would contribute a lot to finding real technical solutions and to avoiding wasted effort on fundamentally stupid ideas.

  26. Mike Roddy says:

    Todd, I agree that we need to broaden the audience for climate science, but the squishy middle should be the target, not the deniers, who are hopeless.

    Plenty of everyday people think, for example, that climate science is biased and corrupt. This view was fed to them, and should have no correlation to their politics. It comes down to the mainstream media and the need to go around and discredit them. Outside the box ideas here are welcome, since the TV networks and newspapers have been bought.

  27. Anne says:

    • How the scientific community, esp. in the US, is standing up to bad-actor denialists (strengths, weaknesses)

    • Critical evaluation / assessment of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of grassroots efforts to influence public policy, such as and the various NGOs — and suggestions for being more powerful

    • Constant pressure on presididential candidates (e.g. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, et al) and outing them on their basic ignorance, flip-flopping, and mis-statements on climate change/global warming

    • Critical evaluation of the US Global Change Research Program in the federal government and the impacts of funding cuts on the ability of the program to detect, measure, and report on global change metrics.

    • Also – just to keep us all sane and from jumping off bridges – keep the humor coming! And, audience participation is always good – contests, feedback requests, etc. Then maybe collect some of the best comments and repost them as such. “Best comments of the month” might be a good idea for posts…

    That’s it for now, thanks for asking!

  28. Sam says:

    I’d like to see more articles on what people and companies can do to:
    1. reduce carbon emissions;
    2. help get facts out to combat misinformation; and
    3. persuade lawmakers and gov. agencies to do the right thing.

  29. Jeff Huggins says:

    Clarity on This, Please

    Although I’ve been following a great deal of the coverage of the tar sands issue, the actions in Washington, and so forth, the coverage in total leaves me confused on one key point: When it is said that the final decision is President Obama’s, and that he must permit (or, hopefully, not permit) Keystone XL, does this mean that the State Department will publish its final report and make its final recommendation or ruling, and then (after that) the President will rule ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on whether Keystone XL can proceed? OR INSTEAD, is the State Department’s ruling (after the 90-day period and etc.) the final means by which the Obama Administration’s overall final verdict will be conveyed?

    I hope I’m stating the question clearly. The coverage I’ve seen so far does not make the matter clear, at least to me, or perhaps it assumes that readers know more about these processes than most of us actually do.

    It would help to get a clear answer to this question, soon. There are choices that we, and the environmental organizations, face regarding Keystone XL, what Obama does about it, and whether we take a “hard stance” to make our future votes for Obama contingent upon his Keystone XL decision.

    Clarity on all this is vital. And it’s also vital for us — all of us, and the environmental and climate organizations — to realize that what we say to the Obama Administration at this point, as it prepares to make its decision regarding Keystone XL, is of vital importance. Right now, the impression that I get is that the Administration, the pundits, the press, and etc. are all making the assumption — convenient for Obama and for the status quo — that Obama will get most of our votes anyhow, even if he approves Keystone XL. As the tired, counterproductive, but seemingly timeless argument goes, “just think about what would happen if the other side gets elected.” So we perpetually settle for mush, for ineffectiveness, for broken campaign promises, and for getting nowhere. Will we, and environmental organizations, tell Obama, the Obama Administration, and etc. that he will ONLY get our votes IF he rules against Keystone XL? In my view, this is a PIVOTAL topic — and one that demands explicit discussions, clear thinking, and vigorous action.

    For example, after following Bill McKibben’s actions and comments in recent days — THANK YOU, Bill, for all that you are doing! — it is highly unclear to me whether Bill is saying or implying that he’ll vote for Obama no matter what he (Obama) does regarding Keystone XL, or whether Bill would say that if Obama wants his support and vote in the next election, Obama MUST disapprove of Keystone XL, i.e., that Bill’s future support will be conditioned upon Obama’s disapproval of the pipeline? After reading John’s great piece on CommonDreams today, I have the same question for him. Are these folks simply saying “please” to President Obama, hoping that he’ll disapprove of the pipeline but planning to support Obama in the next election either way (or at least allowing and encouraging Obama and his advisers to think so), OR do they feel strongly enough, at this pivotal juncture, to explicitly tell President Obama that if he doesn’t disapprove of the pipeline, they won’t vote for him next time around?

    Folks, at this point we need to get explicit about these sorts of things. Ambiguity is one of the main enablers of a continuation of the status quo. The topic is worth discussing.



  30. Start Loving says:

    A. How, in the greatest threat to the US and humanity of all time, the US citizens by every historical yardstick are doing nothing – compared to ever significant and successful human rights campaign we are doing nothing.

    B. How the press is totally and completely silent on this issue of citizen massive inaction while objectively, and by all US history, neither the President not Congress can kill carbon by 2020 without a citizen uprising akin to those of the 60’s, zero press on the absence of anything along these lines.

  31. Mike Roddy says:

    Walter, I agree that it’s time for another methane/clathrate post. The data is very scary, but maybe communicating it would be an important step toward change.

    MSM and even some climate activists seem to think that we shouldn’t “scare the horses”, and don’t want to be labeled “alarmists”, which pretty much applies to anyone who’s studied the science. They forget that many of us are adult humans, and are capable of acting on facts if they are presented properly.

  32. Jeff Huggins says:

    John, thanks for your great piece on CommonDreams today. And thanks for all that you do.

    That said, I have a question for you: Regarding Keystone XL, and your own view, are you essentially “appealing” to President Obama — saying “please” — to disapprove of Keystone XL, without making your future support of him contingent upon what he actually does? OR INSTEAD, have you made (or would you make, or will you make) your future support of, and vote for, Obama contingent upon a decision on his part to not approve Keystone XL? In other words, do you think we should convey to Obama, and the Obama Administration, that we will NOT vote for him next time around UNLESS he disapproves of Keystone XL?

    Given the way that politics and most politicians work, this is a key distinction and question. (See also my comment below, for more context.)

    Thanks again for all that you do. Any clarity that you can shed on this matter would be appreciated.



  33. robert rordam says:

    I suggest a basic lesson on how we know the CO2 is from human activity. This I can use on my friends who do not believe in AGW. Start with, what is an isotope?

  34. Same Ordinary Fool says:

    Will anti-US terrorism be added to the list of AGW consequences, when the latter become more noticeable?

  35. Climate Hawk says:

    How about you review “Deep Green Resistance”? Focus more on plans and methods for movement building. More discussion of and support for direct action.

  36. Brooks Bridges says:

    I would like to see exploration of another kind of denial and how to break through it. For if we don’t, it is, as Jim Hansen says, “Game Over”.

    The denial I’m speaking of is that of a huge percentage of all who have accepted the science of climate change and its disastrous consequences for life on earth, e.g., CP readers. It’s the denial of someone who’s been given a diagnosis of cancer and although “believing” it, finds they can’t make themselves accept it to the point of doing all the things they should be doing.

    From my youth I remember a story from the New Testament of a young man coming to Jesus and asking what he should do. Jesus told him to give away everything he owned and follow him. The young man went away sorrowing, for he had much wealth.

    I see myself and others here doing exactly that. To paraphrase Al Gore’s brilliant movie title, it would be “inconvenient” for me to do all I could to avert the coming disaster.

    (For instance: I ask again: Wouldn’t a million people marching on DC get things moving? How was The Million Man March so successful (around 500,000 anyway) drawing from such a small population base? Or, scary thought: is that the problem? Our population base IS smaller?)

    These thoughts came to a head after reading the following link which discusses this denial and references Paul Gilding’s writings. I highly recommend it.

    If we can’t motivate ourselves to take risks and “inconvenience” ourselves in the process, how can we ask Obama, for instance, to take all the risks?

    Apologies to those of you who ARE doing this.

  37. Joe. I think your website is extraordinarily good. Yet I would like to see you cover two topics not covered.
    One is some of the extraordinarily impressive examples of greenhouse reductions strategies taking place in other parts of the world and particularly in Europe, such as the Germany’s recent approach to renewable energy after deciding to close down their nuclear power plants.
    Second, I would recommend covering the ethics and justice dimensions of climate change. To most people’s surprise, there is a lot to cover. I have personally written over 80 articles on our website and if I had time could write one everyday by reflecting on the ethical dimensions of events unfolding in climate change policy around the world. Donald A. Brown, Penn State

  38. Frank Zaski says:

    ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Stop yawning! Like Cinderella, it is the most worthy solution in the room. It just needs to be recognized, and get THOUGHTFUL promotion, framing and support. How do we do this?

    PEAK COAL: Not just the top down, statistical approach like Heinberg and Rutledge, but more on the Leslie Glustrom bottom up approach. For example, she researched each PRB field, found the thickness of the overburden (now about 200’) and what the geological calculations are for mining 7+ years in the future (about 400’ of overburden then). This is practical, easier for the “250 year supply” proponents to understand the PEAK IS NEAR.

    DIESEL FUEL AND PRB COAL: It takes $20 of diesel to mine and ship $10 worth of PRB coal from Wyoming to Eastern states. Probably $12 of this diesel is imported. If we want to cut our reliance on foreign oil, slow the growth of our trade deficit and cut CO2, stop burning coal and the 5 gallons of oil to mine and ship each ton. US Security buffs could support this argument if they knew about it. I have more info on these coal issues. Frank Zaski

  39. Greg says:


    You now have an excellent indispensable blog. I believe methane is the key to our short-term concerns and solutions. Also, the strongest economic, scientific, and social case can be made for a significant reduction in methane over the next two decades. The messaging is terribly difficult because people are as confused as ever about CO2 and are focused on it as the most important problem to be tackled. You need to work at shaping the case for methane as the greatest concern but also the greatest opportunity for shifting us from the worst case scenarios. Thank you for all you do.

  40. Jim Botsford says:

    I miss the righthand bar topics from the old site. Intro to climate change, point by point answers to denialist claims etc.

  41. Jeff Huggins says:

    I agree with Donald Brown’s recommendation here regarding coverage of the “ethics and justice dimensions” of climate change.

  42. Richard D says:

    Hi Chris,
    Would like to read Pollan’s book myself at some point but I would recommend Simon Farlie’s Book also on this topic, Meat the Benign Extravagance

  43. This is a great blog and it has helped to frame my understanding of climate science since its inception. I am a scientist and a scholar of the climate change literature. I am also president of Unity College, a small college in New England with an explicit environmental mission. From my point of view watching students matriculate to our institution this fall, the most important single problem related to their understanding of climate change is the baggage that they have as a consequence of the industry-funded disinformation campaign. They are profoundly misinformed, and this reflects a growing trend that I have seen over the last few years. Increasingly, the disinformation campaign is working, although the scientific evidence is ever more compelling.

    Although there may be little more that Climate Progress can do to directly combat this, I think that we need to more fully explore the reasons why a thoughtful and well read person can dismiss valid and consensus based science. The group at Yale Law School has developed a body of scholarship around the concept of cultural cognition, and other scholars are exploring the sociology and even the neurobiology of this phenomenon. I think that it would be a service to Climate Progress readers to develop a more in depth treatment of this remarkable phenomenon.

  44. Sasparilla says:

    I’d love to see what the existing effects of the current open tar sands pipeline (Keystone 1) to the midwest (IL refineries) is (this has been totally under the radar).

    Is most gas in Chicago area tar gas now?

    Which parts of the midwest are getting tar sands gasoline?

    Is it just certain brands?

    What are the CO2 emissions of a Prius running on tar gas? (Hummer or worse or better?)

    Is there certain brands of gasoline vendors that aren’t tar sands based there? (like BP perhaps? I know that Exxon and Shell are shoulder deep in the extraction up in Canada and would assume they’d be using it in the midwest but that could be wrong)

    What can the poor folks in the midwest do, right now, that want to minimize their funding of the tar sands gasoline?

    Illinois has a big chunk of its power from Nuclear, making EV’s a relatively attractive option if you can afford them.

  45. Richard D says:

    The IPCC report introduces briefly the philosophy of science incl Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn and post-normal science of Funtowicz and Ravetz. Steve Schneider talks about this topic in some of his videos. It seems the most common disposition of a lot of people is a cynicism which is very difficult to penetrate. People are free to have their own opinions but not their own facts – so somehow the subject of AGW needs to be placed in front of people, despite all its complexities (combinations of things which are science and things which are not), in such a way that the factual aspects are most prominent. I dunno – probably said nothing new!

  46. todd tanner says:

    I think we need to distinguish between hard core deniers, who’ve invested time and energy in actively trying to refute climate science, and folks who discount climate science because of their political leanings but haven’t given the matter much thought or study. I believe the second group is far larger, and far more open to hearing a well-framed message.

  47. gobears says:

    I’d like to see an unbiased consideration of Gen IV and IFR nuclear generation, particularly small scale designs, with an honest depiction of waste half life. The hostility of the progressive movement to NE is a throwback to the sixties. Please consider, Matt and Ezra are younger than the youngest American NE power plant. Think about our improvement in controls. There weren’t cell phones when we built the last plant. We can do this, folks.

  48. dan allen says:

    1. examples of climate change affecting agriculture
    2. reviews of new peer review climate studies

    you already do a great job on both of these…but just keep up the great work

  49. michel veillard says:

    extracting ghg out of atmosphere and out of oceans
    by unlimited use of toxic energies (wind & thermohalyn)
    and converting gases into usable raw materials
    so as to neutralize them from a climatic standpoint

  50. Ominous Clouds Overhead says:

    I always like to read Colorado Bob and Prokaryotes’ comments because they have a lot of real-world info on what’s going on. More posts of that nature would be great.

  51. Just finished listening to your talk at the Schneider Conference; Great job. Everyone should listen to (and view)it. You should expand your public speaking to groups not totally hostile to the messege. BAU should be considered the baseline, If we take no action, uncertainty is eliminated. Very powerful talk.

  52. Harold Hensel says:

    First, Climate Progress is the most valuable web site on the web. What to cover next year? Sell the problem and the solution. Cover the most critical tipping points. The permafrost thawing on land and in the Arctic Ocean is priority. Methane and CO2 release from this is staggering. If anyone scoffs at this they haven’t been well enough informed. This is outside most peoples experience so it has to get “inside” their experience. Encourage people to go there and see for themselves. At least write as much as you can about it. Another priority is to inform everyone about the potential danger of anoxic events in the oceans and the potential for hydrogen sulfide release. Here again, this is outside most peoples experience and it is difficult for this danger to “sink in”. Contact Peter Ward about this. Another priority is the subject of burning. I have heard that we are entering the “burning era”. Whatever burns, from wood burning stoves, open burning, garbage burning, forest fires, fossil fuels, African cooking dung and wood, coal fired plants, Amazon rain forests and anything else that causes air pollution, seen or unseen. Then associate this with adverse health effects and adverse environmental effects.

    About 18% of air pollution is generated from raising cattle for the meat eaters. As Dr Hansen states, eating lower down on the food chain would be the fasted way to reduce CO2 and methane. Want to tackle this one? It needs to be seriously addressed by responsible people. Exposing those who are fighting the environmental movement for their short term profit needs more press. How is the damage they have done to public opinion going to be undone? Why there isn’t more media coverage is also an issue. Contact Ross Gelbspan about this one. How are we going to make political progress about climate change? Contact Bill McCibben. Why aren’t more people actually putting in solar and wind power? Sell this solution! The benefits of more local power generation needs to be sold. Stand up for associating human causes with climate change. Hit it head on. And last but not least, inform everyone in the world about Climate Progress.

  53. Joe Romm says:

    Thanks. I’ll post it if/when it gets posted.

  54. robert says:

    CERN: ‘Climate models will need to be substantially revised’

    New atomsmasher research into cloud formation

  55. Joe Romm says:

    Nah. Go to RealClimate. I’ll post soon.

  56. Richard Laverack says:

    There are now many “reports” on “The Green Economy”, and its ability to deliver the future. (UNEP. UNDSD. Beyond Zero Emissions (Australia) European Union, Citizens Climate Lobby and even a baseload plant up and running from Terrasol in Spain).

    However, there are also many reports which state that the dependence on growth make this NOT possible. Richard Heinberg, Nat Hagens, Assoc Prof Tim Garret,the “Degrowth” movement which has begun in Europe and Prof Tim Jackson’s papers, all seem to question this assuredness. Reading “the automatic earth” you would say economically there isn’t a cat in hells chance.
    WHilst I know that everyone associated with this site wants this Green economy to happen, (a) just how feasable is it, (b) as Prof Schellnhuber states there is a permissable carbon budget of 1 trillion tonnes we have left, do we have the time?

  57. Leland Palmer says:

    Well, you guys already do a great job, I think.

    I’d like to see more coverage of worst case scenarios, involving atmospheric chemistry effects of the release of large amounts of methane.

    This paper by Isaksen et al. totally scares the snot out of me:

    Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions

    The magnitude and feedbacks of future methane release from the Arctic region are unknown. Despite limited documentation of potential future releases associated with thawing permafrost and degassing methane hydrates, the large potential for future methane releases calls for improved understanding of the interaction of a changing climate with processes in the Arctic and chemical feedbacks in the atmosphere. Here we apply a “state of the art” atmospheric chemistry transport model to show that large emissions of CH4 would likely have an unexpectedly large impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and on radiative forcing (RF). The indirect contribution to RF of additional
    methane emission is particularly important. It is shown that if global methane emissions were to increase by factors of 2.5 and 5.2 above current emissions, the indirect contributions to RF would be about 250% and 400%, respectively, of the RF that can be attributed to directly emitted methane alone. Assuming several hypothetical scenarios of CH4 release associated with permafrost thaw, shallow marine hydrate degassing, and submarine landslides, we find a strong positive feedback on RF through atmospheric chemistry. In particular, the impact of CH4 is enhanced through increase of its lifetime, and of atmospheric abundances of ozone, stratospheric water vapor, and CO2 as a result of atmospheric chemical processes.

    Greenhouse forcing from any source would also be multiplied by the water vapor feedback, which would actually be greater than original greenhouse forcing, itself.

    Add it all together, and the greenhouse effects of these atmospheric chemistry changes could be huge- perhaps large enough to send us into a true runaway scenario.

    These atmospheric chemistry changes add credence to past methane catastrophe scenarios, such as the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum and the End Permian, too.

    You’re in contact with a lot of climate scientists, Joe. I wonder what they get if they include Isaksen’s atmospheric chemistry projections and the water vapor feedback to forcing from any source into their calculations?

    It’s particularly worrying because this atmospheric chemistry reaction is a chemical reaction- and such reactions do not have to be logarithmic. In fact, this reminds me of chemical reactions inside cells which use positive feedback to rapidly switch from one pathway to another. As methane increases, it degrades the chemical species – the hydroxyl radical- which degrades it.

  58. G. Thomas Farmer, Ph.D. says:


    Try, the premier website for information on answering deniers!


  59. lemmonmc says:


  60. john Sullivan says:

    Could you explore economic models not premised on unsustainable growth; maybe a series of interviews with people working in this arena (like Amartya Sen, for example).

  61. David B. Benson says:

    “It would examine the political debates of the day from an ethical standpoint” — from an article by Daniel Judt (16 years old) in this week’s issue of ‘The Nation’.

  62. NeilT says:

    I guess there are many things I would like to see discussed and they don’t always align with the views on this site (but you knew that anyway).

    First and foremost I’d like to see some articles which lay out the priorities cleanly and logically so that policy makers can see where we come from.

    For instance, everything, ever single effort we make, comes down to energy. The more clean energy we produce, the more we use that clean energy to make clean fuels and clean energy tech, the faster we respond to this situation.

    Making Hydrogen with coal powered electricity is a game loser.

    This also brings in another point which much of the population (and almost all denialists) are wise to. If you produce clean energy, what does it matter what kind of light bulb you use? When you use fossil energy to produce highly polluting (in disposal), CFL’s which only reduce energy use by a small %, you send a completely screwed up message which can be twisted.

    I’d like to coin two phrases.

    Climate Libertarian (the freedom to have the climate of my choice. Or one I can live in)
    Energy Libertarian (the freedom to generate, use and sell clean energy of my own)

    For the second phrase I’d like an analysis of the way in which governments are approaching micro generation and the input to the grid. I recently looked into the whole grid tie government incentives in the UK. First you have to be registered, then you can sell to the customers. There are very few registrations in the UK and they are then sub letting to other companies.

    So then I looked further into the subsidy tables. Check it out but some simple calculations show that if a company installs a 15kw facility and, on average, inputs 64kwh per day 365/6 for 25 years it stands to make £450,000 ish in income from the generated power. There are 26m homes in the UK…. Pleas check my figures but It should be roughly ballpark.

    This idea is supposed to bring daytime baseload power to the UK in a small subsidy model which benefits everyone. Yet the worst implementation I have seen is 3kw installation for a £100 PER YEAR subsidy on the power bills. All generated power goes to the grid and the customer still pays for ALL electricity used with a £100 per year cashback. Sorry but my roof rental is worth more than that.

    This is not supposed to be a multi billion £ handout scheme to companies who register first, it’s supposed to be a partnership deal where people do it because they get some of the benefit back.

    I’d like some clear exposure on that.

    I would also like to see some clarity on the sheer number of nuclear power stations required to replace carbon baseload and the fact that the uranium reserves of the world simply aren’t there to squander in this way. I estimate at least another 40 – 80 Nuclear power stations in the UK. I’d like the population to see those figures and work out how close to their back door each power station would have to be.

    Also on that topic I was made aware of another issue just recently. Where I have a home in France, we have had serious drought this year. My local area has had 30% or more crop losses and much of our crops are grown to feed livestock with consequential rise in meat costs. The main reason for the crop losses? The farmers are restricted in the water they can draw from the main river. Why? Because that river needs enough flow to feed the Nuclear power stations. So we loose crops to generate “clean” power. Not something you see mentioned in the whole nuclear debate.

    I’d also like to see much more (or anything actually), on HDR geothermal and it’s capacity for baseload power. Also I’d love to know what they are doing about deep HDR geothermal and making it sustainable instead of just flooding the local area with wasted boiling water (stupid).

    Finally a word on the whole tax and waste issue. Climate taxes are viewed by Libertarians as a bunch of radical green nutjobs who want to drive us back to the stone age and also as a mechanism for the socialist plutocrats to make billions of $ at the “honest joe” proletariat taxpayers expense.

    Here is a simple point. Democracies do not allow themselves to be taxed into submission. Because there is always some idiot out there who will promise to reduce taxes(and deliver), for them, no matter the cost. Changes in the way we live to reduce our carbon footprint must be a win win scenario. That means we encourage by giving back, whilst taking with the other hand in other areas.

    Back in the days of Webcameron before David Cameron became PM of the UK, he was asked if he were in favour of green taxes and also what he would do with the money. Eventually he answered. Yes he thought green taxes were a good thing to reduce our carbon footprint and he was “going to give the money to families”. Go to the top of this post and look at priorities. To quote a phrase we invented at one of the sites I consulted on, “It’s not the fact that they shoot themselves in the foot, we expect that. It’s the speed with which they reload and start again”……

    Just some bees in my bonnet.

  63. DrJezz says:

    Statistics based on humans.

  64. Andy says:

    Joe, along the lines of Sasparilla’s comment #37: The fact that tar sands are another source of fossil fuel poised to extend our addiction is enough for me to be opposed to their accelerated development. But I’ve also seen TV ads (twice just today) plugging Exxon’s technology that supposedly makes tar sands emissions closer to regular petroleum. The messaging is definitely gearing up as to the ‘benefits’, so maybe we need a closer examination of the claims they’re making. For starters, are the promoted technologies commercially viable/ready for primetime, and all they’re cracked up to be? After all the substance-free marketing surrounding “clean coal”, I’m skeptical.

  65. Ken says:

    Two things:
    1. Hansen’s Target – 450 ppm of CO2 concentration.
    2. Solomon et. al. “One thousand years to reverse climate change”

    These two facts are crucial unknown’s to the general population – Climate change is irreversible according to Solomon, and if we surpass 450 ppm of CO2 concentration then its “game over” according to James Hansen.

    The more websites and media outlets that publicize these two facts, the more likely it will be that the general population will become energized enough to oppose fossil fuels.

  66. Peter Mizla says:

    James Hansen here would be the Pièce de résistance

    or Michaeal Mann, Kevin Trenberth, Michael Oppenheimer

  67. Charles Zeller says:

    Mike, for those of us on the ground level:
    1. Study the science.
    2. Find recently published MSM articles.
    3. Click on Comments.
    4. Search for “Gore”.
    5. Nudge objective readers by debating the denier.

  68. Frank Zaski says:

    Develop a stronger program to AVIOD THE GOVERNMENT MIDDLEMEN: It seems most suggested solutions to climate change require more government regulations. And who will they regulate for the most part? BUSINESS! We should GO DIRECT TO BUSINESS ourselves.
    488 of the S&P 500 companies have published some sort of sustainability policy (and, some green washing too). Wal-Mart started this way and has gotten sustainability religion over time. They upped their efforts, goals and even extended such to suppliers, including those in China.

    Businessmen have told me they would love to be recognized for their environmental progress by the environmental community. (Environmentalists seldom say thank you.)

    We need a program to rate and recognize business efforts and achievement (for higher EE, RE use, CO2 reduction), encourage even higher levels, have them require more sustainability from their suppliers, etc.

    Like what J. D. Power and Consumer’s Report has done for auto industry quality, better disclosure, ratings and recognition can help businesses improve. Customers need to know of more sustainable products, made by sustainable companies and sold at sustainable stores. But, they have to know first.
    A good site:

  69. todd tanner says:

    Stephen – great suggestion.

  70. O Perkins says:

    I’m interested in the impact of air travel/transport on GW and climate change relative to other options. How does it compare to auto/truck? Are low altitude turboprops appreciably less damaging than high altitude jets? Are there ways to reduce the impact?

  71. Merrelyn Emery says:

    David @6, there are 2 opportunities coming up to work out what are the most effective strategies for action. Two Search Conferences are scheduled for the weekends starting 23rd and 30th September at Kahnawa:ke, just out of Montreal.

    Search Conferences are totally participative, task oriented events – no touchy-feelies, no speeches and no soap boxes. The participants work through a carefully designed process to decide “Effective strategies for change as climate change hits: the future of North America 2010”. See heading “Turbo-charging action on climate change” on the front page of which has full details and registration form.

    I know time is now short but I have not been able to get this invitation through before, ME

  72. Thanks for asking, Joe! I’m very interested in the topic of whether climate change is runaway. So reporting scientific work around that and adding your own voice to that discussion would be very welcome.

  73. David Hart says:

    Keep us up to date on the published and peer reviewed science while debunking the denial nonsense.

  74. Yamila Irizarry-Gerould says:

    I like the topics covered, mostly because I am not a specialist on climate issues so your website seems to cover all the bases generally. I’m most interested in how our personal and industrial food habits affect our earth, plus what it is that we as individuals and communities can do.
    Someone else already mentioned this, but explaining things in the simplest terms is helpful, since it’s a subject that pertains to all of us, even non-specialists. In that same vein, making the posts a little shorter would encourage me to read more often. Sometimes the posts are just too long with too many sources and facts in them, and I end up skimming or skipping.
    Keep up the great work!

  75. fwhite says:

    Excellent website as is, Joe.

    My interest is less on climate science and more on protest actions that make a difference — in particular the process of building and managing an effective climate justice or environmental movement.

  76. Nancy says:

    Please use Stephen Lacey and others to tell us about the COST of electricity, and put it in context. For example, if we included the external costs of coal from Dr. Paul Epstein’s study on coal, it would add 10-28 cents/kWh to the cost of coal-fired electricity. If we recognized that coal and nuclear plants lose 2/3 of the energy produced as heat (and pollution), and monetized those costs, we would realize that the lower efficiency of solar — 15% in some parts of the U.S., 20-27% in the sunny Southwest — is not so bad. What is the gap between the cost of conventional generation and solar/wind using current models, that DO NOT account for pollution, coal ash, mercury etc? Is it 5 cents/kWh? 10 cents/kWh? We need to show people that depending on what you count, we are already AT grid parity. ALSO, the risk of fossil fuel increases is high. Seems like you could use some great analysis from the ‘peak oil’ crowd, analysts like Nate Hagens and Richard Heinberg, to show that the risk of fossil fuel increase is very, very high. The utilities all model that fossil fuels will only increase marginally — 2%/year, for the next 30 years. This is ludicrous.

  77. Tom Gray says:

    Skeptical Science is great, but, its commentary on the CERN/cosmic ray stuff (a repost from The Way Things Break) still falls quite a bit short of what average folks need in conversation (or on Twitter). I don’t read SS regularly, so maybe it is as good as Joe (though I doubt it). There remains a need, IMHO, for simple yet accurate info on every item that purports to be the-nail-in-the-coffin-of-global-warming. I know, asking a lot–maybe I could help a bit. Anyway, Joe, love the increased coverage of clean energy–it’s terrific and badly needed. Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

  78. fwhite says:

    Merrelyn — re the 2 conferences scheduled for the end of September, can you provide a contact name and email address or phone number to find out if there are any seats available?

    I note the first-come-first-served limit of 35 for each session.


  79. Tom Gray says:

    Second the motion. Maybe there could be a daily “news items” open topic. And others have implied it, but let me add–congratulations on creating Climate Progress, Joe. It’s a terrific contribution on what is by far the most important issue of our time. We are all in your debt. Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

  80. Tom Gray says:

    And Skeptical Science, which has a slightly simpler, easier to understand post. The net-net is that this has been wildly overblown by the denier echo chamber, which is undoubtedly delighted to have a big scientific name like CERN to wave around. Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

  81. James W. Crissman says:

    After our cold winter in the northern temperate zone (even while the polar regions were well above normal), naturally those who think the globe revolves around them were strengthened in their denial. But from science types I heard hypotheses concerning warming effects on the polar vortex, which I didn’t really understand. I’d like to understand that — or was it all La Nina?

  82. John Tucker says:

    I would like to see a more sensible push to eliminating fossil fuels by all means possible as soon as possible. Seriously dealing with climate as opposed to catering to unrealistic energy schemes.

    Things are not simple. There is no need to fear the technical in arguments.

  83. Jon koomey says:

    I second the call for more focus on methane hydrates, permafrost, and other neglected positive feedbacks.

  84. Tom Gray says:

    Wind, with its federal incentive of 2 cents/kWh, is already competitive with natural gas, the cheapest competitor, in windy areas. See, e.g., Xcel Energy seeks more low-cost wind energy, from one of the nation’s largest electric utilities (but one that, amazingly enough, has decided that wind is a good idea and is looking at it with an open mind). And that’s without adding the health and environmental costs of fossil fuels. Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

  85. John Tucker says:


    On nuclear sustainability, (snip) :

    According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered—a roughly 230-year supply at today’s consumption rate in total. Further exploration and improvements in extraction technology are likely to at least double this estimate over time

    Two technologies could greatly extend the uranium supply itself. Neither is economical now, but both could be in the future if the price of uranium increases substantially. First, the extraction of uranium from seawater would make available 4.5 billion metric tons of uranium—a 60,000-year supply at present rates. Second, fuel-recycling fast-breeder reactors, which generate more fuel than they consume, would use less than 1 percent of the uranium needed for current LWRs. Breeder reactors could match today’s nuclear output for 30,000 years using only the NEA-estimated supplies. ( )

    And, of course as the the modeling stage is coming to fruition :

    ( )

  86. John Tucker says:

    Here is sales brochure on the TWR – Bill Gates is a advocate of this tech:

    ( )

  87. ed says:

    I would like to see more science /evidence of climate change – references to papers being written, new results
    Also more listing of efforts being proposed or already going to reduce carbon contributions

  88. David B. Benson says:

    Air heat pumps. In Japan one can obtain a pumpu/tankman unit, cleverly explained in a lecture by David McKay, FRS. I would suppose similar units are available in other countries, but there seems to be little information about the economics or other aspects of the utility of adding an air heat pump to reduce HVAC costs.

  89. Frank Zaski says:

    DECLINING OXYGEN LEVELS due to climate change should concern all of us.

    “According to a study conducted by scientists from the Scripps Institute there is less oxygen in the atmosphere today than there used to be.”

    With continuing deforestation and CO2 creation, the percent should be dropping. But, existing plants can absorb more and what about the oceans? Also, with a warmer climate, warm air holds less oxygen and more H2O. And, more water in the air also displaces oxygen. What is the bottom line?

    Scientists should make a statement about what 450 ppm CO2 would do to our O supply and human bodies. What do actual oxygen measurements indicate? Vs. 50, 200 years ago?
    Conservative media has convinced some that CO2 is good for us. It would be extremely hard for them to convince people that less oxygen is also good. We may have a fabulous talking point here.

  90. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Hi, yep get onto Chris Cann 1 902 582 3614 or ME

  91. Robert In New Orleans says:

    A review of must read literature, (books, magazine and newpaper articles, scientific papers, etc.) and videos (television and DVD’s).

  92. Robert In New Orleans says:

    Interviews (anonymous if necessary) with leading global climate scientists concerning their personal thoughts about where we are headed as far as the future is concerned. I have heard anecdotal stories that there are climate scientists who honestly believe that mankind is already toast (both literally and figuratively) and there is nothing that can be done about it. I just want to know if there is any fire to go along with this smoke.

  93. Gordon Jenkins says:

    While I think that Climate Progress is a great site it is very UScentric. I would like more information to be shown about how other countries are forging ahead and have clear Climate Change policies. Countries and communities such as the UK, EC, Pakistan, Guyana, Surinam, Australia, China, The Bahamas to name just a few have accepted the science and are attempting to do something about it. Probably too little too late but it seems to me that only in the US are the sceptics able to influence government policy to such an extent. Maybe it is time to start charging the organisations that wilfully deny the science for ideological reasons with Crimes Against Humanity suits! A few Republics leaders could also find themselves charged by some future court responsible for determine the responsibility for the millions of deaths which will be caused by our failure to act over the last 40 odd years despite the growing body of evidence.

  94. Brad says:


    I’ve been following climate news increasingly for years and this is quite easily one of the best websites (very best, IMO) available to spread the word.

    My gravest concern is that I don’t believe that it matters how many valid scientific points there are, or how many denier ‘facts’ that can be debunked, or even if GGHG drops to zero tomorrow. I think the train that we’re all on-board is now in runaway and there is nothing that can be done about it.

    With that said, I often read about the idea of ‘living locally’, growing your own food, living sustainably; etc. Could you point to articles on how to do this beyond simply shopping at a farmers market? In my opinion, having a few cheat sheets on how to live in a post-civilization world would make for an interesting read.

    I stop in here several times a day and consider this site indispensable. Thanks so much.


  95. Jake says:

    Plenty of updates on ice levels, heat readings, sea levels, more graphs, etc. Just a tad more focus on refuting anti-warmist nonsense. Less politics. Never tell us about your favorite Apple gadget.

  96. Villabolo says:

    Yes, Skeptical Science is great but the first impression new persons get is that the site is too technical for them. That’s because the general rebuttals to Denier arguments is on the left side of the page where it’s not too noticeable.

    What I suggest Joe do is to ask permission from John Cook to cross post his “Basic Level” rebuttals.

    Either that, or enlist the help of others to write basic level articles on at least 50 or more ‘talking points’. That is what Cook did when he decided to revamp his rebuttal list.

    I’ve written 4 articles for SkS, 2 of which are in the basic rebuttal list. I would be happy to contribute my time in such a project.

    The article section or site should be able to easily post images and videos and be easily readable. I would not attempt it on this site.

  97. Brian R Smith says:

    I think an important conversation to have, here and across the climate community, is on strategy.
    Does the current trajectory of climate campaigns and climate action strategy give us high confidence that critical political goals will be realized through our efforts… and, if the answer is not so much, then
    What next steps could we take that will improve the situation and then turn it around?
    Assume the following goals are what we are after
    * Unequivocally win, in the public’s mind, the media / PR battle on climate science reality and the need for a federal level crisis response. Do this in six months.
    * Galvanize those voters into a nationwide constituency that makes the Climate Vote a powerful political tool in 2012 from the district level up. 8 months?
    * Get commitment from Obama that if we do hand him majority political will in the nation for decisive climate policies & actions (your list here), he will finally take on the leadership he promised.
    * Make certain that climate issues and solutions, especially the necessity of meeting emissions targets and making the shift to clean energy economics, are on the table in the 2012 election debates
    There are other goals & variations but I think the ones above are core to success, need to be on the Do-Not-Fail list. Achieving them is probably prerequisite to seeing any move toward US leadership in the UN process. No uprising = no meaningful international agreements. But these goals appear (to me) impossible under present circumstances.

    To inform & win the minds of the public is of course what, Al Gore’s work, CP and so many other efforts by a multitude of voices and organizations are all about. I am grateful and on board, but heed Bill McKibben’s lament about the snail’s pace of progress when we are flat out of time. I’m a great admirer of Al Gore and hope his new Climate Reality event gets traction. But it’s only online for folks with the bandwidth, and in selected venues for local presenters. How can we further support & build on what’s already underway?
    We know the political opposition, what their motives are & where the funding is gushing from. They are way out front in terms of obfuscation of the science, rallying conservative voters around phony economic arguments, gutting meaningful federal policy and killing appropriations for anything related to clean energy, environmental regulation or even the recognition of global warming issues. We are appalled and angered by this insane, almost unbelievable assault on scientific evidence, reason and common purpose, but we are not fooled. We know they are on thin ice, and they know it too. This is a street fight for the truth and they intend to win with lies, whatever the political cost. They have relatively unlimited corporate funds and the Citizens United decision behind them. Their social media skills are apparent.
    We also have to factor in that there will be no convenient breaks in the intensity of everyone’s attention on other issues. We are competing in mainstream media with internal political turmoil, war, US economic decline, failing states, famine in Africa, a jobs/housing/infrastructure/monetary crisis… and it will only get worse.
    (I stayed glued to multiple news channels last Saturday to see any national coverage of the Tar Sands Action. There was none that I could find. Instead, Obama had left the Whitehouse on vacation (presumably well aware of the coming demonstrations), Tripoli fell to the rebels, the grandstand at the Indiana State Fair had collapsed, a man bit two police officers, Straus-Kahn was cut loose, the National Hamburger Festival in Akron was heating up and – well ahead of any coverage of arrests at the Whitehouse over the Keystone XL pipeline – “Octomom”, thank God, had won a boxing match with somebody. Further non-coverage is now assured by the ironic arrival of Irene. John Huntsman did call out Rick Perry for being an idiot on global warming, but it wasn’t much consolation.)
    We absolutely have to turn the tables, take control of the narrative. This means somehow grabbing the national stage, come hell or high water, long enough & effectively enough to cause a big enough groundswell of voter concern, debate and action.
    Social media, and the networks of online advocates, bloggers and resources for organizing are key, but the thing has to come to a head on television and in hometowns everywhere.
    I think the way to do it is to form a major collaboration of leaders from all sectors of the climate community who can design, fund & carry out an ambitious uber-campaign that will educate & mobilize the public. This could begin with a conference (COP-350 ?) to brainstorm the concept.
    Why not declare a national summit on climate & the economy. Get proactive media allies on board. Present in primetime for 3 days running and simultaneously in thousands of community & campus venues. Bring in the best voices from science, policy, congress, energy, business, economics and climate action to present. Outline short and long term policy that gets on the road to transition. Shame the anti-science crowd overwhelmingly. Follow up with whatever programs / events are needed to support red state initiatives, and so on…
    Such a project would be expensive.10s of millions? But if the plans coming out of such a coalition were actually shown to have a convincing potential for success (we gain tons of political capital and turn voters progressive on climate), the money would be there, absolutely.
    One advantage of going this way is that it creates a credible, unified framing of the issues that, accepted by the public, can be used in Washington to support change. We need Obama & the Climate Hawks & they need us. Another advantage is the support and courage it would give to everybody in this game who is desperate for any sign that we have a shot at avoiding catastrophe. Which is everybody. Also, the reality of having a unified strategy around well-defined goals would be essential for funders, private or otherwise.
    Perhaps something like this is already in the works. My Rolodex is small. I’m surely not the first to put it forward. Collaboration, though, seems to be limited in terms of shared strategy on specific political goals, from what I’ve gleaned. Maybe a grand alliance is what we need.

  98. John Mason says:

    I’m with Neven on this: there needs to be better understanding (amongst the general public) of the fundamental problem i.e. that you cannot have infinite economic growth that is, critically, underpinned by natural resources, on a planet which is finite with respect to same.

    Cheers – John

  99. NeilT says:

    Funny really the European Nuclear society believes that there are 3.3m metric tonnes left, I have also read 5.5 so perhaps we can agree to differ.

    Wikipedia claim that the process of burning a nuclear reactor “produces huge quantities of uranium that is depleted of uranium-235”

    And let us not forget that supply is not “reserves”, it has to be mined and processed.

    Nuclear produces some 13% of the power in the world today. So our 230 year reserve would last, in a fully nuclear world, erm, 30 years at the outside, with no growth at all and based on 2008 figures. So what do we do for the next few hundred years?

    Reading the wiki page on the FBR does not inspire confidence

    You want nearly 10 times as many reactors in the world of this design???? Also it wouldn’t be 10 times as many as we would probably need hundreds, if not thousands, to cover the 180 countries in the world….

    And we put the waste where? Afghanistan because they keep killing our troops and we’d like to return the favour?

    As for TWR, I found an interesting article on that. Three sentences stand out

    “Although there are still some basic design issues to be worked out–for instance, precise models of how the reactor would behave under accident conditions”

    Really? All that fuel (60 years worth) and no idea how big a mess it will make if it goes wrong.

    “is focused on selling its first reactors in the U.S. in 30 years. The designs it’s proposing, however, are essentially updates on the models operating today.”

    So no TWR in 30 years. Helpful.

    “Intellectual Ventures thinks that the traveling-wave design will have more appeal a bit further down the road”

    Than 30 years? We’d be better off flooding the whole world with wind turbines…. Never mind the fact that very few Sodium cooled reactors have been built without issues that have led to security concerns; which have led to shutdown in the end.

    I really would like an honest and open debate on just how people think we will get enough safe nuclear and the ongoing fuel extracted from the earth in a safe and viable manner.

    Because we will live the reality of nuclear if we don’t control the sound bytes.

  100. perceptiventity says:

    I do agree that we need constant coverage on the state of Arctic , the heat signal from melting ice and permafrost that penetrates inland and all the potential for distant but real catastrophe given our current CO2 emmissions tragectory. People should contemplate on “Venus Syndrome” more often. And of course thank you Joe Romm and Hansen for letting us know in the first place

    B.A. here is a link to a not so recent paper that describes the topic in great detail. Also see Leland Palmer’s comment down below that is the latest on methane threat.

    “A massive increase in methane concentration
    therefore has a smaller impact on the radiative balance
    of the Earth than would a comparable increase in CO2,
    but nevertheless the greenhouse forcing from the methane increase
    could be catastrophic, equivalent to increasing CO2
    by a factor of 10 or more. The methane hydrate reservoir
    therefore has the potential to warm Earth’s climate to Eocene
    hothouse-type conditions, within just a few years. The potential
    for planetary devastation posed by the methane hydrate
    reservoir therefore seems comparable to the destructive potential
    from nuclear winter or from a bolide impact.
    Fortunately, most of the hydrate reservoir seems insolated
    from the climate of the Earth’s surface, so that any melting
    response will take place on time scales of millennia or

  101. perceptiventity says:

    Agree – we need all the solutions that might help with CO2

  102. perceptiventity says:

    Yes. We will become Venus if we burn all the tar sands and coal as Hansen is “dead certain” about. No life on Earth at all

  103. perceptiventity says:

    google James Lovelock

  104. Lionel A says:

    I wonder how accurately Serreze was quoted in particular this piece which interestingly was not within quotation marks:

    Warmer winters and springs will extend growing seasons and even allow farming to happen in places where it hadn’t before, Serreze said.

  105. Geoff Beacon says:

    Some sound bites to head off the “this event cannot be attributed to climate change”. e.g.

    Weather makes hurricanes, climate destroys some, makes the rest worse.

    Weather causes floods and droughts but climate makes them worse.

    Weather makes tornadoes but climate increases them.

    Removing ice from the poles floods the oceans.
    That squeezes the Earth to cause earthquakes.

    A separate topic on the last one would be interesting:

    There were more earthquakes at the end of the last ice-age as the Earth responded to the weight of the ice being removed. Now climate change is possibly taking 300 billion tonnes of ice off Greenland and 200 billion tonnes off Antarctica each year:

    Look at the graph of increasing earthquakes since the 1970s:

  106. Terry says:

    Jeff, you are raising critical issues regarding the direct challenge to the Democrats base presumption that they have our vote no matter what is done on environmental issues such as Tar Sands exploitation.

    As I prepare to travel to DC to join the Tar Sands protest on Sept 2, I have been pondering this same issue. Reviewing the Obama administration’s minimalist accomplishments in dealing with Global Warming & Earth Sustainabilty issues as well as the continuation of Global Warfare, I catch myself again & again wondering “Is there any real bottom line difference in the results between this administration and the previous one?”.
    So I am beginning to conclude that it’s time to draw that line. It is time to clearly state that if our President approves this pipeline, an issue that he can clearly stop, then yes, I won’t vote for you in 2012.

  107. Joe Romm says:

    I can reprint anything on SS.

  108. Robbie Giles says:

    Sometimes I think my age cohort (Baby-boomers) are a lost cause — too stubborn to change, too old and tired to care.

    Focus on curriculum units for K-12 teachers to use. Develop teaching modules that encompass cross-curriculum, so that non-science types use the information gleaned in their chosen medium. Climate change as depicted in writings and art. Social implications; changing geography.

    Engage young minds to vision a future that is sustainable and prosperous. Many already participate in activities like Future Problem Solvers and Model UN. Give them tools to develop a stake in their future.

    I haven’t really written off my cohort, but I am feeling very pessimistic now.

  109. Good shot there about the tar sands pipeline protest. But I think maybe there might be some additional reasons for the surprising lack of coverage not only of the protest but its cause. Just what is the big issue here? The CO2 from additional gasoline? The Alberta sludge ponds from decades of primitive extraction methods? The likelihood of a spill? This vital though tech-heavy discussion still has no forum. I presume that is because the decision has been made and the 2012 election looms, so the only real issue now is how to placate the environmentalists.

  110. todd tanner says:

    I’ve been curious about the subject of oxygen depletion since looking at one of the studies that show a decrease in phytoplankton.

    I suspect that many people who aren’t particularly concerned about warming will be extremely concerned about long term oxygen depletion. I’d love to see CP focus on both the science and the optics of this.

  111. Matt Beer says:

    While i believe climate destabilisation (i think is a better term) is by far the biggest problem, i believe peak oil and the debt situation are more immediate concerns. But the thread that joins the three is energy. We need to be far more selective on how we use it and where we source it from. Also address this “growth” fetish.

    I have been been researching peak oil full time for the last 6 months (hopefully release some videos soon) and come to the conclusion that this is a vastly underestimated problem that essentially has no real solution (at least on maintaining the status quo). The only real long term solution will be to learn how to drive a lot lot less and the adjustment will be severe (especially for you in the US). One reason why I believe the Keystone XL pipeline will go ahead no matter the protest. Despite the tar sands being a crime of humanity, if I were a politician I might have to seriously consider which would be the lesser of two evils.

    Also I read a year or so ago how some Danish journalists were investigating different policy strategies of different countries and providing analysis. They also organised a televised event where they locked some politicians from opposing sides in a room and they couldn’t leave until they came to an agreement. Seriously, why isn’t there more of this?

    So with all that in mind i would love to see some more positive “what can we do” stories vs here is yet another detail confirming a story we already know. I’m talking general policy on issues such as reducing energy use, urban planning, living locally, etc.

    Apart from that keep up the good work. Big thanks.

  112. Jeff Huggins says:

    Hi Terry. Thanks for your comment. I agree that it’s time to draw that line. Good luck, and be safe, in DC. Cheers, Jeff

  113. Matt Beer says:

    While i believe climate destabilisation (i think is a better term) is by far the biggest problem, i believe peak oil and the debt situation are more immediate concerns. But the thread that joins the three is energy. We need to be far more selective on how we use it and where we source it from. Also address this “growth” fetish.

    I have been been researching peak oil full time for the last 6 months (hopefully release some videos soon) and come to the conclusion that this is a vastly underestimated problem that essentially has no real solution (at least on maintaining the status quo). The only real long term solution will be to learn how to drive a lot lot less and the adjustment will be severe (especially for you in the US). One reason why I believe the Keystone XL pipeline will go ahead no matter the protest. Despite the tar sands being a crime of humanity, if I were a politician I might have to seriously consider which would be the lesser of two evils.

    Also I read a year or so ago how some were investigating different policy strategies of different countries and providing analysis. They also organised a televised event where they locked some politicians from opposing sides in a room and they couldn’t leave until they came to an agreement. Seriously, why isn’t there more of this?

    So with all that in mind i would love to see some more positive “what can we do” stories vs here is yet another detail confirming a story we already know. I’m talking general policy on issues such as reducing energy use, urban planning, living locally, etc.

    Apart from that keep up the good work. Big thanks.

  114. BA says:

    Thank you for the link. I’ll tell you up front I am not a scientist. I look at these things the way a good journalist or news consumer should which is to look for and question the assumptions being made and right here is one:

    “Fortunately, most of the hydrate reservoir seems insolated from the climate of the Earth’s surface, so that any melting response will take place on time scales of millennia or longer.”

    The word that concerns me here is “seems.” Prior to the discovery of large amounts of methane bubbling out of the arctic ocean sea floor off the coast of Russia I did not spend much time thinking about methane reserves in the ocean. I had the understanding that they were all in the very deep ocean where it would take a very long time for warming to penetrate. What a surprise it was to find that, no, in fact [What is the word?] gigatons of the stuff exist in very shallow water. Now, one of the assurances that we have been given since this release has been discovered is that we do not know if the leaking is recent or has been going on for a very long time.
    If we dismiss a sense of urgency because this might be nothing new then I think we are quite foolish. I am also suspect that this area was unobserved prior to recent years. Wasn’t that same area a hot zone in the Cold War? Can’t somebody go through some ships logs and see if “boiling water” is mentioned anywhere. And wasn’t a lot of intelligence collected on the arctic area declassified a few years back—did our subs hear anything?
    To go back to my original point I take no solace in what “seems” not to be a threat. It dose not have to be a huge one time release to create disastrous results it can be a combination of melting, bubbling, drying, burning. Image last years Russian summer across the northern hemisphere—maybe the Amazon burning as well. I think this site has reported that the arctic will no longer be a net carbon sink by 2030? That will be disaster enough and most of us will live to see it. We had better get serious about keeping the arctic frozen.

  115. Mike#22 says:

    Seconding Donald Brown’s comment #32 proposing more investigation into why Germany is acting and why we are not.

    Some of it is clearly down to the strong denier presence at high levels in the US, but then the question comes up, why aren’t they in Germany, or if they are, why aren’t they more effective at halting progress?

    More examples of real world efficiency solutions. 100 mpg cars, cheap electric cars, high performance buildings that cost less, air source heat pumps, etc.

    How and where to implement a price on carbon.

  116. Student says:

    Fully investigate possibilities and conditions of energy from thorium through liquid-fluoride thorium reactors.

  117. Lucas says:

    Great blog.

    What I would be interested in: Investigate throughly whether energy from thorium liquid fluoride reactors is feasible and desirable. If not, clearly setting out why not. That would be useful input into an ongoing policy discussion (UK, France, China, US, India seem to be considering programmes on this).

    Keep up the great work!

  118. rjs says:

    less politics & name calling, more science…

  119. Richard Brenne says:

    More name calling, despite what Ridiculous RJS says (I kid).

    Actually what you’re doing is perfect, Joe, we just need more of everything, including humor.

    We need the politics and the naming of names or the deceitful, disingenuous destroyers of all life as we know it win.

  120. Max says:

    I would interested in your comments regarding this PNAS paper in which the authors’ propose a carbon dioxide removal method:
    Geoengineering potential of artificially enhanced
    silicate weathering of olivine
    Peter Köhlera,1, Jens Hartmannb, and Dieter A. Wolf-Gladrowa
    aAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), P.O. Box 12 01 61, D-27515 Bremerhaven, Germany; and bInstitute for Biogeochemistry
    and Marine Chemistry, KlimaCampus, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
    Edited by Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany, and approved October 4, 2010 (received for review
    January 14, 2010)
    Geoengineering is a proposed action to manipulate Earth’s climate
    in order to counteract global warming from anthropogenic greenhouse
    gas emissions. We investigate the potential of a specific
    geoengineering technique, carbon sequestration by artificially
    enhanced silicate weathering via the dissolution of olivine. This
    approach would not only operate against rising temperatures
    but would also oppose ocean acidification, because it influences
    the global climate via the carbon cycle. If important details of
    the marine chemistry are taken into consideration, a new mass
    ratio of CO2 sequestration per olivine dissolution of about 1 is
    achieved, 20% smaller than previously assumed. We calculate that
    this approach has the potential to sequestrate up to 1 Pg of C per
    year directly, if olivine is distributed as fine powder over land areas
    of the humid tropics, but this rate is limited by the saturation
    concentration of silicic acid. In our calculations for the Amazon
    and Congo river catchments, a maximum annual dissolution of
    1.8 and 0.4 Pg of olivine seems possible, corresponding to the sequestration
    of 0.5 and 0.1 Pg of C per year, but these upper limit
    sequestration rates come at the environmental cost of pH values in
    the rivers rising to 8.2. Open water dissolution of fine-grained
    olivine and an enhancement of the biological pump by the rising
    riverine input of silicic acid might increase our estimate of the
    carbon sequestration, but additional research is needed here.
    We finally calculate with a carbon cycle model the consequences
    of sequestration rates of 1–5 Pg of C per year for the 21st century
    by this technique.

  121. Philip Kahn says:

    I would like to see more emphasis on the danger of relatively rapid change. This would involve;

    1. Focusing on paleoclimate research that shows rapid past climate change and the relevance to our current situation. Are there rapid climate change events in the past million years or so that have occurred during interglacial periods? If so, what is the relevance to what we are currently facing?

    2. I see the rapid rise of sea level the most challenging effect of climate change that would be hard to mitigate. If the Greenland ice sheet substantially melts over a 100 year time scale, then we are in for big problems… if instead the time scale is more like 500 years then we have more time to work on getting the C02 concentrations down and maybe stabilizing things climate-wise in a liveable equilibrium that maybe different than the 20th century, but without catastrophic sea level rise. More information on the time scale for large scale melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet that we are likely to face will be a determining factor in how rapidly we should reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

    3. Likewise, I am interested in knowing about the timescale of methane cathrate ‘burping’ from the ocean and melting permafrost. Is there paleoclimate data that can give us an idea of the timescale for these processes?

    4. Having read Ruddiman’s “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” and Hansen’s “Storms of My Grandchildren”, I am certainly convinced of anthropogenic climate change. However, these respected climate scientists have differing views on the severity of the impacts of anthropogenic climate change and need for drastic immediate action. I think it would be most useful if Climate Progress explored the acceptance/unacceptance of the 350 ppm limit by climatologists; i.e. by surveying them.

    Overall I think your site is very good. I visit it every day. Keep up the great work.

  122. Geoff Beacon says:

    A topic that concerns me is feedbacks that are missing from computer models of climate e.g. ocean hydrates releasing methane and permafrost thawing releasing large amounts of additional carbon (as carbon dioxide and methane).

    I understand that these feedbacks will not be in the models that will be used for IPCC AR5. Some discussion of this would be helpful.

  123. Raul M. says:

    Is it true that with various layers of reflective particulates in the atmosphere people will need to wear sunglasses when outside because the harmful rays of the sun will not just come from the direction of the sun but from all angles of the sky?
    That the harmful rays would be most concentrated in early morning and at late afternoon being reflected through a longer stretch of the sky or at mid day when the rays are commonly deemed more intense?
    Also how about all those creatures who can’t be fitted with the appropriate sun gear for eye protection which humans indirectly depend, are their eyes being damaged by increases of anthropogenic reflective particulate layers in the atmosphere.

    There are nice advances in the techniques of hydroponics and aquaponics techniques available on utube for those who are interested in growing their own food or want to have it grown for them.

    Knowing that a new city will be built in the sky as promised years ago and that with the discovery of how to burn diamonds there is so much that is already floating in the sky just waiting to be arranged by those of spirit, facing the truth and danger may only be as far away as daybreak and looking outside in any direction. Is it just a worry or do we already need to wear sunglasses when outside at daylight due to anthropogenic reflective particulates?

  124. Brigid says:

    I would be interested in more explicit coverage of climate change as a social issue. I have been pleased in the past to see posts like “Why the EPA is important for Latino families” and “Committing to environmental justice,” which point out how specific groups are disproportionately affected by environmental problems; and others like “Why American people of faith support the EPA,” which explore how culture influences what do (or don’t do) about environmental issues. It would be great to see more discussion of similar social trends and influences, specifically with regard to climate change. I gather that social science is not the area of expertise of current CP staff, but I believe any way you can bring these issues into the CP discussion would be valuable.

  125. Arctic Sea Ice! We’re very close to a new low. I know you’ve posted a few articles on this key topic. But more would be appreciated!

  126. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    You might recall to everyone’s mind things like Field Notes from a Catastrophe from time to time.

  127. Lenny Dee says:

    Hi Joe,

    Here in Oregon I see a disconnect with liberal politicians supporting public policies that will increase emissions. I’d ask every Democrat in Washington if they believe in MIT’s projections of a nine degree increase by the end of the century, and if so how should it affect public policy decisions

  128. Frank Zaski says:

    Many anti-wind people argue against subsidies for wind. But, some economically oriented environmentalists calculate if we removed all incentives for fossil fuels, wind would win. This included depreciation, depletion, abatement,tax benefits for hauling coal, pipelines, etc.
    Of course, wind would easily win if we include societal costs.

  129. Cynthia says:

    I’m very concerned about how drastically our country has changed for the worse since the Bush administration. We don’t seem to have the same government as before; it is much more repressive. They spent $40 billion for reorganizing our federal government through the Homeland (In)security Act, our civil liberties have been usurped, there are various measures in place to make sure they retain control when TSHTF — either from global warming chaos, Peak Oil, or whatever. This has me very concerned that we will never be able to convince them of the need to make appropriate changes… unless we become much more forceful…unless we start fighting like the Greeks.

  130. momochan says:

    I would be interested to hear more about oceanic acidification, and the effects that could have upon us terrestrial denizens.
    Thank you.

  131. dick smith says:

    I agree stongly. You’re reviews of cutting edge studies are unmatched, and your new (2011) focus on Lester Brown/food issues has been very insightful. Your guest posts on food scarcity issues have also been excellent–the wall st. guy was amazing (more from him too please).

  132. Zoe Lee says:

    And best ways to live in a warming planet without oil – what can we expect our (grandchildren’s)”lifestyle” to be? We’ll still have knowledge of where diseases come from but what will we need to do to have immunisations, hip transplants and insulin? Resilient communities, distributed services, open hardware, alternate currencies etc.