Friday, August 13, 2010

This week: First it came for Moscow, Pakistan, the Arctic... - and our response

Global climate destabilization.

17 new record highs, to 1 new record low (link).

“Ice island” four times the size of Manhattan has calved from Greenland's Petermann Glacier (link)

Hottest January-July on record.

And where are the voices in Nevada County addressing this?

I've been attempting to gather a science-aligned group to approach KVMR about running a 5 minute climate science policy commentary once a week, doing public outreach on the dangers of global climate destabilization & how to fight it; here are some (paraphrased) responses I've gotten:

"The real problem is population, and [since] nobody wants to talk about it[...]"
"People just believe what they want to believe, you can't reach them"
"There are uncertainties"
"Yes, the scientists say climate change is serious...[and economics and technology won't help so we need a change in world consciousness to save us]"
"We can work together (in a nonconfrontational way) and build an exemplary green city"
"1Sky is doing climate change/policy outreach already; so we wanted to do something different."
"I need to make a living"

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, or...


Don Pelton said...

These events seem to scream out the truth of anthropogenic global warming, and yet articles like this one in the NY Times is still couched in cautious and circumspect language, no doubt because the scientific method requires such caution in stating conclusions:

"In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming"

Anna Haynes said...

Thanks for that link Don; I'd missed it.

"“If you ask me as a person, do I think the Russian heat wave has to do with climate change, the answer is yes,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climate researcher with NASA in New York. “If you ask me as a scientist whether I have *proved* it, the answer is no — at least not yet.” "

Here's hoping the *editors* of the Times's Science section are paying attention; last spring they were still behind the curve.

Anna Haynes said...

From that time: "Recent science editors at the New York Times include top editor Laura Chang, health editor Barbara Strauch, James Gorman, restaurant critic David Corcoran, and Cornelia Dean."

gzaller said...

I keep thinking about this blog.

I feel that the debate over whether or not there is global warming is a distraction, at this point, from a discussion about what could be done. It isn't just global warming, anyway. There are several other problems of human destruction in the same category.

Why not a discussion about how to change our life styles for the better? That's how overweight people succeed. Diets never work.

BTW, What do you think about the pdf of Scientific American I posted


Anonymous said...

I'm now convinced that mass protests will only happen when something has a short-term effect that a lot of people don't like: e.g. taxes get raised, or pay gets cut.

Otherwise, pretty much nobody will lift a finger to do anything about anything -- even if tomorrow someone publishes a well-researched investigative report which conclusively shows that the whole climate change inactivist movement was orchestrated by the Dark Lord Satan himself.

The Age of Stupid, or just a plain old Age of Inaction?

-- frank

Anna Haynes said...

Frank, tempted though I am to chime in, I'm not going to go there.

Greg, re "I feel that the debate over whether or not there is global warming is a distraction" - agreed, it is. That's why the fossil fuel folks are feeding it. The Q is, what happens if we cede the scientific ground here, and allow the public to stay misinformed about climate change and what it says about the need to start turning the wheel *now* (since "20 years ago" is no longer an option).

(The answer to this Q, IMO, is we get people who reason the way [name of local person] does - people who are all for clean energy, but are *against* the economic regulation/incentives/disincentives needed to make it ramp up in the needed timeframe.

> "What do you think about the [pathway to sustainability] pdf of Scientific American I posted.."

Great, except (from skimming it) even its "political will" section does *not* address how to build political will - and to build political will, you need to build an informed electorate, which means you need to convey what the consequences are likely to be if we don't act.

Greg, have you read Krugman's Building a Green Economy? (link)
(please let me know, since I've forgotten, & I don't want to keep asking)

Economics is hugely important here.

Anna Haynes said...

(as is science)