Eric Mankin (stet) Sun 1 Aug 10 09:22
The idea that the planet underwent climate change before humans lived on it, therefore humans can't be the cause, is one of my favorites. Parallel: forest fires occurred long before humans lived on Earth, therefore humans cannot cause forest fires.
Eric Pooley (ericpooley) Sun 1 Aug 10 09:35
>>I was telling a friend about your book last night, Eric, and I >>realized that you are doing for the climate what Michael pollen has >>Bern doing for the food system. Trying to, anyway! Thanks!
Maria Rosales (rosmar) Sun 1 Aug 10 09:35
Good analogy. Also, tipping points matter a lot in this--humans may only be adding a small amount of greenhouse gases compared to how much is already in the atmosphere, but that small amount could tip the climate into a whole different set of feedback loops.
Eric Pooley (ericpooley) Sun 1 Aug 10 09:43
The psychological barriers to acting in time are very powerful. Max Bazerman, a Harvard Business School professor who wrote a great book called "Predictable Surprises" (why do we keep getting caught flat-footed by things that are obviously coming at us?), has a paper about some of these cognitive barriers here: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-063.pdf
David Gans (tnf) Sun 1 Aug 10 10:03
(iPhone posting is damn treacherous! Thus thing has a mind of its own!)
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sun 1 Aug 10 10:37
And it's not all that bright.
Success, many fathers. Failure, an orphan. (robertflink) Sun 1 Aug 10 10:57
Regarding tipping points, human culture may be considered as a "system" that may have them as well. Don't we tend to assume (erroneously?)that the more evidence we present the more people will be won over. This suggests a linearity that may be wishful thinking. Resistance to being stampeded can be a "virtue" at some times and a "vice" at others. I tend to prefer decision by experts in many situations over politicians or "majorities" fully recognizing that experts can get things horribly wrong at times. Of course, none of these are willing to accept blame for the negative consequences of their decisions. BTW, great responses to the questions earlier. I didn't realize that the water vapor issue had been addressed in more recent models.
Jeff Dooley (dooley) Sun 1 Aug 10 14:54
wow. thanks for the Bazerman paper.
Andrew Alden (alden) Sun 1 Aug 10 14:56
Water vapor always has been addressed; as Eric said, it's not a forcing. That constant increment of extra CO2, exceeding the sums taken up by life and seawater, is a forcing, a ratcheting up. In human terms, it's permanent, even though in geological terms, yes, the Earth always adjusts.
Eric Mankin (stet) Sun 1 Aug 10 18:07
the underlying problem is, no matter how many experts agree on the science, the political process has to agree to impose economic costs, which have to be agreed to by people both unable to understand where the expert consensus comes from and propagandized by people with an interest in shedding doubt. Peer review works really well for scientists among scientists, but outside that ambit is a different universe, one which unfortunately determines public policy.
Eric Pooley (ericpooley) Mon 2 Aug 10 04:05
Eric Mankin nails it. Here's an essay I did for Yale Environment 360 about what went wrong in the political process. I'm already working on a sequel to it--I didn't have room to include all the culprits in this whodunnit. http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2299 And here's a column I did for Businessweek about how the US, thanks to political inaction on climate and energy, has lost the clean energy race to China. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_32/b4190006428519.htm
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Mon 2 Aug 10 09:28
That second article really highlights the fact that these climate deniers are stealing our future in more ways than one--both our ecological stability, and the technology that we would profit from in the coming world. It's incredible that they are holding us all hostage to their own narrow gains.
Jeff Dooley (dooley) Mon 2 Aug 10 09:30
So now that it looks like we're headed back to fighting in the courts over EPA regulations and enforcement, is there a strategy emerging aimed at preventing republicans and some coal state democrats from stripping EPA of its authority over carbon? You say that Obama's aids claim he is engaged in this defense, but he still seems to be on the sidelines. Who is leading this effort and how can we help?
Eric Mankin (stet) Mon 2 Aug 10 11:05
What maddens me is the right-wing Republican anti-deficit rhetoric about saddling our children and grandchildren with debt, but no worries whatsoever about saddling our children and grandchildren with enormous quantities of CO2, methane & etc.
Marika Wertheimer (peony) Mon 2 Aug 10 11:40
#86 "has lost the clean energy race to china" The chronicle had an article in sunday's paper that although china has quite a lot of rhetoric on "clean" energy, they are actually some of the worst offenders of "dirty" energy. They have the most coal burning sources for energy and are putting more up with the type of coal that is most polluting.
Eric Pooley (ericpooley) Mon 2 Aug 10 12:20
That's true Marika but the two are not mutually exclusive. The Chinese need so much energy that they are continuing to exploit dirty sources while cornering the market on new ones. Re those dirty coal plants, they are well ahead of us in deploying carbon capture and storage technology, which would catch the CO2 from smokestacks, liquefy it and pump it underground. The world burns so much coal, and is planning to continue burning so much coal, that it's hard to see us solving the climate crisis without making CCS work.
for dixie southern iraq (stet) Mon 2 Aug 10 13:45
For a truly weird footnote to this: I'm reading a memoir called "The Wreck of the Barque Stefano Off the North West," about a three-masted freighter that ran aground in 1875 near Pt. Cloates, W. Australia. What's so strange: the Stefano was carrying a cargo of coal from Wales halfway around the world, to Hong Kong.
There are more things in heaven and earth..... (robertflink) Mon 2 Aug 10 14:16
Is there a policy/practice disconnect in China? I was involved with the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation back in the 80's. The Soviet Union had very strict limits on the books but practice turned out to be quite different. >What maddens me is the right-wing Republican anti-deficit rhetoric about saddling our children and grandchildren with debt, but no worries whatsoever about saddling our children and grandchildren with enormous quantities of CO2, methane & etc. < Our politicians (and the public?) may be unable to deal with two or more issues at once.
for dixie southern iraq (stet) Mon 2 Aug 10 14:20
It's called misdirection and denial.
Eric Mankin (stet) Mon 2 Aug 10 14:23
aka for dixie southern iraq
David Gans (tnf) Mon 2 Aug 10 16:25
> It's incredible that they are holding us all hostage to their own narrow > gains. Shouldn't surprise us even slightly, though.
Rip Van Winkle (keta) Mon 2 Aug 10 21:44
That Max Bazerman paper is very interesting. In the suggested principles at the end, one comment: "I hope that in 2009, the new administration will agree with Stiglitzs argument that if everyone except a narrowly defined special-interest group could be shown to benefit, surely the change should be made. " Great insight in #64 Eric that you could look at climate Deniers as a projection - if they didn't exist, we'd invent them as an excuse for not getting anything done.
Eric Pooley (ericpooley) Tue 3 Aug 10 07:56
Michiko Kakutani reviews my book (and another, by Heidi Cullen) in today's New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/books/03book.html?_r=1&ref=books
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Tue 3 Aug 10 09:26
Jeff Dooley (dooley) Tue 3 Aug 10 14:07
This just in: Updated 4:26 p.m. Eastern Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given up on efforts to pass a scaled- back energy bill dealing in part with offshore drilling amid unified opposition from Senate Republicans. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20012540-503544.html>
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