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25 years of futility

The IPCC has been issuing climate change warnings for 25 years. Here’s the net result:

But if we go back to brass tacks, it’s worth asking how the world has reacted to these repeated warnings.

Since 1990, annual global greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels have gone up 60 per cent.

Or perhaps you’d rather get it in cartoon form?

ipccwarnings

This is what happens when you ignored the scientists and instead obey the self-serving lies of industry.

Comments

  1. raven says

    I’ve been following this since the mid-1980′s. It’s exactly like that cartoon.

    1. It’s obvious by now that we, the world, aren’t going to do anything. Most climatologists know this. The new strategy is “adaptation”.

    2. Which isn’t much of a strategy. We will adapt whether we like it or not. There is no alternative.

    3. I once tried to estimate how many people would die from climate change before we did something. I don’t think 100 million would do it. It wouldn’t all happen at once. A hurricane storm surge here, a heatwave there, forest fire somewhere, a drought induced crop failure and pretty soon you are talking megadeaths.

    4. It’s not obvious we could do anything anyway. It’s a world problem requiring long term planning. Stuff that humans have never been good at.

    Plus, our whole civilization runs on fossil fuels and turning that around is like turning around an earth size battleship. One where the crew is having a great old party and can’t even be bothered looking over the edge.

  2. raven says

    So how much is this adaptation going to cost us? No one knows but there are estimates around.

    1. The US might have to spend 1/2 trillion in the 21st century. Already NYC is planning on spending 30 billion USD because they know they are in danger of sea level rise, e.g. Sandy.

    2. The world might spend $15 trillion in the 21st century.

    We will just have to wait and see.

  3. raven says

    Some places are already getting hit hard by global warming and sea level rise.

    1. Kiribati is a series of atolls with high points often 12 to 15 feet above sea level. They are hoping to last through the mid 21st century.

    Their ecosystems are showing stresses right now from salt water intrusions. It’s part sea level rise and part human caused problems. Their main fresh water supply is very shallow wells over lenses of fresh water floating above salt water.

    2. The northern Nile delta is showing the same thing. The Nile no longer runs to the sea, sinking delta, rising seas, salt water moving inland.

    AFAICT, the Egytian government is quietly simply planning to abandon that area, their main agricultural area. Isn’t much else they can do with 90 million and growing people.

    That is part of what doomed the last government. They have to import food and refined petroleum and the Moslem Brotherhood couldn’t keep that going.

  4. gussnarp says

    So let’s say everyone gets an all electric car, we shutter every fossil fuel power plant and replace it with a nuke, and we cut meat consumption dramatically.

    Would that work?

  5. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Maybe I shouldn’t remind them, but… I remember people saying “The warned us in the 60′s that we were headed for an ice age. NOW, they tell us we’re heading for a fire age. Why should we believe these guys that can never keep the same story?!?” The problem was CFC and particulate pollution, reflecting sunlight heat away from the atmosphere. Those issues were addressed, CFC’s outlawed and scrubbers put on smokestacks; leaving behind the other issue of too much CO2 being produced; which has the opposite effect: absorbing sunlight as heat in the atmosphere. I’m just stuck on my other note [in T-Dome] about problems being many layers. Pollution is many layers; solving a single layer is insufficient. All layers must be addressed simultaneously to address the problem. Pollution is particles and CO2, etc. I think this is a part (just a part) of why it has taken 25 yrs to even get started………

  6. anteprepro says

    Fucking climate change denialists. Out of all of the evil and idiotic things associated with Republicanism, the climate change denialism is perhaps the absolute worst when you look at the effects of their selishness and obstructionism.

  7. gussnarp says

    @dmcclean –

    So it looks like we’re left with forestry, agriculture, industry, and a little waste and waste water.

    I’m wondering where mining goes in that chart, since that’s also something that uses a lot of fossil fuel burning equipment. And with forestry, ag, industry, and mining, at least some portion is fossil fuel burned by tractors, trucks, furnaces, other equipment, and that’s probably really hard to eliminate. I’m not sure about waste and waste water, but I’m thinking a lot of that is purely releases of greenhouse gases in the decomposition process? Then in forestry part of that could include the loss of the trees as carbon sinks? The agriculture portion would be reduced by eating less (or no) meat, but you’d still have all the fertilizers, equipment, etc….

    Yeah, it’s definitely a problem and what seems clear is that we aren’t going to do squat without governments all over the world getting together and acting in unison to get a full court press on nuclear and renewables to eliminate most fossil fuels. We’ve got to help countries like China, India, Nigeria, anyplace trying to become what we are to do it without coal energy. We’ve also got to reduce consumption overall. From a U.S. perspective, we have to put at least as much into this as we did the Cold War. And unlikely as that is, the entire world has to be just as committed, just to get a start…..

    I’m really glad I live in Ohio, far from the ocean, with a good source of fresh water, and a temperature regime that won’t get too awful with rising temperatures. I guess I’ll just have to upgrade my basement storm shelter capability to deal with more, larger tornadoes and hope invasive species and the loss of some colder weather crops doesn’t do too much damage. Maybe I’ll move farther north…

  8. says

    Why should we believe these guys that can never keep the same story?!?

    Because that’s how science works, numbskull. You propose a hypothesis and test it. The increase in particulates in the air during the 50s – 60s led scientists to hypothesize that it might lead to worldwide cooling. They tested that hypothesis. It didn’t hold up. They made new observations that suggested that heating from greenhouse gases would probably outweigh any cooling effects from particulates. They hypoethesized that global warming would lead to worldwide changes in climate patterns. This hypoethesis has been supported, robustly.

    Any more questions?

  9. dmcclean says

    “I’m not sure about waste and waste water, but I’m thinking a lot of that is purely releases of greenhouse gases in the decomposition process? Then in forestry part of that could include the loss of the trees as carbon sinks? The agriculture portion would be reduced by eating less (or no) meat, but you’d still have all the fertilizers, equipment, etc….”

    Sorry, I glanced over the part of your original suggestion about reducing meat consumption. That definitely helps, since a big part of the agriculture contribution is, as you say, methane emissions. Methane emissions are helpful to cut, because methane is short-lived in the atmosphere (before being converted to CO2) and has a much higher greenhouse warming effect before as methane than it does as CO2.

    The forestry contribution is indeed the loss of trees as carbon sinks (and the fact that they are often burned). “Land use changes” as they are somewhat euphemistically called. We need to stop burning down forests to make fields. In some ways we are “lucky” that this contribution will have to shrink soon just because there aren’t many more places to burn.

    It’s a huge problem, we need to get started.

  10. scienceavenger says

    @10 That and the time scales are totally different. They might as well say we shouldn’t worry about climate change because the sun will go all Red Giant on us and fry us to a crisp in a couple billion ears or so no matter what we do about carbon emissions. One of the most insidious effects of religious upbringings is the complete inability to deal with vast time scales.

  11. says

    The date for the first one should be closer to 1960:

    http://youtu.be/m-AXBbuDxRY (Bell Telephone Science Hour piece on global warming).

    @#10, I just want to point out that while people were investigating the cooling effect of particulates (which was both real and measurable), even then, most climate scientists were thinking that we were likely to see warming if greenhouse gasses kept building up in the atmosphere.

    @#4 – at this point, even if we cut emissions to zero (which obviously isn’t going to happen), it’s too late to keep the warming from continuing. What’s already in the atmosphere will continue warming the earth for another decade or two, and in the meantime, the sundry feedback loops are already underway, causing increases in greenhouse gas levels all by themselves.

    That said, if we DID cut emissions, it would slow things down, and buy us time to prepare. And that’s what it’s about, at this point. Cutting emissions will mean that the changes coming won’t be as violent, and switching to renewable energy technology will give us a more resilient infrastructure that’s better able to weather the oncoming storm.

    Right now, we’re like a city that’s been told that a tsunami is coming, and as a society, we’re ignoring it and going to the beach like every other day. We need to prepare, and adapt our society ahead of time, or we’ll be constantly playing “rebuild and try to cope”, and we’ll always be on the brink of disaster.

  12. says

    I just want to point out that while people were investigating the cooling effect of particulates (which was both real and measurable), even then, most climate scientists were thinking that we were likely to see warming if greenhouse gasses kept building up in the atmosphere.

    I know. I was presenting a simplified version for an evidently simple mind.

  13. dhall says

    #10, #5 wasn’t making that statement, #5 was quoting stupid people who have said things like that.

  14. David Marjanović says

    and replace it with a nuke

    We’d run out of uranium pretty quickly. At the current rates of consumption it’ll be gone in a few decades.

  15. says

    gussnarp#9
    Most of those are far less insurmountable than they may initially look. I haven’t time for a proper writeup now, but I”ll try to find the time when I get home later.

  16. A Hermit says

    Yeah but there was an article in Newsweek magazine that one time back in the `70′s that said something about Global Cooling so anything else on the subject can be safely ignored… (/ignorantfuckwad)

  17. abusedbypenguins says

    If all of this information is still available when your great-great grandchildren can comprehend that nothing was done to lessen the global hell that they live in, they will hate your fucking guts. Me, I don’t care. No children or future children to abuse with gradually decaying lifestyles into global poverty through total abuse of wealth and power by the very few. The canary is long past dead.

  18. unclefrogy says

    I have beginning to think to quote the great philosopher Mose Allison ” I don’t worry about a thing cause I know nothin’s goina be alright!”
    not sure if I should be depressed or not ?
    uncle frogy

  19. Randomfactor says

    The date for the first one should be closer to 1960:

    I remember Asimov writing in the 60′s about the possibility of CO2-forced warming.

  20. robro says

    raven @#2

    1. The US might have to spend 1/2 trillion in the 21st century. Already NYC is planning on spending 30 billion USD because they know they are in danger of sea level rise, e.g. Sandy.

    2. The world might spend $15 trillion in the 21st century.

    To me, the scary thing is that the same industry numskulls who pay for the denial campaign will see this as an economic opportunity they can profit from. $15 trillion dollars is a lot of cash flow.

  21. mikeyb says

    So when is the garden variety denialist going to appear. I can’t tell you how many engineers, doctors and scientists some with PhDs I have run into in my life who are denialists, most of whom have no connections to the fossil industry. I shouldn’t, but still find this deeply puzzling, especially when I hear some of the reasons like it was totally invented by Al Gore. It seems to be a kinda Penn Jillette like cult within otherwise skeptical thinking people. It just shows again the power of propaganda.

  22. says

    At school in the 1990s, we were taught about the greenhouse effect and global warming as facts, and accepted them as such. It was only when I started using the internet that I realised many people deny the latter or both, and since then the denial movement has only become louder.

    What I don’t understand is why these people seem to be relatively tolerated – not here of course, but in other “skeptical” spaces. If Penn Jillette made an episode of “Bullshit!” attacking evolution he’d be a total pariah in this community, but his climate change denial (which he has only renounced partially and in a most cowardly way) is considered at worst a minor flaw (again, not here of course). I’m considering going into atmospheric physics myself but I’m very sensitive and I don’t know how I would cope with people calling me a fraud and a liar because I accept the evidence.

    If history books are still being written in 100 years, how will we look? People who had all the evidence at their fingertips and the chance to at least mitigate the worst effects of AGW but did fuck all but attack the people trying to raise awareness. Humans have done a lot of selfish, short sighted things in our short time here, but this has to top them all. 100 years of comfort for a few in exchange for thousands of years of pain for the majority.

  23. David Marjanović says

    What I don’t understand is why these people seem to be relatively tolerated – not here of course, but in other “skeptical” spaces.

    It’s because, in the US, it’s a political issue – and, not just in the US, people treat reality and politics as non-overlapping magisteria, where political hypotheses (“if we implement this law, that will happen”) can never be falsified. (“What’s that you say? This law has already been implemented in 85 countries, and it’s working exactly as predicted?” *fingers in ears* “I can’t hear you!!!”)

    I’m very sensitive and I don’t know how I would cope with people calling me a fraud and a liar because I accept the evidence

    I recommend holy wrath. “If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.”

  24. gussnarp says

    @David Marjanović – Looks like you might be right, I remember seeing different numbers when I looked this up once before, but it seems we’ve go 80 years of discovered uranium and the Nuclear Energy Agency claims there’s another 150 years of “undiscovered uranium”. On the other hand, there are some technologies that could alter that supply equation dramatically. I don’t know how likely or efficient they are though.

  25. atheistblog says

    US Capitalism at its best. Thanks to Democrats and Republicans and Conservatives and Libertarians and neo-con blue dog liberals. Well, that covers most of the US political spectrum.

  26. madscientist says

    Among the maddening and even perverse facts are:

    1. Scientists in the oil and gas industries believed the IPCC reports back in 1992
    2. Scientists in the oil and has industries have been suggesting short-term strategies such as CO2 geosequestration since about 1994

    So on the one hand genuine scientists have acknowledged various issues over 20 years ago (though the oil and gas industries certainly have their share of denialists amongst scientists) but thanks to the wonderful magic market, 20 years later there is still nothing significant being done to address the issues.

  27. blf says

    One elephant in the room here is the planet is very possibly seriously overpopulated.

    Another elephant is consumption of production / resources is seriously lopsided, with (these figures are from old memory and may be faulty) USAlienstan alone, with c.10% of the world’s population consuming c.25% of the total worldwide production / resources.

    Another elephant is the highly militarized state of far too many countries, most(? all?) of which have emotionally-led or authoritarian political systems, with a large helping of institutional / privileged kleptomancy.

    Another elephant is the diminishing supplies of “fresh” (potable) water.

    And based on historical behaviour, another elephant is religion, poisoning everything (to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens).

  28. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    A few things.

    First on the “but global cooling…” trope–Temperatures didn’t really cool from about 1945 to about 1975, but they didn’t warm either. The reason why was because of aerosols from the burning of high-sulfur fuels–SO2 combines with H20 and oxygen to produce H2SO4, which reflects sunlight like little mirrors. This was a concern, and a couple of climate scientists were indeed worried about a mini- ice age. The reason was because they significantly underestimated the warming power of CO2. Rather than undermining the case for anthropogenic warming, this story is actually support of it.

    Second, there is a tendency to view the situation in terms of whether we are screwed or not. That is a mistake. No matter how deep the hole we’ve dug, we can make it worse by digging or make it better by stopping. What is more, every ounce of CO2 you don’t put into the atmosphere buys time. And since we’ve squandered 3 decades, time is the most precious commodity we can have. A few months could literally make the difference of whether or not we find a solution before we hit a critical tipping point. Plant a tree. Ride a bike. Install a solar panel. It could make a critical difference.

    Third, the prediction of anthropogenic warming dates from an 1896 paper by Svante Arrhenius. I like to point out to deniers that this was 11 years before Al Gore’s father was born.

    Fourth, don’t forget that the Exx-Mob and the Koch suckers have spent at least 10s of millions trying to discredit the science and the scientists, if not science itself. These are the same techniques used in the Tobacco wars, and many of the same characters are involved. These guys have a whole TV news network that has actually claimed in court that lying is protected free speech!

    Fifth, despair is as big an enemy as the Koch bros. A lot of the smart denialists (those who can actually think rationally about most things) reject the science because they don’t see anything they can do about it. It’s a pathetic attitude, but very human.

    Oh, David Marjanović and Gus Snarp, The throium fuel cycle gives us a lot more time and is also less susceptible to proliferation concerns and waste disposal problems. Not perfect and still finite. But if we’re gonna need nukes, it might be a way to go.

  29. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Marius,
    I’ve found there is nothing like a good death threat from an ignorant foodtube to get the blood flowing and make you feel alive. Remember the words of Leonardo: “As to my enemies, I pay no more mind to the air that comes from their mouths than to the air that comes from their anuses.”

  30. David Marjanović says

    it seems we’ve go 80 years of discovered uranium and the Nuclear Energy Agency claims there’s another 150 years of “undiscovered uranium”

    These are much higher numbers than what I read 20 years ago (in a third-hand source, without an indication of whether undiscovered ores were included).

    The throium fuel cycle gives us a lot more time and is also less susceptible to proliferation concerns and waste disposal problems.

    Absolutely. But not even a prototype has actually been built yet, right?

  31. gussnarp says

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space – It seems like, if we’re to have any hopes of reducing emissions, thorium would have to be part of the package. I keep trying to figure out what the catch is, for surely there must be one? But from what I’ve seen the biggest barrier seems to be simply getting someone to invest the resources to get it going, so if we’re going to have a “Cold War” against climate change, thorium reactors surely have to be on the table.

  32. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    It’s too soon to worry…
    It’s too late to do anything about it.

    The process of human thought.

  33. mikeconley says

    The date for the first one should be closer to 1960:

    I remember Asimov writing in the 60′s about the possibility of CO2-forced warming.

    In any case, Soylent Green, 1973.

  34. anuran says

    Don’t worry. If so-called “global warming” were real the Free Market would take care of it. Just get rid of those business-killing regulations, lower taxes on the energy companies and the genius and energy of Capitalism will find solutions when we need them.

    This message brought to you by the Little Chapel of St. Ayn, First Gibbertarian Church.

  35. anteprepro says

    anuran

    If so-called “global warming” were real the Free Market would take care of it.

    If not the Free Market, then at least Jesus. Or best yet, Supply Side Jesus!

    But no matter how slice it: Fuck science. Bunch of alarmist know-it alls, trying to get money and stop us from getting money!

  36. w00dview says

    anteprepro @ 7:

    the climate change denialism is perhaps the absolute worst when you look at the effects of their selishness and obstructionism.

    Indeed. I have long believed that climate change denialism could be the most insidious and destructive form of anti science claptrap out there. I mean not only will the poorest and most vulnerable will be hit but also a great deal of other life forms that we share the planet with and the ecosystems we rely on will be gravely threatened by this continued delay and obstruction. The misery, death and suffering caused will make the antics of anti vaxxers look like amateurs in comparison.

    madscientist @ 31:

    Among the maddening and even perverse facts are:

    1. Scientists in the oil and gas industries believed the IPCC reports back in 1992
    2. Scientists in the oil and has industries have been suggesting short-term strategies such as CO2 geosequestration since about 1994

    It was the same with scientists in the tobacco industry and the dangers of second hand smoke. Most of the top dogs at the tobacco companies privately accepted the evidence but publicly denied it. Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway goes into great detail about the campaigns of FUD that these industries have spread to protect their bottom line. Fantastic book which I would recommend for anyone who wants to understand denialism and the history of science.

    anuran @ 41:

    If so-called “global warming” were real the Free Market would take care of it.

    And because the Free Market has not taken care of it, global warming must be a lie! Ugh, free market fundamentalism is as nonsensical as new age woo and as destructive as religion.

  37. ravenamos says

    Concern about climate change has been raised far prior the 1990′s – here’s a great radio program from the mid-1950′s with an interview from Dr. Gilbert Plass from John Hopkins University.

  38. twas brillig (stevem) says

    oops, maybe I did remind them. Here is what Bill Posey (R-FL) said to John Holdren, the president’s science advisor at a hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to review the White House’s fiscal year 2015 budget request for science agencies.

    Posey: I remember the 70s, that was the threat. We’re going to have a cooling that’s eventually going to freeze the planet, and that was the fear before Al Gore invented the Internet….

    say no more, I just leave this here.

  39. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Oh, David Marjanović and Gus Snarp, The throium fuel cycle gives us a lot more time and is also less susceptible to proliferation concerns and waste disposal problems. Not perfect and still finite. But if we’re gonna need nukes, it might be a way to go.

    But some Very Serious Thinkers have assured me thorium is “bizarre” and “a pipe dream.” *eyeroll*

  40. raven says

    Oh, David Marjanović and Gus Snarp, The throium fuel cycle gives us a lot more time and is also less susceptible to proliferation concerns and waste disposal problems. Not perfect and still finite. But if we’re gonna need nukes, it might be a way to go.

    But some Very Serious Thinkers have assured me thorium is “bizarre” and “a pipe dream.” *eyeroll*

    Norway Begins Four Year Test Of Thorium Nuclear Reactor …
    singularityhub .com/…/ norway-begins-four-year-test-of-thorium…‎

    by Peter Murray – in 172 Google+ circlesDec 11, 2012 – The attractiveness of thorium has led others in the past to build their own thorium reactors. A reactor operated in Germany between 1983 and …

    There is no doubt thorium reactors work. A few have even been built.

    1. The idea is simple but the engineering is very complex or so the engineers tell us.

    2. They weren’t competitive with uranium reactors. Which are also complex which should tell you something.

  41. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    2. They weren’t competitive with uranium reactors. Which are also complex which should tell you something.

    I remember reading that the major impetus for uranium/plutonium reactors over thorium was that they could be used for/to assist domestic nuclear weapons production. I don’t remember the details.

  42. says

    We’d run out of uranium pretty quickly. At the current rates of consumption it’ll be gone in a few decades.

    If spent fuel is reprocessed, the supply of fissile material is effectively limitless. Whatever the problems of nuclear power, running out of fuel isn’t one of them.

  43. alwayscurious says

    If spent fuel is reprocessed, the supply of fissile material is effectively limitless. Whatever the problems of nuclear power, running out of fuel isn’t one of them.

    Yep, because we can’t possibly use nuclear waste to produce energy. Instead we have to keep it in carefully temperature controlled cooling ponds for months/years. Using the latent heat energy to create electricity to power our homes would just be dumb!

    I’ve heard talk that the US Energy Department has largely maintained the idea that refined uranium is “The Way” to build a reactor. Therefore alternatives get automatically brushed aside as impossible. Beings it would be expensive and require political willpower to build a new type of reactor, nothing novel will get any traction in the USA any time soon. Other countries have been much more inventive because they aren’t laboring under this illusion.

  44. johnhodges says

    Reprocessing spent fuel is a way of using U-238 as fuel. Most designs of reactors in use today use “enriched” uranium, that is, uranium that is mostly (non-fissionable) U238 with a higher-than-native percentage of (fissionable) U235. While this “enriched” uranium is in the reactor, the U238 absorbs neutrons and changes to plutonium, which is fissionable. Reprocessing extracts the plutonium so it can be made into new fuel rods. Granted that there is a lot more (at least 20 times more) U238 than U235, the amount available is not limitless.

    The real question, though, is whether nuclear (of whatever kind) or “renewables” (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass, in all their variations) can be built and brought online cheaper and faster. Amory Lovins made the case in the 1970′s that counting costs honestly favored renewables.

  45. says

    The real question, though, is whether nuclear (of whatever kind) or “renewables” (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass, in all their variations) can be built and brought online cheaper and faster.

    I’m pretty sure at this point that the future belongs to solar. Since it’s already cheaper than nuclear, the pros and cons of nuclear are quickly becoming moot.

    Still, if I could wave a magic wand and replace all coal plants with nuclear, I’d do so (assuming I couldn’t do the same for renewables).

  46. mildlymagnificent says

    I’ve been following this since the mid-1980′s. It’s exactly like that cartoon.

    And fools like me thought it was a done deal back then. When we installed a solar water heater in the late 80s, I truly honestly believed that there would be no other form of water heater considered within 20 years or so.

    I think I was sort of fooled, and a lot of people like me were also fooled by the success of the Montreal Protocol on CFCs and the other environmental successes in reducing acid rain and smog, getting rid of asbestos and so on. We just thought that CO2 emissions would be fought over, negotiated to death, and the same sort of international controls implemented as with these other technical issues.

    What I didn’t take into account was how hard the industries and their backers would fight back. They used their experience with delaying regulation of tobacco and in fighting and delaying those other issues.

    They’ve sort of won, in that we are now, and will be, worse off for their efforts. But we can do better and they will lose in the end – but we all will have lost far more by their actions.

  47. chigau (違う) says

    a_ray #34
    This
    “As to my enemies, I pay no more mind to the air that comes from their mouths than to the air that comes from their anuses.”
    is a thing of beauty.

  48. yubal says

    Reading the comments makes me sad.

    You all have common sense. You all saw the facts. You all have a deeper understanding of the human condition.

    Why do you believe this future can be changed anymore? The option for a smooth transition existed back in the 70s and maybe in the 80s. Today we are so far behind with our technology we can’t pull the handbrake anymore.

    Whatever we can do, it won’t change anything anymore. That train is long gone.

    We will burn every ounce of oil, gas and coal we can dig out of the ground. We will erode the last primal forests to plant soybeans and wheat. We will harvest fish out of the oceans until the cost of the ship fuel can’t be paid anymore by the revenue of the increasingly scarce protein recourse.

    We will not change ourselves.

    And moreover, there are 1.3 billion Chinese and 1.0 billion Indians out there who want to live their life exactly the same way you do. The same homes, the refrigerators, the laundry, the cars, 40 hours of work per week (eventually?), college savings funds, information technology, the second tablet computer for the kids, 2 weeks of vacation abroad…. And there is nothing wrong about that. Because we didn’t do anything about the future they won’t see a reason not to do the same thing. They earned it. Convince them otherwise, not me.

    We should prepare for this future that we have built four our children. A few hundred years of instability and turmoil is nothing our species can’t manage. We did that before. Now we know that it is coming. Although we might not know exactly what is coming. Let’s use that, and the last few barrels of oil we have left, and prepare.

  49. unclefrogy says

    I read to the end because I wanted to see if anyone was the least bit optimistic about our future before I asked

    I went back up to check is this sum the estimated government spending
    1/2 trillion in the 21st century.
    is that all?
    How much money have we spent on fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last 10 years
    Seems I remember some ginormous number that would dwarf that one in short order
    This civilization could do something but I doubt it will people will just have to find a different way forward with out the dear leaders the 1% or so of the powerful
    because we are all in the same boat there will be no hiding place
    the powerful need the systems and the structures of the the modern world more than the poor who are already suffering anyway
    uncle frogy

  50. ohkay says

    Climate change is going to suck. But Americans are also not doing anything to correct the reckless and corrupt banking institutions, which threaten to damage our economy so much that our car-centered, fast food “way of life” will no longer be viable.

  51. Thijs Goverde says

    Of course, and unfortunately, the obvious hypocrisy of scientists like PZ Myers is a truckload of grist to the denialist mill. The denialists’ reasoning might go:
    1) if scientists really beleived AGW is a serious problem, they would change their behaviour and limit their CO2 emissions.
    2) they fly all over the fucking globe, which is basically the most efficient way of putting more CO2 into the atmosphere.
    3) therefore, these scientists do not really believe AG is a serious problem.
    4) therefore these scientists are lying.

    This might also be a reason why the denialist ‘scientists’ sound credible to some people.
    PZ Myers and his ilk don’t put their money where their mouth is. The denialist ‘scientists’ may be in the habit of putting their mouth where their money is, but at least their mouth & money can be found in the same place. To some people, that might mean something.

  52. Lofty says

    You’re not allowed to care about the future of the planet unless you conform to the stereotype of an unwashed hippy living in a hollowed out tree trunk? Good to know.

  53. Thijs Goverde says

    @ lofty
    There’s a bit of a gap between “conform(ing) to the stereotype of an unwashed hippy living in a hollowed out tree trunk” and refraining from making several intercontinental flights each year, you know.

    And of course everyone is allowed to care. But if you’re goning to be vocal on the issue without modifying your own behaviour, well, people are goning to take notice.

  54. mildlymagnificent says

    Whatever we can do, it won’t change anything anymore. That train is long gone.

    We will burn every ounce of oil, gas and coal we can dig out of the ground. We will erode the last primal forests to plant soybeans and wheat. We will harvest fish out of the oceans until the cost of the ship fuel can’t be paid anymore by the revenue of the increasingly scarce protein recourse.

    We will not change ourselves.

    We will not burn all the fossils – we can’t do that because the temperature rise along the way would mean there would be no safe place to live. (A wet-bulb temperature of 35C is pretty well guaranteed to be lethal if it continues for more than a very short while – and we’d get to that on large portions of the globe’s surface long, long before we’d burned the lot.)

    Counsels of despair are counter-productive. Things will be ugly and horrible for much of the world for several decades, maybe a century or more, while we reduce emissions and then start work on reducing concentrations. There will be famines and floods and fires and more than a few wars – but there always have been those. These events will leave a very nasty feeling because people will know that we could have done more and better to avoid them or ameliorate them if we’d been more responsible.

    But. I live in a state that’s managed to go from zero to 30% of its power from wind in about a decade. There are several other places that have done as well or better. If we get our act together, maybe even go onto a near “war footing” we can reduce emissions substantially and quickly.

    Of course, in places outside Europe, we could all do a lot better with housing and transport to reduce consumption – probably by nearly half given European emissions compared to the US, Canada, Australia – without much affecting our standard of living. Improving insulation and other residential modification/ retrofittin is easy to do on a gradual basis. Not so easy to redesign living/ shopping/ working urban design elements, but they can be done. Even city wide cooling like Chicago organised years ago after catastrophic deaths from the 1995 heatwave. And the more we do, the easier it will be to do more.

    And all of this activity is good economics. Most of the work required has to be done on the spot, so the money expended stays within the communities. (Not always and not entirely. Australia’s rapid program for domestic solar installation resulted in boom times for visiting qualified electricians from other countries. It’s worth bearing in mind for design of such programs.)

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And of course everyone is allowed to care. But if you’re goning to be vocal on the issue without modifying your own behaviour, well, people are goning to take notice.

    No, scientist, unlike YOU, understand that the plane is going there anyway. One more passenger doesn’t change anything. The hypocrisy is only in your mind. You sound like a denialist making a fuckwitted point.

  56. Thijs Goverde says

    @ nerd
    Au contraire, some climate scientists, like the guy who wrote this, understand that every ticket bought is a message to the industry: “please keep on flyin’em!”
    Seriously, if you’re intersested in the issue, read the essay. This Anderson fellow expresses thing much better than I can.
    Quite apart form that, PZ was lamenting that “they” ignore the scientists. All I’m saying is that in some repects (their own behaviour) even most scientists ignore the scientists, so what do you expect?

    … But by all means, go on blaming the Koch brothers and other convient non-you-s.

  57. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Thijs Goverde #63

    And of course everyone is allowed to care. But if you’re goning to be vocal on the issue without modifying your own behaviour, well, people are goning to take notice.

    When PZ stopped eating meat, wasn’t one of his stated reasons the environmental impact of the meat farming industry? How much more radical a change do you want before PZ’s eco-friendly credentials are up to scratch?

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Quite apart form that, PZ was lamenting that “they” ignore the scientists. All I’m saying is that in some repects (their own behaviour) even most scientists ignore the scientists, so what do you expect?

    You seriously sound like a guy who expects all those who believe AGW is happening to be the ones to stop traveling, etc, while your denialist idjits pack the government committee testimony with lies and bullshit. PZ walks to work. He doesn’t eat meat. He is doing his part.
    Now, what are YOU doing?
    Cease with the attempts at gottcha, and YOU really do the work to help reduce all emissions.

  59. anteprepro says

    Ah yes. The Planes.

    Average amount of CO2 emitted in a round trip from NY to LA*: 1917 kg per passenger
    Distance traveled: 9000 miles
    Emissions per mile: 342 grams.
    Average rate of CO2 emission for motor vehicles: 8.887 kg per gallon
    Average MPG for motor vehicles: 21
    Emissions per mile: 423 grams.

    *- Factors in extra impact due to altitude. Actual emissions is around 700 kg per passenger.

    To say nothing of the fact that this argument for hypocrisy ignores that scientists are calling for the government to do something entirely because individual action ain’t going to do jack shit when it comes to this problem. But regardless, you might as well accuse scientists of being hypocrites for driving a car.

    Denialist meme is denialist.

    Next thing you know we are going to assured that climate denialists have a point because AAAAAL GOOOOOOORE.

  60. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Thijs,
    Congratualtions on an astoundingly stupid post, even by glibertarian standards. First, this is a global problem that we need to understand. How would you propose it be addressed other than by assembling the globes experts and decision makers on a regular basis.

    Second, most of the climate researchers who travel to these gatherings purchase carbon offsets for the CO2 represented by the trip.

    Third, while air travel is not negligible, it is not the major contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gasses.

    Fourth, most scientists do not travel all that much–they are too busy doing research.

    Fifth, most scientists I know have changed their behavior.

  61. Marc Abian says

    Nerd

    No, scientist, unlike YOU, understand that the plane is going there anyway. One more passenger doesn’t change anything. The hypocrisy is only in your mind. You sound like a denialist making a fuckwitted point.

    Exactly. If the demand decreases, the airlines will not respond in any way. Just like the tides, those planes. Unstoppable.

    Token Breeder

    When PZ stopped eating meat, wasn’t one of his stated reasons the environmental impact of the meat farming industry?

    Nerd

    He doesn’t eat meat. He is doing his part.

    Exactly. Now that the demand has decreased, the producers will respond by raising and slaughtering fewer animals. Just like the tides, the laws of supply and demand. Unstoppable.

    anteprepro

    To say nothing of the fact that this argument for hypocrisy ignores that scientists are calling for the government to do something entirely because individual action ain’t going to do jack shit when it comes to this problem.

    Exactly. Unless the individual action is giving up meat, like PZ.

    —————–

    Anteprepro

    Ah yes. The Planes…

    Kevin Anderson (from the site Thij linked to)

    The opportunity costs, rebound effect, carbon intensity of time, technical and financial lock-in/lock-out, early adoption, role models, diffusion and so on, are all concepts the climate change community are familiar with. Asking emissions questions without direct or indirect recourse to any of these is, in my view, neither responsible nor reasonable…(these dots means go to the site to read about how the time you save by travelling by plane is spent burning more carbon, how the awkwardness of travelling long distances without planes makes one reconsider journeys in the first place and how flying on planes increases the carbon lock in of a transport system which is based heavily on aviation)

    I’m very sympathetic to Anteprepro’s argument. The world most of us live in is set up for a carbon heavily lifestyle. Reducing emissions to a safe level on one’s own would be like opting out from society. Governmental action is essential.
    But the government isn’t forcing anyone to fly to Spain for a week in the sun either. If we mean what we say about every ounce of CO2 you don’t put into the atmosphere saving time, shouldn’t our actions reflect it. Yeah, denialists like to bring up Al Gore. And they’re wrong if they think this changes anything about the science. But they’re right to point out the hypocrisy

  62. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Yubal, Read my #33. It isn’t “game over”. It ‘s a question of how bad we are willing to let things get for our progeny. I do not intend to simply sit by and watch things get worse. The situation is not hopeless. There will be consequences, some of them severe and perhaps catastrophic, but the situation is not hopeless. It is even possible that some visionaries who come up with solutions to the problems we face will get very rich out of the process. Keep moving forward and pushing in the right direction.

  63. Marc Abian says

    The situation is not hopeless.

    Sorry for being ignorant here, but that’s not the impression I’ve been getting.

    Already at .8 we’re seeing consequences. The most trusted models seem to have consistently underestimated the effects we’re seeing. I’ve been just reading non-scientific articles, but there’s talk about unexpected effects on the jet stream, methane melting in the arctic, We seem to be already given up on the 2 degrees goal, less than 2 decades after it was set. Are things really not that bad?

  64. says

    1) if scientists really beleived AGW is a serious problem, they would change their behaviour and limit their CO2 emissions.

    This has got to be the stupidest and most irritating argument in the denialist bag of tricks. No informed person believes that voluntary changes in personal behavior are sufficient to address climate change. It takes collective action to go after the sources of carbon. Hectoring the people who care and telling them that they’re the ones who should change is designed to create the exact opposite outcome. It assumes that no collective action should be considered and that those who don’t care should be allowed to perpetuate the status quo.

  65. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Marc Abian,
    Oh, I did not say things were not bad. Hell they’re still getting worse. I just said that it is not out of the question for us to pull this out. Had we started this 30 years ago, when the evidence was merely overwhelming, I’d be quite confident of our success. As it is, we’ll need to get lucky, perhaps very lucky.

    We are still below the maximum temperature levels of the past 10000 years, so I don’t think that catastrophic effects are imminent. Within the next 20 years or so, the main effects we’ll see will be pressure on our food supplies and increased climate-related disasters. If we can deploy a new, renewable-based energy infrastructure and bring global population under control and keep from trashing the oceans and the aquifers…and if we can then develop technologies that will suck CO2 out of the air and sequester the carbon, we might, just might, leave a world worth living in to our children and grandchildren.

    And if we don’t get off our butts and get lucky…well, I’ll apologize to future generations in advance.

  66. says

    Yeah, denialists like to bring up Al Gore. And they’re wrong if they think this changes anything about the science. But they’re right to point out the hypocrisy.

    No, they’re not. What is the point of alleging hypocrisy if not to commit the ad hominem fallacy?

    More importantly, if Gore believed that the way to combat climate change is to rely on everyone voluntarily reducing their personal emissions (as if that concept even makes sense), then maybe he’d be a hypocrite. But he doesn’t. While he does think people should do that, and he’s carbon-neutral himself (but apparently he didn’t do it fast enough, he has a big house with a pool, or something something) he has long been a proponent of regulatory action, such as cap-and-trade, to reduce emissions. That sort of thing has nothing to do with voluntary lifestyle changes. And that of course is what the denialists are most furiously opposing.

  67. kalirren says

    The point of alleging hypocrisy is to point out the perceived futility of the mitigation effort.

    I think the pro-climate-change-action commuity has historically made a very grevious strategic error. The scientific community established that climate change was real all the way back in 1995, and appropriately put the focus on mitigation back then. But given how the US failure to commit to Kyoto basically led to China’s marriage to coal, the failure of Kyoto should have led to a reevaluation of priorities.

    Since it is now basically given that mitigation is almost certainly going to be too little and too late to avert disastrous climate change, we should have been putting the focus on -adaptation- in the 4AR and afterwards. A focus on regionally relevant adaptation strategies = government contracts = industry support. The failure of the climate change community to produce and publicize adaptation policy agendas relevant to regional policymakers is continuing to cost us too much time and support.

    The push for cap-and-trade around 2007-2009 was really just Goldman Sach’s way of trying to get their cut of the climate pie. For a little while, Big Finance was flirting with the idea of helping environmentalists take on Big Energy, as long as they got to speculate on the resulting carbon market. Then 2008 happened, and COP15 Copenhagen was diplomatically botched, and no progress was made.

    So now that Big Finance seems to be less interested in carbon markets, we won’t be able to take on Big Energy without industry support. Divide and conquer. We must first divide, before we can conquer. For goodness’ sakes, it should be easier to sell adaptation than to sell mitigation! One only needs to recognize that climate change is happening to support adaptation. Those who additionally recognize that climate change is anthropogenic also support the idea that taxes and fees on carbon emissions should fund adaptation (and mitigation) efforts. But by no means should our political coalition be so narrow as it currently is.

  68. raven says

    1) if scientists really beleived AGW is a serious problem, they would change their behaviour and limit their CO2 emissions.

    Amazingly stupid comment. And rather irrelevant.

    1. How do you know they didn’t? You have zero idea.

    2. In point of fact, many of them did change their lifestyle in many ways. Hansen has been arrested a few times for protesting, not exactly what scientists usually spend their days doing.

    3. I do know this for a fact. Among other data, I’m one of them. There are others on this blog, A_ray is one that I know of.

  69. David Marjanović says

    If spent fuel is reprocessed

    You mean breeder reactors? That has been tried several times. Required liquid sodium for cooling and didn’t go anywhere.

    (Not sodium chloride. Not sodium hydroxide. Sodium.)

  70. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Kalirren,
    So how do we mitigate a rapid release of methane from permafrost and clathrates in the Arctic?

    How do we mitigate a collapse of global agriculture even as human population reaches 10 billion people?

    Adaptation only works if the climate continues to support a complex, global civilization.

  71. raven says

    The situation is not hopeless.

    Agreed.

    Even with an adaptation scenario, it isn’t hopeless.

    1. There will be losers with climate change. There were also be winners. Canada, Greenland, and Russia among those.

    2. It will happen slowly by our standards. The latest sea level rises by 2100 are estimated at 30 to 80 cms., lower than the previous 1 to 2 meters.

    This gives us time to deal with whatever happens.

    3. It’s a problem and probably more of a problem than we can even imagine right now. Who predicted hurricane Sandy, the 3 year drought in California, or the failure of the polar vortex?

    It won’t be easy but we humans are resilient and intelligent, sometimes anyway. My ancestors lived through the ice age in Europe with stone age technology.

    We will just keep putting one foot in front of another. Because we don’t have any choice.

  72. dean says

    <While he does think people should do that, and he’s carbon-neutral himself (but apparently he didn’t do it fast enough, he has a big house with a pool, or something something)

    Al Gore’s house is LEED certified and has been since (approximately) 2009 at the latest.

  73. anteprepro says

    The failure of the climate change community to produce and publicize adaptation policy agendas relevant to regional policymakers is continuing to cost us too much time and support…. or goodness’ sakes, it should be easier to sell adaptation than to sell mitigation! One only needs to recognize that climate change is happening to support adaptation. Those who additionally recognize that climate change is anthropogenic also support the idea that taxes and fees on carbon emissions should fund adaptation (and mitigation) efforts. But by no means should our political coalition be so narrow as it currently is.

    I’m glad you found a foul proof way to circumvent denialists, corporatists, and obstructionists of all stripes in order to motivate political action from a country where a significant proportion of the public denies that the problem even exists. Go off and convert denialists with your perfect strategy. We will wait here.

  74. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend, Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    There are 2 reasons to bring up hypocrisy.

    1: Tu quoque: to shoot the messenger as a means to prevent the spread of the message
    2: Ethics enforcement: when the messenger has an individual public identity, pointing out hypocrisy can demonstrate an individual willingness towards lying, dissembling, and/or corruption. Such a demonstration can prevent untrustworthy individuals from being elected or appointed to (new) positions of public trust. This can have a further 2 consequences, either of which could be an ultimate motive of any individual pointing out hypocrisy:
    …2a: Punishing corruption and bad ethics in positions of trust. Here the impact on the hypocrite is the goal. (Note that this is the goal, not necessarily the motivation, which could be vindictive, etc.)
    …2b: Preventing the damage feared by installing untrustworthy people in (new) positions of trust. Here the impact on the public is the goal. (Note that “damage” is in the eye of the beholder)

    That pretty much covers it. Note that 1 is an intrinsically contemptible position: discouraging communication, even if it might have (perceived) positive effects on a certain issue in a certain context ultimately is destructive to society. We depend on open communication. We sabotage communication at our peril.

    So we have to ask: when the behavior of climate scientists is criticized for hypocrisy, is the person criticizing going for 1, 2a, or 2b? 2a must be distinguished from 2b because if 2b, we must ask ourselves whether we agree with the speaker that the effect the speaker seeks to prevent = damage?

    By criticizing Al Gore for having a financial stake in industries that will benefit from efforts to stave off carbon emissions and then for continuing to travel (e.g. to Davos) to speak about GHG effects (e.g. economic) when the locale or the travel schedule then requires air travel is to get Gore coming and going. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, but he believes that an important voice in the right ear can prevent more carbon than can foregoing a ticket to Davos. Not an unreasonable belief, but he’s hammered for hypocrisy anyway. Here the ball is really up in the air: it could come down on 1, 2a, or 2b (preventing the discussion might also prevent some of the same effects that merely keeping certain persons out of decision making authority might prevent, punishing Al Gore may be a side benefit, a negative, or the whole point, depending on the author of the argument).

    So it’s difficult to intrinsically critique this tu quoque vs. Al Gore. But against individual scientists?

    1. This is not generally how the attack is made, and not in this thread. Rarely if ever is the life of a single scientist examined for its consistency since the scientists
    2. Scientists are not decision makers per se. While it’s possible that someone may be a competent scientist yet leave the field to get a job as a decision maker, the anonymity of the attack leaves the only reasonable interpretation that it’s an attack on people doing science. If the person wanted to attack persons holding PhD’s, “PhDs” would be the logical object of the attack, not “Scientists”.
    3. There is no obvious punishment that results or that is advocated for the sin of hypocrisy. While the attacks on Michael Mann might rise to calling for his job (or worse), the argument (such as it is) by the attackers is based on assumptions of his falsifying data and/or results, not the purchase of a pane ticket.

    How about against “scientists” or “climate scientists” generally?
    1. Without evidence of individual wrongdoing, wouldn’t it be wrong for a climate scientist that skypes into conferences to suffer the same fate as one who flies to international conferences monthly? If the punishment would be unethical, then the goal obviously cannot be 2a, the enforcement of ethics.
    2. There is no proposed measure for ensuring that someone who is or was a climate scientist who also bought/buys plane tickets does not end up in decision making authority. Therefore the goal obviously cannot be 2b.

    This leaves us with the only reasonable inference: in shooting these messengers, the goal is to shut down debate, to limit communication on issues of climate.

    Having already determined that goal 1 is a contemptible goal, then unless the form of a charge of hypocrisy deviates from those outlined above (name a scientist and analyze individual behavior in a way that truly reveals whether the scientist is taking action in a way that could reasonably be perceived as minimizing GHGs; or prioritize identification of hypocrisy as a way to identify persons who would then be ineligible for certain positions of trust, identify those positions of trust, and propose a mechanism for ensuring that such a ban is effectively implemented),

    we reasonably conclude that those charging hypocrisy against “scientists” or “climate scientists” are engaged in the contemptible practice of shooting the messenger to shut down communication and debate.

    If you don’t want to be criticized for using contemptible tactics, don’t use contemptible tactics.

  75. brianpansky says

    Just to add my engineering student 2 cents on the issue of electricity source:

    Solar is already perfectly ready to go…except it is competing in a market where fossil fuels are available. If the use of fossil fuels was better regulated, or unavailable, we really wouldn’t have too much problem using solar. Yes, this even includes the supposed “problem” of storing the electricity during the night.

  76. kalirren says

    arids@82:

    I’m using the words “mitigation” and “adaptation” technically, in the sense that the climate change policy community uses them. “Mitigation” = current or future averted reductions in climate-forcing emissions, including GHGs, aerosols, and black carbon. “Adaptation” = everything else, but typically principally thought of in terms of vulnerability/disaster risk reduction, the building of social institutions, and investment in CC-resilient infrastructure.

    Emissions mitigation is the only course of action of which I am aware that might reduce the hazard posed by methane clathrate release. To my knowledge, no geoengineering proposals have been put forth that would attempt to reduce methane half-life in the Arctic atmosphere, and given the lack of infrastructure in that region, that seems like one of the best shots to me (but what do I know?).

    As for reorganizing the global agricultural system, that is adaptation, not mitigation. I fully agree that it must be done, and many nations and sub-national communities are making great advances towards the achievement of food sovereignty. I myself work in food policy.

    anteprepro@85:

    I’m glad you found a foul proof way to circumvent denialists, corporatists, and obstructionists of all stripes in order to motivate political action from a country where a significant proportion of the public denies that the problem even exists. Go off and convert denialists with your perfect strategy. We will wait here.

    No, I haven’t. I simply think that an adaptation-centred strategy as a vehicle for influencing CC policy in the United States has been underexplored. 2 SotU addresses ago, President Obama hinted that he would address domestic adaptation, but he doesn’t seem to have made many salient achievements in that direction. I am currently drafting a letter to my local representative to our state’s climate-change agnostic Farm Bureau. I hope to convince him that by being so noncommittal on climate change, the FB is missing out on a chance to support expansions of crop insurance and capital access programs that would benefit our regions’ farmers. We’ll see what, if anything comes of it. I expect all of the usual resistance.

    But with luck, one organization at a time…

  77. Thijs Goverde says

    @Nerd

    Now, what are YOU doing?

    Write books and do comedy shows on this and related subjects, mainly for children but targeting parents. Plant trees every chance I get. Never fly. Never drive. Eat locally grown food when possible. Vegetarian, also. Isolate. Reuse & recycle. That sort of thing.

    @ Sally strange

    What’s your goal, Thijs? To actually make the effects of climate change slightly less devastating?

    Quite so.

    @antreprepro
    and 342 is not significantly less than 423? Especially over 9000 miles? Not even mentioning non-average cars like hybrids here…

    @ A Ray in Dilbert space
    Carbon offsets are a good start. Now if a scientist with a very public profile were to mention, every time he announces he’s off to Australia or whatever, that he’s purchasing carbon offsets for the trip, might that not take a litle bit of wind out of the denialists sails?

    @ area man

    This has got to be the stupidest and most irritating argument in the denialist bag of tricks.

    And yet they keep making it. Apparently, it means something to them. People communicating about AGW might want to take that into account.

    No informed person believes that voluntary changes in personal behavior are sufficient to address climate change.

    A) We’re not dealing with an audience of overly informed persons here.
    B) voluntary changes in lifstyle are certainly not sufficient. That doesn’t mean they’re not necessary.

    @ raven

    How do you know they didn’t? You have zero idea.

    If a scientist frequently mentions his long-distance plane trips on a well-read blog, I have a better than zero idea, I think.

  78. Thijs Goverde says

    @ Crip Dyke

    There are 2 reasons to bring up hypocrisy.

    Are you sure of that? I think I can come up with a few others.
    Such as
    3) venting one’s frustration at a percieved ally’s counterproductive behaviour.
    and
    4) hoping the alleged hypocrite may see the error of his ways and start walking the talk some more.

    If 4 doesn’t work out, then at least you have 3, which can be a relief at times.

  79. says

    How does haranguing other people about being a hypocrite reduce GHG emissions, Thijs? If you’re an unconvincing asshole, you’re unlikely to succeed in your goal of getting PZ Myers to stop taking plane trips. How much electricity was expended in your quest to be the moral arbiter of other people’s actions?

  80. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    hoping the alleged hypocrite may see the error of his ways and start walking the talk some more.

    Whereas I see your attitude as #1, getting PZ to shut the fuck up.
    Oh, by the way, why should I believe a word you say?
    Many of us do a lot, but given our circumstances can’t make the big changes. For example, when I lived in Dah YooPee in a smaller college town, I could walk everywhere, and once went three months between filling the car with gas. I now live in the exburbs between Chicago and Milwaukee, and walking isn’t feasible or safe. But I live close to work, shop locally, and only need to fill car once every three weeks.

  81. chigau (違う) says

    Thijs Goverde
    So you live somewhere that doesn’t have Winter.
    And you generate your own electricity.
    Yes?

  82. Marc Abian says

    How does haranguing other people about being a hypocrite reduce GHG emissions, Thijs?…How much electricity was expended in your quest to be the moral arbiter of other people’s actions?

    So basically you’re advocating accommodation over confrontation and then suggesting we shouldn’t try to judge other people’s actions from a moral point of view? That’s like the opposite of pharyngula.

  83. chigau (違う) says

    Ináji #94
    Bugger.
    We have sunshine and everything-melted-to-skating-rinks here.
    It’s garbage day tomorrow, getting it to the alley is always fun™.
    Perhaps I’ll have a drink.
    Because that always helps.

  84. chigau (違う) says

    So basically you’re advocating accommodation over confrontation and then suggesting we shouldn’t try to judge other people’s actions from a moral point of view?

    Nope.

  85. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So basically you’re advocating accommodation over confrontation and then suggesting we shouldn’t try to judge other people’s actions from a moral point of view? That’s like the opposite of pharyngula.

    Then you don’t understand Pharyngula. PZ isn’t the problem. The problem is the rethugs at all levels of government pretending nothing will happen. PZ doesn’t travel friviously. There is always a reason, and since he is a professional educator, anything to do with education, like a talk about evolution, is fulfilling his professional requirement for community service. If Pharyngula teaches you anything it should be skepticism and total perspective, not just one ideological viewpoint.

  86. Marc Abian says

    Thijs

    and 342 is not significantly less than 423? Especially over 9000 miles? Not even mentioning non-average cars like hybrids here…

    The 342 was for planes, not cars. Though obviously the figure for cars becomes better than planes when multiple passengers are factored in.

    And yet they keep making it. Apparently, it means something to them. People communicating about AGW might want to take that into account.

    Nah. I think the goal should be to convince the reasonable people, and put climate change in the forefront of the public consciousness. Denialists gonna deny.

  87. Amphiox says

    1) if scientists really beleived AGW is a serious problem, they would change their behaviour and limit their CO2 emissions.

    What makes you think they didn’t.

    But even if an individual tried to limit their emissions the options available to them to do depend on government regulations.

    You can’t go without a car if your city has no infrastructure to support pedestrians. You can’t get a mire fuel-efficient car if such are not available on the market for you to choose. You can’t choose to not fly unless an alternative transportation network is available. The emissions from the power you use in your home depend on the plant that produces the electricity and you can’t change that. You can’t even switch to a different provider unless regulations are in place that let you do so, and enable providers of cleaner energy to even exist to be chosen. You can’t reduce the carbon footprint of the food you buy unless the suppliers are made to disclose where and how that food was produced.

    All this requires lobbying. It means expending electricity to argue on the internet. It means Al Gore and other lobbyists flying across country. It means climate scientists flying to conferences.

    None of this is hypocrisy. It is people realizing that these carbon generating activities are in fact necessary and not doing now guarantees even more emissions in the future.

  88. Marc Abian says

    97

    Nope.

    Thank you for your contribution.

    Nerd 98

    Your response doesn’t really address what you’ve quoted.

    PZ doesn’t travel friviously.

    This is bigger than PZ. And I’m not sure I agree. Anywhere that requires a flight to get to should have someone closer than PZ who is able to give a talk on evolution for the public (though I will concede PZ is very good at that)

    On another note, you said that

    No, scientist, unlike YOU, understand that the plane is going there anyway. One more passenger doesn’t change anything.

    which I don’t agree with, because of the laws of supply and demand, which seemingly you do accept when it comes to other products as you said of PZ

    He doesn’t eat meat. He is doing his part.

  89. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Some folks have no idea on car pooling. Where I work, there are maybe 30 professionals, working the “shift” I do. But we live from 50 miles south to the same west and north (east is Lake Michigan). I simply can’t carpool, as there is no-one to carpool with. And added to this since the Redhead’s stroke is that I need to come home twice a day, on my breaks/lunch, to help her on the commode and feed her. Fortunately, I live a 5-7 minute drive from work.

  90. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is bigger than PZ. And I’m not sure I agree. Anywhere that requires a flight to get to should have someone closer than PZ who is able to give a talk on evolution for the public (though I will concede PZ is very good at that)

    Prove that, and remember PZ’s a draw at these meetings, unlike you, or somebody regional.

    which I don’t agree with,

    Why is YOUR mere view bigger than those of us doing what we can, with the situations we are in. TRUE BELIEVER’s™ are the most tedious self-righteous fuckwits on the planet.

  91. chigau (違う) says

    See, Nerd.
    You should quit your job and grow veggies enough to feed you and Red
    and pay the utility bill with eggs.
    You have chickens, right?

  92. Marc Abian says

    Nerd

    Why is YOUR mere view bigger than those of us doing what we can, with the situations we are in. TRUE BELIEVER’s™ are the most tedious self-righteous fuckwits on the planet.

    Sorry, but I have no idea how this is a cromulent response to us disagreeing if less planes will fly if less people buy tickets.

  93. Marc Abian says

    Area Man 78

    No, they’re not. What is the point of alleging hypocrisy if not to commit the ad hominem fallacy?

    I find to explain why I don’t like hypocrisy. It’s just wrong to me. If you don’t share that view then I won’t be the one to convince you. When something upsets that innate sense of right, then you just want to call it out. So I think it’s right to call it out, but it can be done with an ulterior motive which itself is wrong.

    Not being an avid stalker of Gore, I’m glad to learn from your post that he is carbon neutral.

  94. Marc Abian says

    106 should say fewer instead of less.

    107 should say I find it hard to explain

    Sloppy, will do better.
    I’m going to bed now; if I stay up I’ll find to make less mistakes with future posts.

  95. Maureen Brian says

    Thijs Goverde @ 60.

    May I respectfully suggest you have no idea what you are talking about? We know from tales he has told and little movies he has put up that PZ lives less than 200 metres from his office. We know that he walks about town – it is a small town. We also know, as he told us, that the rail line through the town no longer takes passengers because no-one could be arsed to maintain it in a safe state for humans. If he could he’d be making some journeys by train or are you now blaming him for failing invest in the infrastructure?

    If you were to look elsewhere on this blog you’d see – posted today – a video about that university’s work on green energy and sustainable living. I suspect you would prefer to be wrong on all the facts and maintain that sense of moral superiority than to work out that Prof Myers saves up all the carbon emissions he does not make so that he can take a few journeys by plane.

    How do you compare to that yourself?

  96. says

    @81:

    You mean breeder reactors? That has been tried several times. Required liquid sodium for cooling and didn’t go anywhere.

    No, I mean spent fuel reprocessing. It’s commonly used in the nuclear industry outside of the United States, so it’s not some new hopeful technology, it’s been in use for decades. It’s not used in the US primarily because virgin uranium is much cheaper and for political reasons. But if for some reason we decided to go full-on nuclear and uranium prices shot up, reprocessing could provide us with at least a few centuries of fuel.

  97. says

    @89:

    And yet they keep making it. Apparently, it means something to them. People communicating about AGW might want to take that into account.

    They make all kinds of stupid arguments. The correct response to a stupid argument is not to treat it as if it were valid and play defense, it’s to dismiss it as the contemptible nonsense it is.

    B) voluntary changes in lifstyle are certainly not sufficient. That doesn’t mean they’re not necessary.

    Actually, they are unnecessary. If you put a price on carbon and make people pay for the costs they create, then fossil fuels will become too expensive and alternatives will capture all the market share. I guess you could call that “voluntary” in the sense that it’s just market forces at work, but it’s not voluntary in the sense of expecting only the people who care to stop emitting carbon. Or for Al Gore to stop flying on airplanes.

  98. says

    @101:

    This is bigger than PZ. And I’m not sure I agree. Anywhere that requires a flight to get to should have someone closer than PZ who is able to give a talk on evolution for the public (though I will concede PZ is very good at that)

    The proper way to pay for the carbon emissions of a plane trip is not for PZ to never leave his home. It’s to slap a tax on the fuel which PZ then pays for through increased ticket prices. He can then decide whether the extra cost is worth it or not.

    The former method is not only completely ineffectual at reducing carbon emissions, it’s also unjust. It requires only the people who care to make the sacrifice while others pay nothing and are actually encouraged to use more through lower prices brought about by reduced demand.

    So can we please stop pretending that people who care about climate change but don’t live in caves and eat tofu are hypocrites? It’s an idiotic argument on multiple levels. The real hypocrites are the people who claim to favor a free market but refuse to pay for the costs they create.

  99. Thijs Goverde says

    @ my own post: ‘isolate’ should read ‘insulate’. So sorry. English is my second language.

    @ nerd

    Whereas I see your attitude as #1, getting PZ to shut the fuck up.

    I am sorry I gave that impression. Would you care to explain what statement of mine created it? Like I just said, English is my second language, and I may have missed some subtle undercurrents of meaning in my own statements.

    Oh, by the way, why should I believe a word you say?

    I have no reason to lie to you. Any reason I can give you for believing me will be constructed in words I say, so if you start by assuming bad faith on my part, there’s no way out of that. Whether or not you believe anyone is up to you.

    @Marc Albian

    The 342 was for planes, not cars.

    You’re quite right, my bad. Good thing PZ isn’t making his journeys by car, then!

    @Amphiox

    All this requires lobbying. It means expending electricity to argue on the internet. It means Al Gore and other lobbyists flying across country. It means climate scientists flying to conferences.

    You still have a railway infrastucture of sorts, I think? If conferences and lobby work are important enough to take the time you need to get there by train, well, you go by train. If not, well, how important are they, exactly?

    @area man

    If you put a price on carbon and make people pay for the costs they create, then fossil fuels will become too expensive and alternatives will capture all the market share.

    If you put a price on it, yes, well, nobody’s done that for the past 25 years, have they? Time to start leading by example, says I.

  100. Ichthyic says

    If not, well, how important are they, exactly?

    please tell me this is not meant seriously.

    if not. don’t tell me. I don’t care to read things from complete idiots.

  101. Ichthyic says

    So can we please stop pretending that people who care about climate change but don’t live in caves and eat tofu are hypocrites?

    no, because there are very stupid people who simply will never understand what the word “hypocrisy” even means.

    just slap them, and move on.

  102. caseloweraz says

    David Marjanovic (#81): You mean breeder reactors? That has been tried several times. Required liquid sodium for cooling and didn’t go anywhere.

    The reasons we don’t have working breeder reactors today (we meaning the U.S.) are more complex than your comment implies. Without getting into a lot of technical detail, the reason the Fermi reactor outside of Detroit failed was bits of debris that blocked some of the sodium cooling channels. Yes, molten sodium can be nasty stuff. But if the reactor is well-designed, it won’t be a problem.

    Then there was the molten-salt reactor that ran successfully for months at Oak Ridge back in the 1960s, using thorium as fuel. The fact that we don’t have thorium reactors today owes more to politics and personal rivalry than to technical defects.

    There was a commercial gas-cooled reactor at Fort St. Vrain in Colorado, more efficient than the conventional reactors we have now. But, like Fermi, it was doomed by specific design flaws that made it unprofitable to run. It was decommissioned and replaced by a power plant using natural gas.

    I want to make two points: that nuclear power should be a part of our future energy strategy; and that reactor designs exist which ought to be safe enough — if we ever get around to building and testing prototypes.

  103. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You still have a railway infrastucture of sorts, I think? If conferences and lobby work are important enough to take the time you need to get there by train, well, you go by train. If not, well, how important are they, exactly?

    Gee, another European with their great rail system thinking that it applies to the US. Other than the northeast corridor, rail isn’t very feasible in the US, and the vast distances makes it so that it takes almost a week to cross the country.

  104. Anri says

    Thijs Goverde @ 60:

    …and if judges really wanted quiet in the courtroom, they’d never make noise by using a gavel.

    *GENIUS*

  105. says

    3 – 4 days to go across the country by train right now (I went from NY to Seattle a few years ago). We could probably get it down to 1 if we invested in high speed rail. Definitely less than 2. But investing in high speed rail requires lobbying Congress, which requires at least one or two trips to Washington most likely, and the infrastructure doesn’t exist right now… so, I guess according to Thijs, it’s not worth bothering.

  106. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I find that many people not from the US are unaware of how big the country is.

    One of the larger cities on the Eastern seaboard is the national capital, Washington, D.C. One of the larger cities on the Western seaboard is the city of Los Angeles, California. One could easily come up with a large number of reasons why someone in one city would need to visit the other.

    According to Google Maps, D.C. and L.A. are 4296 km apart by road, and it calculates the fastest driving route as taking 38 hours.

    Google informs me that London, U.K. is 4296 km from Dipayal, which is in western Nepal. I offer this datum as a bit of perspective.

    If one were to take the train it would – assuming no delays – take 2 days, 20 hours.

    With high-speed rail, the transit time across the continent could probably drop by at least half. We don’t have high-speed rail outside of the Northeast Corridor, and Amtrak is notorious for delays.

    FWIW, a direct flight from the Washington (Dulles) airport to the Los Angeles airport would – gate to gate – take about 5 hours.

    There is a reason Americans who travel across the country fly. Traveling otherwise is frequently impractical.