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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:47 PM

Grantham To Climate Scientists: ‘Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (If Necessary)’

Source: Think Progress

I have yet to meet a climate scientist who does not believe that global warming is a worse problem than they thought a few years ago. The seriousness of this change is not appreciated by politicians and the public.
Uber-hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham has a must-read opinion piece in the journal Nature.Grantham is cofounder and Chief Investment Strategist of GMO (with some $100 billion in assets) — a self-described “die hard contrarian.” He is also one of the few leading financial figures who gets both global warming and growing food insecurity, two cornerstones of Climate Progress analysis. See Grantham’s piece “Welcome to Dystopia,” which explains in detail that “We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse.”

Grantham’s key message to the readership of one of the world’s leading science journals is that humanity is headed pell-mell towards disaster, and scientists must speak out more:
President Barack Obama missed the chance of a lifetime to get a climate bill passed, and his great environmental and energy scientists John Holdren and Steven Chu went missing in action. Scientists are understandably protective of the dignity of science and are horrified by publicity and overstatement. These fears, unfortunately, are not shared by their opponents, which makes for a rather painful one-sided battle. Overstatement may generally be dangerous in science (it certainly is for careers) but for climate change, uniquely, understatement is even riskier and therefore, arguably, unethical.
It is crucial that scientists take more career risks and sound a more realistic, more desperate, note on the global-warming problem. Younger scientists are obsessed by thoughts of tenure, so it is probably up to older, senior and retired scientists to do the heavy lifting. Be arrested if necessary. This is not only the crisis of your lives — it is also the crisis of our species’ existence. I implore you to be brave.


Here’s Grantham summarizing the dangerous path humanity is now on:
Then there is the impending shortage of two fertilizers: phosphorus (phosphate) and potassium (potash). These two elements cannot be made, cannot be substituted, are necessary to grow all life forms, and are mined and depleted. It’s a scary set of statements….
What happens when these fertilizers run out is a question I can’t get satisfactorily answered and, believe me, I have
tried. There seems to be only one conclusion: their use must be drastically reduced in the next 20–40 years or we will begin to starve.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/11/18/1210111/grantham-to-climate-scientists-be-persuasive-be-brave-be-arrested-if-necessary/

5 replies, 1554 views

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Reply Grantham To Climate Scientists: ‘Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (If Necessary)’ (Original post)
octoberlib Nov 2012 OP
caraher Nov 2012 #1
bananas Nov 2012 #4
caraher Nov 2012 #5
Bigmack Nov 2012 #2
Overseas Nov 2012 #3

Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 02:51 PM

1. So let me get this straight...

A hedge-fund manager is calling on scientists to start throwing their weight around because... to date they've not yet seriously exerted their vast influence on policy? Unlike those poor finance types, who have nothing but their weak voices and a lonely vote at the polls to throw into the breach.

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Response to caraher (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:41 PM

4. Read the article and follow the embedded links

He is also one of the few leading financial figures who gets both global warming and growing food insecurity, two cornerstones of Climate Progress analysis. See Grantham’s piece “Welcome to Dystopia,” which explains in detail that “We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse.”


I'm glad Joe Romm's blog is now considered a valid LBN source.
It's one of the most important news sources there is.

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Response to bananas (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:55 PM

5. I skimmed some of those

On one hand, I agree that getting scientists engaged outside their profession is important. And a some of that is already happening; Hansen was among the many people arrested protesting Keystone XL, for instance.

But it's not clear to me how scientists can have the greatest impact. I think what matters as far as getting arrested is having lots of people doing it, and there just aren't that many climate scientists. And many people who most need to be reached will tend to be dismissive of some of the activism Grantham encourages.

Grantham is right that scientists need to do something different that goes beyond plying their trade, but the social science research on how to get the message through to those not now receptive to it suggests strategies that strike me as different from being more passionate in addressing the public or engaging in direct action. One effective method of breaking through barriers is picking a trusted messenger - for AGW deniers this would mean a Newt Gingrich rather than Al Gore. Another is framing stories about problems in terms of solutions they might favor. One study showed that a fake news story spun as "fighting global warming will require more nuclear power plants" results in a greater number of right-wing readers that agreeing climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed seriously, than an otherwise identical story calling instead for more wind and solar.

Now if hedge fund managers were getting arrested en masse calling for climate action, that would REALLY create a stir!

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 04:51 PM

2. K&R nt

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 04:55 PM

3. I hope Grantham is actively trying to shut down commodity speculation too then. How cruel if,

knowing climate change is causing food shortages worldwide, he remains silent about the effect of commodity speculation on food prices.

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