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AverageJoe90

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Member since: Tue Jun 28, 2011, 06:03 PM
Number of posts: 7,493

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Other Voices: Earth Institute’s Steven Cohen Seeks a Post-Hysterical Approach to Climate Progress.

Found this excellent piece by Andrew Revkin on DotEarth:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/earth-institutes-steven-cohen-seeks-a-post-hysterical-approach-to-climate-progress/?module=BlogPost-ReadMore&version=Blog%20Main&action=Click&contentCollection=Climate%20Change&pgtype=Blogs®ion=Body#more-51943

I encourage you to read “Facing the Climate Crisis without Hysteria,” the latest Huffington Post piece by Steven A. Cohen, who is the executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and whose career, including long stints at the Environmental Protection Agency, has given him an excellent vantage point on the mix of regulation, motivation, prosperity and innovation that drives environmental progress.

The piece appropriately decries caricatured, baseless attacks on climate science by conservative ideologues and those seeking to delay a shift away from fossil fuels. But Cohen also criticizes climate campaigners and some in the media for responding with oversimplified predictions of environmental doom. Here’s an excerpt and link, with some more background on Cohen:

I think the questioning of science by the American right wing and the political assaults funded by their rich benefactors are proving to be a distraction to those interested in moving the planet to a path of sustainable economic growth. It is turning analysts into advocates and advocates into hysterics. The IPCC report focused a great deal of attention on solutions, but the media accounts of the report focused on the possibility of food shortages. Here we go again: Chicken Little’s sky is falling in. Climate and ecological impacts are creating deep problems in agriculture. While there is no question that these are real problems, as in the past these will likely be addressed by new technologies and new techniques that will overcome the problems we now face.

The glass is either half empty or half full. I choose to believe it is half full. The history of the technological age we are in is that technology both creates unforeseen problems and then sets about solving them. My bet is on human ingenuity. Maybe the U.S. federal government was not capable of building a website to handle the traffic generated by the Obamacare deadline, but Amazon’s website copes pretty well with the massive traffic it generates in the days before Christmas. Maybe we can’t stop the sea waters from rising, but we can place our utility rooms on the second floor instead of the basement. As for agriculture and the food supply, it is always a bad idea to bet against the technology of food production.

I suspect we will survive, because we are not suicidal.

Like many, I’m sure, I’ve been much more familiar with the climate and energy policy preferences of Jeffrey Sachs, the institute’s director. The best recent representation of Sachs’s views is the paper he and others co-authored with James E. Hansen, the longtime NASA climate scientist who now has a climate policy position at Columbia, in which they build on Hansen’s longstanding call for a rising price on carbon.

To capture the full scope of thinking on this question, I think it’s important to consider Cohen’s ideas, too.


This is probably one of the most balanced climate science blogs out there, on a proverbial 'Net soup full of denialism and skeptics, even if some may be genuine, and with a fair share of needless pessimism and outright doomerism as the froth on top.

A dangerous severe weather outbreak may be underway in the Midwest today(High Risk, SPC).

Hey fellas. I've been looking at this setup for a while and it appears the Storm Prediction Center is starting to get a little cpncerned about the severe weather setup today. There is now a High Risk area including not only virtually the whole state of Indiana, but a good chunk of Ill. and western Ohio as well; the Moderate Risk area goes up thru most of the southern half of Lower Michigan, back out west to St. Louis and all the way out east as far as Buffalo, N.Y. and the Erie, Pa. area.

They were discussing the possibility of at least a few strong tornadoes as well as a widespread damaging wind(derecho?) event last night. Here's the Public Weather Outlook:

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/pwo.html

ZCZC SPCPWOSPC ALL
WOUS40 KWNS 171639
ILZ000-INZ000-MIZ000-OHZ000-180200-

PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1039 AM CST SUN NOV 17 2013

...OUTBREAK OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS OVER PARTS OF THE OHIO AND
MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY REGION AND SOUTHERN GREAT LAKES REGION FOR
THE REMAINDER OF TODAY INTO TONIGHT...

The NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK is forecasting an
outbreak of severe thunderstorms, including strong tornadoes,
widespread damaging winds, and large hail, over parts of the Ohio
and middle Mississippi Valley region and southern Great Lakes region
for the remainder of today into tonight.

The areas most likely to experience this activity include:

eastern Illinois
Indiana
southern Lower Michigan
western Ohio

Elsewhere, severe storms are also possible from parts of Wisconsin,
Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee
northeastward across much of the Appalachians to the lower Great
Lakes and southern New England.

Numerous fast-moving thunderstorms, capable of producing strong
tornadoes along with widespread damaging winds and large hail, will
move across portions of the middle Mississippi and Ohio Valley
region and the southern Great Lakes region for the remainder of
today into this evening. Damaging winds will remain a concern as
storms move across the Appalachians and portions of the Northeast
tonight, while severe storms will also be possible this afternoon
into tonight across parts of the Tennessee and lower Mississippi
Valleys.

State and local emergency managers are monitoring this potentially
very dangerous situation. Those in the threatened area are urged to
review severe weather safety rules and to listen to radio,
television, and NOAA Weather Radio for possible watches, warnings,
and statements later today.

..Cohen.. 11/17/2013


Scary stuff. Tornado warnings already out for parts for Ill. and Ind. and it's not even noon yet.....

Stay safe, everybody. It looks like this could be possibly as bad as the 11/9/02 event or even May 31st of this year, possibly.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev had right-wing extremist literature

Source: BBC News, Washington

One of the brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings was in possession of right-wing American literature in the run-up to the attack, BBC Panorama has learnt.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev subscribed to publications espousing white supremacy and government conspiracy theories.

He also had reading material on mass killings.

Until now the Tsarnaev brothers were widely perceived as just self-styled radical jihadists.

Panorama has spent months speaking exclusively with friends of the bombers to try to understand the roots of their radicalisation.'

'Government conspiracies'

The programme discovered that Tamerlan Tsarnaev possessed articles which argued that both 9/11 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing were government conspiracies.

Another in his possession was about "the rape of our gun rights".

Reading material he had about white supremacy commented that "Hitler had a point".

Tamerlan Tsarnaev also had literature which explored what motivated mass killings and noted how the perpetrators murdered and maimed calmly.

There was also material about US drones killing civilians, and about the plight of those still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23541341



Just found this via another site.....you remember the speculation that went around in the days right after the Boston bombings about possible far-rightist motivation? Well, it looks like it may very well have had some truth to it, after all.....gotta wonder how much deeper the rabbit hole goes, TBH.
Posted by AverageJoe90 | Mon Aug 5, 2013, 09:39 PM (4 replies)

Andy Revkin: An Earth Scientist Explores the Biggest Climate Threat: Fear

Andy Revkin posted this op-ed piece by Peter B. Kelemen last week, and I thought I'd show it to you.

Here’s a “Your Dot” contribution pushing back against apocalyptic depictions of the collision between humans and the climate system — written by Peter B. Kelemen, the Arthur D. Storke Professor and vice chair in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. Kelemen has done a lot of interesting work on possible ways to capture carbon dioxide from air (none being easy or cheap):

Fear Itself

“We already know it is too late to reverse the planet’s transformation, and we know what is going to happen next – superstorms, super-droughts, super-pandemics, massive population displacement, water scarcity, desertification and all the rest. Massive destruction, displacement and despair. Our worst fears are already upon us. The reality is far worse than anyone has imagined.”

These phrases are distilled from “Writing at the End,” an essay by Nathaniel Rich in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. They capture its doomsday ethos, and its breathtaking certainty. Rich, a novelist, is sure he knows the causes of our present ills, and the nature of the near future. He probably feels that he learned this from the 98 percent of climate scientists who – famously – agree on some things. I am part of that community; we agree that human greenhouse gas emissions are having a huge, negative effect on global climate. But I don’t agree with Nathaniel Rich.

Apocalyptic warnings sell newspapers, power Web sites, and are surprisingly good for marketing. Beyond the media, in the sciences and social sciences, if your research predicts a scary outcome, your name gets in the news, your grants get funded, and you feel like Paul Revere (though you might be Chicken Little). It’s a heady experience.

Meanwhile, my children are fearful of, and almost paralyzed by, the prospect of an inevitable, dystopian future. They would like to contribute to avoiding calamity, but they don’t see where to start, and they are told it is too late to begin. And my children are lucky, in a stable home, among the 3 percent, talented, athletic, well educated. In the face of an overarching climate of fear, people with less opportunity find there is nothing they can do to help avoid “destruction, displacement and despair.”

However, climate catastrophe is not inevitable, let alone irreversible. Of course, it could happen. It is logical to expect that, as atmospheric greenhouse gases increase and the world warms up, the extra energy in the atmosphere and oceans will move things around in unusual ways for which we are not prepared. The costs will likely be very high. We should work to avoid this, for simple, practical reasons. Avoiding emissions now will be far less expensive than capturing carbon dioxide from air in the future. But.....our mistakes are correctable, and there is plenty of reason for optimism about what people can accomplish in the face of necessity.....


And here's a little something from the end(emphasis mine):

This belief discourages constructive action, and can result in irrational acts by people in despair, individually, or as nations, willing to do anything to derail the juggernaut we are told is carrying us, inevitably, to destruction. Unlike environmental problems, it is less clear to me how we change this. But at least, those of us in science, social science and the media can seek to craft solutions and enlist engagement, rather than feeding fear. With hope comes action.


Good piece.
Posted by AverageJoe90 | Fri May 3, 2013, 12:58 AM (0 replies)

Climate change models predict remarkably accurate results

Source: The Guardian

Forecasts of global temperature rises over the past 15 years have proved remarkably accurate, new analysis of scientists’ modelling of climate change shows.

The debate around the accuracy of climate modelling and forecasting has been especially intense recently, due to suggestions that forecasts have exaggerated the warming observed so far – and therefore also the level warming that can be expected in the future. But the new research casts serious doubts on these claims, and should give a boost to confidence in scientific predictions of climate change.

The paper, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature Geoscience, explores the performance of a climate forecast based on data up to 1996 by comparing it with the actual temperatures observed since. The results show that scientists accurately predicted the warming experienced in the past decade, relative to the decade to 1996, to within a few hundredths of a degree.

The forecast, published in 1999 by Myles Allen and colleagues at Oxford University, was one of the first to combine complex computer simulations of the climate system with adjustments based on historical observations to produce both a most likely global mean warming and a range of uncertainty. It predicted that the decade ending in December 2012 would be a quarter of degree warmer than the decade ending in August 1996 – and this proved almost precisely correct.



Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/27/climate-change-models-predict-remarkably-accurate-results/



Once again, the IPCC has proven to be largely correct in their findings & projections, as usual. Unfortunately, though, there's likely plenty of climate contrarians crying foul, as usual. And it's not just the deniers, either, by the way. We have doomer contrarians right here on this very website who keep promoting their own types of unsubstantiatable claims, which sometimes has as much twisting, misinterpreting, lack of understanding, willful ignorance, laziness, and/or even outright bullshitting put into it as their opposite numbers from people such as Monckton, Christy, et al., an example of which can be seen here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112739583

(Edit: Thanks for all the recs, ladies and gentlemen. Unfortunately, it seems that a certain few of our resident contrarians have dedicated their time to spamming this thread. They just can't stand being wrong.)

Riding The Rubicon: The Doomer's Curse.

I've been finding a lot of good stuff on the 'Net lately, and this piece is no exception. Though originally about the BP disaster, it's a piece that can apply to doomsday proponents, wannabe prophets/Cassandras, particularly Climate Change and Peak Oil doomers(but also in general).....and coming from a guy who admits his own tendency to lean in that direction.

Here's the link: http://ridingtherubicon.blogspot.com/2010/06/doomers-curse.html

Probably one of the best pieces I've read in a long time on this subject.

Edit: I apologize for removing the excerpt, but Skinner informed that I'd breached the Forum's copyright rules, because it was too long. I assure you that this was NOT intentional and I have since removed the whole thing, which hopefully, rectified the mistake.

Great Yale Climate Forum post from 2011: Is Climate Fatigue setting in?

Happened across this article at the Y.C.M.F. and thought I'd share it. I realize it's kinda old, but there's some important points to be made.

http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2011/10/is-climate-fatigue-setting-in/

Responding in The Washington Post, Brad Plumer writes that, “it’s a complex, multi-layered story.” But the two biggest factors, he suggests, are the recession and the Senate’s institutional procedures, which prevented a simple majority vote in 2010 on cap-and-trade legislation.

Joe Romm, however, sees “collapsing media coverage” of climate change as a major reason for the erosion in public concern. A larger media failing was also the central argument that former Vice President Al Gore made in his Rolling Stone essay earlier this year. But a number of leading social scientists who study the media and climate change intersection don’t agree with this take. For example, in a recent interview, Stanford’s Jon Krosnick said,

“According to our national surveys, large majorities of Americans have believed that climate change is real and human-caused, will have undesirable consequences, and merits substantial government action to address it. These majorities rose a little in the years preceding 2007 and fell a bit in the years after, but the majorities remain large … I’d say the news media have paid plenty of attention to the climate science, but truth be told, that science is now an ‘old story,’ one the media have told many, many times before. It’s understandable, therefore, that every new climate study is not at the top of the front page of every newspaper in the country.”

Krosnicks’s observation that climate science has become an “old story” is worth noting: The doom element to many stories likely contributes to public fatigue with climate change.....


Sadly, I would have to go farther and say that doom-and-gloom type stuff might just be one of the biggest causes, if not the primary cause, of climate fatigue.....and in fact, I'm far from the only one out there who thinks it's bloody obvious. The sad truth is, we've had a complete and total messaging failure over the past 10 years; who wants to wake up to global warming, when most of what they hear is doomsday predictions and Chicken Little type fearmongering(yes, Guy McPherson, I'm looking at you)? Pretty much nobody, unfortunately.

I blame the mass media heads for most of our problems; the truth is, it isn't just the denier spin they're putting out there; every once in a while, they'll slip in a "doomsday" article, too, to try to disengenously fool us into thinking that they DO care about ACC issues.....when they really don't.
Posted by AverageJoe90 | Wed Mar 6, 2013, 03:09 AM (1 replies)

James Wells: The Ringwraiths of Despair. (x-post from GD)

Hello, fellow DUers,

I've been finding a lot of good material on DailyKos lately concerning climate change; this particular article by James Wells illustrates the desperation of climate deniers, and their shift in tactics from "It's not happening/not bad" to the likes of, "We cannot stop it.", "Renewables are a failure no matter what.", etc.(and unfortunately, some of our resident "doomers", it seems, have fallen quite hard for the latter two things.). BTW, if you're a Tolkien fan, you'll love the many references he drops to TLoTR.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/14/1185744/-Forward-on-Climate-The-Ringwraiths-of-Despair

When the Ringwraiths arrived on any scene, they always brought their most powerful weapon. It wasn’t their swords, nor the fell flying beasts they rode. It was despair. Wherever the Nazgul went, hope fled.

Here, late in the Fourth Age, the Nazgul have returned, no longer only nine in number. You can recognize them by a clear signature: Their insistence that nothing can be done.

At last our country appears to be gaining some awareness of the climate crisis that has already arrived, and will worsen in the years to come. Since it’s getting tougher for the deniers to deny the facts that are singing outside our windows, now we are seeing a big wave of stirring calls to inaction: It’s going to happen no matter what, so there’s no reason to even try to do anything.

The arrival of swarms of Nazgul is actually great news, because it means that deniers are running out of other options. Outright denial has allowed them to delay effective climate action for years, but it won't work any more. If their main remaining argument is "There's nothing you can do", then this creates the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the many positive climate solutions that are already happening, and new ones that are arriving on the wings of the eagles every day.


Of course, it’s always been in the denier playbook to create a feeling of futility. Take for instance the so-called Jevons Paradox, which states that increased efficiency will result in increased usage, undoing any gains from the efficiency. The purveyors of despair often reach for this one, because it purports to show that energy efficiency standards, or mileage standards, are futile.

Woo hoo! My mileage is so good, I think I’ll go drive another hundred miles today! I don’t think so. If you really need the hard core debunking, it's at the Climate Progress link above. This one should be called the Jarnevon Paradox, after the planet on which this theory might have originated.

To see why this matters, it’s worth looking at the layers of climate denial. Similar to the Four Dogs defense used by tobacco lawyers and other polluters, climate deniers wear layers to ward off the weather of the facts. When a layer gets peeled away by the truth, they move back to the next one. “It’s not happening.” Oops, it’s happening! Ok, “It’s not caused by humans.” Hmm. Let’s move back to “But it’s not a bad thing.”
Then came Sandy.

For a denier, if you’re down to “There’s nothing you can do,” it means that you’re running out of layers. In fact, the only layer behind this one is "Squirrel!" That very last layer, also known as “Al Gore sold out to Al Jazeera!”, is time tested and should not be underestimated, but is much less effective when it’s all they have left.

So when the Nazgul are swirling around saying “There’s Nothing You Can Do,” it means they have been recalled to defend Barad Dur. This unleashes all of us to answer that last desperate attack: we can show all of the great things that we can do, and are doing.





Defeating the Ringwraiths of Despair

We can apply tough emission standards to existing coal burning power plants, and then use the EPA Endangerment Finding to reduce emissions from the most egregious other GHG sources. We can set a carbon tax and put some of the proceeds toward clean energy. Leading public figures can keep climate change in the center of national conversation, as President Obama has begun in his inaugural address and State of the Union.

As individuals and communities, the sky is the limit. We can reduce the energy and materials that we use, recycle the materials that come our way at a very high percentage, and use recycled materials. We can turn away from factory food. We can support great local and regional organizations that devote every working day to creating climate-friendly solutions. We can push our communities to expand transit, recycling, and other services that preserve our climate. We can live like hobbits, cherishing the simple things that make life special.

Each of us can spread the word on climate change and positive solutions, in person, in lights, online, or even on a first date. We can share information about the beauty and importance of places that must be protected. We can help get out the vote for real climate hawks. We must be willing to change, and to help others not to fear change.

Our Future - Worth Saving


And there you have it. Some real hope for the future.

James Wells: The Ringwraiths of Despair

I've been finding a lot of good material on DailyKos lately concerning climate change; this particular article by James Wells illustrates the desperation of climate deniers, and their shift in tactics from "It's not happening/not bad" to the likes of, "We cannot stop it.", "Renewables are a failure no matter what.", etc.(and unfortunately, some of our resident "doomers", it seems, have fallen quite hard for the latter two things.). BTW, if you're a Tolkien fan, you'll love the many references he drops to TLoTR.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/14/1185744/-Forward-on-Climate-The-Ringwraiths-of-Despair

When the Ringwraiths arrived on any scene, they always brought their most powerful weapon. It wasn’t their swords, nor the fell flying beasts they rode. It was despair. Wherever the Nazgul went, hope fled.

Here, late in the Fourth Age, the Nazgul have returned, no longer only nine in number. You can recognize them by a clear signature: Their insistence that nothing can be done.

At last our country appears to be gaining some awareness of the climate crisis that has already arrived, and will worsen in the years to come. Since it’s getting tougher for the deniers to deny the facts that are singing outside our windows, now we are seeing a big wave of stirring calls to inaction: It’s going to happen no matter what, so there’s no reason to even try to do anything.

The arrival of swarms of Nazgul is actually great news, because it means that deniers are running out of other options. Outright denial has allowed them to delay effective climate action for years, but it won't work any more. If their main remaining argument is "There's nothing you can do", then this creates the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the many positive climate solutions that are already happening, and new ones that are arriving on the wings of the eagles every day.


Of course, it’s always been in the denier playbook to create a feeling of futility. Take for instance the so-called Jevons Paradox, which states that increased efficiency will result in increased usage, undoing any gains from the efficiency. The purveyors of despair often reach for this one, because it purports to show that energy efficiency standards, or mileage standards, are futile.

Woo hoo! My mileage is so good, I think I’ll go drive another hundred miles today! I don’t think so. If you really need the hard core debunking, it's at the Climate Progress link above. This one should be called the Jarnevon Paradox, after the planet on which this theory might have originated.

To see why this matters, it’s worth looking at the layers of climate denial. Similar to the Four Dogs defense used by tobacco lawyers and other polluters, climate deniers wear layers to ward off the weather of the facts. When a layer gets peeled away by the truth, they move back to the next one. “It’s not happening.” Oops, it’s happening! Ok, “It’s not caused by humans.” Hmm. Let’s move back to “But it’s not a bad thing.”
Then came Sandy.

For a denier, if you’re down to “There’s nothing you can do,” it means that you’re running out of layers. In fact, the only layer behind this one is "Squirrel!" That very last layer, also known as “Al Gore sold out to Al Jazeera!”, is time tested and should not be underestimated, but is much less effective when it’s all they have left.

So when the Nazgul are swirling around saying “There’s Nothing You Can Do,” it means they have been recalled to defend Barad Dur. This unleashes all of us to answer that last desperate attack: we can show all of the great things that we can do, and are doing.





Defeating the Ringwraiths of Despair

We can apply tough emission standards to existing coal burning power plants, and then use the EPA Endangerment Finding to reduce emissions from the most egregious other GHG sources. We can set a carbon tax and put some of the proceeds toward clean energy. Leading public figures can keep climate change in the center of national conversation, as President Obama has begun in his inaugural address and State of the Union.

As individuals and communities, the sky is the limit. We can reduce the energy and materials that we use, recycle the materials that come our way at a very high percentage, and use recycled materials. We can turn away from factory food. We can support great local and regional organizations that devote every working day to creating climate-friendly solutions. We can push our communities to expand transit, recycling, and other services that preserve our climate. We can live like hobbits, cherishing the simple things that make life special.

Each of us can spread the word on climate change and positive solutions, in person, in lights, online, or even on a first date. We can share information about the beauty and importance of places that must be protected. We can help get out the vote for real climate hawks. We must be willing to change, and to help others not to fear change.

Our Future - Worth Saving


And there you have it. Some real hope for the future.

Dr. Cara Barker's Love Project: Quilts for the Siblings of Sandy Hook Victims

Thought I'd share this heartwarming story with you guys.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/22/1189185/-Dr-Cara-Barker-s-Love-Project-Quilts-for-the-Siblings-of-Sandy-Hook-Victims

The massacre of children at Sandy Hook shocked the whole country. Dr. Cara Barker is leading a project to send love to the brothers and sisters of children who perished in that tragedy. She's organizing an effort to deliver lap throw sized quilts to them on the first anniversary of the shooting. I am posting this here in the hope that some of the quilters on Daily Kos will want to join in this project of empathy and love. My sister and I are both participating. Dr. Barker writes:

Artistic creations help us heal, and feel remembered. No one benefits more from this than the vulnerable little child. Their losses leave invisible scars. if not attended by compassion, made visible, this critical hurt affects further development. When children grieve, they need messages of reassurance that uplift and heal, reminders that they are not alone. For, when a family loses a child, (ask me how I know), the sibling encounters multiple levels of loss: the death of their brother/sister; a well as the temporary loss of parent, forced to navigate through their own impossible heartbreak.


Bless her heart........
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