Comments: 350.org

I went to the protest in Toronto today. There were only about 200 people there, I was sort of surprised . Hopefully turnout was better in other places.

Posted by graeme at October 24, 2009 08:35 PM
I hope we can get our act together. There are lots of great things about people, despite our tendencies to be cruel self-absorbed greedheads.

When I get together with my friends these days, this is always what we end up talking about. Will we or won't we?

(wrt to CO_2 levels in particular, though, I think we're fucked)

Posted by Cloud at October 24, 2009 09:14 PM

yes!

Posted by hapa at October 24, 2009 11:05 PM

there were activities here in Hyderabad, India as well but could not attend as i was already committed to a walk for a different cause.

Posted by almostinfamous at October 25, 2009 01:14 AM

I could be risking being the next vhfw, but after careful consideration, man-made climate change seems really iffy.

You'd think that CO2 emissions correspond to global warming? Well the data doesn't seem to support the "science", especially when you consider the periods of global cooling.

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/co2_glochng.pdf

Atmospheric CO2 levels in the Eocene epoch were almost four times higher than current levels. To reach those levels again, we would have to burn more than ten times the amount of fossil fuels consumed by mankind since the beginning of time.

The period wasn't marked by a "crisis" in the usual sense of the word. Mammalian life flourished as did many other lifeforms.

Posted by Nikolay Levin at October 25, 2009 03:46 AM

after careful consideration, man-made climate change seems really iffy. [...] You'd think that CO2 emissions correspond to global warming? Well [...]

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....

Sigh.

Posted by NomadUK at October 25, 2009 07:07 AM

That's a great video!

Nikolay:

I have to agree with NomadUK. That article you attach is at odds with what has become a rock-solid scientific consensus. Especially with so much money at stake, it is possible to find some old coot who believes just about anything. What is noteworthy in my mind is that a scientific consensus has managed to form in support of a position that threatens the interests of vast multi-trillion-dollar energy interests. That's unusual.

Here is something on the views of your pdf's author: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Don_Easterbrook

So Nikolay, you may not want to believe in climate change, and I'm not saying people should believe whatever experts tell them, but i'd bet the oil companies don't have their extensive history of lying about climate change and sponsoring dishonest research because they have so many better options. My brain tells me that the scientific consensus is real and correct.

As for the Eocene, so what if carbon dioxide levels were much higher 55 million years ago when mammalian life emerged? Nobody is saying life on earth can't exist under different climate conditions, including higher CO2 levels.
But Nikolay, homo sapiens sapiens might not do so well, and it looks like other species that have evolved for the world we have won't do so well either. I don't find it terribly comforting that new species might reemerge 50 million years later.

Posted by N E at October 25, 2009 08:54 AM

All very well put, N E, but my response will have exactly the same effect and took a lot less time to type, so I win.

Posted by NomadUK at October 25, 2009 09:14 AM

I don't find it terribly comforting that new species might reemerge 50 million years later.

I do, because in 50 million years, WE will be the oil that fuels THEIR cars! the cosmic irony puts a smile on my face every day.

Posted by almostinfamous at October 25, 2009 12:21 PM

NomadUK: You're absolutely right, and I lose that very same way over and over again.

Posted by N E at October 25, 2009 12:38 PM

For a website with a message, it is AMAZING! Imagination, Creativity and Inclusiveness! GREAT!
Hopefully, equally effective!

Posted by Rupa Shah at October 25, 2009 12:52 PM

Along with NomadUK, let me add my acknowledgments to the reasoned response to Nikolay Levin from NE.

I would further point out that, while the absolute level of CO2 in the atmosphere is alarming enough, it is the rate of increase of CO2 (and mean global temperature) that really spells doom. Species whose generations are measured in anything longer than weeks (i.e., pretty much everything besides microbes and insects) have no hope of 'evolving out' of this predicament. The best they can do is crowd into the shrinking islands of habitat that still resemble their original adaptive niche. Unfortunately for some (e.g., polar bears), there ain't no such place.

The most irritating aspect, at least from most species' perpective, is that, despite the imminent collapse of our civilization, some human life will inevitably survive, in contrast the complete extinction of entire taxa who were doing just fine before we came along. Darwin never said it would be fair.

Posted by SunMesa at October 25, 2009 01:35 PM

NomadUK: You're absolutely right, and I lose that very same way over and over again.

N E, that alone will get you a pint or two anytime you happen to be in Oxford. Let me know.

Posted by NomadUK at October 25, 2009 01:36 PM

Warming itself isn't even the biggest problem. There's also the extra carbonic acid forming in the oceans due to the higher partial pressure:

Increasing acidity from rising levels of CO2 is changing the ocean’s PH balance. Studies indicate that the shells and skeletons possessed by everything from reef-building corals to mollusks and plankton begin to dissolve within forty-eight hours of exposure to the acidity expected in the ocean by 2050. Coral reefs will almost certainly disappear and, even more worrisome, so will plankton. Phytoplankton absorb greenhouse gases, manufacture oxygen, and are the primary producers of the marine food web.

link

Posted by Cloud at October 25, 2009 03:07 PM

oh good, i already commented, i hate when i forget to

Posted by hapa at October 25, 2009 05:31 PM

Nikolay:

WTF? Um. See this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PETM. The period you describe, where CO2 levels were extremely high, was also an extreme warming event which caused a large extinction event and a major turnover in the way life on earth was organized. So... why should its existence give us any comfort, again?

Posted by saurabh at October 25, 2009 08:54 PM

Nomad, you can say that war mongerers won that debate by, ehem, saying the exact same thing. We both know the state of that freight train don't we?

N E, thats the thing. What consensus? I read about the paper Naomi Oreskes wrote in my college-level Environmental Science class about the discord in politics and media about global warming coupled with a scientific consensus.

"Oreskes’ essay is now outdated. Since it was published, more than 8,000 further papers on climate change have been published in the learned journals. In these papers, there is a discernible and accelerating trend away from unanimity even on her limited definition of “consensus”...

Dr. Schulte’s results show that about 1.5% of the papers (just 9 out of 539) explicitly endorse the “consensus”, even in the limited sense defined by Oreskes. Though Oreskes found that 75% of the papers she reviewed explicitly or implicitly endorsed the “consensus”, Dr. Schulte’s review of subsequent papers shows that fewer than half now give some degree of endorsement to the 'consensus'."

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/consensus_what_consensus_among_climate_scientists_the_debate_is_not_over/page-2.html

The fact of the matter is, Al Gore's mentor. The father of the term "global warming" and resulting scare began to question his research in the final years of his life.

Thats not to say we don't have an impact. Google your State and you'd be surprised how many unwelcome critters live in your neck of the woods. Its just that when Obama supports a policy initiative, I always have my suspicions. This Cap and Trade deal doesn't sound like it'll do anything, but its expected to con the American public out of billions.

Posted by Nikolay Levin at October 25, 2009 10:33 PM

Nomad, you can say that war mongerers [...]

N E, thats the thing. What consensus? I read about the paper [...]

"Oreskes’ essay is now outdated. Since it was published, more than 8,000 [...]

Dr. Schulte’s results [...]

The fact of the matter is, Al Gore[...]


See what I mean?

Posted by NomadUK at October 26, 2009 08:20 AM

NomadUK:

You are indeed a sage, and if I ever get to Oxford, I'll try to track you down somehow for that pint. But it may be a while, so in the meantime maybe have one for me and the former inhabitants of Diego Garcia and i'll join you in spirit.


Nikolay:

Climate change really isn't even my area of pseudo-expertise, and I already maxed out my wisdom about it in that one comment, so I am going to return to saying things I do know about even at the risk of further convincing everyone that I have a big man-crush on Barack Obama.

Posted by N E at October 26, 2009 11:11 AM

No Nomad, I don't. Please enlighten me ;).

Roger that, NE. My views had a 360-degree turn when I met this a physicist with a distinguished master degree. The contradictions he pointed out in the shady United Nations environmental council's own reports was astounding.

Anyhow, I'm not saying the environmental movement is bunk (I took a class on it for goodness sakes). As I mentioned, invasive species are a HUGE problem and kill more species than poaching, development and pollution combined. And even with the non-conclusive evidence of human-caused climate change I believe that humanity is really pushing it too far in destroying carbon sinks (i.e the rainforests). But then again the Middle Ages had higher temperatures than we do now.

If I were to summarize the opposing groups, those who believe there to be a crisis want the naysayers to take responsibility for what they do to the Earth. Those who do not believe in a crisis know that we are a mere second in the history of the Earth and thus think it foolish, to say the least arrogant to think they can somehow affect the balance of life.

Both are legitimate and both must be accepted in the debate. I think mankind really needs to hunker down and figure this out. It won't involve regulating the smokestacks as anyone who is aware of the aftermath knows well and it can't be Cap and Trade, an Al Gore money-making venture rather than a world-wide solution so if someone doesn't consider these things, they're thinking too narrowly and thats my N E-esque moment right there :).


Posted by Nikolay Levin at October 27, 2009 02:38 AM

There are lots of great things about people, despite our tendencies to be cruel self-absorbed greedheads.

Rabbi Jack Moline: Rabbi Simcha Bunam used to say, "Every person should have two pockets. In one, [there should be a note that says] bishvili nivra ha'olam, 'for my sake was the world created.' In the second, [there should be a note that says] anokhi afar va'efer, 'I am dust and ashes.' One must know how to use them, each one in its proper place and right time. For many make the mistake of using them in their opposite applications."

That is to say, too often, when we should be acknowledging our arrogance, we are defending it. And when we should be overcoming our self-denigration, we are confirming it.

Jacob Needleman, in Money and the Meaning of Life, says, "A Freudian psychoanalyst once summed up to me his vision of the human condition by saying that man is not as bad as he thinks he is, nor can he become as good as he dreams of becoming. The assumption of this book is precisely the opposite of the psychoanalytic view: man is in far worse condition than he believes, but he can become far greater than he imagines."

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, in A Return to Innocence: Philosophical guidance in an age of cynicism: "We often hear the phrase 'Knowledge is power' -- but nowhere is it truer than when it comes to knowledge of ourselves."

This last book, by the way, is what I am giving to my niece on her thirteenth birthday, in the paperback edition, which fortunately has a more teen-reader-friendly title, Dear Patrick: Life is Tough - Here's Some Good Advice.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at October 27, 2009 10:45 AM
My views had a 360-degree turn when I met this a physicist with a distinguished master degree. The contradictions he pointed out in the shady United Nations environmental council's own reports was astounding.

Nikolay, by all means share this astounding set of contradictions revealed by your distinguished acquaintance. I am also a physicist, if not a climatologist per se. I hate the idea that these New World Order twits at the IPCC have managed to dupe me.

Posted by SunMesa at October 27, 2009 01:43 PM

@nikolay: 360 degree turn = going the same direction. probably need to get numbers like that straight to make it as a science gadfly.

Posted by hapa at October 27, 2009 03:47 PM

Damn it hapa, just because it has a number doesn't mean you can make any overriding conclusions on a colloquial phrase.

Sunmesa, I have a great paper on this climate change "consensus" science has now. All it takes is reading two pages to begin to begin raise doubts. It just goes to show what consensus the collegiate community has if the UN can't even have a consensus with itself. I'd check out the table on page four and its relevance to the IPCC's 2007 report and then page six and hopefully you'll see what I mean.

Start here, "The UN’s own attempts to reach 'consensus' on the climate sensitivity question demonstrate all too clearly not only that it cannot perform simple additions credibly but also that it does not even agree with itself. The internal inconsistencies in the UN’s documents are numerous and growing. We have already seen how it has changed its mind on sea level, as well as performing incorrect addition sums for what appears to have been a political purpose."

(http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/consensus_what_consensus_among_climate_scientists_the_debate_is_not_over/page-6.html)

...and enjoy the rest.

Posted by Nikolay Levin at October 28, 2009 08:30 PM
Sunmesa, I have a great paper on this climate change "consensus" science has now. All it takes is reading two pages to begin to begin raise doubts. It just goes to show what consensus the collegiate community has if the UN can't even have a consensus with itself. I'd check out the table on page four and its relevance to the IPCC's 2007 report and then page six and hopefully you'll see what I mean.

Here I've been waiting for a substantive response, and all I get is a homework assignment. To review, no less, the mind-numbing sophistry of Lord Cristopher Monckton of Brenchley! Whose apparent coup was to spot an addition error in an unpublished and subsequently corrected table in a preliminary draft of the IPCC 2007 report.

As long as we're trading links, see this expose of Lord Monckton's subsequent shenanigans:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/once-more-unto-the-bray/

as well as

http://www.zerocarbonnow.org/wordpress//uploads/monckton_schulte_oreskes1.pdf

and some of those pesky contributors to the alleged non-consensus:

http://www.logicalscience.com/consensus/consensusD1.htm

As with consent, dissent is readily manufactured.

Posted by SunMesa at October 29, 2009 02:33 PM

monckton's best paper of course was "circles: 'perfection' and the false hopes of socialist utopia"

Posted by hapa at October 29, 2009 10:34 PM

Interesting.

Although I believe the hubbub about the sea-level is really pushing it (IPCC's upper estimate was reduced to an estimated two feet from three in 2001 after a influx of peer-reviewed articles raised doubts). Besides the fact thats half the mean centennial sea-level rise that has occurred since the end of the last Ice Age...

The links regarding CO2 concentrations has merit.

Touché :).


Posted by Nikolay Levin at October 30, 2009 05:56 AM