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October 21, 2011

Comments

That's an easy one. Those problems never made the planet uninhabitable, and the fact that they've begun to be fixed or have mostly been fixed simply demonstrates the self-correcting nature of God's creation. Had we done nothing about them, the same thing would have happened, all by itself. Human efforts to reverse those problems were entirely moot.

QED

He's a signatory to this, which among other things includes this assertion:

That is some fncked up sh1t right there.

God created the Earth which is "admirably suited for human flourishing" and yet there are "societies which are rising out of abject poverty and [have] high rates of disease and premature death...."

And: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming." Because God says "No!" But you must suffer abject poverty and high rates of disease and premature death, because God says "Yes!"

That said, there are some nice statements about caring for the poor in there.

I do wonder about the Christian religion sometimes and how one can come to any conclusion other than "God is a dick."

Or a third alternative to hsh's comments above is found in, as always, The Simpsons, when the Flanders children are being babysat by Lisa and are terrified by a moth that flies out of a board game box. When saying their evening prayers,the boys finish with " . . . and thank you for sending Lisa to save us for the moth you sent us."

God's glory is as plain as the nose on Pangloss's syphilitic face.

Oops! The nose just fell off and he stepped on it.

Kick it under the pew. Now, where were we on this best of all possible worlds grift?

Russell, I'll bet my acquaintance, Vardiman, signed that pledge as well. Last year, I watched a couple of his lectures on the internet to various Christianist scientific conferences (what?) and while he admitted that his cursory research based on worldwide weather data confirmed that indeed the Earth is warming and, if I remember correctly, that the ice caps were experiencing shrinkage, he made it expressly clear that there was nothing much in the way of evidence of man-made causes or large-scale ameliorative actions taken by governments that he would countenance.

So what do citizens do when confronted with folks who either govern or have the ear of those who govern, but who sign an oath to never consider certain public policy options, such as ever raising taxes again in the history of the Republic?

We are told the conversation is over, no matter what.

Well, go ahead, end the conversation.

There are other means besides talk.

These people can't be talked to. In fact, like Eric Cantor, they avoid the normal discourse of a civilized Republic.

Fine, they will be taught other means of listening.

Honey, was that an explosion?

By the way, I see that Pat Robertson (signaling from the top floor window of the Republican lock-down for crazy whackaloons), who believes weather events, including probably the melting of the polar ice caps, is caused by homosexuality, has come out and said the clowns running for the nomination are too radical to get elected.

I'm not sure what that means, but Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michelle Bachmann are preparing a joint address right now that blames homosexuality for weather events on Mars as well.

The prayer vigil begins now.

Mitt Romney is prepared to consider that idea, but stipulates that any exploration of Mars to gather evidence of homosexuality's effect on Martian storm events should be contracted to the private sector and the astronauts probably shouldn't be gay or bi-sexual.

Plus, cut taxes.

See, there's a guy with substantive policy chops.

@Turbulence: a Google blog search of "George Monbiot" and his book "Heat" turns up over 80,000 hits. The campaign to stop the third runway at Heathrow dominated environmental politics in Britain for a good part of the past two years. In the city where I live, the fate of just one local airport, and the campaign to close it and shift the resulting pollution from a largely affluent community downtown to a working class suburb, dominated local environmental politics for over four years. If you haven't experienced the same things, fine. But clearly, a great many people have, and their experiences, like mine, will shape their attitudes to the climate crisis and to the movement that attempts to address it.

In my experience, anti-aviation NIMBY movements, with their potential for highly profitable real estate arbitrage, have tended to dominate over more sensible and effective approaches to the climate crisis. Indeed, this approach to the climate crisis, which seeks to use the problem as a reason to gratify ideological preoccupations or even to profit personally, rather than to seek the approaches that would do the most good, seem to broadly characterize a fair fraction of all environmental activism.

That doesn't change my opinion: regardless of the problems in the movement, I have tended to work for parties and candidates committed to doing something about global warming. That doesn't mean I accept the people who wrap NIMBY campaigns, including deeply unjust and unproductive ones, in the language of concern for global warming and other environmental crises. I do not blame those who, looking at the actual priorities of so many people who call themselves climate activists, feel a deep skepticism about the willingness of the movement to work for a real solution.

Countme-In, the thing about Mars is rather close to some real-world statements of this group. There are indeed some 'climate sceptics' that argue that there is GW on Mars, so GW on Earth cannot be man-made. To combine it with 'the homos are responsible for bad weather', as done by fundie loonies, is just the natural next step. They forget that it is actually witches that cause extreme weather events through their use of devil-approved contraception (that has the side effect of blocking the tear ducts). There is so much at stake but still no witches (outside Africa) burned at them.

@Hartmut There is an anti-aviation movement that has little to nothing to do with GHG emissions. It's called people living in the neighbourhood of airports that can't stand the noise.

I can understand the unhappiness of people when a new airport is built near them. That is a change in their environment, albeit not much different than that experienced by someone who bought a home in the country and ends up surrounded by dozens of houses.

But in the US, the largest group of people objecting to the noise of their local airport are not in that situation. They are not even dealing with an airport which has had significantly increased traffic since they arrived. Rather, they are people who bought homes near an existing airport (glad to get the lower price that such houses command -- due to the noise). And then they complain (loudly) of the noise.

Countme-in, do you suppose that we could make a case, at least as good a case as any, that there is a causal relationship between tax cuts and global warming?

I mean, just compare the maximum tax rate changes between the 1950s and today, and the progress of global warming. Correlation = causation, right? Or is that kind of thinking right out, unless it supports previously taken positions....

Indeed, this approach to the climate crisis, which seeks to use the problem as a reason to gratify ideological preoccupations or even to profit personally, rather than to seek the approaches that would do the most good, seem to broadly characterize a fair fraction of all environmental activism.

To intentionally lump together people genuinely working towards a cause (mistaken or not) and people obviously using that cause as a cover for other purposes doesn't seem like a productive exercise.
The only reason I can think for doing this is if you suspect almost all of the GCC crowd have an ulterior motive, and therefore these guys are actually representative.

Im not a Christian, and Ive known loud, insincere Christians, but I would not accept it as valid reasoning that "some Christians are insincere ergo Christianity is bankrupt". Or even that the sincere Christians are somehow tainted by the co-opting of their good name by the insincere. To look at the Christian Identity movement and say "these Christians have got to clean up their act if they want to convince anyone of anything" is, again IMO, just to betray a fundamental bias.

There are indeed some 'climate sceptics' that argue that there is GW on Mars, so GW on Earth cannot be man-made.

The possibilities for making absurd constructs based on this form of logic for the sake of mockery are, for practical purposes, inexhaustable, considering the finite life of the universe. I'm in awe of the stupid, needing to suppress the feelings of superiority this sort of thing gives me over the people who think this way - feelings that make me feel ashamed of myself, reducing my vitality.

Perhaps this swirling, sucking eddy of stupidity is actually a psychological weapon meant to subdue those of us who believe in AGW. If so, these people are brilliant tacticians, far superior to me - so superior that I would suffer feelings of great inferiority, thus reducing my vitality.

There really is no escaping this.

Countme-in, do you suppose that we could make a case, at least as good a case as any, that there is a causal relationship between tax cuts and global warming?

By "at least a good a case as any" you mean that the presumably spurious, casual correlation between US tax rates and global temperature is likely to be as strong as the backed-by-thousands-of-peer-reviewed-scientific-papers theory of GCC?
Not to say that GCC is necessarily correct, just that it is backed up by a lot of data, a lot of statistical analysis, etc. This new theory is backed by an incredibly casual glace at the data that isn't even supported after a moment's consideration (eg did temps drop in the 90s after the Clinton tax hike?) In fact, it appears like a theory with two data points per variable- frankly, that two variables move in the same direction over two data points happens roughly half of the time. Maybe GCC is caused by the NBA expansion (there were fewer teams in the 70s), or by the price of lobster, or the number of events in the Winter Olympics.

Im wondering what you imagine those thousands of GCC papers contain, if you think it boils down to repetitions of 'there is more CO2 now than then, and it's warmer now than then, so this must be the cause'. Their thesauri must be worn to shreds.

Correlation + plausible mechanism is the seed of a theory. Both of these can be tested somewhat independently, and they can also be tested together. Many papers are about details of that process eg producing better measurements from raw data, or new ways of examining mechanisms to tease out more information.

"Indeed, this approach to the debt crisis, which seeks to use the problem as a reason to gratify ideological preoccupations or even to profit personally, rather than to seek the approaches that would do the most good, seem to broadly characterize a fair fraction of all conservative activism."

this just in: people find justification for satisfying their deeply-held preferences whenever an opportunity for doing so arises.

My heuristics are vast and can encompass all.

I think we could wrap the steep downward trend in marginal rates (from a plateau -- 91% for top earners -- lasting decades -- to today's generously low rates), the rising trend in global temperatures and the effects thereof, and the increasing incidence of pro-"family values" and stridently anti-gay right-wing politicians in the Republican Party being caught in flagrantly ridiculous, umm, situations (while using the 12-pound hardback copy of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" as a doorstop and sex manual) into one unified theory of EVERYTHING.

That the Christianist fundies haven't yet thought of blaming abductions by rent-alien-boy Martians (can we fit illegal immigration into this unified field theory of murderous bullsh*t?) who have escaped naturally-occurring global warming on Mars for their flagrante delictos is merely a sign that I remain one small step ahead of Frank Luntz but one large step behind for mankind on the heuristics curve.

If during the next Republican debate, all of the candidates (each an oddly stereotypical American type, but slightly off, like the casting for a bad horror movie) upzipped their human-looking condom costumes from head to toe to reveal the alien reptiles within (We have come to make all of you stupid! Please step away from the experts!)

I'd cry, but my tear ducts are blocked.

So I laugh ..... mirthlessly .... like a terrorist watching a sitcom while awaiting a mission.

@Carleton Wu By "at least a good a case as any" you mean that the presumably spurious, casual correlation between US tax rates and global temperature is likely to be as strong as the backed-by-thousands-of-peer-reviewed-scientific-papers theory of GCC?

Quite the opposite. I was thinking more of the people who insist that weather/climate changes are caused by moral decay.

Carleton WU wrote:

"Maybe GCC is caused by the NBA expansion (there were fewer teams in the 70s), or by the price of lobster, or the number of events in the Winter Olympics."

Well, within the context of this thread's Brett Bellmore-inspired swerve into heuristics (I think he hit the nail on the head, mind you, just not into the martyr he thought he was hammering it), yes, indeed, maybe the causes of GCC you mention tongue-in-cheek, and many more, will be considered by the circus clown car formerly known as the American polity.

Watch (at home; too long for work) last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart (link below), in particular the "interview" Aasif Mandvi conducts with the FOX fascist Republican consultant, who happens to be female, which is merely more evidence that the big-tented Republican Party suckles jagoffs from all walks of American life, regardless of race, sexual persuasion, religion, creed, etc, etc.

Hint: in future years, under whackaloon rule, unless violence ensues quickly, schools will not host Science Fairs, but rather, Heuristics Fairs, maybe with dunk tanks for scientist witches.

See, Americans think for themselves, don't you know, and like Herman Cain, who just sent his staff a memo that he is not to be spoken to unless he speaks to them first, expertise shall not be permitted to intervene, because it confuses the kids and their parents.

The lady interviewed, natch, takes herself very seriously even in the midst of a satirical sh*tstorm.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/293750/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-wed-oct-26-2011#s-p1-so-i0

Quite the opposite. I was thinking more of the people who insist that weather/climate changes are caused by moral decay.

My bad; once we start playing in Countme's funhouse I guess I get kinda disoriented.

No worries, Carleton. Looking back at my comment, I could entirely see how you had read it that way.

That's why serious writing needs to have an editor -- someone who doesn't alredy know what you are saying can see the places where your assumptions are going to bite you.

Just to be fair, observable changes of climate on neighbouring planets can be part of a serious discussion about changes on our own. If it could be shown that conditions on Mars have changed in a similar way and on a similar timescale to Earth, then it could be reasonably argued that external factors independent of human activity are responsible. Climate 'skeptics' try to make this argument but as far as I can tell the data base is flimsy at best. Even if it were true, which I doubt, we simply lack precise observations and measurements that go back far enough.

@Carleton: Eric talked about "smug" and "Condescending" advocates of global warming. Refusing to believe something advocated by "smug" and "condescending" people opens you to a charge of pettiness; refusing to believe people with a record of cherry picking facts to suit their agenda makes more sense. I don't, for the nth time, doubt the reality of the greenhouse effect, or the need to take action to reduce it, and I support political parties that take steps to do so. That does not change the requirement that environmental advocates honestly declare our interests, avoid cherry picking facts, and face issues of environmental justice fairly. And if we don't do that, then to the extent our actions make our case less persuasive, then we, not the skeptics, bear the responsibility for it.

@Cleek: of course, many if not most conservatives take advantage of the fiscal crisis to promote an elitist agenda (class war against the 99%), Not only that, some conservatives promoted the irresponsible policies that led to the crisis in order to force their agenda on the public. That affects our trust in them and the conservative movement generally, and so it should. If you fool me once, shame on you; if you fool me twice, shame on me.

That does not change the requirement that environmental advocates honestly declare our interests, avoid cherry picking facts, and face issues of environmental justice fairly.

If there were some governing body that had control (or at least a veto) over every use of GCC language, the actions of everyone who claimed to speak in the name of GCC, etc, I think that would make sense. Lacking such a body, I think that attaching the statements or actions of bad apples to the movement as a whole is irrational- unless you think they are actually representative.
My larger point is that any large group can be attacked in this manner. Choosing to do so suggests motive- perhaps a seemingly good motive, but still.
[Also, Im not try to imply that your motive is GCC-denial, there are lots of possible motives eg wanting to choose the center over either political extreme].

Also, for clarity- Eric didn't call advocates of global warming "smug" or "condescending"; he is speaking from the position of a hypothetical conservative diverting the blame from their harm caused by their persistent anti-science position. So Eric "talked about them" in a literal sense, but I think your statement is as misleading as saying "Eric talked about how climate change isn't real."

I see John Spragge's position as one of acknowledging the harm to the case for mitigating AGW (or GCC, whichever you prefer) done by those who co-opt the issue for their own gain, without real concern for the issue itself, and making the choice to call them out for it for the sake of preserving the integrity of the case to be made for the existence of and the need to mitigate AGW.

Sure, any large group or movement can be attacked based on some small number of cynically self-interested hangers-on, but calling them out from within is not the same as attacking the larger movement from without, nor does is necessarily have to be fodder for those attacking from without. It can be an antidote for such attacks.

Do you choose to accept superficial support from people who are simply using the cause as a means to an end not related to the cause, or do you distance yourself from them? Which is better for the cause and the public perception of it?

Whether or not there's a body to enforce what people can say about the issue, one can make the case for what should and shouldn't be said based on what he or she thinks is or isn't helpful. And one can point out particularly bad examples that he or she is particularly familiar with.

hth,
Sure. There are a couple of steps to the process:
1)some people in this group (ie GCC activists) are acting in bad faith, arrogant, etc
2)this activity is representative of the group as a whole or the movement

I totally agree with point #1. And insofar as there are bad things to be said (ie calling them out), it can be done from either side of the divide.
But that is fundamentally different from point #2.

From JS's earlier post: I do not blame those who, looking at the actual priorities of so many people who call themselves climate activists, feel a deep skepticism about the willingness of the movement to work for a real solution.
He is not calling out the bad actors- he is calling out the movement. And he is not calling out the movement for failing to police or actively disavow the bad actors, he is calling it out as fundamentally hypocritical (ie the bad actors are representative).

@Carleton: I think you may have misread my phrase "I do not blame" as agreement. I don't mean it that way. I don't agree with the skeptics; I just don't attribute all of their skepticism to a moral fault. Looking at those who use global warming to serve a personal or ideological agenda, I understand how someone could make the mistake of concluding the environmental movement will never produce as effective and equitable program.

IJWTS that I am aware of all internet heuristic traditions.

Brett tries to distract by arguing that the public simply waas swayed by "heuristics," willfully ignoring that these so-called "heuristics" were inventions of a well-funded dishonest propaganda campaign by the Republican party. Dishonesty that Brett, in his desperation to retain tax cuts and class solidarity with the people he worshipped, refused to condemn and in fact actively encouraged.

Al Gore's sin was not living in a mansion, it was being a VP under a successful Democratic president, which made him an enemy and a target ofna hate campaign by then right wing hate group known as the Republican party. Te best self-interested libertarians like Brett can say now is, "oh, well, what a tragedy. If only Al Gore were nicer, the earth wouldn't be in trouble," rather than taking responsibility for his own moral failures.

Hi Tyro,
Could you dial it down a bit? 'Brett tries to distract' and 'wilfully ignoring' suggests that an inside track on Brett's thought processes that I don't think you have. I think there are a number of ways of making the comment less personal without diluting your point. Thanks.

Courtesy of Steve Benen, as if on cue:

A Koch-financed study of climate data, which many on the right agreed to accept no matter the outcome, just concluded that global warming is real and the scientific consensus is legit.

But it snowed yesterday in parts of the Northeast, so we once again have to deal with nonsense like this:

From Eric Bolling’s Twitter feed:

“Hey A Gore…earliest snow in NYC since the Civil War…where’s your global warming now, see?:

Last night on his Fox Business program, Bolling also pointed to the snowstorm to try to rebut climate change. On-screen text during the segment read, “Global Warming: A Scam?”

Ari Fleischer, recently hired by CNN to be one of the more respectable Republican voices, went there, too.

“This is freaky. The temp is dropping & the snown is sticking like crazy. Al Gore - get rewrite”

Does every freak snow storm have to bring out the worst in climate deniers? Is all of this really necessary?

I see you're still at it - and still many are scarcely able to see that political positioning is neither sound scientific practice ( though we know there is fake 'science' around in things like drug tests, for instance ) nor that there are possibilities which are wild beyond Republican/Koch wet dreams.
When do people address the 'problems' in realistic terms which also recognize that after blowing up over 500 mountaintops to strip mine coal - contaminating the aquifer in the process - there are enough in Appalachia to supply the market at current rates of consumption for less than 3 years ?
Does nobody follow what has happened to farming worldwide and the destruction trailing use of Roundup and 'Roundup Ready' seeds ?
We have drought cutting of Australian rice supply to the world and fires in both the American West and Australia causing unprecedented damage to homes because the state has forbidden George Bush's little exercise of brush cutting - which makes me wonder if he wasn't experimenting.
I can see reports of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in full gallop, aided by corporate scheming...and you complain that people who are cynical about claims that the future has been read and we are making it hot don't know how to pay attention ?
Let me make it simple. We know thieves are in charge. Why do you trust the liars who sent troops into Iraq over ginned up WMD ( leading to war website/movie ) to make right what they made wrong ? The same people.
In case you don't internalize the complaint you make about others, I read it like this.
Repeating the same actions and expecting different results is impractical and unrealistic.
And that is without even addressing that global temperatures do have a trend over geologic time : cooler.Plus the first half of the 20th century was reckoned exceptionally tame by historic standards.
BTW Airframes currently in use were designed more for speed than economy. Nor do jets operate with the efficiency of props.
Improvements are possible.

If deniers and skeptics acknowledge that climate change described by the scientific consensus is taking place, will the debate then move to the proper approach to solving whatever difficulties this presents to the human condition?

I consider two possible approaches (there must be others). One is to continue on the path we have been on for the last century and rely on technological progress and ingenuity for needed solutions. Such progress has been advancing at an accelerated pace in recent decades but a continuation of that is likely contingent on maintaining a strong economy that includes possible real wealth accumulation. On the other hand, we can pull back from the behaviors that have been identified as contributing in major ways to the current climate change pattern, which will likely reduce the power in the economy to below recent levels and detract from the potential to find and apply a technological solution.

This is the debate I would like to hear. It seems that this may be the critical issue if the assumption is made that no significant change in our current behavior (without major technological breakthroughs) will be effective.

which many on the right agreed to accept no matter the outcome

"Many"

That's almost as good as playing "the Left" card.

Which, as everyone knows, is...and now, I can't recall who that was.

Opit: I see you're still at it.

Whatever "it" is.

@GoodOleBoy: I think you've put the question pretty well. I would identify the problem with this in the following terms: first, I think we have a lot of evidence that the radically (or pathologically) individualist culture we have developed doesn't necessarily do a good job at producing the things we need collectively. We can't express our individuality if we fail as a society or even as a species. Secondly, we won't know in advance where scientific advances will take us.

Under these circumstances, I propose a policy of conservation and conservatism. Encourage research, but don't depend on magic bullets. Support best practices on carbon and global warming using existing technology. Stop subsidies to the major producers of greenhouse gasses: coal power, animal agriculture, and personal motor vehicles. Don't make aviation a priority, but do encourage ongoing research on net zero emissions aviation and current best practices.

This is the debate I would like to hear

Then you stand with the liberals on this, GOB. That's precisely the debate liberals keep trying to have.

@GoodOleBoy,
there is a big problem with all possible technological solutions for carbon dioxide drawdown - the scale of the thing. To work, all currently debated solutions - putting CO2 in empty natural gas wells, sowing iron into the ocean to enhance algae growth or whatever else - would have to be implemented globally, and for a long time. And we just don't do this very well, see e.g. overfishing, especially of the remaining tuna population. That one is a textbook "tragedy of the commons" episode. We can't even get an insipid Kyoto Protocol to work. And I personally am very afraid of geoengineering - experiments on that scale are bound to have unintended consequences. Even smaller scale interventions have consequences, e.g. the Assuan Dam in Egypt - it does provide a significant chunk of electricity, it does prevent catastrophic flooding, so far so good - but it also prevents Nile sediment from being deposited on the fields, as it did for thousands of years, therefore forcing the farmers to use fertilizers and increasing the danger of salinization. That sediment, which is being deposited behind the dam and slowly filling up the lake, is missing downstream, so there is substantial erosion and lack of nutrients (harmful for fish populations), not only in the Nile, but also in parts of the Mediterranean. I am not very keen on trying something like this on a global scale.

'there is a big problem with all possible technological solutions for carbon dioxide drawdown - the scale of the thing.'

This is indeed daunting. Not having any expertise on this subject, my main question is this. If, for example, we were able to substitute other energy sources for fossil fuels now, does this change the climate change outlook? Does such action solve or mitigate the negative effects in any significant way?

"the scale of the thing."

Yes. And good questions, GoodOleBoy!

I'm not in any way optimistic that technological change can be marshaled to mitigate future global warming trends and their effects, let alone reverse damage already done, if we can even agree on the latter.

No expertise here either, and if I did have expertise, I could never trust myself again and would have to run out and get a second opinion from a four-year old child.

But even if some mix of "solutions" could be agreed upon by the technicians (a big "if" in and of itself) with private and gummint expertise, there is a much bigger problem -- the world's global institutions are in tatters and further, the will to construct a global infrastructure to address climate change has been willfully undermined by the ability of demagogues to deride and submit public policy choices to, umm, heuristics in the service of financial self-interest, nationalism, etc.

Witness the inability (behind the curve) and reluctance (because powerful interests want to keep them behind the curve) of global institutions to provide transparency, at the very least, to the world's vast interconnected, powerful, mysterious (even to those on the inside), and, as we've seen, destructive financial universe.

And good luck with explaining to the "Live Free or Die" libertarian crowd the idea that the American military and the intelligence community are on the cutting edge of planning for global warming's consequences.

Good luck, too, explaining to a Christianist the possible catastrophic effects of global warming when catastrophe and apocalypse are the fulfillment of prophecies in sacred texts.

In a way, we face the same dilemma as the cast of the "Alien" movies: the aliens will eat the human race and use us as hosts to advance their species, but, on the other hand, there's always 27% of the crew working for influential financial interests who want to bring the alien back to Earth and pursue the profit-making opportunities of its acid blood and hinged triple jaws.

Now, the irony that the crew's villains in the movie were "scientists" and the hero, Ripley, was going almost completely by her heuristic gut does not escape my ability to mix metaphors.

I suspect if a gigantic asteroid, calculated to destroy much of the human race, was heading straight for the Asian steppes and it was discovered that the object's mineral content was outrageously rich and potentially profitable to an international consortium of well-financed mineral interests that we'd be mired in a ridiculous debate about the cost-benefit analyses of destroying the asteroid.

Subcommittees in the House of Representatives would feature the counterpoint of prayerful shareholder Texas interests aligned with Paul Ryan droning applicable passages from "Atlas Shrugged", while Eric Cantor, like an unctuous third-rate maitre d' in a fourth-rate steakhouse (stole that from Esquire's Charles Pierce) would hold press conferences castigating Barack Obama for wanting to increase NASA's asteroid- destruction budget during these baleful fiscal times.

But even if some mix of "solutions" could be agreed upon by the technicians (a big "if" in and of itself) with private and gummint expertise, there is a much bigger problem -- the world's global institutions are in tatters . . .

Count, when were/was there ever a global institution(s) adequate to any task, much less the one seemingly necessary to deal with climate change? More practically, even if the US and Europe went entirely green--which will never happen, but just for argument's sake--how would we inspire the rest of the world to follow suit?

The endgame of climate change, by whatever name, is apparently unmitigated disaster. The solution(s) require a level of international agreement and enforcement that, as you indicate, simply isn't going to happen. So, doesn't the problem imply it's own solution: the world as we know it sustains such a huge mass of natural disasters that life as we know it is fundamentally and permanently altered? The industrial society that has bred GW sows the seeds of its own destruction and in that destruction lies a world that, substantially de-populated, can no longer generate the greenhouse gases and thus it begins to heal.

Seems to me the best that can be done is to anticipate the worst and have contingency plans in place to address, first, domestic disasters, and, should we remain standing in the aftermath of what is predicted, to help where we can elsewhere.

I think Countme-In's 12:04 PM post describes it as it is even in the ironical parts. The asteroid example would imo go exactly that way, provided it was guaranteed to hit the other side of the Earth from the US* (China would be seen as a feature not a bug by some).

McKinneyTexas' 04:04PM post may look cynical but I fear it is the best one can realistically hope for. I just doubt that a post-climate-apocalyptic US would be more willing to help than the nation we see today. I'd rather expect a 'how can we profit from this?' mindset, esp. given that the survivors will be more from the ruling than the peasant class. A modern Noah would sell tickets to the highest bidder and leave some useless animals behind to make room for the dough (and ladies of negotiable affection).

@GoodOleBoy
I am no expert by any means - for this, you might try e.g. realclimate.org. If you are interested, you will find climate scientists explaining AGW there.
To (inexpertly) answer your question: at the moment, every doubling of atmospheric CO2 will cause an increase in global mean temperature of roughly 3K; that doesn't sound like much, but keep in mind last glacial maximum was only 9K cooler than today... Small changes in global mean temperatures may encompass large changes in extreme temperatures (e.g. heat waves...), not to say anything about changes in precipitation (droughts, flooding).
The next part is from the IPCC AR4 report and based on climate models: from the CO2 we added to the atmosphere until the year 2000, we are already committed to something like 0.6K (between 0.3-0.9K) of warming over the next century, mostly because the oceans are working as a big thermal buffer. Since political decisions on CO2 will influence the models, they did not calculate one model, but ran several scenarios - of which A2 (Business as usual) results in 3.4K warming (between 2.0-5.4K). Rapid growth relying on fossil fuels (scenario A1 fl) would result in 4.4K of warming. A quick change to sustainable energy use (scenario B2) would still result in 2.4K (1.4-3.8K)of warming.
2K are the amount of warming deemed "safe" - hopefully, no truly catastrophic ecosystem collapses will occur, mitigation will be possible, landuse patterns will not have to change too drastically. Too much more warming, and all bets are off. Keep in mind, the timeframe for this is up to 2100 - and the scenarios will start to diverge no earlier than 2030-2040, let's talk about difficult heuristics...
So, if we start to reduce CO2 (and methane) now, we will be able to do this sensibly over a longer timeframe - if we continue with business as usual, we will have to face extreme CO2 reductions later on - or face dangerous warming and something like McKinneyTexas' 04:04PM post.

On the important point, The Left is Norbizness: http://norbizness.blogspot.com/

Alas, as we know, The Left hasn't been coherent, either lately, or ever.

I remembered that a few hours later, Gary; thanks.

MckT: Sorry, late responding to your response.

I don't really disagree with anything you've written, but I wanted to point folks in the direction of this:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-heretic

I happened to run across this article about Judith Curry in the waiting area of the joint where I was having my fracked oil changed in my fossil-fuel-powered conveyance system.

In relation to Brett's invocation of heuristics all those comments and days ago, I've nothing against rigorous debate among scientists and policy-makers regarding the subject of climate science -- God knows, in the brief time I rubbed shoulders with working meteorologists researching cloud seeding I sat in on enough scientific conferences to be acutely aware of the shouting and chest-bumping over data interpretation among honest people.

And, I organized enough public meetings wherein honestly concerned citizens could vent THEIR heuristics over the environmental advisability of dropping silver iodide into clouds over their geographic locations and watersheds.

(One of my bosses way back then, not a scientist but a very experienced journalist finishing up his career in public service, would facilitate the meetings and carry a small container of silver iodide crystals in his pocket for just such occasions -- he would open it rather ostentatiously like a circus performer, place a few of the crystals in his mouth, chew them and swallow just as the tenor of the outrage reached its peak in these meetings.)

The room would get really silent, like when Spencer Tracy stuck the business end of a licorice gun in his mouth in whatever movie that was.

Even Katherine Hepburn shut up, if I'm recalling correctly.

But if, by heuristics, we mean the species purveyed by World Net Daily or Sean Hannity, with their corporate (hedged both ways) help, to name a few, then all bets are off with me.

America might as well just burn some effing Beatles records in a Confederate hamlet for dumb effing reasons for all the purchase that sort of heuristics is going to accomplish with me.

Public policy on global warming? Screw that; that can wait. First, we (me and Hannity, for example) have a fistfight in which I fight dirty and he gets badly hurt, and then we can reconvene the discussion at some future point when it's too late among reasonable people.

But MckT, I was going to suggest the Marshall Plan as an example of a kind of international institution that addressed a big problem pretty effectively for a limited amount of time.

But, your cynicism is warranted, humans in the aggregate being human.

Further, (and perhaps you share this view; this last is for general consumption) I might be far enough along in life to behold your grim scenario as a spectacle to consider with a certain philosophical bent accompanied by plenty of popcorn, but I also have a 22-year-old son and maybe someday some grandchildren, so if your scenario for the fate of the planet at the hands of man-induced global warming is approximated, I'm going to climb into my hypocritical gasoline-powered Tercel, ignore the well-meaning scientists on the skeptical end of the issue, find Sean Hannity, among others, and make sure that the effects of global warming he is experiencing are merely his second-biggest personal problem, the first being me shoving, in an extremely violent manner, his heuristics up Roger Ailes capacious butt, so that the eyes in Hannity's head can view them one last time before I drown the two of them in Galveston Harbor, now come to Austin.

Also this, for where it was published:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevezwick/2011/11/04/the-climate-debate-is-over-lets-tap-markets-to-save-the-trees-the-planet-and-ourselves/

"Adam's Rib" it was, for the licorice gun.

But didn't I see an article the other day claiming that black licorice can cause cancer?

The internet can get a person's, includi8ng balstulas' and corporations', heuristics waggling every which way.

Link, for crying out loud:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KIsbOYj97M

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