Archive for November, 2012

Climate + Human Nature: The End Is Near(er)

26 November 2012

The ever cheerful Chris Hedges turned this out today: “Chris Hedges: Stand Still for the Apocalypse”

While Hedges is certainly apocalyptic, he fails to stress overpopulation and to factor in the near certain depletion of necessary natural resources, especially fish, fertile soil, and clean water. While more people are starting to take climate change more seriously, we continue to overfish, overfarm, and pollute without many even mentioning what this means to future generations.

As major investment manager Jeremy Grantham and others have argued, food and water are THE most vital human issues, greater even than a nasty rise in temperatures, which in itself is going to alter the oceans, the land, and our fresh water supply. Grantham’s typically solid predictions popped up today on a financial site: “Jeremy Grantham Warns of No Safety Margin from This Collapse.”

In short, Grantham sees serious unpleasantries as being even closer than Hedges does.

Have a nice day.

Cassandra

25 November 2012

Anyone know anything about this? Anything that garners the title “corporate coup” concerns me. If any of this comes to pass, it looks like a guarantee of Third World status for the US.

Andrew Gavin Marshall

Why So Secretive? The Trans-Pacific Partnership as Global Corporate Coup

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

The following is the second installment of a three-part exclusive on the TPP for Occupy.com.

Part 1: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: This is What Corporate Governance Looks Like

Part 3: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: What “Free Trade” Actually Means

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most secretive and “least transparent” trade negotiations in history.

Luckily for the populations and societies that will be affected by the agreement, there are public research organizations and alternative media outlets campaigning against it – and they’ve even released several leaks of draft agreement chapters. From these leaks, which are not covered by mainstream corporate-controlled news outlets, we are able to get a better understanding of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership actually encompasses.

For example, public interest groups have been warning that the TPP could result in millions of lost jobs. As a letter…

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Pine Beetles Ueber Alles

25 November 2012

Oh great.

“Pine Beetles Contributing to Climate Change, Study Says”

Do Your Research

25 November 2012

Few Americans enjoy research and critical thinking. An anomaly, I’ve had a hard time watching people ignore or twist accumulating data on climate change.

From experience, I know the typical first year college student enters a composition class worried about commas not critical thinking. Few know the difference between a journal and a magazine, and some think all websites are created equal. By the end of a semester or two, most learn a dollop of assessment, but most leave without any sort of real understanding of even the informal logical fallacies.

However, Americans in general are much better about accepting stories from farmers. This sort of primary research appeals to most, and articles like this now find news coverage: “Global Warming Impacts Holiday Dish”

We are still screwed, of course. Consider this paragraph:

Without drastic action, global average temperatures will increase by 3.5 degrees or more by the end of the century, driving up sea levels and warming oceans, fueling extreme weather and triggering drastic shifts in climate and agricultural production, some scientists have warned.

Notice some not so tiny problems here? Are those degrees Fahrenheit or Centigrade? Is a 3.5 rise a conservative prediction? Do a good many credible sources expect more? If you don’t know from current reading, then perhaps, like the college students I know all too well, you might need to do more research.

Cassandra

Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland?

24 November 2012

What do Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland have in common? I wouldn’t have been able to come up with the answer, but you can find it here: “Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged”

Somehow, I wasn’t expecting to find Denmark and Switzerland on that list.

I was however not at all surprised that we are down there with Zimbabwe.

Cassandra

The Future Is

21 November 2012

I just read a summary of projections, none of them good, for our future climate.

There are entire books out there on what a ten degree temperature F rise will do to the world, so when I read this reiteration of what I already knew, I shouldn’t have felt shock, should I? Unfortunately, I felt shock. In fact, the changes already look real.

The temperatures here in northern Colorado are running ten degrees F above average. Maybe a tad more. We had the windows open today. There is almost no snow on the mountains. The big reservoirs are still dropping. Perhaps that’s why this story hit me.

It should hit people, shouldn’t it? These lines are pretty dire

Some people will likely survive, but such a level of global warming will pose severe difficulties for industrial society adapting. Heatwaves will buckle our railway lines causing transport chaos. Increasing intensity of cyclones and storm surges will swamp our coasts and coastal infrastructure. Extreme weather, high temperatures, changes in precipitation will reduce our crop yields and raise food security alarms. As transport and freight is disrupted, our social fabric will start to tear apart at the seams.

The Executive summary of the report concludes:

Thus, given that uncertainty remains about the full nature and scale of impacts, there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible. A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally. It is likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today. The projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur–the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.

The report puts forward that a 4°C world is not inevitable and that with sustained policy action warming can still be held below 2°C.

Sustained policy action. Like that’s going to happen.

Cassandra

Hackers V. Ueberhackers? Part Two

20 November 2012

This article is, as the Germans might say, sehr interessant:

“Anonymous, Karl Rove and 2012 Election Fix?”

I hope there’s substance. I can feel my Schadenfreude rising.

Guilty pleasures always bring up German words for some reason.

Cassandra

Hackers V. Ueberhackers?

20 November 2012

There’s a story flying about that Anonymous hacked some hackers intent on rigging the presidential election: “’Anonymous’: We Hacked Karl Rove”

The video was posted on YouTube on October 22nd.

Salon‘s picked up the story, but so far there’s no evidence.

True? False? I have no idea, but what a terrifying and tasty thought. This certainly would explain Rove’s behavior on election night, now wouldn’t it? Something has to explain Rove’s behavior, doesn’t it?

Cassandra

Handbasket Report: Come Hell or High Water

20 November 2012

Has anyone else noticed an escalating shift in both coverage of and positions on climate change over the last few months?

When  UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller “came out,” he was pretty much alone although he was certainly willing to discuss his findings: “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic”

As a professional scientist, he remains, of course, admirably skeptical. He says,

It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical. I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong. I’ve analyzed some of the most alarmist claims, and my skepticism about them hasn’t changed.

I have no problem with that skepticism. It is–or should be–part of the scientific method. Scientists should be wary of stating anything before they are beyond a reasonable doubt. When Sandy hit, for example, most scientists were quite wary about connecting it to climate change because they have no way of linking any specific storm to global climate change.

However, there’s a major difference between being skeptical about claims and being skeptical about verifiable data. And the verifiable data continues to pile up, and, of late, more and more mainstream media have begun to mention at least some of this data and even comments by actual climate scientists.

Some sites are having too much fun with the shifting positions of professional deniers: “Patrick Michaels’ 1992 Claims Versus the 2012 Reality.” Some deniers, trying to dig in, end up sounding, well, like skeptical scientists rather than outright scoffers: “Sandy Leads to Surge in Unscientific Hurricane Profiteers.”

Most likely, denial or spin will become even harder if stories such as these continue to appear.

“In All Probability: Climate Change and the Risk of More Storms Like Sandy”

That one’s from Atlantic, nothing too unusual about that. However, probability is not a typical American interest, except for poker players and such. Probability, however, is big among scientists, and that’s why the news is getting harder to ignore.

“Iowa Scientists: Drought a Sign of Climate Change”

This one’s an ABC News article, mainstream, but hardly typical of MSM coverage of the last few years.

“Global Warming a Factor in Severe Weather, Says NOAA Report.”

Washington Post. NOAA.

“200 Investment Firms Issue a Warning on Climate Change”

This one was originally from the UK Telegraph, but Business Insider picked it up. Business Insider!

“Greenhouse Gases Hit a Record High in 2011, UN Agency Says”

This article relates some worrisome facts:

The World Meteorological Organization says the planet averaged 390 parts per million of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, up 40 percent from before the Industrial Age when levels were about 275 parts per million.

WMO officials said Tuesday there was a 30 percent increase in the warming effect on the global climate between 1990 and 2011, mainly due to carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning.

And this one’s from Fox News.

There can’t be two Fox News organizations can there?

Cassandra

Behind Some Conspiracy Theories Are Actual Conspiracies

16 November 2012

Sounds like Third Way may well be one of them.

“Wall Street Uses the Third Way to Lead Its Assault on Social Security”

Cassandra