Category: Climate Change

I Have a New Blogging Place!

For the past few months I’ve been working with Job One for Humanity, a non-profit dedicated to slowing and stopping global warming. I’m their (volunteer) Director of Strategic Communications. My first big project for them has been helping them to position and market a new book called Climageddon (CLIMate ArmaGEDDON…get it?).

We have a plan that nobody has tried before to get the governments of the world to join together to combat global warming within the 10 years our founder, Lawrence Wollersheim, who is also the author of the book, has determined we have. If we fail to do that job, the climate will cross a series of increasingly dire tipping points as a result of which all living things on Planet Earth — yes, including humanity — will be subject to a major extinction event.

Put more simply, failure will end the Grand Experiment of human life on planet Earth.

I’ve read the book. Trust me. Things are much worse than anyone’s telling us. Other climate models that precede Wollersheim’s new meta-systemic approach are always underestimating the scope and overestimating the time frame of advancing climate catastrophe.

So what’s this got to do with my new blog?

I’ve decided to play the role of the Cock-Eyed Optimist on the Job One for Humanity executive management team. To that end, I’ve started a new blog (you can read it here) called the “Global Warming Cockeyed Optimist Blog.” In it I will be posting regularly news and information from the front lines of Climageddon that offers hope, possibility, and the occasional spiritual take on the catastrophe. My commitment is to make this new blog act as a sort of vaccination against the barrage of bad news that must inevitably be understood by all of us who love Planet Earth and Humankind.

I hope you’ll give the new blog a try. And let me know — in comments there or here — your thoughts on the subject. We’re all in this together, you know, because “There’s Only One Of Us Here”.

I Have a New Blogging Place!

For the past few months I’ve been working with Job One for Humanity, a non-profit dedicated to slowing and stopping global warming. I’m their (volunteer) Director of Strategic Communications. My first big project for them has been helping them to position and market a new book called Climageddon (CLIMate ArmaGEDDON…get it?).

We have a plan that nobody has tried before to get the governments of the world to join together to combat global warming within the 10 years our founder, Lawrence Wollersheim, who is also the author of the book, has determined we have. If we fail to do that job, the climate will cross a series of increasingly dire tipping points as a result of which all living things on Planet Earth — yes, including humanity — will be subject to a major extinction event.

Put more simply, failure will end the Grand Experiment of human life on planet Earth.

I’ve read the book. Trust me. Things are much worse than anyone’s telling us. Other climate models that precede Wollersheim’s new meta-systemic approach are always underestimating the scope and overestimating the time frame of advancing climate catastrophe.

So what’s this got to do with my new blog?

I’ve decided to play the role of the Cock-Eyed Optimist on the Job One for Humanity executive management team. To that end, I’ve started a new blog (you can read it here) called the “Global Warming Cockeyed Optimist Blog.” In it I will be posting regularly news and information from the front lines of Climageddon that offers hope, possibility, and the occasional spiritual take on the catastrophe. My commitment is to make this new blog act as a sort of vaccination against the barrage of bad news that must inevitably be understood by all of us who love Planet Earth and Humankind.

I hope you’ll give the new blog a try. And let me know — in comments there or here — your thoughts on the subject. We’re all in this together, you know, because “There’s Only One Of Us Here”.

Even Trump Can’t Destroy the Environment

Angry Donald Trump photoThe assault on the environment has begun in earnest. The effort to debunk and de-emphasize the global warming catastrophe looming just over the horizon is already moving into high gear.

A litany of all the steps Trump has already taken to reverse the minimal progress the U.S. has made on global warming during the eight years of the Obama administration would take up too much space. But here are some of the most disturbing highlights. In one week in office, he has:

  • named several cabinet nominees — including the centrally positioned Environmental Protection Agency — who are ostriches on the climate if not outright deniers;
  • overseen the removal from several government Web sites, including that of the White House, of any mention of global warming and climate change;
  • issued gag orders for the National Park Service and its employees to prevent them from talking about global warming’s impact;
  • signed executive orders resurrecting the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline projects, two of the largest environmental-disaster-in-waiting monuments to our ability to ignore truth at the expense of exorbitant corporate profits; and,
  • decreed that EPA studies will now be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Trump’s team, some of whom are known climate deniers.

Trump, in short, is proving to be — as promised — his own climate disaster.

But it’s important for those of us who are focused on the global warming problem to keep one thing in mind: the rest of the world is, broadly speaking, more concerned about the immediate impact of global warming than is the United States. This is true both at the level of the population and at the level of government. Just because the United States has a brief memory lapse and forgets the importance of the issue, doesn’t mean the problem just runs amok. Other nations — notably China, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK (if May doesn’t screw it up) and in fact most of the EU as well as Australia and New Zealand — will step into the leadership vacuum created by our temporary amnesia. Then, when we finally rid ourselves of this aberration and right the ship, we’ll see how it feels to be a second-rate nation playing catch-up with a world that has moved beyond us. And perhaps that loss of innocence, of that belief in America as the great power and leader in the world, of the claim of American Exceptionalism which has never been more than a patriotic slogan, is just what is needed to further the cause of world peace.

And, as a bit of an aside, it’s not going to be all that easy for Trump to reverse the progress we’ve made on global warming. Many, many American businesses have already recognized the significance of the issue and have made major investments in clean energy technologies, weaning themselves off fossil fuels, and building new infrastructure for a green future. They are going to push back against a man who appears at least to listen to other successful businessmen more than any other audience other than Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump. He’s going to get an earful on global warming on his own golf courses.

 

The Jill Stein-Noam Chomsky Dust-Up: He’s Right, She’s Being a Bit Demagogic

Back in May, the website Democracy Now! published an interview with liberal icon Noam Chomsky in which he opined that if he were living in a swing state and the election was close, he would feel compelled to “hold his nose” and vote for Hillary Clinton. A week or so ago, my candidate of choice, Dr. Joel Stein of the Green Party, took him to task for that suggestion, going so far as to suggest that he was a supporter of the “politics of fear”.

That was a mistake on her part. In fact, it was a mistake on two levels.

First, strategically speaking, he’s absolutely correct. In a swing state whose electoral votes could end up in the hands of Donald Trump as a result of a modest turnout of third-party voters, a vote for Dr. Stein is in fact a vote for Trump. That’s true nowhere else, and I’m not sure there will be any states in the November election where that will be the case. But in the limited circumstances Chomsky describes, he makes the precisely correct choice.

Second, accusing a man of Chomsky’s great political courage and wisdom of essentially being a coward is not a good way to win friends and influence people on the Left. Chomsky, deservedly or not, has a reputation for being a clear thinker who is entirely unafraid to express even the most unpopular viewpoints. I mean, here is a liberal who has repeatedly attacked the centrist Democratic Party that emerged from, in large part, her husband’s administration.

Dr. Stein has committed another faux pas, in my view. Recently she’s begun a strong spate of Hillary-bashing. Taking her campaign negative was a huge error. In the current political climate, one of her biggest draws is her integrity. Her laser focus on the issues — particularly that of the global climate crisis — is a hallmark of her entire political life. To take a side trip in order to level a personal blast at an opponent is out of character for her and feeds into the current American discontent on which she is attempting to capitalize by her third-party candidacy.

Come on, Dr. Stein! Get back on message and on target and stop these silly personal asides which avail you nothing.

Suggestion: Don’t Call it Climate Change, Call It What It Is…Catastrophic

climate_talkIn an email today, the folks at Universe Spirit suggested that those of us concerned about the climate on Planet Earth stop using the phrase “climate change” to describe the group of problems that have brought the globe to the brink of humanity’s extinction. They argue that the term “climate change” was injected into the debate by organizations, companies, and individuals who oppose the idea that climate change is real or that humanity is causing or exacerbating the problem. I don’t know the history, so they may well be right. Either way, there call for a change in language seems like it probably has merit.

On the other hand, they suggested changing the phrase to “escalating global warming” or “climate destabilization”. They contended that either or both of those phrases lends a greater sense of urgency and removes the problem from the realm of recurring, naturally caused issues. While I agree that they have come up with two phrases that do sound more critical and urgent than “global warming” or “global climate change”, I don’t think they’ve gone far enough in suggesting that we re-label the debate.

To me, we are experiencing “climate catastrophe” or perhaps, “climate disaster.” Those both to a better job, in my opinion, of addressing the urgency and the unnatural character of the crisis.

So, in response to their request that I take a pledge to stop saying “climate change,” I agreed to do so. I will henceforth refer to it as either “climate catastrophe” or “climate disaster”.

Bad News :-(. Feds Clear Offshore Fracking for CA Coast

According to news reports, two key federal agencies have given the green light to fracking off the coast of California. This is a dangerously stupid decision.

Neither the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement nor the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could find any reason to expect negative impacts on the California coast or the ocean from allowing the issuance of the drilling permits that cover fracking techniques. In view of the national experience with fracking over the past several years, this decision is a head-scratcher. The numerous known harms that result from fracking are bad enough. But thanks to the collusion of private companies and federal officials charged with governing the issue, very little deep study has been conducted.

Clearly, the Obama Administration is interested only in paying lip service to the environmentalists who continue to wage a thankless uphill battle against the human causes of global climate change. It is sad, really. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance and we as a nation would rather focus on short-term economic goals rather than the much broader and bigger picture.

We will pay the price.

 

Big News! More Jobs in Clean Energy Than Coal & Oil for First Time!

Global-Climate-ChangeThere was some great news for those of us advocating on behalf of Planet Earth today, as the United States reported that, for the first time, employment in the solar energy industry is greater than the number of jobs in oil and natural gas extraction. That incredibly important milestone, which flies in the face of many of the Right’s economic arguments against environmentalism, took place last year, but the numbers have just been released.

Anyone with one eye and half sense already knew this would happen. As the public becomes better-educated about clean energy and its myriad benefits — benefits which transcend the critical impact on global climate change — the demand for solar, wind and other renewable resources will simply continue to grow by leaps and bounds. The fact that those industries are now less profitable than their long-established dirty energy counterparts is due only to the fact that a great deal of research and development and marketing ramp-up has to take place before the economies of scale kick in.

This news gives great additional credibility to the Presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein as they attempt to convince the American voting public of the viability of an economy based primarily on these emerging energy markets and products.

Go tell that to your cynical conservative friends.

How the Right Distorts the Science of Climate Change

I was struck last week by a perfect example of how the Right in the United States and elsewhere manages to continue to play the role of climate change denier in the face of overwhelming scientific agreement as to its nature and the extent of its threat.

In one of the daily climate change newsletters I read, there was a link to an article that appeared on the UK Express, an admittedly right-wing news outlet, headlined, “Has Climate Change Been Disproved?”. Since I make it my business to be informed about the beliefs and tactics of the anti-climate change crowd, I clicked on the link and read the piece.

The gist of the article was to cite a study done by the Large Hadron Collider staff, which this “newspaper” interpreted as meaning that “mankind’s burning of fossil fuels may not be the primary cause of global warming.”

climate_change_clock2So, of course, I looked up the study cited in the article  in the Journal “Nature”. The headline on the Journal article was, unsurprisingly, quite different in tone. “Cloud-Seeding Surprise Could Improve Climate Predictions,” it read. It turned out that the study in question determined that molecules released by trees can seed clouds. This finding contradicts a long-held assumption that sulfuric acid, a serious pollutant, is required to create certain types of cloud formations. Clouds have always been a source of major uncertainty for scientists attempting to predict with precision where climate change might be headed. Clouds reflect sunlight away from the planet, acting to counter some of the heat we might otherwise experience.

The bottom line of this study is that, “the warming effects of carbon dioxide, might have been overestimated.” However the scientists who wrote the study are quick to point out that cloud formations are but one uncertainty of many. They also reminded readers that this is just one experiment which is difficult to project into a known fact without more detailed analysis and repeated experimentation.

One of the lead scientists said, “our best estimate of future levels and impacts of global climate change are probably still the same.”

So how does a journal article describing a preliminary finding that we may have more accurate information on which to base past performance and future outcomes of global climate change get turned into a piece declaring global climate change disproved?

There are only two logical explanations.

Either the reporters and editors at the Express were woefully ignorant of the subject matter and really didn’t understand what the study had discovered and its meaning, or they have an agenda whose purpose could only be served by a tortuous twisting of the facts and conclusions of a reputable scientific study. Either way, they did their readers a disservice by not acting as factual gatekeepers on the information highway.

We often hear that scientists are at least partly to blame for what public ignorance about climate change remains. They don’t explain things clearly, we hear. They always coach their findings in careful cautions, making them hard to treat as “facts”. True. But that is what science always does. If we expected them to wait until they had 100% certainty about their experiments, no science would ever get done. It is by nature a trial-and-error business.

But that’s no excuse for the indefensible misinterpretation of scientific information on the part of the journalism community.

Trump, Cruz Both Climate Change Panderers

Just a brief reminder today as Americans continue to contemplate an increasingly chaotic Presidential Election landscape: both of the Republican Party’s front-running candidates deny the very reality and existence of climate change and, of course, dismiss out of hand any effort to suggest humans can do anything to prevent it or to ameliorate its worst impacts. (The third candidate, by the way, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has wavered a good bit on the subject but his most recent flip-flop seems to indicate he thinks it may be real but doesn’t think we can or should do anything drastic to cope with it.)

Cruz, for example, told CNBC yesterday that climate change is a religion, not science, and that it can “never be disproven,” which, he says, makes it the perfect tool for a power-hungry politician. He should know.

Trump, meanwhile, “repeatedly has said he isn’t ‘a believer’ that humans have played a significant role in the Earth’s changing climate.” It’s scientific fact. You don’t “believe” or disbelieve in facts.

Electing any Republican to the White House in 2016 will drive yet another nail into the coffin of humanity’s ultimate demise. They’re just too dangerously ignorant and dogmatic to let loose on a world in serious trouble.