More Hot Air?

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)


The first questions I asked when I came to Docudharma for the first time last October 2007 were…

Are we at the beginning of the end?

Or are we at The End Of The Beginning?

Billmon in September of [2006] posted a story about

British scientist James Lovelock and his warning that catastrophic global climate change is both imminent and unstoppable:

Within the next decade or two, Lovelock forecasts, Gaia will hike her thermostat by at least 10 degrees. Earth, he predicts, will be hotter than at any time since the Eocene Age 55 million years ago, when crocodiles swam in the Arctic Ocean.

“There’s no realization of how quickly and irreversibly the planet is changing,” Lovelock says. “Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this. Even if we took extraordinary steps, it would take the world 1,000 years to recover.”

It would be easy to view this as just another kooky end-of-the-world theory, if it weren’t for the history of some of Lovelock’s other kooky theories — like the time in the late ’70s when he hypothesized that chlorofluorocarbons wafted high into the stratosphere would eat great big holes in the ozone layer, exposing first the polar regions and then the rest of the earth’s surface to increasingly harmful ultraviolet radiation. What a nut.

As far as I can tell, Lovelock’s latest crackpot (or should I say “crockpot”?) idea is still the minority opinion among climatologists, most of whom seem to believe we have perhaps 70-100 years before the seriously disastrous greenhouse effects kick in — although Jim Hansen, the NASA scientist, has suggested that unless major cuts in Co2 emissions are made within the next decade, the process will become every bit as irreversible as Lovelock claims it already is.

If we break it, if we disrupt its integrity, we die. We die. It is as simple as that.

It now appears that we are on the verge of breaking it, if we have not already done so. It is my hope that we haven’t yet, but also my opinion that we are dangerously close to doing so. So close in fact that there is no more time to waste. The next year or two may very well be the turning point, if we have not already passed it.

Many say that security of the nation is most important because without it nothing else can happen.

Our environment, our entire world, is immeasurably larger, and the problems we face are immeasurably larger than national security in the context of the arguments about it over the past few years.

Nations cannot and will not exist if the planet is killed.

Our backs are to the wall this time. We are painted into the proverbial corner. There is no escaping it. There is only life, or death, for all of us. We have only ourselves to fault, and only ourselves to rely on. No invisible being is going to come down from the sky and save us from ourselves.

Last week both McCain and Obama talked about climate change.

Real News: Who Will Face Up To The Climate Change Crisis?

The Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls put forward their respective energy and environmental platforms last week, addressing offshore drilling, coal, nuclear energy and fuel efficiency . Both John McCain and Barack Obama have said that Global warming is a problem and would make it a top priority. But would they go as far as NASA’s Dr. James Hansen says is necessary before reaching what he calls the tipping point? The Real News spoke with Ben Wikler of Avaaz.org and Professor Catherine Gautier about the promises and shortfalls of the candidates’ plans.

August 24, 2008 – 7 min 15 sec

Ben Wikler is a campaign director for Avaaz.org, a global version of MoveOn.org, where he oversees efforts on climate change, global health, and other issues. Previously, he worked as press secretary for Congressman Sherrod Brown’s US Senate campaign in Ohio, and was a founding producer of The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio.

Catherine Gautier is involved in educational aspects of climate change science and policy. Originally from Paris, France, Gautier directs the Institute for Computational Earth Systems Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. the book ‘Facing Climate Change Together’ was compiled and edited by Catherine Gautier and Jean-Louis Fellous.

Does anyone feel confident that either McCain or Obama will make any effort beyond mere words to deal with climate change? Or are we going to simply get song and dance and more hot air from both of them as the climate collapses around us?

46 comments

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    • Edger on August 24, 2008 at 10:21 am
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  1. some real power in his administration, if Gore wants it.  He’s speaking Thursday night at the convention I think.

  2. Neither one of those guys is going to do shit regarding climate change. Have either addressed it? If they did I missed it.

    Even USGS has capitalized on climate change, they’ve done a study of oil reserves in the Arctic – the parts where the ice is disappearing (North Pole). Sorry about them thar polar bears but we think there’s a bunch of oil there….

    Then there’s the rest of the World, who will also likely do nothing. Some are too poor to change. Then there’s China! The very few pictures I saw from the Olympics (protest pictures – I ignored the Olympics) you couldn’t (apparently) see more than a few hundred feet. China will be the major factor very soon, if not already (a couple billion people? With cars? Holy shit!), no matter what the USA does. And India, another major hydrocarbon consumer in the near future (again, if not already).

    This is a global issue, I am not optimistic. When so much money is being made in hydrocarbons it will take a crisis that can’t be resolved to turn things around; it will be too late, if it isn’t already.

    The PTB seem to think their gated communities, private security and money will save them while the rest of us die. They don’t understand that when the sky is on fire, when the oceans are acid, the soil is toxic… no one is safe. They just don’t get it.

    None of my pessimism has stopped me from trying; each day I look at what I do and did and how I can do less. Keep reducing your environmental footprint. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Push others to do the same.

    Dammit, you and Buhdy are pushing me into diarying. I’ve been resisting, so many here are so much better. Time to get off my ass, I see.

    • banger on August 24, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Everything else is irrelevant. Obama or McCain as you know don’t have the power to do much as President in areas that concern the oligarchy. How the power struggle resolves witin that oligarchy, which we cannot see, will determine whether or not we “do” anything about climate change. We certainly won’t do much–a tilt in that direction would be welcome because it would enable us to find ways of adapting to what may be major disasters in the nest 20 years or so.

    It is not as hopeless as Lovelock says–even in his scenario I think more than 200 million will be able to adapt to new conditions. Also we have to understand that our knowledge of the nature of reality is very, very limited and that there are many dimensions we cannot perceive or measure. I think it is healthy though to perceive it as hopeless as far as our reason can see because it causes us to move into doing more spiritual work which, in my view, has a more powerful effect than traditional politics. We should act and live responsibly on the earth do our bit to educate, to avoid using carbon fuels etc., not because there is hope that that action will solve the problem but as an act of devotion (see my comment above).

    • Alma on August 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Can we let him eat all the people that won’t do anything to protect this world?

  3. right now, so why isn’t it happening?  Politics!  Big oil companies!

    I think Obama will be amenable to all expertise on the subject, so I believe there is hope in that respect.  With McCain, just forget it, he says one thing, while he embraces the oil companies and further destruction to our environment.

    No matter how coal is treated, it is not and will never be a “clean” source of energy.  

    We need to focus our efforts on windmills, solar energy and “alcohol” — the replacement for gas.  

    This should be the top priority of our government.

    And, as mentioned already, we can each do what we can do to reduce the threat before us.

    THAT PHOTOGRAPH OF THE POLAR BEAR MAKES ME SICK!!!!  IT’S HEARTBREAKING!!!

  4. Comical is my horse.  He likes, enjoys the prospect of putting his front leg upon my boot as I brush him.  He has this wise guy personality.  Fortunately for me my occupation has paid for and required the use and procurement of steel toe safety shoes.

    Now the precursor of Big Al’s inconvienient ruse took place as early as 1992 with the first Kyoto accord which named China and India as exempt from “carbon emissions” which was well before any of this wag the dog propaganda was an American household word.  The benevolent capitalist western world in their persuit of profits saw fit to finance, export jobs, technology, trade secrets and virtually the entire history of the western world to a country who to this day arrests and or executes people for having wrong thoughts.  Yes, Red China, communist, totalitarian Orwellian doublespeak Red China and yet millions of American zombinals have tuned in their TeeVee sets to watch the Satanically inspired Olympic games.  Personally I can truely and affimatively testify  to having watched zero minutes of the Beijing Olympic farce.

    I have not fully researched it yet but that red running man, the default trademark of the Olympic 2008 games does remind me of a business focus group headed by the living Third Anti-Christ, it is similar to the themes of the dystopian future depicted in various sci-fi movies like Gattica, The Running Man and They Live.

    Nature and the natural state of the world tells me shit, shit yuppies with their lattes can and or will not fathom.  When my horse pins his ears back there is a reason for it.  When profit margins and carbon trading scams divert the focus of attention from the multiple sourced enviornmental problems modern technolgy has placed as obstacles in the future survival of the human race then I must come out and call a turd a turd.  Oh don’t forget Big Al “invented” the internet.

    • Viet71 on August 25, 2008 at 1:06 am

    I studied electrical engineering, including the photoelectric effect, for which Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize.

    The photoelectric effect is one of two major ways sunlight, which is abundant over the planet and especially in the U.S. southwest, can be used to make electrical energy without fucking up the environment.

    So, the U.S. should elect dummies who don’t get this.

    Take your choice:  Obama or McCain.

    Sorry, I don’t give a shit about politics.

    At this point, what I care about is our planet.

    • dkmich on August 25, 2008 at 1:17 am

    I am trying to publish an essay, and I’m getting an error message.  Disallowed HTML tag: <

    Like where?  I’ve looked and looked.  When I make changes, it gets worse.  Any suggestions?

    • Edger on August 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm
      Author
  5. I think Obama will try to go beyond mere words to deal with climate change.

    My question is, will Congress let him? I’m not so sure about that.

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