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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,918

Journal Archives

Socialism: The Alternative to the Rule of the 1% - Muna Coobtee

Capitalism: A Criminal System - Mike Prysner

Climate Hawks: Unleash Hell

from Grist:

‘Brutal logic’ and climate communications

by David Roberts
16 Dec 2011 2:00 PM

In a couple of posts last week -- here and here -- I laid out the brutal logic implied by the latest climate science (with credit to scientist Kevin Anderson for stripping away the rosy assumptions hiding in many of today's common climate scenarios). To sum up: a rise in temperature of 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) will be extremely dangerous; a rise of 4 degrees C (7.2 degrees F) or higher could threaten civilization; the only way to avoid 2 degrees C -- or even 4 degrees C -- is a massive crash program that will likely involve, for the rich, industrialized countries of the world, peaking emissions in 2015 and declining them 10 percent year-on-year after that. Alarming!

In this post I want to take a step back (sideways?) and have a bit of a meta-discussion about messages of alarm/urgency and where they fit into the climate communications landscape.

Reaction to the posts has been interesting. I've gotten a ton of (mostly positive) emails and calls about them, had tons of Twitter and meatspace conversations, but as far as I know, nobody's written about or reacted to them publicly. And I guess that's not surprising. This kind of thing tends to end conversation like flatulence at a cocktail party. That's part of why there's a whole cottage industry devoted to urging climate hawks not to talk like this. What good can it do? Terrifying people just elicits all sorts of defense mechanisms -- denial, disengagement, apathy, system justification, what have you. The forces at work are so colossal, so utterly out of scale with what any individual or group can hope to tackle, that the logical conclusion seems to be, "we're f*cked." Our overwhelming instinct is to ... change the subject.

There's plenty of social psychology work on these kinds of reactions; I've written about it myself. Nonetheless, it seems to me that work has been interpreted in a fairly crude way. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-16-brutal-logic-and-climate-communications

Sacrificing the Earth: Neither of the two main parties in U.S. is fit to protect the environment

from the International Socialist Review:

MAROONED FROM the mainland United States, in June, the nuclear power plant at Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, became a small island. Sandbags were hurriedly deployed to prevent inundation from floodwaters as the Missouri river burst its banks, a consequence of the greatest flood in U.S. history.

Another nuclear facility, this time at Los Alamos in New Mexico, birthplace of atomic weapons, was threatened by an altogether different force of nature. Los Alamos was forced to evacuate as flames overran fire defenses and firefighters struggled to contain the largest wildfire in New Mexico history.

As the Las Conchas wildfire blazed out of control at the end of June, it consumed over 130,000 acres of forest. Large areas of land at Los Alamos are contaminated with radioactive waste from decades of nuclear research and testing. Scorched land increases water runoff and the danger from flash flooding. Thus, a further alarming side effect of the wildfire and Los Alamos’s legacy of radioactive contamination is the likelihood that radioisotopes will spread, as happened when wildfires threatened the Hanford nuclear weapons plant in Washington state.

Extended drought and persistent wildfires saw the U.S. Department of Agriculture declare the entire state of Texas a natural disaster area, as more than 30 percent of crops have been lost due to severe water shortages. This follows a spring in which the majority of counties in Texas were on fire as Texas experienced its eighth year out of the last twelve for “exceptional” drought. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://isreview.org/issues/79/analysis-climatechange.shtml

Kitty has a problem......

Gerald Celente on Financial System - 'Your money is not safe' (14-Dec-11)

Keiser Report: Useless Bankers

IL: Emanuel, Quinn Hope Bicycles Fill the Missing Link in Mass Transit

Dec. 16--Going from bicycle to train and even to airplane could be a breeze thanks to new funding designed to encourage creative solutions to urban congestion, officials said Thursday.

A $20 million federal transportation grant for Chicago that was first announced Monday will allocate $16 million toward repairs on the CTA Blue Line O'Hare branch and $4 million for the city's planned bicycle-sharing project set to start next year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn said during an event at the Logan Square Blue Line station, 2620 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The Logan Square neighborhood near the CTA stop is a candidate to get one of 300 bike-sharing stations in 2012, Emanuel said. The city plans to provide 3,000 bikes for short-term use, for free or a modest fee, starting in June, to encourage less driving and more use of mass transit, and to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

The mass transit-bicycling connection encourages bike use before or after using transit, officials said. Users will pick up a bike from a self-service docking station, ride to their destination and drop off the bike at the nearest station. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/10537109/il-emanuel-quinn-hope-bicycles-fill-the-missing-link-in-mass-transit

Five deaths in rural Illinois town called murder-suicide

Authorities said Saturday that five people, including three children, found dead in a small Illinois farming town were killed in a murder-suicide.

At a news conference Saturday, Livingston County Sheriff Martin Meredith would not identify whom they believed to be the shooter. A semiautomatic pistol was found at the scene.

The five were identified as Sara McMeen, 30; Daniel T. Warren, 29; Skyler Lemke, 8; Ian Lemke, 7; and Maggie Warren, 10 months, the Chicago Tribune reported. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/12/murder-suicide-emington-illinois.html

Michael Winship: The GOP’s Hazy Cloud of Ignorance

from Consortium News:

The GOP’s Hazy Cloud of Ignorance
December 16, 2011

Since the ascendance of Ronald Reagan three decades ago, the Republican Party has evolved into the anti-science (or make-up-your-own-facts) party with a smug know-nothing attitude that is crippling efforts to address the looming crisis of global warming, as Michael Winship notes.

By Michael Winship

Have you heard about the great brown cloud? No, it’s not a new nickname for Donald Trump (his cloud is more an intergalactic nimbus of Aqua Velva and Tang), or the ominous menace in a new Stephen King novel. It’s almost as nasty, though.

The Atmospheric Brown Cloud, formerly known as the Asian Brown Cloud, is a mass of air pollution hovering over northern India along the southern Himalayas and down across Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. The cloud began growing shortly after World War II, a smoggy mass of soot and sulfates from diesel emissions, wood fires and other burning stuff that’s almost two miles thick.

A new study by scientists from a number of research organizations – including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography – finds that the cloud’s pollutants are making cyclones in the Arabian Sea more intense.

This is a very big deal, because, as Dean Kuipers writes in The Los Angeles Times, “After the apparent recent increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, including the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, climate watchers everywhere have speculated whether these storms were made stronger by industrial or man-made emissions. This is reportedly the first study to indicate that human activity may, in fact, affect large storms.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/16/the-gops-hazy-cloud-of-ignorance/

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