Monday, March 31, 2014

Dano Tells Eli to Get to Work And Save the World

Big Bunny Eli has been focused on something other than the disinformers Pielke, Tol and McIntyre.

That focus has also been on the snippets coming out about the practical implications of continued warming. Michael Mann recently has been giving interviews about a climate tipping point around the year 2036 (I’ll likely be reclining in my grave, so no big).

The AAAS recently produced a sobering report as well. Perhaps you have your own favorite media explainer.

For my money, the British Medical Journal has a clear-eyed editorial laying out what is before us. But there’s good news! The issue is solvable.

This is what they say is the simple things we have to do:

This is an emergency. Immediate and transformative action is needed at every level: individual, local, and national; personal, political, and financial. Countries must set aside differences and work together as a global community for the common good, and in a way that is equitable and sensitive to particular challenges of the poorest countries and most vulnerable communities.
See? All we have to do is change our basic nature. That, or teach our children how to adapt to a world of greater strife and less predictable water and food supplies (techno-optimism isn’t keeping up with our needs these days). Our fifth-grade daughter is planting her own crops this year and giving the surplus to a women’s shelter, among other things.- Dano


Anonymous said...

This is an emergency...

Susan Anderson said...

Yes, that's about it. So we should all get to it!

Bernard J. said...

"All we have to do is change our basic nature."

Don't hold your breath for that to happen any time soon in Australia. It's just the same old same old here.

This morning on the local ABC radio channel Bernard Keane, a usually fairly pragmatic journalist with Crikey, was commenting in response to yesterday's release of the WGII SPM. He spoke with some apparent reservation about the removal of the Australian price on carbon, but then he said that "Australians can't make a difference anyway" as if to justify the removal of the price. His comment was that "Australians only [sic] produce 2% of global emissions" and therefore nothing that we can do will make a difference. I was astonished to hear a usually balanced reporter succumb to this meme. As I've said before, using that logic I don't need to pay my taxes, as they are "only" a drop in the Australian ocean of consolidated revenue.

Keane went on to point out that the US and China are responsible for the lion's share of emissions and that without their participation we don't matter. Quite apart from the issue of carrying our fair share as pointed out in the previous paragraph, Kean misses the point that under the previous government Australia used to have a leadership reputation, and on many issues set the examples for the rest of the world. That was the most immediate value of our erstwhile action to mitigate climate change, and it's a grievous gaff on Keane's part to completely miss the point.

Australia has in the span of a mere 6 months become a backward, self-indulgent pariah, and some sections of our society are rapidly heading toward a distastful brand of neo-fascism. Without our former good example there is - and will continue to be - even less international inclination for action to mitigate than there may otherwise have been.

The other thing that seems to be trotted out a lot over the last week or so is the notion of "adapting"; that we can adapt and that we can afford to adapt. Really? How many times can the UK "adapt" to the sort of storms that struck it over the last few months? To how many more extreme droughts can farmers around the world "adapt"? How many times can society "adapt" to spreading and emerging diseases and other climate-affected health issues?

How is the biosphere supposed to "adapt"?

And how is it that "adaptation" to a new state suffices when that state is not in fact static? If there is no action to halt the emissions of 'greenhouse' gases and the concommitant changes to climate, then those adaptations become redundant almost as soon as they are made - if not sooner. It's like taking off one's shoes to keep them dry in a leaking boat, without addressing the leak.

"Adaptation" as a primary strategy is a fancy, a castle in the air, an affectation of useful action, a giant pup, a humungus bottle of snake oil. Real adaptation is what happens after the fact, and once the leak in the boat has been plugged... then it's time to dry the shoes and socks.

As long as the mass of social/political opinion fails to see this, however, there will be nothing but further sinking of the ship. And you can thank Australia and Tony Abbott for knocking another nice big hole in the global hull.

Anonymous said...

Dear bunnikins,

Do read some biology!

Evolution selects strongly for intra-species altruism. Genes are not selfish, but selfless.

Apart from the opposable thumb, almost all human evolutionary advantages derive from our extraordinary abilities in 1. communication and 2. cooperation.

The misanthropic rightwing myth of homo sapiens bunnius as a selfish asocial predator requires constant repetition to disguise the true facts. Surprised to see you propagating the myth further here.


Jim Eager said...

Bernard, not to mention the fact that Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal, which tells you everything you need to know about the current government's position.

A large portion of the emissions of Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and India come from burning Australian coal, so "2% of global emissions" is a perfect example of how to lie with statistics.

Anonymous said...

Good gawd get Turner on the phone.

There are cannibals roaming the streets!

Russell Seitz said...

The rise of Australian solid fuel exports is not Rupert Murdoch's fault. It instead reflects a decline in Coalala nmbers.

Without the cuddly lignite-eating marsupials to keep tonnage in check, methanogens swell coastal coal measures until they encroach on the sea , leaving the surf-loving Aussies with no sporting alternative but to clear their coastline by shoveling the stuff into any boat that comes along.

Anonymous said...

All we have to do is change our basic nature.

Nah. What we have to do is fight the contemporary proliferation of bullshit...

The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These “anti-realist” doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry. One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity.

Facts about ourselves are not peculiarly solid and resistant to skeptical dissolution. Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial — notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.

On Bullshit
Harry Frankfurt, Princeton University

- Jebediah Hypotenuse

one-factor control Hypothesis said...

FACTS? well, let's see economic or the civilizational system or another global system we live in, the precognition of complex systems like the economic or the climatic or whatever global are very low, and are low because:

I-They are systems without steady-state conditions where the inputs balance the outputs, or if you prefer inflows balance outflows, energetic or monetary or another kind of Symbolic Unitary % $ shit.
And they are least applicable under transient-state conditions, where flows are unbalanced and where rates of function will likely depend on rapidly changing conditions and from the interaction of many factors.

This is not a limited plot in a laboratorial corporation where we have some mad theorem that links growth to resource limitation and allocation of resources play a major role in the economic or civilizational "ecosystem or ecosystems if you are going to put borders in it"
This is not Liebig's law, we don't have a handful of factors that are well known and can be singled out as major limiting factors, because synergetic or synergistic interactions are at work and we have only 100 years or 500 years of data (in the economic systems ) or less than 8,000 years of data in civilizational systems...

alles klar?

Força Força Camarada Vasco said...

And, this control of complex systems by reducing the inputs, and the inputs are what? oxygen in water?
co2 in water ? methane? and the nitrogen or energetic flutuations that the extreme events are going to put out of the balanced equation?

we don't know that big storms produce gamma rays till less than twenty years ago 1995?

a single shot acted like a primer tool to reloading the
germanic-french two hundred long war only hundred years ago

since we do not control many factors of civilizational economic or other comic global systems it seems pointless to argue that the systems are accurately known....

Hank Roberts said...

Ok, this is maybe in Eli's baliwick:

Which leads me to ask: is there any imaginable molecule that we could produce and disperse in the thermosphere that would enhance emission to space? Now that there's a bit more known about what is going out from that layer?

It wouldn't do anything for ocean pH, but if we get to run-in-circles-panic--geoengineering maybe there's something smarter.

EliRabett said...

Hank, the thermosphere is just too hot and full of UV for much to survive.

Worse, where you have to suck the energy out of is the troposphere up to about 10km, which reduces anything higher up that would be useful to albedo manipulation or the equivalent.

Dano said...

I guess the cheapest way to start pulling carbon out of the atm would be to plant several tens of millions of ha of trees 30 years ago.

Trouble with that is: where will the cropland and grazing pasture come from?

We are, simply, bumping up against biophysical limits. What is going to give and how are we going to retrench and re-do?



Russell Seitz said...

Be of good courage, D.

If what has already been done to softwood trees and corn is done to kelp, you may get a second chance to plant algae

Anonymous said...

It is kinda like the North Korean Elections:

Global Warming Disaster: 100%
Global Warming Benefit: 0%

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

In America, anonymous internet blog commenters can believe whatever they want, without any regard for reality.

tree said...

yes you can disperse sulfuric acid in the higher atmosphere or cinder's
you don't need any imaginable molecule we could blast some H-bombs and they produce and disperse in the atmosphere enough that would not enhance but reduces solar radiation ....

and forests at 30 years growth lets say 1000 ton's per acre

30,000 million acres or 50,000 million acres

that gives only 30.000 giga tones or 50,000 gigatones of co2 extra to burn in fires
or you are going to cut the trees and make rafts with them?

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Aww, poor anonytroll@8:39 can't read the WG2 report. Maybe his mommy would read it to him, and then maybe he won't be so astoundingly ignorant.