Tag Archives: climate change

Global Climate Change Talks Falling Apart

Let’s just face the facts…we’re simply not going to do anything significant at a global level to slow climate change.  We’d already resigned ourselves to a minimum 2-degree (C) global temperature increase, with climate talks focusing on mitigation measures that would limit change to that level.  Most experts agree it’s very unlikely we’ll now be able to limit warming to that level unless we take immediate, and drastic, action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. 

That’s just not going to happen. The Kyoto agreement was never going to significantly affect warming trends, especially after the U.S. failed to sign on.  Climate talks in South Africa are concluding this week with little signficant progress on meaningful and legally binding emissions cuts.  Once again, the primary decision was to…push the hard decisions out to the future.  The text of the South Africa agreement this week pushes off emissions cuts until after 2020, cuts that aren’t legally binding. 

There’s a lot of similarity in climate negotiations, and conditions which have led to the global economic crisis.   In Europe, there simply hasn’t been enough political will to make the hard decisions needed to stabilize the European debt crisis.  In America, there simply hasn’t been enough political will to make painful decisions on entitlement spending and (NECESSARY!!) tax increases.  At the national or global scale, it seems we’re only capable of reacting to disaster, rather than being proactive in trying to prevent disaster.   It’s looking very likely that we won’t even start to significantly address climate change until sea-level rise begins to inundate coastal cities…until shrinking mountain snowpacks reduce precious water supplies…or until catastrophic drought or severe storms take a heavy toll.   At that stage it’s just too late.

There’s a real economic impact in attempting to address climate change at this stage, but it’s nothing compared to the long-term economic impact of dealing with climate change.  It does seem however that the world has decided that it would rather kick the can down the road and deal with the impacts of severe climate change, rather than try to prevent it from happening.

Jon Huntsman Joins Rest of GOP Idiocy

Romney and Huntsman

The joke is on you guys, Romney and Huntsman, and your whole party. You can't continue to deny reality for short-term political gain.

Flash back to before the GOP race began.  There used to be a pair of the current GOP candidates who chose to act like adults.  There used to be a pair of the current GOP candidates who put science above playing political games.  Mitt Romney USED to believe in climate change science.  Romney even used to back cap-and-trade for carbon.  Then he runs for president, and he begins to bow to the ignorant wackos who have taken over the Republican party.  All of the sudden Romney begins to have doubts about climate change science.  Just as with John McCain when he ran, Romney has shown that nearly all politicians will sell their soul to get elected.  It doesn’t matter what they believe in, it doesn’t matter what is actually good for the country.

Jon Huntsman was seemingly the last GOP candidate to support climate change science.   Back in August, he tweeted “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”  Jon Huntsman is also seemingly the ONLY GOP candidate who hasn’t had his turn at the top of the polls.  He was the only GOP candidate that, frankly, I had even the tiniest bit of respect for.

Well…so much for that.    Today, Huntsman came out and expressed  some new-found doubts about climate change science.  Way to join the rest of the gutter-dwelling GOP, Huntsman.  Way to prove that you too are willing to sell your soul for some votes. 

Earlier this year, Huntsman said that the minute the GOP becomes the anti-science party, they’re in trouble.  Well, Mr. Huntsman, if that’s the criteria, then yes, the GOP is in trouble.  You can’t build a party, or a nation, on ignorance.

Thanksgiving Thanks

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert using humor to point out the ridiculousness of American conservatism...the perfect antidote for the lies and hate coming from the right.

On a Thanksgiving weekend, what better topic than to post what you’re thankful for.   To stay on topic with the blog focus, here are some things I’m thankful for, from the birding, environment, and political world.

- Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – In a world where half the U.S. thinks Fox is a real source of news, in a world where right-wing, hate-mongering wackos like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter spew lies and use hate to pit American against American, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert and the Colbert Report are the perfect antidote to the ever increasingly radical conservative agenda.  SOMEONE needs to point out how incredibly ridiculous the right sounds, SOMEONE needs to call out the right for their take-no-prisoners, our-way-or-the-highway, hate-mongering approach to politics and America’s social structure, and the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are perfect for putting the right’s own soundbites in perspective.

SkepticalScience.com – SkepticalScience.com is a site that focuses on debunking climate change skepticism, and the lies perpetuated by those attempting to undermine climate change science.   Scientists often aren’t very effective at communicating with the general public, and using the mainstream media as the primary pathway to communicate with the public simply isn’t effective, not when the media often seems more interested in generating controversy than focusing on the facts.  I’m specifically highlighting Skeptical Science, but I’m thankful for ANY website, ANY blogger, or ANY news organization that recognizes the science behind climate change and vehemently counter industry-sponsored groups that have attempted to politicize and undermine that science.

National Public Radio - It can be depressing to go online and read what passes as news on most websites.  Money makes the world go around, and since Americans seem more interested in the latest pop culture icon than they do in real issues, “news” seems to sometimes focus more on entertainment or cultural fluff pieces than on the real news of the day.   The other trend in U.S. news that REALLY bothers me is a pervasive slant to news stories that focuses on the negative or controversial side of a story.  There always needs to be someone to blame, there always needs to be a target that stokes anger, there always seems to be a need to pit American against American, right against left, etc.  With politics AND the media both taking that same approach, it’s no wonder we often seem to be a divided America.  Against that pervasive, negative, and biased news background, it is SO refreshing to get in the car in the morning and hear REAL news stories on NPR while driving to work.  You want “fair and balanced” reporting, you go to NPR.  While those on the right launch unfair attacks on NPR as being too liberal, it only takes a few minutes of listening to realize that NPR bends over backwards to try to provide “both” sides of the story, particularly on sensitive political issues.

Pathetic GOP Presidential Candidates - I’m not all that thrilled with many of the decisions Obama has made in his first term.  He’s proven to be a very poor negotiator with a GOP that refuses to compromise, and he’s been much less effective than hoped for with regarding to environmental issues.   However, given the incredibly difficult hand he’s been dealt, I think he’s been able to do some nice things.  There’s VERY little Obama can do to turn the economy around, given the situation in Europe and a GOP-controlled House that automatically is against ANYTHING Obama proposes.   The GOP is heavily counting on that poor economy to drive Obama out of office, and given that poor economy, normally, Obama wouldn’t have much of a chance to win a 2nd term.  This isn’t a normal situation though, in that the best and the brightest the GOP has to offer include a dimwit like Rick Perry, a sleazy Hermann Cain who also has absolutely no clue about politics, the economy, or world affairs, a set of wackos in Bachmann, Santorum, and Paul, an admittedly intelligent Newt Gingrich with a lot of skeletons in his closet, and the bland politician in Mitt Romney that nobody seems to want to support except by default.   It’s damned scary to think where America would be headed if Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and had the presidency.  I thank god that Republicans have fielded the most laughable slate of presidential candidates America has ever seen.

South Dakota Winter – A wonderful South Dakota winter is here!  Reason to celebrate?  Well, uh…no.  I HATE winter.  I HATE the cold. I HATE the snow. I HATE leaving work and pretty much only seeing the sun on weekends.   But one thing I treasure about South Dakota winters…birding and taking photos on the grasslands in the central part of the state.  Gyrfalcons!!  Prairie Falcons!! Snowy Owls!! SCADS of Rough-legged HawksFerruginous Hawks!! Golden Eagles!! Bald Eagles!!  A single day of birding and photography in the central part of the state typically provides dozens and dozens of raptors, and quite often, some good views at birds that are typically very rare in the conterminous U.S.  Given the otherwise bleakness of a South Dakota winter, the explosion of life on the grasslands in the winter, with raptors “dripping” off telephone poles and fence posts, is a very welcome sight.

Digital Damage Control by Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel

Digital Damage Control!! It seems Discovery Channel isn't pleased about negative blog press about their decision to only show 6 of 7 episodes of an upcoming series called Frozen Planet. "TreeHugger.com" is OWNED by Discovery!!!

Too funny.  Two blog posts down, I posted a story on the Discovery Channel, recommending folks boycott them for their ridiculous decision to show 6 parts of a 7-part series produced by the BBC, called Frozen Planet.  Discovery said the last episode might “upset viewers”…because it DARES to talk about the science of man’s effect on climate, and the effects of climate change on the environment.

In my other blog post, I got a comment from a “Chris Tackett” at “TreeHugger”, saying “they had contacted” people at Discovery to get the scoop on their airing of this series.  As the page states…TreeHugger.com is owned and operated by…THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL!!! 

GMAB, Mr. Chris Tackett.  Give me a break, Discovery Channel.  Pretty tacky move, trying to do some digital damage control for your ridiculous decision regarding this series.  Thanks to your clumsy efforts to provide your own disinformation and PR, I’m going to be SURE to make this continuing story as prominent as I can on my blog.

Boycott the Discovery Channel!!!

David Attenborough

EEEEEEEEEEKKK!!! It's "controversial" BBC narrator David Attenborough!! Run for your lives!! Thank GOD Discovery Channel is shielding us from this man's evil!!

Alright, this REALLY pisses me off.  The BBC has produced a 7-part series called “Frozen Planet”, narrated by the popular David Attenborough.  All seven parts will be seen in Britain and elsewhere.  But in the U.S.?  The Discovery Channel, which is the outlet that will be airing the series, says they will not broadcast the 7th and last part of the series, as it might “upset viewers“.

The reason?  The 7th episode focuses on man’s impact on climate change, and the resultant negative environmental effects.  The Discovery Channel, a channel which purports to cover environmental and science issues, REFUSES to air a show that discusses the science of climate change…all because of the ridiculous, ignorant, ass-backwards populous of the U.S. that stupidly believes climate change is a political issue, not a science issue.  For a channel that supposedly has a focus on science, bowing to politics and IGNORING the science is just reprehensible. 

SOMEHOW, Discovery has no problem with shows like “American Guns” or “Sons of Guns”, which glamorize the world of guns and deadly weapons.   SOMEHOW, Discovery has no problem with stupid shows focusing on used car salesmen, or miners who seem hell-bent on destroying the environment through gold mining.  But a show that talks about climate change?!??!  EEK!!!  They can’t show that!!  It might upset the ignorant redneck component of the American population that has no clue about the science of climate change. 

I REALLY hate how channels like Discovery, Animal Planet, and National Geographic seem to continually get further and further away from airing science-oriented shows, in favor of complete schlock like “American Guns”, “Psychic Gold Hunt”, “Inside Indie Wrestling”, or “Rat Busters”.  Why not, I guess?  The American public is already shockingly ignorant of basic science issues.  Science education is completely inadequate, and we continue to undermine funding for science research.  What the hell, we might as well complete our slide into the scientific cellar by also removing all the actual science from our science television programming.

Execs running the Discovery Channel, you are a complete joke for refusing to air this episode.  David Attenborough and BBC science programming…REALLY controversial stuff there…I can see why you’re balking at showing it.  Pathetic.  Discovery Channel, I am now deleting you from the list of viewable channels at my house.  Won’t be much of a loss, given the complete crap you’ve been programming lately anyway.

Perusin’ & Musin’

Perusin' & Musin'Some random thoughts from perusing the web…

Ron Paul Shows What’s Important for GOP – Ron Paul today said that if the GOP “goes soft” in negotiations in the debt committee, the risk is that Obama would get re-elected.  Note that the “risk”, the main priority for the GOP, has NOTHING to do with the success of the debt committee.  Their main priority has NOTHING to do with negotiating in good faith, and doing what’s best for our country.  No, the priority is all about the next election, and making sure Obama isn’t reelected.  Even if it means taking the entire country down, by ruining the debt-committee negotiations.

Too Late to Stop catastrophic Climate Change?  – An International Energy Agency report released this week painted a pretty bleak picture with regard to the likelihood of avoiding catastrophic climate change.  For a long time, the hope has been that we could somehow limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius globally.  Even with that amount of warming, there are very significant implications on regional ecosystems.  The IEA report notes how incredibly unlikely it will be that warming is restricted to even that level.  Considering that a report a week or two noted that carbon dioxide emissions over the last year were higher than even the WORST projections from a few years ago, we’re likely accelerating climate change, not slowing its progression.

Jerry Sandusky Admits to “Horsing Around” with Kids - Jerry Sandusky, the ex-coach at Penn State who has been indicted for sexual assault on multiple young boys, admits he has often showered with young boys, but that it was all just “horsing around”.  Sandusky’s lawyer says Sandusky is just “a big kid”.  Do scumbags like Sandusky really think people are going to buy that defense?  That he’s just was “horsing around” with all these young boys over the years?   Does “horsing around” with kids include showering naked with them, bear-hugging them naked, and doing…more disgusting things that his victims accuse him of?   We have two registered sex offenders living a few blocks away.  Scares the hell out of me knowing people like this are out there, when I have an 8-year old son.

Cain on Defense after Libya Comments - Herman Cain has already shown a lack of foreign policy credentials, but he’s beyond the point where he can get by with the excuse of “that’s what the experts are for” (referring to policy advisors if he should by some miracle be elected).  Yesterday was a complete joke though, when he was completely lost on the topic of Libya…shocking, giving the prominence Libya has had in the news.   The bigger question to me is…HOW THE HELL can people like Herman Cain even be considered presidential material?   HOW THE HELL can a Rick Perry EVER be elected into any position of responsibility?!?  WHY THE HELL do American voters seem to sometimes treasure complete stupidity in their candidates?  On the bright side…I wondered if I’d “miss” Sarah Palin (remember her?) when she finally dropped out of the media spotlight, but with Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Paul, and practically every GOP member of Congress, there’s definitely no shortage of OTHER people to make fun of.

Two Rhino Species Extinct in One Week - Last week, the last known Javan Rhino of a certain subspecies was found shot, with its horn cut off.  This week, the western Black Rhino of Africa was declared extinct in the wild.  Two megafauna down in a one week’s time, all for the sake of horny Asian men who “need” rhino horn as an aphrodisiac.  Ain’t humanity grand…

Perusin’ & Musin’

Thinking AnimationSome random thoughts from perusing the web…

2010 a Record Year for Greenhouse Gas EmissionsDespite a slow global economy, global greenhouse gas emissions set an all-time high in 2010, with greenhouse gas quantities in the atmosphere now even worse than the WORST-case scenario projected by experts several years ago.  Just another day in climate change news, a day that also noted a giant crack found in an Antarctic glacier

Perry Drunk?  On Drugs?  Or just being himself? – Rick Perry today was forced to respond to allegations that he was either drunk or on pain medications during a recent New Hampshire speech.  Perry said no, he wasn’t drunk or on drugs.   You know, there just MIGHT be a problem with your qualifications for president if people can’t tell if you’re acting normally, or if you are drunk or on drugs. 

Senate GOP Blocks Infrastructure/Jobs Bill - Republicans again today showed that they will not allow any legislation to pass which might help the economy before next year’s elections.  They know their best chance to oust Obama is for the weak economic conditions to continue until the election.  Democrats have been trying to pass pieces of Obama’s jobs bill, without any success, thanks to GOP obstruction.  Today, GOP senators blocked a $50 billion infrastructure bill designed to get Americans working again by funding work to repair road and rail networks.  The bill would have been paid for by a 0.7% tax increase on people making more than $1,000,000 a year.   The debate today is also yet another example of what a joke Republicans are when they call for “shared sacrifice”, when they continue to shield millionaires from even the tiniest of tax increases. 

National Zoo Scientist Convicted of Poisoning Cats – A researcher at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. was convicted of poisoning stray cats in her neighborhood.   My first thought is that there’s no end to the sickening things people will do.  My second thought…I wonder if she’d be willing to help me with the neighbor’s cat that keeps EATING THE BIRDS AT MY FEEDERS!!!  Ok, no, I would never do such a thing.  But my GOD, what do you do with neighbors that refuse to restrain their cats?  What do you do with neighbors who deny that their precious cat could ever catch, much less eat, a bird?   It IS a very sweet cat, other than when it’s killing every living thing it comes across.  But I have about had it with that cat, and with my neighbors behind me.  We HAVE talked to them about it.  They MUST see me when I’m chasing their cat out of my yard about 10 times a day on the weekend.  If people want a pet, then for god’s sake, be prepared to act responsibly.

Nebraska 45, Northwestern 27 – I’m taking my 8-year old son to his first Nebraska football game this weekend!  He’s not a sports fan at all, but I think he’ll get a kick out of it.  He’s never been in an atmosphere like this.  Northwestern has a bad record, but they led in each of the 5 games they lost, including leads over 3 ranked teams in the 2nd half.   Northwestern has a great mobile QB in Dan Persa, and they can score on anyone.  They can’t stop anyone though.  I think Northwestern will give Nebraska all they can handle for the first half, before Nebraska pulls away in the second half.

Climate Skeptic Converted: Still a Jerk

Temperature Data

Muller and the Berkeley group have simply replicated what everybody else has already shown with temperature data, yet Muller says until his results, people should have been skeptical.

I previously posted that Richard Muller, a former skeptic that the earth was warming, was “converted” when he himself conducted a 2-year study to examine global temperature data.  Prior to conducting his own investigation, he claimed skepticism over the way the data were analyzed.  After his group examined the data themselves, they came to the exact same conclusions as every other climate scientist…the earth is warming. 

So why am I saying he’s still a jerk?  When asked about the study, Muller said “The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago.”   He goes on to say “and NOW we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”

Muller really sounds like a jerk.   Practically every climate scientist on the planet had looked at the temperature data and saw the obvious conclusion that the earth is warming.  But Muller is basically implying that there could be no confidence in the temperature data until HE looked at it.  Scientists can be pompous jackasses.   Some skepticism is obviously good in science, as all theories need to be examined with a critical eye.   But what Muller is basically saying is that it is HIS approach that has somehow confirmed the temperature rise in the data, and that previous efforts should be examined with skepticism…despite his results looking EXACTLY like previous results.

I guess when you’ve made as much of a fool of yourself like Muller did, this is his own personal way of saving face.

Perusin’ & Musin’

Some random thoughts from perusing the web…

Rick Perry Wants Wall Street Regulation Rolled Back – In an interview on CNBC, Rick Perry said that regulation of Wall Street was fine before the collapse, that it was actually the fault of government regulators that the economy crashed.  He wants Dodd-Frank and other Wall Street regulations to be rolled back.   Merry Christmas, Wall Street.  Between Perry’s 20% flat tax proposal and his desire to roll back financial regulation, happy times are sure to return to Wall Street.  It’s just the rest of us who won’t be participating in whatever kind of economic recovery Perry prefers.

CDC Recommends Boys get HPV  Vaccination - The CDC today put out a recommendation that young boys also get the HPV vaccine, before they become sexually active.  The vaccine will protect boys from certain cancers and genital warts.  I wonder who will be the first to come out and oppose the recommendation.  After all, we can’t have any government entity telling us what to do now, can we!?!?  It’s oppression!!  It’s some kind of governmental control conspiracy!!   Mark my words, you WILL see such comments from the right very soon.   Maybe it’s all a matter of evolution, survival of the fittest.  Pretty soon, all the ignorant, anti-science, right-wing wackos will be extinct through their own refusal to accept recommendations such as these, while us liberal, science-loving, tree-huggin’ wackos will rule the earth because WE were smart enough to immunize our children.

U.S. Security In Peril, $200 billion in proposed weapons cut - One proposal to help the debt reduction committee find $1 trillion in savings over the next decade is to cut spending on nuclear weapons by $200 billion.   $200 billion cut??!?!  How will America survive?!?!?  Those on the right would have you believe this somehow decimates America’s nuclear “deterrent”.  Uh….no.   Cutting $200 billion means we still would spend $500 billion on nuclear weapons over the next century.  HALF A TRILLION dollars spent for a weapon we say we will never use.   I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the debt panel fail, which would trigger the automatic cuts, including cuts to defense.  Political gridlock may be the ONLY thing that gets us to reduce our ridiculous levels of military spending.

Iceland to Plant French Trees to Save Species from Warming – Icelandic and French scientists are discussing a plan to plant French tree species endangered by global warming in Iceland.  Warming temperatures will soon make Iceland’s climate suitable to support some French tree species, which may not be able to adapt to warming temperatures in France.  It’s an interesting plan, and I certainly support efforts to save endangered plant and animal species.  However, I do think efforts like this are better PR moves than they are for long-term conservation planning.  If climate change becomes so extreme that some French tree species begin to die out, the climate shift isn’t a short-term phenomenon.  It would take one hell of a long-term view to plant trees in Iceland with the intention of replanting them in France many centuries in the future.   It’s a nice thought, but the practicality and utility of such plans is pretty questionable.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of plant and animal species are going to have to be able to adapt or migrate on their own.

Top Earners Doubled Share of Income - Over the last 30 years, the top 1% of wage earners had incomes increase 275%.   The bottom 20% of wage earners had incomes only increase a dismal 18%.  As the study notes, government policy is much less redistributive now than 30 years ago, with current tax and other government policies favoring the rich more than they used to.  This study pretty much typifies what Occupy Wall Street is protesting.  I find it laughable that many conservative commentators continue to brush off Occupy Wall Street as a short-term passing fad.  As long as the gap between rich and poor continues to grow, OWS is here to stay.

Repeal the 20th Century – Vote GOP -  I love this column on the Washington Post, by Katrina vanden Heuvel.  I love the reference to an earlier Washington Post column, and the “Repeal the 20th Century – Vote GOP” line.  As vanden Huevel notes, the GOP would not only like to dismantle 20th century social programs such as Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, but they seem hell-bent on dismantling several decades (or more) of scientific research.  Given how GOP candidates seem to stumble all over themselves trying to see who can sound the most ignorant on climate change and evolution, it wouldn’t surprise me if the eventual GOP winner is the first one to embrace the flat earth theory.

Climate skeptic proves himself wrong

Muller - Berkeley Temperature Data

Even the most ardent of climate skeptics, such as Muller, can't refute the data once they analyze it themselves.

Richard Muller is a U.C. Berkeley physicist and self-proclaimed climate idiot skeptic.  Muller simply didn’t believe climate scientists’ interpretations of temperature data, so he started a project to examine temperature data, with money coming in from no other than the Koch Foundation…the Koch brothers who have funded other studies to discredit climate science.

Climate idiots skeptics hailed the research as something they could eventually point to, something that would show some kind of scientific fraud or misrepresentation of climate data.  TOO BAD climate idiots skeptics.  Even Muller couldn’t dispute what he found by looking at the data himself…that the world IS indeed warming, and there is NO doubt that the climate data is sound.

Will this stop climate idiots skeptics from spouting complete lies?  Will this stop those with a monetary interest in keeping the status quo, such as the Koch brothers, from funding other “science” studies?  Hell no, they’ll keep pouring millions of dollars into attempts to discredit climate science.   But let’s face it, climate idiots skeptics, you really don’t have much of a leg to stand on.  ANY attempt to look at the data with an unbiased eye reveals the obvious…that the climate is warming, and that we are contributing through our actions.