Adaptation, Mitigation and Suffering

I think that covers our options.

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Real adaptation is as politically tough as real mitigation, but much more expensive and not as effective in reducing future misery

Rhetorical adaptation, however, is a political winner. Too bad it means preventable suffering for billions.

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We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.
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August 27, 2010

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Thanks to Climate Progress for the steady work

Planet Earth’s attic is on fire.

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Arctic sea ice volume heads toward record low as Northwest Passage melts free fourth year in a row

Masters rebukes disinformers: “Diminishing the importance of Arctic sea ice loss by calling attention to Antarctic sea ice gain is like telling someone to ignore the fire smoldering in their attic, and instead go appreciate the coolness of the basement, because there is no fire there. Planet Earth’s attic is on fire.”

Volume NS

Arctic sea ice volume heads toward record low as Northwest Passage melts free fourth year in a row

Chris Mooney has a good piece in New Scientist, “Arctic ice: Less than meets the eye,” the source of the above figures.  Mooney focuses on the work of Canada’s David Barber — you can find his peer-reviewed work here:  “Where on Earth is it unusually warm? Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, which is full of rotten ice” — New study supports finding that “the amount of [multi-year] sea ice in the northern hemisphere was the lowest on record in 2009.”

Mooney also discusses the PIOMAS ice volume model developed by the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center in Seattle, which I have been featuring on CP this year.  Their analysis finds “not only has the total volume of Arctic ice continued to decline since 2007, but that the rate of loss is accelerating” [see also Arctic death spiral: Naval Postgrad School’s Maslowski “projects ice-free* fall by 2016 (+/- 3 yrs)”].

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How about a little Pablo Neruda?

From Peaceful Rivers:

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.


This one time upon the earth, let’s not speak any language,

let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment, without hurry, without locomotives,

all of us would be together in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea would do no harm to the whales

and the peasant gathering salt would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars, wars of gas, wars of fire,

victories without survivors, would put on clean clothing

and would walk alongside their brothers in the shade, without doing a thing.


There is more, of course, but you get the sense of it.

Fear – the Handmaiden of Intolerance

Talking Points Memo has the Robert Reich oped piece on intolerance. Intolerance, violence, bigotry seem to be in the air.

In times of fear, Americans will compromise their most basic civil rights for the false promise of security. Need an example? Look back at Japanese internment after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Reich’s piece is dead-on imho, but it is an uphill battle reaching the cerebral cortex of america when the reptile brain is responding so strongly to the fear-mongering.

What did FDR say? All we have to fear is what? Japanese among us? Mosques at Ground Zero? Communists in the State Department?

No, it was all we have to fear is fear itself. Come on, step up, be brave.

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The Anatomy of Intolerance


Connect the dots:
Many Americans (and politicians who the polls) don’t want a mosque at Manhattan’s Ground Zero.
An increasing percent believe the President is a Muslim.
Most Americans approve of Arizona’s new law allowing police to stop anyone who looks Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship.
Most would deny citizenship to children born in the United States to parents who are here illegally.
Where is all this coming from?
It’s called fear. When people are deeply anxious about holding on to their homes, their jobs, and their savings, they look for someone to blame. And all too often they find it in “the other” – in people who look or act differently, who come from foreign lands, who have what seem to be strange religions, who cross our borders illegally.
Economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance. It’s used by demagogues who redirect the fear and anger toward people and groups who aren’t really to blame but are easy scapegoats.

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This is a Checkpoint!

Yes, please. Check your hatred. Check your lunacy. Check your bigotry before you go any further.

In NY the conflict, rhetoric and hate crimes are building up in response to the fear-mongering, the wedge-politics of the opposition to the Ground Zero mosque – Cordoba House, a community center blocks away from the Twin Towers.

In Olympia, the home of slain activist Rachel Corrie, the boycott divestment and sanction movement is roiling the community and spilling over around the Northwest Coast. BDS Olympia has made the news for its work to persuade the Olympia Food Co-op to join the BDS movement.

Many folks who feel a special kinship with the State of Israel are in an uproar and the community is engaged in an animated and heated debate about Israel, Palestine, boycotts, two state/one state solutions and more.

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“This Is A Checkpoint!”

When I first read about how Michael Enright nearly murdered New York City cab driver Ahmed Sharif simply because he is Muslim, I immediately assumed that the hysterical campaign against the Park51 “Ground Zero Mosque” had resulted in the kind of violent act it seemed it would inevitably produce. Over the last few weeks, the civic atmosphere here in New York turned poisonous as the conflict over Park51 reached a fever pitch.

I have personally overheard numerous people around the city commenting ignorantly on the project, its backers, and Islam itself. Last Sunday, hundreds of people protested against the Park51 project in lower Manhattan in a demonstration inspired by raving Islamophobes like Pam Geller, whose Atlas Shrugs blog provides a glimpse into the terriyfing dreamscape that is the far-right id. Unsurprisigly, video emerged of a rabble of know-nothings accosting a black man falsely assumed to be Muslim and shouting charming epithets like “Muhammad was a pig!”

Read the whole post at The Activist.

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Global Warming turns 35

I guess we should sing Happy Birthday.   But it’s a little discouraging really.

Real Climate remembers climatologist Wally Broecker’s 1975 article in Science where he laid out the problem of CO2 accumulated heat on the planet.

Real Climate is for climate wonks. Always worth keeping an eye on the discussion there.

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Happy 35th birthday, global warming!

Global warming is turning 35! Not only has the current spate of global warming been going on for about 35 years now, but also the term “global warming” will have its 35th anniversary next week. On 8 August 1975, Wally Broecker published his paper “Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?” in the journal Science. That appears to be the first use of the term “global warming” in the scientific literature (at least it’s the first of over 10,000 papers for this search term according to the ISI database of journal articles).

To those who even today claim that global warming is not predictable, the anniversary of Broecker’s paper is a reminder that global warming was actually predicted before it became evident in the global temperature records over a decade later (when Jim Hansen in 1988 famously stated that “global warming is here”).

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Eggs and Embryos

Two stories that are in the news caught my attention.  The massive egg recall story reminds me why I buy my eggs from the Egg Lady in South Olympia.  She has a pretty big operation, hundreds of chickens, but the chickens are free to run in a fairly large space.  They look like happy chickens, if chickens experience joy walking around pecking at the ground.  It’s not an industrial scene where the chickens are trapped in very tight spaces with lots of other chickens.  This small farm operation looks good to me.  The industrialization of farming has some risks as the recent massive egg recall suggests.

The other story that caught my attention was the judicial decision that has effectively stopped embryonic stem cell research again.   There are lots of ways to look at this story, but I was thinking about the inconsistency of our political positions on the sanctity of life.  Dvorak Uncensored was also contemplating the sharia law implications of the debate.

Folks who are emphatically opposed to stem cell research because they believe a fertilized egg is a human being don’t seem to get up in arms over genetically modified crops and animals.  That upset is left to more liberal, tree hugging types who are not impressed with the inherent humanity of an embryonic stem cell line. And it continues down the line, progressives often don’t like the death penalty or drone attacks that take human life, but the conservatives who get apoplectic over human embryos seem less distressed by collateral damage, you know, children maimed and killed by proximity to our war on terror.

I am uneasy about the use of embryos as basic fuel for scientific research, but then I am uneasy about embryos in general.  I have a sense there are too many of us walking and pecking on this small blue planet and I don’t see how this species can collectively sort out the question of how, when, why we can decide who gets to carry a human embryo to term, and as the environment degrades, we face the demand to feel compassion over and over again for large numbers of human beings displaced by extreme weather, flooding, by drought, by food shortage, and sea rise displacement is on the horizon.  We are in this together, whether we are the folks displaced or the temporarily comfortable worrying about the folks dealing with flooding in Pakistan, or Tennessee or wherever.

Store owner Richard Dorer in the Tennessee link mentions that this is the second thousand year flood that has brought water into his store.  I don’t know if he has his stats down quite right, but I am willing to wager that Mr. Dorer believes that something is different about weather patterns on the planet.

Connect the dots.

Big Brother is My Co-Pilot

Ninth Circuit again. Those crazies are at it again, pushing the boundaries. For those who think privacy matters, read the dissent by Reagan appointee Judge Kozinski. Time magazine says he comes off as a raging liberal. What does it tell you when the raging liberals are now the folks who were appointed by Republican presidents? Strange times.

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The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.

It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.

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Bizarre Corporate News

I don’t usually side with the corporations, but there is something about this story that suggest criminality and culpability. But the 9th Circuit is well-known for its interesting decisions.  David Kravetz at Wired has the story.

You send letters threatening a massacre at the Super Bowl.  You actually get in your vehicle with an assault weapon and ammunition and head to the Super Bowl, then you change your mind and head home.  The 9th following the letter of the law disagrees with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and turns this guy loose because the organizations receiving the letters were not persons.

I think this decision may be more about Citizens United than it is about the 2008 Super Bowl.

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Court: Death Threats Addressed to Corporations Aren’t Illegal

The case concerned Kurt William Havelock, who drove to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, with a newly purchased assault rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition with the intent to kill. “It will be swift and bloody,” he wrote media outlets in packages mailed a half hour before he got cold feet and abandoned his plan. “I will sacrifice your children upon the altar of your excess.”
An Arizona man who plotted a massacre outside the 2008 Super Bowl had his conviction overturned Monday by a federal appeals court because his snailmailed death threats went to no specific targets.

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Laptop Burka

Why didn’t I think of that?

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Laptop Burka, Inc., is an owner-operator company in
the Pacific Northwest. Inventor and entrepreneur Marc Johnson
devised Laptop Burka after he grew frustrated with ineffective
methods of reducing glare on laptop screens. Nothing lived up to the
potential claimed by the latest hype from operating systems or
clumsy external devices.
Laptop Burka does the hard work other antiglare
devices just can’t do. And it works with any laptop computer, and
with any ordinary hat. Since it’s made from high-quality,
breathable, lightweight fabric –you take it anywhere, anytime.

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