Doomsday Chronicles, cont'd

Quick, somebody buy Michael Tobis a new set of worry beads:

The evidence is piling up that our circumstances are beyond our cognitive or managerial abilities. I’m more scared of that than of hundred degree oceans right now. I think at the present rate we will not manage to maintain what we are pleased to call civilization long enough to get to 5xCO2. I suppose you could say that may be more good news than bad news; at least a few vertebrates will straggle through.

At his “present rate” of doomsday/media kvetching, I have to wonder how long Tobis can tolerate hearing himself say the same things, ad nauseum.

153 Responses to “Doomsday Chronicles, cont'd”

  1. Barry Woods says:

    seriously…
    if we get natuarl cooling for a few years, I worry about how some people will handle it!

  2. Marlowe Johnson says:

    🙄
     
    the same might be said of you Keith.  Sometimes it useful to follow your mother’s advice:  if you don’t have anything nice/constructive to say, don’t say it.

  3. grypo says:

    The point of the post is actually quite good.  Humans being unable to properly reason and manage large, complex issues is interesting to a wide audience of people.  Revkin asked a good question and was given a scenario that paints a picture that is likely intolerable to our current civilization.  Revkin rejected that proposal and pointed out climatologists that agree with his version of how the future will play out.  Then he pointed to a policy proposal that agrees with the hand picked climatologists.  So the question of whether people can adequately deal with hard to imagine scenarios is apt.  And is actually something that you, KK, post about often.  It actually goes a long to answering some of the questions revolving around how messaging should work with different subgroups.

  4. Keith Kloor says:

    @2

    I hold my tongue plenty. But this is a blog and I will continue to mix up the content in the whimsical fashion I do. Also, Michael is a big boy and since he dishes it out plenty, so he should be plenty okay with being on the receiving end of occasional barbs.

    @3

    I have indeed blogged lots on the implications of the first sentence in the passage I quoted from. But that’s not what I’m poking fun at, as should be apparent by the title of this post and the rest of the passage highlighted, particularly the last two sentences.

  5. As Grypo pointed out, that wasn’t really the main point of the article. I have a bad habit of distracting from my main point with excessive but tangential rhetorical flourishes. I’ll have to watch that.
    Still it’s true, I did say it. So let’s discuss it.
    Keith, do you really think the world is handling its challenges well? Do you see any immediate prospect of improvement?
    First of all, food production is practiced as an extractive industry, dependent on depleting aquifers, petroleum and natural gas. That’s unsustainable by definition. Secondly, resource allocation is inequitable, we are running out resources, and the implicit promise of universal development is looking to the less developed world like a sham about now. Thirdly, despite the fact that our economies are grossly overheated, the idiot bankers have gotten us in a situation where if we don’t resume growth our whole organizational pattern will collapse. Fourthly, after some decades of improvement, the momentum has resumed toward xenophobia, isolationism, and ethnic blame. In particular, Christianity and Islam are about as friendly now as they were during the crusades. Fifth, the cheap petroleum is running out and the next cheapest replacements double the carbon burden of the atmosphere and oceans, which leads us to sixth, the atmosphere and oceans are already about as full of carbon as we can reasonably risk. Seventh, in the middle of all this nobody gives a rat’s behind about nuclear proliferation which we all used to lose a lot of sleep about. Eighth, the world’s major power is controlled by obstructionist elements and is redeveloping a fascist streak that had been in remission. The fact that Africa is dying of AIDS and hunger, and that species extinction is accelerating, now seem to disturb nobody’s sleep anymore amid all this. Did I miss any?
    The good news? Well, Twitter is pretty cool. So is my iPhone; so are movies on demand which after decades of promises have finally arrived. But somehow I don’t think that sort of thing is enough.
    I mean, please. It’s one thing to mock my worry; it’s another to explain what’s wrong with it. By all means, cheer me up. What did I miss?
     
     

  6. Tom Fuller says:

    Nobody is mocking your concern, Tobis, somemthing that even denialist scum often share. It’s the hysteria that bites.

    You should read Matt Ridley or something. Africa is not dying of AIDS and hunger. Far too many Africans are, but it is not stopping the continent from finally starting to recover from the colonial experience.

    Species extinction is a perfect crime for environmentalists. Nobody knows how many species exist, nobody knows how many are dying off, nobody knows if those that do go missing are actually extinct, nobody knows if the die-off rate is more, less or the same as in previous periods–the people that have published scary totals have flat out admitted in the press that they… made…the….numbers…up.

    In the world I live in, people are living longer and better lives. They are better fed, less susceptible to disease and less likely to die in a war or as a victim of crime. They are better educated and have inifintely more possibilities available to them.

    In the world I live in, the pollution inherent in industrial civilization is being successfully abated in the developed world, and the lessons being learned will be applied in the developing world as soon as they can permit themselves to do so.

    As for the world’s major power developing a fascist streak, I assume you must be talking about China–nationalism is always a threat in situations like they are experiencing. But that’s okay, the robustly democratic United States, which recently elected a black Democratic president, has a robust military capability that will serve to check the Chinese impulse to fascism, and is engaging with them to show that there are alternatives.

    It’s an exciting world I live in, Tobis. Even better, it’s the real world. You’re welcome to join it at any time. It’s better than whining in your cave about how the world is going to the dogs.

  7. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael,

    Except for the “denialist scum” part (Tom, can you lay off the references to scum, even in jest?), I think Fuller presents an alternate universe which I find accurate and more reality-based than yours.

    Let me put it to you another way: reading your blog sometimes is like watching the (if it bleeds it leads) local evening news. A person can walk away with a pretty skewed view of humanity if all you see in a 20 minute stretch (every day) is murder, pillage, car accidents, corruption, disasters, etc.

    So your worry is legitimate. But it’s skewed and disproportionate because you focus on all the bad stuff, like the evening news.

  8. Francis says:

    Aaaand once again you can’t resist sticking the knife in.  Instead of meta-analysis about Tobis’s analysis of Revkin’s claim, why not focus on what Andy wrote?  A little troubling, don’t you think, that a purportedly centrist journalist rejects the single easiest way to capture carbon emission extermalities?

  9. Keith Kloor says:

    Oh, I think Michael is totally overreacting to Andy’s post, but I’ll let Andy defend himself.

  10. Tom Fuller says:

    Francis, the first rule of literary criticism is ‘grant the artist his choice of subject.’

  11. Marlowe Johnson says:

    I’d agree that Michael is being a tad pessimistic in terms of the current situation (global trends for a number of indicators can be found here).  However, I don’t think he’s at all off the mark in terms of his concern about the future either in terms of climate change, or the implications of a decline in cheap fossil fuels — which really are the foundation of modern civilization…
     
    Keith, taking your example a little further — you seem to suggest that Michael should have the equivalent of a fireman rescues cat story every now and then.  To which I would say: go to Romm’s place for that 🙂
     

  12. OK, I stipulate that these are good trends and can be added in to the iPods and iPhones:
     
    <em>In the world I live in, people are living longer and better lives. They are better fed, less susceptible to disease and less likely to die in a war or as a victim of crime. They are better educated and have inifintely more possibilities available to them.

    In the world I live in, the pollution inherent in industrial civilization is being successfully abated in the developed world, and the lessons being learned will be applied in the developing world as soon as they can permit themselves to do so.</em>
     
    Well, maybe except for dying in a war. That trend seems to have reversed of late, but I haven’t looked at the numbers. I’d be interested to know.
     
    But the scary trends I mentioned are real too. The idea that prosperity in the west will continue to rise and spread to the rest of the world appears to be a matter of faith in many corners, but I don’t see the underlying reasons for that confidence. Nor does the rest of the world believe it any more, which is among the disturbing factors.
     
     

  13. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlow: No, I go to Andy’s place for that, too.

    Romm is mostly for entertainment and slow-motion car crashes. The stuff I find of most value seems to come pretty much from various cross-posters (barring “enviro-cabal” Johnson.)

    It should please you Romm admirers that his feelings for me are mutual.

     

  14. On the other hand this:
     
    Species extinction is a perfect crime for environmentalists. Nobody knows how many species exist, nobody knows how many are dying off, nobody knows if those that do go missing are actually extinct, nobody knows if the die-off rate is more, less or the same as in previous periods”“the people that have published scary totals have flat out admitted in the press that they”¦ made”¦the”¦.numbers”¦up.”

    is really a specious argument about species. It amazes me that people as advanced in years as Tom (or me) don’t actually perceive the environmental damage directly. Of course, perceptions can be deceptive, but the decline in habitat and in wildlife population is quite measurable even if extinction itself is hard to detect.

  15. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith from Andy’s
    “There are fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales alive, making this one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals.”
     
    Remind me again how this is a good news story…
     
    I don’t at all mean to denigrate the work of people that are trying to save whales, tigers, etc., but part of the job of the reporter is to put these efforts in context isn’t it? In which case it seems to me that it’s pretty difficult to avoid the sins you’re accursing romm and MT of…

  16. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis, if these thoughts are keeping you awake at night, it seems to me that you would at least make a minimum effort to find out if they are based in fact. Or do you prefer worrying?

    http://www.hsrgroup.org/human-security-reports/20092010/overview.aspx

    Armed conflict has increased from 2003 to 2008, but has not come close to reaching earlier levels, which peaked during the Vietnam era.

  17. Google turns up: ” there is no evidence to support claims of a recent decline in war deaths, concludes a study published on BMJ.com.” The study is by Ziad Obermeyer and colleagues from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.
     
     

  18. Tom Fuller says:

    Marlowe Johnson, considering that the population of North Atlantic right whales has increased from 300 to 400, it in fact seems like good news.

    http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/estimate.htm

  19. Tom Fuller says:

    See Fig. 3 in that study, Tobis.

  20. Marlowe Johnson says:

    good news would be adding a few zeroes to the estimate.

  21. Fuller, see figure 5 also. Figure 3 is what they are disputing in the paper!
     
    “Our adjustments to the Uppsala/PRIO data likewise do not support the claim that war deaths are declining globally. Overall, nationally representative surveys yield estimates of war deaths that are less optimistic than those based on passive surveillance, implying that it would rarely be appropriate to take such data as a true reflection of the magnitude or trend of deaths.


    These findings suggest that the strong claims made on the basis of current data from media reports””namely, that the number of deaths related to war has declined consistently since the mid-20th century and that recent wars have killed relatively few people””should be re-evaluated.”

  22. Tobis, if these thoughts are keeping you awake at night, it seems to me that you would at least make a minimum effort to find out if they are based in fact

    ???! I didn’t bring up war mortality, you did.

  23. thingsbreak says:

    @Francis
     
    Hippie-punching is so much easier than questioning one’s own position. Kloor and Revkin have both bought into the “breakthrough” boys’ promises of a third way, and Keith has yet to even attempt to articulate how that’s supposed to actually solve the problem. Expecting him to critique one of the boys’ supporters rather than mock Michael Tobis? That’s even less likely to happen.

  24. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis, you picked that one out of my list. The study doesn’t calculate deaths as a percentage of the world population (why should it? Not criticizing). My point is that war affects a much smaller percentage of humanity–I also believe the actual numbers are smaller, but don’t have time to really research it. This study does attempt to refute WHO and everybody else.

    Unlike the controversy about climate change, you are willing to look at outlier studies that provide different looks at the world. Interesting, that…

  25. Tom Fuller says:

    Thingsbreak, I hope Keith is better able to make sense of your comment than I am. I literally cannot understand what you are trying to say.

  26. thingsbreak says:

    @Tom Fuller:
    nobody knows if the die-off rate is more, less or the same as in previous periods”“the people that have published scary totals have flat out admitted in the press that they”¦ made”¦the”¦.numbers”¦up.
     
    Citation? I was under the impression that the background extinction rate is commonly cited as one extinction per million species-years, (1 E/MSY). I had no idea that this number was “made up”.

  27. Tom Fuller says:

    Can’t look it up, thingsbreak, but it’s out there on the internet. Pretty sure it was Wilson himself.

  28. thingsbreak says:

    @Michael Tobis
     
    I think a fundamental disconnect seems to be that because these harms and trends aren’t being personally experienced by Fuller, Kloor, et al., they are assumed to either be unimportant, exaggerated, or perhaps to be solved by the magic of economic growth.
     
    Do either Fuller or Kloor have any idea of what it would take in terms of resource consumption and increased fossil fuel use to provide the kind of lifestyle (which is admittedly not too bad) they enjoy to the rest of the world? To the world of 2050?

  29. Tom Fuller says:

    Sorry about the fragmented nature of my response–guess I really should just be a weekend warrior. But thingsbreak, considering that we cannot narrow the range of existing species better than between 1.5 million and 8 million species, it is a bit difficult to establish a background rate for extinction. You can come up with some hard numbers (maybe…) but a rate?

  30. Keith Kloor says:

    @23

    I’m punching hippies? Must be news to Romm, Id and Watts.

    Perhaps you should take Francis’ advice from the other thread to heart:

    “it’s way too easy to fool oneself; one should be harder on one’s own side in order to avoid sympathetic blindness to real issues.”

  31. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak, I can tell you in terms of energy consumption exactly what it would take, and it’s much higher than the U.S. DOE or the UN currently estimate. Straight line extension of current consumption trends show 2030-2035 consumption of over 2,000 quads per annum.

    If that’s all coal, it’s big, big trouble.

  32. thingsbreak says:

    @27 Tom Fuller:
     
    Wilson didn’t compute that extinction rate, Stuart Pimm’s group did. Are you claiming that he has subsequently claimed that the rate is “made up”?

  33. thingsbreak says:

    @29 kkloor:
     
    I disagree with people on my own “side” all the time. Vehemently about some things. I can’t seem to see where you can even articulate your “side”‘s solution, much less where you’ve disagreed with it.
     
    Hopefully, you can point me to at least the former if not the latter as well.

  34. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak, I literally cannot look that up right now. Sorry.

  35. Barry Woods says:

    My point is: Jo Abbess on the tag line of her blog ‘used to have ‘yelling truth about climate chaos’

    in one of her replies on her blog to me, I seriously was concerned for her state of mind, ie really fearing for the planets future..

    I tactfully, I think pointed out that yelling truth came across as a bit over dramatic…

    Jo to her credt is about the only totally intellectually honest blog on the CAGW side of things, that will print all comments (not that she gets tha many and following that comment she changed the tag line to ‘hearing truth’.

    Jo appears to spend a lot of time on this issue, should it fade away in the media’s mind should a natural cooling cycle overwhelm any AGW, let us pretend say a 2C, just to keep some people happy. I do feel concerend for her state of mind.. Much like for my sister in law, who life time involvement with the Green party may suffer ‘public backlash’ because of green taxes

  36. Tom C says:

    Mr. Tobis –

    I really recommend you put some serious study into economics.  Almost all your comments indicate a serious lack of understanding of even basic concepts.

  37. Barry Woods says:

    28#

    but the alarmist only care about the future poor, not the poor now….

    http://www.realclimategate.org/2010/12/is-the-road-to-green-hell-paved-with-good-intentions/

    Sir John Houghton (June 2010) ““ Co Chair 2001 IPCC Ar3 ““ “˜Hockey Stick’ report

    “Haven’t we first to tackle World
    Poverty, then Climate Change?

    NO,
    because unless
    we tackle Climate Change now,
    the plight of many of the poorest
    will be enormously worse”

    Sir John Houghton, no doubt sincerely believes that tackling future “˜climate change’ (man-made) is more important than the issues and hardships facing the worlds poor now

  38. Keith Kloor says:

    @33

    Of course you don’t see it, except the hippie punching part. Well, at least you’ll continue to be entertained then.

  39. Well, “it’s way too easy to fool oneself; one should be harder on one’s own side in order to avoid sympathetic blindness to real issues.”
    is also interesting. I think the reason that many of us find reading Romm so enervating is his adamant refusal to do so. But given how non-generous the opposition tends to be in such matters, given that they will repeat completely refuted positions for decades, it’s understandable from the point of view of someone who thinks sustainability is about politics.
     
    I think it’s about science. Which means I’m happy to concede points that make sense. So I wish there were more points to concede. I don’t actually like living on a dying world. I wish you could convince me that I am overwrought.
     
    So far, we have discovered that a point I didn’t raise (war mortality trends) is disputed, and that an endangered species of whale is slightly less endangered. Also, some quality of life trends in the west have been pretty good through about 2006 or 2007.
     
    Anyway, I’m quite willing to be hard on my position or that of allies. But so far in this conversation all we have is a couple of pretty much beside-the-point claims and a general sense that I am over the top.
     
    My basic point is that we have created an array of problems that existing mechanisms cannot address. Meanwhile, we (most of the world) seem to be intellectually and emotionally so stuck on defensive attitudes, minor tweaks, and jockeying for power that the best anybody can suggest is “let’s hope the engineers come up with something cheap and easy to fix everything”.
     
    Well, indeed, let’s do that. I don’t object to that strategy at all. But I think that’s not much of a basket for this many eggs.
     

  40. David44 says:

    Has anyone calculated whether we even have sufficient fossil fuel reserves to even get to 5xCO2?

  41. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, Tobis,  you wrote, “The evidence is piling up that our circumstances are beyond our cognitive or managerial abilities. I’m more scared of that than of hundred degree oceans right now. I think at the present rate we will not manage to maintain what we are pleased to call civilization long enough to get to 5xCO2.”

    Which is very vague. What ‘evidence is piling up’? What does this ‘array of problems’ consist of? What evidence do you have that these ‘pretty good quality of life’ trends peaked in ‘2006 or 2007’?

  42. Roddy Campbell says:

    Tobis: ‘I don’t actually like living on a dying world.’  Crikey.

  43. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael (39),

    I suspect that people like yourself read Romm because he channels your outrage. You already know as much as him about the science; you’re on board. So what are you taking away from him?

    Like you, he’s shouting from the rooftop (only he does it louder).

    And like I said, there’s always the evening news to confirm your grim take on society.

  44. Barry Woods says:

    43# crikey indeed.

    That sounds like the start of the slippery slope of a chain of thinking, that led eventually to the Discovery Channel incident and death by cop.

  45. 1) What “˜evidence is piling up’?
    The rate of increase of problems that are not addressable by established methods, and the rate of decrease of political competence to develop new institutions to cope with them.
     
    2) What does this “˜array of problems’ consist of?
    See #5 above.
     
    3) What evidence do you have that these “˜pretty good quality of life’ trends peaked in ‘2006 or 2007″²?
    Reading the news? Here’s an article from a site which endeavors to blame the Bush “recession” on Obama, but I think the charts are right. All growing systems eventually stop growing, but it’s better to plan for such a transition than to just step into it.
     
     

  46. thingsbreak says:

    @40 David44:
    Has anyone calculated whether we even have sufficient fossil fuel reserves to even get to 5xCO2?
     
    I don’t think anyone is claiming that we would get there from fossil fuel reserves alone. Rather, if we insist on digging up and burning all of the conventionals and some of the unconventionals like tar sands- note that this is the path we’re currently on unless something dramatic changes- we’ll precipitate a sufficient warming to engage methane hydrates and other feedbacks (e.g. carbon outgassing from the ocean). Some people have even suggested cutting out the middle man and burning methane hydrates directly!

  47. KK (43) Joe Romm gets the scoop. I don’t generally like his style but sometimes he is the one to break the news.
     
    I’m still looking for explanations as to how we are going to deal with all those global problems given our collective lack of ability to create new, functioning institutional structures other than businesses.
     
    Cheer me up!
     

  48. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis, you provide zero details. Zero. I repeat my request. (Personally, I’d be more upset about dying in a living world, but YMMV…)

  49. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis, I just reread #5. Actually, you really should read Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist. Pretty sure he addresses all of them.

  50. The amount of reserves is constantly debated. I know the rule of thumb used to be that it would amount to 10x background even without the feedbacks Things mentions, dominated by coal.
     
    The reserve goes down as costs of non-fossil energy go down, and goes up as costs of fossil energy go down. In the last couple of years, despite all the squawking about not bringing new sources online, two massive new sources have come online: tar sands and fracking.
     
    My impression is that 5xCO2 is possible directly by human forcing.
     
    There is also CO2-equivalent in other greenhouse gases. Fortunately most of them are relatively short-lived. But they count too.
     
     

  51. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael (47):

    Romm gets the scoop? As in he breaks news? Huh.

    As for those world-saving explanations you desperately seek: So with all the brilliant minds working at this from so many angles, you want/expect me to come up with the million dollar answer?

    I don’t believe you can be cheered up. You see what you want to see. I can’t make you stop viewing the world through that evening news filter.

     

  52. Barry Woods says:

    45)

    Very vague.. Please actually name the top 3 problems that you believe this applies to.. then we can discuss., then work through any others as well.

    I can think of MANY problems in the world, many solveable if the right focus and attention could be brought to the issues, but for the distraction of AGW

  53. thingsbreak says:

    @34 Tom Fuller:
    thingsbreak, I literally cannot look that up right now. Sorry.
     
    So what is the basis for the claim if you don’t actually know it and have to “look it up”? A gut feeling?
     
    @38 kkloor:
    Of course you don’t see it, except the hippie punching part.
     
    Of course I see more than that.
     
    For every tweak you give to Michael Tobis or rant about Joe Romm, you pretty reliably keep “balance” by snarking at WUWT, Jeff Id, or the like.
     
    But as to seeing where you’ve articulated how the “breakthrough” boys’ plan is supposed work in the current political climate (without resorting to the same kind of handwaving that could equally apply to emissions pricing), then no I haven’t seen it. Again, care to point out where you’ve done it? Perhaps after that, you can point out where you’ve criticized the “‘cheap’ energy (just don’t ask us how)” gang.
     
    @43 kkloor:
    I suspect that people like yourself read Romm because he channels your outrage. You already know as much as him about the science; you’re on board. So what are you taking away from him?
     
    I keep him in my RSS feed because he consistently provides good references to progress in clean energy. There may be other sources that do a better job. I’m all for new sources. He’s also good for the occasional interview with people who are getting spun by the media/press.
     
    I don’t go much for outrage, and not to speak for MT, but I suspect he doesn’t either. As has been said too many times to count, we want to be wrong about all this. Outrage seems to me to be the luxury of those who don’t really grapple with the scale of the problem in front of us (or perhaps, as with Romm, for those who have additional interests beyond this immediate issue).

  54. mondo says:

    Seems to me that there are some things that ought to be recognised in this discussion.
    The first is that economic prosperity brings increased environmental awareness and responsibility on the part of the broad population.  Evidence for this is the dramatic improvement in air and water quality in developed nations over the past 50 years.   Conservationists can take credit for this, but it is also true that with increasing wealth, the broader population appreciate the benefits and demand compliance with much higher standards.   These days in Sydney (the city where I live) it is rare to see any kind of litter on the streets.   And if you do see it, soon enough a citizen will pick it up and put it in the bin.   Sydney didn’t use to have clear blue skies.  The harbour used to be a polluted mess. Now the water is clear and the fish have come back.
    Today, diesel trucks emitting black smoke will have their numbers taken and their owners will be the recipients of angry letters or e:mails.
    So what happens is that as economic prosperity develops, the broad population embrace environmental responsibility, comply themselves, and demand compliance of industry.  It does take time, but over 50 year time frames, the differences are generally dramatic.
    Second, those of us who have travelled to China will know that things are improving very rapidly in that country.  New factories generally comply with developed nation standards, in part because many of their customers are from developed nations.
    Third, as in any human endeavour, there will always be a spectrum from the wildest activists to the aging luddites.   The reality is that over time, the attitudes of the broad population advance towards more environmental responsibility.  It takes time, but the changes are very real.
    Finally, the cause of environmental responsibility is actually damaged by the alarmists.  The man (and woman) in the street has deep reserves of common sense and bs detection.  The alarmist focus on CO2 as the main problem has diverted attention from real issues, particularly land use affecting regional and local climate.  The alarmists would benefit greatly from adopting a more mature, rational and believable narrative.

  55. Tom C says:

    Mr. Tobis –

    There are actually persons, intelligent and highly educated, that study issues of scarcity.  They are called economists.  Not too surprising, since economics is “the study of the allocation of scarce resources that have alternate uses”.

    You would be hard pressed to find economists that share your hysterical outlook.  Why on earth should we think that a handful of “scientists” such as yourself- who do not study scarcity – have the correct understanding of these matters?

    Ehrlich predicted the British isles would be uninhabited by 2020.  He looks like quite a fool today.  Why don’t you have the necessary self-discipline to avoid making similar foolish statements today.  Don’t you guys ever learn, or at least bother to educate yourselves?

  56. thingsbreak says:

    @51 kkloor:
    Romm gets the scoop? As in he breaks news? Huh.
     
    See, for example, interviews with Ken Caldeira, Simon Lewis, and others clearing up gross distortions of their positions at the hands of authors and journalists.

  57. Keith Kloor says:

    @53, so, from all I do is hippie punch, to… I’m in bed with the Breakthrough Institute to… you now want to return to a thread from a few months ago where I didn’t sufficiently answer your questions about the “post-partisan” energy white paper. Please. Stay on topic here and stop changing the subject.

    We’re talking about Michael’s penchant for doomsdsay rhapsody. I’ll play footsie with you again on your pet subject when I return to it.

  58. David44 says:

    TB@46 Thx.  Seems to me anytime we turn potentially releasable methane into CO2 it’s a win due to the 20x greater GH effect of methane.

  59. Keith Kloor says:

    @56

    You mean this Caldiera scoop?

    Yeah, that was a good one, alright.

  60. I think the environmentalist perspective and the sustainability perspective are different. Environmentalism is about ecology, watersheds, preservation of local systems. Sustainability is about a whole earth perspective, deep time, and demographics. Mondo addresses the first set of issues in a well-trodden but not entirely unconvincing way, though one could argue that the connection between prosperity and environmental protection is not entirely cast in stone.
     
    I am raising the second category, where my thoughts have always been since I was a young science fiction reader. It turns out that now that they are realistic and increasingly urgent, we simply do not have ways of weighing these problems and addressing them. This is not surprising, because they are new. What is surprising is how badly we are doing at rising to the occasion.
     

  61. thingsbreak says:

    @50, 58:
     
    Let me clarify what I meant. We have enough fossil fuel in the ground to get to 5x and beyond. But in terms of policy-maker relevant timescales, the fear was not burning through that much carbon directly by 2100-2150, but rather that we’d burn enough to get to +1,000 ppm (by exploiting easily both extractable and increasingly more carbon intensive fuels) be getting hot enough to engage various feedbacks.
    Per Hansen 2008, you can see we’ve got plenty of ammunition to make this game of Russian Roulette beyond reckless.

  62. thingsbreak says:

    @59
     
    Really, Keith? That’s it? Your apparent disbelief that he breaks some stories is based on that?
    I take it that means you concede the rest of the point?

  63. Sashka says:

    @58

    Or maybe a loss due to x10 lifetime of CO2 vs. CH4

  64. thingsbreak says:

    Shoot. My @61 has the wrong graph, this one includes the unconventionals: http://i56.tinypic.com/72vmn7.png

  65. Keith Kloor says:

    @62

    On the contrary, that would give me pause about quotes elicited in those other so-called “breaking” stories you refer to. But that’s just me. I mean, if feeding quotes to a source is as routine as he made it out to be, one can only assume…

  66. thingsbreak says:

    I’ve got an actual @61 hanging in moderation.
     
    @65 kkloor:
    that would give me pause about quotes elicited in those other so-called “breaking” stories you refer to.
     
    If it gives you pause, you can always check up on them. For instance, Simon Lewis wrote a piece for Nature News describing his experience. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101103/full/468007a.html Perhaps he’s simply unaware that Romm has somehow wronged him, however. Shall I try for a follow up interview?

  67. Keith Kloor says:

    @66

    There you go again–putting words in my mouth. Did I say that Simon Romm wronged him? In fact, Caldiera never said he was “wronged” either.

    But in any case, knock yourself out if you want to play citizen journalist and follow up. I’m all for that sort of thing. Might even stir the pot too. Here’s a suggestion, though. Wait for Romm’s next “breaking” story with a scientist and follow up with him or her. That way you’ll have a fresh hook instead of chasing after a year-old story.

  68. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis, could you please be more specific? The UK government, not known for its skeptical bent, talks about a number of environmental successes here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Thewiderenvironment/Lookingafternature/DG_064406

    Let’s address your comment #5 one item at a time.

    “First of all, food production is practiced as an extractive industry, dependent on depleting aquifers, petroleum and natural gas. That’s unsustainable by definition.”

    I refer you to this site: http://wsu.academia.edu/JudeCapper/Papers/116659/Demystifying_the_Environmental_Sustainability_of_Food_Production

    Actual beef yield per animal has increased from 266 kg per animal in 1975 to 351 kg in 2007. Milk production per cow has increased 443% since 1945. “The environmental mitigation effect from increased productivity is a function of either output per animal or the time taken to produce the product.” Both have increased dramatically in modern times, reducing the ‘industrial’ drain on resources ranging from land and water to sewage treatment.

    The intensive agricultural practices you bemoan actually reduce emissions (primarily, but not solely, because they require less land/less deforestation).

    Intensive agriculture (using an ‘industrial’ model that maximizes output and pays attention to inputs) also is better for the climate than dependency on locally grown foods. It often reduces ‘food miles’ outright, but even when it doesn’t, other efficiencies more than compensate.

  69. thingsbreak says:

    Did I say that Simon wronged him?
    No. Did I say you did? And that’s backwards anyway- Romm would be the one wronging Lewis in that hypothetical. [[You’re right. I mistyped. Fixed the typo in original comment.//KK]]
    I was saying we could find out how Simon viewed his interaction with Romm, in terms of breaking a story.
     
    The provisional evidence, per his Nature News piece, seems to be unequivocally positive. Don’t fixate too much on the word “wronged” How about, instead, “But perhaps there’s something amiss?” E.g. maybe the “exclusive” isn’t what it appears to be, as per your comment @65.

  70. Tom Fuller says:

    Again, in comment 5 you write, “Secondly, resource allocation is inequitable, we are running out resources, and the implicit promise of universal development is looking to the less developed world like a sham about now.”

    Are resources allocated equitably? Some are, some are not. ‘It rains equally on the just and the unjust,’ but the sun shines more in some places than others. I doubt if you are advocating the redistribution of natural resources, however, other than by commerce, which even someone like you must realize is beneficial to the poor and disadvantaged.

    How about ‘unnatural’ resources (manmade)? I suppose you would argue that Nike shoe factories in South Asia are exploitative rather than beneficial–overall I would disagree. But certainly the trend of pillaging commodity resources and leaving nothing behind for the inhabitants has reversed, even if that sometimes proves a curse for the country involved. We pay Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil, and China pays Indonesia for the hard wood it shouldn’t be buying. But unnatural resources (which could also be called the ‘value added’ portion) flow in great quantity from the developed world to the developing part–from intellectual property bought or stolen to pharmaceuticals, with a lot in between.

    Whether these resources are allocated fairly is not always up to us.

    In any case, inequality is decreasing, not increasing, worldwide (even as it increases within many countries, including mine). And this is a miracle of the modern age that we should be celebrating with the popping of many a champagne cork.

    If you don’t see that, Tobis, you’re literally living in a cave.

  71. Tom Fuller says:

    To continue about resources, you write that we are running out of them. I’d love to see some evidence of that–which resources are we running out of?

    I can’t imagine you’re referring to fossil fuels, which I think you would cheer the disappearance of. Sadly for you, their demise is probably less imminent than you would prefer, and their replacements already exist.

    So what resources are disappearing? Not water–we have plenty, even if we will have to learn how to transport it efficiently in future. Not sunlight. Not land–the population density of this world is effectively less than Afghanistan. Not minerals–the rare metals China is hoarding have just called back into production mines the world over to replace that withdrawn from the market. Not food–half of which rots in the distribution system, and large quantities of which are discarded uneaten after purchase.

    Precisely what valuable resources are disappearing?

  72. Tom Fuller says:

    To finish up on resources, you write that ‘universal development is looking to the less developed world like a sham.’ Do you have any evidence that that is true? Has China or India renounced development, or are they in fact committing more time and more energy and more resources to speed it up? How about Indonesia? Turkey? Mexico? Brazil?

    Can you quote people living in those countries saying it’s a sham? Are politicians being turfed out (where that is possible) in favor of medievalists preaching ‘back to the land?’

    Or is it possible you are projecting your belief system onto them?

  73. Tom Fuller says:

    From Tobis’ comment 5: “Thirdly, despite the fact that our economies are grossly overheated, the idiot bankers have gotten us in a situation where if we don’t resume growth our whole organizational pattern will collapse.”

    Economic growth does vary by country, Tobis. The countries growing most quickly (at or about 10% per annum) are precisely the countries where you worry about resources not being fairly allocated, I believe. This growth is welcomed by almost all, and is a solution, not a problem.

    Growth in the developed world is not very resource-intensive, and is occurring in the services sector. It also is welcomed by almost all. But far from being overheated, most of the developed world is struggly to recapture trend growth. Many bankers are idiots, true. I would suspect the percentage is much the same in any industry, however.

    Tobis, do you think growth should be stopped? Pious thoughts about Gaia aside, economic growth is not a cancer. It can be stopped–and we have seen occasions where this has occurred. The results have been uniformly disastrous for the people involved, and it has not been kind to the environment either.

    Do you have any evidence that the world economic growth (estimated at between 4% and 5% this year) is ‘overheated?’ How do you define that and what do you think the consequences are likely to be?

  74. Tom Fuller says:

    In the infamous comment 5, Tobis writes again, “Fourthly, after some decades of improvement, the momentum has resumed toward xenophobia, isolationism, and ethnic blame. In particular, Christianity and Islam are about as friendly now as they were during the crusades.”

    Political discussion regarding the concept of the ‘Other’ always degenerates in times of economic distress, and this period is no exception. From Jean Marie Le Pen (and now his daughter) to various U.S. Republicans, talk about differences is certainly not improving.

    But in terms of actions, what do we see? 3% of the world’s population is immigrant, and 700 million people in their home countries would like to follow suit. Individual acts of violence against the ‘Other’ certainly occur, but they are dwarfed by violence against those of the same ethnicities/religions, etc. The most violent conflicts we see are not Christian vs. Moslem by and large, but Sunni vs. Shiite. And even these are only a pale shadow of past struggles. We just celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. You would (unintentionally, I’m sure) be insulting his memory and the story of his life if you characterized today’s racial environment as anything but a huge improvement over that which he struggled with–and he proclaimed that he would rather live in his era than any preceding one.

    Do you know what happened during the Crusades? How can you even compare then and now? You are redefining hyperbole.

  75. Tom Fuller says:

    Again from comment #5, “Fifth, the cheap petroleum is running out and the next cheapest replacements double the carbon burden of the atmosphere and oceans…”

    I’m surprised you complain about this, as I would think you want petroleum to be priced at least high enough to reflect negative externalities. As for the next cheapest replacements, for natural gas that is not even close to true, as it is less emissive intensive than petroleum, and as for coal, it is not twice as emissive, even when burnt inefficiently, and when burnt with today’s technology it performs much better. Nuclear and hydropower are not at all emissive. And I still have hope for the non-emissive solar industry.

    Did you think before writing this? Do you really worry about this?

  76. Tom Fuller says:

    Which brings us to “…which leads us to sixth, the atmosphere and oceans are already about as full of carbon as we can reasonably risk.”

    Which, as you might have noticed, is a subject currently being discussed, both here and elsewhere. And which, I hope I can infer, is the reason you subjected all of us to the rest of your lament.

    As it happens, I am close to agreement with you on this, depending on what ‘about’ means. As we will not know the answer for at least another 30 years, I think we should take vigorous actions to accelerate measures to reduce that measure, including a tax on carbon and transfer of technology to the developing world. But then, I’m just denialist s__m, so my opinion doesn’t matter.

    But failure to accomplish this will not destroy civilization, the environment nor the human race. It will be like Bladerunner, not Waterworld. Pretending othewise is scare tactics–and the first victim is apparently yourself.

  77. Tom Fuller says:

    Gee, who invented the term ‘Gish Gallop?’ In comment #5, Tobis writes, “Seventh, in the middle of all this nobody gives a rat’s behind about nuclear proliferation which we all used to lose a lot of sleep about.” Umm, did you just notice that we just got a treaty with Russia? That there is a nuclear summit this year and a non-proliferation conference in Tehran this year, of all places? That in 2005, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei introduced a fatwa against the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons? That we have the same cast of characters with nuclear weapons that we did a decade ago?

    Tens of thousands of people are working to stop nuclear proliferation, Tobis. They just don’t always make the news.

  78. thingsbreak says:

    Wow, Tom Fuller, that’s quite an output. Do you think you could spare a second to back up your claim that the background extinction rate is simply “made up”?

  79. Steven Sullivan says:

    Keith, are threads like this part of your Bipartisan comity effort?
     

  80. I’m impressed by the quantity, at least…
     
    Actually, not a useless exercise at all imho. Keep going. I will eventually reply.
     
     
     
     

  81. Tom Fuller says:

    And finally, “Eighth, the world’s major power is controlled by obstructionist elements and is redeveloping a fascist streak that had been in remission. The fact that Africa is dying of AIDS and hunger, and that species extinction is accelerating, now seem to disturb nobody’s sleep anymore amid all this. Did I miss any?”

    I hope I addressed your concern about China and Africa above. As to your question about missing any, my answer is yes.

    We should be concerned about a widespread movement whose aim seems to be to stop the material progress of the human race in the name of environmental concerns. Without the material progress needed to lift billions out of poverty, there will be no peace, no justice, no chance to either care for or appreciate the environment. There will be no equitable balancing of resource use or allocation, no end to religious or ethnic strife, no chance for non-proliferation to take hold–it’s no coincidence that the most recent entrants to the nuclear club are incredibly poor.

    We should be further concerned that this movement, which hides behind the skirts of the much-loved environmental movement which did so much good for this planet, is so willing to use scare tactics, hyperbole and the occasional outright lie to advance its cause. Much as Tacitus lamented that the generals created a desert and called it peace, you would create a desert and call it Gaia. You are the problem, Tobis. You and those like you who think that escaping poverty is a crime against nature.

  82. Tom Fuller says:

    Sorry thingsbreak, don’t have access. Technology thing. Your point does deserve to be addressed, and I will supply either a quote or an apology when I can.

  83. Keith Kloor says:

    Steven,

    You mean the post or the conversation in the thread? If the former, see here.

    As for the thread, I’m not seeing anyone step over the line. Some testiness (including by me), some digressions, but otherwise, a decent back and forth.

    Are you referring to something in particular?

  84. PDA says:

    Let’s not forget that it was Andy Revkin who introduced the “runaway greenhouse” scenario – via Dr. Gutschick – without characterizing it as “hysterical” on Dot Earth. Dr. Tobis, however, is of course has to once again be mocked and dismissed, this time for entertaining the exact same hypothetical.
     
    Either the scenario is outside the realm of reasonable possibility or it’s not. If it’s not, the problem with considering the implications of that possibility are… I’m sorry, what again?

  85. hunter says:

    This has been an emerging theme for awhile.
    It is odd and I am going to observe it for awhile longer before I decide why this theme of despair is emerging from multiple AGW promotion sources.

  86. Keith Kloor says:

    I have mixed feelings about the despair theme.

  87. Sashka says:

    Tom Fuller,
    Thanks a lot for taking time to write it all. I really enjoyed the reading.
     

  88. Bob Koss says:

    Bravo Tom Fuller. Excellent series of comments.

  89. Steven Sullivan says:

    #84 PDA”Let’s not forget that it was Andy Revkin who introduced the “runaway greenhouse” scenario ““ via Dr. Gutschick ““ without characterizing it as “hysterical” on Dot Earth. ”
     
    Let’s not forget that it was colleagues of Dr. Gutschick — Dr. Raypierre Humbert and  Dr. Jim Bouldin — who quickly called  the his use of ‘runaway greenhouse ‘ incorrect, in the comments to Andy’s thread.
     

  90. Sashka says:

    That’s Dr. Ray Pierrehumbert for the rest of us.

  91. Steven Sullivan says:

    #77 Tom Fuller
    Not really following the latest pissing match between you and Tobis here, but happy to respond even to a rhetorical request for explanation of the ‘Gish Gallop’.   The term was coined by Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education back in the early 1990s to describe creationist Wayne Gish’s verbose yet vacuous polemical tactic, which consists of spouting a rapid-fire string of fallacious arguments so as to overwhelm the ignorant with ‘doubts’. HTH.
     
     

  92. Tom Fuller says:

    I had the excellent good fortune to interview Dr. Scott regarding a documentary I worked on 25 years ago. A remarkable human being, one I respect highly.

  93. “You are the problem, Tobis. You and those like you who think that escaping poverty is a crime against nature.”
     
    Let me start at the end by saying this is not remotely a fair representation of my opinions or their implications.
     

  94. kdk33 says:

    “our economies are grossly overheated”

    It’s worse than we thought.

    OTOH, what a rant.  ROFLMAO!!!

  95. PDA says:

    Let’s acknowledge – whether we have forgotten it or not – that Dr Pierrehumbert called the term “runaway greenhouse” incorrect as a description of what Dr Gutschick outlined, but that “the PETM type carbon catastrophe, even if not as overwhelmingly lethal as a true runaway, is bad enough, and is a “known unknown” that has to be kept in mind.” (emphasis mine)
     
    Better?

  96. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis, I have asked a large number of specific questions in my various comments above. Would you care to answer them?

  97. Francis says:

    @71.  Regarding water: Fuller is flat wrong.  There is plenty of salt water, but it’s not potable nor usable in agriculture without the application of a great deal of energy.  The Colorado River is over-allocated.  The Aral Sea is in a bad way.  The Ogallala Aquifer is being mined well over its natural replenishment rate, with western Kansas and Oklahoma seeing the water table falling by as much as 40 feet since 1980.
    There’s actually a very rich literature on groundwater mining out there on the internet, if anyone’s interested.  Peter Gleick writes a fair bit about water.
    Of course, both pumping water and moving water take a tremendous amount of energy, so if we’re using fossil fuels to pump groundwater to engage in farming, we’re depleting two resources in order to grow food.  (That doesn’t count phospate mining, which has its own supply problems, or the energy to fix nitrogen, which is substantial.)

  98. Tom Fuller says:

    Francis, I am looking at Nationmaster now and it shows that there are 25 countries that have less than 1,000 cm per person per day available. Not surprisingly, with the exception of Egypt, most of these countries are sparsely populated.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_wat_ava-health-water-availability

    We have distribution issues. Not fresh water problems.

  99. Tom Fuller says:

    Treehugger says that world average use is 626 cm per person per year. Only 11 countries list lower availability than that figure.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/statistics-on-world-fresh-water-usage.php

  100. PDA says:

    Fortunately, there won’t ever be any changes in water availability or usage.
     
    Oh wait!
     
    Currently some 29 countries suffer from moderate to severe water scarcity. It is projected that the number of people living in water-scarce countries will rise from 132 million in 1990 to between 653 million (with the lower population growth projection) and 904 million (with the high population growth projection) in 2025. By the year 2025, the population projected to be living in water-scarce countries will rise to between 1.06 billion and 2.43 billion, representing roughly 13% to 20% of the projected global population.
     

  101. Tom Fuller says:

    PDA, thankfully global warming will have one beneficial effect, reducing the number of people living in water-stressed regions.

    Importing water, usually as processed food, will obviously increase–if development brings people to the point where they can afford it. Such is the case in several Middle East countries with oil revenues.

  102. PDA says:

    PDA, thankfully global warming will have one beneficial effect, reducing the number of people living in water-stressed regions.
     
    ???
     
    It seems there are two perspectives: Tobis is saying the glass is half empty, and Fuller is saying it’s a floor wax.

  103. Francis says:

    Tom:  As developing countries westernize, they are expecting access to western goods and a western diet.  Many western goods consume a tremendous amount of water: cotton-based clothing, for example.  And the western, meat-heavy, diet needs a massive amount of water to grow.
     
    Your assurance that the water necessary to meet these demands exists, and can be transported from where it is to where it’s desired seems a little cavalier at best.  I suppose you could just tell everyone in Phoenix to move to a water-rich state, but I doubt that will go over well.

  104. A lot of factoids being flung around upthread with little context… Not sure I am going to be able to contribute much here – like to, but my time is bad…
    But just for starters, regarding freshwater limits…
    According to Science, the global freshwater withdrawals/person/year is 800 cubic metres, which is “close enough” to Tom’s number above. (Notably, the US per capita withdrawal is already 2,000 cubic metres/year.)
    But the TOTAL available riverflow and recharge per capita/per year is only ~ 1,800 cubic metres.
    Global desalting capacity (current) is 2 cubic metres/person/year.
    That’s basically the sustainable limit for ALL OF IT. I.e. if we were sucking every river dry before it reached the ocean, and deprive many other species of it services. Which means the EFFECTIVE limit is much lower…
    But (unrealistically) leaving that effective limit aside and just going with the gross limit, if you start factoring in population growth, continuing economic growth and a convergence of developing nation consumption on developed world norms… you can see that this is already heading towards a serious bottleneck…
    Using a somewhat different methodology, freshwater use was also highlighted in the “Planetary Boundaries” article in Nature as a constraint. And even that constraint was deemed significantly “too high” by the commentator.
    And as for “We have distribution issues. Not fresh water problems.”, the same commentator goes on to say:
    “We can also confirm that water limits have been reached or breached in many major river basins across the world, and the consequences are already manifest. For example, there is little or no additional streamflow or groundwater for further development remaining in the Murray”“Darling River in Australia, the Yellow River in China, the Indus in Pakistan and India, the Amu and Syr Darya in central Asia, the Nile River, and the Colorado River in the United States and Mexico. All of these are important food-producing areas.”
    We’re going to bail out these areas via “distribution”? Please.
    It’s easy to simply declare that all resource and ecosystem challenges will simply yield to our demands upon them. Or to vaguely refer to “transportation” and “desalination” or what have you… It’s quite another thing to actually try to reconcile all that with the physical scale of what this implies.
    P.S. Can we also please ditch the “improvement in intensity arguments” if they do not come together with some evidence of decreased absolute demand… The nonrenewable resources and the ecosystems “care” not a whit about much milk we get per cow if we are cumulatively using more and more resources regardless.

  105. Tom Fuller says:

    What we have here seems to me very much like a failure of imagination. I would submit to you that there are any number of engineers capable of talking you through what is required to provide potable water in ample supply to both today’s and tomorrow’s population.
     
    It will cost money, of course. But if we don’t get rich, then we won’t be using resources and emitting CO2.
     
    I live in Northern California and can very quickly drive to the canal system built by Pat Brown to supply Southern California with Northern California’s water. I drink water from Hetch Hetchy.
     
    Francis, Phoenix is in a desert. Why are they not all dying of thirst?

  106. Tom Fuller, I do intend to reply but it’s a bit overwhelming in scope.
     
    Since I’m such a major interest of yours, feel free to call me “Michael” or “mt”, or if you’re really peeved, “Dr. Tobis”.  (As I keep telling people, I don’t like to answer to “Mike” or “Mr. Tobis” or “Tobis” for various reasons. Humor me. It’s been a peculiar life.)
     
    Also, it appears that the longer I wait the more counterarguments crop up, so I may be motivated to dawdle just a bit more…
     

  107. Tom Fuller says:

    I am in no mood to humor you, as I have no doubt you are aware. Your treatment of me over at your weblog recently was just a shame.
     
    You can let others do the heavy lifting for you if you like, but there is reputational risk to consider. Are you unable to answer my questions?
     
    As I am under moderation here and this comment is not likely to appear until tomorrow (when I am likely to be busy all day), I guess I’ll find out tomorrow evening.

    [[Tom: let’s assume for the sake of argument that not everybody who reads this thread is aware of the feud between you and Michael. That is one reason not to make your comments personal in nature. But I’ve also asked repeatedly (of various commenters) not not to bring their outside feuds into this blog. I’ll also ask others aware of the animosity between Tom and Michael not to fan the flames//KK]]

  108. thingsbreak says:

    @96 Tom Fuller:
    I have asked a large number of specific questions in my various comments above. Would you care to answer them?
     
    Well if that don’t beat all…

  109. Francis says:

    come now, thingsbreak (tb?), a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
     
    😉

  110. And you guys think I’m the gloomy one?

  111. Roddy Campbell says:

    Tobis: ‘I am raising the second category (sustainability), where my thoughts have always been since I was a young science fiction reader. It turns out that now that they are realistic and increasingly urgent….’
     
    Just as well, eh Michael?  You wouldn’t have wanted to be reading, er, novels now, would you?  You couldn’t make this stuff up.   Crikey again.

  112. kdk33 says:

    Eventually, we’re gonna have an extinction level encounter with an asteroid.  Later, as it ages, the sun will swallow the earth.

    just sayin’

  113. Barry Woods says:

    I’ve found a gloomy pen friend for MT:

    Caroline Lucas, Green MP and leader of the UK Green party..
    (I’ve tried to put 4 comments onto the article, nope, not allowed at CiF)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jan/20/home-front-war-climate-change?showallcomments=true&msg=a#end-of-comments

    Caroline: “Why? Two reasons. First, climate change is one of the greatest threats to our country since the last world war. It’s not only environmentalists who are saying this. Business leaders, prime ministers, major charities and generals have all recognised the level of risk.
    Second, if we are to overcome this threat ““ and the alternative is simply too awful to contemplate ““ then we need to mobilise as a nation in a way we haven’t seen since 1945.

    Britain needs a “war footing” to tackle climate change and energy crisis
    http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/20-01-2011-new-home-front-launch.html

    http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/reports/the_new_home_front_FINAL.pdf

    What did you do in the climate wars daddy?

    Well I set up a blog.

  114. PDA says:

    It will cost money, of course. But if we don’t get rich, then we won’t be using resources and emitting CO2.
     
    Hm. Funny. Poor nations – the ones you listed in your Nationmaster link above – seem to be emitting CO2 just fine. And, obviously, they don’t need to be rich for the US, China, etc. to keep chugging along emitting gigatonnes of carbon each year.
     
    There are fundamental issues here that need to be addressed substantively. I’m all in favor of lauding human ingenuity, the can-do spirit, etc. But, as rustneversleeps notes above, it’s simply not enough to wave your hands and assume the engineers will come up to a solution to, say, the water problems in Ethiopia just because there are lawns in Phoenix.

  115. Tom Fuller says:

    PDA, you gotta be kidding me. Really. I lived in Italy for seven years and one of the best sites to see are the Roman aqueducts. In the city of Rome alone there were 500 miles of them. They were exquisitely engineered and provided more water than used by Bangalore today.
     
    Maybe it’s not such an overwhelming challenge to get water to Ethiopia. The Hohokam Indians built aqueducts in 600 AD in…Arizona.

  116. Francis says:

    On water, if anyone’s still interested:

    There is no new water to be had in the Colorado River system; most models have the watershed already in long-term drought.  The nice people of Phoenix and Las Vegas have few choices.  They can (a) allow new growth only when the developer finds and retires equal water use elsewhere, like turning lawns to artificial sod (increased efficiency model), (b) stop all new growth, including that which arises from birth/death differences (zpg model), and/or (c) acquire water from someone else, like the farmers of Imperial County, which is in the extreme southeast corner of California and is one of the most productive agricultural areas on the planet.
    They will give up their water not because they want to but because Las Vegas/Phoenix has more political clout.  One impact of the loss of water will be a reduction in the production of alfalfa, which is fed to cattle raised for meat and milk.  So indirectly the costs of meat and milk will rise.
     
    Another user of CR water are the residents of Los Angeles County, who have the political clout to prevent Las Vegas/Phoenix from seizing their water.  LA will surrender its water in return for an equivalent supply, like desal.  Desal water is very expensive and at the bottom of the gravity well, so further costs need to be incurred to move it uphill into the system.

    This is an example of the political and economic costs that are facing the water users of one water system.  We can expect to see this struggle play out again and again around the world.  Some overtaxed rivers cross national boundaries (Jordan & rivers between Pakistan and India come to mind), so the conflict needs to be managed across nationalities, not within nationalities.

    Some of the conflict is inevitable simply as a result of population growth.  But climate change is expected to aggravate shortages.
     
    Note: when nations export food, they’re actually exporting water.  So some people are starting to analyze food exports in terms of water impacts.  On the other hand, while residential users can easily outbid farmers for water, most of that water is wasted, at least the way farmers see it.  It goes into swimming pools, lawns and showers.  Then again, that ‘wasted’ water can be captured for re-use, and farmers aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory in terms of their field discharges — look at the dead zones at the mouths of rivers caused by excess nutrient loading.  Lots of possible grounds for conflict.

  117. Tom Fuller says:

    So, Tobis, are you intending to respond at some point?

  118. Just wanted to provide a link to the Science source I referred to – but didn’t reference – above. It is from Table 3 and the surrounding text, which itself is compiled from “P. Gleick, Ed., The World’s Water: 2006-7 (Island Press, Washington, DC, 2006); T. Oki, S. Kanae, Science 313, 1068 (2006); and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Vital Water Graphics (UNEP, Washington, DC, 2002). 18. J. A. Foley et al., Science 309, 570 (2005).”
     
    That article is a real sustainability (and other issues) “keeper”, by the way. It’s a great survey on its own, but the references also serve as a great go-to for any number of issues. Although – oh noze! – the author is John Holdren, so it may be a no-go zone for some.
     
    Some other hopefully germane pointers from my bookmarks for some of the general points above:
     
    Another good survey ranking from PLoS One last year. Evaluating the Relative Environmental Impact of Countries. From the press that accompanied it:
    “We correlated rankings against three socio-economic variables (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and found that total wealth was the most important explanatory variable ““ the richer a country, the greater its average environmental impact,” Professor Bradshaw said.


    There was no evidence to support the popular idea that environmental degradation plateaus or declines past a certain threshold of per capital wealth (known as the Kuznets curve hypothesis).


    There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn’t supported,” he said.
     
    On the general topic of “Human Well-Being Is Improving Even as Ecosystem Services Decline: Why?” (Paper: Untangling the Environmentalist’s Paradox: Why is Human Well-Being Increasing as Ecosystem Services Degrade?). “Global degradation of ecosystems is widely believed to threaten human welfare, yet accepted measures of well-being show that it is on average improving globally, both in poor countries and rich ones. A team of authors writing in the September issue of BioScience dissects explanations for this “environmentalist’s paradox…



    … (They) confirm that improvements in aggregate well-being are real, despite convincing evidence of ecosystem decline. Three likely reasons they identify — past increases in food production, technological innovations that decouple people from ecosystems, and time lags before well-being is affected — provide few grounds for complacency, however…”
     
    Hmmm. Now that I’ve made those links and I am glancing back up through the thread… what is it that we are talking about here anyway???

  119. I like some of the “markup” gadgets for comments on this site, but I have no idea how to manage something as simple as paragraph breaks. The formatting on those is a random surprise once I hit “submit”…
     
    @ Tom. Patience, grasshopper, patience. I can’t speak for Michael, but I can say from personal experience that it is a lot easier to pose a half dozen or so broad questions than it is to properly answer and reference them.
     
    To tide you over in the meantime, I have a post in moderation that might give you some general sources to chew on. Or you could answer thingsbreak’s question if you have some extra time on your hands.

  120. Tom Fuller says:

    Thingsbreak, I was unable to find the quote I was looking for. It was not by Wilson–at any rate I cannot find him saying that.

    So I retract my quote about establishment scientists being openly critical of the background extinction rate.

    I will continue to hold my reservations on the subject–if you don’t know how many species there are it is unusual to claim you can calculate a rate of extinction.

    But until I find the quote I was looking for it’s just some guy on the intertubes saying it.

  121. thingsbreak says:

    @119 Tom Fuller:
    So I retract my quote about establishment scientists being openly critical of the background extinction rate.
     
    Hey, Tom. I wasn’t asking for a citation for a quote about scientists being critical of the background extinction rate. I was asking for a citation about this:
     
    nobody knows if the die-off rate is more, less or the same as in previous periods”“the people that have published scary totals have flat out admitted in the press that they”¦ made”¦the”¦.numbers”¦up.
     
    Look, I’m not interested in raking you over the coals here. But if you’re going to offer a retraction, why not retract what you actually claimed rather than a watered-down version? If your initial claim was as milquetoast as what you’re “retracting”, who would have even bothered to challenge it?
     
    scientists being openly critical

    vs.
    have flat out admitted in the press that they”¦ made”¦the”¦.numbers”¦up.
     
    One of those is a perfectly normal part of the scientific process, especially among different groups working on the same or similar issues. The other is a rather shocking allegation that doesn’t really sound all that plausible on its face, and kinda sorta implies a bit of misconduct.

  122. Tom Fuller says:

    Oh, well as far as that goes, this is fairly widely reported: “Al Gore, in his 1993 book Earth in the Balance, says “40,000 species go extinct per year”. Problem is, he is exaggerating by at least a factor of four. Even if he weren’t exaggerating, he performs a trick well known to those who lie with statistics: he fails to mention the denominator of that fraction. 40,000 of 100,000 is a lot. 40,000 of a million is not a lot. 40,000 of 10 million is negligible. So if our estimate of 1.6 million total known species is correct, even Al Gore’s exaggeration is somewhere between not a lot and negligible.

    But if that number is wrong, where did he get it? The answer is that he got it from a British ecologist, Norman Myers. And where did Norman Myers get it? He made it up.
    No, really, he made it up! Pulled it out of thin air.
    Here’s how. As long ago as 1979, he wrote that until 1900, one species went extinct every four years; since 1900, one species per year went extinct. So far so good.
    He then referenced a conference from five years earlier, which had “hazarded a guess” of an extinction rate of 100 per year at present, as the “overall extinction rate among all species, whether known to science or not”.
    That hazardous guess seems way out of proportion to the rate Myers accepted for the period 1900-1974, being suddenly 100 times higher with only global cooling and the oil crisis to blame. Even if it includes species not known to science, that’s a rather dramatic jump.
    But not to Myers. He is underwhelmed and undaunted, and goes on: “Yet even this figure seems low. Let us suppose that, as a consequence of this man-handling of natural environments, the final one-quarter of this century witnesses the elimination of 1 million species “” a far from unlikely prospect. This would work out, during the course of 25 years, at an average extinction rate of 40,000 species per year, or rather over 100 species per day.”
    That’s it. That’s the totality of his argument. The lot. There’s no data, no citations, no research, no extrapolation from known facts, nothing. Just an assumption, pulled out of thin air, of a million extinctions in 25 years, which he then in wonderful circular fashion divides up to get an extinction rate 40,000 times higher than he himself says occurred in the first three-quarters of our century.”

  123. Rust (118),

    Interesting stuff. Thanks for the comment and the refs.

  124. Tom Fuller says:

    Tobis’ reply, which he links to in 123, is more of the same muddle, and an example of how people choose to be perpetually terrified, which they call realistic.

    I don’t know if I will have time or energy to plough through his response in detail. As a progressive Democrat, there are times that I just want to bang my head in shame at the philosophy so many of us are unthinkingly committed to. Obama didn’t get elected with a slogan ‘World Doomed: No Action Required,’ which is the headline of Tobis’ previous post.

    And the fact that Tobis has to ignore reality to maintain this delusion of despair is just enervating. He seems to think we’re running out of things like potassium (which constitutes 1.7% of the earth’s crust) or rare earths–it’s as if he never heard of the commodity cycle. He thinks that topsoil is disappearing forever, dooming our agricultural hopes for the future, as if nobody ever told him about Keyline Design or no-till farming. Oh, well.

    Does anybody care about another point by point response to Tobis? If not, I’ll let it go. I’d do it at his site except he deletes and delays my comments for tactical advantage in his little contretemps with me.

  125. “Potassium” was a blunder. As a commenter pointed out I meant phosphorus.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbert_peak_theory#Phosphorus
     
    I never deliberately delayed a Fuller post for tactical reasons despite his conviction to the contrary. I did delete one once, but he was being mightily rude at the time.
     
    And I’m not despairing, I’m worried.
     
    I don’t doubt that there are solutions to our problems. That’s technical, and technical progress remains impressive (though indeed I’ve never heard of “Keyline Design”).
     
    I do doubt that anyone is troubling to implement those solutions at scale, which would inconvenience large existing financial interests and trouble certain ideologies on the left and the right. That’s the social issue that I am trying to raise.
     
    If Tom suggests that people are addressing this or that problem, that’s fine, especially in the cases where he gets the details right, but nevertheless it misses the point entirely.
     

  126. Tom Fuller says:

    What’s the point, Tobis? You say are not despairing–why the Mad Max references and blog posts titled ‘World Doomed?’

    You’re kidding, right? Do you think we’re running out of phosphorus? Maybe you’re thinking back to the decades when the most commonly printed sentence in the English language was ‘Close cover before striking.’ Do you seriously think we’re running out of phosphorus?

    You do not understand the commodity cycle, Tobis. I feel like Julian Simon talking to Paul Ehrlich here. Maybe if you studied some of this you wouldn’t be so panicked all the time.

    Get a grip.

    “I don’t think there is a peak phosphorus situation to be concerned with at this time,” says Jasinski, mineral commodity specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey. “Phosphate resources are large. The (peak phosphorus) assumptions were based on older reserve estimates and didn’t take into account improvements in processing, higher prices, and other factors.”

    “The running out of phosphate in 30 years is a complete lie, pushed by a bunch of academics with an environmental axe to grind,” adds Barrie Bain, an analyst with Fertecon, an industry tracking organization.”

  127. JD Ohio says:

    To Tobis    From Julian Simon
     
    “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible”.      
    Lord Kelvin, the world’s greatest physicist at the time,
    in 1895.

    “Man will not fly for fifty years”, Wilbur Wright to
    Orville Wright, 1901.

    “There is not the slightest indication that
    [nuclear]      energy will ever be obtainable.  It would
    mean that the      atom would have to be shattered at
    will”. Albert Einstein, 1932.

    “The energy produced by the atom is a very poor kind of      thing.  Anyone who expects a source of power from the      transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine”,      Ernest Rutherford, 1933, after being the first person to split the atom.
     
    JD

  128. Re Tom Fuller #127:
     
    The title of the article was “Word Doomed; No Action Required” which is obviously not my opinion. It was a mocking summary of Revkin’s post.
     
    Also, “Do you seriously think we’re running out of phosphorus?”
     
    I had so heard.
     
    Your USGS link doesn’t go anywhere relevant. We also have a problem with phosphorus as a pollutant. Since I am looking to long range sustainability, “not in thirty years” is perfectly irrelevant.
     

  129. JD Ohio; a cherry pick of course. Optimistic predictions have failed too.
     
    Prediction is hard, especially about the future.
     
    It’s especially important to note that some pessimistic predictions have failed because people acted effectively on the problems, not because the problems weren’t there.
     

  130. “Keyline Design” which Tom mentions, turns out to be an aspect of the permaculture movement. So Tom is saying that contemporary agriculture is sustainable because there are a few shaggy organic farmers advocating sustainable agriculture!
     
    This seems representative of his general position on this debate. Somebody working on the problem = problem solved.
     
    My point is exactly that technical solutions are not worth anything if they are not implemented. Since we lack the institutions that weigh the long term above the short term and the global above the local, they don’t get implemented. That’s the issue. That’s the whole point.
     
    One of my favorite environmental quotes is this one from Hans Joachim Schellnhuber: “All the technical problems have been solved but it cannot be done.” He is referring to “feeding solar power from the Sahara where it’s plentiful to Europe where it’s highly in demand“.
     

  131. Stu says:

    Yup. Shaggy organic farmers, talking moonshine…
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzTHjlueqFI

  132. Tom Fuller says:

    So, Tobis, this–“As for “running out of resources”, for an environmental reporter to be unable to think of a half dozen instances is a bit shocking. In addition to fuel, there’s potassium phosphorus, rare earths, zinc… Also topsoil, clean water, mangrove swamps, coral reefs…”

    Turns into this–“We also have a problem with phosphorus as a pollutant. Since I am looking to long range sustainability, “not in thirty years” is perfectly irrelevant.”

    Amazing. Do you really consider that an adequate reply? Remember, you chose this resource as an example of depletion. Even if you confused it with postassium… This is one of ‘half a dozen’ resources that are running out, you write.

    When it is shown to you (and shame on you for not spending 2 minutes with Google before writing stupid things) that we are not in fact running out of phosphor, you say you’re worried about pollution?

    You are a scientist, right?

  133. Tom Fuller says:

    And as for Keyline Design, it was designed in 1954 by an Australian farmer. I am happy that ‘shaggy’ organic farmers are using it now. They are not alone.

  134. Tom Fuller says:

    I know you don’t like Lomborg, but you might remember what he wrote… Does this seem familiar?
    “…the best-seller

     

    Limits to Growth from 1972 picked up on the old worry, claiming that we would run out of most resources. Gold would run out in 1981, silver and mercury in 1985, and zinc in 1990.  But, of course, this hasn’t happened yet.
    Economists had from the very outset pointed out that these fears were erroneous, and yet the idea of running out held an almost magical grip on intellectuals in the 1970s and 1980s. Even today most discussions seem to be played out against a backdrop of arguments pointing back to the logic of

     

    Limits to Growth.
    Frustrated, the economist Julian Simon in 1980 challenged the environmentalists with a bet. Since increased scarcity would mean higher price, he offered to bet $10,000 that any given raw material ““ to be picked by his opponents ““ would have dropped in price at least one year later. The environmentalists Ehrlich, Harte and Holdren, all of Stanford University, accepted the challenge, stating that “the lure of

     

    easy money can be irresistible.”The environmentalists staked their bets on chromium, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten, and they picked a time frame of ten years. In September 1990 not only had the total basket of raw materials but also each individual raw material dropped in price. Chromium had dropped 5 percent, tin a whopping 74 percent.”

  135. Francis says:

    and yet, Tom, the Colorado River is still overallocated, and there is still a massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico caused by unregulated nutrient discharge, and multi-year ice around the North Pole is shrinking, and the ratio of record-setting hot days to record-setting cold days has shifted up (as the Russians discovered) and plant zones are moving northward and upward.
    You can focus all you want on the areas where MT’s concern may have been misplaced.  He still has ample grounds to be concerned.

  136. Tom Fuller says:

    Francis, there have been water wars in that part of the world for over a century–eventually they’ll build a pipe and get water from elsewhere. Until then, they’ll fight like cats and dogs over it. It’s not a resource issue–it’s purely political wrangling. As for dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, how on earth does that have anything to do with resource scarcity? As for the North Pole and multi-year ice (nice caveat…), do you think we are experiencing a shortage of ice? I kinda don’t, as a quick look south might show you (if you’re not using gravity waves to measure it…). UC Davis just published a study yesterday about how plants are also moving downwards in response to climate impulses. And the range of species has always been in flux, north, south, up and down.

    My point about Tobis is that near as I can tell he eagerly looks for and quickly grasps the thinnest reeds suggesting calamity and incorporates that into his personal Extinction Level Event without doing any quantitative thinking about the issues themselves. It’s enough for one crank or crackpot to say we’re running out of zinc, or phosphor, or topsoil, or water, and that’s enough for Tobis to run around in circles.

    If he developed software (which I gather he does for a living) using the same standards he uses in evaluating the credibility of disaster scenarios, it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t even compile. All I’m asking is that when he writes about this crazy stuff that he use the same standards of due diligence that he does in his profession.

    Phosphor. Phosphor. Really?

  137. Keith Kloor says:

    Francis, I don’t pooh pooh Michael’s concerns, as I feel there are major env/socieity-wide problems that require urgent attention. But I disagree with Michael when he insists:

    “And I’m not despairing, I’m worried.”

    Baloney. Plenty of what he writes on the climate issues exudes despair.

    BTW, on a related note, look at the fun Morano is having today with Chomsky. This is the meme that Michael helps propagate: the human race or civilization might soon be doomed because of climate change.

    Yeah, that’s gonna win over hearts and minds.

  138. PDA says:

    Tom, I was going to compliment you on your newfound facility with links, until I realized you had just copy-pasted them from a blog at FarmFutures.com, perhaps not an irrefutably authoritative source, and – as usual – did not bother to cite.
     
    When it is shown to you (and shame on you for not spending 2 minutes with Google before writing stupid things) that we are not in fact running out of phosphor…



    “The running out of phosphate in 30 years is a complete lie, pushed by a bunch of academics with an environmental axe to grind,”- Tom’s article.
    ” Readily available global supplies may start running out by the end of this century” – mt’s link
     
    I don’t see a conclusive refutation of the assertion anywhere in the article: industry analysts and some researchers say we’re not running out, other researchers say we are. The SciAm article mt linked to is behind a paywall, but the author has more resources at his site.
     
    Either way, not much here for Tom to do an end-zone dance about, but that’s never stopped him before: two minutes with Google makes anyone an expert, I suppose.

  139. Keith Kloor says:

    Okay, okay, I can see where this is heading. I don’t have a problem with point/counterpoints, but there’s just too much bad history between Tom Fuller, Michael Tobis and the assorted peanut gallery. I don’t see how any of you can carry on a conversation that isn’t laden with insults and innuendo.

    So why don’t we put a fork in this thread and move on on to something else.

    How about that mob takedown, eh? Anybody miss the Sopranos as much as me?

  140. On the commodities front there is also this:
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7343
    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5374
     
    I didn’t find anything about the otehrs as yet, but mercury did in fact essentially run out around 1985:
    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/3086
     
    Remember, Tom is the one saying there is definitely no issue to anything, ever, it’s all perfect except for maybe a tiny adjustment in CO2 in the distant future.
     
    I did screw up by calling phosphorus “potassium”. Otherwise I haven’t yet seen any evidence where my concern was “misplaced” which Francis appears ready to concede. Some people are ready to deny these sorts of things, for the same reason that real estate agents in Galveston deny that the island is sinking. Tom thinks this sort of boosterism is totally reliable provided it disagrees with me.
     
    Tom seems to allow his dislike of my positions (or what he erroneously thinks my positions are) and/or of me personally to color his opinions to attach absolute confidence into anything that disagrees with anything I say, as if that meant the issue was settled. You could say that Tom values my opinions more than I do!
     

  141. PDA says:

    I don’t see how any of you can carry on a conversation that isn’t laden with insults and innuendo.
     
    Can’t imagine how that could have happened in the comments to a post that consists entirely of an insult, a pull quote, and an insult.
    “Peanut gallery.” Way to take the high road, Keith.

  142. Keith Kloor says:

    Ah yes, it’s my fault. I should have known.

    Like I said to someone else on another thread: it’s only an insult when I poke some fun at someone on your side. When the recipient is on the other side, it must be okay, because I never hear any complaints–except from their side.

     

  143. Tom Fuller says:

    Okay, KK. Movin’ on…

  144. PDA says:

    Keith, as I told you before: I have no problem with you throwing elbows, I actually prefer it. I’m from Massachusetts, around here we just call that “dialogue.” I just find it tiresome when you retreat into tone-trollery.
     
    Let your inner Masshole out, Keith. You’ll feel ever so much better.

  145. Keith Kloor says:

    “retreat into tone-trollery”

    With the actual post or my observation that the thread was degenerating into a tit for tat (you’re wrong, no, you’re wrong) fest?

     

  146. PDA says:

    With “I don’t see how any of you can carry on a conversation that isn’t laden with insults and innuendo.” It’s the rare comments thread that doesn’t end up as a bit of a set-piece battle. The Tom’n’Tobis show may be one of the sharpest and longest-running, but I thought this particular episode was one of the most substantive back-and-forths yet.
     
    I mean, I do think that your ongoing “climate activists talk too much about bad stuff” theme is a form of tone trolling, but I’m not about to try and argue you out of it. Look at the recent posts sidebar. How many would you be left with if you eliminated tone/style critiques? Two? Three if you count the Virginia story?
     

  147. The demise of the effectiveness of climate change fearmongery over the last two years is because of the shrill tone being used. You just perceive the discussion about that as trolling because of the sense of discomfort you feel, inwardly recognising that climate science has a demonstrated tendency to self-harm.

  148. PDA says:

    it’s an unprovable assertion. If the messaging since the issue was first theorized had all been positive – urging an Apollo-like, can-do, energy quest response, without ever once mentioning the possible future consequences of global climate change – perhaps the vocal skeptic movement would never have emerged. From my own admittedly subjective perspective, I really doubt it.
     
    There’s as much basis for the assertion that the present state of affairs has more to do with people seizing on every real or imagined error and using it to loudly proclaim “globle warminz iz teh hokes!!1!” I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

  149. Keith Kloor says:

    PDA,

    Are we looking at the same “recent posts” sidebar?

    But whatever. Obviously you keep coming back, so whatever I’m doing can’t be that tiresome.

    On a serious note: I fully recognize that partisans and ideologues on both sides of the climate debate are going to get annoyed/pissed from time to time. I accept that.

  150. I never get annoyed. Sometimes the rolling makes my eye sockets ache a bit, but that’s par for the course. 🙂

  151. PDA says:

    Keith, obviously I don’t always find you tiresome… as I said it’s just the tone trolling stuff. I think you get as annoyed as anyone, it’s just the triggers that are different, so sometimes I find your pox-on-both-their-houses why-can’t-we-just-get-along shtick a bit disingenuous. I think you have your own positions, and I don’t begrudge you them; I may disagree, but Al Gore invented the internet so we could argue.
     
    In any regard, no harm no foul.

  152. Keith Kloor says:

    You have only half the “pox-on-both-their-houses why can’t-we-just-get-along” shtick right.

    Definitely pox on both houses, but I am under no illusions that people can or should all get along. That is not a goal of this blog.

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