Nowadays, in an age of rising population and scarcities of food and water in some regions, it's a wonder that humanitarians aren't clamoring for more atmospheric carbon dioxide.
No, it's not The Onion. It's the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which nowadays is much the same thing.
Once again, the country’s leading financial newspaper is recycling long-debunked myths from disinformers with PhDs posing as climate scientists -- in this case, Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer, "In Defense of Carbon Dioxide: The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature."
But what nefarious forces have been demonizing CO2? Let’s see:
The National Journal has a long piece out, "The Coming GOP Civil War Over Climate Change: Science, storms, and demographics are starting to change minds among the rank and file."
Back in October 2010, NJran an article explaining, "The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones."
Now reality is biting back, or, perhaps more accurately, nibbling back. The new piece begins with MIT climatologist Kerry Emanuel, a registered Republican since 1973. He switched his registration to "independent" shortly after a not-so-successful meeting with Republican presidential candidates in the run up to South Carolina’s GOP presidential primary, a meeting arranged by the influential Charleston-based Christian Coalition of America:
A lengthy new study opinion piece aims to pin the blame for the failure of the climate bill on the environmental community. It has already resulted in head-exploding headlines like this one in The Guardian:
So we are divvying up the remaining 5 percent of blame between team Obama and environmental groups (along with Senate Democrats, scientists, progressives, and everyone else, including me). I’m not sure how much can be learned from the climate bill failure if your main focus is the elite environmental community. Skocpol does spend a lot of time discussing the Tea Party-driven extremism of the GOP, but, I think, drawing the wrong lessons.
Second, for that last 5 percent of blame, the lion’s share has to go to Obama (see “The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 2"). He is the agenda-shaper. He has the biggest megaphone by far. He made most of the decisive blunders (see below). But not according to Skocpol.
But in an April Rolling Stone interview, Obama pulled a Harry Potter, saying outright that he thought “climate change” would be a campaign issue. Nervous campaign aides looked around to see if invoking the threat that must not be named would somehow cause it to mysteriously appear. And it did, as the nation went through brutal heat waves and wildfires and a record-smashing drought.
But it turns out that the president was just being coy. He will talk about climate change to select audiences -- you know, the kind that are going to suffer the most from climate change, thanks to their parents’ greed and myopia: college students, Generation CO2.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has a new report out, "Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas" [PDF]. Unfortunately, the IEA buried the lede -- the Golden Age of Gas scenario destroys a livable climate -- so the coverage of the report was off target.
That’s true only if a ruined climate, widespread Dust Bowlification, an acidified ocean, and rapidly rising sea levels constitute your idea of “safe.”
Still, the IEA deserves much of the blame for this miscoverage. It’s not until page 91 (!) of the full report [PDF] that the agency explains that adopting its “Golden Rules” for developing shale gas doesn’t stop catastrophe:
The Golden Rules Case puts CO2 emissions on a long-term trajectory consistent with stabilizing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse-gas emissions at around 650 parts per million, a trajectory consistent with a probable temperature rise of more than 3.5 degrees C [6.3 degrees F] in the long term, well above the widely accepted 2 degrees C [3.6 degrees F] target. This finding reinforces a central conclusion from the WEO special report on a Golden Age of Gas (IEA, 2011b), that, while a greater role for natural gas in the global energy mix does bring environmental benefits where it substitutes for other fossil fuels, natural gas cannot on its own provide the answer to the challenge of climate change.
But then, in a Rolling Stone interview, Obama unexpectedly broke out of his self-imposed silence on climate change, saying he thought climate change would be a campaign issue.
Of course, it would be hard for climate to be a campaign issue if the president doesn’t actually talk about it in public. After all, his challenger Mitt Romney seems unlikely to bring it up, having Etch-a-Sketched his position on that subject many times. And Lord knows that media isn’t itching to talk about climate.
So it was disappointing again once again that on Thursday the president reverted to form in his big speech on energy at TPI Composites, a wind-blade manufacturing plant in Newton, Iowa.
Journalist Bill Blakemore has a great piece on ABC’s website called "‘Hug the Monster’ for Realistic Hope in Global Warming (or How to Transform Your Fearful Inner Climate)."
He offers advice to journalists in covering climate change -- and advice to the rest of us in a world captured by denial.
The piece helps dispel the myth that climate scientists have long been overhyping climate impacts -- when everyone who actually follows climate science and talks to any significant number of climate scientists knows that the reverse is true.
In a Rolling Stoneinterview published Wednesday, President Obama broke out of his self-imposed silence on climate change. He made some remarkable statements, including his belief that the millions of dollars pouring into the anti-science disinformation campaign will drive climate change into the presidential campaign.
Earlier this year, the president omitted any discussion of climate change from his State of the Union address. And he (or the White House communications team) edited it out of his Earth Day proclamation.
But in this interview, Obama was actually the first to bring up climate change, noting it was one of many big issues he’s had to deal with and then slamming the GOP for moving so far to the right on the issue.
The big news was that the president expects climate change to be a campaign issue:
You’ll be glad to know that in the last 12 months, that whole climate change problem went away. At least that’s the impression left from comparing President Obama’s 2012 Earth Day proclamation with the 2011 one.
One century ago this weekend, the great “unsinkable” ship ignored warnings of icebergs in the vicinity, maintained a high speed, hit an iceberg because it couldn’t change course fast enough, and sank. Most passengers died, in large part because there weren’t enough lifeboats.
Director James Cameron offered his own answer this week, in Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron on National Geographic Channel, which I’ve transcribed here. Cameron, who has also released a 3-D version of his epic blockbuster movie on the doomed ship, made the connection between what happened on the Titanic and our climate predicament: