Saving Civilization

By Keith Kloor | May 31, 2011 11:26 am

Over at the new incarnation of Think Progress, Brad Johnson has given himself a tall order. He also sets down what he calls the “new reality”:

The Kyoto Protocol is in shambles, greenhouse pollution is at record levels, and climate disasters are growing in frequency and intensity.

To preserve the promise of civilization, we must start anew.

My guess is that the new design bundling all the CAP blogs together under one site (which I like) will be mostly a palette cleanser for the two resident head knockers there. But who knows, maybe they will surprise me and start “anew” with some fresh ideas about how to make real progress on climate change, instead of always playing defense against the dastardly polluters and “deniers.” Maybe, just maybe, they’ll even stop trying to delegitimize those that offer different paths to what is ultimately the same goal.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate bloggers, climate change
  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    I think you are confusing “delegitimizing different paths” with “not taking shallow fantasies seriously”.

    These matters are difficult and urgent. Those who say it’s going to be easier if we delay while hoping something better comes online have already failed because the time for affordable delay is behind us.

    I am all for technofixes, but they have to show up in time to do the fixing. At this point no matter how good the fixes may be when they show up they will be substantially too late to avoid all the damage. The damage is showing up already, which is sooner than we anticipated.

    I understand why people don’t want to believe the time for delay has expired. But you should understand that on the evidence it has. There is no possible recognition of “different paths to the same goal” which don’t actually get there.

    I read a story about a compromise between Canadian fishermen and scientists on the fish catch. The fishermen said they could not afford a catch less than A, and the scientists said the fish could not survive a catch greater than B. There being no overlap, the Canadian government chose the midpoint between A and B, and the fishery, as predicted, collapsed.

    When we said that Copenhagen was the last possible moment for action, we were making a slight compromise on precision. There was nothing special about December 2009. But it was nevertheless about as true as you can get in common language. With the setbacks of the last couple of years, we have missed the boat.

    Real substantial global scale damage is now unavoidable. What we are discussing now is how much. Delay is not a fruitful proposition.
     

  • cagw_skeptic99

    Never mind that the goal itself is based on a passionate belief in the viability of multiple computer models that all predict disastrous changes in the climate.  Models that have failed to predict much of anything and certainly failed to predict the behavior of the last dozen years or so.

    Meanwhile Australia is having a very cold spring, record cold in some Northern parts.  Very high snow levels in western North America and very late snows mean the show cover will be unusually persistent in many areas.

    Most of the Governments of the world long since decided to pay lip service to CO2 predictions while continuing to use all available carbon based fuels to grow their economies.  The recent reductions in CO2 induced by the collapse of the Soviet industrial structure and the recession have apparently been offset by economic growth.  Likely global emissions of CO2 will grow at an accelerating rate as China, India, Brazil, and the rest continue to experience the benefits of compound growth rates.  Contrast that with the recent deceleration in sea level rise and how that conflicts with the computer models.

    Disaster projections based on sea level rise are being supplanted with disaster projections based on sea water acidification, there is no accompanying admission that the sea level rise projections are being falsified by actual sea level measurements.  Inconvenient truths are mentioned only when they support the AGW theme.

  • kdk33

    Geeez, MT.  How do you carry on?  It must be hard.

  • Sashka

    @ 1

    What is the proof of urgency? What’s the proof that the time to delay has passed?

    These things are repeated daily but they don’t become any more true just because they are repeated.

  • Michael Larkin

    Keith,

    I wonder if I am alone in being unsure what your position is in the climate debate? I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now and I still haven’t been able to figure it out exactly. It’s not that I want to know so that I can have a target to either support or attack. It’s more that I’d like to know just for the sake of it, and it would help me sometimes to divine what you are actually wanting to say.

    Why ask this question now? Well, this post is as good as any in illustrating my difficulty. I have no idea why you posted it, what you are trying to say, or what’s going on in your head. How about updating your “About” link to elaborate on your personal take on the climate debate?

  • DeNihilist

    Please stop! Like the “upswing” in tornadoes, most of the catastrophic weather of late cannot be linked to a mildly warming climate! If you really want me, Joe Lunchpail, to give you some credence, then talk to me with the truth, not fantasy!

  • Jack Hughes

    New hymn books will not fill an empty church.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Michael Larkin (5),

    It’s a mistake for you or anyone to read too much into any one post.

    I wear numerous hats: reporter, blogger, professor…and they are mostly separate.

    I use the blog to think out loud, tweak people, and stimulate discussion on issues that interest me.

  • Michael Larkin

    Keith:

    I know all that. Still haven’t the faintest idea what you actually think and/or believe. Hence I can’t contextualise your blogs and comments very easily. I don’t actually care whether you agree or disagree with me or anyone else, only that I get the point of what you are saying.

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Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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