The Defining Challenge of Our Time

By Keith Kloor | March 23, 2012 10:45 am

It’s a shame that our public discussions of energy and environmental issues are so narrowly (and ideologically) framed by politicians, industry, and interest groups.

For example, to listen to Republicans, you wouldn’t know there’s an energy drilling boom underway in the U.S.  This ambitious NYT piece unwinds how that boom happened, and where it is may be headed. It’s a nice overview of the implications for U.S. foreign policy and the tradeoffs of expanded oil & gas development (think environmental). As a supplement, check out Bryan Walsh’s incisive analysis of President Obama’s energy policy and the politics that shape it. Both pieces make for essential reading, helping us to understand larger (and conflicting) forces at work. They are also a useful tonic to the noisy, one dimensional energy narrative that usually plays out in the media.

This brings me to my larger point. Much of the discussion on energy is driven either by raw politics or, in green circles, peak oil and/or climate change concerns, with the environmental media largely focused on the latter. But as Jon Foley lamented several years ago:

In the rush to portray the perils of climate change, many other serious issues have been largely ignored. Climate change has become the poster child of environmental crises, complete with its own celebrities and campaigners. But is it so serious that we can afford to overlook the rise of infectious disease, the collapse of fisheries, the ongoing loss of forests and biodiversity, and the depletion of global water supplies?

This sentiment was recently echoed by Tom Murphy, a University of California physicist who has a blog called, Do the Math. Murphy shared his view in a wide-ranging interview with Oilprice.com:

Oilprice.com: A recent report stated that replacing all coal based power stations with renewable energy, would not affect climate change, and in fact after 100 years the only difference would be a change of 0.2 degrees Celsius. What are your views on climate change?

Tom Murphy: I see climate change as a serious threat to natural services and species survival, perhaps ultimately having a very negative impact on humanity. But resource depletion trumps climate change for me, because I think this has the potential to effect far more people on a far shorter timescale with far greater certainty.  Our economic model is based on growth, setting us on a collision course with nature.  When it becomes clear that growth cannot continue, the ramifications can be sudden and severe.  So my focus is more on averting the chaos of economic/resource/agriculture/distribution collapse, which stands to wipe out much of what we have accomplished in the fossil fuel age.  To the extent that climate change and resource limits are both served by a deliberate and aggressive transition away from fossil fuels, I see a natural alliance.  Will it be enough to avert disaster (in climate or human welfare)?  Who can know – but I vote that we try real hard.

***

On that note, it deserves mention that the 40th anniversary of the hugely influential Limits to Growth book recently passed us by, with virtually no coverage of it in the mainstream press. A symposium was held earlier this month at the Smithsonian, which “addressed the difficult challenges of preserving biodiversity, adjusting to a changing climate, and solving the societal issues now facing the planet.”

It would be slightly less difficult if these challenges were treated by progressive/green media types in a larger context, instead of being so narrowly framed around climate change. For instance, a consortium of journalistic outlets participates in a project called Climate Desk. This collaborative venture, which just retooled its website, defines its objective thusly:

Climate change is one of the defining stories of our time: rising sea levels, bigger storms, peak oil, colder winters and hotter summers. That begs the questions: why aren’t we talking about it more, and what the hell are we going to do about it?

Sure, climate change seems on track to be one of the defining stories of our time. But is it a bigger story than resource depletion or unsustainable development, which I would argue speak to the underlying reasons for rising greenhouse gases? If so, then it would seem that a project like Climate Desk is merely reporting on the symptoms of a larger problem. That makes me think that the “what the hell are we going to do about it” question is best served by addressing the causes of climate change, not the symptoms.

Maybe next time the Climate Desk gets revamped, it’ll get a new name that reflects the defining challenge of our time: How to chart a sustainable course for the planet without restraining economic growth.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, sustainability
  • MarkB

    Resource depletion? Sustainability? 1800 – 1 billion people – “Where will we find the resources for another billion people?” 1927 – 2 billion people – “Where will we find the resources for another billion people?” 1960 – 3 billion people – “Where will we find the resources for another billion people?” Etc. Just how many times can you be wrong before the cognitive dissonance explodes your skull? How many times can you say “Well, yes, but really this time!” with a straight face?

  • Sashka

    climate change seems on track to be one of the defining stories of our time

    I really doubt it. When the resource crisis seriously kicks in, climate change will be overshadowed. Especially if the observed warming continues to diverge from the projections. And even more so if the the affect on our daily lives continues to be minimal.

  • Sashka

    Where did the line break go? How about using a user-friendly editor for a change? Trying again.  climate change seems on track to be one of the defining stories of our time  I really doubt it. When the resource crisis seriously kicks in, climate change will be overshadowed. Especially if the observed warming continues to diverge from the projections. And even more so if the the affect on our daily lives continues to be minimal.

  • Sashka

    Wow. Where do you even get this stuff?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’m not sure that advocates for that position (climate change is the  defining challenge for our time) will stick it out over the long haul. I’ve written before that that’s all they need to do to win the struggle with skeptics (and lukewarmers, for that matter).But I think they are showing signs of both mental and imaginative exhaustion. The best among them (and there are many among the consensus who deserve that adjective) are indeed noticing the disparity of attention and energy given to climate change as opposed to other environmental issues that actually are burning. The worst among them (and there are many among the consensus who deserve that adjective) are reduced to chanting the same mantra and looking for ever-more elaborate methods of sticking their feet into their mouths. Gleick’s story is the premiere example. It’s a crime. It’s a tragedy. It’s also a sign of desperation born of the failure of imagination.The Team has run out of Steam.

  • harrywr2

    Line 1Skip LineLIne 2

  • harrywr2

    In my  comment #6 there should be 3 paragraph breaks and an additional line break. I viewed it in the source viewer and it was ‘correct’ prior to pushing the submit comment button.When I view #6 in an html source editor there is only one paragraph break and no line breaks.

  • Roddy Campbell

    Input your comments here… I’m not sure it’s a defining story for the USA.  The EU and UK have made serious policy initiatives on the back of decarbonising energy (effect questionable but cost not so).  Germany has acres of solar farms, there are wind turbines all over, electricity generation policy confusion means nothing is being built.The US has done nothing.If that continues, in what way might climate change ‘define’ your time?  Other than volume of column inches?  It’s hardly Vietnam, or even Reagan.

  • Roddy Campbell

    Can you remove the ‘Input your comments here…’ – where else am I supposed to think I might put them? 

  • BBD

    From Rockstrom et al. (2009):We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO2 concentration in the atmosphere <350 ppm and/or a maximum change of +1 W m-2 in radiative forcing); ocean acidification (mean surface seawater saturation state with respect to aragonite ≥ 80% of pre-industrial levels); stratospheric ozone (<5% reduction in O3 concentration from pre-industrial level of 290 Dobson Units); biogeochemical nitrogen (N) cycle (limit industrial and agricultural fixation of N2 to 35 Tg N yr-1) and phosphorus (P) cycle (annual P inflow to oceans not to exceed 10 times the natural background weathering of P); global freshwater use (<4000 km3 yr-1 of consumptive use of runoff resources); land system change (<15% of the ice-free land surface under cropland); and the rate at which biological diversity is lost (annual rate of <10 extinctions per million species). The two additional planetary boundaries for which we have not yet been able to determine a boundary level are chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading. We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle.

  • BBD

    Er chaps… I know the comment editor is being a PITA but I think Keith relies on Denver Web Developers/Spotted Koi for the maintenance and management of this site. Let’s not give him a hard time over a tech glitch that probably isn’t his fault or in his power to fix with a snap of his fingers.:-)

  • http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com Andy Revkin

    Great exploration of important reality, Keith. I threw down my marker along these lines in 2008, when I said that “climate change is not the story of our time” and explained what was.. 

  • harrywr2

    #8Germany has acres of solar farms, there are wind turbines all over,
    electricity generation policy confusion means nothing is being built.The
    US has done nothing.If that continues, in what way might climate change
    “˜define’ your time?
    Our coal consumption is down 10% in just over 6 years. If you want to see some ‘wind farms’ Eastern Washington State is a good place to visit…you won’t need directions to find one. The US is second in the world for installed wind capacity. The US leads the world in bio-fuels…All those Solar Panels in Germany produced about the same as two 1,100 MW  nuclear power plants. Germany doesn’t have any nuclear power plants under construction.http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/01/german-solar-output-increases-by-60-in-2011&nbsp;Germany, the country’s solar trade association announced that the
    technology accounted for three percent of total energy generation in
    2011 “” increasing 60 percent over 2010 to 18.6 terawatt-hours (18.6
    billion kilowatt-hours).

    Maybe figuring out how to achieve a goal prior to making an arbitrary law with an arbitrary time-frame isn’t such a bad approach.

  • Keith Kloor

    Folks, I was out all day and have just asked my web developer to look into the glitch. Please be patient. I’ll also respond more in full tonight to the thread.

  • Sashka

    Yes, Andy. I remember that thread. You certainly got it right back then.

  • Tom Scharf

    Economic modeling…the only models I have even less respect for than climate models.  Somehow all these geniuses missed out on the housing bubble, nobody ever bothered modeling what happens if there is broad market downturn in housing prices, I guess they were too busying working up scary resource depletion scenarios.Resource depletion is a self resolving problem.  When deer over reproduce, their populations diminish back to sustainable levels without any intervention.  Certainly an oversimplification and everyone want to avoid suffering, but it’s not like the problem won’t resolve itself in time.  Birth rates in Europe, Japan, and the USA are already in decline.  China imposes it on their people.  If India doesn’t deal with it, it will self resolve in time…at their peril.Expert prediction is probably the biggest oxymoron of our time.

  • BBD

    [advance apologies if the formatting gets mashed]So, according to Rockstrom et al. there are nine ‘planetary boundaries’. The study identifies them as:climate changeocean acidificationstratospheric ozone depletionnitrogen and phosphorus cycle distortionglobal freshwater useagricultural footprintdecreased biodiversity chemical pollutionaerosol loadingCC will leverage enough of these to justify its position at the top of the list but this does not by any means invalidate the argument that there are other vital issues to address. Nitrogen and phosphorous never get the attention that they deserve.

  • BBD

    And again, with old fashioned punctuation: climate change; ocean acidification; stratospheric ozone depletion; nitrogen
    and phosphorus cycle distortion; global freshwater use; agricultural
    footprint; decreased biodiversity; chemical pollution and aerosol loading. Serves me right for relying on technology.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #10, those nine planetary boundaries may have been identified, but if you read what they’ve written it’s perfectly obvious they have not been quantified. I’ve never seen so many caveats outside of a will.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And #18, if you look at Keith’s post, his list of dangers to the planet are more direct and to the point, and share only water supplies with the Nine Boundaries of Doom.People understand phrases like ‘loss of fisheries’ and ‘decreasing forests’ (although forests are in fact increasing). Telling people that oceans are getting more acidic when they are maybe becoming slightly less alkaline, but we’re not sure and we don’t know what the effects will be… not so useful.

  • BBD

    Sure, no worries.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    “But is it a bigger story than resource depletion or unsustainable development, which I would argue speak to the underlying reasons for rising greenhouse gases?”

    What an odd question. It is a part of resource depletion (we are using up the atmosphere as a safe place to put emissions from burning fossil-carbon-based fuels. It is a relatively simple part, since it has a
    simple scalar control point: atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration in CO2e is not a perfect measurement but it is a good enough one to greatly simplify the problem. Yet even this is beyond us.

    This idea that my broken nose should be ignored because it’s my face that’s all bashed up confuses me. My nose is still part of my face, fortunately, and my nearly-used-up atmosphere is part of my nearly-used-up planet.It is a part of resource depletion (we are using up the atmosphere as a safe place to put emissions from burning
    fossil-carbon-based fuels. It is a relatively simple part, since it has a simple scalar control point: atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration in CO2e is not a perfect measurement but it is a good enough one to
    greatly simplify the problem. Yet even this is beyond us.

  • Keith Kloor

    Michael,

    Does it say anywhere in my post that I suggest we ignore climate change?

  • Keith Kloor

    Folks,

    Am still trying to figure out why a new comment format is showing up. Until it’s straightened out, just delete the “insert comment here” in the box.

    I’ll clean up any ugly formatting in comments until it’s straightened out. Thanks for your patience.

  • Jarmo

    The reason China is finally turning their attention into cutting coal consumption is that thy will run out of the stuff in 35 years. The reason why US emissions will start to go down will be cheap gas that will replace a lot of coal.So, once China has achieved their peak coal and US is replacing coal with gas, the two main contributors of CO2 can finally start talking about cutting emissions and making a global climate deal. That’s the reality.

  • kdk33

    Nine Boundaries of Doom.  Sweet.

  • harrywr2

    #22 What an odd question. It is a part of resource depletion (we are using
    up the atmosphere as a safe place to put emissions from burning
    fossil-carbon-based fuels. It is a relatively simple part, since it has a simple scalar control point: atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration in
    CO2e is not a perfect measurement but it is a good enough one to
    greatly simplify the problem.
    The problem with using CO2e as a measure is the same problem as using a thermometer to determine if I am healthy. It doesn’t tell me anything about what the underlying causes of my fever are. It’s a symptom.Global population continues to grow at a substantial rate. There is strong inverse correlation between economic well being and fertility rates. The ‘coal age’ created economic well being in what we now refer to as the ‘developed world’ and fertility rates dropped to replacement or below.There are 1 billion people in Africa..the fertility rate is above 4 and they have a total of 32 billion tonnes of coal reserves.  The ‘achieve economic well being on the back of cheap coal’ method of population stabilization doesn’t appear to be an option for them. (South Africa being the exception as they have 80% of Africa’s coal reserves and one of the lowest fertility rates on the African continent)So a simple equation can be madeCheap energy = population stabilization. Without population stabilization none of the stressors to the environment can be addressed.

  • Lewis Deane

    The question might be, what is ‘growth’? Is ‘growth’ synonymous with a greater and greater ‘depletion’ of so called ‘resources’ or is it, in fact, more to do with ‘innovation’ and a more and more efficient and ‘clever’ use of those ‘resources’? Mankind has almost always ‘innovated’, invented, adapted to the challenges thrown at him, this protean, genius spirit of man (and woman, too!) (Yes, I know, sometimes he has failed, too! The counter argument is conceded, also). Therefore it is not unimaginable that the so called ‘limits of growth’ are, in fact, unlimitable, for him and her and us. What does ‘growth’ mean?

  • BBD

    Christ Tom, you’re not seriously denying ocean pH change are you? It’s inescapable for a start – CO2 + H2O = H2CO3 (carbonic acid). Over half a trillion tonnes of anthro CO2 since the late 1700s of which about 85% dissolved in the global ocean. WTF do you think this does to the pH? And please – I know ocean acidification is misleading – but the effects of aragonite depletion on calcifying marine organisms are real. I’m not going to waste time bickering over the sodding terminology.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Keith, the only two buttons I was using are gone: the erase formatting and the erase linking.  Let’s try this: foo < /br> bar.  If this works, we could insert HTML breaks.  If not, we’ll try something else later.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    foo <br /> bar

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    This should work:CogitoSum

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Hello World!
    OK, clicking on the two blue brackets provides an HTMl editor
    Now I see the paragraph.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Also note that the editor has a button with a the X in red.
    It removes formatting.
    OK. I believe you’re all set, Keith.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Clicking on the code snipet also seems to transform the editing mode.  Here is a linebreak.Here is a paragraph.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Nope.It did not work.Does this list looks like a list?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    OK. The only thing that work are the blue brackets and the red X.

    It suits me.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Blog software usually has code to strip out unrecognised tags (to stop malicious code getting through). I suspect that the <br> and <p> tags are not on the list and are being stripped somewhere.

  • stan

    Obama blamed Bush for high oil prices 4 years ago.  Kloor somehow forgot to mention that while blaming the GOP for doing exactly what Democrats did.Obama’s energy policy is a crony capitalism disaster.  He’s thrown billions at bankrupt renewable boondoggle companies so that his friends can get richer.  And he’s reduced drilling permits in the gulf and on federal lands.Giving Obama credit for the efforts of the private sector in oil and gas to overcome the Obama administration’s opposition is just too much.  Quit with the propaganda and try a little truth.  

  • Fred

    The NYT article makes clear that technological advances and the Bush administration are behind the boom in oil production. Obama’s policies are associated with decreased production on federal lands, despite the technological advances. Talk to anyone in the oil industry and they will give you an earful about how the Obama administration policies have hurt the industry. Since AGW supporters are adamantly against fossil fuel production, I find KK’s tone seeming to celebrate the uptick in oil production disingenuous.

  • Dean

    @40Actually, the NYT does not say anything about Obama policies leading to decreased production on federal lands. It says this:”he has proposed expansion of oil production both on land and offshore. He is now moving toward approving drilling off the coast of Alaska.”Bush got it started an Obama is continuing it. Yet another place where Obama is showing his conservative credentials.

  • Fred

    @41 To make it clear, “Obama’s policies are associated with decreased production on federal lands” is my own comment, not derived from the NYT article. Here is documentation:”…oil production on federally owned lands has in fact declined by 17,000 barrels per day since he (Obama) took office in 2009.”This from:http://cnsnews.com/news/article/oil-production-federal-lands-has-declined-under-obamaAs for “…Obama is showing his conservative credentials.” How absolutely bizarre.Obama is despised by oil and gas folks due to how his policies have damaged the industry. Note:”Obama will soon be personally responsible for preventing some 2 million barrels per day of possible North American crude oil production from reaching the American economy.”From:http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/293008/how-obama-choking-us-oil-production-mario-loyolaNo doubt Obama’s screwball policies on energy non-production are derived from his espousal of AGW theory.

  • Fred
  • Keith Kloor

    Fred,

    Your links don’t work. But even if they did, they wouldn’t be worth much, given their anti-Obama bias. After all, if I cited from overtly liberal blogs or media outlets, would you accept the source as reliable? 

    Go outside your bubble for information that isn’t so slanted.

    If oil and gas interests don’t like Obama, it’s because his Administration hasn’t given the industry quite as free a hand to do as it wished under Bush. Other than that, oil and gas development on federal lands has largely continued without much interference under Obama.

  • harrywr2

    #41Yet another place where Obama is showing his conservative credentials.For some reason…and I am at a loss  as to why…the US electorate is very unforgiving when it comes to ‘prices at the pump’.Going into a national election with high gas prices is pretty close to political suicide in the US. The only thing worse would be high unemployment.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #44,

    The links do work, apart from the problems caused by the formatting bug.

    We do routinely accept information from liberal sources, although we’re more likely to check it. We even routinely accept information from you. :-)

    Isn’t refusing to listen to information from sources with views you don’t like the definition of ‘information bubble’?

  • Dean

    @45This is fairly standard for anything that really affects people’s quality of life in an immediate way. The president gets all the fault or the credit, whether or not deserved.    The question, as it is with unemployment, is whether it really is the level/value or the trend. Most likely gas prices will be dropping by the fall when people actually start voting. So even if they are still relatively high, the lack of a new shock when people go to fill up may change the impact, just as decreasing though still high unemployment was helping him until gas prices shot up.   The irony wrt gas prices is that if some gung ho Republicans encouraged Israel to bomb Iran, or did it themselves, prices would really shoot up.

  • Keith Kloor

     @46

    I listen to– and even cite in this blog– perspectives from all over the ideological and political spectrum.

    But on something factual related, I make sure I don’t take the word of biased news sources.

    As for this: “We do routinely accept information from liberal sources, although we’re more likely to check it.”

    I seriously doubt that. (And who is “we?” Are you speaking on behalf of all the conservatives in the world or all the climate contrarians?) Those who view the world through a strict ideological lens don’t accept information from someone who doesn’t view the world through their lens. That should be pretty obvious to anyone reading blogs. 

  • harrywr2

    #47Gasoline prices are for some reason special. There is no where near the political fallout in the US if the price of tomato’s doubles or the the price of chicken goes up $1/pound. Personally I’ve held the belief that Gasoline should be taxed heavily for 30 years. It’s a waste of my breath to even talk about it. A significant portion of the US population views cheap gasoline and a 4000 pound car as a ‘birthright’.As far as war with Iran…somehow I think the punitive sanctions our current glorious leader is imposing on Iran will take us closer to war with Iran then something some big mouth Republican says. Deliberating attempting to destroy someones economy tends to upset them.

  • Fred

    #44 Keith writes:”oil and gas development on federal lands has largely continued without much interference under Obama.”Not so.The government has control over production of oil through drilling lease granting on the large amount of land it own in the West and through lease permissions to drill on the outer continental shelf. On both counts the Obama administration has hurt production.The Bush administration reached a bipartisan agreement to open virtually all of the outer continental shelf to oil production. In its first few weeks, the Obama administration shelved the plan. Almost all the OCS is now closed to drilling. As the result of curtailed permit granting the DOE projects that oil production from the Gulf of Mexico will will drop by 700,000 barrels per day by the end of 2012, with further drops to follow. The administration has cut new leases on federal lands by 50% in 2010. Beyond interfering with oil and gas development on federal lands the administration has hurt the industry (and the US economy) in several other ways. New EPA emissions rules are projected to cause the shutdown of seven refineries producing 15% of the US gasoline supply. Obama’s punitive revision of the tax structure for oil and gas companies will reduce production. Add to this the failure to approve the Keystone pipeline…The administration views any penalty imposed on oil companies as laudable. Secretary of Energy Chu has stated “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”  I am not going to put up links, since your web site’s mechanism for receiving them is defective. All of the above is easy to document from non-controversial sources.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #48,
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to generalise.
    People who lean to the right inevitably have to accept information from liberal-leaning sources, because most mainstream media is liberal-leaning. It’s pretty much unavoidable.
    One can usually question the slant, and you’ll notice if you already know what they say is wrong, or soon hear about it. It’s a common enough occurence. You’re right, you don’t treat it as “reliable”, but at the same time you’ll read it and check it out. I suppose there must be some people who are annoyed enough at the amount of nonsense they have to wade through that they give up in disgust and stick to the few specialist right-leaning sources. But most people I know on the right are all too well aware of what the liberal media is saying.
    In any case, it struck me as funny that you wouldn’t see the value in even looking at a source because it had an ‘anti-Obama slant’, and at the same time tell somebody they should get out of their bubble. Any of them coming here, to a liberal-leaning site, to debate the news are hardly in a bubble.
    You can put it down to my sense of humour if you like.

  • Keith Kloor

    #51 ”because most mainstream media is liberal-leaning.”

    Yes, I’ve been hearing that one for many years now. It’s an old trope. Fortunately, for conservatives, there is an echo chamber on the right that provides a much more balanced view of world events and politics. :)

     it struck me as funny that you wouldn’t see the value in even looking at a source because it had an “˜anti-Obama slant’, and at the same time tell somebody they should get out of their bubble.”

    The links tell you something a source’s orientation, as I mentioned. You also conveniently ignored what I said in my response to you, how I often link (and read) perspectives from across the spectrum. But where I get factual information  is a different matter. For instance, I’m much more inclined to take seriously energy information from the Wall Street Journal’s news pages or the NYT or WaPo, or non-partisan experts from think tanks, than I am from National Review or that other website Fred linked to.

    As for the orientation of this blog, I’d love to hear from you what makes it liberal-leaning. How have you arrived at that?

  • Fred

    #52 KK writes: “As for the orientation of this blog, I’d love to hear from you what makes it liberal-leaning.” Its as easy to know that this blog is liberal-leaning as it is to know that Obama has severely curtailed oil drilling in areas under federal control.

  • Keith Kloor

    Fred,

    I’m all ears. Both should be easy to show, then.

    BTW, all: unbeknownst to me, my web managers upgraded the blog software. This is necessary to avoid the old one from getting buggy. One of them will be commenting shortly to explain in more detail and ask what problems any of you might be having.

  • Fred

    Why should I bother? The answer to the question of whether the orientation of the blog is liberal-leaning is determined by the orientation of its creator. Both of us already know the answer.The answer to whether or not Obama has curtailed drilling on lands controlled by the federal government was covered in #50 and is easily available from numerous credible sources, regardless of your political affiliation.

  • Keith Kloor

    Fred,

    I thought climate contrarians/skeptics were averse to argument by assertion. :)

    So no examples/citations for either? I’m disappointed in you.

  • Fred

    In re:#56 by KK- Very funny and I needed some laughter.  Actually part of the reason is that I am working on a lecture for tomorrow in a course I am teaching for the first time and time is limited. Also, when I post, my paragraph starts/endings are not showing up. And of course, to give citations I need to be able to post links, and they are obviously not working for me on this site now. I am using Mozilla as my browser. I wonder if that is it?

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    “Those who view the world through a strict ideological lens don’t accept information from someone who doesn’t view the world through their lens. That should be pretty obvious to anyone reading blogs.”

    I actually don’t agree. I think this is rare. I continue to believe that the central conceit of this article does not frame a well-posed question. It almost seems designed to confuse rather than elucidate.

    I think Keith has been reading too many of his comments and the bad guys have succeeded in reducing his brain to mush.

    Let me try again. Nose. Face. Which do you prefer?There is hardly a difference between the concepts you raise at the level you raise them. There is no conflict among people with a reasonably sound grasp of the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the situation.

    There is disagreement, but there is no battle royal. You seem to suggest that because I think Hansen is mostly right, that I implicitly concede that, say, Jeremy Jackson is mostly wrong? Why in my right mind would I do such a thing? We focus on different aspects of the situation, all of us trying to balance alarm and mourning with sardonic humor and dry intellect.

    There is nothing but an alliance among people who take a long-range, scientifically informed view of our circumstances. This doesn’t mean a unanimity of opinion, but it does mean a general camarederie and mutual trust among people who have the capacity to step back to a well-informed, big picture, deep-time perspective and take in the whole scene as best as we currently understand it.

    I see in your question here only a desire to stir up some action, and no obvious intent to actually solve problems. Do we not have enough trouble without you trying to brew some more up?

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Fix your input widget, please. That was five or six paragraphs.

    [I tried to approximate where your graphs seemed. It should be easier to read now, even if I didn't get it exact. There is now an updated comment system on the blog, which is basically the same as the older version. Some of you who are cutting and pasting from word or elsewhere into the comment box are probably experiencing formatting issues. When I write straight into the comment box, I don't have any problem. Also, there is a very similar icon at far right of of top tool bar, which you can highlight to embed links. I'll try to work out the kinks for folks by tomorrow. Sorry for the confusion./KK]

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    I wrote straight into the comment box. I even left an extra blank line.This sentence should constitute at least the second paragraph, or the third if the extra blank line is counted.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Keith, could you work on the content as well?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Fix your input widget, please.

    Meanwhile, let’s click on the button showing two blue brackets.

  • kdk33

    This idea that my broken nose should be ignored because it’s my face that’s all bashed up confuses me.**-**  Actually, it’s more like someone is telling you that you have a broken nose and need to pay next years salary for corrective surgeory.  But you feel nt pain, are not bleeding, have no memory of a blow to the face, no breathing difficulties…  **-**The evidence for your broken nose is the flat tire on your bike.  Obviously, you say, you must have had a terrible wreck and there is an overwhelming consensus that bicycle wrecks cause broken noses, especially among middle aged, white, transplanted, northeners.  So it is almost certain you’ve been in an accident, and multiple lines of evidence converge on the scientific understanding your nose is broken.**-**You only feel no pain because broken noses are difficult to detect – it requires an expert - and the pain is often delayed.  But, trust us, the pain will come soon, unless, of course, you fork over the cash.  Besides, you have watching Fox News and are confused.   You’re refusal to forfeit next years salary means you are anti-science and probably a republican.

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Collide-a-Scape

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, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and 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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