On Geoengineering, the Public is Clueless–and Susceptible to Misinformation and Demagoguery

By Chris Mooney | April 7, 2010 9:57 am

It’s kinda geoengineering week here at the Intersection, as I continue to prepare for Friday’s Point of Inquiry episode with Eli Kintisch to discuss his new book, Hack the Planet. So I’ve been doing my reading, and I came across this article by Kintisch’s rival Jeff Goodell, who also has a geoengineering book coming out, entitled How to Cool the Planet. (So far Goodell’s seems to be selling a bit better, but I like Kintisch’s title!)

I’m certainly not surprised, but I had not yet seen the relevant data showing that when it comes to this subject, the public is basically a blank slate. Goodell provides said data in his piece:

Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change, who presented the results of a long-running study on the public perception of global warming. In his most recent survey, he had thrown in a few questions about geoengineering. When asked, “How much, if anything, have you heard about geoengineering as a possible response to climate change,” 74 percent of respondents said “nothing.” The 26 percent that had heard about geoengineering turned out to be wildly misinformed — more than half thought it referred to geothermal energy. Only 3 percent of the people who had heard about geoengineering were correctly informed about it. “The public basically knows nothing about this,” Leiserowitz told the attendees. “That is both a great challenge, and a great opportunity.”

I’m  not sure what this means for Kintisch’s and Goodell’s book sales. But I am sure of one thing: People may be malleable and uninformed on this subject now, but the more they hear–and especially if some major controversy erupts–the more they will firm up their minds.

This suggests to me that scientists ought to get out in front of this opinion-forming process now, rather than later. And so far, it does not appear that their recent Asilomar meeting on geoengineering has had that desired effect. How much media coverage did it get? Was it just a blip?

The activists are already out there, engaging in street theater, trying to make geoengineering into the the next GMO-type backlash issue. Right now, it is entirely up in the air whether they will succeed, but I must say that I’m worried they might. Geoengineering is not something to ban in a knee-jerk way, but something to study and hold in reserve in case we need it and there is no other choice. If the activists prevail, we might lose such a planetary insurance policy.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: geoengineering

Comments (35)

  1. TTT

    Since almost nobody is talking about geoengineering at all, and those who do tend to support it, I’d say the advocates are the source of the misinformation. In a prior topic I mentioned the ridiculous back-of-a-napkin fantasies that actually saw print in “Superfreakonomics” and were then touted as a solution to global warming.

    If geoengineering ever does happen, it would come at the expense of preventing the problem and would leave us still fully vulnerable to it assuming anything ever happened to the by-definition expensive, complex, and fragile technological system in place. Advocates who wish to have any credibility must announce this openly–say we are not actually solving the problem but instead building a system to hide its effects, and that we choose this trade-off knowing full well the risks and costs involved.

  2. Well, we get a look at just how time consuming and costly the process might this coming Sunday, when National Geographic Channel re-broadcasts their show <a hfre="http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/mars-making-the-new-earth-4588/Photos#tab-Photos/0""Mars: Making the New Earth. The first experiment in planetary terraforming.

    As someone too often found victim of the Law of Unintended Consequences, the idea that we can follow such a well conceptualized process to the intended conclusion does not seem realistic. But, the molding of public opinion has begun.

  3. Interesting tidbit about public awareness of geoengineering. It happens that it’s geoengineering week over at our site too, http://theworld.org/science.
    Economist Scott Barrett is online taking questions and comments about geoengineering through April 19. Barrett is the author of Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making, and he’s saying geoengineering is more likely to happen than not. He’s been getting a lot of questions questions already… perhaps helping to fill that information void out there?

  4. GM

    Geoengineering is like giving painkillers to cancer patient – it will make him feel better for a while, but in the end he still dies, because the cancer hasn’t been taken care of.

    And the cancer is growth, which if we don’t stop, will kill us sooner or later, just maybe a little bit sooner without geongineering if it ever works and it doesn’t actually make things worse

    As I’ve said many time it is a big mistake to frame global warming as THE sustainability issue, because it isn’t even the major one

  5. Guy

    I don’t think we can afford to just dismiss it out of hand without doing more research into it. If our problem is mainly green houses gases and we can geoengineer a solution to remove some of them, it might be a way to provide a workable fix for the short term. In the long term, we will still have to deal with the underlying causes like the way we produce and consume energy.

  6. Eric the Leaf

    In God..er..growth we trust. Well said, GM. Time for a little reason courtesy of Albert Bartlett.

  7. FUAG

    Geoengineering happens at a global scale. That being said, you would need to get the EU, China, Russia, OPEC, and the USA to agree on the plan. Figure out how to get that done and I’ll believe you can figure out how to change the planet’s tempurature!

    So, the best we can hope for is a chopped up plan that gives heavy kickbacks to all the squeaky wheels to end up with something that doesn’t work for anybody. Think Health Care Reform but on a global scale…

  8. Guy

    Just for you anti-growth folks:

    Paul Krumag writes, “The Congressional Budget Office, relying on a survey of models, has concluded that Waxman-Markey “would reduce the projected average annual rate of growth of gross domestic product between 2010 and 2050 by 0.03 to 0.09 percentage points.” That is, it would trim average annual growth to 2.31 percent, at worst, from 2.4 percent. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/magazine/11Economy-t.html?pagewanted=5&hp

  9. Guy

    Krugman not Krumag.

  10. GM

    Which is relevant to the discussion because….?

    Of course no bill that will stop growth will ever pass, growth is the religion of our society, it is the one thing you never talk against. After all you hear people saying that growth is a problem even more rarely than people saying that overpopulation is a problem…

  11. Guy

    @GM,

    Krugman’s analysis plays an important role in policy decisions and public opinion. No it’s not likely that people want to see a major decline in economic growth. That tends to translate into a lower quality of life and it makes it more difficult to tactical issues like climate change.

    Here’s another good discussion of geoengineering on the Diane Rehm show. There were some deniers and conspiracy buffoons calling in which detracted from the main topic.

    http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-04-06/environmental-outlook-geoengineering

  12. Dark tent

    “The public basically knows nothing about this,”

    perhaps that is because NO one knows much about it, not even the people who are pushing for it.

    Until small scale feasibility studies have been done to at least prove the concepts, this stuff will remain pie in the sky.

    ‘scientists ought to get out in front of this opinion-forming process now,”

    Forgive me, but ain’t the job of scientists to “form opinions”, especially when the geo-engineering schemes are basically untested hypotheses at this point (untested even on a small scale).

    What would the scientists say, anyway?

    ‘We have no idea whether any of this stuff would work or what negative ramifications it would have, but you (the public) need to get on board the train before it leaves the station’?

    The best way to lose the public in the long run is to tell them a bunch of stuff now that turns out to be false later on.

    Even if it were the job of scientists to “form opinions”, it would not be particularly useful for scientists to be making statements right now about something that no one (not even the scientists and engineers) really has the foggiest idea about.

    It’s pretty clear that at this point the push for geo-engineering is being driven by those with monetary interests (and those interested in book sales).

    Needless to say, that’s not the best way to approach engineering problems.

    If that is the way this is going to work, I think scientists would best stay out of it altogether and let the cranks and charlatans make fools of themselves.

  13. ThomasL

    It seems to me that every previous attempt at “reengineering” nature has proven to be rather disastrous with horrible long term unanticipated consequences. I guess that means it’s an even better idea to try such on a global scale?

    It amazes me how much faith so many of you have in mans infallibility in such endeavors. Sort of like your faith in government as being somehow better than any other group of people (the whole realization that the government is just another organized group made up of people with all the same limitations as all other groups made up of people just seems to not inter anyone’s thinking – I worked for a branch for several years, news flash – most of them just want to keep their job and care little what that means – or what they do means in the bigger picture…).

    Gus,
    You really need to get an education in the economy. One of the reasons why growth is so important is because it is the only thing that allows all these welfare programs to function. Part of why Social Security and Medicaid are in trouble is because there won’t be the traditional percentage of workers and retired persons going forward… Here’s a look at how the next ten years is likely to look for everyone: http://www.safehaven.com/article-16310.htm.

    And here are a couple looks at Krugmans’ idiotic thinking: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/04/congress-pressures-geithner-to-label.html and http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/03/china-not-as-simple-as-krugman-thinks.html.

    Most of those involved in this blog are younger. I wonder how long it is going to take them to figure out how badly they have and are being screwed. I guess you will all figure out with time, but by then there won’t be much you can do about it. Hope you all like the tab being run up that you will be expected to pay.

  14. ThomasL

    Gus should be Guy, sorry!

  15. GM

    You really need to get an education in the economy. One of the reasons why growth is so important is because it is the only thing that allows all these welfare programs to function. Part of why Social Security and Medicaid are in trouble is because there won’t be the traditional percentage of workers and retired persons going forward… Here’s a look at how the next ten years is likely to look for everyone: http://www.safehaven.com/article-16310.htm.

    I am not sure you mean this, but the comment is relevant anyway – the above should not mean that we should stick to growth just because we have to support welfare programs. If growth is unsustainable with the easily predictable consequences of that, then we should stop growing, even if it means that a few generations will not retire. It is what it is, the laws of nature always win and there is little room for sentiments here

  16. Guy

    I still don’t see how a steep decline in economic growth would benefit anyone or do anything about climate change. It might lessen pressure on natural resources but it would also keep us from addressing the underlying causes of global warming. It takes money to do that.

    We could probably live with a modest decline in growth (<1%) or so by putting a price on emissions but do we really want a self-imposed great depression? It would be impossible to sell such an idea to the public, especially during a time of already high unemployment.

    A common theme in the global warming debates is how can poor countries afford to pay for it? If we make intentionally ourselves significantly poorer how is that going to solve anything?

  17. GM

    17. Guy Says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
    I still don’t see how a steep decline in economic growth would benefit anyone or do anything about climate change. It might lessen pressure on natural resources but it would also keep us from addressing the underlying causes of global warming. It takes money to do that.
    We could probably live with a modest decline in growth (<1%) or so by putting a price on emissions but do we really want a self-imposed great depression? It would be impossible to sell such an idea to the public, especially during a time of already high unemployment.
    A common theme in the global warming debates is how can poor countries afford to pay for it? If we make intentionally ourselves significantly poorer how is that going to solve anything?

    You forget that a depression can only exist in the current socioeconomical framework we that have confined ourselves within. What I am telling you is that we need to break away from our religious adherence to that framework, and think in terms of physical quantities, not in terms of money. Once you do that, a lot of things that may seem impossible to do if you think like an economist become actually possible, not only that, but mandatory.

    Also, there are things that look desirable in the current mode of thinking, but are actually physically impossible. One of them is having 7 billion people or more living Western-level lifestyles. It’s not going to happen, there is only so much sunlight falling onto the Earth’s surface and primary productivity to be harvested by humans without disrupting the ecosystems of the planet, there is only so much oil left in the ground, and there will be less and less of it in the future, and the same applies to a long list of other non-renewable resources. It is what it is, grow up and accept the facts, otherwise collapse is inevitable (of course I have no illusions that people will grow up and constrain themselves, but I have to say it)

  18. ThomasL

    GM,

    ?? What planet do you live on? You really think the public is just going to sit around and have their standard of living gutted? Part of our current political issue is the politicians all recognize it is suicide to even talk about making the needed changes to Social Security and Medicare, let alone actually doing them. Oh – and we just added universal health care (which we can’t pay for either, but it sure is going to make a lot of people happy – or so they think).

    Depressions happen in every known economy – we didn’t keep statistics on serf death rates during poor harvest years though, so I can see how it’s easy to discount such. Prior to our current abstracting of economics from the underlying assets through currency there were still good years and bad years and the results of each were just as real. We like to romanticize the past, unfortunately the past wasn’t all that different than today, just our toys have changed…

    The problem is that it is very easy to say “grow up and accept these facts…” when you don’t think you are the one going to be adversely affected. The realization that you will in fact be very much affected and no one escapes the consequences of what you suggest (meaning it might well be you that is “reduced” to deal with over population) is what growing up really means. Show me one period in history where any society willingly gave up its economic gains without internal revolts and war and I might think you have a point…

    Guy,

    We may be able to manage a decline of 1% or so over time, the problem is such is never smooth and is more like a huge drop, then flat, then another huge drop… During those drops you really push social unrest to the point of possible collapse. Look at Greece and the riots and strikes over getting their finances in order, or what happened in Kyrgyzstan the past few days – trigger point? A proposed rise in utility bills…

    And it’s slowly happening here (the pushback has started). As the already horrendous financial situation is recognized it will only get worse (why do you think the MSM and the Government are trying so hard to convince everyone it’s all under control and spinning truly miserable reports positive?).

  19. Guy

    @ThomasL,

    Are you referring to the supposed backlash of the health care reform bill? There have been a lot of protests and a few morally bankrupt hooligans getting arrested, but I don’t see any major riots erupting from it. If a cap and trade bill went through we’d probably see more of the same.

  20. ThomasL

    Keep thinking that way Guy…

  21. GM

    19. ThomasL Says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 2:36 pm
    GM,
    ?? What planet do you live on? You really think the public is just going to sit around and have their standard of living gutted? Part of our current political issue is the politicians all recognize it is suicide to even talk about making the needed changes to Social Security and Medicare, let alone actually doing them. Oh – and we just added universal health care (which we can’t pay for either, but it sure is going to make a lot of people happy – or so they think).

    As I will not get tired to repeat, the laws of nature do not care at all about what is politically correct and what’s not. They are what they are.

    Depressions happen in every known economy – we didn’t keep statistics on serf death rates during poor harvest years though, so I can see how it’s easy to discount such. Prior to our current abstracting of economics from the underlying assets through currency there were still good years and bad years and the results of each were just as real. We like to romanticize the past, unfortunately the past wasn’t all that different than today, just our toys have changed…

    Those weren’t depressions in the modern sense, those were just famines. Because growth is required for modern economies to function (you need future growth to repay the debts of today and it is all basically built on the belief that there will be future growth) , it is quite possible, and it indeed has happened many times in the last century, for a severe recession/depression to occur, even though enough food is produced for everyone to be fed. As a result of the recession/depression a lot of people do go hungry, but this isn’t because of any harvest failure. Of course harvest failure can also happen if farmers are dependent on capital that isn’t there, can’t repay their loans, etc., it feeds back onto food production in one way or another.

    But that’s no the point, the point is that you don’t really need growth to keep people supplied with the basic necessities – food, clothes, shelter. However, you can not supply people with these necessities if you exceed the carrying capacity of the environment, which happens both because of population growth and because of economic growth, which once you have gotten past the level at which people are fed and clothed, consists mostly of needless consumption and total waste of resources (planned obsolescence, etc.).

    The problem is that it is very easy to say “grow up and accept these facts…” when you don’t think you are the one going to be adversely affected. The realization that you will in fact be very much affected and no one escapes the consequences of what you suggest (meaning it might well be you that is “reduced” to deal with over population) is what growing up really means. Show me one period in history where any society willingly gave up its economic gains without internal revolts and war and I might think you have a point…

    I don’t understand why you keep bringing this up – of course nobody has ever given up their material possessions voluntarily (actually that’s not true, there have been cultures where this was the norm, but those are extinct at this point so we can keep it within Western history). It’s a basic evolutionary instinct to hoard resources, and it takes a lot of education or strong cultural pressure in the opposite direction (i.e. the increase in perceived inclusive fitness coming from those being higher than the perceived inclusive fitness coming from resource hoarding) to override this behavior. But this doesn’t make the problem disappear or what we have to do to solve it any different, because this is not dictated by what we want things to be, it is dictated by what things are. If anything, it makes the collapse prediction all the more certain (and this is well supported by historic evidence) because if you look at civilization that failed in the past because of resource depletion, and there has been plenty of them, it usually ends up with a massive revolt by the starving population, whatever institutions were present to keep order falling apart as a results and descend into barbarism and cannibalism in the end. In other words, while it’s resource depletion that ultimately caused it, it is the ignorance of the causes among the population and its basic-animal-instincts-driven behavior that was the proximal cause.

  22. Guy

    @ThomasL,

    What people should be outraged about is all the feet-dragging on dealing with climate change. If the models are correct we’re in for a rough ride. We’re not talking about a hotter days in the summer. We’re talking about turning a large portion of our land into desert. That would translate into famine, which would make the current unrest seem trivial.

    I disagree with GM on what he thinks should be done, but he’s right that nature doesn’t care about our politics. The Earth is going to react to our pumping so much greenhouse gases into the atmosphere if we like it not. The models are saying it’s going to be extremely bad if the worst happens. Wouldn’t a <%1 temporary economic decline be worth taking a shot at preventing that?

  23. ThomasL

    GM,

    History repeats (or rhymes…) because there are certain truths about “human nature” that one ignores at their personal peril. Societies collapse for a few reasons – one is resource depletion as you mention, another is radical change imposed by the ruling class that the ruled refuse to go along with. One reason you have resource depletion as a source of collapse is because the population will refuse to go along with the voluntary lowering of their living standards until such time as they literally have no choice. Once the violence becomes overt (either on the part of the government or the population), all bets as to which way things may go are a fools game. And while I think Guy’s understandings are a bit naive (likely due to age and not having enough experience to realize how long these economic movements take and what a pissed off country looks like) I do agree with him that to do what is being suggested requires actual wealth – something we are a tad shy on these days.

    I think you fail to realize that our current system is an abstraction of the underlying physical structures that make up the “real” economy. Part of what drives prices is the underlying commodities required to make things. We are generally a bit removed from them, but the underlying realities ripple through the system none the less. Every civilization I have studied also had a monetary system (unless you mean subsistence level societies – but such would not give you a computer, for example, nor most of anything else most of us demand…). All of them experienced issues very much similar in cause and effect as what we call “recession”. Indeed financial difficulties fingerprints are all over history and historical events.

    I keep bringing it up because for some reason quite a few seem to think they can just ram through whatever and there are no consequences to be paid. There are and there are limits to what any population will stand for when they feel they are being used… Generally it always comes as a “surprise” to those in power.

    Guy,

    People are outraged over quite a lot at the moment. Spend some time talking to your elders – especially the boomers. They are entering retirement and are slowly realizing everything they had counted on is rather questionable, and in fact the promised pensions and Social SecurityMedicare-Medicaid aren’t going to go very far (part of the reality of the health bill is the young will be subsidizing them even more than ever…). That isn’t a generation that has ever been very willing to accept things…

    Also keep in mind how much it takes for the “right” side of this country to actually motivate enough to show up to anything other than their jobs and the poles – they aren’t known for massive rallies and protests. The very fact they are should be a warning at how much unrest there is…

  24. ThomasL

    GM & Guy,

    Here is one for both of you – this is what financial messes look like and the realities that they breed: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/fx-concepts-john-taylor-economic-reality-will-eventually-destroy-greece-and-europe-warns-civ

    As you state above GM, the laws of nature care not about being PC. Neither do economic realities. Ask yourself how well the “green” revolution is going to hold up in all this.

  25. ThomasL

    Oh – and because I made a comment a couple threads ago about the MSM and the government spinning horrid news and making it out to be signs of some wonderful recovery, here is the latest example. The past couple days the financial cable channels (as in CNBC, Bloomberg and such) and the papers have been talking about the rebounding consumer spending. While gleeful of the “improvements” in March, they are also saying they have been up for four months… Well, then how come sales tax receipts are still going down? Keep in mind many areas have actually increased the tax rate and non have decreased it, so even if sales were flat the tax receipts would be the same or higher – not down! Not to mention the 11.5 billion drop in consumer credit.

    So, here is what they aren’t telling you and most haven’t stopped to think about:
    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/ – and I’m supposed to think the government mandating things is the answer to our problems because they are honest?

    And sorry, Obama hasn’t “fixed” anything, in fact he has been every bit as much of a disappointment as the previous administration in regards to the economy. Watch all five parts. Maybe you’ll understand why many of us are very disappointed in the past few administrations and just see more of the same in the current one: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/william-black-if-obama-administration-continues-way-its-going-have-record-disaster-mid-term-

    Republicans – Demarcates – they both mostly just seem like liars to me. Why Chris Mooney’s (and several commenter’s) partisanship is rather repulsive to me. And, again, how is a bankrupt country supposed to pull off a rework of its energy infrastructure (which I do agree we actually need to do)?

  26. GM

    ThomasL @ 24:

    I think many people misunderstand what my message is – I am telling you what has to be done based on some unavoidable conclusions about our situation derived from cold logic and hard facts about the state of the planet and human civilization. Then I am also telling you that none of this has any realistic chance of ever being done because it runs against our very basic animal instincts, which as much as we like to fool ourselves this is not the case, still determine most of our behavior. Which means that we’re screwed. However, I am also telling you that if we don’t have a very honest conversation about these things, we will be even worse off and if we have a tiny little chance to change things if we discuss them, then even this chance will be gone. Which is why I bring some seemingly extreme ideas to the table (of course, it is always useful to remember that “extreme “is only a label used to describe ideas and views that run against what is politically correct at the time and place, and it has little relevance to how true these ideas and views are) and why I call out people like the authors of this blog who are completely unable to look at the situation free from the cognitive biases imposed on them by growing up in a culture in which you just don’t ask about and say certain things, and as a consequence of which, only produce messages that may seem on the right path but in reality are completely inadequate and only help perpetuate the status quo.

  27. Guy

    @ThomasL,

    Odd that you are unhappy with partisanship in commenting when you keep posting links to a site that is clearly right-wing in it’s philosophy. Just look at the ads on it. It’s worse than Fox News in terms of partisanship. You seriously take some partisan hacks’ word over that of the Nobel laureates?

    Dealing with global warming is not optional unless we want to invite catastrophe. There is a huge laundry list of extremely bag things happening just a few decades down the road if no action is taken. Some might occur even sooner. Hopefully, the economy will be resilient enough to adapt and we will have the political will to take action in time.

  28. ThomasL

    Guy,

    Oh yea, the ads will tell you lots. Actually they quite often make jokes about the companies they are putting under the magnifying glass are usually the ones showing up in the ads – you do know how Google’s add sense crap works, don’t you? Name a company and chances are high you get an advert very closely related to, if not actually from, that company. Just how it works. Stop worrying about the ads and try reading the content and dealing with it…

    Dismissing the ads doesn’t really refute much… and what I’ve posted are a view articles from the absolute top of the top of the financial blogs – as in ones actual investor types spend time reading (they really aren’t interested in pleasing the crowd). Personally saved me a boatload of money a couple years back – but feel free to ignore them. The numbers don’t lie – but the spin sure does. So if you wish to argue the numbers let me know where you think they are off…

    GM – I actually agree that we, as a country, need to actually talk to each other rather than past each other and our governments shenanigans need to be reined in. While Guy (and several others) thinks I am a right wing loon, I piss off all of my conservative friends every bit as much – nobody wants to recognize the extent of the mess and the depth of the stench, it is much easier to ignore it and let others worry about it all.

    However, if we really want to be able to do anything about our environment we will need real resources to do such – not paper promises that will never be kept. Someone in here made a comment about the “elite’s” (I believe it was Bilbo) a few threads back, implying many here were such – made me laugh my behind off. I doubt anyone in here has a clue about the real elites – I would rank as pretty wealthy by most people’s standards – and I’m not even close, though I did spend my childhood around many that would qualify. It has little to do with “education” (though they do tend to be well educaed) and everything to do with being part of the ownership class…

    So here’s one about what’s wrong. I doubt we are going to fix it (same problem Rome had), but it’s not like the disease hasn’t already been identified or we were not warned about it from the very beginning of our country: http://www.oftwominds.com/blogapr10/taxes-complicity04-10.html.

  29. ThomasL

    Guy,

    maybe you would rather read the Bank if International Settlements take on things: http://www.bis.org/publ/work300.pdf?noframes=1. If you can spin that posative I’d love to see how.

  30. Guy

    “If you can spin that posative I’d love to see how.”

    I don’t have some way to spin our situation.
    That’s just way it is.

    Yes, there is a financial mess to go along with a looming environmental crisis.
    Yes, it will cost money to do something about it but we little choice.

  31. ThomasL

    See Guy, we may actually agree on something.

    I think we have to fix both – we can’t fix the climate without first fixing our economy (so we have real resources to use on the problem), and fixing the economy won’t mean much if we don’t have an environment worth living in… Personally I think both parties have failed us (and if you watched the 5 part video you should realize that William Black was someone Obama’s camp spoke with prior to being elected – one of the people that cleaned up the S&L mess – and some of us wonder how come the fiscally sane he at first sought out were left out of all policy discussions after he was in…). Zippo prosecutions for anyone after (during actually, as it’s still ongoing) the worst financial meltdown in our history so far – one that everyone knows was riddled with fraud and bribery… The crooks are still running the show, so sorry if I just fail to see anything to be “Hopeful” about as there has fundamentally been no meaningful change, let alone serious efforts to uncover what actually happened (because once you go there you will realize both parties are up to their necks in the causes…)

    Someone in here a few threads back was going on about how many European societies are rated as being “happier” than the U.S.. I tried to point out that such may have been true, but with the reality of the economic malfeasance all the western governments were at some level involved with now crashing all around, things have changed quite a bit – a lot of our “happiness” is greatly dependent on thinking things are paid for. This was all in regards to why the socialist ideas end up (or at least so far in history always have ended up) in tears for those whom go that direction (though it takes time to waste all the countries previous wealth…), which was vehemently denied by those who support “something for nothing” and “sticking it” to some other segment of society. See my last link (if it doesn’t give the page take the period off the end!), or read Federalist paper 10 to understand this was exactly the reason we were not given a “Democracy” by the founders – such is Democracy’s greatest limitation and what has historically always lead to its eventual collapse. Oh, and the writer is actually pretty liberal all in all, but one that I think actually has a clue…

    Here’s the latest on how great things are going over there – and again, when it gets this messed up where is the ecology left in peoples priorities? “Destitute and desperate, Icelanders opt for exile” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100407/lf_afp/icelandeconomysocialimmigration_20100407153600) While many are not yet aware of it for perhaps the first time in our countries history many of the more affluent and skilled are opting to emigrate out. Such does not bode well for our future either…

    So here we all are, recognizing massive issues that must be dealt with and instead of demanding our elected officials clean the excrement up and shine light on the workings of things, we elect the same crew over and over again (because apparently Republicans and Democrats don’t care how corrupt it is as long as “their” side is in control). Somehow I doubt such will lead to any results to cheer about.

  32. Guy

    “I think we have to fix both – we can’t fix the climate without first fixing our economy (so we have real resources to use on the problem), and fixing the economy won’t mean much if we don’t have an environment worth living in.”

    This seems to be the route they we are currently taking. Just about everything the current Administration has done so far is about cleaning up the mess left by it’s predecessors. They seem to be mainly focused on the economy at the moment because jobs matter in terms of getting reelected.

    Like it or not, we have a two party system. If some other party can manage to get elected and be willing to address climate change then I probably would support them. I do doubt if Federalist or Libertarians fit that bill. Libertarians especially seem have total disregard for the environment. They seem to think the free market can fix everything. The Tea Party is a laughing stock and embarrassment to the country so lets not even go there.

    I think for now we have to put our hopes in the Democrats. I hope that they can both fix the financial mess and address climate change in time. There is a reason to have hope because over the last few years there has been a sea change on how people view things. More people are becoming aware of their carbon footprint and are even donating to causes like those that work to prevent deforestation.

    I suspect that if we still have a healthy Democrat majority after November then they will make a serious push to pass a climate bill. It will probably focus on carbon emissions, cap and trade but will also have some research funding for geoengineering. If the Democrats lose the house or senate it will become more difficult to pass anything helpful.

  33. Cynthia Pikoulas

    Obviously no one is looking at the sky and the white lines that jets leave everyday that turn into clouds and cover the sun. The patents have been in place since the 70’s and geoengineering has been in full force since 1991. Check out Huges Aircraft and their patents. The planet is already showing large scale deposits of aluminum and barium and the epidemic diseases of alzheimers, autism, and asthma are the fruit of the covert experiment. As usual, the major players of the world are using the doctrine of “hide in plain sight.” However, they can’t do this if everyone would just get out of the constant rain and “LOOK UP”. Ask yourself, what happenend to the blue skies?

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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