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Klein writes: "If we treat climate change as the crisis it is, we don't just have the potential to avert disaster but could improve society in the process."

Polar bear in the Arctic. (photo: Ralph Lee Hopkins/Corbis)
Polar bear in the Arctic. (photo: Ralph Lee Hopkins/Corbis)

Climate Change Demands Marshall Plan Levels of Response

By Naomi Klein, Guardian UK

07 March 15


voice came over the intercom: would the passengers of Flight 3935, scheduled to depart Washington DC, for Charleston, South Carolina, kindly collect their carry-on luggage and get off the plane. They went down the stairs and gathered on the hot tarmac. There they saw something unusual: the wheels of the US Airways jet had sunk into the black pavement as if it were wet cement. The wheels were lodged so deep, in fact, that the truck that came to tow the plane away couldn’t pry it loose. The airline had hoped that without the added weight of the flight’s 35 passengers, the aircraft would be light enough to pull. It wasn’t. Someone posted a picture: “Why is my flight cancelled? Because DC is so damn hot that our plane sank four inches into the pavement.”

Eventually, a larger, more powerful vehicle was brought in to tow the plane and this time it worked; the plane finally took off, three hours behind schedule. A spokesperson for the airline blamed the incident on “very unusual temperatures”.

The temperatures in the summer of 2012 were indeed unusually hot. (As they were the year before and the year after.) And it’s no mystery why this has been happening: the profligate burning of fossil fuels, the very thing that US Airways was bound and determined to do despite the inconvenience presented by a melting tarmac. This irony – the fact that the burning of fossil fuels is so radically changing our climate that it is getting in the way of our capacity to burn fossil fuels – did not stop the passengers of Flight 3935 from re-embarking and continuing their journeys. Nor was climate change mentioned in any of the major news coverage of the incident.

I am in no position to judge these passengers. All of us who live high consumer lifestyles, wherever we happen to reside, are, metaphorically, passengers on Flight 3935. Faced with a crisis that threatens our survival as a species, our entire culture is continuing to do the very thing that caused the crisis, only with an extra dose of elbow grease behind it. Like the airline bringing in a truck with a more powerful engine to tow that plane, the global economy is upping the ante from conventional sources of fossil fuels to even dirtier and more dangerous versions – bitumen from the Alberta tar sands, oil from deepwater drilling, gas from hydraulic fracturing (fracking), coal from detonated mountains, and so on.

Meanwhile, each supercharged natural disaster produces new irony laden snapshots of a climate increasingly inhospitable to the very industries most responsible for its warming. Like the 2013 historic floods in Calgary that forced the head offices of the oil companies mining the Alberta tar sands to go dark and send their employees home, while a train carrying flammable petroleum products teetered on the edge of a disintegrating rail bridge. Or the drought that hit the Mississippi river one year earlier, pushing water levels so low that barges loaded with oil and coal were unable to move for days, while they waited for the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a channel (they had to appropriate funds allocated to rebuild from the previous year’s historic flooding along the same waterway). Or the coal-fired power plants in other parts of the country that were temporarily shut down because the waterways that they draw on to cool their machinery were either too hot or too dry (or, in some cases, both).

Living with this kind of cognitive dissonance is simply part of being alive in this jarring moment in history, when a crisis we have been studiously ignoring is hitting us in the face – and yet we are doubling down on the stuff that is causing the crisis in the first place.

I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. Not like Donald Trump and the Tea Partiers going on about how the continued existence of winter proves it’s all a hoax. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most of the news stories, especially the really scary ones. I told myself the science was too complicated and that the environmentalists were dealing with it. And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong with the shiny card in my wallet attesting to my “elite” frequent flyer status.

A great many of us engage in this kind of climate change denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or we look but then turn it into a joke (“more signs of the Apocalypse!”). Which is another way of looking away. Or we look but tell ourselves comforting stories about how humans are clever and will come up with a technological miracle that will safely suck the carbon out of the skies or magically turn down the heat of the sun. Which, I was to discover while researching this book, is yet another way of looking away.

Or we look but try to be hyper-rational about it (“dollar for dollar it’s more efficient to focus on economic development than climate change, since wealth is the best protection from weather extremes”) – as if having a few more dollars will make much difference when your city is underwater. Or we look but tell ourselves we are too busy to care about something so distant and abstract – even though we saw the water in the subways in New York City during Superstorm Sandy, and the people on their rooftops in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and know that no one is safe, the most vulnerable least of all. And though perfectly understandable, this too is a way of looking away.

Or we look but tell ourselves that all we can do is focus on ourselves. Meditate and shop at farmers’ markets and stop driving – but forget trying to actually change the systems that are making the crisis inevitable because that’s too much “bad energy” and it will never work. And at first it may appear as if we are looking, because many of these lifestyle changes are indeed part of the solution, but we still have one eye tightly shut.

Or maybe we do look – really look – but then, inevitably, we seem to forget. Remember and then forget again. Climate change is like that; it’s hard to keep it in your head for very long. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons. We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything. And we are right.

We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. Major cities will very likely drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas, and there is a very high chance that our children will spend a great deal of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. And we don’t have to do anything to bring about this future. All we have to do is nothing. Just continue to do what we are doing now, whether it’s counting on a techno-fix or tending to our gardens or telling ourselves we’re unfortunately too busy to deal with it.

All we have to do is not react as if this is a full-blown crisis. All we have to do is keep on denying how frightened we actually are. And then, bit by bit, we will have arrived at the place we most fear, the thing from which we have been averting our eyes. No additional effort required.

There are ways of preventing this grim future, or at least making it a lot less dire. But the catch is that these also involve changing everything. For us high consumers, it involves changing how we live, how our economies function, even the stories we tell about our place on earth. The good news is that many of these changes are distinctly uncatastrophic. Many are downright exciting. But I didn’t discover this for a long while.

We all watched as trillions of dollars were marshaled in a moment. If the banks were allowed to fail, we were told, the rest of the economy would collapse. It was a matter of collective survival, so the money had to be found. In the process, some rather large fictions at the heart of our economic system were exposed (Need more money? Print some!). A few years earlier, governments took a similar approach to public finances after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In many western countries, when it came to constructing the security/surveillance state at home and waging war abroad, budgets never seemed to be an issue.

Climate change has never received the crisis treatment from our leaders, despite the fact that it carries the risk of destroying lives on a vastly greater scale than collapsed banks or collapsed buildings. The cuts to our greenhouse gas emissions that scientists tell us are necessary in order to greatly reduce the risk of catastrophe are treated as nothing more than gentle suggestions, actions that can be put off pretty much indefinitely. Clearly, what gets declared a crisis is an expression of power and priorities as much as hard facts. But we need not be spectators in all this: politicians aren’t the only ones with the power to declare a crisis. Mass movements of regular people can declare one too.

Slavery wasn’t a crisis for British and American elites until abolitionism turned it into one. Racial discrimination wasn’t a crisis until the civil rights movement turned it into one. Sex discrimination wasn’t a crisis until feminism turned it into one. Apartheid wasn’t a crisis until the anti-apartheid movement turned it into one.

In the very same way, if enough of us stop looking away and decide that climate change is a crisis worthy of what some have called a “Marshall Plan for the Earth,” then it will become one, and the political class will have to respond, both by making resources available and by bending the free market rules that have proven so pliable when elite interests are in peril. We occasionally catch glimpses of this potential when a crisis puts climate change at the front of our minds for a while. “Money is no object in this relief effort. Whatever money is needed for it will be spent,” declared British prime minister David Cameron – Mr Austerity himself – when large parts of the UK were underwater from historic flooding in February 2014 and the public was enraged that his government was not doing more to help.

The body of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov lies near St Basil’s cathedral. (photo: Dmitry Sereryakov/AFP/Getty Images)
Antony Gormley, EVENING, 2003, Carbon, casein and indian ink on paper, 19 x 28cm.
(Artist Illustration: Antony Gormley)

I have begun to understand how climate change – if treated as a true planetary emergency akin to those rising flood waters – could become a galvanising force for humanity, leaving us all not just safer from extreme weather, but with societies that are safer and fairer in all kinds of other ways as well. The resources required to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and prepare for the coming heavy weather could pull huge swaths of humanity out of poverty, providing services now sorely lacking, from clean water to electricity, and on a model that is more democratic and less centralized than the models of the past. This is a vision of the future that goes beyond just surviving or enduring climate change, beyond “mitigating” and “adapting” to it in the grim language of the United Nations. It is a vision in which we collectively use the crisis to leap somewhere that seems, frankly, better than where we are right now.

Once the lens shifted from one of crisis to possibility, I discovered that I no longer feared immersing myself in the scientific reality of the climate threat. And like many others, I have begun to see all kinds of ways that climate change could become a catalysing force for positive change – how it could be the best argument progressives have ever had to demand the rebuilding and reviving of local economies; to re-claim our democracies from corrosive corporate influence; to block harmful new free trade deals and rewrite old ones; to invest in starving public infrastructure like mass transit and affordable housing; and to take back ownership of essential services like energy and water. All of which would help to end grotesque levels of inequality within our nations and between them.

There is a rich populist history of winning big victories for social and economic justice in the midst of large-scale crises. These include, most notably, the policies of the New Deal after the market crash of 1929 and the birth of countless social programs after the second world war. This did not require the kind of authoritarian trickery that I described in my last book, The Shock Doctrine. On the contrary, what was essential was building muscular mass movements capable of standing up to those defending a failing status quo, and that demanded a significantly fairer share of the economic pie for everyone. A few of the lasting (though embattled) legacies of these exceptional historical moments include: public health insurance in many countries, old age pensions, subsidised housing, and public funding for the arts.

I am convinced that climate change represents a historic opportunity on an even greater scale. As part of the project of getting our emissions down to the levels many scientists recommend, we once again have the chance to advance policies that dramatically improve lives, close the gap between rich and poor, create huge numbers of good jobs, and reinvigorate democracy from the ground up.

But before any of these changes can happen – before we can believe that climate change can change us – we first have to stop looking away.

The world’s governments have been talking about preventing climate change for more than two decades; they began negotiating the year that Anjali, then 21 years old, was born. And yet as she pointed out in her memorable speech on the convention floor, delivered on behalf of all of the assembled young people: “In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges, you’ve missed targets, and you’ve broken promises.” In truth, the intergovernmental body entrusted to prevent “dangerous” levels of climate change has not only failed to make progress over its 20-odd years of work (and almost 100 official negotiation meetings since the agreement was adopted), it has overseen a process of virtually uninterrupted backsliding. Our governments wasted years fudging numbers and squabbling over start dates, perpetually trying to get extensions like undergrads with late term papers.

The catastrophic result of all this obfuscation and procrastination is now undeniable. In 2013, global carbon dioxide emissions were 61% higher than they were in 1990, when negotiations toward a climate treaty began in earnest. Indeed the only thing rising faster than our emissions is the output of words pledging to lower them. Meanwhile, the annual UN climate summit, which remains the best hope for a political breakthrough on climate action, has started to seem less like a forum for serious negotiation than a very costly and high-carbon group therapy session, a place for the representatives of the most vulnerable countries in the world to vent their grief and rage while low-level representatives of the nations largely responsible for their tragedies stare at their shoes.

Though momentum is picking up slightly ahead of December’s critical negotiations in Paris, this has been the mood ever since the collapse of the much-hyped 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen. On the last night of that massive gathering, I found myself with a group of climate justice activists, including one of the most prominent campaigners in Britain.

Throughout the summit, this young man had been the picture of confidence and composure, briefing dozens of journalists a day on what had gone on during each round of negotiations and what the various emission targets meant in the real world. Despite the challenges, his optimism about the summit’s prospects never flagged. Once it was all over, however, and the pitiful deal was done, he fell apart before our eyes. Sitting in an overlit Italian restaurant, he began to sob uncontrollably. “I really thought Obama understood,” he kept repeating.

I have come to think of that night as the climate movement’s coming of age: it was the moment when the realisation truly sank in that no one was coming to save us. The British psychoanalyst and climate specialist Sally Weintrobe describes this as the summit’s “fundamental legacy” – the acute and painful realisation that our “leaders are not looking after us… we are not cared for at the level of our very survival.” No matter how many times we have been disappointed by the failings of our politicians, this realisation still comes as a blow. It really is the case that we are on our own and any credible source of hope in this crisis will have to come from below.

In Copenhagen, the major polluting governments – including the US and China – signed a nonbinding agreement pledging to keep temperatures from increasing more than 2C above where they were before we started powering our economies with coal. This well-known target, which supposedly represents the “safe” limit of climate change, has always been a highly political choice that has more to do with minimising economic disruption than with protecting the greatest number of people. When the two degrees target was made official in Copenhagen, there were impassioned objections from many delegates who said the goal amounted to a “death sentence” for some low-lying island states, as well as for large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact it is a very risky target for all of us: so far, temperatures have increased by just 0.8C and we are already experiencing many alarming impacts, including the unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the summer of 2012 and the acidification of oceans far more rapidly than expected. Allowing temperatures to warm by more than twice that amount will unquestionably have perilous consequences.

In a 2012 report, the World Bank laid out the gamble implied by that target. “As global warming approaches and exceeds two degrees Celsius, there is a risk of triggering nonlinear tipping elements. Examples include the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet leading to more rapid sea-level rise, or large-scale Amazon dieback drastically affecting ecosystems, rivers, agriculture, energy production, and livelihoods. This would further add to 21st-century global warming and impact entire continents.” In other words, once we allow temperatures to climb past a certain point, where the mercury stops is not in our control.

But the bigger problem – and the reason Copenhagen caused such great despair – is that because governments did not agree to binding targets, they are free to pretty much ignore their commitments. Which is precisely what is happening. Indeed, emissions are rising so rapidly that unless something radical changes within our economic structure, two degrees now looks like a utopian dream. And it’s not just environmentalists who are raising the alarm. The World Bank also warned when it released its report that “we’re on track for a 4C warmer world [by century’s end] marked by extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.” And the report cautioned that, “there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4C world is possible.” Kevin Anderson, former director (now deputy director) of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which has quickly established itself as one of the UK’s premier climate research institutions, is even blunter; he says 4C warming is “incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community”.

We don’t know exactly what a 4C world would look like, but even the best-case scenario is likely to be calamitous. Four degrees of warming could raise global sea levels by one or possibly even two meters by 2100 (and would lock in at least a few additional meters over future centuries). This would drown some island nations such as the Maldives and Tuvalu, and inundate many coastal areas from Ecuador and Brazil to the Netherlands to much of California and the northeastern US, as well as huge swaths of South and south-east Asia. Major cities likely in jeopardy include Boston, New York, greater Los Angeles, Vancouver, London, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Meanwhile, brutal heat waves that can kill tens of thousands of people, even in wealthy countries, would become entirely unremarkable summer events on every continent but Antarctica. The heat would also cause staple crops to suffer dramatic yield losses across the globe (it is possible that Indian wheat and US corn could plummet by as much as 60%), this at a time when demand will be surging due to population growth and a growing demand for meat. When you add ruinous hurricanes, raging wildfires, fisheries collapses, widespread disruptions to water supplies, extinctions, and globe-trotting diseases to the mix, it indeed becomes difficult to imagine that a peaceful, ordered society could be sustained (that is, where such a thing exists in the first place).

Keep in mind that these are the optimistic scenarios in which warming is more or less stabilized at 4C and does not trigger tipping points beyond which runaway warming would occur. And this process may be starting sooner than anyone predicted. In May 2014, Nasa and University of California, Irvine scientists revealed that glacier melt in a section of West Antarctica roughly the size of France now “appears unstoppable”. This likely spells eventual doom for the entire West Antarctic ice sheet, which according to lead study author Eric Rignot “comes with a sea level rise of between three and five metres. Such an event will displace millions of people worldwide.” The disintegration, however, could unfold over centuries and there is still time for emission reductions to slow down the process and prevent the worst.

Much more frightening than any of this is the fact that plenty of mainstream analysts think that on our current emissions trajectory, we are headed for even more than four degrees of warming. In 2011, the usually staid International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a report projecting that we are actually on track for 6C – 10.8F – of warming. And as the IEA’s chief economist Fatih Birol put it: “Everybody, even the school children, knows that this will have catastrophic implications for all of us.”

These various projections are the equivalent of every alarm in your house going off simultaneously. And then every alarm on your street going off as well, one by one by one. They mean, quite simply, that climate change has become an existential crisis for the human species. The only historical precedent for a crisis of this depth and scale was the Cold War fear that we were heading toward nuclear holocaust, which would have made much of the planet uninhabitable. But that was (and remains) a threat; a slim possibility, should geopolitics spiral out of control. The vast majority of nuclear scientists never told us that we were almost certainly going to put our civilisation in peril if we kept going about our daily lives as usual, doing exactly what we were already doing, which is what the climate scientists have been telling us for years.

As the Ohio State University climatologist Lonnie G Thompson, a world-renowned specialist on glacier melt, explained in 2010, “Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group. We are not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies. Most of us are far more comfortable in our laboratories or gathering data in the field than we are giving interviews to journalists or speaking before Congressional committees. Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilisation.”

It doesn’t get much clearer than that. And yet rather than responding with alarm and doing everything in our power to change course, large parts of humanity are, quite consciously, continuing down the same road. Only, like the passengers aboard Flight 3935, aided by a more powerful, dirtier engine. What is wrong with us? your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

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We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

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+33 # Wally Jasper 2015-03-07 12:01
Many thanks to Naomi for her lucid and far reaching view of our predicament. She is one of the few who is actually connecting all the dots, showing the links between our insane economic system with its inequities and injustices, and the wholesale devastation of our natural world and the delicate balance of all its systems. The capitalist worldview of placing acquisition of money before Life itself is now approaching its denouement; we are now witnessing the inevitable consequences of unbridled greed and expoitation, and its effects on our human life, on all living species and the earth as a whole. And the amazing thing is: capitalism is just an idea based upon protecting selfish interests. Global humanity now seems to be intoxicated and obsessed with acquiring more and more inane crap—all at the expense of our beautiful and exquisitely balanced natural world. Our waking up out of this nightmarish idea feels painfully slow.
-44 # brycenuc 2015-03-07 12:08
The reason large parts of humanity are not responding to this "alarm" is that they can see through its basic fraudulence.

For example, Klein chronicles one hot day in Washington, DC but fails to mention three successive record cold winters in the same place. This is typical of the cherry-picking alarmists.

And I look forward to learning many more vituperative epithets that will be leveled at me from the warming alarmists who will reply to my post.
+22 # Wally Jasper 2015-03-07 14:22
That's just the point: both that hot day and the record cold winters were extreme and abnormal. These are the indications of the human caused climate change we are now witnessing.
-20 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 20:50
Pure disconnected horseshit ... and don't call me someone who doesn't use his brain .. why don't you find some real scientific rebuttal that is in majority out there that proves the manipulation of data both by emmissions and false readings of earth based outdated measuring devices and leaving out the satellite data which is more accurate and that determined that the planet cooled .37 of a degree in 2014 .. this is the biggest current scam being set forth against the american people and reason .. and The Entire Democratic Party is in on it and I"M PIssed because i lean left but not NUTS LEFT like those who continue to promote this incorrect nonsense!!!!!!! !!!!!!1
+4 # Dust 2015-03-07 23:46
Here are the satellite data. You say that they show "the planet cooled 0.37 of a degree in 2014" - from the previous year? From the 30 year mean? How does that fluctuation (if it were true) somehow show that human beings do not affect climate?

If you check out the temp. anomaly graph (at UAH) it shows that the vast majority of global temp. anomalies since 1998 have been positive:

If anyone wants a basic data summary graphic, save the page "http://vortex. ata/msu/t2lt/ua hncdc_lt_5.6.tx t" as "UAH.csv", and trim the bottom lines beyond the last '2015' entry.

Paste the following into an R window (making sure you are in the same directory as the 'UAH.csv' file):

data = read.csv("UAH.csv",header=TRUE,sep="")

dat = aggregate(Globe ~ Year, data, mean)
fit = lm(Globe ~ Year, data = dat)

plot(Globe ~ Year, data = dat, type="l", lwd=2, col="red")
abline(fit, lwd=2)
+3 # 2015-03-07 20:37
Won't you please grow up amd use your thinking parts
-17 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 20:46
The 'Proof' in the Pudding of the Hoax is that Naomi Klein whom I'm certain is a nice person .. a naive and evironmentally driven is the main driver and spokesperson for their alarmist laying false cause .. and not a real scientist of any kind .. putting forth their contrived rehtoric ..
-39 # brycenuc 2015-03-07 12:10
The reason a large fraction of the population is not responding to the alarm being generated is that they can discern its basic lack of validity.
+15 # REDPILLED 2015-03-07 12:32
Read Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by climate scientist James Hansen.
-36 # MidwestTom 2015-03-07 12:41
I do not worry about the effect of climate change on my grandchildren, I worry about the fact that they will need to learn Chinese, because China will own us, unless we stop going further into debt every year.
+14 # reiverpacific 2015-03-07 15:44
Quoting MidwestTom:
I do not worry about the effect of climate change on my grandchildren, I worry about the fact that they will need to learn Chinese, because China will own us, unless we stop going further into debt every year.

You just can't resist a poke at other countries and cultures can ya?
And who is the biggest polluter and doing least about it (hint -it's NOT China, although I'd hate to live in Bejing right now).
+8 # lfeuille 2015-03-07 18:48
Quoting MidwestTom:
I do not worry about the effect of climate change on my grandchildren, I worry about the fact that they will need to learn Chinese, because China will own us, unless we stop going further into debt every year.

Relax, China has stopped buying our bonds. You are out of date as usual.
-8 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 21:07
Doesn't work that way Tom. That's false alarmist shit as well as the climate change hoaxers. The real threat is another eco-cave-in-adj ustment to the gamed unregulated financial system which can happen again from without .. that will happen again some day ... but the debt does indicate the interconnectivi ty to big money corruption running through our system today as well .. even Greenspan said he had no idea what was going on ...
-4 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 21:28
Bound to be a 'Worst Seller' not very long from now ...
-30 # MidwestTom 2015-03-07 12:49
Large numbers of scientists who are not making money from this questionable scare, believe that it is simply that, a big scare. Conservatives argue that it is just another way for the Liberals in government to gain more power and dictate more of our lives.

Climate change is a THEORY, not a science, if it were a science one could make predictions and they would come to fruition. So far almost everything that has been predicted has not happened. I love the fact that recent snow storms are the result of climate change, but a lack of hurricanes is not. Hurricane do a lot more damage.
+9 # Dust 2015-03-07 13:44
"If it were a science one could make predictions and they would come to fruition".


"Science" is the process of repeated observations and experiments, not infallible predictability. It is very difficult to predict the path of fish populations from one year to the next, but fisheries modeling is very much a science.

I assume you own stocks? You do so based on the general ideas and trends of company/economi c growth. Can you predict for me the price of Apple stock Monday morning at 9:35 a.m. EDT? You can't? Why not? You are betting momey on it. Will it be lower than the price at market closing last Friday? If it is, why aren't you selling? Oh... because overall trends are not necessarily indicated by small-scale fluctuations, and you are sufficiently convinced of that fact to invest money that way.
+11 # Dust 2015-03-07 14:08
Or try fluid dynamics. If you place a bowl of boiling water on the kitchen counter, we can guarantee that it will eventually reach room temperature. But you are completely unable to predict the exact temperature of any given area of the water at any given time prior to equilibriunm being reached.

Is fluid dynamics somehow not a scientific field?
+14 # goodsensecynic 2015-03-07 15:49
Note to "midwestTom:

I'd try to explain the concept of "theory" and its role in science, but I am afraid it would be pointless.

As Ronald W. Reagan once elegantly opined "evolution is just a theory," sort of like GRAVITY!
+8 # lfeuille 2015-03-07 19:00
Please name some of these scientists. 97 out of a hundred climate scientists say climate change is fact (the theory part concerns the minute details of how exactly it occurs not whether or not it occurs).
-12 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 21:11
No Tom. Climate change and extremes are the indication that the planet is alive and well. These creeps have taken what is naturally occuring and healthy and made false claim to say it is a change from normal and recent and caused by CO2 which came into vogue when they realized post their climate gate lies via emails telling all to get on the same page even those who knew it was shakey ground to stand on .. and then take their uncooked turkey to the table and see if we eat it or not. I say they should eat shit instead and stew in their own super heated bullshit!!!!!!! !!!!1
+4 # Dust 2015-03-07 13:49

You are supposed to be a scientist. If you don't want "vituperative epithets", then supply SOME, ANY evidence to support your claim in the form of datasets or scientific papers. Simply declaring something to be a fact (over an dover and over) without ever once supporting your assertion does not allow you to then claim that everyone who does not automatically believe you is an "alarmist"; that's no different than a child stamping its feet and screaming "It is, it is, it IS!".

Let's try the same thing: the correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and atmospheric temperatures is perfect.
-9 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 21:23
There is no as in ZERO correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels having any effect what so ever on temperature. The two are unrelated and Co2 although it does increase due to emmissions it's a naturally occuring element as in the process of respiration and emmission of Co2 at night by all plant life is occurring and always has. Excess CO2 no effect it does not carry any thermal capacity nor cause any ...
+6 # Dust 2015-03-07 22:30
Evidence. Lots of assertions - evidence.

On what are you basing your assertions? Forgive me, but you've never read a scientific paper on climate in your life.

What you have is a world view that cannot allow human beings to affect climate, because you have identified that idea as "liberal" or "progressive" or whatever label with which you do not want to be associated. Then you've found other people who claim scientific validity who mirror your views, and you accept their word as true because it agrees with yours, not because you've read the research and can judge it on its merits or faults.
0 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-08 23:09
Why should i reply to what is basically liars who promote a lie? You are the one who needs to provide real evidence. You talk of SCIENCE? The satellites say cooler .. your 'sources' say WArmest Year EVer on the Fuckng PLanet .. if it was scientific then you would be looking at the opposing evidentiary data and applying it to counter any False Positives in your Conclusions IF you were actually using the SCientific Theory used since the turn of the century ... by such Ommission I can only suspect ... NOt ... and therefore ... extreme false 'Scientific Bias' on your entire premise of Climate Change .. not rebutt this one very carefully my friend .......
0 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-08 23:10
Now rebutt this one my friend .. not rebutt was a typo .. my guess is you 've moved on to the 'blog' that best fits your lies ...........
+1 # Dust 2015-03-09 12:05
I'm very confused as to what you would call 'real evidence' then. I cited the satellite data repository at University of Alabama Huntsville. This dataset is maintained by Christy and Spencer, both of whom have maintained in the past that human beings do not affect climate, so if any satellite data would be considered trustworthy by you, I am assuming it would be these.

I also showed the results from the data (I've tried a few times to be able to post graphics here by inserting an call tag, but with no success).

The satellite data show the same warming as ground stations. Look at the data! If you refuse to look at the data, read science, or anything else other than insist that all climate research is a fraud, I'm not sure what else to do.
+14 # REDPILLED 2015-03-07 12:16
If corporate media became socially responsible and started repeating the message of the two real threats to our existence - climate change and nuclear weapons - more people would become aware and ready to do something about these two threats.

As it is, media simply drumbeats about ISIS and Putin, and the imperialist, neocon warmongers are getting more people on their side for yet more wars in the Middle East and eastern Europe.

I suggest a concerted, organized campaign via Facebook, Tweets, email, and phone calls to the media to tell them we will stop buying their products until they give regular attention, every newscast, to climate change and nuclear weapons.

Start here: FAIR’s Media Contact List — FAIR
-27 # aaheart 2015-03-07 13:28
Climate ALWAYS changes, but global warming hasn't been warming for nearly two decades. The "globe" was warmed 0.06 degrees in the past 18 years or more. That imaginary line that Al Gore presented has flatlined for nearly two decades ... and THAT'S with cheating the data higher, changing data, "adjusting" temperatures previously recorded and assigning guesstimates of temperatures for vast areas of South America and Africa.

"Climate change" is a PR term, not valid in rational discussion because climate ALWAYS changes, has ALWAYS changed, and WILL always change. Hiding behind this amorphous, meaningless PR pile are politicks, parasitic opportunists pushing an agenda of fear and despair. These politically correct policy wonks have been tricked by slick PR experts who have been called on to provide the tools to hide the junk science. Glib opportunists have adopted a political agenda of control chosen by the Club of Rome mandate. And people who love the planet happily jump on the bandwagon.

Anyone using the meme, "climate change", is adopting the propaganda based on politics, but not on science.
+14 # Dust 2015-03-07 13:52
Go to the NSIDC data repository and obtain the Arctic Sea Ice extent data:

Download the csv file:


Open it in MS Excel (barf) and delete the second line - we won't need that as header information.

Open an R terminal and run the following:


month=aggregate(dat$Extent, by=list(dat$Mon th), FUN=mean, na.rm=TRUE)

years=aggregate(dat$Extent, by=list(dat$Yea r), FUN=mean, na.rm=TRUE)

You can see the very clear trend in sea ice, declining from 1978 to the present, especially if you fit a linear regression. Two upticks in 2008 and in 2013, with the latter appearing very like the former, in which case we should expect to see declines in 2014/2015 just as in 2009.
+13 # Dust 2015-03-07 13:54
We can also use satellite data if you are insisting on no warming for the last 20 years:

UAH satellite dataset maintained by Christy and Spencer (who have denied human beings affect climate, so you can trust their work, right?):

or surface data:

GISS surface station data:

Regarding solar influx:

Rind, D.H., Lean, J.L., and J. Jeffrey. 2014. The Impact of Different Absolute Solar Irradiance Values on Current Climate Model Simulations. Journal of Climate, Vol. 27, Issue 3

Frehlich, Klaus. 2008. Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature.Pro ceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences. Vol. 464, Issue 2094

Solani, S.K., Krivova, N.A., and J.D. Haigh. 2013. Solar Irradiance Variability and Climate. Annual Review of Astronomy & Astrophysics. Vol. 51, Issue 1
+9 # Dust 2015-03-07 14:03
Regarding the UAH temperature data:

If you check out the temp. anomaly graph (at UAH) it shows that the vast majority of global temp. anomalies since 1998 have been positive:

If anyone wants a basic data summary graphic, save the page "http://vortex. ata/msu/t2lt/ua hncdc_lt_5.6.tx t" as "UAH.csv", and trim the bottom lines beyond the last '2015' entry.

Paste the following into an R window (making sure you are in the same directory as the 'UAH.csv' file):

data = read.csv("UAH.csv",header=TRUE,sep="")

dat = aggregate(Globe ~ Year, data, mean)
fit = lm(Globe ~ Year, data = dat)

plot(Globe ~ Year, data = dat, type="l", lwd=2, col="red")
abline(fit, lwd=2)
+7 # Dust 2015-03-07 15:13
Interesting and utterly telling that Malcolm gave this a thumbs down. There are no opinions in here, nothing but basic fact that anyone can verify by following the directions. No claims about AGW, no polemic, not even a context in which to place the results of the analysis - just a very rudimentary assessment of satellite data temperature trends.
-13 # Malcolm 2015-03-07 15:26
Dust is psychic.

Or maybe psychotic?
-9 # Malcolm 2015-03-07 17:48
Oh, Dust, please tell me how you were able to tell who gives you thumbs up/down-PLEEEEEEZE?

Some idiots keep giving ME thumbs down, and I really REALLY want to know your little secret! Is it a, um, Ouija Board?
+4 # Jaax88 2015-03-08 16:45
Malcolm. The thumbs down for you comes straight out of your writing. It is idiotic and gibberish.

With what magic do you explain the sea ice melt of the Arctic Ocean or the already massive Greenland glacier ice melt or the ice melt on Antarctica?

Since my brother is a denialist and a believer in the so-called hoax being pulled by the UN and the majority of world wide scientists I have spent much time reading about the facts on the ground that are occurring around the world. I would say there is no valid explanation for those occurrences other than, hold it, hold it, "climate change,"
global warming or climate chaos.

Now it is clear that the fossil fuel industry, people like the Koch brothers,
Right wing conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation are funding in part bogus alleged scientific studies to question climate chaos. Take the latest fraudulent situation involving Dr. Willie Soon who got his money for his climate studies from the fossil fuel barons to come up with a questionable propagandist study disputing climate chaos.

All of these guys denying climate chaos
are phonies and mendacious purveyors of falsehoods. I put them in the same category as the tobacco industry scientists and executives who continually and intentionally lied about the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and the smoke itself. Good on you idiots! I hope you roast in some god forsaken dry hellhole.
0 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-07 21:16
Absolutely Correct!!!!!!!! !!!1
+2 # Dust 2015-03-07 21:26
You keep insisting that the satellite data are correct. That's fine. If you refer to the UAH data above, they show a clearly defined increase over the last 20 years, same as the ground-station data.

Can either you or Allen cite evidence to support your assertion that human beings do not affect climate?
+11 # Seadog 2015-03-07 14:09
The growing rage and fear in the denialist camp is becoming worrisome.
+4 # Jaax88 2015-03-07 14:13
Climate change is an existential threat world wide. As in other situations of major implications for human or societal existence there has been an overarching concept generated out of the wisdom of the people affected. Several instances will speak to this. When the Jewish tribes felt the need for an identity and a uniform and moral foundation for their community the Old Testament was created by wise men. When the United States of America took on the discovery, domination and development of the westward growth of the country with all its dangers, hardships and possibilities someone came up with the concept of "Manifest Destiny" under which all the bad (suppressing and killing Native Americans and stealing their lands) and the good was justified. Probably Confucianism and Buddhism have similar origins where the society in which those ideas originated had some need to keep the society from ravaging itself because of the negative aspects of human nature, like greed, covetousness (theft), warring, selfishness or uncontrolled sexual activity.

-2 # indian weaver 2015-03-08 15:49
Buddhism didn't originate in any country or culture. Buddhists are self-originated worldwide, apart from any country or culture's existence. Buddhism originates within a person, not without / outside a person. You would have to be a Buddhist to understand the nature of self-originatio n within each individual's spirit. Buddhism has no relationship to any culture or country. It is a human spiritual path, not a cultural related path, or ethnic religion.
+3 # Jaax88 2015-03-08 18:51
Indian weaver. You can plead that all you want, but the person that Buddhism originated with as you claim was born into some sort of society no matter how primitive and he did not exist in a non human vacuum. Those facts you cannot deny.
+3 # Jaax88 2015-03-07 14:14
Jaax Continuation:

For climate change remediation to be a priority and a universally accepted good thing humans need to develop an overarching story that appeals to most of the world population. Not news about what is going on from day to day, not who is denying it, not how much it will cost, but some uplifting narrative. I think SAVE THE PLANET is the point. How that can be incorporated into the the basic aspect of each tribe, each community, each society, each government, national and local around the world is the need and the challenge
of our age.

How can that idea become an everyday significances for everyone. Maybe like the story of survival represented by Noah's Ark. Maybe like the Earth Day that is now celebrated, except expanded to Earth Week or Month or EarthEveryDay.

At last word or two, both MidwestTom and brycenuc are ignorant fools. They are probably writing from a script provided by the Koch brothers, Inhofe or the fossil fuel industry and very likely paid by it in some way.
0 # sschnapp 2015-03-24 06:32
Thank you, Jaax, for the first comment I've read here that does not try to prove to the trolls that AGW is real but suggests ways to mitigate the consequences. Klein always talks about the need for a mass movement that can confront organized wealth. You suggest that building a movement requires a narrative that includes a positive and inspirational vision of how the word (economies, politics, etc) can be re-organized in a more equitable and sustainable fashion. The ideology advanced by the one percent and, unfortunately, bought by so many folks who are thoroughly exploited by them, contains a powerful narrative ("government is the problem", "anyone can get rich through hard work and following the rules", "free markets will lift all boats", etc.) that dominates the national discourse. Again, thank you for commenting on this, and, while you and Dust, are quite effective in dismantling the trolls' arguments, I do think your sharp thinking is better put to use in helping those of us who want to build a better world figure out how to do it. Another world is possible.
+6 # elkingo 2015-03-07 14:36
And some of you guys are concerned with $$$ and fiscal independence? One wonders if you (O, and the Chinese too) would be so concerned if you were gasping for air in 140* F in a knife-fight over a bottle of water in the street. Boys, nothing, at the microcosmic level so clearly shows the moroning influence (and yes, you are like most people) of the Great Pathogen: Capitalism.
-14 # Malcolm 2015-03-07 14:37
I read the first three paragraphs Naomi wrote, quivering with anticipation. What new Henny Pennyism would she dream up THIS time? Who PAYS her to come up with this "stuff"?

Regarding this aircraft sinking into the "hot Tarmac"[sic] like it was wet cement, she laments that "Nor was climate change mentioned in any of the major news coverage of the incident". Thank Dog for small favors! That's pretty rare that major news organizations find ANYTHING they can't blame on "climate change".

Just how hot WAS IT in Washington D.C. that fateful day, Naomi? Do all runways start sucking up airplanes when they get that hot? I assume we'll be hearing LOTS of vanishing aircrafts stories as our planet heats up, if heat up it does.

Um, one other nagging question, which I ASSUME you've pondered, Naomi. Could the problem be related, in ANY small way, to INFERIOR "Tarmac"[sic)? Indeed, could this airport's management seriously have used TARMAC when constructing that runway, rather than concrete, or at least asphaltic concrete?

Honestly, I would EXPECT an airplane to sink into hot TARMAC, which is "Macadam", made from compacted crushed aggregate, designed by John Loudon MacAdam, almost 200 years ago, and renamed Tarmac when topped with TAR. Tarmac was quite popular in the early 20th century for highways, but it's really only suitable for lightweight vehicles-not commercial airliners!
Whoa! Naomi, are you actually writing satire?
+6 # tm7devils39 2015-03-07 15:11
"What is wrong with us?"...The fact that Homo Sapiens Sapiens(Oxymoro n?) do not have the collective intelligence to insure their own survival.
The proof? the front pages of every major newspaper and notice what is NOT printed there...or even on the 2nd and 3rd pages - the most important issues and problems facing society today (without spin, obfuscation or lies).
We be led down the garden path...
+8 # angelfish 2015-03-07 15:56
If the geniuses in Washington don't pull their heads out of the anal cavities and DO something meaningful to STOP the fossil fuel pollution of this Planet, we are ALL doomed. The Antarctic is melting at a FEROCIOUS rate and the warming of our Oceans will continue to affect our Weather as well as raise the Sea levels to heights unimagined! WHY will they let Politics rather than verifiable Science guide them? It is madness!
+2 # JJS 2015-03-08 14:16
Here is what McConnell is doing, urging US Governors to refuse to implement environmental regulations.
+3 # Dust 2015-03-08 14:29
He's such a f-ing moron. If someone were to urge US Governors to defy immigration regulations or something with which McConnell agrees, he'd be screaming that they should be imprisoned for treason.
+6 # Vardoz 2015-03-07 19:37
I don't know what it will take for the leaders of the world to override industries iron grip. Blinded by profits weather it is the energy or the beef industry, the gravity of the situation facing mankind has not yet sunk in. One might say denial is a very powerful defense. Many civilizations have come and gone and we are perhaps the only one that has the power to make real change. I called Inhofe's office and asked the person on the other end where they thought the emissions go outer space? The response was that Inhofe did believe that man was responsible for climate change but it would be too expensive to reduce the use of fossil fuel. I said it already is costing billions in droughts, floods, typhoons and tornados and it will get worse much worse. Coal plants and oil plants are not even willing to put scrubbers on their stacks and our reps are for sale no matter how grave the consequences. Even the Pentagon knows man is responsible for climate change and we are in the midst of a vast extinction because of it.
0 # sschnapp 2015-03-24 06:42
[quote name="Vardoz"]I don't know what it will take for the leaders of the world to override industries iron grip." What Kline insists is that it will take a powerful social movement to shift the relations of power in this and other countries. There is much historical precedent to support that idea. Chattel slavery, for example, as an accepted and widespread economic arrangement for creating wealth ended, although vestiges remain. I hope that people who understand the environmental and economic crises we are in, as you do, will focus less on complaining about the lackeys and assholes that dominate our political structures -- although I admit I enjoy watching John Oliver, Jon Stewart and others puncture their hypocrisy -- and more on addressing the many questions of how to build a powerful, democratic, multi-racial, multi-cladd social movement.
0 # MikeAF48 2015-03-07 20:59
I think the late Paul Newman said a lot with few words in the movie Quintet.

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