Simon Donner takes on the great “climate change” vs. “global warming” debate. He argues, albeit somewhat tentatively, for capitulation; we should call a thing what everybody else calls the thing:
Rights and wrongs of the different labels aside, the fact is that there is a disconnect here. We use a term that means less to people. [more]
Speaking of El Nino, the forecast is definitely for a moderate event at least this winter. Some groups are calling for a large event.
This is great news for us here in south-central Texas, and where drought conditions are currently extreme. It’s been six weeks of remarkably hot and dry weather even by local standards. [more]
Very interesting rebuttal to the “high cost” arguments I endorsed recently in an article by Adam Stein on Grist.
I don’t buy the argument that responding to climate change is “an opportunity” for society at large. An atmosphere sensitive to CO2 is worse than an atmosphere not sensitive to CO2. The “cost” may be exaggerated, but that doesn’t make it cost-free or a small matter. [more]
The NYTimes, peculiarly and I think inappropriately in the “Media and Advertising” section, has an article on the connection between meat and carbon emissions. It’s interesting enough. I think the vegetarians have a point, very much unlike the “vegetable-mile” people, who complain about how far your food has travelled, who as I will explain in an article soon, have it fundamentally and deeply wrong. [more]
Can the Wall Street Journal be far behind?
Quark Soup points out that the libertarian-conservative-republican (US) magazine National Review has a cover article conceding the reality of anthropogenic warming. You have to subscribe to read the article (I intend to read it over coffee at Borders, frankly) but here’s the (current as of this posting) link for confirmation. [more]
Inel has some great comments from kids about global warming.
UPDATE: To clarify my point here, US Federal scientific agencies have an aversion to taking positions. SUch aversion is not in line with public desires or expectations, and is ultimately infeasible. A refusal to take a policy position by a public agency on a matter of their specific expertise is equivalent to taking an explicit position that a policy is unnecessary. [more]
A chap called Alex Steffen has a response to my recent Grist article based on The Little Prince.
Thanks to David Roberts for catching that and calling it to my attention.
Inel passes along this anonymous contribution, in an effort to answer one of my perennial questions about the conventional wisdom in economics. It’s interesting and polite, but it still seems to see everything on a pretty narrow Marxism/capitalism axis with the limits set by sustainability as a sort of afterthought.
In short, I can’t agree but I think it’s worth reading. [more]
This way of thinking seems literally insane to me.
These numbers mean pretty much nothing. There is no purpose to arguing whose numbers are right. The problem is what is at risk, and how much it is at risk. People. Places. Beauty. Culture. Safety. Stability. Sanity. Peace.
Quantifying it in GDP gained or lost is so thoroughly senseless that I am rendered speechless. [more]
I have an essay on sustainability aimed at a broad audience. It’s now up on Grist.
I’m quite pleased with it, at least as a start. The analogy that the article builds on can be useful in many ways and I hope it catches on.
Nice article on the “other planets warming too” noise on Bad Astronomy.
Terrifyingly ignorant commentary on Digg, lest you get too complacent about what people are really thinking. Admittedly members of this chorus are almost certainly young male American technophiles, but that is an influential demographic.
Interesting response to the “Global Warming Swindle” swindle here .
Very interesting article here making some of the same points I just made.
However, I think it misunderstands the nature of the discomfort with the idea of “consensus” though. I think the idea of scientific consensus is so important and central to the way we manage our common interests in a modern democracy that it must be defended. [more]
It stands to reason that there would be a split in tendency to believe the science based on political persuasion; those more inclined to favor collective action will be more willing to take seriously a phenomenon which seems to indicate a need for collective action than those who are disinclined.
The huge opinion spread on climate change is disconcerting though, and the trend toward increasing disbelief among the right while the substantive evidence against them becomes ever more compelling is downright alarming. [more]