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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Call For Parents To Act Against Climate Change

Journalist and author Mark Hertsgaard is calling on parents to do something about climate change, in the same way they would step in if a speeding train were headed for their child. Hertsgaard is co-founder of a new group called “Climate Parents,” that aims to lobby government for polices to reduce climate change.

Guest:

  • Mark Hertsgaard, author and journalist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1446942436 Carole McNall

    Next time you have a guest talking about climate change, would it be possible to have someone who recognizes that “take mass transit more often” is not an option for many of us? I live in an area with very limited bus service — I would love to leave my car at home some days, but there is no reliable bus offering that would go from my home to my office. I suspect I’m not the only resident of more rural areas who grows tired of the assumption that the transportation situation is the same for everyone in the United States.

    • andyk1985

      Note that the commentators all live and work in big cities on the east coast.  There is no more parochial breed than the east coast intellectual.  Not only does he know how he should live, but he also knows you should live just like him.  Obviously if you don’t live near mass transit, you should move. …

  • petra

    As a parent of an 8 month old, thoughts of her future and what effect our lifestyle is having on the planet has very much been on my mind. I appreciate this guest and the topic. Thank you.

    • Davesix6

      So what have you given up to “save the planet”? What sacrifices have you made?
      If Climate Change is a reality we will find a way to deal with it. As of now it is all theory. 
      You would serve your childs future better to demand something be done about the massive debt she or he will inherit.

  • Davesix6

    This drought is not the worst in 50 yrs, 1988 was documented as worse.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

      Depending on the details you look at (and note that 2012 isn’t over yet):
      http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/climo/summaries/1988_2012/1988_2012.php

      And ocean-atmosphere influences may not be exactly the same as in 1988. Weather is a confluence of regional variability and macro-level trends.

  • andyk1985

    Why dont you get someone on the shows that looks at what is actually happenning, not what the models predict?  The models predict more extreme weather.  The measurements of what is actually happening shows no trend in extreme weather for as long as records are kept.   Except maybe there is more extreme weather when it was colder… That is no trend in droughts, no trend in floods, no trend in hurricanes, no trends in  cyclones, no trend in any extreme weather event.
     

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

      We are just getting started in this process of accelerated holocene climate change. But the ‘climate’ (vs. weather) models generally make no specific predictions about the near-term. I’d like to see one that actually makes intra-decadal predictions based on the global energy imbalance. There are the early signs, though:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=202

      • andyk1985

         Ahh, you havent read the measurements.  There are models predicting more extreme weather events over the long (multi-decadal) term.  However, the measurements over the time frame, currently over 100 years, shows none of the predicted increase in extreme events.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

          Again, to which models do you refer? Most of the models these days seem to be projecting average conditions by 2030, 2050 or 2100, not breaking it down as a decadal play-by-play. On shorter timescales, natural variability can obscure or partially obscure nascent trends. But the key trends in temperature and precipitation remain clear.

          • andyk1985

             I dont see your point.   The models predict an increase in the number of extreme weather events over time as the CO2 level increases over time.  The co2 level has increased steadily since 1900, but there has been no corresponding increase in extreme events. ergo, the claims of increasing number of extreme weather events due to increasing CO2 has been proven to be innacurate just by looking at history.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oregon-Stream/100002120209443 Oregon Stream

            As noted above, there are already discernible trends in heat waves and drought/precipitation intensity. But please link to all these models that said we should already have distinct, statistically significant ‘trends’ in extreme weather generally, given the level of forcing of the early 20th century, and that the length of time we’ve had decent stats varies by weather condition.

  • andyk1985

    Oh, and by the way his claim that those who disagree with him are funded by big oil is provably false.   The federal government is the largest funder of climate studies (by far), and is funding only those studies designed to create panic.   He was using an ad-hominum argument, and was simply a lie.  Most likely he knows it was a lie.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

      So prove it. To say none of them are funded by big fossil is to wear blinders. There are several front groups and “think” tanks funded by some of the largest fossil fuel corporations. And those suggesting there’s a worldwide, multi-decadal conspiracy to corrupt science have quite a case to make themselves. People have tried, and failed to substantiate claims that money doesn’t go to novel findings and research refinement in general. In fact, some pretty terrible (and later discredited) anti-AGW studies have made it into peer-reviewed journals.

      • andyk1985

         His claim was that they were all funded by big oil.  That is obviously a ridiculous, provably false claim.  And if you want to talk about terrible and discredited studies, the pro-agw side leads the way by orders of magnitude.  The Mann hockey stick leads the list,  followed by multitudes of others.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

          You mean the Mann hockey stick that was largely affirmed by the NAS, and had it’s main conclusion strengthened by several independent studies in later years? Much of what occurred with the hockey stick seemed like part of a witch hunt by people who have virtually made a career out of attacking inconvenient scientists.

          • andyk1985

             No, I mean the Mann hockeystick that was so wrong that the IPCC doesn’t even use it any more.  You know that one, the one that claimed that the medieval warming and the little ice age didnt happen.  Those events that were known to science at the time he published it, and have since been affirmed in several hundred  additional studies.  that Mann hockey stick.  Not sure which one you are talking about.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oregon-Stream/100002120209443 Oregon Stream

             Last post didn’t get through via Yahoo, so:

            Now you’re regurgitating myths. Follow-ups to the original hockey stick ‘were’ included in the AR4, including some material from Mann if memory serves. And it’s a common talking point that reconstructions ignore the MWP and LIA, when in fact they represent a preponderance of available evidence that neither event was as strong or globally synchronous as some suggest.

  • Ashlyn_brooke

    Your guests parked my interest. He mentioned many things that touched close to home for me, worrying about the climate for the future of our children’s world as well as accessing solar energy sources. He mentioned that people can get solar panels etc at their homes for free or cheaper than many are aware. My husband and I just bought a new house that is perfect for solar panels and I am so excited about this option! Are you aware of companies in Portland that will install solar panels for free or inexpensive? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Ashlyn_brooke

      *sparked not parked*

  • Sgagnew

    I would love to hear some intellectual honesty and at a minimum at least challenge the assumption of man made climate change

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

    It’s worth keeping in mind that there is a huge amount of thermal inertia in the climate system, so there is a lag of at least a few decades between a forcing and it’s full effect. Part of what we’re already seeing is from 1980′s emissions, as that extra energy has made it’s way through the oceans. But there is lots of research behind the strengthening greenhouse effect (stoked by fossil carbon accumulation) being primary in temperature and precipitation trends, even if it’s too soon to discern statistically significant trends in most weather events (hurricane ‘intensity’ remaining something of an exception):
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/its-not-us-basic.htm
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/index/

    As for the topic, I suspect that as things progress, it will become more difficult for people to prepare for the hazards, since several changes aren’t likely to occur in a steady, linear manner. Today’s scientists give projections in averages over decades, but that doesn’t mean things like sea level spikes will be uniform and predictable from one decade to the next. Or that some elements of natural variability won’t interplay with the warming trend, and the associated amplification of the water cycle. And for many in the world it would be impractical to try adapting to a plausible worst case scenario (which the world seems hell-bent on realizing).

    • andyk1985

       Do not mistake modelling for research.  The modelling predicts the events, the research shows they are not happening.  And we have good records over the course of 100+ years. Realistically dating the most recent increase in CO2 from between 1900 and 1920, by your theory we should have seen effects starting sometime between 1920 and 1940.  Well, we are well past 1940, and still no trend.  Though there has been a decrease in the number and intensity of hurricanes the last few years.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4CWQM3DQZOEIPSYQOP2UV2VJPI Understandit.ml1.net

        To what events are you referring? Let’s see these specific predictions, and proof that they were way off the mark. No model is a perfect representation of the world. They’re guides based on real-world data and the physics involved. And any decrease in the number and intensity of hurricanes (particularly regionally) would likely be an artifact of near-term variability. You seem to think that scientists think every fluctuation is about CO2, when the greenhouse effect is merely a background condition on which weather patterns occur. There is more than one influence on hurricane development. Warm oceans merely provide the extra energy when other conditions are favorable.

        • andyk1985

          Any ‘extreme’ event you care to name.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, heat waves, cold snaps.  No trends in any of those.  There was some thought that there might have been an increase in hurricanes until the data was normalized for better detection and changes in population. 

          And to correct your physics, hurricane energy comes from the difference between the air temperature and the water temperature, not from warm ocean temperatures.

          And please dont claim there hasnt been any such predictions, the guests on the show mentioned them, and we have been hearing about them on Sci Fri for the last 2-3 years.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3LZ6U7OIYXKLXQSWDCCPSJ6MAI michael

    I would like to know what the historic record of climatic shifts indicates so we can get a clearer picture of our contributo to global climate change-Global warming.

  • 83300d

    The piece was interesting, but I found it ironic.  Global warming is (arguably, I suppose) caused by excess carbon dioxide, which is caused by too many humans burning too much fossil fuel.  The root of the problem is too many humans.  If  parents really want to do something good for the long-term survival of the planet – stop breeding. 

  • ZT

    I listened to this piece – and felt that I should comment.

    1. I am a scientists, not funded by big oil in any way, and I and many other scientists do not find the ‘evidence’ that human produced CO2 is causing current warming to be compelling. 
    2. Photovoltaics are not free as the speaker asserted. They are essentially not cost effective to society. To individuals they may make economic sense, but this is achieved by taxing others. Overall this impedes progress and impoverishes society.
    3. Trying to solve global warming by creating a false market in a gas which is naturally in the atmosphere is an absurd Enron idea and absolutely encourages fraud and crony capitalism. 
    4. The Mann ‘hockey stick’ temperature graph was achieved by selecting temperature series that matched the expected ‘hockey stick’, then proclaiming that these were statistically significant by comparing them with the expected ‘hockey stick’. This is not science, it is simply selection of the expected result from noise. Mann and colleagues have been quietly disposing of and hiding evidence which does not support their theory for years (e.g. ‘Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline’). This is not honest science.

    There is no scientific consensus, the economics are flawed, the ‘solution’ is absurd, and the foundations fraudulent.

    All that has been achieved is a wonderful illustration of the ability of a group to create ‘group-think’ and the creation of a generation of believers terrifying their children needlessly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oregon-Stream/100002120209443 Oregon Stream

      1:  What sort of scientist, and do you have any published work related to climate science?

      2:  The economics of photovoltaics do vary by region, but cost has declined rapidly, and may well continue to do so as economies of scale are maximized. And that’s one of several potential approaches that can be tailored by region. If you don’t like subsidies in general, then let’s at least strip them from fossil fuel companies as well.

      3.  That depends on how the system is set up. For one thing, if funds go to vetted abatement efforts/incentives/rebates to consumers (none of the revenues are retained), things might be a bit different. And it would be based on the rapid addition of the fossil CO2 that overloads the carbon cycle. Naturally occurring CO2 (the exchange of which had been roughly in equilibrium) isn’t the issue.

      4.  The case for AGW and the risk of accelerated holocene warming doesn’t hinge on just the hockey stick, but you don’t appear to have kept up on the assessments of it, or it’s independent follow-ups. Lots of accusations have been made, but they don’t tend to stick very well (at least outside the blogosphere). A prime example being “Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline”. By now anyone really interested in truth should know the context of that remark, and know what “hide the decline” actually refers to:
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm

      As for consensus (typically based on a preponderance of evidence), I guess it depends on how you measure:
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

      • ZT

        1. You don’t need to be a particular ‘brand’ of scientist to understand averaging temperatures and plotting them versus time, and then making comments about the trends.  For what it is worth, I am a physical chemist. 
        2. I agree – let’s tax equally.
        3.  Would that be like the electricity contracts which Enron sold to California or the millions of Euros already looted from European carbon credits by criminals? A market based suppressing a trace essential gas that  supports photosynthesis and which human’s produce a small percentage of in the atmosphere! I bet that the Enron guys invented it after reading about the Emperor’s new clothes…
        4. ‘Hide the decline’ refers to replacing temperature proxy data with thermometer data on a graph so that climatologists would not have to explain why the two temperature measures did not agree.  That may be normal in climatology (as per your link) – but it is not science.

        It is easy to demonstrate that there is no consensus among people knowledgeable on climate (e.g. Lindzen at MIT is skeptical of Mann et al).  No links required!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oregon-Stream/100002120209443 Oregon Stream

          Plotting trends is one aspect of climate science. A GP might have a general understanding of cardiology, but they likely wouldn’t be considered a top expert on the state of the science. Those who are considered such in climate science probably don’t tend to make comments about a ‘buildup’ of CO2, apparently beyond what plants are able to fix, supporting photosynthesis. Or it being a “trace gas”, when the change in total volume in the atmospheric column is what’s important to the atmosphere’s infrared transparency, and the feedbacks that stem from it’s alteration. A drop of ink in a glass of water is a “trace”, but nevertheless changes it’s top-to-bottom opacity.

          In the case of the hockey stick, “the science” is the analysis of proxy data. If for some period a particular dataset is considered unreliable, then omitting that data, and later making reconstructions with alternative sources (as was done, without the Briffa series) seems reasonable. But the divergence issue was openly discussed in the literature. Not making it clear on a graph may have been a mistake, but what active scientist has never made a mistake?

          And I see that the measure of consensus (which obviously doesn’t mean 100% agreement) is now of “people knowledgeable on climate”. Well, there is quite a range of “knowledgeable” (so I’ll stick with the majority of active, publishing researchers), and a range of reputation in the field. I’m hesitant to heavily weight the views of someone who repeatedly tries propping up the contrarian view, but doesn’t look terribly successful:
          http://www.skepticalscience.com/Richard_Lindzen_link.htm

        • https://openid.org/oregon_stream Oregon_Stream

          Another comment disappears into the ether. So, trying again:

          Plotting trends is one aspect of climate science. A GP might have a general understanding of cardiology, but they likely wouldn’t be considered a top expert on the state of the science. Those who are considered such in climatology probably don’t tend to make comments about a rapid ‘buildup’ of CO2 (apparently beyond what plants are fixing) being essential for photosynthesis. Or it being a “trace gas”, when the change in total volume in the atmospheric column is what’s important to infrared absorption, and the feedbacks that stem from it’s alteration. Just as a drop of ink into a tall glass of water changes it’s top-to-bottom transparency.

          In the case of the hockey stick, “the science” is the analysis of proxy data. If for some period a particular dataset is considered unreliable, then omitting that data, and later making reconstructions with alternative sources (without the Briffa series) seems reasonable. But the divergence issue was openly discussed in the literature. Not making it clear on a graph may have been a mistake, but what active scientist has never made a mistake?

          And I see that the measure of consensus (which obviously doesn’t mean 100% agreement) is now of “people knowledgeable on climate”. Well, there is quite a range of “knowledgeable” (so I’ll stick with the majority of active, publishing researchers), and a range of reputation in the field. I’m hesitant to heavily weight the views of someone who repeatedly tries propping up the contrarian view, but doesn’t look very successful:
          http://www.skepticalscience.com/Richard_Lindzen_link.htm

          • ZT

            Berkely’s Prof. Richard Muller said about the Hockey Team…

            “What they did was, I think shameful, and it was scientific malpractice.  If they were licensed scientists, they should have to lose their license.  What they did is they held back the discordant data…if they had done this at Berkeley or Stanford, I think, they would have been shamed.  The standards that they have over there at the University of East Anglia are just not up to what we consider standard scientific methods.  When you withhold data that is discordant, and they refused to release it until it came out in this leak…”

  • http://www.facebook.com/winterene Winter

    Wow.

    Just wow.

    Talk about the most useless group on the face of the earth. The spokesperson (if that is who he was) had a great opportunity, a few minutes to speak on a radio show, and yet he failed to mention that the number one thing parents can do for their children, vis a vis the environment, is to have no more children, and persuade others to cut back as well.

    It is not a hard google to discover that the environmental impact of having children far exceeds the energy savings that the guest mentioned.

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/having-children-brings-high-carbon-impact/

    Their group, as it is defined on their website…

    http://climateparents.org/

    …is essentially meaningless. They wish to call on leaders to act, when a substantial part of the problem is the selfish procreational decisions that they made in the past, and that others continue to make in the present.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oregon-Stream/100002120209443 Oregon Stream

      Yes, that’s a substantial part of it, and I’m all for programs around the world that improve family planning and get people considering the impacts of large families. But the problem as a whole is population x consumption & waste. We already have the large populations (many still looking to emulate the traditional Western lifestyle), and the likelihood of continued growth. The drive to reproduce is probably about as challenging to moderate as the consumption aspect, maybe more so. The issue is unlikely to be sufficiently tackled with a single approach.

  • zhongguo394

    tinyurl.com/cyk9xz2

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