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I know it doesn’t seem that way right now for many of us in the east, but the climate continues to warm. 2013 was the 4th warmest year on record. Each of the top 10 is since 1998. The last year with temperatures below the 20th century average (already hotter than the 500 year norm) was 1976. So we are at 37 straight years of above average temperatures. This might be old hat to some of you, but Phil Plait with some of the implications.

So, yeah. One more piece in a very, very long list of evidence that the planet’s getting hotter. While surface temperatures are not the best way to keep tabs on warming—much of the extra energy is being stored deep in the oceans, and local effects can mask overall trends making you think there’s a pause in warming when no such pause exists—it would be foolish in the extreme to ignore it.

This news comes on the heels of lots of other global warming news as well.

Clear and Present Danger

Climatologist Michael Mann wrote an important op-ed in the New York Times called “If You See Something, Say Something.” In it, he argues that scientists are morally obligated to speak up when their research has an impact on society, especially with something as huge and damaging as global warming.

The very first thing he writes is something everyone should read:

The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.

That’s why scientists need to speak up about it. But when they don’t, it leaves “a vacuum that will be filled by those whose agenda is one of short-term self-interest.”

He also calls global warming a “clear and present danger.” I agree. Politicians who ignore it (and the media that enable them) are putting our country and our population at grave risk.

Of course we won’t do anything about it. I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over again. I’m sure more oil drilling will help.

…NASA lets us visualize global warming in 15 seconds. Ugh.

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  • Theobald Smith


    Nobody contests that the planet is fucked, and there aren’t many solutions to it, and even fewer good ones.

    There are two solutions that real, flawed humans will be able to take — mass murder, and large-scale geoengineering.

    One has unknown, dangerous side effects. The other results in genocide.

    Pardon me for not preferring genocide.

    • Murc

      Nobody contests that the planet is fucked

      On the contrary, literally millions of people contest this, and some of them have devoted enormous sums of money to convincing other people of it and to buying off politicians who might do something to stop the ongoing fucking of said planet.

      • Theobald Smith

        …okay, I wish nobody contested that the planet was fucked.

        Or possibly “nobody sensible” or “the scientific consensus.”

        • Bill Murray

          I wish the planet weren’t fucked

      • elk

        The Christians, which in general can be said to include those deploying those enormous sums of money, have always believed the planet was fucked, that fucking it was part of their God’s plan. In that way, that the specific form of fucking be plundering it for wealth and comfort–“I know one thing, I’m going to get my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames,” as Jim Morrison put it–is a natural and legit choice.

        So yeah, the idea that the planet is fucked has one natural constituency, while the rest of us are having to come around to the likelihood that, yep, they are going to pull it off.

    • Hard Truth

      “Geoengineering” is a catchall term for “crazy ideas that just might work”. It includes everything from “paint your roof white” (duh, everyone should do this unless they have solar panels) to “giant mirrors at lagrange points” (na ga ha pen) to “overfertilize the ocean” (probably doesn’t work) to “pollute the upper atmosphere constantly, forever” (I hope you like surprise desserts, oops, I mean deserts). At best, the latter might ameliorate about half of global warming’s effects. When we’re talking things that will kill on the order of billions, and uncertainties are already a factor of over 2, that just doesn’t change our prospects substantially.

      • CaptBackslap

        “giant mirrors at lagrange points” (na ga ha pen)”

        It should happen, though, because that would be awesome.

        • CaptBackslap

          Dammit, didn’t close blockquote.

      • Theobald Smith

        Honestly, I’m a lot more optimistic about our chances of deploying giant mirrors at L4 and L5 than the chances of addressing global warming by reducing emissions.

        Humans are very good at solving concrete engineering problems — “put a man on the moon”, “put a 2 kilometer mirror into space” — and terrible at solving collective action problems with shared responsibility, especially with no real enforcement mechanism.

        On my more cynical days, I expect the problems of Bangladeshi textile workers to be solved when the entire nation of Bangladesh is under three feet of water year-round.

        • Heron

          No, actually humans are great at that. The ability to solve collective action problems is, as a social species adapted to a foraging lifestyle in bands of <100, one of our greatest adaptations. The human ability to solve collective action problems is so great, that when capitalists wanted to justify stealing land from the English peasantry to institute early industrial agriculture, they had to invent, and spend huge sums propagating, the myth of "the tragedy of the commons"; that human beings were not able to adequately adjust personal usage of common-land to prevent over-use, even though if that were the case, the human population of England would have never taken up common-land as an historical practice pre-dating the Roman-Era, and would have probably died off before recorded history.

          Solving carbon emissions is simple; you tax them, and you tax any product that uses them in either its operation or creation. You put a heavy enough tax on high-carbon cars, and everyone will switch to low-carbon ones to save money. While doing this, you spread the infrastructure for it quickly in the same way we wired the US for electricity, and later cable, in a decade; through subsidies and government-backed citizen co-ops. And if you're wise, this time you'll make sure legislatively that they can't be sold off by state-governments so we won't have to deal with a clutch of nascent regional monopolists a few years down the road like we did with cable.

          You start taxing it where there is a popular consensus to control -in Europe, the US, and parts of South America- then you use trade restrictions and tariffs to encourage other States to take up similar taxes. You re-nationalize power generation(it started off as a utility, it is a utility, you can't make a decent margin in that sector without playing dirty and as with any other public good it should be publicly managed), you start pouring resources into renewable -in the US air and solar can provide more than enough- you encourage people to get their homes refitted with solar panels, particularly in the Sun-Belt, and start a government-backed national training and certification program to teach installers and maintenance folks. The solutions here are obvious and simply, the reason they don't get done is because too many short-sighted people make too much money off of not doing them, and in politics, Money Talks.

          • tt

            If tragedy of the commons is a myth why do you need a tax? Humans can personally adjust their carbon output to prevent any problems.

            • Rigby Reardon

              The tragedy of the commons is a real thing. If it weren’t, there would still be fish in the George’s Banks fisheries.

              • Heron

                No it’s a myth. Over fishing happens because of laws which prohibit or render anemic community control, and which promote over-use. Those banks have been fished for over ten thousand years. Why were they only destroyed in the 20th century? Because of laws prohibiting community control in favor of an each-fishermen-for-himself approach beholden to corporate prices, because of laws that promote aggressive over-fishing.

                When the law protects you from enforcement and encourages a wasteful, industrial-scale for each producer(producers paid, effectively, piece-meal and prohibited from colluding because anti-trust laws only get enforced on little fish in the US), as US law does in so many sectors, then you will naturally get bad-faith actors because you are not using the law to discourage them, but to encourage. We get “tragedy of the commons” effects because the laws that for the structure of our economy reward extractors for over-production, ensure that suppliers always negotiate from a position of weakness so that production becomes the only card to play, and prevent communal management of resources -which is the historical human norm- in favor of unitary individual/corporate rapid exploitation. We get collapses, and the boom-bust cycle they are part of, because our economy is designed to create them in resource-industries, and our government, at all levels, is prevented from stopping them.

            • Heron

              Because the scale here is large. In a European village pre-industrialization, someone who over-grazes could be immediately identified and chastised in a host of ways from public ridicule, to snubbing, to ostracization in extreme cases. That’s why the “tragedy of the commons” was a farce to anyone who thought about it for three seconds and didn’t stand to make a fortune on the policy it justified.

              Government is not alien to human communities; it is them, it is the tool we invented to solve collective action problems. When we sit quiescent while private interests buy up the government we are directly allowing them to buy control of how our problems get solved, just as we are allowing them to “buy” our own conception of what we’re capable of when we choose to accept the bullshit ideas they disseminate to paint selfishness as normal, brutality as natural, and short-sighted greed as the fate of our species.

              On issues of a provincial, State, and Global scale, enforcement/encouragement must necessarily grow in scale as well, and take on a less personal manner. The operation, however, is still the same; you are still a community moderating itself whether you are a village council giving jeb a stern talking to for sneaking his sheep on the north pasture during the night, or a pack of democratically elected governments trying to price people and industries out of globally destructive behavior while providing much cheaper and cleaner incentives. The problem here isn’t that the solution is impossible as a matter of natural or sociological “law”; rather it is a problem of who is getting to set policy, and why they are getting to set it.

              • tt

                OK. You don’t disagree substantively with people who use the term “tragedy of the commons” to describe the politics and economics of climate change. It’s just that you have an idiosyncratic interpretation of the term such that what they would call potential solutions to the TOTC, you take to imply that TOTC does not exist.

                (Worth pointing out also that “tragedy of the commons” was coined by Garrett Hardin, who was not an English capitalist, but an ecologist writing about overpopulation).

      • ChrisTS

        Non-sarcastic question: can one simply ‘paint’ one’s roof (or, roofs) white?

        We have an old house, an old barn, and some old – at this point falling-down – out buildings. Could we just have someone slap white paint on them?

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          I know they make some sort of white paint made for going over asphalt roofs. I imagine it would stick to normal shingles for some time. If the roof on some out building is just wood, then yes. It its tile, i’m sure you can find some tile paint.

          I can’t imagine most paints would last very long in the ran and sun if not specifically for roofs.

        • N__B

          Unless you have a/c in the barn and outbuildings, painting their roofs white is meaningless.

          • Barry

            No, for obvious reasons.

    • Anonymous

      The oil & coal industry would like to thank you for leaving aggressive moves away from carbon based fuels out of your trite little false dichotomy.

      I’d say the check is in the mail, but for some reason there’s no shortage of idiots willing to carry their water for free.

      • CaptBackslap

        I think his point was that reducing per capita carbon emissions enough to keep AGW to tolerable levels* is pretty unlikely, regardless of how desirable it would be, so we have to start looking at other possibilities.

        *obviously, some sort of massive breakthrough in other energy production would be ideal.

        • Anonymous

          That a significantly debatable point, and surely more worth mentioning as a possibility.

          I find that people who hold that point of view are often woefully ignorant of how little we’re spending on alternative energy research, how much we could hurry things along with a little additional investment, and how much perverse incentives in energy policy, trade policy, and tax policy.

          The other main contingent that posit this view are denialists who are using it as a fall back position. “OK, if global warming is real, nothing can be done about it. My policy prescription, a big fat nothing, still wins.”

          • Theobald Smith

            No, it isn’t a debatable point at all. We’re fucked.

            Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Put yourself in the role of the government of India.

            India has a long history of being screwed over by the West in matters of trade. India’s industries, its textiles in particular, were destroyed by trade policies set in London. Gandhi’s textile boycott was a defining moment in your conception of nationalism.

            Now, the West is telling you that you can’t emit carbon, that you can’t have a First World lifestyle, and that you can’t industrialize. Is London telling you this because it’s true? Or do they have a hidden agenda? If I agree to hobble my own country, I will certainly lose the next election; and as a matter of justice, who are they to tell me I can’t have a First World lifestyle?

            • Theobald Smith


              And even as a practical point, the Indian electorate will not accept limits on emissions, because they rightly see it as a unfair burden on their standard of living.

              Solar is getting cheaper, but electrical grids are not designed for rooftop solar; it’s a real problem that utilities are struggling with in Germany. Plus, both solar and wind farms take up land, and are capital-intensive. The good hydroelectric sites are already built out, and people (not necessarily you, but much like yourself) flip out whenever the word “nuclear” appears in a sentence.

              So it’s brown coal and tar sands all the way down. Or genocide.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                Do you think any of these problems would really stop us if we treated the problem like WWII? Unlimited budget, cannot lose?

                I highly doubt it. I’ve seen plans that would be doable enough if we wanted to.

              • Barry

                ” Plus, both solar and wind farms take up land, and are capital-intensive.”

                Unlike every other sort of generation method?

        • JMP

          They said the same thing about cutting sulfur dioxide and chlorofluorocarbon emissions to deal with the hole in the ozone layer and ending acid rain back in the 80s and 90s too. And yet, here we are two decades later and, thanks to decent regulations, emissions have been severely cut and both problems have largely abated.

          The only difference is that back then industry wasn’t able to spread a campaign of misinformation to get the rubes to refuse to accept proven fact, and the Republican party hadn’t gone totally insane.

          • Theobald Smith

            But both SO2 and CFC emissions had ready replacements, and weren’t fundamental to the organizational model of our society.

            Carbon really is different… and the Republicans were also insane back then, too.

          • guthrie

            Industry tried to spread FUD and confusion and complained with all their might, but the issue was too obvious and too specific so it failed. THe problem with CO2 is that it materially affects everyone in a more close and personal manner than CFC’s did.
            Plus there’s a couple more orders of magnitude more money involved, which buys you a lot of confusion.

    • Ken

      Does it count as genocide if we don’t do anything and billions happen to die? These moral questions are so tricky when they involve inaction. It would be easier if the First Law of Robotics applied, with action and inaction equally culpable.

      • ChrisTS

        If one is a libertarian, there is no responsibility for ‘inaction.’ What a handy out.

  • Anonymous

    Erik has a thing against technology, so genocide it is!

  • That fancy book-lernin’ is just for elitists anyhow.

  • DN

    Denialism is so strange. I was recently slapped in the face when a co-worker made
    It clear he didn’t think GW was real. He actually used the argument that since it is
    now called climate change that the scientists are changing their story and can’t
    be trusted. This is a very successful guy with a STEM PhD. My colleague (once
    he was able to talk) suggested we talk about sports for the rest of the drive. I
    am constantly amazed at the self delusion.


    • Anonymous

      Especially weak rationale since that change of terminology came from Frank Luntz, and not the scientific community.

      I understand that even smart people are vulnerable to a breakdown in thinking skills where some they have preexisting emotional commitments. What I don’t get is where the strong emotional to denying global warming comes from. Are people that in love with the oil companies, or are they just desperately afraid that all those earth day hippies are right about something after all? Something else?

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        they figure it means changing their lives in ways they don’t want to. they figure someone else can do the changing if need be. they are like the anti vaccination people – the really bad shit is going to happen to someone else

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          These two comments gave me a good laugh.

          Ask a liberal to justify what they’re eating for dinner and why they think what michael vick did was wrong…at the same time.

          It’s not just the anti-vaccination people or the conservatives or any other random group you want to pick. It’s the gross majority of americans.

          Rationalization is a hell of a drug.

          • Jordan

            Yes, we get it, you hate people who eat meat.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            weirdly enough I am equally amused by your comment. I think because it implies you think you’re somehow *above* all the petty rationalizations we cobble together to get through our days one at a time… and I know better. you’re only human too.

            • N__B

              If he’s human, then he’s made of meat. I say we eat him.

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            First off, I don’t “hate” anyone.

            The difference is I’m well aware that everything I do every day is just a silly rationalization, so I consciously work to reduce my silly rationalizations, especially on things that are really important to the world that I share with everyone else.

            So, as i’ve said before, I’m willing to abide by ANY agreement that we all collectively come up with and implement to get the job done – $20 gas, i gotta give up my car, i gotta go live in a tent in a forest – whatever – as long as everyone else abides by the agreement too.

            And personally, some things are just so horrific, its amazing that anyone can rationalize them away; things like slavery, child rape, abusing/eating animals, etc. But throughout history, and even to this day, you’ll find segments of our population who have no problem doing so – sometimes its a tiny segment and sometimes its a large segment. And I suppose I get it, because until I understood what I was a part of, I didn’t really think about it. It’s just easier that way I guess.

            Seriously, could you imagine owning a slave? You think you’d have the intestinal fortitude to not do so being born in the south 200 years ago on your daddy’s plantation? Good luck with that. Most liberals can’t even give up meat when they know DAMN WELL where it comes from and the horrific consequences to the animal, the workers, the consumers, and society as a whole. So unless you’re out there raping kids or abusing your slaves, its probably the worst thing you do every day. Which is why I keep beating the drum. Just like the climate scientists keep beating their drum.

            But I guess we get it, they hate global warming, so let’s ignore them.

            • CaptBackslap

              what about those of us who murder a hobo before breakfast every day? it really makes the bacon taste better, you know

              HOBO BACON, that is

            • JMP

              Eating meat is the equivalent of slavery or child rape. Whoa. Are you for real, or a sockpuppet trying badly to parody liberals? The fuck?!

              • CaptBackslap

                In fairness, he didn’t say it’s equivalent to those things. But apparently robbery is a venal sin compared to the hobo Five Guys burger you have after you work up an appetite running from the police.

                • JMP

                  Mmm now I want a Five Guys burger.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  With Hobo Bacon, of course.

                • N__B

                  Or Canadian Hobo Bacon, which curiously resembles Canadian Hobo Ham.

              • jb

                I would say the “sockpuppet theory” is probably valid.

                I have always assumed that “ProgressiveLiberal”is JenBob’s attempt to parody liberals, or catch them in a “gotcha”.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  I love when a liberal questions another liberal they’re either ‘trolling’ or a ‘sock puppet’. How about you explain exactly where I’m off base here?

                  I have no interest in discussing matters with conservatives, they are a lost cause in this country. But I am severely dismayed by our liberals if we’re supposed to lead everyone out of the wilderness.

                  People have expressed some agreement but no one has expressed any substantive disagreement with anything I’ve said the last few days. All I’m getting is treated like the average liberal gets treated by conservatives – except mine is from other liberals.

                • tt

                  He has a long history of trolling from the left when he gets bored with his normal act.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                List of fruits: orange, banana, strawberry.

                Do you understand that all of these are different colors, shapes, and have different tastes – ie, they are not equivalent – yet they are all classified as fruit? And that the list may not be all inclusive either – that there can exist other fruits?

                List of horrific things: slavery, child rape, eating animals.

                Figure it out.

                Y’all can stop with the non sequiturs any time you want to have an intelligent conversation.

                • JMP

                  But the list itself implies some sort of equivalency; it’s like when the fundamentalist list gay sex with incest, bestiality and pedophilia. What will you compare eating meat to next, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and the cancellation of Firefly?

                  Also, eating animals is not horrific; it is delicious.

                  And that ridiculous rhetorical hyperbole shows that if we want to have an intelligent conversation, talking with you is pointless.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  If you want to say my inclusion on the list is incorrect, go right ahead. But saying that incest, bestiality, and pedophilia are horrific isn’t comparing them – its just a list of horrific shit.

                  At worst I’m guilty of using an analogy to prove a point.

                  Like I said about slavery – would you own a slave? How about 200 years ago?

                  NOW you realize its bad, but if it was 200 years ago and I was trying to explain to you that slavery is horrific like pedophilia, bestiality and incest, you’d look at me like i was nuts, cause the majority of society accepts A) slavery and B) that black people are inferior, and you seem to have the moral compass of a blade of grass. Cause again, it tastes good, just like the slaves make you happy too.

                  But again, you’re not the only one. You can take comfort in doing the wrong thing cause its socially acceptable. Kinda like when you’re in a cult that accepts incest, bestiality and pedophilia. If everyone else thinks its fun, and I do too, whats the harm?

                  Again…my concern for this country isn’t conservatives…its our liberals. I don’t expect intelligent arguments from conservatives. What’s frightening is that every time a liberal likes something, they just parrot a conservative talking point. “I like is so go fuck yourself…MERICA FUCK YEAH.”

                  Do you deny that its bad for the workers, bad for the animals, bad for the the consumers, and bad for the collective/society? Let me know where i’m off base here…still waiting for a single person to point out a single fact that is in dispute…

                • Jordan

                  It reads like a bad joke: Murder, Arson, and Jaywalking.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  I’ve done PLENTY to prove my case about how horrific it is to the workers, the consumers, the animals, and society as a whole.

                  Why is this continually glossed over?

          • ChrisTS

            Let’s see:

            1) An omnivore eats meat – perhaps/usually inhumanely produced.

            2) A ‘human’ abuses, tortures, and cruelly murders highly domesticated, non-human animals for amusement and nominal profit.

            • ProgressiveLiberal

              A steak dinner and a dog pit are both entertainment in the first world – neither is necessary in any way.

              No meat, none at all, is produced humanely. Even your grass fed free range liberal bullshit marketed cows are inhumanely slaughtered. You know the working conditions for meatpackers? Highest rate of injury and illness, feces in your mouth and nose, continuous psychological damage, etc, etc, etc. Commercial fishermen have the highest rate of death. You know where milk comes from? Continuous impregnation and immediate removal of children, including killing the useless males with hammers or guns (they don’t produce milk and are wrong type of cows to eat – unless they’re chained up their entire short life to make veal). Eggs? Beaks chopped off, smashed together in cages, all the day-old male chicks killed in dumpsters or grinders cause they don’t lay eggs, and the hens cruelly killed after a year or two when they’re not as “productive.” It’s all horrific.

              You can teach a pig to sit, learn its name, etc. Would you make bacon our of your dog?

              Keep up with the rationalization.

              Some of my other favorite rationalizations: “I only paid her for sex cause she looked 18, officer” and “slavery wasn’t that bad, they got 3 meals a day, a place to live, and never got fired.”

              With liberals like this, who needs conservatives?

              • CaptBackslap

                Would you make bacon out of your dog?

                Only if it was this dog.

              • wjts

                No meat, none at all, is produced humanely.

                Incredibly, this claim is not actually true.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  Comatose humans do not feel pain.

                  When do we eat?

                  Honestly though, if you go vegan in all other ways, sure, fine, whatever, eat oysters. It’s not a religion with arbitrary rules. Its just horrific how (the vast, vast, vast majority of) meat is produced. But unlike the vast, vast, vast majority of liberals who like how meat tastes, i’m willing to make changes based on what’s better for people other than just myself.

                • CaptBackslap

                  How are you supposed keep your swole on eating roots and berries?

                  Bro, do you even lift?

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  Yes. Are you unaware of vegan athletes?

                  Going vegan has not effected my muscle mass in any way. It still depends on how frequently I lift.

      • Toberdog

        The glam rock group Queen said it best. (If my link-fu was even remotely competent this is where I’d link to a YouTube video of “I’m In Love With My Car.)

      • tt

        There was no change in terminology. Scientists have been using both terms since the beginning.


  • Lee Rudolph

    This is a very successful guy with a STEM PhD.

    Please tell me it’s a T or an E, not an S or, heaven forfend, an M.

    • Hard Truth

      I dunno. If Sherlock Holmes can not know that the Earth goes around the Sun, then I guess the M’s can be deniers.

      • Hard Truth

        Oops. Sorry, joke Jenny identity. But I’ll stay incognito. I’m a regular.

    • trollhattan

      I’ll guess engineer or geologist, which comprise a big percentage of the ardent deniers I’ve known.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Engineers I can understand. But how a geologist…oh, wait. Those wouldn’t be geologists employed in extractive industries, by any chance?

        • trollhattan

          Occasionally this weird time-scale based philosophy seeps in, whereby it is declared that man’s time on the planet is so insignificant, geologically, that “the earth will be just fine, no matter what we do.”

          Sometimes tempted to ask, “Are you thinking until the sun goes red giant on us or a slightly shorter timespan?”

          • McAllen

            I mean, yes, the earth will be fine, we’re she ones who are fucked.

        • guthrie

          A lot of the famous deniers are geologists. Some of the issue comes from only seeing the past in ten thousand year segments, so they completely miss what is happening just now and think everything will be fine because the earth has survived before.

          • Katya

            Which is so beside the point. Yes, the earth has survived before. But how are the dinosaurs doing these days?

            • Barry

              ” Some of the issue comes from only seeing the past in ten thousand year segments…”

              Or where only the most severe climate changes mattered for their purposes.

              A few degrees C means a lot to us, but less to people looking for oil.

      • Allin58

        I hear the term “engineers” a lot. There are so many types of engineering professions that that term is like saying “women are such and such”. I agree that many technical people get the “I am an expert at this thing, so I must be able to analyze that thing” syndrome. I manage engineers so I know well that attitude. But I must say if you’re talking about mechanical engineers almost all the people I know agree that AGW is real and is becoming a big problem. Most started out skeptical due to the reliance on models (always dicey). But over time have come around.

    • Anonymous

      There’s a significant portion of E’s and M’s who are creationists. One theory about this is that nerds with preexisting creationist beliefs self-select for fields that are still mentally challenging but where there beliefs won’t be directly challenged.

      • CaptBackslap

        There was a whole nest of Campus Crusade guys on my dorm floor one year, and every last one was an engineering major.

        • delurking

          Many Engineers are surprisingly limited in their knowledge base.

          They know a lot about engineering, in other words, and maybe something about baseball or (say) collecting vintage cars (or whatever their One True Thing is); and pretty much nothing at all about anything else.

          This leaves them helpless little sheep when it comes to being fleeced by the Glen Becks or Rand Pauls of the political world. Someone comes along with something that *sounds* nifty, why, so far as the Engineer can tell, it *is* nifty. Because WTF do they know? They’ve got no knowledge of history or politics or biology or rhetoric or anything else to show them why this argument that’s being made is full of shit.

          (Why yes, I do speak from personal family experience here.)

      • GoDeep

        Creationism and the Big Bang are not mutually exclusive; neither are creationism & evolution. Obviously if you believe the earth is only 5K years old you can’t believe in the Big Bang or evolution, but if you don’t believe that the 7 day creation story is literal, only metaphorical, then the 3 are mutually compatible.

        Alternative method: Last week I spoke w/ a guy who explained it like this. Miracles are supernatural–ie they have no natural explanation–so of course science couldn’t explain it. If Christians, he said, don’t ask science to prove that Jesus walked on water, or that Moses split the Red Sea, why would we expect science to prove the Creation? Science can disprove theory, but it can’t disprove faith.

        • LeftWingFox

          Creationism and the Big Bang are not mutually exclusive; neither are creationism & evolution.

          That’s the advantage of mythological fantasies: they’re endlessly malleable.

        • JMP

          Belief that the 7 day creation story is only metaphorical is not creationism though. And everything that exists has a natural explanation. Yeah, science can’t technically disprove faith, but that’s because faith is belief in something despite the lack of evidence that it’s true, and even in the face of proof that it is false.

    • Rigby Reardon

      I know a guy who has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Indiana University and is an inveterate climate change denier. He dropped me from Facebook years ago because (well, most likely because) I kept calling him on his bullshit denialist status updates.

  • stavner

    All the more reason to keep talking about it. This poll from last November shows that 67% of Americans say climate change is a problem:


    True, that number hasn’t changed much over the years, but I think more and more people are talking about the subject.

  • ProgressiveLiberal

    Yeah its weird how people are able to rationalize things away when they would interfere with part of their lifestyle that they don’t want to change.

    I mean, I don’t know any liberals who would do that….

    Anyways, so oil stays on the Morally Bankrupt list? Good to know.

    PS. I read Denmark got 52% of their energy from windmills last month. But they also voted for people who implemented plans to take on climate change back in the 90s. So maybe its not that no one cares, maybe its the fact that we are a nation filled with an awful lot of exceptionally selfish people.

    • CaptBackslap

      “Selfish” really understates the impact of ressentiment

    • delurking

      Dude. I promise to stop eating hamburgers if you’ll just shut up.


      • ProgressiveLiberal

        Easier yet, someone find me a liberal blog and i’ll go there.

        • wjts

          Knock yourself out. It’s yours. Log in with this gmail account:

          User name: theonlytrueprogressive
          Password: meatismurder

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            I should have been more specific.

            A blog run by a liberal.

            I’d like to have something to read and i’m tired of the rationalization and hypocrisy i’m bombarded with at places like this, hullabaloo, eschaton, etc. I don’t want to be a blogger. But unfortunately, these places seem to be as “liberal” as they get. I just can’t help myself occasionally pointing out the really ridiculous things that pop up time to time.

            How about someone explain to me why its ok for liberals to use silly ass rationalizations but terrible when conservatives do the same? I don’t see anyone using a different framework – when a conservative wants to defend something that is horrific to others and society, they just say “i like it and don’t think its that bad”…liberals do the same. I don’t think liberalism should be an “end” – i think its the means to the end, which means constantly reevaluating what you believe based on the best evidence. Not “i like it so F off.”

            It seems if you don’t mind giving up your gas guzzler and your gun (but not your meat), you’re a liberal, but if you’re partial to those things, you’re a conservative. Is this really it? It’s not the willingness to accept new ideas based on new evidence? We’re just a little more tolerant – but not that tolerant if i don’t want to live with out it!

            I think we can do better than this…at least I sure hope so.

            • Helmut Monotreme

              I will engage with you on the 1% chance that you aren’t just another sockpuppet troll. Meat may be bad. It isn’t the worst thing we do every day. What is the worst thing we do every day? Whatever is killing people right now. Whether that is paying taxes to a government that has no problem incarcerating people and executing them on the flimsiest of pretexts or engaging in foreign policy that has no problem dropping a hellfire missile on a wedding on the off chance someone there may not like the US, or buying gas from oil companies that poison the world and killing the locals when they protest (like in the Congo), or buying cheap crap from Wal Mart make by slaves in China, supporting activities that kill people right now is the worst thing we do every day.

              How about someone explain to me why its ok for liberals to use silly ass rationalizations but terrible when conservatives do the same? I don’t see anyone using a different framework – when a conservative wants to defend something that is horrific to others and society, they just say “i like it and don’t think its that bad”…liberals do the same. I don’t think liberalism should be an “end” – i think its the means to the end, which means constantly reevaluating what you believe based on the best evidence. Not “i like it so F off.”

              It isn’t ok. But and here’s the catch, we all prioritize things differently. For some people abortion is the the biggest outrage they see and they will happily spend their life trying to make sure that every woman that has sex, carries a baby to term. Other people have different issues that they work on. We all have one lifetime. There’s only so many windmills one person can tilt at. Liberalism is a big tent, while you are trying to stop people from eating meat, many of the rest of us think opposing war, global climate change and human rights abuses are more pressing issues. So if you want to fight the meat industry, you have to do it like the rest of us. Build consensus. Convince people. Make your case in as many different ways as you can to as many people as you can, without alienating them. Convince legislators and have the rules changed to be more humane and less abusive in every part of the industry. Come up with better alternatives. But what you seem to enjoy doing is abusing those who ought to be your allies. Good luck with that. When the time comes that the cost of the meat industry is too high, when the abuses are no longer possible to ignore, and when it becomes obvious to everyone that the time is right to make changes in our collective diet, it will be the people who can work with others that will write the new rules and the people like yourself and PETA and ELF who think its better to complain or take destructive action rather than compromise and consensus build will still be shut out of the process.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                I can promise you I am sincere.

                Liberalism is a big tent, while you are trying to stop people from eating meat, many of the rest of us think opposing war, global climate change and human rights abuses are more pressing issues.

                These are not mutually exclusive.

                And PERSONALLY you can’t stop the war in some foreign country. You can’t PERSONALLY stop climate change. You can’t PERSONALLY stop human rights abuses. But PERSONALLY you can stop the abuse you do to animals starting today.

                Eating animals is the most horrific thing a person in this country engages in on a daily basis. If you were in south shooting into crowds of black people, going vegan is the animal welfare equivalent of setting down your gun.

                My point isn’t to alienate people who could be my allies, its to point out to the group that is mostly likely to understand logic why they are doing it wrong. It’s not like I have a chance with conservatives.

                I’m a liberal because that’s where the evidence took me. Isn’t it the same for us all? Or are we just the other “team” cause we need a group to belong to?

                PETA is like a group of abolitionists in the south. They are vilified and crucified for being right when all of society has gone insane. I feel for them, while realizing their tactics aren’t successful. But you know what is less successful? Being nice and begging. No one pays attention when you’re 1% of society and 99% agree that something horrific is acceptable. They are doing their best to bring attention to the cause, and considering how small they are, they are doing an amazing job.

            • John (not McCain)

              I’ve never wanted a meatball sub more than I do right now.

              • N__B

                John (is) McCain wants a meatball sub that fires meatball cruise missiles.

  • This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress

    Slight quibble – What infects the halls of Congress is Greed. There are a billion ways a CongressCritter could justify voting for efforts to curb GCC. But there’s too much in$tant gratification to be had by continuing to support policies that gunk up the environment.

    • bobbyp

      If they’d take my checks, we could fix that.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      It’s amazing these guys just appoint themselves to congress and get away with it.

      You’d think we’d have a way of ensuring people who are greedy wouldn’t end up in congress – assuming of course, the people in charge of putting other people in congress actually cared about this.

      • Rigby Reardon

        It must be very satisfying to have allllllllllllll the answers.

        Too bad this – i.e., hectoring blog comment thread readers – is what you’ve chosen to do with all that knowledge.

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          I have no answers. I’m just well aware of the actual problems.

  • Funkhauser

    Poor Yosemite.

    • The Yellowstone Supervolcano

      Revenge is a dish best served cold.

      Or very, very hot.

  • Joshua

    Yea but on the other hand, it snowed yesterday.

  • Francis

    This is the biggest deal facing our species. I live in Los Angeles and I’m 50 and water flows toward money (and votes), so I suspect that I’ll die before the City does.

    But 2050 to 2100 is going to be very interesting times. (Like global crop failure / starvation / war / nuclear war kind of interesting.) Because as the planet gets hotter, our energy consumption is predicted to rise. And telling people that they need to leave high energy density hydrocarbons in the ground (ie, coal, oil, gas) when they’re facing blackouts seems unlikely to me to be a successful vote-getter. So we enter a spiral of rising temps / rising hydrocarbon use, until things go kerblooey.

  • ProgressiveLiberal

    Here’s the problem: As long as the majority of people vote for death, then death is what we’ll get.

    Americans will not give up one dime to keep some future generation from living in hell. At least, currently existing Americans.

    Someone prove me wrong. Show me some sacrifice the majority of voters have voted for recently. Hell, even Obama had to promise he wouldn’t raise taxes from their lowest rates ever by one single penny on people making 250k!!!! TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND! Just to get elected…

    Maybe if you can get full employment, high paying jobs for everyone (like $20 minimum wage other countries have) THEN you can get people to start caring about others.

    Until then, in what country have you people been livin?

    I’m tired of pretending that its congress that’s the problem. They just didn’t appear there.

    Meanwhile, reading a poll in the copenhagen post the other day I see that the majority of their people WANT a mileage tax of a couple kroner per km so as to reduce driving/congestion. CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THAT? They already get taxed on everything ($10 gas and 100% tax on a new car) and the majority would vote for ANOTHER TAX!

    We are not like them. Which is why they have 52% electricity from wind and seven tenths of one percent “poverty” (if you can even call it that), and we have…well…look around.

    • DrS

      like $20 minimum wage other countries have

      Realizing that this is feeding something other than pancakes…but I’ve had a little touch of vodka.

      Please give us one country that has a $20 national minimum wage. Obviously this will require some sort of translation to dollars, so I’d ask that you stick to reliable methods and sources. Or, if you’ve got some other method showing this result, then show your method.

      • ProgressiveLiberal



        The law does not mandate a national minimum wage; minimum wages are negotiated between unions and employer associations. According to statistics released on March 1, the average minimum wage for all private and public sector collective bargaining agreements was 103.15 kroner ($20) per hour, exclusive of pension benefits.

        or take it from someone who lives there (including link to mcdonalds hiring info in danish):

        “Last week, I moved to the workers’ paradise of Denmark, where I will man the Audit Aalborg bureau for a year while my wife is here on a Fulbright. One of the things that’s striking here is the disparity between the cost of food at restaurants and at grocery stores. The minimum wage in Denmark (ADDING: I should say that this is an effective minimum wage negotiated with unions, not a legal one) is roughly $20 an hour (though teenagers can earn somewhat less). Not coincidentally, labor-intensive restaurants have very high prices, while less-labor-intensive grocery store prices are much less shocking.

        The average full-time equivalent McDonald’s employee in Denmark makes about $45,000 a year in total compensation. Forty-five thousand dollars! Even after high Danish taxes, that average worker will take home some $28,000 a year, roughly double what a full-time American McDonald’s worker will. To add insult to injury, the Dane gets at least five weeks of paid vacation while the American is lucky to get off (unpaid, of course) when her daughter is home sick with the flu.”

        Sure, you’re going to split hairs on how they get to that minimum wage (using the law to protect unions that bargain for it instead of mandating it) and that its the “average” minimum wage, but its the closest info you can get. I found a country that has MCDONALDS paying people $45k a year minimum. And they didn’t close down!

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        Or take it from the NYT:

        “In 2012, a little over 2.6 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 were working in Denmark, 47 percent of the total population and 73 percent of the 15- to 64-year-olds.

        While only about 65 percent of working age adults are employed in the United States, comparisons are misleading, since many Danes work short hours and all enjoy perks like long vacations and lengthy paid maternity leaves, not to speak of a de facto minimum wage approaching $20 an hour. Danes would rank much lower in terms of hours worked per year.”

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        Or maybe the US embassy:

        “Due to a strong trade union movement, wages in Denmark are generally higher than in the United States. Negotiated minimum wage is approximately $20/hour.”

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      Anyways, my point is, when you can go work at McD’s for 45k, get free healthcare, get free college with stipend, get REAL welfare and unemployment and job training if you happen to lose your job, it turns out the majority of your citizens are more than happy to pay a few extra taxes, because they don’t hurt as much. Which is why this Taxed Enough Already country has the happiest people in the world, even though the have the summers of Seattle and the winters of NYC.

      So maybe we can work on getting this country to full employment, get some wage gains to raise the minimum wage to $20/hr, and THEN we have a shot at asking for some sacrifice. Until then, 80% of people would rather have 20% unemployment if it meant their taxes went down another $2 a year.

  • e.a.f.

    Don’t expect to hear much from Canada. First the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen HARPER, ruled no scientist was permitted to speak in public about their work or much else. Had to have permission from his office. Then they started closing research stations and firing scientists. The latest: they closed the libraries and got rid of the books. Just like a good old Nazi book burning, but with a new modern twist.

    Destroy the history of the science and you destroy the past. However, without the past, there can’t be a future.

    Neil Young said Fort MacMurray looks like Hiroshima, he isn’t kidding.

    Now we have had reports all the pollution created in china by manufacturing is starting to impact the air quality of the west coast of north america. They may be another reason we should stop purchasing things made in China, its polluting our air over here.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      Reduce the value of the dollar (like Japan did the yen), it’ll reduce the subsidy on imports and reduce the tariff on exports, fill the aggregate demand gap we have, and decrease unemployment.

      Too bad americans will have a sad they can’t get their $2 junk from china anymore, it’ll cost them $2.40 now in order for some of their countrymen to get jobs!

      F it, let’s stick with the mess we have now. At least I still got a job and $2 junk, amirite?

  • Heron

    The reason it’s so cold in the East this winter is actually because of warming. These “arctic vortices” are due to increased evaporation over the Arctic, leading to intensely cold air and precipitation-heavy storm-clouds which, as they do, move south. This cold winter for North America is the direct result of greater warmth in the Arctic circle.

    • Linnaeus

      But back in 1974, a couple of scientists said we could be headed toward a new ice age due to global cooling! So there!

  • Rob in CT

    We need a carbon tax, obviously. Incentives for things like solar are nice (I used ’em myself), but not nearly enough to get the job done. The gas tax doesn’t come close to actually funding our roads.

    Politically, it’s obviously a dead letter at this time. We need enough voters to be convinced that this is a catastrophic problem such that candidates for office can’t get elected unless they favor policies that address it. It’s very depressing to reflect on how far we are from that.

    Hey ProgLib:

    So, as i’ve said before, I’m willing to abide by ANY agreement that we all collectively come up with and implement to get the job done – $20 gas, i gotta give up my car, i gotta go live in a tent in a forest – whatever – as long as everyone else abides by the agreement too.

    What’s amazing to me is that you can make this statement and not actually understand its implications. I, too, am willing to sacrifice by am unwilling to do so whilst others refuse. A classic collective action problem, right? Then you go on to screech at liberals for not being better. Wait. Liberals can start changing their lifestyles, but the fact remains that non-liberals will not, and the result is that we’d be making the sacrifices whilst others laughed. Which is one of the reasons people don’t do it. It’s the same reason liberals don’t write checks to the IRS, voluntarily paying higher taxes. It’s a bullshit thing to ask someone to do. Yeah, I’m gonna pay more so my neighbors don’t? Screw that.

    At great expense, I put solar panels on my roof. I certainly won’t pretend this is sufficient (heating my house takes 1000 gallons of oil a year). I’m willing to do more, but not all by my onesies.

    Take your self-righteous attitude and shove it.

    • Rigby Reardon

      Take your self-righteous attitude and shove it.

      Really needed to be said a second time.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      What’s amazing to me is that you can make this statement and not actually understand its implications. I, too, am willing to sacrifice by am unwilling to do so whilst others refuse. A classic collective action problem, right? Then you go on to screech at liberals for not being better. Wait. Liberals can start changing their lifestyles, but the fact remains that non-liberals will not, and the result is that we’d be making the sacrifices whilst others laughed.

      I am fully aware of this, and this is my greatest concern.

      At no point am I even hinting at an argument on the lines of “convincing enough individuals to give something up will solve a collection action problem.”

      I am well aware that my marginal reduction in meat consumption is marginally reducing the cost of meat allowing someone else to eat it, meaning on net, I have saved no animals. But AGAIN, the practice is so horrific there is no way in clear conscious can I participate in it or rationalize it away. I am also well aware we need to convince the collective, including conservatives americans, to make some sacrifices or modify behavior – behavior they like and participate in – to solve our collective action problems.

      What gives me the greatest fear is that if american liberals can’t even be convinced with logic and sound reasoning and videos and chiding and whatever else, that they are engaging in horrific behavior that needs to stop, then what chance do we even have with everyone else?

      In other words, if the “best” among us won’t stop rationalizing, where does that leave us with the “worst” among us, or even the “average” among us? Why would I even waste my time with a clueless conservative if a supposedly intelligent, rational liberal can’t be convinced?

      I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a room of children and adults actin a fool, I start with the adults.

      Here, let me help you out. Livestock create 20% of worldwide GHG emissions and that is going to double by 2050, period. That is the diet we have and the diet we are spreading. So, now start at a 20% INCREASE in GHG. Oh, we need 50% of current levels by 2050? Ok, so that leaves 10% of current GHG levels for EVERYTHING ELSE ON EARTH considering 40% of current levels are off limits. So tell me how we’re going to get that done without changing diets. I’ll be right here. You think we’re going to grow “low carbon corn” or breed “low carbon cows”?

      (And AGAIN, we’ll put aside the abuse to workers, the abuse to animals, the other pollution [ water, etc], antibiotic resistant pathogens, heart disease and cancer, etc, etc, etc.)

      The day other liberals stop with the nonsense is the day I gain hope that this country can solve its problems. Until then, it seems that selfishness is going to cause a whole lotta misery.

      But at least you get to eat cake!

  • Pingback: Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve | Fabius Maximus()

  • K

    Man made global warming is total bullshit. Its not even warming, hence the change to “man made climate change”. “While surface temperatures are not the best way to keep tabs on warming…” What the fuck he been smoking? the only way that works is if the planet is in a giant microwave. heat conducts through solids, and it also rises. surface temps will rise if core temps rise.

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