Cooking Our Fish Bowl: Climate Change Report Paints Grim Future

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Today, the United States is the greatest contributor of carbon to the atmosphere. China is neck and neck with America. The U.S. is still the richest nation, tremendous resources — but it’s the poor and much of the developing world that are going to pay for America’s eco-unfriendly consumption gluttony, according to a new UN report.
One of the authors of the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has some advice for mankind:

“Don’t be poor in a hot country, don’t live in hurricane alley, watch out about being on the coasts or in the Arctic, and it’s a bad idea to be on high mountains with glaciers melting,” said Schneider, the Stanford scientist who was one of the study authors.

Very grim. We need to get a handle on this, but I don’t have confidence that we will until something systemically horrible happens — like the loss of all polar bears, or bumblebees, or frogs. Until we think that mankind could actually be severely impacted, the rich will keep exploiting the low-costs of a carbon dependent energy world.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

22 comments on “Cooking Our Fish Bowl: Climate Change Report Paints Grim Future

  1. Free Mathematics ebooks Siddique says:

    Find more Free ebooks on mathematics just follow the link

    Reply

  2. David N says:

    Yesterday, I attended the debate between John Kerry and Newt Gingrich about global warming. I think it was really a way for Kerry to promote his new book.
    All I want to say is this:
    Gingrich was very moderate in tone, and accepted the science on global warming. He cited his long, admirable record on environmental issues, and agreed that this was an emergency that needed to be dealt with immediately.
    Then he trotted out his solution to the crisis, and repeated this throughout. The solution is . . .
    Are you ready for it?
    Tax cuts (“incentives”) for big corporations.
    Way to throw money at a problem, Newt. And in a way that benefits no one but the rich.
    And this is what passes — with no objection — for serious ideas in this town.

    Reply

  3. Via says:

    My fear is that our government will not assume leadership (without Al Gore being re-elected) and that no substantive policy will be put in place until we start feeling more serious effects of climate change. At that point all hell will break loose as people realize the severity and inevitability of the situation, and then, might will make right. I don’t want that day to come.

    Reply

  4. fred says:

    I am constantly amazed by how little importance is given to the effects of global warming, not to mention the reality of peak oil production, by those I know. I have come to the conclusion that the only way we, as a nation, will ever take this seriously is to first suffer the consequences.

    Reply

  5. citizen spot says:

    “Academics”..Doh!!

    Reply

  6. citizen spot says:

    There may be hope.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4017784a13.html
    Perhaps better living through chemistry is a good thing. If acedemics can find a way to duplicate photosynthesis, then there is hope, (and a ton ‘o money to be made by anyone who licenses the technology).

    Reply

  7. Mensa says:

    mensa200
    The reason John Howard makes so many bad decisions is because he is THICK. He failed General Maths at the Leaving Certificate. (Ask your grandfather what that means). He’s no good at basic sums. He was paid into Uni by his parents. He took six years to struggle through a law degree meant to take four. His Liberal party mates got him a job in Stephen Jaques and Stephen, but he was ‘let go’ after six months because he couldn’t cut the mustard. After several months he picked up a job as a conveyancing clerk with a Hurstville suburban solicitor.
    At this time, Australians, like me, were being conscripted, at the age of 18, based on a disgusting birthday lottery to be sent to fight in Vietnam. We didn’t even have the vote. Did brave Johnny volunteer? Oh no, against his principles! But he still thinks it was the right thing to do.
    The reason John Howard makes bad decisions is because he doesn’t have the mental furniture to make good ones. John Howard has an IQ of 105-110 tops (failed General Maths). Kevin Rudd is 140+ (Dux, 1st Class Honours). This means that in a standardised test, like the SB5, given questions that have a correct logical answer, and all of the information necessary to answer them correctly, Kevin Rudd will complete over twice as many questions as Howard in the allowed time, and get 5 times as many right. I presume you all watched the 7.30 report tonight. Kerry gave Johnny an easy ride and he was pathetic. Last week he grilled KR and he came through with flying colours. It’s called intelligence. I can’t wait for a televised debate.
    In the late 70’s I had the embarrassing experience of being in John Howard’s company while myself, two other representatives of the Australian Bankers’ Association and four Treasury officials tried to explain to John Howard that taxing interest ‘income’ of 13% pa, at a tax rate of 50%, when inflation was 10% and rising, amounted to confiscation of capital. He could not understand what we were talking about! (It’s still happening now. Interest on savings 6%. Inflation 4%. Tax 50%. Net real interest negative1%. )
    Johnny has had it, at last. Kevin will not only play with his mind, he will reduce him to a quivering wreck.
    PS. Costello got a ‘C’ in the lowest level Maths available when he sat the Victorian senior high school exams. He hasn’t the faintest idea of what he is crapping on about. He learns his lines every morning, and shouts them over and over again. I know, I had to write them.

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  8. Matthew says:

    Robert Morrow’s words should be written down. Memorized, even. He encapsulates the Wingnut “thought process” in action. I do feel cheated though: He failed to cite the Rush Limbaugh’s Circular-Argument-of-Shame: We have a bigger economy so of course we use more resources.
    Hard to argue with logic like that……

    Reply

  9. Matthew says:

    Robert Morrow’s should be written down. Memorized, even. He encapsulates the Wingnut “thought process” in action. I do feel cheated though: He failed to cite the Rush Limbaugh’s Circular-Argument-of-Shame: We have a bigger economy so of course we use more resources.
    Hard to argue with logic like that……

    Reply

  10. Linda says:

    Mr. Morrow:
    I don’t happen to live in any of these areas (and perhaps you don’t either), but I have friends and family who do:
    “Don’t be poor in a hot country, don’t live in hurricane alley, watch out about being on the coasts or in the Arctic, and it’s a bad idea to be on high mountains with glaciers melting,” said Schneider, the Stanford scientist who was one of the study authors.
    So I care, and in a global economy, the US is not doing as well already because we haven’t educated our population very well and neglected our infrastructure, health care system, etc. So our higher standard of living is at risk as well. I said “our” and not “your” because these issues will impact everybody in the USA eventually.
    Until we all learn to get along and look at the bigger picture, care about each other, and find common ground, it will continue to get worse. Perhaps you also don’t have children or grandchildren. I do, and I care about the country and world that I leave to them.

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  11. Robert Morrow says:

    I don’t consider Americans gluttonous for using a lot of energy. Big deal. We have a higher standard of living than most people and I like that.
    I don’t care even if the global warming theories are correct. So what, let it get a little warmer on planet Earth. I am not worried in the slightest. Maybe Greenland will actually be Green again and humans can live there and cultivate it.

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  12. Marcia says:

    Steve, you just laid it out in a nut shell. Domestic politics and foreign policies are so closely related and as long as the unregulated pillage of the planet continues the suffering of the poor continues to rise. There are no consequences for derelict behavior, the Bhopal catastrophy, one of the most, if not the most dreadful industrial tragedies added insult to injury in leaving the victims in nearly total indifference. Enron ruined lives, and for what… “noveau riche” mansions on fashionable streets and country club lunches and diners. Barbara Bush said it up quite well when “viewing” the Katerina evacuees… “It is working out quite well for them.”
    I think most Americans do no realize what we have done in the world in the name of “American interests.”
    Corporations have the rights of persons, speech is money, Congress is bought and sold, and world wide- human lives are the price paid for greed and irresponsibility.
    You are so right, we must do something.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Related slightly….because everything is about GREED….and one good thing Bush tired to do…that was shot down by congress’s special interest masters.
    http://www.warandpiece.com/blogdirs/005940.html

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    I could cry when I think about what is happening to our enviroment. I don’t know much about hydro carbons and etc but I have seen first hand the effect of senseless and greed driven over development on our coast. Building shopping malls and hotels and churches on ocean island strips that are less than a mile wide..the runoffs into the sounds and etc….it’s insane. For one thing banks should be convinced not to finance these projects and insurers should refuse to insure them…maybe they will be eventually as this gains momentum…on our coast local banks already refuse to finance ocean front homes in certain ocean front areas ..the first step in saving the coast is cutting off the money.
    I keep waiting for that hurricane that takes it all away as it would on the narrow strips of our Outer Banks…sooner or later it will happen and after it does a lid should be put on any rebuilding.

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  15. selise says:

    “Until we think that mankind could actually be severely impacted, the rich will keep exploiting the low-costs of a carbon dependent energy world.”
    steve – have you read “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed ” by jared diamond? it seems that the critical issue is not if “mankind” is affected, but if the “elite” are affected. when the elite don’t feel the impact of their choices – societies don’t seem to fair well.
    (applies to more than global warming – see also: iran, iraq,….)

    Reply

  16. hkm says:

    Here’s something in the LA Times yesterday that caught my eye:
    “The U.S. delegation opposed a section that said parts of North America could suffer “severe” economic damage from climate change.”
    This, to me, is the first big obstacle. We have to accept the fact that we cannot continue with our energy-sucking, carbon-belching lifestyle without consequence. Every day we keep our collective head in the sand on this point, we lose a day where we could be coming up with, you know, actual plans on how to deal with it.
    This may be an issue that government and business cannot deal with. One thing Katrina proved is that when the worst happens, your government is not going to help you and your insurance agent is no longer your friend. Watching that debacle from a distance, I realized that we (any of us) are ultimately on our own, so we might as well start learning self-reliance and flexibility now.
    My fondest wish at the moment is that the media would begin to make this a primary focus — not just “cool” graphics of New York City under water or stock footage of polar bears, but substantive discussions and reports on what’s happening in the world climate today. I don’t watch network news much, but I’m betting this wasn’t the lead story last night.

    Reply

  17. bees says:

    Since you mention bees, I wanted to make sure you knew about this:

    Reply

  18. Matthew says:

    The solution is political:
    1. Blame it China;
    2. Explain how America is the solution, not the problem.
    3. Allow the Wingnuts to co-opt issue as their own, including pretending that they never believed in Dominion Theology.
    4. Grandfather in all industries that are Republican political contributors.
    5. After China objects, blame it on Belize.
    We all know that the poor Caribbean nations are the real polluting bastards.
    Problem solved.

    Reply

  19. df says:

    All other issues pale in comparison to this one – and that includes nuclear proliferation. In fact, a worldwide approach to climate change led by the US and China might actually have the effect of causing current “insurmountable” problems to seem – and therefore become – less important.
    For example, if a giant asteroid were on a collison course with earth I suspect that the US and Iran would start to get along since the external threat would make what are essentially petty disputes seem ridiculous. Climate change is on that order of magnitude.

    Reply

  20. Pissed Off American says:

    How anyone can deny that filling a bubble up with toxic gases will not have serious repurcussions is beyond me. To see this Administration constantly deny the dangerous deterioration of our global environment is perhaps one of the most terrifying aspects of this whole unfolding mess.
    I suspect that things will only turn around when nature steps in and greatly diminishes the world population. It is hard to imagine, given the current debate about the gravity of our situation, that we will act in a timely manner on a grand enough scale to actually block such an inevitable occurence.

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    Steve, you’re absolutely correct about the magnitude of the problem already underway. And while I feel that in some part the blame game get’s us nowhere — and opens each one of us up the the question of “What are you doing about it?” — still, the “we”, as in “Until we think that mankind . . . could be impacted” applies more readily to some than others.
    To be specific, politicians and corporate leaders who are so much part of the problem need to hear from the rest of us who suffer because of their greed. Where is the virtue in trying to gently wean these folks toward the truth? (I’m not saying you are in that camp; however, you do have a pulpit of sorts).
    We know if we wait for the politicians to catch up we are in for delays that are just not tenable. The fact that the U.S. government apparatus can for years manipulate climate data and programs should be the subject of criminal lawsuit, not tsk tsking. As for the corporations (with some few exceptions), well, they own the politicians, so draw your own conclusions. For the record, we certainly don’t have time to wait for meaningful campaign reform.
    This is an issue that requires talking about for sure. It also merits shouting, though too many of those with hands on the levers of power don’t even have ears.

    Reply

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