Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

I would go to DC if I could

with 20 comments

Sorry,, I have a slight geographic impediment; it is commonly known as the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Written by Martin Lack

15 January 2013 at 00:02

20 Responses

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  1. I have a slight geographic impediment; it is commonly known as the North Atlantic Ocean.
    It’s just not good enough.

    Henry Crun:
    Ohhoho – is it? Then you’d better borrow the Gas Board’s bicycle.

    But sir, it’s overseas.

    Henry Crun (angry):
    What is our bicycle doing overseas?

    No, no. I mean Argentina is overseas. How can I get there on a bicycle?

    Henry Crun:
    Well, you must have it waterproofed that’s all.


    15 January 2013 at 03:54

  2. Gotta love Bill McKibben and his crew!


    15 January 2013 at 09:20

  3. How do we know that it was the largest hurricane in history? Whose history? Is this assessment based on material damage, wind strengths, barometric readings, wave heights or what? If you mean in recorded history then that is another matter. I do not wish to be pedantic but accuracy is essential when debating this issue.


    15 January 2013 at 10:44

    • Thanks Duncan. Yes, you are being pedantic. I would say that “recorded history” is clearly intended from the context; and what happened prior to that is not really relevant – as it is the clearly worsening trend that should concern all of us. However, if this does not satisfy you (and you were not trying to be funny), I suggest you address your question to and/or the NOAA.

      Martin Lack

      15 January 2013 at 11:10

    • It was a really huge (not a scientific term) hurricane, that occurred during the hottest year in US recorded history and it caused 50 billion dollars in damages. Even my grade 7 students understand the link between strong hurricanes and climate change. And, at this point, there is no more debate about this “issue”. If, as a society, we had half-a brain, the only debate would be about how we bring our carbon emissions to ZERO as soon as possible.


      16 January 2013 at 00:04

      • If people like Guy MacPherson are right, we need to do better than ‘simply’ zero carbon emissions. We need to aim for ‘negative emissions’ (ie, extraction of CO2 from the ecosphere) as fast as possible if we are to have any chance at all of reversing the trend.


        18 January 2013 at 08:46

        • As per my (very similar) comment on your own blog, Pendantry, thanks for drawing this video to my attention:

          I am very shocked by the fact that the 1990 UN document warning of the dangers of just 1 Celsius global average temperature rise. The very recent research including positive feedbacks seems to be reflected in the parabolic curve (for sea level rise) in the 2013 National Climate Assessment (NCA) report just issued for public comment. The sad thing is that even the NCA does not warn that the parabolic curve is the most likely trajectory that we will now follow (it is just presented as the upper bound upon a range of supposedly equally-probable possibilities).

          I am also concerned by the fact that the 2009 PNAS warning that climate change is (already) irreversible seems to have been ignored too (especially since this is the conclusion I reached after reading James Hansen’s Storms of my Grandchildren book).

          In the USA at least, it would appear that 80% of the general population has now woken up to the reality of climate change as a problem. Therefore, since our politicians generally do not read peer-reviewed scientific literature and ignore their own scientific advisors, you might an ice-free Arctic as soon as 2015 would be the kind of wake-up call they will need. However, my confidence is reduced by the spectacle of President Obama effectively admitting – in his news conference about new measures on gun control – that our politicians do not do what we the people want them to do; they do what powerful vested interests tell them to do. This does not augur well for climate change because I do not think the fossil fuel lobby will ever admit that the best thing to do is leave fossil fuels unburnt.

          So, I wish people like Schalk Cloete godspeed in their endeavours to make carbon capture and storage a reality – because our future existence may well depend on their success.

          Martin Lack

          18 January 2013 at 10:04

        • I wonder what we could do with massive re-forestation efforts? Any ideas?


          19 January 2013 at 00:30

        • In 20 years we might just be able to reforest areas lost in the last 200 years. Trouble is we don’t have the luxury of time. However, artificial trees are already more than just a fanciful idea; and may even be in commercial scale production long before CCS is widely available.

          Martin Lack

          19 January 2013 at 10:04

        • Very interesting article. Thanks Martin.
          I’m all for it, as long as the put the carbon dioxide to use. The idea of sequestering the carbon in the ground makes no sense to me. It’s like asking a kid to clean up his room and he just stuffs everything under the bed. And turning CO2 into new fossil fuels doesn’t cut it for me either.


          19 January 2013 at 10:35

        • I’m not sure I understand your argument JP, unless it would be possible to force-feed the CO2 to algae in a controlled environment. Not burying the CO2 would, in my view, be like mucking-out the stables but leaving a ever-growing pile of sh!t in the corner of each horse box… Have you read Pendantry’s latest post with the Guy MacPherson video? If not, skip to this comment (and link) about oxygen depletion and come back to MacPherson later…

          Martin Lack

          19 January 2013 at 11:08

        • I’m simply concerned about the stability of underground structures to keep the sequestered CO2 in the ground. I figured that in our “infinite wisdom” we could find a way to use the CO2 for some industrial purpose that won’t eventually return it to the atmosphere. For example, if we could use it to produce carbon fibre. Or plastics.


          19 January 2013 at 14:33

        • As I am sure you are aware, I am with you on that front: Burying CO2 is more dangerous than burying radioactive waste (because CO2 has no half-life and must never escape)… Using it to make carbon fibre is an interesting suggestion though…

          Martin Lack

          19 January 2013 at 15:20

        • @jpgreenword I wonder what we could do with massive re-forestation efforts? Any ideas?

          To me, planting trees (and banning cutting down existing ones) has seemed to me, for a long time, like an obvious thing we should be doing. However, if Gail at Wit’s End is right (and I strongly suspect that she is, though I’m puzzled by her apparent failures to get the subject discussed in mainstream science), reforestation won’t help unless we first tackle atmospheric pollution (notably low-level ozone), because that is killing trees worldwide.

          @Martin artificial trees are already more than just a fanciful idea
          Any technological solution will require a truly heroic investment of energy (just to make and distribute the things) at a time when we are fast approaching another tipping point; energy demand will soon outstrip supply (as a result of peak oil). Technology got us into this mess; I firmly believe that it’s a mistake to rely on it to get us out.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.


          19 January 2013 at 12:35

        • I completely agree with the need to control atmospheric pollution. Although, I didn’t know that low-level ozone was “killing trees worldwide”. Holy crap! We suck!


          19 January 2013 at 14:36

        • What with atmospheric pollution and our facilitating mountain pine beetle population explosions (by warming the planet), aliens would be forgiven for thinking we are actually trying to kill off trees…😦

          Martin Lack

          19 January 2013 at 15:23

        • Ok. I have to admit, that made me laugh! Even though it’s painfully true…


          19 January 2013 at 15:36

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