aitchina

A new online lecture-format documentary describes China’s appalling air quality and its health effects.
It’s gone viral.

NYTimes:

By early Monday morning, “Under the Dome” had been played more than 20 million times on Youku, a popular video-sharing site, and it was also being viewed widely on other sites.

Tens of thousands of viewers posted comments about the video, many of them parents who identified with Ms. Chai’s concern for her daughter. Some praised her for forthrightly condemning the industrial interests, energy conglomerates and bureaucratic hurdles that she says have obstructed stronger action against pollution. Others lamented that she was able to do so only after leaving her job with the state-run China Central Television.

“Support Chai Jing or those like her who stand up like this to speak the truth,” said one of the comments — which exceeded 25,000 by Sunday afternoon — on Youku. “In this messed-up country that’s devoid of law, cold-hearted, numb and arrogant, they’re like an eye-grabbing sign that shocks the soul.”
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Some officials, however, may even welcome it as an opportunity to build support for anti-smog measures. The website of People’s Daily, the main Communist Party newspaper, was one of the first to post “Under the Dome.” And the new minister of environmental protection, Chen Jining, praised the video.

Mr. Chen said at a news conference for Chinese reporters in Beijing on Sunday that the documentary reminded him of Ms. Carson’s “Silent Spring,” which on publication in 1962 inspired a public uproar about excessive use of pesticides, The Beijing Times reported, citing the Xinhua news agency.

Although the doc appears to focus mostly on the most visible aspect of pollution from coal burning and other sources, it is another reminder that the growing Chinese middle class is losing its patience with the development-at-all-costs philosophy of its leaders.
This is why the US/China agreement on cutting greenhouse gases is more than window dressing – there is a growing understanding among Chinese leadership that a move to renewable energy is not just politically correct –  it’s critical to the stability of the country.
My recent video below, fleshes out the story.

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Before there was Willie Soon, there was Fred Singer, a scientific shill for the Tobacco Industry, and now the climate denial industry, who set the mold for aspiring “experts” for hire.
In 2013, Dr. Singer accepted an invitation to speak to climate expert Andy Dessler’s class at Texas A&M.  I used a clip from this in my recent video.
Worth a look.

A few of the highlights:

22:30-23:30, subject changes, comes back @ 27:30: Fred tries to defend his statement that Oreskes claims that Oxygen-15 is a carcinogen, even after I show him that the book doesn’t actually say that.
40:00, talks about Oregon Petition
55:00, talks about 2nd hand smoke <– really interesting exchanges over the next few minutes
1:00:30 says tobacco companies exaggerated his work for them

If you just substitute “climate change” for “measles”, “Renewable Energy” for “vaccines”,  and “Climate scientists” for “Doctors”, the parallels are uncanny.

The fossil fuel and tobacco industry have their template for poisoning the dialogue. Something like this could be the template for healing it.

Note to newcomers. This climate blog is best experienced with headphones.

More from my chat this week with Dr. Richard Rood at the University of Michigan Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Science – soon to be renamed the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering.
Dr. Rood has a large audience online owing to his blogs at Weather Underground, and recent posts to the “Conversation” series. He’s got a new one this week.

The Conversation:

If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average.

Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface. Then, another average is calculated for each month of the year for the twentieth century, 1901-2000. For each month, this gives one number representative of the entire century. Subtract this overall 1900s monthly average – which for February is 53.9F (12.1C) – from each individual month’s temperature and you’ve got the anomaly: that is, the difference from the average.

The last month that was at or below that 1900s average was February 1985. Ronald Reagan had just started his second presidential term and Foreigner had the number one single with “I want to know what love is.”

These temperature observations make it clear the new normal will be systematically rising temperatures, not the stability of the last 100 years. The traditional definition of climate is the 30-year average of weather. The fact that – once the official records are in for February 2015 – it will have been 30 years since a month was below average is an important measure that the climate has changed.
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In the last few weeks, we’ve seen 2 astonishing announcements, one from the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), and one from the Chairman of British Petroleum, acknowledging the problem of climate change, the need for a transition to carbon free energy, and advocating a price on carbon.
I don’t believe these announcements were unrelated – and I expect more developments in this story soon.
A friend has sent a link to a January 12 lecture from the VP for Carbon of Shell, Angus Gillespie.  I posted a short clip of Gillespie on a panel the other day, but here he goes in depth.  Worth a listen as he describes how not just at Shell, but at several major oil companies, there is already an internal carbon  price rolled into plans for any new venture.

This is done to ensure that every part of the organization understands that carbon pricing is coming, is inevitable, and even desirable, as is a transition to non-carbon fuels.

Description:

Strong and stable carbon pricing is an essential step to tackle the rising level of CO2 in the atmosphere. The RDS Chairman was present in New York during the recent UN Climate Summit and we were pleased to support the World Bank’s statement on carbon pricing. CCS fitted to power plants, could be a real game-changer, removing up to 90% of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation. CCS is critical to address climate change because it is the only technology that tackles the absolute level of CO₂ in the atmosphere. Other technologies improve efficiency and help to slow down the rate, but not the total volume of CO₂ in the atmosphere.

The stage is set for massive action on climate change –  a clear majority of Americans now see climate as a moral issue.

Below, a new poll by Reuters shows that two thirds of Americans believe their leaders are “morally obligated” to take action on climate.
Above, Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe states the case for  values-based communication when talking about climate – and I’ve interspersed here similar values based arguments from a variety of messengers.
Everything we’ve learned about science communication suggests that merely hearing the facts does not bring people around on the issue of climate change – what is most effective is connecting with people on an emotional level, a values level, as Dr. Hayhoe suggests, above.
Part of what is happening is that the planet itself is, for better or worse, now speaking clearly enough to amplify the message that scientists have been bringing.

Reuters:

A significant majority of Americans say combating climate change is a moral issue that obligates them – and world leaders – to reduce carbon emissions, a Reuters/IPSOS poll has found.

francisdove   The poll of 2,827 Americans was conducted in February to measure the impact of moral language, including interventions by Pope Francis, on the climate change debate. In recent months, the pope has warned about the moral consequences of failing to act on rising global temperatures, which are expected to disproportionately affect the lives of the world’s poor.

The result of the poll suggests that appeals based on ethics could be key to shifting the debate over climate change in the United States, where those demanding action to reduce carbon emissions and those who resist it are often at loggerheads.

Two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) said that world leaders are morally obligated to take action to reduce CO2 emissions. And 72 percent said they were “personally morally obligated” to do what they can in their daily lives to reduce emissions.

“When climate change is viewed through a moral lens it has broader appeal,” said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, a grassroots organization that mobilizes faith-based communities on politics and policy issues.

“The climate debate can be very intellectual at times, all about economic systems and science we don’t understand. This makes it about us, our neighbors and about doing the right thing.”

 

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