October 16, 2014
Denier-ville chewing carpets over this one.
Bob Seger, the Midwestern meat-and-potatoes rock ‘n’ roller, is going worldly.
“Ride Out,” his first album in eight years, features familiar Seger themes of hope, honesty and moving forward, and finds him taking stock of a music career that has now hit the half-century mark.
But it’s also his most explicitly political work in years, tackling debt, gun violence and what the Detroit singer-songwriter calls “the No. 1 issue,” climate change.
Seger has certainly gotten political before, with topical antiestablishment themes on early songs like “2+2=?” and “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class).” But the new material may be his most outspoken yet.
Environmental matters dominate several new songs, most notably “It’s Your World” (“Say a prayer for the victims of extinction,” he sings. “Say another for the redwood trees”). It’s an ominous-toned take on climate change that Seger knows could prove divisive among fans. Here, after all, is one of the Industrial Belt’s most prominent musicians going green. He says his management team “is petrified of it.”
“People are going to be mad at me. There may be a lot of people that won’t come to the shows because of it,” he says. “But I just feel it’s something I’ve got to say.”
He presses the point, brandishing a news article about the United Nations’ latest climate-change report.
“There are a lot of culprits in climate change, and everybody’s responsible, myself included,” he says, voice rising. “Nobody gets a free pass on this one. We’ve got to change our ways and change them fast.”
Music clip from new album below: Read the rest of this entry »
October 15, 2014
I’ve interviewed a lot of scientists in the last few years, and Aradhna Tripati has one of the quickest, clearest minds I’ve run into. I asked her to comment on the undersea methane question when I spoke to her in January.
Aradhna Tripati is a Professor in the Departments of Earth and Space Sciences & Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. Her research is focused on applying innovative experimental approaches in order to use the geologic record as a rich laboratory for the study of climate processes. The primary tools she uses include the new ‘clumped isotope’ thermometer, and the elemental composition of carbonates. She also integrates geochemical measurements with field-based observations, sedimentologic and micropaleontologic data, and models.
October 15, 2014
When I got back from Greenland in August, I recognized that, while I had a lot of pictures of all the other folks involved in Dark Snow 2014, I had precious few of myself.
I got ahold of Gabriel Warren, our sculptor in residence fot he trip, and a pretty keen arctic guy in his own right, to see if he had any pics of moi. He did.
For those of you that contributed to the project, just wanted to make sure you know what you were paying for, and I wasn’t spending the time chilling in the kitchen tent.
October 15, 2014
It’s ironic that in the course of spending most of my time trying to raise awareness about how serious the climate issue is, recently I’ve had to be on the side of seeking to tamp down unnecessary alarm and fatalism that I’m seeing, particularly online.
I’ve been planning to do a piece on the whole “undersea methane bomb” idea, and have been interviewing key scientists in this area for quite a while. I was not planning to release a finished piece for some time- as this is an area where I feel the need to step very carefully.
I’ve posted before that I believe the cottage industry that has developed around catastrophic scenarios of methane bombs, burps, and belches is probably not accurate, and definitely not helpful at this time.
Now in the last two weeks there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle following Dr. Gavin Schmidt’s presentation at a conference in the UK, where he trained some pretty intense fire on the whole issue, and in the process made some pretty good points – most compellingly, that when we look back at previous interglacial periods, even when where it has been warmer than today for long periods, when we are pretty sure significant amounts of land ice melted, and sea levels were considerably higher, – we don’t see a methane belch.
Gavin has since been attacked in some rather conspiracy-flavored blog posts, basically with the idea that alternative views were somehow not allowed at the conference, although Dr. Peter Wadhams, who is associated with the so called Arctic Methane Emergency Group, and very much on the side of alarm for this issue, did present.
There is a rather vigorous back channel discussion going on around this, most serious people coming down on the side of some concern, no burning hair or clothing, but wanting more info.
I’m by no means ready to go with a carefully digested piece on this, but given the fooferaw going on now, I thought I would start sharing some of the interviews I have with credible scientists on this issue. Above, one of the most credible, Dr. Carolyn Ruppel, who chairs the US Geological Survey gas hydrates research group. Dr. Ruppel was an author of the recent, widely publicized finding of methane seepage along the US East Coast:
Natural methane leakage from the seafloor is far more widespread on the U.S. Atlantic margin than previously thought, according to a study by researchers from Mississippi State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other institutions.
Methane plumes identified in the water column between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Georges Bank, Massachusetts, are emanating from at least 570 seafloor cold seeps on the outer continental shelf and the continental slope. Taken together, these areas, which lie between the coastline and the deep ocean, constitute the continental margin. Prior to this study, only three seep areas had been identified beyond the edge of the continental shelf, which occurs at approximately 180 meters (590 feet) water depth between Florida and Maine on the U.S. Atlantic seafloor.
October 15, 2014
Polar scientists who were part of early Antarctic exploration expeditions reconvene to discuss the significance of the South Pole. Bill Baker, former president of New York’s public television station, WNET, reports.
October 13, 2014
Nice quick synopsis of arctic/antarctic sea ice changes.
October 13, 2014
There are so many facets to climate change that make it difficult to address – but when an issue is important – and when it has life or death consequences – you don’t give up just because it’s difficult. You work harder. You press further. – Micheal Bloomberg, former Mayor New York City, really rich guy.
LANSING, MI — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving another assist to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican running for re-election against Democrat Mark Schauer.
Bloomberg’s Independence USA political action committee is starting to air pro-Snyder “issue advertisements” in the run-up to the November 4 general election.
The full size and scope of the ad buy is unclear — the treasurer has not yet responded to a request for comment — but it is believed to be significant. Public records show the Super PAC is running spots on broadcast television stations beginning this week in the Detroit market.
Bloomberg, a former Democrat who won elected office as a Republican and independent, held a fundraiser for Snyder in New York earlier this year and personally gave a maximum $6,800 to the governor’s re-election campaign.
The Super PAC’s new Snyder ad highlights some of the same accomplishments his campaign touts — including private sector job growth and a falling unemployment rate — and casts him as “the governor that put partisanship aside” and delivered results.
We’re all familiar with climate deniers — the politicians who proudly declare that 97 percent of climate scientists are wrong, and human carbon emissions aren’t driving up global temperatures to a potentially catastrophic degree. Opposing them are what Grist’s David Roberts termed “climate hawks” — people who think climate change is real, it’s extremely dangerous, and civilization’s use of fossil fuels is behind most of it.
But in between, a strange twilight figure has risen for whom there is no term, but with whom climate activists will have to grapple if America is to do its part in keeping the world under 2°C of warming.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) probably represented this odd creature best back in August: “[Climate change is] a concern in terms of both its impact and the volatility it’s having on our weather patterns,” he said. But when reporters dug into whether humans are causing it, Snyder dodged: “I don’t get into how we got there because that tends to go off into a discussion that I don’t think has real value.”
“Is that relevant or not?” Snyder continued. “No. We have an issue. We need to address it.”
Similar sentiments have been expressed by other politicians. “I’m not qualified to answer that question,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) told Real Clear Politics in June when asked if humans are the main drivers of global warming. “Let me tell you what we’ve done, without getting to whether it’s human-caused or whatever that may be.”
OK, fair enough. Bloomberg is a former Democrat, turned Republican, wants to support the delicate green shoots of sentient thought within the hostile environment of his formerly rational party.
So, why am I getting mailers from the Snyder campaign, two in the last week, that look like this? Read the rest of this entry »