Glum and Glummer on Global Change

November 29, 2014

Clip from “The Newsroom” making the rounds.

Glum, dumb, or numb?
My take, a blanket “we’re screwed” is just kind of lazy, and probably wrong.
If we can’t stop a 3 degree future, (a lot of folks say we can) that’s still a far better thing than a 10 degree future.

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20 Responses to “Glum and Glummer on Global Change”

  1. firstdano Says:

    Do we suffer a hard landing, or do we work toward a soft landing? It will be one or the other, we choose.

    Best,

    D

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Making the rounds? I was only the 34th. person to view it. I hope it gets “around” a bit more than that, because it’s a message that we seem to want to ignore in our wishful thinking, bright-sidedness, and denial.

    We are running out of time (if we haven’t already). This clip is definitely “glum”, anyone who rejects it is definiteley “numb” to the truth it contains, and it most certainly is not “dumb”. What’s “lazy” is dismissing it so easily. I commend you for posting it, but saying that “a lot of folks say that we can stop a 3 degree future” is a bit disingenuous when “a lot of other folks” say that over 2 degrees will cook our goose.

    And it’s more than disingenuous to be talking about a “10 degree future”, when such an increase would guarantee that there WILL BE NO FUTURE for most life on earth. We already have high temps of 120+ in many places on the planet and have had heat waves that have killed thousands of humans (and fruit bats and other critters—-look that one up—-people were injured down under by having heat-killed fruit bats fall from the sky and hit them—-the biggest fruit bats weigh more than double what a squirrel does).

    I can recall heat stroke cases occurring during training hikes when I was in the USMC, and the temps were only in the mid-90’s. Guy’s brains “cooked”, and they died, and we see the same with kids and pets left in closed cars. Look up “denatured” and understand that heat is one of the things that destroys living tissues and makes them cease to function. It begins to occur at ~106 degrees. A ten degree rise would render much or the presently inhabited portions of the planet uninhabitable.

  3. jpcowdrey Says:

    Time for some levity:

  4. jimbills Says:

    Well, we are screwed. The clip is a “what if” scenario if someone in politics or the media actually came out and told the truth. Over the next century+, the current rise in CO2 levels (even without growth to 450 ppm or 500 ppm) will dramatically increase sea level rise, storm activity, and extreme weather patterns.

    What already is, however, isn’t an excuse to do nothing now. It’d be like saying a mass murderer has already killed 7 people, so we should forget about tracking him down, the damage is already done. But the Westbrook character isn’t saying we shouldn’t do anything. He says that if we really try we can make a livable future, but we’ll still have major effects. Essentially, that’s right.

  5. indy222 Says:

    It’s maddening that we aren’t getting climate modelling which fully includes the positive feedbacks so pointedly NOT included in AR4 and AR5. For God’s sake – let’s generate model runs which include permafrost methane release, dark snow, moulins, the new methane leakage rates from drilling/fracking, methane from Arctic lakes, and others I’m not thinking of now. Granted the equation-making, or table look-up’ing, or heuristic simple feed-in will all have major uncertainties – that’s not a reason for not doing them, because not including them is itself a decision to set those feedbacks to ZERO, which is clearly false. A good faith, best-guess inclusion is what is needed, so we can stop looking at AR5 predictions as “it’ll be worse than this” and feel dread and depression at what we’re blinding ourselves to. Granted, fine work by Rahmstorff on Greenland melt, and other isolated studies on isolated aspects, are a start….. we need comprehensive climate modelling, even with major uncertainties. Otherwise the Guy McPherson’s will continue to get too much credibility and paralyze too many from action.

    • jimbills Says:

      “Otherwise the Guy McPherson’s will continue to get too much credibility and paralyze too many from action.”

      Guy McPherson isn’t the problem. If he’s paralyzing anyone, it’s maybe 100 people who were inclined to believe that way already. The problem is the other 7 billion+ people, almost all of whom have never heard of Guy McPherson.

      Also, the Westbrook character in the clip isn’t like Guy McPherson. If you really examine what he says, it’s accurate and rather conservative (“A person has already been born who will die due to catastrophic failure of the planet.” One could say that has already happened.). It’s presented as a shocker on network TV, because we’re conditioned to expect the “spin” that the Jeff Daniels character is trying to inject into the discussion. It’s also extremely improbable that a government official would actually have the balls, or not care enough about heir paycheck, to say it.

      • indy222 Says:

        I didn’t imply that the character in the clip was a “Guy McPherson”, nor do I think that. He’s somewhere between McPherson and the most likely truth (the “storms making everything go black” was over the top, you’ve gotta admit).
        It’s a general comment I am making and this posting seems to be a good place to make it. We indeed need to have climate model runs which at least attempt to put us into the middle of the likely distribution of outcomes, and not neglect important positive feedbacks. Seems pretty obvious, yet here we are another 5 years from AR6 and it’s definitely getting too late.

        • jimbills Says:

          ““storms making everything go black” was over the top” – agree

          “We indeed need to have climate model runs which at least attempt to put us into the middle of the likely distribution of outcomes, and not neglect important positive feedbacks.” – absolutely agree

          “Seems pretty obvious, yet here we are another 5 years from AR6 and it’s definitely getting too late.” – partially agree

          The thing with the ‘Newsroom’ clip was to simulate what it might be like if someone from government actually came out on a major news program and said an unvarnished version of what we’re facing. It’s fiction – we don’t actually get that. What we actually get are half-truths and happy spin to make us feel better – as in Dr. Holdren’s appearance on Letterman.

          The Westbrook character is saying it’s too late to avoid major effects from climate change. It is. We’re already seeing some effects now. As time passes over the next few decades to centuries, these effects will increase in scale.

          I’d take someone saying that to everyone 100x over someone saying how his wife drives a Prius to audience applause. We need to have our heads dunked into a cold bucket of water instead of being constantly mollycoddled like spoiled children wanting a lollipop with their trip to the doctor’s office.

  6. redskylite Says:

    Much cunning and politics from OPEC and interested partners, so the price plunges, and puts pressure on the frackers. Interestingly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has greatly undercut the price of solar roll-outs too. Are they positioning to be the energy champions ? What are those Sheiks up to ?

    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/29/dubai-shatters-solar-tariff-records-worldwide-lowest-ever/


  7. This article give a little more “flesh” to the too late meme. World carbon is expected in one scenario is expected to peak at 450ppm. We are already at 400ppm and rising.
    450 would give us 2C rise, already considered dangerous. A 650ppm rise would almost certainly mean disaster.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/dec/09/poznan-copenhagen-global-warming-targets-climate-change
    Here is IPCC with a nice graph on impacts versus temperature rise.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/figure-spm-7.html
    After 2C, ugly things like alterations of the Gulf Stream and other major large scale effects appear more likely. The largest concern is that these effects may result in heating which rapidly increases due to unpredictable non linear effects.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Has anyone noticed the Guardian article is six years old? And hat things have only gotten worse since?

      • dumboldguy Says:

        PS Forgot to mention that “unpredictable non-linear effects” is “chaos”, and that means that major SHTF will occur and we will have little or NO idea of how to deal with it. It will be KYA goodbye time.

  8. ubrew12 Says:

    Agriculture has the ability to ‘dial back’ CO2 levels.
    Read page 22 and page 25: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf
    I’m deeply concerned what Global Warming ‘denialism’ says about human respect for truth (definitely ‘conditional’), but the situation hasn’t spiraled out of control… yet.


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