BPSDB Clutching/grasping at Straws: 1. to try any method, even those that are not likely to succeed, because you are in such a bad situation. He’s hoping that this new treatment will help him but I think he’s clutching at straws. (usually in continuous tenses)2. to try to find reasons to feel hopeful about a situation when there is no real cause for hope. She thinks he might still be interested because he calls her now and then but I think she’s clutching at straws. (usually in continuous tenses)
“…George Monbiot, charges the UN’s leading climate change official with lacking ambition for a global emissions deal, and takes him to task over expensive carbon offset schemes and his support for the US president, George Bush. ”
Monbiot is clearly not impressed with the lack of progress on the diplomatic front, and even more so by an apparent lack of any sense of urgency on Yvo de Boer’s part.
Small wonder, as he wrote on Dec 8th “There is no longer any likely relationship between an 80% cut and two degrees of warming. … Turner’s proposal is about as likely to stop runaway climate change as the Maginot Line was to hold back the Luftwaffe.”
Barry Brook has a similar assessment of the Australian Garnaut Review in his piece “Managing catastrophic climate risk – the six step plan“, summing up with “…will not be achieved by the incremental policy formulations currently being proposed.”
The urgency is real. This week we learned 2008 was the “warmest La Nina-influenced year discounting 1998 (a year that was split between La Nina and an even stronger El Nino).” making this the hottest decade in recorded history. Joseph Romm stated it bluntly, “Global warming is accelerating, as predicted.”
On a similar note the Climaticide Chronicles has a more detailed explanation of the changing Arctic winds and currents (mentioned Dec 5), but the upshot is captured in his title: “Remarkable Change in Arctic Atmospheric Circulation: Have We Passed a Tipping Point?”
In his cheerfully titled post “Antipangloss” El Rabett informs us that “In a recent Science perspective Peter Cox and Chris Jones show why things are probably worse than we think and may become worse than we can think.” Quoting Cox and Jones “Even so, the estimate is at the high end of the 20th-century simulations with the IPCC C-CC models, encompassing only the model with the largest feedback over this period.”
A grim prognosis indeed.
It’s enough to make you grab your towel and pray for a Vogon spaceship to happen by.
“Negotiating a multilateral treaty on curbing greenhouse gases is being so outstripped by the scale of the problem that those promoting a deus ex-machina — a technical fix that would at least gain time — are getting a serious hearing.”
more about “A surprising idea for “solving” climate change“, posted with vodpod
My own reservations about geoengineering are based both in the abstract and in the specific. The more abstract skepticism is simply that, having demonstrated so clearly that we haven’t the slightest idea what we are doing with respect to managing the planet, it would seem criminally idiotic to trump our past ignorance with planetary scale hubris.
Simply put, our record is such that it makes the Sorcerer’s Apprentice look like Dumbledore. We are a problem child with delusions of adequacy not borne out by the evidence.
As Eugene Scwartz discussed almost 40 years ago, technology does not solve problems, it merely changes the nature of the problem and tends to have a multiplier effect. Well and good when you know what you are doing, but we don’t.
This is particularly true of natural systems. One of the corollaries of the Four Laws of Ecology is that you never do just one thing. A pertinent example might be how we thought we were just dumping CO2 into the air, but it turns out we were changing the climate, which ravages the biosphere, which … etc.
Aspects of this are discussed by Ray Pierrehumber with respect to aerosols, but that would be just one example. Barry Brook observes (wisely I would say) that we just don’t want to go there at all. Gavin Schmidt speculates that geoengineering may be climate change methadone? I wonder if heroin, first marketed as a cure for morphine addiction, would not be a more apt metaphor.
Even assuming there were no problems with unintended consequences (while you’re at it, assume your partner won’t mind you sleeping around, and that the local gangbangers will be just fine that you’re late with their money) there are a host of technical , social, political, and moral challenges.
Indeed, the whole prospect is so problematic that Alex Steffan stated last year that “Why Geo-Engineering is a Debate Whose Time Has Gone“. Unfortunately not.
- Geoengineering: How to Cool Earth–At a Price
- Geoengineering: a quick fix with big risks
- Time on Geo-engineering: What are they thinking? Part 1
- 20 reasons why geoengineering may be a bad idea
- Is geoengineering the “Lesser Evil”?
In future discussions my own take will be as a biologist looking at likely examples of unintended consequences. However, I am concerned that there are seminal discussions that I am completely unfamiliar with, so I would appreciate any mention of “must reads” with respect to geo-engineering.”
Until then, I suspect Robert Kunzig was right in saying “In the end the debate comes down to differing views about human nature—and the power of science to restrain it.”
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 58 … still no evidence.