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Comment Policy

This is a blog about climate change. It’s a place to discuss solutions to this urgent global crisis we have put ourselves in through our overconsumption of fossil fuel and environmental degradation of the planet. This is not a time for politics as usual, nor is it time to quibble about the reality of climate change. Climate change is real, it’s happening now, and the only question we should be discussing is what are we going to do about it? Bill McKibben, long-time environmental activist, author, and co-founder of 350.org, put it this way recently:

When it comes to global warming, however, this is precisely why we’re headed off a cliff, why the Copenhagen talks that open this week, almost no matter what happens, will be a disaster. Because climate change is not like any other issue we’ve ever dealt with. Because the adversary here is not Republicans, or socialists, or deficits, or taxes, or misogyny, or racism, or any of the problems we normally face—adversaries that can change over time, or be worn down, or disproved, or cast off. The adversary here is physics.

Physics has set an immutable bottom line on life as we know it on this planet. For two years now, we’ve been aware of just what that bottom line is: the NASA team headed by James Hansen gave it to us first. Any value for carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible “with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.”  That bottom line won’t change: above 350 and, sooner or later, the ice caps melt, sea levels rise, hydrological cycles are thrown off kilter, and so on.

In keeping with the critical urgency of this situation, comments that argue that climate change is not happening, that CO2 is good for us, that Al Gore isn’t a scientist (we all know this!!), that as a meteorologist/geologist/etc. you know better than the IPCC and every National Academy of Science, humans are too insignificant to cause climate change, and so on, will be deleted without comment. If you are high on the credibility spectrum – that is, you are a publishing scientist – and you are quoting from a legitimate peer-reviewed source, and you have something to say about the science of climate change, then your comments will be posted. Referencing other blogs DOES NOT count!

Lest I be accused of conspiracy, let me say now that yes, I definitely AM part of a conspiracy. A conspiracy to keep planet earth habitable for humanity. I’m part of a conspiracy to sign a survival, NOT a suicide pact. I would LOVE for climate change to be just a theory. I would love to eat, play, and love without the ever-present knowledge that we are all about to step over a precipice from which we can never return.

I invite you to share your comments that are respectfully written, without profanity, and do not attempt to “prove” that the science of climate change is not a scientific fact and a ever-present reality for a growing number of people around the world.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/06/21 2:11 pm

    I was listening to CBC radio this morning, and there was a panel discussing whether climate change should be a topic at the G20 meeting, given that the purpose of the G20 is economics. One guy said that climate change wasn’t caused by people, and it made my blood *boil*. Of course, they immediately had another person shoot down his argument, and he didn’t keep it up… but *really*. It’s long been accepted that we’re screwing up the climate, the uncertainty now is how *quickly* we’re headed for hell in a hand-basket, and how should we go about fixing the mess we made. *sigh*

    • Christine permalink*
      2010/06/21 2:35 pm

      I tuned in halfway through that interview – thanks for the reminder to listen to it later on their website. Yes, you’re right about the scientific certainties, but there are powerful lobbies who don’t want to admit that it’s time we weaned ourselves off fossil fuels. But there is a growing movement for people to take back their/our power. If we don’t do it now, then when? If we turn this thing around, the world will be a better place – less pollution, more equitable distribution of resources (everybody can access the sun and wind!) and less corporate control. If we don’t – well, have you read Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars”? – we’re on the road to strife and upheaval. I choose the first, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to shine the light on this issue and lobby for change. I couldn’t live with myself at the end of the day (or the end of 5 years, which may be the time we have before the tipping point is reached), or look into my children’s eyes, if I didn’t.

      • 2010/06/21 2:49 pm

        Yep… lobbyists, rich oil execs, and nutjobs who probably don’t believe in evolution, and figure there’s no point in keeping the earth pristine, because the “second coming” is right around the corner anyway. :P “The ocean is *vast*, how could we possibly affect it?” Um… *how* many fisheries have collapsed already, due to this line of thinking?

        I do what I can, but sometimes I feel like a tiny speck in a tide of indifference.

        I suppose, if nothing else, my “window chard” tastes good. ;)

  2. Christine permalink*
    2010/06/21 10:23 pm

    Yay for Swiss Chard! Great pic, BTW!
    And don’t give up, there’s lots of us out here we just need to get too connected to fail!

  3. Christine permalink*
    2010/06/24 9:48 am

    I haven’t listened to that “Current” program that you referenced in your first comment, but I did have CBC radio on this morning when they read listeners’ letters – I hope you caught it, there were a number of excellent responses, both to the climate change skeptic (I didn’t realize it was Lorne Gunther. He’s a rabid denier from Alberta who writes for the Edmonton Journal and the National Post – btw did you know the NP is being sued by Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver for libel – YES!!) and to the idea that the economy and the environment can be separated. Hope you caught it!

    • 2010/06/24 10:48 am

      I don’t think I caught the show when the letters were read. The TV show I saw was on Global (channel 12), so you might be able to watch it from their webpage, if you’re interested.

  4. 2010/08/05 10:49 am

    “I would LOVE for climate change to be just a theory.”

    I wrote a very similar comment on my blog recently. You have put the point much more articulately than I managed to, though!

    I wish people would stop wasting time (and energy!) arguing about it. In a way it’s irrelevant, because as long as there’s a reasonable chance that we’re heading for a catastophe, and a reasonable chance we can do something about it, why would you choose to sit back and take the risk?

    As my name suggests, I’m an engineer, and blog about low carbon technologies – something I think we need more unbiased information about. I hope you might find it interesting.

    http://www.optimisticengineer.wordpress.com

  5. JeffM permalink
    2010/12/17 5:45 pm

    Christine:

    I have no desire to argue whether manmade climate change is real. I will gladly concede that science has sufficiently established the case. My real advocacy is motivating world governments to find a new, full time energy source that can replace carbon fuels.

    Air pollution is created from burning carbon fuels. We are dependent on OPEC oil, a primary energy source. We hemorrhage our national wealth to countries that use the same money to sponsor terrorism. A reasonable case for manmade climate change from using carbon fuels has been laid out. All of this can and must be stopped, with the world a better place as a result.

    To do this, I believe that governments must vigorously pursue the R&D to find a new energy source which will economically replace carbon fuels. We saw the government take on such a challenge during WWII with the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb. We saw government do this in 1961 when President Kennedy established the national goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In 1969, we put a man on the moon. There was no worldwide crisis… Kennedy merely wanted to one-up the Russians in an arms race.

    I lament that, if only to stop harmful manmade CO2 emissions, we don’t see government doing this. And I ask: Why not? Replacing carbon fuels with a new energy source should be the goal of all world governments (OPEC excepted), but the R&D to make this happen isn’t being done. Why isn’t the Department of Energy (like NASA, in 1969) being tasked and funded to find a new energy source? Thus far, we have neither a national goal or coherent energy policy. Given the scientific cause for alarm, I worry that political “solutions” will spend huge sums of money without solving a highly technical problem.

    • Christine permalink*
      2010/12/17 6:15 pm

      You make a valid point, Jeff, why AREN’T our governments (in North America) pursuing a much more active R & D strategy? The military are saying that climate change is a threat (http://www.cna.org/reports/climate ), and now the International Energy Agency has come out and said it’s time to stop the $300+ billion dollar subsidies that are given to the fossil fuel industries every year globally (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/iea-urges-g20-to-end-fossil-fuel-subsidies/article1792514/) and yet we are still hearing that renewable energy can’t compete with oil and gas, and that pricing carbon will cost jobs (it may well cost the jobs of the CEOs of Exxon and Imperial Oil, but for the rest of us there will be jobs added to the economy). Unfortunately, politics and the lowest common denominator seem to be trumping reason, and even national security interests.

      You may be interested in reading Citizens Climate Lobby’s excellent paper, “Building the Green Economy” which addresses just the argument (that switching away from fossil fuels will kill jobs and ruin the economy) – http://citizensclimatelobby.org/node/457 .
      Then, you might want to check out whether there is a CCL group close to you, or start one up, because it seems that this shift is going to happen through many, many different people speaking out. Every voice is important!
      Cheers.
      C.

  6. JeffM permalink
    2010/12/17 5:53 pm

    Christine:

    I made an error in my December 17th post that I wish to correct.

    Please disregard the sentence in my second paragraph which reads: “A reasonable case for manmade climate change has been laid out.”

    This was an awkward attempt to say: “Manmade CO2 emissions are yet another threat.”

  7. 2011/11/21 12:50 pm

    I loved Einstein’s quote. Of course, he was a genius and when it comes to our environment, we could use a genius now with a lot of clout.

    The Nature Conservancy of Canada is hoping this season will be greener and we need your help. We are calling on websites and bloggers to bring alternative gift giving to record levels by spreading the word about our Gifts of Canadian Nature. Rather than giving yet another tie or scarf, we are asking people to protect an acre of Canadian habitat that is home to precious species, like the caribou and the Canada lynx.

    Every week in November we’ll be releasing a video and a web page filled with interesting facts on one of Canada’s most fascinating animals. Last week we launched our northern saw-whet owl video. For a peek of this video, along with others on some of our country’s most iconic species like the grizzly bear, head to NCC’s YouTube channel http://tinyurl.com/7ycr4mn . For more details go to http://tinyurl.com/5rmtp8b and http://tinyurl.com/68aby6l .

    Mentioning our Gifts of Canadian Nature on a blog post would really help us out. If you do, please send me a link, and thanks for helping protect nature.

    Best Regards,
    Val

  8. dugable1 permalink
    2013/06/08 10:29 am

    Hi,
    Great blog…very informative and well-organized. Have you seen this video? It’s very hopeful.

    • 2013/06/08 9:30 pm

      Yes, thanks for sharing this video. I did post it in April, but it’s good to have a refresher.

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