Global Warming, Record Lows - Fiddling while Rome burns

Permalink +

Thu, Nov 30, 2006, 3:00 pm  //  Tip Johnson

"When do you wreck it as a system? It's like going up to the edge of a cliff, not really knowing where it is. Common sense says you shouldn't discover where the edge is by passing over it, but that's what we're doing with deforestation and climate change." Thomas E. Lovejoy, Director of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and co-editor of the seminal "Global Warming and Biological Diversity".


We are breaking a lot of weather records all over the world. Record cold, record heat, record wet, record drought, record wind and storms. Even a record number of media interview requests at the National Weather Service. This kind of noticeable change in global weather patterns is not a good sign. Complex multi-variate, non-linear systems have remarkable abilities to moderate influences, but only up to a point. They can also can exhibit cascading failures that can catastrophically accelerate change.

Imagine a ball in a bowl. Let's say the ball is the "system" and the bowl is the "environment". The ball, or system, can handle all manner of poking, prodding and rocking perturbations, always settling back into its stable environmental basin.

Now imagine that a combination of influences exert pressure on the bowl to gradually invert its shape. As the bowl becomes a dome, increasingly small perturbations can send the ball rolling, possible right off the edge of the table - right over the cliff Lovejoy thinks we should avoid.

Global warming is not just about warming. It's about greater temperature differentials and meteorological variability. Besides a rising sea-level, that means more storms, higher winds, more weather records of all kinds. In fact, the folks at Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute remind us that it's a very complex system with much more going on than just greenhouse gasses. They've published an article, "Are We on the Brink of a 'New Little Ice Age?'" on the potential for a new ice age.

While there may be disagreement on the extent, no one disputes that climate change will bring serious economic disruption. And if our recent meteorologic variability is any measure, it's true. We just witnessed our economy get seriously attenuated by a few inches of snow - and the lack of a couple snow plows.

Meanwhile, a dozen states and several cities whose economies are seriously threatened by rising sea-levels, have sued our government to force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide - a significant greenhouse gas, but not a priority pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

Today, fiddling like Nero, Justice Scalia cracked a joke that got the court giggling and then explained, ""I told you before I'm not a scientist. That's why I don't want to have to deal with global warming." There's a good strategy! Where's that cliff? Hang-gliding anyone?

Speaking of broken records, have a little sympathy for environmentalists. Since Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", I can't think of a single time they've been wrong. They keep telling us over and over and over again. It must be frustrating to be so right and so continually marginalized by government, industry and the media.

That's where we need to see change, not in our climate.

Related Links:

-> Are We on the Brink of a 'New Little Ice Age?'
-> Supreme Court giggles over CO2
Comments Commenting is disabled for this post

Global Warming, Record Lows - Fiddling while Rome burns

Thu, Nov 30, 2006, 3:00 pm  //  Tip Johnson

"When do you wreck it as a system? It's like going up to the edge of a cliff, not really knowing where it is. Common sense says you…

0 comments

Public meeting & hearing rescheduled

Thu, Nov 30, 2006, 1:56 pm  //  John Servais

Notice:

Relative to the last post:

Ecology has rescheduled the public meeting for:
December 7th, 6:30 p.m. ñ 8:30 p.m., Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue, Bell

0 comments

Village Books

In historic Fairhaven. Take Exit 250 from I-5.

Public Process - Lots of it (kind of),

Mon, Nov 27, 2006, 5:15 pm  //  Tip Johnson

or I lied (sort of!)

In the previous post I complained that the biggest rip-off in Whatcom County history was happening without even being discussed or making it into…

0 comments

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sun, Nov 26, 2006, 4:21 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The good? We are no longer spewing forty+ pounds of mercury vapor every day into the local atmosphere. We are no longer dumping 20 to 40 tons of…

0 comments

Long Run

Sun, Nov 19, 2006, 3:17 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Milton Friedman died at 94 years of age last week. Friedman was the maverick economist who implemented monetarist policies beginning with the administrations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret…

0 comments

Torturous topics

Sun, Nov 19, 2006, 3:14 pm  //  Tip Johnson

While we're being proud to be Americans, don't forget that George Bush just pushed through legislation that makes it legal for our boys at Abu Ghraib to have…

0 comments

Welcome to America!

Sun, Nov 19, 2006, 3:03 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Protesting and dissent is no longer supervised by the police. It is actively escalated to violence, punished and prosecuted. This snippet is about a fellow rotting in jail…

0 comments

Let them vote on it?

Sun, Nov 19, 2006, 4:03 am  //  Tip Johnson

Zetta Bracher, President of the local Democratic Women's Club, has an idea for getting consensus on our "new direction" in Iraq.

When it became apparent that there were no…

0 comments

Hot Button

Thu, Nov 16, 2006, 3:19 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The war in Iraq is widely regarded to have been the "hot button" issue of the last election. I don't buy it. Americans seem to like a good…

0 comments

Plenty more to flush

Sun, Nov 12, 2006, 3:23 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Bellingham's new, old mayor, Tim Douglas, got off to a great running start at his new job by dealing quickly and firmly with an important issue that threatened…

0 comments

Killers or Healers?

Thu, Nov 09, 2006, 3:29 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Congratulations, Americans. That was certainly worth voting for! Voters thoroughly routing the entrenched Neo-Con administration will help restore our world image, so badly damaged since re-electing t

0 comments

Electile Dysfunction

Mon, Nov 06, 2006, 3:35 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Nope. I didn't make it up. It's from the subtitle of a book by Steve Bhaerman, under the pen name Swami Beyondananda. I have to admire the guy.…

0 comments

The 16% Solution

Sun, Nov 05, 2006, 3:48 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Results from the 17th year of a poll routinely taken by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News show that only 16 percent approve of the job Congress…

0 comments

Swirling Logo

Sun, Nov 05, 2006, 3:45 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Hopefully the City's new swirling logo will flush itself before it ends up glued on vehicles and emblazoned on letterhead. It's horrible, but that's only half the story.…

0 comments

The Truth Fairy

Sat, Nov 04, 2006, 3:50 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Heading into the last days of this election season, George Bush and his Neo-Con Republicans have been strumming a familiar tune to promote their candidates. Republicans, they say,…

0 comments

My name is Tip Johnson.

Fri, Nov 03, 2006, 4:02 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Gentle readers,

My name is Tip Johnson. The usual editor of this publication has asked me to fill in for a bit while he is busy with other matters.…

0 comments

Website restructuring

Thu, Nov 02, 2006, 4:06 pm  //  John Servais

After today, a friend will take over writing to this space for a few weeks. I'll let him introduce himself to you. I've some personal things that need…

0 comments

Do you vote your emotions, not your mind?

Wed, Nov 01, 2006, 4:08 pm  //  John Servais

Now Karl Rove starts his directing of emotional outrage comments on most any news item that is handy - in his effort to get people to vote with…

0 comments

 

Election Info

County election results

State election results

Coal, Oil & Trains


Community Wise Bellingham
Powder River Basin R. C.

Local Blogs & News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Cascadia Weekly
Ferndale Record
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
KGMI
Latte Republic
League of Women Voters
Lynden Tribune
MikeatthePort
Northern Light

Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut Community Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
RE Sources
Reduce Jet Noise
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Governments

Bellingham

Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
State election results
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Whatcom Auditor
Whatcom Auditor
Whatcom County

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate

Leisure

Adventures NW

Edge of Sports
Entertainment NNW
Famous Internet Skiers
Recreation Northwest
Sailing Anarchy

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
AlterNet.org
Antiwar.com
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The

Common Dreams
counterpunch
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Doonesbury
Drudge Report
FiveThirtyEight
Foreign Policy in Focus
GlobalPost
Guardian Unlimited
Gulf News
Haaretz
Huffington Post
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
MoveOn.org
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
NMFA
numbers
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Reuters
Sea Shepherd
Slate
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
TED
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
Tom Paine.com
truthout
Vox
War and Piece
Washington Votes
WikiLeaks.ch
ynetnews.com

NwCitizen 1995 - 2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Police Activity

Bellingham Register
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
HamsterTalk
Jack Petree
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Orcinus
Post-Oklahoman Confessions
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders